Four (4) ways to save money

There are countless ways to save money, but here are four (4) categories.

1.  Transportation

Do you live in a place where you need a vehicle to get around?  Are you outside of a city that offers mass transit?

Try your best to find a reliable, affordable, and fuel-efficient vehicle with low maintenance.  The vehicle doesn’t necessarily have to be new – it could be used.

Do you already have a vehicle?

Try to combine errands within the same geographic area as best as you can rather than jumping back and forth and all over the place.  When possible, carpool.

If you’re in a major city, try to take advantage of mass transit or public transportation rather than driving into the city, paying tolls, parking, etc.

If possible, walk or take a bike ride to your destination, especially if it is close by and the weather is nice.

As for vacation, try to plan your travels during off season times.  Avoid traveling around the time of publicly celebrated holidays if you can.  In addition to dealing with less crowds, you’ll have the added benefit of receiving better deals during off season travel.

Depending on weather and other factors, you might also try to vacation closer to home.  In addition, this will leave you much less of a distance to travel.

2.  Phones and media/entertainment

We live in the age of communication … there are so many ways for people to get in touch with us.

Why not simplify?  For example, you might get rid of your landline/home phone and just use your cell phone.  You have your cell phone with you just about anywhere you go anyway – why not use it as your main phone?

International calls might be made through Skype or other VOIP services.

If you have children, do they have cell phones?  Allocate minutes or have a restricted plan where they can’t go over a certain number of text messages or minutes on their phone.  They might even consider using their phones more sparingly, or even do without them if possible.  If they must have it for emergencies, of course keep it … but if you need to allocate extra minutes, maintain a certain regimen for texting and calling.  It’s up to you to decide which restrictions you wish to put in place.

As for entertainment and media, if you have TV (cable, satellite, etc.), reduce cost by reducing the number of channels. Do you really need 1 million channels or 1000 channels (obviously these numbers are exaggerations, but hopefully you get my point) that all deal with the same topic?  Maybe you don’t need as many channels.  In addition, don’t forget that most TV programs can be viewed online nowadays.

You might enjoy watching movies or reading books for entertainment.  Instead of buying books or movies, consider renting or even borrowing them from your local library.

3.  Home and bills

This sounds very cliché, but pay bills on time to avoid extra finance charges.  If you try to get by just paying the minimum payment each month, you become a slave to debt and end up paying extra charges.  Pay bills in full and on time as best as you can each month.

Eating out costs a lot of money – try to have food and drinks at home (it’s much cheaper to buy the same food and drinks at the grocery store in many instances).  Be moderate in the amount of food and drink that you consume.  For example, alcoholic beverages typically cost a lot.  Being moderate in your alcohol consumption would not only be good for the sake of your health; it would also be beneficial for your wallet.  Be moderate in all of your consumption of course (regardless of whether it’s food or drink).

As for lights and appliances, make sure that they are turned off (and even unplugged when possible) when not in use.

Try to use energy-efficient devices.  If you’re considering a switch to an alternative energy source, make sure that you analyze the cost to break even.  For example, here is an article that I wrote about the break-even cost for solar panels — Breakeven:  Investment in solar panels

Insulate your home!  If you perform a heat transfer analysis (to see the cost savings), the break-even period for insulation is a very short period of time!  It’s worth it to use insulation, add more, or even replace existing insulation in some cases.

Do you really need a spacious home and huge yard?  Is it just a status symbol?  Is it just a lot of empty space indoors and outdoors that needs to be taken care of?  Maybe you don’t need it, so maybe you can consider downsizing (you might not want to do it, but it’s an option to consider).  You’ll have less to take care of inside and outside, and you’ll save money on things such as property taxes, utility bills for heating and cooling, etc.  Try to live simply if you’re willing and able to.

4.  Shopping

Make a list and stick to it … this is actually one way to curb impulse buying.  For example, if you walk into a grocery store without a list and you’re hungry … then everything is going to look good.

Look for the best prices, coupons, and rebates, and take advantage of these.

If you really need items, try purchasing them off season.  For example, buy summer items in the fall when stores are trying to get rid of their summer inventory to prepare for their fall and winter lines of clothing.

When possible, buy in bulk, especially when it comes to items that you might use a lot, like toilet paper, paper towels, etc.

There are TONS of ways to save money.  I highlighted just a few areas, so please feel free to share more tips by commenting on this post.