One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to save even more money. How I was going to do it sparked a never ending debate among those close to me. There were millions of suggestions on how to do it, but also a lot of negativity because they thought I would turn into a hermit and live like a miser. Some actually felt sorry for me, because I wasn’t going to be able to “live the good life”, whatever that means.
The thing is, living the good life is open to interpretation. It may be popping champagne bottles and having a table full of models for some, while for others, it can be a quiet picnic with the family or even a solitary trip to the beach with nothing but a towel, a drink and a good book. Whatever floats your boat, mate.
Anyway, I figured that if I could do just a few things to save more money, everything will add up eventually (it always does). The trick here is that you should be saving money without you knowing it. I know, it’s a little tricky, but with some practice and a little creativity you’ll be laughing all the way to your piggy bank.
- Resurrect your Piggy Bank
Dig up your old piggy bank or make a new one from a used plastic bottle. Place it next to the place where you dump your wallet, keys and loose change. Every time you come home, check your pocket for loose change and drop it in the piggy bank. Scour your house and car for loose change and drop it in as well. Check under the sofa, in drawers, in your other pants. Every cent should go in. Don’t open it and use the contents until it’s full. You’ll be surprised at how quickly loose change adds up.
You can save a lot of money by adopting a do-it-yourself attitude. For small appliance repair, do some basic troubleshooting before calling in the repairman. Everything’s online anyway, just Google the make and model of your appliance and see if you’re up to the task. I repair my own computers and mobile phones at home using the internet and stuff I can get cheap online, which saves me a ton of money. If I can handle basic repairs, so can you.
- Shop Online
You can save a ton of money shopping online. Some of the merchants aren’t required to pay and slap on taxes, especially if they’re in a tax exempt locale. Some merchants have direct deals with suppliers and have no overhead, so they can pass on items cheap. I do 90% of my Christmas shopping online, with eBay as my primary shopping spot. Save money on gasoline, time and the hassle of long checkout lines. Just be sure to set aside the exact amount of your purchase and keep it in an envelope for the next billing cycle.
- The 10% Rule
Set aside 10% of your monthly income. Talk to your employer if they can arrange this for you, or if you’re self-employed, talk to your banker if they can arrange a separate savings account for you that automatically sets aside 10% from of your income and deposits it into your savings account. Set, forget and watch it grow.
- Go Green
Switch to compact LED lighting. Unplug appliances that are not in use. Invest in eco-friendly appliances that don’t require much power to operate. Replace old and obsolete electronics. Re-purpose your old stuff. Collect rainwater and use it in the garden. If you have the resources, invest in renewable energy to power your lights at night. There’s a whole lot more we can do for the planet and for ourselves. It’s never too late to green.
- Sell your stuff
If you use eBay for shopping, use it to sell your stuff. I’ve personally sold a lot of my old stuff on eBay. From old iPods, cell phones, shoes, PS3 Games and even used clothes. Just make sure that what you’re selling still has value and still works. You can sell a broken item for parts, for sure. You just have to let the buyers know this. Follow eBay’s rules on selling because they can be pretty strict. If selling online doesn’t appeal to you, you can always have a yard sale.
I hope these tips allow you to save more this year, so you can reward yourself with a good investment or a much needed vacation. There are countless other ways to save. All you need to do is be a little creative with your savings and your spending habits. Good luck!