Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Painless Ways to Cut Your Spending

Erin Huffstetler, author of About.com's Frugal Living, has a good article entitled Top 5 Painless Ways to Cut Your Spending. Those ways include:

1. Switch to Store Brands
2. Shop with a List
3. Carry Snacks
4. Use it Up
5. Shop to Save

Sometimes I read articles like this and think some of the ideas aren't for me. However, I believe in all of them on this list and actually find them helpful. Here are just a few ways I've been using some of these tips:

Shopping with a list takes a little time up front, at home. However, by doing the prep work ahead of time, you know all of the sale items, what you have coupons for, and what you need. A shopping list also makes the trip to the store faster because you know exactly what you are looking for and can go straight to those products. It saves you time, and if you are impulse shopper, money because you aren't strolling down every aisle and being tempted by things you don't really need or that aren't good deals.

I learned about carrying a snack when I was studying in England in college. Without a car, I did a lot of walking, which meant I was often hungry and normally I wasn't anywhere near home when my stomach started growling. I realized quickly that buying snacks at convenient stores every I time I needed one was expensive. Not eating just wasn't an option, but even 12 years ago, I wanted to "save 4 fun" and save my money to use for touring, not snacking, while I was in Europe. Early on that semester, I decided I'd always carry a bottle of water and some digestives (British cookies) in my bag. I've started doing that again now that I'm taking public transportation to work. (Just don't eat on the Metro -- it's illegal.)

With my upcoming marriage and move, I know I need to clean out a bunch of my stuff. Several weeks ago, I realized that I have some lotion that I've opened and like okay but just didn't use on a regular basis. It's time to use it up so that I can try to downsize some of stuff before having to pack it. It's also saving me a little money by not having to go out buy some things like lotion right now.

So, if you aren't already using these tips, see if you can get them to work for you and find a little more cash to save in 2008. They've worked for me, and hopefully they will for you too.

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Bryan said...

Here's a link to a Washington Post article where blind taste testing show store brands are actually preferred in almost all categories (one notable exception: Coke and Pepsi were preferred over store brand colas). I agree with that one. I will spend the extra $ for Dr. Pepper over Dr. Perky (Food Lion) or Dr. Thunder (Wal-Mart). Link for the article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/20/AR2005062001146.html

Betsy said...

Thanks! I'll have to check out this article. But I do agree with you while MOST store brands are decent, there are certain places where you have to draw the line and cough up some extra bucks for the real deal.