5 small changes for big savings

As more and more individuals struggle to make ends meet they realize it’s the small changes that make a big difference.  Finding ways to cut $2.00 a day, will amount to $10.00 a week… which in the end will give a a $520.00 saving overall!  Here are 5 easy ways you can save money by making small changes.

#1) Don’t buy coffee out.  OK I said it, I was going to save this one and sort of sneak it in, but really… If you can make yourself a pot of coffee and take it to go instead of spending $2.50 every morning… that alone will save you $650.00 a year (and that’s just a 5 day work week… and that’s just one cuppa joe a day… how many people buy more than one?)  Try it. YOU CAN DO IT! You need to get a good travel mug… one that doesn’t change the taste of the coffee and one that is easy to carry.
              -side note:  if you simply can not do without your morning store bought cuppa joe, then you should find out if you get a discount for bringing your own mug.  The last time I checked Quick Check reduced the charge for coffe by something like 60 cents!  that’s still a $156.00 savings over the course of a year!

#2) Pack your lunch.  REALLY!   Even if you purchase a microwaveable lunch for $3.50, make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, BLT or salad, you could save between $30.00 – $75.00 a week depending on where you normally get your lunch.  AND the added bonus is… your homemade lunch is going to be MUCH more nutritious and better for you then the Chinese lunch special of Chicken LoMein.

           -According to the website “Live Strong” -“An eight-ounce serving of chicken lo mein — a one-cup portion — contains 245 to 306 calories, according to MyFitnessPal. If you follow a 2,000-calorie diet, this accounts for 12.2 to 15.2 percent of the calories you may consume daily. The amount of calories in a serving of chicken lo mein may vary, however, as the ratio of chicken to vegetables or chicken to noodles may differ, and the vegetables you choose may add more or fewer calories. An ideal number of calories for a meal ranges from 300 to 600, so be sure to lay out your meal plan accordingly”  (Read More: http://www.livestrong.com/article/333663-nutrition-information-for-chicken-lo-mein/)

#3)  Carry large demonination cash.  Really.  Funny right, but according to a study published Journal of Consumer Research, shoppers are less likely to spend their dough if they are carrying cash in large denominations. (read more: http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1887485,00.html)
This money saver is a littler hard to measure.  Only you know how easily you are swayed by the last minute big sale item that you simply must have to have.   Personally, I find if I go grocery shopping with $100.00 and NO DEBIT CARD, then I can only spend $100.00, I’m going to be more careful with my purchases.  

#4) Website Coupons.  Yes, this takes a little planning… but I must tell you there are stores that ALWAYS have coupons on their website OR they email coupons if you sign-up for their newsletter.  I am addicted to crafts and LOVE Micheals and AC Moore.  Micheals ALWAYS emails coupons and most times if you visit their website there will be coupons right on the landing page.  Some Grocery stores are similar.  Yes, you have the “discount card” but look for MFG coupons, they are usually discounts IN ADDITION to the discount card.  Again this is a hard one to measure, but any savings is a good savings.

#5) Have A Party.  Instead of meeting everyone out at the club or bar, invite friends over to your house for food, fun and music.  OK… maybe not every week… but think about the expense of going out.  Cover charges, drinks, food…  versus…  buying something to stick in the oven and asking everyone to bring what they want to drink.  This will save EVERYONE money.  That could save you up to $100.00 a week!  That’s $5200.00 a year!  That’s right, if you spent $100.00 a week going out… that’s $5200.00 a year!

Well, that’s my list for today.  You will have noticed that I didn’t discuss quiting smoking which is my top rated money saver.  Saves you money, saves your life.  I didn’t list it, because anyone that smokes KNOWS quiting will save them a ton of cash… and they are either preparing to quit… or resigned to never quiting.

Small little changes… will really make a difference.  If you can save $50.00 a week… that will add up to $2600 over the course of the year.  Change a few things… and you can do it!

3 Ways to Save Money in 2011

The new year is upon us, and while there are many things on your check list to accomplish this year, I have found 5 ways to save money… without really trying.  Make 2011 the year you save!

1. Pump Bottles for soaps/shampoos/conditioners.

I know, sounds strange right… but check it out.  I purchased a $5.00 Martha Stewart Dish Soap with a pump, 6 mos. ago, and noticed that while the soap was more expensive, it lasted longer… even if I gave it a couple of pumps.  WHY?  Because the output is regulated.  How many times have you just squeezed the dish soap into the running water, or onto a sponge.  So, my dish soap now latest 6 times longer.  I am only replacing it MONTHS later!  I applied this theory to the body wash in my shower… where my kids and I go through a body wash a week!  And low and behold the same amount of body wash …STARTED LASTING A WHOLE MONTH!
Body wash @ 3.99 (a medium price) times 52 weeks = 207.48 A YEAR!  or….. with the new pump only 47.88.  I KNOW, I KNOW… THAT’S CRAZY RIGHT!

2. Color Printers and the cost of cartridges: 

First of all… it seems like the new color printers are really just a vehicle for the manufacturers to make money on cartridges.  I purchased a great multi-function machine at Costco for under $50.00, but it costs me $75.00 every time I replace both cartridges.  HOWEVER, if I turn off the default color printing… I have found that my cartridges last longer. Here’s why. Unless you tell your print to print black with black ink only… it is going to use the color cartridge every time you print whether you see color or not. AND, if you have a Tri-Color Cartridge as soon as one of the colors is gone… the whole cartridge asks to be replaced.  So, if you use a lot of yellow, but have plenty of red or blue… doesn’t matter.  SO… You want to setup your printer to PRINT BLACK, BLACK INK ONLY. 

3. Kitchen Garbage Bags

 Kitchen Garbage bags are the bain of my existence.  Half the time they don’t wrap around the top of the tall kitchen garbage I have and the other half of the time they break when I try to pull it out and tie it.  One day I ran out of the garbage bags and needed a substitute… I tried the paper grocery bag that was inside the plastic bag with handles (do you know what I mean?  ShopRite from home, puts all the paper bags inside the plastic bags with handles)  The paperbag makes the bag rigid and the handles make it easy to pull out of the container and then I can tie!  I have been using it now for 6 months and haven’t had to purchase garbage bags!  (ok, occassionally I get the contractor bags for the big cleanups… but the savings is still there!)

When all is said and done, I saved atleast $500.00 last year with these three little changes. OK, so $500.00 isn’t enough for you to consider making these three small changes… but what if, (I mean, close your eyes and dream) What if we could come up with a list of 10 things and if we average say $500.00 for every 3-5 items…. that’s a $1000.00! 

What if…..  I mean… I’m dreaming here, what if…..  we came up with a list of 50 ways to save money?  Can you image the savings! 

Let me know if you have a way to save money!