1. Carry Cash, and leave the credit cards home: If you can guesstimate what an expenditure will cost, such as that a meal out for three should cost $40.00, then carry a bit more than that for a cushion, say $50. But leave the credit card(s) at home – so you can’t spend say $60. Not easy to do? At least the meal out will come and go, and perhaps you could not order the $8 appetizer of chicken wings. But when your credit card bill comes, that restaurant charge will not be on it. That’s the reward!
2. Start a mini-fund, with a goal. It’s February, and you plan to take a vacation in June. With approximately 120 days to go, start filling up an envelope. How much? Whatever amount is comfortable and reasonable to save. This isn’t to fund the entire vacation, but could be for gifts or a special day trip. If you put $1 per day away, you will have $120 put aside for something special on the vacation. Keeping this cash separate will help you think of it as dedicated to a particular expense or activity. Keep the envelope in a drawer or tucked away on a shelf. Make a ritual of adding a dollar or so to the fund at the same time each day. Make it a daily routine. And enjoy your vacation!
3. Fix what you can. Many items are discarded when they can instead be fixed or mended with a minimal effort or cost. For example, you can save considerable dollars using a tailor to alter you clothes when they no longer fit, or fix an appliance when it goes haywire, or repair furniture before replacing it. So many things are discarded that can easily be repaired and put back to productive use.
4. Use the library. You can save a bundle of money by taking books out of the local library. Consider a new hardcover, even with a retailer’s discount might run around $15. You can save all that cash by taking the book out for free. Do you read a few books during the year, you could save over $100. Don’t forget many libraries carry CDs and DVDs too!
5. Go to garage sales. This is a hit and miss activity. Sometimes you don’t find much of value or anything that would be good for you or your family to have. Other times it’s like a treasure trove! One time we found a selection of brand new games, never opened, that this particular couple was selling for just $1 each. They were in perfect condition! We bought all 8 of them, and then used them as gifts when our son would be invited to birthday parties.