Little Steps: 100 Great Tips To Save Part Six
88. Air seal your home. Most homes have some air leaks that make the job of keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter that much harder – and that much more costly for you. Spend an afternoon air sealing your home – the DoE has a great guide on basic airsealing.
89. Make your own beer or wine. If you enjoy an occasional drink, this is a great way to enjoy some of the beverages that you love at a very cheap price. You can easily make five gallons of beer or wine at once and it doesn’t take that long, either, once you have the basic ingredients. Even better, it’s a great activity to do with friends – you buy the equipment, they bring the juice and you both get a few bottles of delicious homemade wine out of the deal. A nice entertainment, plus some free beverages – that’s a great frugal deal.
90. Make sure all your electrical devices are on a surge protector. This is especially true of your entertainment center and your computer equipment. A power surge can damage these electronics very easily, so spend the money for a basic surge protector and keep your equipment plugged into such a device.
91. Get on an automatic debt repayment plan for any student loans you have. Many student loans offer a rate reduction if you sign up for their automatic debt repayment plan. This way, not only do you save a few bucks a month, you don’t have to go to the effort of actually paying the bill. Our automatic plan saved us about $60 a year.
92. Cut down on your vacation spending. Instead of going on a big, extravagant trip, pack up the car and see some of America some years for vacation. One of the best vacations I’ve ever taken was when my son was an infant – we just packed up the car and drove around Minnesota, eventually camping for a few days along the north shore of Lake Superior. For a week long relaxing vacation, it was incredibly cheap and quite memorable, too.
93. Cancel the cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Many people with cable services often are paying for a premium package but rarely watch those extra channels. For the longest time, my wife and I were subscribed to HBO, Starz, and Cinemax, yet we would only tune in once a month at best. We argued that it was worth it because we could watch a movie or a great drama whenever we wanted, but it would have been far cheaper just to rent a movie.Get rid of the excess channels and put that cash back in your pocket.
94. Exercise more. Go for a walk or a jog each evening, and practice stretching and some light muscle exercise at home. These exercises can be done at home for very little, meaning you’ve got an activity without a lot of cost, and the health benefits are enormous. Just set aside some time each day to get some exercise, and your body and wallet will thank you.
95. Utilize online bill pay with your bank. This serves two purposes. First, it keeps you in much closer contact with your money, as you can keep a very close eye on your balance and be in much less danger of overdrafting. Second, it saves you money on stamps and paper checks by allowing you to just fill in an online form, click submit, and have your bill paid. Try it out – and take advantage of it if you’re not already.
96. Buy staples in bulk. We buy items we use a lot of in bulk, particularly items that don’t perish – trash bags, laundry detergent, diapers, and so on are purchased in the largest amounts possible. This cuts down on their cost per usage by quite a bit and, over the long haul, begins to add up to some serious money. Even better, we don’t have to shop for these items very often, saving time and a fraction of the cost of a trip to the grocery store.
97. Connect your entertainment center and/or computer setup to a true smart power strip.A device like the SmartStrip LCG4 basically cuts power to all devices on the strip depending on the status of the first item on the strip. So, if you have your workstation hooked up to this, every time you power down your workstation, your monitor powers down, your printer powers down, your scanner powers down, and so on. You can do the same thing with your entertainment console – when you turn off the television, the cable/satellite box also goes off, as does the video game console, the VCR, the DVD player, and so on. This can save you alot of electricity and significantly trim your power bill.
98. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake. Even if you make ten good choices, it’s easy to beat yourself up and feel like a failure over one bad choice. If you make a big mistake and realize it, think about why you realized it now instead of then, and try to apply that later on. The memory of that mistake can end up being very valuable, indeed.
99. Always keep looking ahead. Don’t let the mistakes of your past drag you down into more mistakes. Look ahead to the future. The choices you make now won’t affect the past – but they definitely will affect the future. Think back, and remember how the bad choices you made earlier are costing you now, and constantly remember to not make those mistakes now so that they don’t cost your future self.
100. Never give up. Whenever the struggle against debt feels like it’s too much, go read a personal finance blog and remember that there are a lot of people out there fighting the same fight. Read around through the archives and learn some new things – and perhaps get inspired to keep going, no matter what.