by Jeanne Sager
Why does it feel like everyone is broke this time of year? Is it because we just got done paying off the holiday bills? Or are we all really broke? Whatever the reason, now is as good a time as any to start saving money.
Oh, but you've tried that and it never works? Folks, I promise you that it's possible. If you really want to save money, you just have to be a little creative. Just check out these creative ideas that are guaranteed to keep the cash in your wallet:
1. Only run full loads. How many times do you run the dishwasher when there's still room for dishes or run the clothes washer for just a few towels? STOP doing that! Running full loads means running fewer loads overall -- saving you on your electric and water bills.
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2. Use less. Whether it's the cleaning products you spray liberally on your kitchen counters or the coffee you load in the filter, try to use just a little bit less. You'll be surprised how it adds up ... and how much longer you'll be able to go before buying replacements.
3. Ask about sales. It's all well and good to read the sale circulars, but they only tell you what the sale is right now. If you're looking to make a big purchase, it's worth it to ask the salesman if they know of upcoming sales. One mom saved $300 on her laptop by going back the next day!
4. Pack lunch on weekends. We all know about packing lunch to take to work. But what about the weekends when you're running errands? You work up an appetite doing all that running, and it can be so tempting to just pop into the local pizza place for a slice ...
5. Save old clothes. Turn them into rags or napkins, and you will save a ton on paper towels and, well, napkins.
6. Become a swapper. Whether you throw a fashion swap for your girlfriends so you can all exchange the clothes you've gotten tired of or you trade babysitting services with another family in the neighborhood, it's the best way to get the things you need without spending a dime.
7. Use cold water. Unless you're taking a shower, do you really need hot water? Certainly not for things like washing clothes!
8. Use your fridge and freezer. "Shelf-safe" foods such as bread, batteries, even wax candles will last longer if you keep them in the cold.
9. Cancel email subscriptions to daily deal sites. Yes, you signed up for them with the intention of saving money, but how often do you end up buying things you don't need because "it's such a great deal I couldn't pass it up"? Get rid of the temptation!
10. Unplug everything. Ever heard of vampire power? It has nothing to do with Robert Pattinson and everything to do with the energy your appliances are drawing even though you've flipped the power switch.
What are your kooky ways for saving money that really work?