The way my writing has been over the last few months it might appear that I am an economics major. I have been telling you about things like the Cash for Clunkers deal that our government established, ways to pinch pennies during these tough times, and in just about every post I make mention to the state of our economy. But I am back today to provide you with one more list of ways to pinch pennies, but this time I am writing to the lazy folks out there. I know you might not think you are lazy, but truth be told I can almost bet you have a few lazy bones in your body. So sit back and take a look at what I like to call the, “Top 5 Lazy Ways to Save.” (I know, I never said the title of the list would be clever. Just pay attention.)
1. Schedule Automatic Monthly Payments
This one is obvious for those of you who are even a fraction tech savvy. If you have ever paid a bill late before, whether it be a credit card bill, a cell phone bill, or anything of the like then you know how fast the late fees can add up. Plus, some of these companies will get a collection agency after you after only one missed payment which in turn can ruin your credit in a heart beat. So by scheduling payments to come directly from a checking account, especially the ones that occur every month like your electric bill of your car payment, you can avoid paying late feed and the potential of suffering from the threat of tarnishing your credit score. Also, if you do not know how to set up payments like this you can go to your bank as most major banks such as Chase and Key Banks can set these up for you.
2. Eat the Groceries you Buy
This might seem like an obvious one, but Americans alone waste over 15% of the groceries that they buy each and ever week. You take into consideration that an average weekly food budget at or over $100 you are throwing a lot of money down the drain. Or the garbage disposal. I belong to an elite society known as the “Clean Plate Club” and will never leave a dish with food on it. So if I take the time to make it then you can rest assure that I will be finishing the meal. Experts suggest that the easiest way to avoid an abundance of food is by adding to your collection of books. Invest in a cook book, make a plan for the week on what meals you will be consuming, and purchase only the items that fit the chosen recipes call for. Who knew that a little education and advice on how to prepare a meal would save you money in the long run?
3. Use Your Calendar
Have you ever checked out book from your local library? Have you ever visited Blockbuster, or Family Video, and checked out a game or a DVD? Well, if you have, then you know that these titles have due dates. With these due dates come late fees if you miss the deadline. So if you rent a DVD, and forget that it was due on Tuesday, and you take it back to the video store on Wednesday, prepare to spend a few extra dollars to cover those late fees and restocking fees. (I always thought that was stupid having a restocking fee. I mean, if you bring it back on time they still have to put it back on the shelf. What does it matter if you bring it back a day late? Just a way for them to make their money I suppose.) So when you do head to the video store or the library and check out a book, write down the due date on your calendar so you do not miss the deadline. This will help you avoid these pesky late fees and save you some coin in the long run.
4. Just Say No
Anytime you purchase a car, a DVD player, or a television you are asked by any number of sales people if you are interested in the extended warranty. Just for instance, on the latest TV that I purchased the extended warranty was over $400. Had I have bought that it would have sit there on my desk and never be touched as I have used my TV for over three years and never had an issue that would require that extended warranty. The reason that you have so many of those sales guys asking you about the warranties as they are pure profit. Of course, there are times that an extended warranty would come in handy (for instance when you purchase a new car) but more often than not you will never use that warranty. It goes to Best Buy’s pocket as pure profit and you are stuck wondering how to take advantage of this piece of paper.
5. Quit Bad Habits
How much are a pack of cigarettes these days? Or that bottle of Patron you were pouring last night? Well, either way you look at it, these are a wasted items that you could save hundreds, if not more, of dollars a year. Let’s assume that a pack of smokes run you $4. You smoke a pack a week. (I am not sure how many packs a person smokes a week but let’s assume that it is one.) That is $16 a month. That is $192 a year. There is no doubt in my mind that I can find something better to do than committing suicide with $200 a year. Plus, outside of the fact that you are killing yourself you are killing those around you as well. Just thought I would throw that out there. Or, the alcohol that you are drinking. If you look at that bottle of Patron, and granted the stuff is good, you are dropping $50 a bottle. You could go to Marsh and buy the well variety for a fraction of the cost and get the same experience. Sure, the hangover might be a little more intense, but you are trying to save money here. Or you could look at the other option and not drink at all. That’s just a thought. (Also, when looking at the alcohol consumption, try drinking at home rather than in a bar. I am not sure the last time I went out and paid less than $5 for a mixed drink. If you have two or three of those and leave a tip you could have bought a bottle at the store.)
So if you take a listen to what I have said here, and follow some or all of these, then you will be sure to save some money come next month’s credit card bill. I can assure you that if you put a little bit of effort into your finances you will be able to make it through the last half of this recession that we have found ourselves in. Look at it this way, my blog is free. And sooner or later I will save you money on something I say. By the way, donations are accepted for the knowledge that I instill in you each and every day.