Unless you suffer from triskaidekaphobia, you know that there is nothing inherently lucky or unlucky about the number 13. In the face of our uncertain economy in the new year, however, the irrational phobia may seem like it holds some water. By applying some of these simple, every day tricks for saving money in your personal life you may find you have a little more in the bank at the end of the month. And that is pretty lucky indeed.
1. Saving money by going debit
With a debit card you can only spend what you have, and that keeps you out of debt. If you keep up on your check register, you will always know how much you have, and what your limit is. As for those credit cards — be strong. Cancel them and get out your heavy-duty plastic-cutting scissors.
2. Credit card maintenance
If you do keep one or two credit cards, make sure you pay them off every month. That means keeping an eye on balances and what you can afford to pay off at the end of the month. Also, it never hurts to call the credit card companies and ask them to reduce your borrowing rate. Threaten them to go elsewhere if they don’t, it doesn’t hurt to try. Also, look over those statements and challenge any fees, even if they seem appropriate. Often times you will get a reduction on the bill.
3. Eat at home
Eating out sucks up the money faster than almost anything else. That even includes relatively-cheap fast food. You can do it cheaper and healthier at home. And don’t be afraid of leftovers. Make a vow never to let anything spoil in the refrigerator.
4. Cancel or downsize cable
Do you really need every pay channel? Can you make do with the standard package instead of the premium service? Between unpaid streaming video sites, cheap DVD kiosks and DVDs from the library you can see pretty much any program you have your eye on at a tremendous reduction, although you may have to be patient and wait a bit to see some shows.
5. Avoid ATM fees
Always withdraw cash at your bank’s ATM to avoid fees. If there is no branch in the area, purchase something you need at a supermarket, pay with your debit card and get cash on top of the purchase.
6. Shop used whenever possible
Consider thrift stores first when shopping for things like leisure clothing, sport equipment and utility furniture.
7. Covet rewards programs
Lots of stores offer discount rewards program. Take five minutes to fill out an application for every one you see, even if it is for a store you don’t frequent. You never know when one of its advertised discounts will come in handy.
8. Shopping lists
Write a list every time you go shopping, including just the items you need to get. Then stick to the list. Impulse buying is a killer.
9. Have friends over
Instead of going out, invite your friends over for an evening every one in a while. Let it be known that any food or refreshments they want to contribute to the event is more than welcome.
10. No-spend Saturday
Make one Saturday every month a no-spend day. Stay at home, bond, eat what’s in the kitchen and trim down the week’s leftovers.
11. Buy staples in bulk
Take advantage of sales and stock up on the things that will keep and that you know you will use.
12. Give it a month
Every time you are considering a purchase of something you probably don’t need, like the latest electronic device or trendy video games, make yourself wait 30 days. If the burning desire to own it is still strong and its still in your budget at that time, then take the plunge. Often, however, you will find the urge has passed.
13. Spending as job
Your money is hard-earned. You put your best effort into every dollar you make. Why not give spending the same effort and sweat, since it diminishes what you struggled so hard for in the first place?