I recently read some magazine articles about saving money that struck me as stupid. One advised subscribing to several newsletters that keep readers updated on all the latest clothing sales.
But I bet you can guess what’s cheaper than getting clothes on sale. That’s right! Not buying clothes at all.
Here are some of my strategies for saving money:
- Avoid the mall. If you need to buy a specific item, get it on-line or go to a specialty store. If you must go to a superstore like Target, carry a list and don’t let yourself wander around. The more you see, the more you want.
- Limit your advertisement consumption. Mute commercials, recycle catalogs un-perused, and block pop-ups on your computer.
- Carry snacks and drinks with you. A reusable water bottle and tupperware that doesn’t leak are good investments. Snacks are overpriced in vending machines and convenience stores. I find that having a small bag with peanuts and dark chocolate chips in my backpack keeps me from many desperate candy bar purchases.
- Rather than get a gym membership, exercise outdoors by walking, running, swimming, or biking. Avoid fancy sports equipment unless it protects against injury (you don’t really need brand-name biking shorts–you can actually bike in almost any outfit). Build strength by doing good old fashioned sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups at home. You can also find free exercise videos on-line–everything from aerobics to yoga.
- Use your school’s library for pleasure reading (and watching movies and listening to music).
- Use your school’s library for work-related reading. I have a file cabinet with folders arranged alphabetically by author. I keep my notes and photocopies relating to that author there. I am a big believer in writing down a lot of long quotes when taking notes. That way, I may never need the actual book again.
- I don’t have a TV. Instead of paying cable bills, I watch TV and movies on-line at places like hulu.com and Netflix. If you watch TV and movies on DVDs regularly, Netflix is much cheaper than going to a video store. Needless to say, don’t buy DVDs. The technology will be outdated soon, anyway.
- Live close to campus (or your spouse’s workplace, or you kid’s school) so that you can walk, bike, or bus instead of drive.
- Don’t buy something cheap that will just break before you got your money’s worth. Example: my husband and I didn’t have living room furniture to speak of for two years. Yes, it sucked, but we saved the money we could have used on Ikea sh** to put towards furniture that was built to last.