9 Ways to Save Money in 2009

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:

    1. 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.
    2. Limit your advertisement consumption. Mute commercials, recycle catalogs un-perused, and block pop-ups on your computer.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Use your school’s library for pleasure reading (and watching movies and listening to music).
    6. 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.
    7. 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 The technology will be outdated soon, anyway.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
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