There has been a lot of talk lately about the government’s stimulus package that is supposed to be the savior our economy. The truth is, no stimulus package is going to change America’s economic situation overnight. If your wallet has seen brighter days, or if you just want to be ready for the worst, now is the time to change old spending habits and prepare for the future. No one wants to quit any habit cold turkey. Replace expensive habits with frugal, but smart alternatives, and you may come to prefer a more prudent style of living. Here are a few easy ideas to stimulate your bank account:
Meal planning is not only easier on your wallet, it’s easier on your waste line. Americans eat out way too much, and when we do go grocery shopping, often times quick meals are chosen over more cost effective and healthy alternatives. Pick a day each week to meal plan for up to a month and create a calendar of your meals. Look at weekly ads and coupons and try and implement some of those items into your plan.
Buy Designer at Discount
A lot of people think buying at discounted prices means not buying name brand and sacrificing quality. Anyone who has ever stepped into a Ross, T.J. Maxx, or Marshalls, knows that designer brands are not just found at the mall. Shop the clearance racks in these stores and you’ll get even better bargains.
Get a Library Card
One of the first thing to go during hard times is entertainment. Books, cds, and movies at the library may not come with frothy beverages or trendy gifts, but at least they’re free. Many libraries will even allow you to put books on hold online so you won’t be left browsing bestsellers from two years ago.
Buy and Sell Used
Buying and selling used items doesn’t necessarily mean taking a trip to your local Salvation Army, although there’s no shame in that. Craigslist, garage sales, local classifieds, and consignment stores are also great alternatives. Go with a purpose and you’ll probably find treasure, otherwise you might wind up with someone else’s trash.
Lose the Land Line
Most people are dependent on cell phones, but are you dependent on your home phone? If not, it’s probably a bill you could do without.
Racking up credit card debt is an obvious no-no. When you’re really trying to count your pennies though, leave your debit card at home and use cash. Passing cold, hard cash across a counter is a lot harder on the conscience then swiping a card. Furthermore, using cash makes it more difficult to spend money you don’t have and forces you to reexamine your purchases.