If you really need to cut costs, try the following methods in order to reduce all the unnecessary expenses and maximize how far your dollar goes:
Get a Pay-as-You-Go Cell Phone
Furthermore, use the cell phone as if it’s a pager. If you’re located at a library for example, they usually have a phone you can use. If you’re out in the street, perhaps ask a friend or try a nice looking grandpa. Since minutes are around 10 cents each, and usually each text message is the same, then just use text messages when needed.
Use Public Internet
Why pay for the web when you can use it for free in public libraries, or hijack free wireless signals from your neighbors who didn’t make their wireless network private. Just don’t download big movies or else they’ll get a clue, but if you’re emailing and reading stuff – no problem.
Never Buy from Snack Machines
Snack machines are always a rip-off. Not only that, more than once they have stolen my money and they never once apologized. Resort to them only if really needed.
If Driving- Try to Carpool, or Use Public Transportation
Cars can be a headache anyway, so if you can get where you need to go with a public metro system or a bus, go for it. Cars are susceptible to flat tires, loose bolts, reckless drivers, and police looking to give tickets. For car pooling there are sites like eRideShare.
Buy in Bulk
Do you think that plain wheat cereal or foil or toilet paper is going to change that much in about a year? Probably not. Whenever possible, go to stores where you can buy in bulk.
Drink Tap Water
Most states have pretty good and safe tap water. Find out online about tap water regulations and research whether the water in your area is safe.
Before you throw anything away, think about whether you can reuse it in a different way. One example of an easy way to recycle is to keep boxes and envelopes you get in the mail(if you look online you can get freebies and then reuse those mailers too). Be like the Native Americans were when the first Europeans came to the New World – those natives used every single part of the buffalo they killed for a useful purpose.
Another way to indirectly recycle is to post requests for reasonable items on Craig’s Lists. For example, you can ask for a used table and you don’t mind that it is used. But by all means don’t be picky when asking for donations or items for a low price. This method works good for stuff like packing materials, simple appliances, and office supplies.
Don’t Eat at Restaurants
Restaurants charge you extra money for the service. Lots of times you pay more than you expect. In my opinion, there are only a few restaurants where you can truly get your money’s worth. You can make a bagged lunch the night before and you will see that if you are efficient you can eat healthy and save also.
TV uses up lots of electricity, plus it encourages you to spend more money on imagined health illnesses(like Restless Leg Syndrome) and pushes you to buy fast food. How about going outside at night and looking at the stars instead of those late-night shows. OK, if it’s cloudy or you’re in L.A. play a board game then. Or read a nice book.
Use Energy Efficient Appliances and Bulbs
Also, use the streetlight or outdoor lighting when possible. Turn the AC off when outside your house for a while, or if you can stand it just avoid the whole AC deal or minimize its use.
Online or in print, you can find lots of coupons. Find coupons online and print them out or get them mailed to you. Find coupons in newspapers or at stores. Pay attention to the limits on the them.
Get a Credit Card that Offers Cash Back
I know that credit cards can sometimes lead to overspending, but you’ve read this far and you are probably not that type. Getting even 1% back helps and you can use it on purchases you need anyway, like gas or food. This leads to another tip…
Pay Your Bills Online
Why spend money on envelopes and stamps if you can use technology to save it and your time? Just be careful and make sure to always double-check that you are using a trusted website (for example, bookmark your banks website and use that; plus never respond to unsolicited emails requesting you to enter your account information or passwords).
Grocery Shop Early
It turns out mother was right, the early bird does usually get the worm. Sometimes the early bird gets a big fat caterpillar or even a frog… anyways, it’s true. When you go to grocery stores really early, they often have discounts on items they are trying to move off the shelves. They might have bananas marked with a “clearance” sticker for example, and the fruit is actually fine.
Pick Generic Brands and Shop at Discount Stores
Except in a few cases(for example, the other day I bought a pricy chap stick that has all-natural ingredients and is more effective), the generic companies usually are a much better value. The unknown brands don’t have to spend all that money on kids commercials and magazine ads. In most cases you can buy generic brands and get the same benefit. You can also save at stores like Big Lots where you can buy brand name cereals at lower prices, for example.
When it comes to buying appliances or items you will use a lot, however, do not simply pick the cheapest appliance. What’s the point of spending $10 on a lousy toaster that will break and then spend $20 on a decent one later. I have a friend who lives on a tight budget and he puts it best when he says “I’m too poor to buy cheap stuff.” Use well-trusted sites like Epinions or Amazon to read reviews of appliances before deciding to purchase.
Before Hiring Someone, Research or Ask Around
Don’t be so quick to hire someone whenever something breaks. Look online for how-to guides or see if you can get a friend to help you out for free. Of course, be careful and truthful with yourself about your capabilities and the risks involved. If you are good at a certain skill or trade, you can sometimes barter services on CraigsList. You know – “I’ll provide topiary for your bush if you repair my car.”
Be Alert When Shopping and Don’t Get Cheated
Count how many items you have so that when you get your receipt you can quickly check that they match. Mentally calculate an estimate of your costs, so that you don’t have to waste time trying to get things fixed, or worse yet, get ripped off. It has happened to me numerous times that I was cheated because I was not alert and the cashier either made a mistake or ripped me off.
Stay Outside as Much as Possible
If you are at the library or park, you’re not using up your apartment or home’s electricity, water, etc(are you?). You can usually manage OK and then go home when sleepy and crash.
If You Drive, Eco Drive
Find out how to drive efficiently so you spend less on that fuel from the decomposed dinosaurs. The essence of ecodriving is driving smoothly and carefully.
Don’t Buy Books, Unless You Absolutely Have To
Whoever buys books for leisure obviously has dispensable income. There are these lovely places in most countries called libraries where you can read much for free. And there’s this amazing invention called the Internet where you can now read lots of books and other information on sites such as this one. At my library, and probably at yours, you can even request books that are located anywhere in a U.S. library. If you really needed a book, get it on a site where you can get used books, like Half.com.
Hopefully, you have found at least one tip that you can use soon. You are doing others a favor by reducing your carbon footprint and by setting an example.