So I completely stole this post from The Nest , but I think with our current economic state, we need to start thinking about small ways we can cut back and start living on less. I for one am trying to get out of debt, and I'm trying to save more, too. They published "10 Ways to Save Money Now" and I highly recommend this for those deliberate spenders out there just like me...
1. Trade Starbucks for, well, more bucks. If you’ve already spent $6 on a beverage alone and it’s not even lunchtime, you’ve got a bad breakfast habit. If expensive coffee drinks are draining your funds yet you can’t give up the caffeine, brew your own or give the old deli coffee a try. At less than $1, you’ll be able to save up to $25 a week and a whopping $1,300 a year!
(I guess those grande non-fat peppermint white chocolate mochas really DO add up)
2. Don’t get taken to the cleaners. If you’ve ever been to the dry cleaners, you’ve no doubt scratched your head at the diabolic pricing structures. How can it really cost that much? Spare yourself the bitterness and reevaluate your dry-cleaning needs. Try to cut your bill in half by laundering some items at home. (My roomie bought one of those Dryel systems and she said it works great- or you can wash all dress clothes on gentle and air-dry)
3. Brown-bag it. If you eat lunch out five times a week and spend about $5 a clip, you’re looking at about $1,300 a year in sandwiches, soups, and other fast foods. But bringing your lunch doesn’t have to suck. If you stock up on readymade items you can save up to $2 to $3 a day. The only thing you need to do is remember to bring it with you!
4. Dine in rather than out. Craving that Indian spot you love to hit on Friday nights? Try making that at home. By digging up your favorite recipes online and then heading to the store for the ingredients, you’ll save money and have leftovers for the next day. (try having a fun night in at home- we do it all the time- cook a nice dinner and relax by watching a movie and drinking a bottle or two of wine!)
5. Ditch the brand names. We’re not just talking about Coach and Polo; we’re talking about Tylenol, Hellmann’s, and Charmin too. Whenever possible, choose the generic store brand over your favorite label. Most of the time, the formulation is exactly the same; you’re just paying for the packaging. A dollar or two here and there adds up! (I buy generic when it comes to medicine, trash bags, and cleaning prodcuts, but if you're like me, there are some things you can't do generic.. also clip those coupons- it REALLY adds up!)
6. Give the horse a rest. If you’ve been called a “shoe horse” or a “clothes horse,” this message is for you. If you’re known for buying clothes, makeup, pillows, or home decor in excess, it’s time to cut back. Reigning in mindless spending -- and wearing what you already have -- can save you hundreds, if not thousands, a year. (this has me written all over it)
7. Jump on the wagon. Alcohol can be a diet-wrecker and a budget-buster. When you’re drunk, you think nothing of buying a round of Grey Goose shots for your nearest and dearest friends (and the awesome dudes you met 10 minutes ago). Later, you go home and wash the booze down with eight slices of pizza and a side of wings. When you control your drinking, you’ll have more money in your pocket and less flab around your waist. (ding, ding, ding- I need to tape this on my forehead when I go out on the weekends)
8. Carpool. A year or two ago, we would’ve laughed this idea off. We’re all down with saving money, but carpooling? Doesn’t sound very easy! Fast-forward to 2008 with gas prices climbing higher and higher; suddenly, saving money is no laughing matter. By splitting the drive and cost of gas with just one other person, you can reduce commuting costs by half -- add another person and save more!
9. Watch at home. With the average price of a movie ticket at almost $7 per person, a night out at the movies is no longer a cheap date. Why invest your hard-earned money in what could be a Hollywood flop? Instead, consider a service like Netflix for less than $10 a month. If you hate the movie, you’ve only spent a dollar or two and you can ship it right back to where it came from. (or if you have a Red Box in your area, it's only $1 to rent a new release for 24 hours- WE LOVE IT!)
10. Indulge yourself at home. If manis and pedis have become weekly must-haves, it’s time to cut back. Extend the life of your mani/pedis by repolishing rather than running back to the spa for every chip or smudge. By investing in the tools of the beauty trade (remover, polish, and a manicure set), you can save a good chunk of change a month. Now that’s beautiful.