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Contact Mike Ismair with any comments or suggestions. SAVINGS TIPS
121. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Every paycheck, you plan to save, but it seems like there's nothing left over after bills and creditors get their share. It's getting tougher to pay the bills on time, let alone save any money! Now that you know how much money you make and spend, it's time to cast a critical eye on expenses. Let's find out where you can trim the fat from your budget. Keep charity receipts: Any kind of donations that you make throughout the year can be used as a tax write off. Keep less money available: Leave your credit cards at home and take only the cash you'll need. If you run short, put something back. (Posted: 1/5/11)
120. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Staying out of debt is a big part of building a savings. Here are a few more of the little things you can do. Consider these extra tricks when trying to save a few bucks. Take your lunch to work: Instead of paying five or six dollars for a "value" meal at lunch every day, bring a sandwich, apple and drink from home. Go to beauty school: Time for a manicure, pedicure or haircut? Go to a training salon and get professional work done at a fraction of the cost. Quit smoking: It's much easier said than done, but smokers, you're burning up a gold mine. Smoking a pack a day costs about $1,460 a year. (Posted: 12/29/10)
119. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Utilize rewards: Rewards programs are everywhere these days. If you have the discipline to pay off your balance each month, use your card to pay all of your bills and rack up lots of points. Just be sure to use the card responsibly. The rewards won't even cover the interest that you'll pay if you carry a balance. Say no to the free shirt: Just about everywhere you go, there's somebody trying to get you to sign up for their credit card. A free shirt, free hat, or a ten percent discount may be appealing, but these little freebies can hurt you in the long run. Even if you never use the card, the application alone can bring down your credit rating. Pay on time: Late payments are messy. They incur fees and allow the credit card company to raise your interest rates. Make a note on your calendar and pay ahead of time. (Posted: 12/22/10)
118. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Pay off the credit card balance: As soon as you get your statement, pay off the balance. Minimum payments don't cover much more than the interest charge. Look for hidden fees: Look closely at your statement and take note of what kind of fees you are paying out. Programs like credit life insurance, credit disability insurance, involuntary unemployment credit insurance and credit property insurance are generally unnecessary. Make sure you don't have to pay for them. Get a low interest rate: Zero percent interest doesn't last forever. Many credit cards offer this as an introductory rate, but before you jump at this opportunity, find out how long it lasts and what your rate will be when it expires. Watch your statement: On top of hidden fees, you may also find double or fraudulent charges that you will need to dispute. (Posted: 12/15/10)
117. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Saving money on entertainment is great, but be careful how you take care of the bill. Plastic can be hazardous to your bank account's health. Credit cards are not free money. They can become a black hole for your finances in the blink of an eye. Use them responsibly. Remember: at some point, you'll have to pay them back. You only need one: You can get into enough trouble with one credit card; don't compound the risk by getting more. Cut up the rest: Once you've chosen your card to keep, destroy the others. Be sure to also cancel the associated account. In case of emergency: Consider your credit card a safety net. Don't use it for anything that you don't absolutely need. (Posted: 12/8/10)
116. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Watch for free events: Check the newspaper and Internet for open houses, festivals, library events and other community gatherings in your area.
Members only: Museums and zoos often have deals and special events for members. Sign up to support the arts, furry friends and your savings. Explore the great outdoors: Pack a picnic and go for a hike at a park or recreational area nearby. You can even pack a tent and sleeping bag to stay for the weekend. Go for a swim: Enjoy some good clean fun in the sun: head to the lake or beach. Listen for free tickets: Newspapers and radio stations often hold contests to give away free movie and concert tickets. (Posted: 12/1/10)
115. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Don't buy popcorn: Tickets are expensive enough. Don't pay for an overpriced popcorn and Coke, too. Eat something before you go and drink water if you get thirsty. Rent a movie: Bypass the high ticket prices and expensive snacks altogether. Head over to the video store and rent a movie. Support your Alma mater: High school and college sporting events can provide cheap entertainment. Watch tomorrow's stars today: Many large cities host minor league games that cost a fraction of the big league price. Check out the local art scene: Poetry readings, art openings, high school plays, and community theater programs can be fun and inexpensive. (Posted: 11/24/10)
114. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Cut down on subscriptions: Pick one or two magazines that you enjoy the most and cancel the rest. Share with friends: Go through old books or movies that you have lying around and propose a trade with one of your friends for something that you haven't read or seen yet. Have a game night: Instead of going out, invite friends and family over for board games. Host a potluck: Invite people over for dinner and have each person bring a separate dish. It's fun and much cheaper than going out. Catch a matinee: Movies at 2PM are the same as 7PM. Beat the crowd and save money by catching the early show. Go to a discount theater: Lots of cities have theaters that show movies after their initial release. Check out movies on the big screen at big savings. (Posted: 11/17/10)
113. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Avoid fashion trends: Don't spend a ton of money on an item that you won't want to wear next month. Stick with classic styles that you'll wear often. Once you've got your necessities down, you can focus on how to save money on the fun stuff. Everybody Have Fun Tonight: Entertaining yourself doesn't have to mean spending a lot of money. It doesn't even have to include going out. Get cheap novels: Instead of filling your bookshelves with brand new books, consider buying used. There are chain stores that offer used books at half and even a quarter of the cover price. Libraries often have great sales as well. Better yet, borrow books, movies and CDs for free at the library. Once there, you can also surf the internet as well as read magazines and newspapers. (Posted: 11/10/10)
112. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Look for sales: You can often find everything you need on the sale rack. Wait for end of season sales: Pick up next year's bathing suit for a fraction of the cost at the end of the summer. Shop online: The Internet offers many items used or at a discount. Try to find sites that offer free shipping. Shop at closeout stores: They may not be pretty, but you can find great deals at stores like Big Lots, Marshalls and TJ Maxx. Head to the second-hand store: Goodwill, thrift stores and pawn shops offer many quality used goods at low prices. Find a garage sale: One man's junk is another's treasure. Consider alternatives: Expensive does not always equal quality. Check out professional ratings from Consumer Reports and read what customers say online to find out if you're getting biggest bang for your buck. (Posted: 11/3/10)
111. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Bring leftovers home: Restaurant portions are huge, generally twice the size of a recommended serving. Ask for a doggy bag and bring the leftovers home. Now that you're operating on a full stomach, it's time to take a look at what you're wearing and how you decorate your home. Don't Lose Your Shirt: The sheer volume of sales flyers, coupons and advertising that we are inundated with is enough to make your head spin. Cut through the clutter: focus on what you're looking for and compare prices for the best deal. Distinguish between needs and wants: Before you start buying toys and specialty items, decide what you need more: the product or the money. (Posted: 10/27/10)
110. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Limit yourself: Avoid making restaurant visits an everyday event. Treat yourself once a week or once a month. Look for new restaurants: Lots of new restaurants offer discounts and specials to attract customers. Go out for lunch instead of dinner: Most restaurants are cheaper at lunchtime. When you decide to treat yourself, go out to lunch and stay in for dinner. Avoid weekends: Everybody goes out to eat on the weekends. Restaurants may limit specials and coupons during this time. For the best deals, visit during the week. Drink water: Save a few dollars on your bill by drinking water instead of soda or alcohol. (Posted: 10/20/10)
109. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Check your receipt: Before you leave the store, take a glance at your receipt to make sure everything checks out. Items may ring up at an incorrect price or be scanned too many times. Grow your own food: Plant some herbs and vegetables in a small garden out back. You may not be able to replicate the produce aisle, but it can help cut your grocery bill. Trimming your grocery bill will work wonders when it comes to stocking up your pantry, but even a house full of food won't satisfy a craving for your favorite restaurant. Eating macaroni and cheese, salad and Hamburger Helper every night can get old fast. Treat yourself to a meal at a restaurant from time to time, just be sure to keep it within reason. (Posted: 10/13/10)
108. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Go generic: Just about every product has a generic counterpart at a much lower price. Buy these products; you can get the same thing for a lot less money. Don't stray from your list: If you didn't write it on your list, you don't need it. Bring your calculator: Is 24 ounces for $1.00 better than 36 ounces for $1.25? Bring a calculator with you to figure out the best deal. Buy in bulk: It never hurts to stock up on items you use frequently. Bulk is often cheaper, so fill your cart. Be sure that you are able to use the item before it goes bad. Don't shop on an empty stomach: Everything looks good when you're hungry. Eat before you shop so you're less tempted to pick up anything and everything that looks good. (Posted: 10/6/10)
107. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Watching your order total at the checkout can be daunting. Take these steps to help ease the pain. Plan ahead: Map out your meals for the entire week. Go through your cabinets, fridge and pantry, making a list of any items you'll need for your planned meals. Cut coupons: Savings of 25 cents here and 75 cents there can add up fast. Look for sales: Ads for savings are what make the Sunday paper so thick. Take advantage of them. Look for flyers throughout the week, pay attention to TV commercials and check junk mail for coupons before you throw it away. Shop around: Don't limit yourself to one grocery store. One store may have great dairy prices but overpriced produce. Another could have good meat sales, but your favorite cereal is too expensive. Pick and choose what you'll buy from each store. (Posted: 9/29/10)
106. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Find the shortest route: The shorter the distance you have to travel, the less gas you will have to use. Combine errands: Run as many errands as you can in one trip to cut down on your driving time. Carpool: If your co-workers live nearby, take turns driving each other to work. If you're going out with your friends or family, fit as many people as you can into a single vehicle. Use public transportation: If the option is available, take a bus, train or taxi instead of driving. Take a walk: If you live close enough, try walking to work. It's free and healthy. Ride a bike: You may live a little too far to walk, but you can try hopping on a bicycle to make your commute. Again, this option is free and healthy. (Posted: 9/22/10)
105. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Find the shortest route: The shorter the distance you have to travel, the less gas you will have to use. Combine errands: Run as many errands as you can in one trip to cut down on your driving time.Carpool: If your co-workers live nearby, take turns driving each other to work. If you're going out with your friends or family, fit as many people as you can into a single vehicle. Use public transportation: If the option is available, take a bus, train or taxi instead of driving.Take a walk: If you live close enough, try walking to work. It's free and healthy. Ride a bike: You may live a little too far to walk, but you can try hopping on a bicycle to make your commute. Again, this option is free and healthy. (Posted: 9/15/10)
104. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Consider the savings: It costs an average of 36 cents per mile to own and operate an automobile. Don't drive all the way across town to save a nickel on a gallon of milk. Keep moving: Stop-and-go driving not only wears out your engine faster, but also uses more gas than moving at a steady pace. Use cruise control: If you're not going to be hitting any stop signs or traffic lights, set your cruise control to conserve gas. Slow down: It's simple. Drive the speed limit to save gas as well as make your life a whole lot easier. Keep it light: Remove any heavy, unnecessary items from your car. An extra 100 pounds can decrease fuel economy of an average automobile by about one percent. (Posted: 9/8/10)
103. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Getting from point A to point B can really cut into your budget. Here's how to get where you need to go without breaking the bank.
Get regular tune-ups: Keep all of the moving parts in your car running smoothly to get better gas mileage and prolong the life of your vehicle. Turn off the AC: Roll down your windows and let the air cool your car. Keep air in your tires: Underinflated or flat tires will reduce gas mileage. Shop around for gas: Before you pull over and start filling up, shop around for the cheapest place to get gas. Try to avoid traffic: Idling in traffic can burn up lots of gas. Try to avoid rush hour traffic as much as possible. (Posted: 9/1/10)
102. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Eliminate drafts: Use caulk or weather-stripping to strengthen the seal around doors and windows to eliminate the loss of hot or cool air. Shade your windows: Close shades, blinds or drapes during the day to keep light and heat from coming in through the windows. Direct sunlight will heat your home and cause the AC to work harder. Alternately, uncovering windows to let sun in could be helpful for heating in the winter. Plant a tree: Strategic placement of trees and bushes around your home can increase shade and decrease energy consumption. Try shading your air conditioning unit as well as windows that get a lot of sun. Just three trees can save between $100 and $250 a year in heating and cooling costs. (Posted: 8/25/10)
101. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Close the flu damper in your fireplace: Don't let hot or cold air escape out of the fireplace. Keep the flu closed. Insulate your water heater: Pack insulation around your water heater to help retain heat. Also try turning the heater's thermostat down a few degrees. Install low flow showerheads: You can cut your shower's water consumption in half by installing one of these. Change washing machine settings: Heating water uses energy and costs money. Wash your clothes in warm or cold water instead of hot. Use a gas dryer: Gas dryers use less energy than their electric counterparts. Open a window: Take advantage of Mother Nature. If the weather's nice, turn off the air or heat and open the windows. (Posted: 8/18/10)
100. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Do the dishes: Use reusable dishes for your meals instead of paper plates and cups. Hang your clothes out to dry: The dryer uses a lot of energy. It takes a lot to run, plus it can also heat up your house, causing your air conditioner to have to work harder. Accomplish that fresh, dried-on-the-line smell in your own backyard. Buy energy efficient appliances: If you are in the market for new appliances, take energy efficiency into account. Look for items with the Energy Star label. Get an energy audit: Your electric or gas company can send someone to your home to tell you specifically what you can do to make your home more energy efficient. Enroll in cost saving programs: Ask your energy company if they offer any load management, off-hour rate or other cost saving programs that you can take advantage of. (Posted: 8/11/10)
99. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. If you happen to like Godiva, consider joining their Reward Club. Members receive a FREE piece of chocolate every month and a FREE gift every time you spend $10 or more. (Note you have to stop by a Godiva Boutique to get the freebie). And club members are privy to an exclusive online special on the 16th of every month. Sign up online or in one of three local Godiva Boutiques. Downgrade your phone services: When's the last time you used call forwarding or had a three way chat? Only use services that are absolutely necessary. Take advantage of free long distance with your cell phone if possible. Consider using VoIP or a cell phone to eliminate your land line. Use cloth napkins, towels and diapers: Paper napkins, paper towels and disposable diapers are easy and convenient, but cloth can be washed and used again. Use these to save money and the environment. (Posted: 8/4/10)
98. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Cook at home often: If both the husband and wife work, this is likely to be very difficult. Start out with the habit of cooking at home once a week and slowly increase the frequency until you find a balance between saving money and getting stressed out. Even though the author may have overestimated the savings from skipping a latte at Starbucks, don’t underestimate the ding it puts in your pocket in the long run. You don’t have to entirely ban drinking coffee, but skip it as often as possible unless you make it at home. Brown bag lunch at least a few days a week: Lunch times are great opportunities to network and make connections that could improve your career growth. So unless there is a common eating area for brown baggers, you may choose to limit brown bagging lunch to three days each week. (Posted: 7/28/10)
97. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Discover card is pleased to announce that they have improved the cash back rewards program and made it a little easier and more fun to use. Discover is a great credit card to have as it offers 3% cash back and you get rotating rewards that offer up to 5% cash back every quarter. Sign up for the CVS Extra Care Card. The drug store chain offers free Extra Care Bucks when you shop, which will make some items free of charge. here are plenty of auto insurance companies out there to choose from. And each one will tell you they can save you money. That’s why it’s important to make informed decision about your auto coverage. Rates can vary by hundreds of dollars or more from one company to the next — even for the same coverage limits and deductibles. And companies make it remarkably easy to get a quote. That’s why it pays to shop around. (Posted: 7/21/10)
96. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. No one says you have to hold down a traditional part-time job, but there are tons of ways to make an extra buck or two while you’re in college. Solicit grad students for help with their dissertation research, proofreading, editing or document typing and formatting. Don't forget to work extra and save up during the summer to make the school year more comfortable. Offer a resume writing service. This can make you quite a bit of extra pocket money. But put it in savings. Good luck! If you think “thrifty” we think you could possibly leave college with a little in your savings account to show for your hard work and efforts. Any-size drinks are 99 cents all summer long at Wendy's locations and only $1 at McDonald's restaurants. If you want to do even better, visit Speedway where drinks are only 89 cents all summer long for any size! (Posted: 7/14/10)
95. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Get a dog. While feeding them may seem expensive, they offer low cost company ready for a walk if you get lonely or might not exercise as much as you should. Dogs love exercise. We're not endorsing prostitution, but if you can give some of yourself by donating blood plasma, you can net an extra couple hundred dollars a month. But, be careful if you try combining this with alchohol. Volunteer for a medical study. Most do not require much time and you get paid! Sell your expertise in a subject as a tutor, computer skills, music lessons. Get a job in the food service industry. Chances are high that you can eat for free! Be your campus computer tech. Troubleshoot computer issues in exchange for a few bucks or a beer. Make yourself available in a pinch. (Posted: 7/7/10)
94. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. If you need music to help you have the motivation to exercise, iPods and similar devices can be bought for around $100. Many music fans also take advantage of low download costs or free downloadable music offers. Ask someone to sponsor you for a marathon or other run. People do it all the time for charities. Turn paying for your education into a noble cause. Enroll in an on-campus exercise class such as yoga, tai chi, kick-boxing or spinning. Exercise will keep you healthier and happier and will fill up time you might otherwise have spent spending money. eeling down and getting the urge to splurge? Instead go for a run, a bike ride, or a brisk walk. You’ll get some exercise-induced serotonin coursing through your brain and the feeling will cost you nothing. (Posted: 6/30/10)
93. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. If you are already involved with an athletic program, you will have plenty of opportunity to travel off campus and socialize with other students. Meals will typically be covered during team travel, too. If you are on an athletic scholarship you will already have plenty of time scheduled for practice and games or competition to worry about money. Join a club or intramural sport. It will gain you instant friends and offer no-cost exercise and socialization. Buy an exercise video game. A console and exercise game together cost under $200 and offer weeks or months of fun. Who knew you could lose weight playing video games? Playstation 2 offers a video game called Kinetic - The Personal Fitness Trainer. And as if that wasn't good enough, why not give Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix a try! (Posted: 6/23/10)
92. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Shop for your personal items at a discount retailer. Money strategists suggest buying the “store brand” as a cost-saving alternative, as well. Doing laundry costs money. A machine load of laundry costs at least a $1, and in most places a good bit more than that. Don’t drop your laundry at a service, stay and wash it yourself. Spend the time studying or decide to use laundry time to catch up on your favorite magazine or book. If you are totally outraged with the cost to wash and dry at the nearest laundry joint or your residence laundry machines, then shop for cheaper at another nearby residential building. Most have laundry rooms. Keep your ear to the ground for the best cost per load deal in the area and only wash when it’s necessary. (Posted: 6/16/10)
91. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. You don’t have to let your hair grow to your knees, but you don’t have to choose the toniest “hair design” spot in town either. Shop around for a salon that offers student discounts. Share the cost for personal toiletries. This works well if you share a room, apartment or suite with others and can agree on products that suit both or all: soap, shampoo, blow dryer, curling iron, hair spray, conditioner, package of razors, shaving cream, lotions, toothpaste, mouth wash, etc. Whether you share or not, it’s always a cost-saver to avoid high-end grooming products. You don’t really need the most expensive shampoo or facial scrub to keep yourself looking good. High-end products can run you between $10 and $20 per product. Buy affordable and quality products at much lower prices. (Posted: 6/9/10)
90. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Speedway gas stations are now featuring all fountain, frozen and coffee drinks in all sizes for only 89 cents each. The special price began on June 1 and runs all summer long. Use a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan. This will only work if you use your cell phone on a minimal basis. Communicate via email, instant messangers, create a blog, share photos on Flickr, or invite friends to visit your MySpace site. If you are traveling, especially out of the country, catch up with friends and family before you leave, and check into the various international calling cards available. Ladies, how ‘bout forego the salon nails for the year. Instead make it a girl’s night in and do each other’s nails. Same thing for waxes and facials. (Posted: 6/2/10)
89. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Check prices for Amtrak or Greyhound versus air travel. Both companies offer student discounts. A student travel discount card will get you nice discounts on accommodations, food, and transportation if you are traveling nationally or internationally. Carpool home for the holidays. When everyone splits the cost of gas, it’s pretty darn cheap. Nearly all money experts say “Skip Spring Break!” Some students even choose to engage in community service during spring break. Join your parents’ family cell phone plan. It is usually much cheaper than a standalone account. Refer to cell phone comparison sites that offer side-by-side data of plans from company to company. Save time and save money on your next cell phone plan: Avoid text messaging. (Posted: 5/26/10)
88. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Don’t take the car to campus. You will spend money on parking and gas, at the very least. Having no car will keep you closer to campus as well. Walk, bike, roller blade, skateboard your way around town. Public transportation is cheap, too. Save money by doing the least amount of traveling necessary. Road trips are great fun, but you will put out money for gas, accommodations, food, drink andentertainment. When it’s all said and done, your long weekend will smack your wallet. Name your own price for a flight or accommodations, if you must travel, by using services such as Priceline. Factors such as current events and gas prices may cause travel prices to fluctuate. (Posted: 5/19/10)
87. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Don’t shop hungry, and that goes for any kind of shopping. If you’re in the grocery store, you’ll grab more and spend more; if you’re somewhere else you’ll probably spend more than you planned getting something to eat. Carry a snack in your purse or backpack. Learn how to shop for clothes at the consignment shop. Today’s second-hand is nothing like your mother’s thrift store. In fact, these places are regularly trafficked by college students and others for the great finds in name brand, “gently used” clothes and accessories. While we’re on the subject of saving on clothes shopping, remember to make sure your fine consignment garments are washable versus “dry clean only.” Buy all of your cut flowers and roses from Kroger. It is way cheaper than Busch's and Hiller's grocery stores. (Posted: 5/12/10)
86. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Get a few friends together to pitch in for the price of an annual membership at a place like Sam’s Club or Costco. Buy in bulk. You’ll save money per unit for a pack of twelve bars of soap versus singles. Don’t shop hungry, and that goes for any kind of shopping. If you’re in the grocery store, you’ll grab more and spend more; if you’re somewhere else you’ll probably spend more than you planned getting something to eat. Carry a snack in your purse or backpack. Save time and transportation money by shopping online. Make sure you choose an e-tailer with free shipping. Save money in decorating the dorm room by shopping at discount stores and maybe a yard sale or two. The Pottery Barn dorm room may be great, but it’s definitely not on the bargain table. (Posted: 5/5/10)
85. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Living on an upper floor will typically keep you warmer in the winter, but it’ll get hotter in the summer. If you go to school in a region where winters are longer then upper floors are smart, otherwise live low. If winters are cold and heat bills are high you can insulate your windows with plastic. If you have to shop, make sure you patronize places that offer student discounts. Shop for stuff you really need during the tax-free week - available in many regions of the country. Shop early or late for Christmas and the holidays. There is no more stressful time for someone close to broke than the holidays. In fact, some shopping mavens stress that there is no better time to pick up Christmas presents than the day after Christmas! Need a quick Christmas gift for a friend you have yet to see? Buy last minute on clearance sales. Also, buy for next year. (Posted: 4/28/10)
84. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Play on the web! The web is a virtually limitless land which will allow you to deeply explore any topic of interest, and participate in communities discussing those topics. You can also play games like Zuma or visit true time waster sites like Get a studio appartment or split rent with roommates. Rent a place that will have all appliances provided. Bringing in your own or having to buy is a hassle. Think you can live without the microwave? You will likely wish you had one. ay utility bills before they are due. Avoid late fees. Save money on bills by keeping the A/C or heat turned down or off if possible. Turn off lights; use the oven sparingly and take shorter showers. Electricity costs money. If you find an apartment where utilities may run on natural gas (stove, hot water heater) it’s generally more cost-efficient. (Posted: 4/21/10)
83. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Avoid spending money this weekend. Be creative in what you choose to do, even if it includes a picnic, a long walk, flying a kite, a pick up game of soccer or football, an impromptu poker game (not played for money), or reading a good book. Volunteer in a soup kitchen or help build homes with Habitat for Humanity. Community service activities like this will not only help you fill free time wisely, but you’ll come away with a real appreciation for those who have no money. Pick up a local newspaper and check upcoming events for freebies: concerts, arts and crafts fairs, theater, festivals, art galleries, and museums. (Posted: 4/14/10)
82. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Trying to save money on going out to the movies? Hit the matinee showings. Look for free movies on campus; chances are you will find classics, independents, student films, noir and experimental. Start a book club. Read for entertainment, then get a group together to discuss it and enjoy each other’s company. Any interest would work for group involvement: stamp collecting, scrap-booking, weight training, running, cooking, and chess. Offer your services as a tutor. Anytime you have the opportunity to help others is less time you have worrying about what you don’t have or think you need. The sooner you find out that you can survive nicely on very little, the better off you will be; or should we say, the richer you’ll be. (Posted: 4/7/10)
81. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. While you’re in college don’t take risks with your electronic equipment. Laptops and other trendy little electronics can be made off with quickly in a dorm environment. Unless you’ve bought some renter’s insurance, you will foot the bill to replace. Keep your room locked and valuables stowed. Not only do we suggest you protect your physical property, but you’ll head off future repair bills if you protect your computer investment with anti-virus software and a firewall. Anti-virus and firewall protection will keep your computer in top working order and it will last much longer. Forget about the T.V. You can watch cable television through your computer. Make sure your desktop or laptop has a DVD/CD player and you can also watch your favorite movies. Your laptop has graphics equal to most HDTVs, so enjoy. (Posted: 3/31/10)
80. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Are you going to college and don’t have anything to eat, dining hall closed? Go to a take-out joint if you must, or some other low-cost eatery where self-serve is available and you are not obligated to tip. If you’re buying a computer, save by shopping the student specials; discounts, rebates and back to school specials. Some regions/states even have a tax-free shopping week. Apple Computer offers student discounts to students and teachers, and consistently advertises important education incentives and rebates. Decline extended warranties. Your computer should be under manufacturer’s warranty for the first year anyway. Companies dupe you into believing the plan is worthwhile. They become rich off your extra cash. Anything extra is likely just….extra. (Posted: 3/24/10)
79. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Skip the fast food forays and late night take-out. Make sure you keep healthy, affordable options in your room or apartment. Yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, bagels, peanut butter are all affordable, convenient and much more healthy than a late night burger and fries. Collect coupons and follow the weekly sales at the grocery store. Avoid high-end markets like Whole Foods. These are nice, but most products cost much more. Once you’re out of school and have a good job you can shop the upscale markets. Kick the bottled water habit; support your local tap water and drink for free. Get a some kind of filter if you want better tasting water. (Posted: 3/17/10)
78. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. At a sit-down restaurant, avoid ordering the alcoholic beverages. Most restaurants make a killing on beer, wine and fancy cocktails. The alcohol mark up can be anywhere between 75 and 400 percent! If you can’t borrow, buy used college textbooks. On sites like used hardcover books are often cheapest. Soft cover are more valued for convenience, so if you’re willing to haul a couple extra ounces, then hardcover is the cost-saving choice. allows you to easily compare book prices from major online book stores. The campus bookstore will sell a supply of used books, but they are limited; so check the online sources as well. Collect coupons and follow the weekly sales at the grocery store. Avoid high-end markets like Whole Foods. These are nice, but most products cost much more. Once you’re out of school and have a good job you can shop the upscale markets. (Posted: 3/10/10)
77. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. Bulk is good. Think about shopping and buying in bulk. Save money grocery shopping by planning meals in advance and bulk-buying. You can also save money by cooking in bulk. This is a real way you can save money with little preparation and almost no extra outlay. Always purchase generics when you can. Make sure a sale is a sale. By this I mean do your price research before you commit to making an expensive purchase in a retailers money-off sale. You have to be sure the sale really is a sale and not a creative marketing strategy of the store to encourage you to spend your money without thinking. Eat in rather than out. This is a huge area where you can save money. A cup of coffee taken out could easily cost you TWENTY times (or more) what it would cost you to make it at home. So think before you drink when you are out. Eating is the same. (Posted: 3/3/10)
76. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. If there's one certainty in life, it's that unexpected things can happen at any time. A well established savings account can help prevent a financial crisis when these situations arise. While the temptation to purchase the latest product from the top manufacturer on the market can be strong, the money that you can save by buying used and non-brand name products can be substantial. Refurbished or "Like-New" products are often just as reliable as new ones and can cost significantly less. No matter how frugal you think you are, there are always ways more ways that you can cut the fat. That subscription to Angler's Weekly that you never read? Those 500 cable channels that you never watch? That 5,000 minute-a-month phone plan that you never come close to reaching? All of those can go. (Posted: 2/24/10)
75. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. I first learned the power of this back in college, when I discovered that I could get my textbooks for free, by buying and selling them at Amazon. I was paying a few bucks (at most) for my textbooks that many of my classmates were paying over $100 for. Second, public libraries are home to a wealth of resources. Of course you can borrow books instead of buying them, but they also often have subscriptions to high cost services or publications like Hoovers or Valueline. Our local library has grown a huge collection of popular CDs and DVDs over the last few years. So, it can be a cheap (free) ways to catch a few good movies. Third, Don’t buy clothes that will only work as one outfit. Look for clothes that you will be able to wear with many other things, creating multiple outfits. Instead of buying that green and purple striped coat that will only go with one or two outfits, you could get a solid color gray that will work most of what you wear. Spend less money on the trendy items that won’t be in style long, and spend more on quality items. (Posted: 2/17/10)
74. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. First, pay Off Your Credit Card Debt: While having a credit card that you pay off in full each month is perfectly acceptable (even recommended if you're trying to build up your credit), having an outstanding balance that you have to pay interest on is a recipe for disaster. Second, don't Buy Things You Can't Afford Outright: One of the main reasons that people go into debt (and consequently cannot save money) is that they buy things they can't afford on credit. Even if you eventually pay off the debt, the extra money that you pay in interest will mean that you've payed more for the item than it was even worth in the first place. Third, Save Money to Pay Off Your Debt: The same principles that you can use to curb your spending and start putting money away for savings can also be used to save up enough money to pay off your debts. Start by figuring out how much debt you need to pay off, and then calculate how much you will need to save each month in order to pay it off in a reasonable amount of time (don't forget to calculate the interest in). (Posted: 2/10/10)
73. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, compare low-cost carriers with major carriers that fly to your destination. Remember, the best fares may not be out of the airport closest to you. Second, you may save by including a Saturday evening stay-over or by purchasing the ticket at least 14 days in advance. Ask which days of the week and times of the day have the lowest fare. Third, even if you are using a travel agent, check airline and Internet travel sites, and look for special deals. If you call, always ask for the lowest fare to your destination. Next, since car rental rates can vary greatly, compare total price (including taxes and surcharge) and take advantage of any special offers and membership discounts. Finally, rental car companies offer various insurance and waiver options. Check with your automobile insurance agent and credit card company in advance to avoid duplicating any coverage you may already have. (Posted: 1/6/10)
72. This week, we have more simple ways to save money on groceries. Go shopping alone. Have a budget and stick to it. Make fewer, larger trips. Don’t shop hungry. Plan your meals in advance. Scan your cupboards, pantry, and fridge before leaving. Keep a running list of items you need on your fridge. Break your list down by store and plan your outing accordingly. Plan your trip through the store to minimize wandering the aisles. Don’t forget your list when you head to the store, but. Be willing to deviate from your list for great deals. Don’t be afraid of store brands. Buy the Sunday paper. Keep an eye on the weekly store circular. Clip (and use!) coupons for name brand items. Check the store’s website for printable coupons. Be on the lookout for “double coupon” days. Stack manufacturer and store coupons. Keep a price list/book so you know a deal when you see one. (Posted: 12/30/09)
71. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, go grocery shopping while you are in a hurry: Maybe you need to go out in a couple of hours. Or your favorite show is going to be on TV after a couple of hours. Try to squeeze in the grocery trip in that intermediate time. Armed with your grocery list, you should be in-and-out very quickly with little time for meandering and getting tempted to buy things you don’t need. Second, watch out for expiration dates on perishable goods: This one seems intuitive when you read it, but I am surprised at how many people do not pay attention to expiry dates. No point getting a gallon of milk if it is going to turn sour with a couple of days. Same goes for meat, eggs, yogurt, spreads, frozen items, deli/bakery items etc. Third, use grocery store bags to line trash cans: This may not work if you use a massive trash can but we use a small sized one for which the grocery bags are a perfect fit. This not only helps us save some money, but reduces our environmental foot print and avoids the kitchen from stinking from a huge overflowing trash can. (Posted: 12/23/09)
70. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. First, eat out less. While eating out can be fun and delicious, it can also take a serious bite out of your wallet. Try eating in more often and packing yourself a lunch for eating at work or at school. Besides saving money, making your own food can often be healthier too. Second, eliminate expensive coffee drinks. If you stopped yourself from buying a $3.50 Latte every day from Starbucks, you would have about $100 a month extra to put into your savings account. Buy yourself a simple coffee maker and some ground coffee beans at the supermarket and you'll be able to get your caffeine fix without spending a fortune. Third, buy used or non-name brand products. While the temptation to purchase the latest product from the top manufacturer on the market can be strong, the money that you can save by buying used and non-brand name products can be substantial. Refurbished or "Like-New" products are often just as reliable as new ones and can cost significantly less. (Posted: 12/16/09)
69. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, buy a used car. Because cars lose most of their value in the first few years, buying used allows you to drive a vehicle you probably couldn't afford brand new. Recent used models -- those that are less than five years old -- can be a real value because you get a nearly new car still in fine working order for a fraction of the new-car price. And you'll pay less for collision insurance and taxes, too. Second, buy a gas sipper not a guzzler. Drive 1,200 miles per month in a car that averages 18 miles per gallon, and you'll spend $233 per month (at $3.50 per gallon). Drive a car that averages 25 miles per gallon, and you'll spend $168 per month -- a savings of $65 per month, or $780 per year. Third, re-shop your car insurance. Using a comparison site like can help you determine if you've got the best deal. Rates vary widely from insurer to insurer. Your savings could equal hundreds of dollars. Shopping around is especially important for young adults because their rates could drop as they approach age 25 or older, build a credit rating, start a career and get married. (Posted: 12/9/09)
68. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. First, track Every Expense. Financial advisors say the best way to control your spending is to know precisely where all your cash is going each month. There are several options: Make a budget; keep a spreadsheet of all spending; or buy a computer program designed to help manage your finances. Second, vacation in the Off-season. Financial planner Frank Boucher says he is taking his beach vacation in early September, when he found a luxury condo for half its cost during July and August. Vacationers can also save by staying with friends or visi ting low-cost locations like developing countries. Third, cut out Investment Charges and Fees. Jeff Seymour of Triangle Wealth Management in Cary, N.C., points out that many investors end up paying 2% to 3% off the top each year for investing costs. Lower-cost mutual funds and index funds can slash that bill, savings that compound over several decades of investing. Also, save more by taking full advantage of your employer's matching contribution to your 401(k) account. (Posted: 12/2/09)
67. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a little over a week away. To get the best deals, visit websites such as,, and Check out all the ads and then make a list of the stores and what items you want to purchase from them. Be sure to check when the stores open. Some stores like Sears open at 4 a.m. while other stores like Target open at 5 a.m. and some open at 5:30 a.m. like Radio Shack. The best website for deals is because you can actually look at the ads as they will appear in your newspaper and print off a page or two from your computer. Cyber Monday takes place on the Monday after Black Friday weekend. For a list of all the Cyber Monday deals, visit and's Jason Rzucidlo spoke with Kathy Granis of the National Retail Federation. Click here to listen to the interview to find out what items will be cheaper on Black Friday and what items will be cheaper on Cyber Monday. (Posted: 11/18/09)
66. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, when dining at a restaurant, always get a free refill on your drink, especially if you paid more than $2 for it. Most restaurants have paper or styrofoam cups that you can take with you. That way you don't have to buy a drink later when you return to your home or office. Second, stop using credit cards. Pay for everything with cash or money orders. Don't even use checks. It's easier to overspend when you're pulling from a bank or credit account because you don't know exactly how much is in there. If you have cash, you can see your supply running low. Third, open an interest-bearing savings account. It’s a lot easier to keep track of your savings if you have them separate from your spending money. You can also usually get better interest on savings accounts than on checking accounts (if you get interest on your checking account at all). Consider higher-interest options such as CDs or money-market accounts for longer savings goals. (Posted: 11/11/09)
65. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. First, don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake. Even if you make ten good choices, it’s easy to beat yourself up and feel like a failure over one bad choice. If you make a big mistake and realize it, think about why you realized it now instead of then, and try to apply that later on. The memory of that mistake can end up being very valuable, indeed. Second, always keep looking ahead. Don’t let the mistakes of your past drag you down into more mistakes. Look ahead to the future. The choices you make now won’t affect the past – but they definitely will affect the future. Think back, and remember how the bad choices you made earlier are costing you now, and constantly remember to not make those mistakes now so that they don’t cost your future self. Third, never give up. Whenever the struggle against debt feels like it’s too much, go read a personal finance blog and remember that there are a lot of people out there fighting the same fight. Read around through the archives and learn some new things – and perhaps get inspired to keep going, no matter what. (Posted: 11/4/09)
64. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, utilize online bill pay with your bank. This serves two purposes. First, it keeps you in much closer contact with your money, as you can keep a very close eye on your balance and be in much less danger of overdrafting. Second, it saves you money on stamps and paper checks by allowing you to just fill in an online form, click submit, and have your bill paid. Second, buy staples in bulk. We buy items we use a lot of in bulk, particularly items that don’t perish – trash bags, laundry detergent, diapers, and so on are purchased in the largest amounts possible. This cuts down on their cost per usage by quite a bit and, over the long haul, begins to add up to some serious money. Third, connect your entertainment center and/or computer setup to a true smart power strip. A device like the SmartStrip LCG4 basically cuts power to all devices on the strip depending on the status of the first item on the strip. So, if you have your workstation hooked up to this, every time you power down your workstation, your monitor powers down, your printer powers down, your scanner powers down, and so on. You can do the same thing with your entertainment console – when you turn off the television, the cable/satellite box also goes off, as does the video game console, the VCR, the DVD player, and so on. This can save you a lot of electricity and significantly trim your power bill. (Posted: 10/28/09)
63. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. First, cut down on your vacation spending. Instead of going on a big, extravagant trip, pack up the car and see some of America some years for vacation. One of the best vacations I’ve ever taken was when my son was an infant – we just packed up the car and drove around Minnesota, eventually camping for a few days along the north shore of Lake Superior. Second, cancel the cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Many people with cable services often are paying for a premium package but rarely watch those extra channels. For the longest time, my wife and I were subscribed to HBO, Starz, and Cinemax, yet we would only tune in once a month at best. We argued that it was worth it because we could watch a movie or a great drama whenever we wanted, but it would have been far cheaper just to rent a movie. Get rid of the excess channels and put that cash back in your pocket. Third, exercise more. Go for a walk or a jog each evening, and practice stretching and some light muscle exercise at home. These exercises can be done at home for very little, meaning you’ve got an activity without a lot of cost, and the health benefits are enormous. Just set aside some time each day to get some exercise, and your body and wallet will thank you. (Posted: 10/21/09)
62. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, make your own beer or wine. If you enjoy an occasional drink, this is a great way to enjoy some of the beverages that you love at a very cheap price. You can easily make five gallons of beer or wine at once and it doesn’t take that long, either, once you have the basic ingredients. Second, make sure all your electrical devices are on a surge protector. This is especially true of your entertainment center and your computer equipment. A power surge can damage these electronics very easily, so spend the money for a basic surge protector and keep your equipment plugged into such a device. Third, get on an automatic debt repayment plan for any student loans you have. Many student loans offer a rate reduction if you sign up for their automatic debt repayment plan. This way, not only do you save a few bucks a month, you don’t have to go to the effort of actually paying the bill. Our automatic plan saved us about $60 a year. (Posted: 10/14/09)
61. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. First, if you need a haircut, go to Rex Barber Shop at 24606 Ford Road in Dearborn Heights, Mich. Haircuts are only $7 each. If you do not live in the Dearborn Heights area, try Great Clips. Many Great Clips locations have haircuts for only $5 each. Call ahead to find out what specials are going on. Second, Use a brutally effective coupon strategy. Here’s the trick: wait a month before using the coupons. Save your coupon flyer out of your Sunday paper for a month, then bust it out and start cutting anything that might be of interest. For a bonus kicker, use the coupons in comparison with your grocery store flyer that week to find out ways you can use a coupon to reduce the cost of an item already on sale – you can wind up paying pennies for some things and, on occasion, actually get food for free. Third, Air seal your home. Most homes have some air leaks that make the job of keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter that much harder – and that much more costly for you. Spend an afternoon air sealing your home – the DoE has a great guide on basic airsealing. (Posted: 10/7/09)
60. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, dine at Arby's for the new $5.01 combos. You can get a sandwich, small fries and a drink for only one penny over five dollars. Choose from the French Dip & Swiss, Regular Roast Beef, Roast Chicken Ranch, Roast Beef Gyro or the Roast Beef Patty Melt. Arby's also special sales where you can get many menu items for only a penny if you purchase a drink and fries with a coupon. Second, Don’t overspend on hygiene products. For most people, inexpensive hygiene products do the trick – for example, I just buy whichever toothpaste is the cheapest, and the same goes with deodorant and the like. The key is to use this stuff regularly and consistently – bathe daily, keep yourself clean, and you’ll be just fine. Third, Eat less meat. For the nutritional value, meat is very expensive, especially as compared to vegetables and fruits. Simply change around your regular meal proportions to include more fruits and vegetables and less meats – eat a smaller steak and a bigger helping of green beans, for example. (Posted: 9/30/09)
59. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. First, buy a smaller house. I currently live in a 2,000 square foot house with my wife and two kids. Frankly, it’s just the right size for us – if anything, it’s a little big. We often find ourselves in the same room in the house, just surrounded by empty space. You don’t need a giant place to live. Second, drive a different route to work. This is an especially powerful tip if you find yourself “automatically” stopping for something on the way into work or the way home. Get rid of that constant drain by selecting a different route that doesn’t go by the temptation, even if the new route is a bit longer. Third, always ask for fees to be waived. Any time you sign up for a service of any kind and there are sign-up fees, ask for them to be waived. Sometimes (but not always), they will be – and you save money just by being forthright about not wanting to pay excessive fees. (Posted: 9/23/09)

58. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, encourage your friends to do less expensive activities. This is often a tricky thing to do, but there are a number of techniques you can try. My favorite one is to be the first one to suggest something – that often gives you the power to steer the group towards things that are cheaper. Second, don’t speed. Not only is it inefficient in terms of gasoline usage, it also can get you pulled over and cost you a bundle, as I discovered a while back. It’s highly cost-efficient to just drive the speed limit, keep that gas in the tank, and keep the cops off your tail. Third, read more. Reading is one of the cheapest – and most beneficial – hobbies around. Most towns have a library available to the public – just go there and check out some books that interest you. Then, spend some of your free time in a cozy place in your house, just reading away. You’ll learn something new, improve your reading ability, enjoy yourself, and not have to spend a dime. (Posted: 9/16/09)

57. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. First, use a simple razor to shave. I’ve been a big advocate of the basic safety razor for a long time, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. For “normal” shaves, I just shave in the shower and dry off the blade afterwards, using just soap for lather – incredibly cheap, since I only swap blades once every few weeks. The real moral of the story? Use a simple razor – not an expensive electric one that stops working in three years – and shave your face when it’s wet. Second, find out about all of the benefits of your job. Most people aren’t even aware of all of the benefits available to them. Spend some time with an HR person finding out about all the benefits of your job – you might be surprised at what you might find. I found free tickets to sporting events, free personal improvement opportunities, and an optional employee match on some retirement funds that maximized the money I was socking away. Third, make your own items instead of buying them. I like to make my own laundry detergent and my own Goo-Gone, for starters. I also like making Glade, Windex, and Soft Scrub. In both cases, it’s way cheaper than buying the commercial version. Hunt around for recipes – it’s amazing how many things you can make at home in just a few minutes that saves a ton of money compared to the commercial version. (Posted: 9/9/09)
56. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, consolidate your student loans. Interest rates are quite low right now, so it might be worthwhile to consolidate your student loans into one low-rate package. Look into the various student loan consolidation packages - even a 1% reduction on a $10,000 loan saves you $100 a year - and your loan is probably bigger than that (and the rate cut you could get is probably bigger). Second, when buying a car, go for late model used. These are typically cars coming straight off of leases, meaning they were cared for by reliable owners. My truck was purchased with this criteria and has lasted me several years already with only one significant issue - and I saved a ton of money on the purchase price over buying new. Third, hit the library - hard. Don’t look at a library as just a place to get old books. Look at it as a free place to do all sorts of things. I’ve used it to learn a foreign language, meet people, use the Internet anonymously, check out movies and CDs, grab local free newspapers, and keep up on community events. Best of all, it doesn’t cost a dime. (Posted: 9/2/09)
55. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. First, do some basic home and auto maintenance on a regular schedule. Instead of just waiting until something breaks to deal with it, develop a monthly maintenance schedule where you go around your home (and your car) and perform a bit of maintenance where it’s needed. Second, pack food before you go on a road trip. Have everyone pack a sack lunch for the trip. That way, instead of stopping in the middle of the trip, driving around looking for a place to eat, spending a bunch of time there, and then paying a hefty bill, you can just eat on the road or, better yet, stop at a nice park and stretch for a bit. Third, go through your cell phone bill, look for services you don’t use, and ditch them. Sit down and go through each item on your bill and see if there’s anything there that you don’t use, like a surfeit of text messages or web access or something to that effect. Then call your cell phone company and ask to have those services eliminated. (Posted: 8/27/09)
54. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, carpool. Is there anyone that lives near you who works at the same place (or near the same place) that you do? Why not ride together, alternating drivers each day? You can halve the wear and tear and gas costs for your car - and for your acquaintance as well. Second, design your “debt snowball.” Everyone needs a plan to help them get out of debt, so sit down and plot out what debts you’re going to pay off and in what order. Simply having a plan goes a long way towards bringing that plan into action, and paying off debts early is one of the surest ways to put money in your pocket over the long run. Third, get a crock pot. A crock pot is perhaps the best deal on earth for reducing cooking costs in a busy family. You can just dump in your ingredients before work, put it on simmer, and dinner is done when you get home. There are countless recipes out there for all variety of foods, and every time you cook this way, you’re saving money as compared to eating out. (Posted: 8/20/09)
53. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. First, dig into your community calendar. There are often tons of free events going on in your town that you don’t even know about. Stop by the local library or by city hall and ask how you can get ahold of a listing of upcoming community events, and make an effort to hit the interesting ones. Second, take public transportation. If the city’s transit system is available near you, take it to work (or to play) instead of driving your car. It’s far cheaper and you don’t have to worry about parking your vehicle. Third, cut your own hair. I can cut mine myself with a pair of clippers, for example. I just cut it really short every once in a while and don’t worry about it too much. Just put a garbage bag over the bathroom sink, bust out the clippers and scissors, and get it done. Two or three cuts will pay for the clippers, and then you’re basically getting free haircuts. With a bit of practice, you can make it look good, too. (Posted: 8/13/09)
52. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, check out what your town’s parks and recreation board has to offer. My town has several wonderful parks, free basketball and tennis courts, free disc golf, trails, and lots of other stuff just there waiting to be used. You can go have fun for hours out in the wonderful outdoors, playing sports, hiking on trails, or trying other activities - and it’s all there for free. Second, air up your tires. For every two PSI that all of your tires are below the recommended level, you lose 1% on your gas mileage. Most car tires are five to ten PSI below the normal level, so that means by just airing up your tires, you can improve your gas mileage by up to 5%. It’s easy, too. Just read your car’s manual to see what the recommended tire pressure is, then head to the gas station. Third, Start a garden. Gardening is an inexpensive hobby if you have a yard. Just rent a tiller, till up a patch, plant some plants, keep it weeded, and you’ll have a very inexpensive hobby that produces a huge amount of vegetables for you to eat at the end of the season. I like planting a bunch of tomato plants, keeping them cared for, then enjoying a huge flood of tomatoes at the end of the summer. (Posted: 8/5/09)
51. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. First, if something’s broken, give a fair shot at repairing it yourself before replacing it or calling a repairman. Get a handyman’s book or advice from the internet and give it a shot yourself. Second, Invest in a deep freezer. A deep freezer, after the initial investment, is a great bargain. You can use it to store all sorts of bulk foods, which enables you to pay less per pound of it at the market. Even better, you can store lots of meals prepared in advance, enabling you to just go home and pop something homemade (and cheap) in the oven. Third, look for a cheaper place to live. The cost of living in Iowa is surprisingly low, enough so that I’m quite happy to give up the cultural opportunities of other places to enjoy Iowa all year around. When I want to enjoy the cultural opportunities of another place, I’ll travel there - after all, I can afford it. (Posted: 7/29/09)
50. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, go through your clothes - all of them. If you have a regular urge to buy clothes, go through everything that you have and see what you might find. Take the clothes at the back of the closet and bring them to the front and suddenly your wardrobe will feel completely different. Second, brown bag your lunch. Instead of going out to eat at work, take your own lunch. Lots of people think that this means “nasty lunch,” but it doesn’t. With some thoughtful preparation and just a few minutes of time, you can create something quite enjoyable for your brown bag lunch - and save a fistful of cash each day, too. Third, learn how to dress minimally. Buy clothes that mix and match well and you’ll not need nearly as many clothes. If you have five pants, seven shirts, and seven ties that all go together, you have almost an endless wardrobe right there just by mixing and matching. (Posted: 7/22/09)
49. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. First, get rid of unread magazine subscriptions. Do you have a pile of unread magazines sitting around your house? Likely, it’s the result of a subscription that you’re not reading. Not only should you not renew that magazine, you should give their subscription department a call and try to cancel for a refund. Secondly, eat breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast fills you up with energy for the day and also decreases your desire to eat a big lunch in the middle of the day. Not only that, breakfast can be very healthy, quick, and inexpensive. Third, don’t fear leftovers - instead, jazz them up. Many people dread eating leftovers - they’re just inferior rehashes of regular meals, not exactly enjoyable to the discerning palate. However, there’s nothing cheaper than eating leftovers and with a few great techniques for making leftovers tasty, you can often end up with something surprising and quite delicious on the other end. My favorite technique? Chaining - using the leftovers as a basis for an all-new dish. (Posted: 7/15/09)
48. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, when buying a car, go for reliability and fuel efficiency. A reliable and fuel efficient car will save you thousands over the long haul. Let’s say you drive a vehicle for 80,000 miles. If you choose a 25 miles per gallon car over a 15 miles per gallon car, you save 2,133 gallons of gas. At $3 a gallon, that’s $6,400 in savings right there. Secondly, don't go to stores or shopping centers for entertainment. Doing so is just an encouragement to spend money you don’t really have on stuff you don’t really need. Instead, find other places to entertain yourself - the park, the basketball court, a museum, a friend’s house, or even in your own home. Third, rent out unused space in your home. Do you have an extra bedroom that’s not being used? Rent it out. In our home, we could, if times were tough, rent out our entire basement - it has a “living room,” a bedroom, and a bathroom and has a stairwell right by the kitchen. (Posted: 7/8/09)
47. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. Try generic brands of items you buy regularly. ikely, you’ll save a few cents now, but you’ll also likely discover that the store brand is just as good as the name brand - the only difference between the two, often, is the marketing. Once you’re on board the generic train, you’ll find your regular grocery bill getting smaller and smaller. Secondly, prepare some meals at home. Get an accessible and easy-to-use cookbook (my favorite “beginner” cookbook is Mark Bittman’s excellent How to Cook Everything) and try making some of the dishes inside. You’ll find that cooking at home is much easier than you think - and way cheaper and healthier than take-out or dining out. Third, switch to term life insurance. Repeat after me: insurance is not an investment. Switch to term insurance instead and use that difference in cost to get yourself out of debt and start building some wealth. (Posted: 6/30/09)
46. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, do your holiday shopping right after the holidays. Most people use this technique for Christmas, but it works for every holiday. Wait until about two days after a holiday, then go out shopping for items you need that are themed for that day. Get a Mother’s Day card for next year the day after Mother’s Day. Get Easter egg decorating kits the day after Easter. Get wrapping paper and cards and such the day after Christmas. Secondly, join up with a volunteer program. It’s a great way to meet new people, get some exercise, and involve yourself in a positive project that can lift your spirit. It also comes without a cost to you and can provide a lot of entertainment and a fulfilling day when you’re in the right mindset. Third, reevaluate the stuff in the rooms in your house. Go into a room and go through every single item in it. Do you really need that item? Are you happy that it’s there, or would you be just fine if it were not? If you can find stuff to get rid of, get rid of it - it just creates clutter and it might have some value to others. (Posted: 6/23/09)
45. This week, we have more simple ways to save money and get free food. White Castle is celebrating it's 88th anniversary in business. Click here to print off your coupon for a free slider. One coupon is valid per person per visit. Secondly, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is celebrating Flip Flop Day on June 19. The first 500 customers at all Tropical Smoothie locations will receive a Jetty Punch smoothie for FREE! All you have to do is show up in your flip flops! Click here to find the nearest location. Third, give a gift of service instead of an item. For new parents, give an evening of babysitting as a gift. If you know pet owners, offer to take care of their pets when they travel. Offer up some lawn care as a gift to a new homeowner. (Posted: 6/17/09)
44. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, when shopping for standard items (clothes, sports equipment, older games, etc.), start by shopping used. Quite often, you can find the exact item you want with a bit of clever shopping at used equipment stores, used game stores, consignment shops, and so on. Just make these shops a part of your normal routine - go there first when looking for potential items and you will save money. Secondly, keep your hands clean. Just wash your hands thoroughly each time you use the bathroom or handle raw foods. You’ll keep yourself from acquiring all kinds of viruses and bacteria, saving you on medical bills and medicine costs and lost productivity. Third, remove your credit card numbers from your online accounts. It’s easy to spend online when you have your card information stored in an account - just click and buy. The best way to break this habit is to simply delete your card from the account. (Posted: 6/10/09)
43. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. First, you should challenge yourself to make your own things. Start out by making your own bread. It is much cheaper, healthier and tastier than buying a loaf from the store. Secondly, you should do a "maintenance run" on your appliances.Check them to make sure there isn’t any dust clogging them and that they’re fairly clean. Look behind the appliances, and use your vacuum to gently clear away dust. Check all of the vents, especially on refrigerators, dryers, and heating and cooling units. The less dust you have blocking the mechanics of these devices, the more efficiently they’ll run (saving you on your energy bill) and the longer they’ll last (saving you on replacement costs). Third, you should cancel unused club memberships. For example, a gym membership or a country club membership. You can always renew at a later date. (Posted: 6/3/09)
42. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, hide your credit cards. Yes, hide them! Put them somewhere in your home but not in your wallet where it's easy to spend them. Don't keep plastic on you until you have the willpower to not use it even when you're sorely tempted. Secondly, plan your meals around your grocery store's flyer. Instead of planning meals based on a cookbook, plan them around what's on sale. Look at the biggest sales then plan meals based on those ingredients. Third, do a price comparison and find a cheaper grocery store. Just keep track of the twenty or so things you buy most often, then shop for these items at a variety of stores. Eventually, one store will come out on top for your purchases - just make that one your regular shopping destination and you'll automatically save money. (Posted: 5/27/09)
41. This week, we're featuring a list of free food and drink items from Arby's. All summer long, Arby's will be offering free items on Wednesdays from May through August. Here are some of the remaining giveaways: May 27 - Free Regular Roast Beef with any soft drink purchase, June 3 - Free Iced FruiTea with any sandwich purchase, June 10 - Free Roast Chicken Club with any soft drink purchase, June 17 - Free Regular Sidekickers with any sandwich purchase, June 24 - Free Regular Roast Beef with any soft drink purchase, July 1 - Free Regular Beef ‘n Cheddar with any soft drink purchase, July 8 - Free Orange Cream Swirl Shake with any sandwich purchase, July 15 - Free Regular Roast Beef with any soft drink purchase, July 22 - Free Roastburger with any soft drink purchase, July 29 - Free Iced FruiTea with any sandwich purchase, Aug. 5 - Free Regular Roast Beef with any soft drink purchase, Aug. 12 - Free Roast Chicken Club with any soft drink purchase, Aug. 19 - Free Iced FruiTea with any sandwich purchase and Aug. 26 - Free Regular Beef ‘n Cheddar with any soft drink purchase. These offers are available at participating Arby's restaurants. (Posted: 5/20/09)
40. Today, we have more simple ways to save money. First, install a programmable thermostat in your home. These devices will regulate the temperature in your house automatically according to the schedule that you set. When you're not home, it allows the heating or cooling to turn off for serveral hours. It can cut your energy bill by 10 to 20%. Secondly, buy appliances based on reliability, not what's cheapest. If an appliance saves energy and lasts for 15 years, you'll save significant money in the long run. An hour's worth of research now can save you hundreds of dollars later. Third, clean your car's air filter. A clean air filter can improve your gas mileage by up to 7%, saving you more than $100 every 10,000 miles you drive. It only takes a few minutes - just follow the directions in your automobile's manual. (Posted: 5/13/09)
39. This week, we have more simple ways to save money. First, be diligent about turning off lights before you leave. If you spend one minute turning off lights before a two-hour trip, that's the equivalent of saving $50 per hour. That's some impressive savings if you do it before longer trips. Secondly, swap books, music and DVDs cheaply on the interview with services wuch as PaperBackSwap. You can very easily swap books, CDs and DVDs that you are bored of with others who want them. Clean out our media collection and trade them with others online. The best part is you'll get new books, CDs and DVDs mailed right to you for free. Third, maximize yard sales. Stop by yard sales and ask to lower the prices. You can get a really big bargain or just walk away with the money. (Posted: 5/6/09)
38. Today, we're looking at how to save on food and beverages. First, drink more water at home. One glass of water before each meal will help you digest better and will discourage you from eating more. You will feel better because you will become more hydrated. Don't buy bottled water. Drink water from the tap if you can. Cut back on fast food restaurants and microwave meals. Try making some simple and healthy replacements that you can take with you. Make breakfast sandwiches, quick sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and other things by scratch. Buy the ingredients and make extra to keep in the freezer. When cooking casseroles, make four times as much as you need. Then, eat one now and put the other three in the freezer. Next time you need a quick meal, heat it up and you're good to go. It will be much cheaper than eating out. (Posted: 4/29/09)
37. This week, we look at simple ways to save money. First, sign up for every free customer rewards program you can. Just about every store offers a savings card and they even have small ones to put on your keyring. By showing your card at the register, you can save a percent off the bill or receive free rewards to spend on cash for future visits. Instead of throwing out damaged clothing, just repair it. You can easily fix a broken button or sew a hole in a pair of pants. It just takes a few minutes and will be much cheaper than buying a new piece of clothing. Call your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate. Tell them if not, you will take your business elsewhere. Most times your rate will go down lower or even down to zero percent. You could save hundreds of dollars per year. (Posted: 4/22/09)
36. Today, we've got two easy ways to save on your personal care. First, dying your hair. Buy hair coloring from a drug store or discount retailer instead at the hair salon. It can cost as much as $100 at the salon when you can spend only $7 by buying the box and doing it yourself. Ask a friend or family member to help you. Secondly, instead of paying membership fees at the gym, buy a workout DVD. You only end up paying once instead of once per month. You can save money in the long run. Workout DVDs can cost $20 or $40 depending on what's included. Keep doing the workout DVD and you'll see getting fit at a much cheaper price. (Posted: 4/15/09)
35. This week, we look at practical ways to save money at home. First, turn off the television. Yes, turn it off. Here's the benefits: less exposure to guilt-inducing ads, more time to focus on other things in life, less electrical use. Secondly, make your own gifts instead of buying them. You can make food mixes, candles, bread, cookies, soap and other things quite easily and inexpensively. Not only will you have the homemade touch, but it's consumable so you don't fill up someone's closet with junk. Make a list before you go shopping and stick to it. If you don't have a list, you'll end up with many more things you don't need. Don't buy anything that's not on your list. Third, master the thirty day rule. When considering a major purchase, wait 30 days and ask yourself if you stillwant the item. (Posted: 4/8/09)
34. There are many ways to save money on dating and entertainment. First, most girls won't mind if you cook for them instead of going out to eat. Exercise outdoors and at home instead of paying a gym fee. If you drink, buy cheap beer from a grocery store instead of at the bars. Find cheap entertainment to do with friends instead of going out on weekends. Go for a walk instead of going out on the town. Have a feast/potluck/community meal with friends. The food is better and everyone shares the expense. Check out books and movies from the library. Share books with friends. Wait until moves come out on DVD and rent them instead of seeing them at the theatre. It's a fraction of the cost. (Posted: 4/1/09)
33. When it's the summertime, that's the time to make the money. Work at least 70 hours a week. That way you have regular pay and overtime pay which is triple more money coming in that way for you and your family. Don't go on summer vacations, they can be extremely expensive with airfare tickets, food expenses and souvenirs. Don't take any courses at a college or university during the spring/summer term. No students take courses unless they extremely have too. This is the time to work and save every penny for the fall and winter semesters. Because during those semesters you can't work that much. That way you have money coming in. (Posted: 3/25/09)
32. If you're a business traveler, you can save money on your transportation. First, take public transportation from the airport to your hotel. The average price of a bus ticket is $1.75 for a one-way ride. That is huge savings off the price of a taxi cab which can cost $30 or more from the airport. Consider renting a car if you are going to drive long distances. It is best to book your rental car online, about a month in advance to get the cheapest rate. Enterprise is your best bet for a low rate. If your hotel charges a fee for parking, consider parking in a off-hotel lot. There may be a parking lot or garage just around the corner from where you are staying with a much cheaper rate. Look around for a bit before selecting your spot. (Posted: 3/18/09)
31. If you're a student, bag a lunch instead of going out to eat everyday. Most places charge $6 for per meal. That adds up to $30 per week or as much as $360 per semester. Most restaurants in the student center at colleges charge a lot due to high rent costs. Those restaurants tend to not offer drink refills. Include in lunch bag: a bottle water or pop, a sandwich, an apple, orange, chips, pretzels, cookies and a pack of gum. Refill bottled water or thermos from the tap. If you get sick of a bagged lunch, use 2 for 1 coupons at restaurants so you can save money. Also, sign up for email coupons at local restaurants. Most on-campus restaurants offer a discount just by showing your student ID card. (Posted: 3/11/09)
30. Shop at your local dollar store. You can save as much as 70 percent off name brand products when compared to drug stores and supermarkets. The five largest dollar stores are Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Fred's Super Dollar and 99 Cents Only. Often times, the quality is just as high as the name brand products. Check the ingredient labels on items -- most times they will be exactly the same at a much lower price. Snacks like potato chips, crackers, movie-theatre candy and seasonal candy is about 50 percent off prices at the supermarkets. The best savings will be on shampoo and conditioners. Consumer Reports says the quality on store-brand shampoos is just as high as the expensive ones. Other items you can find cheaper at the dollar store include gift wrap, scrapbooking supplies, containers, kitchen gadgets and tools, children's books and school supplies. (Posted: 3/4/09)
29. Make a library card at a community college. Then, print off papers in its library. Most community colleges allow people to make 50 pages at one time for no charge. It is not necessary to be a student there. The savings will add up on both the paper and the cost of ink. Most universities charge 8 to 10 cents per page so go to your nearest community college instead. Don't try Oakland Community College as they only allow students to print 150 pages per semester. They have suspended free printing for the public. Some univerities already have websites dedicated to printing policies that describe the number of pages a student may print. (Posted: 2/25/09)
28. Pay all of your bills online instead of sending them in the mail. You will save on the cost of postage and also on the cost of checks. Remember to record online payments in your check book register. Some credit card companies will give you a discount on your bill if you go paper-less. You can save as much as $70 per year. Due to rising costs, stamp prices are set to go up to 44 cents each for a regular-sized letter on May 11, 2009. Customers can purchase a Forever Stamp before May 11 and can continue to use them beyond the day of the rate change. Some banks also offer free online banking. Check with your bank to see if it offers that feature. (Posted: 2/18/09)
27. When dining at fast food restaurants, take home extra condiments. This includes napkins, straws, plastic forks, knives and spoons. Also, take home extra sauces such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, taco sauces from Taco Bell and sandwich sauces from Arby's. Also, take home toppings such as packets of pepper, salt, and sugars. In addition, take home extra creams for your coffee and crackers for your soup. Each time you dine out, it is another opportunity for you to save money when eating at home. Restaurants order these items in bulk so they get them cheap. (Posted: 2/11/09)
26. There are ways to save money on your prescription drugs. First, ask your physician to consider prescribing generic drugs. Generic drugs can cost several hundred dollars less to purchase annually than brand-name drugs. The average prescription for a generic cost $29.82 in 2005, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, while the average brand-name prescription cost $101.71. Secondly, find the lowest-cost place to purchase prescription drugs. Make sure to check out not only your local pharmacist but also local supermarkets, area discount centers, and mail-order pharmacies. Also consider purchasing storebrand over-the-counter medications. Storebrand medications often cost 20-40 percent less than nationally advertised brands. The savings could easily exceed $100 a year. (Posted: 1/7/09)
25. There are many ways to save money while you are having fun. Rent a video instead of going to the movies. If you really want to go to the movies, go to the less expensive afternoon "matinee". AMC Theaters offers a discount to those who see movies before 5 p.m. for only $5 each. Another option is to rent movies from your local library. Often times, it will only cost $1 to rent a movie from your local library on DVD or 50 cents for a VHS rental. Cancel your cable (or at least premium channels), as well as subscriptions to magazines and newspapers. Take advantage of free entertainment in your community -- parks, museums, exhibits. Go to free park concerts and other community activities. (Posted: 12/31/08)
24. The holiday shopping season comes to an end right after Christmas. Just about every retailer is offering special deals and discounts to shoppers who want to use gift cards or make exchanges. Home Depot is giving $300 off two or more select General Electric appliances and up to 30% off Dirt Devil products. Macy's is offering 75% off fall items such as earrings, bedding and appliances. Wal-Mart is going to offer 80% off jewelry, appliances and toys, along with Christmas decorations. Target is offering deep discounts on it's GO designer collection with markdowns on appliances, games and toys. Sears will be giving 40% off tradmills and further discounts on New Year's Day. Circuit City is also offering discounts on laptops, flat-screen TVs and digital cameras. (Posted: 12/24/08)

23. There are many ways to save money while you eat out at restaurants. Most restaurants offer special prices at lunch time, as much as half the price of their dinner prices. Some restaurants such as Applebees offer half off appetizers at night. Baker's Square offers a FREE slice of pie every Wednesday with any purchase. You can just order a drink and get your favorite kind of pie slice at no cost. There are locations in Livonia and Warren in southeast Michigan. Bennigan's is offering College Night every Sunday. Students can receive half off all entrees just by showing their college ID. Valid at locations in Michigan: Plymouth, Ann Arbor, Madison Heights, Okemos, Flint, Mt. Pleasant, Saginaw, Midland, Howell, Kalamazoo, Portage, Walker, Big Rapids and Lansing. (Posted: 12/17/08)

22. Communication devices can be expensive but there are ways to save on them. Many consumers are overpaying for unneeded communications. For example, if you have a cell phone, cancel your landline telephone. Secondly, communicate via e-mail instead of by phone. E-mail is free. Most phones come with contracts with a limited amount of minutes. Read up about peak calling periods, your coverage area, romaning and termination charges. Dial phone numbers directly. If you need a number, open the phone book or look online for it at Don't call an operator. It can cost you up to $10 per each call to the operator. Now you can communicate and save money at the same time. (Posted: 12/10/08)
21. The holidays are here and the economy is officially in a recession. There are some ways you can save money on gift giving. First, look for estate sales and flea markets for inexpensive gifts. Set a spending limit on gifts for your spouse or closest friends. Consider volunteering or giving charitable gifts to take the focus off buying and wanting. Help out a food bank or soup kitchen or agree to exchange gifts that support charities. Make gift certificates or coupons to offer free baby-sitting to your friends or to prepare a home-cooked meal for them. Kids could give breakfast in bed to their parents. A husband might offer candlelight dinner at home. Let the kids make wrapping paper. They can use old newsprint, fingerpaint, rubber stambs or even stickers. Save on decorations by using branches, piner cones, wire and ribbon to create holiday wreaths. Let kids cut out paper snowflakes or other decorations. (Posted: 12/3/08)
20. There are many ways you can save on gas. First, keep your car mantained. This means regular oil changes, air filter replacement and properly inflated tires. Secondly, drive smart at a steady speed for as long as possible and use the cruise control when you an over long distances. Increased acceleration and braking can use unnecessary gas. Drive to work earlier so you can avoid heavy stop and go rush hour traffic. It will also be less stressful for you. Consider purchasing a hybrid vehicle. You might have to pay more up front but the savings will add up in the gasoline usage. You may even get a tax credit for purchasing a hybrid and it will save you hundreds of dollars a year. Plan your travel so that it maximes your time on the road. Combine trips to the grocer store, dry cleaners and other errands. No need to make a separate trip. (Posted: 11/26/08)
19. Black Friday is just around the corner! It is also known as the day after Thanksgiving when many retailers hope to get back in the "black" and become profitable just before Christmas. Almost every store will be offering deep discounts. Many are even having doorbusters, which are sales that normally begin at 5 - 6 a.m. and end at 11 a.m. or noon. You can preview black friday ads online at websites such as,, and Many of these websites will offer a scanned version of the ad circular with pictures. Some of the sites also allow you to click on the items you want to buy and then print them off in a handy checklist separated by store name. Get ready for Black Friday and you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars! (Posted: 11/19/08)
18. Saving money at amusement parks is possible. Visit Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California in 2009 on your birthday and you get in FREE! Click here to register your birthday. Get maps and brochures to find out about discounts and freebies. Visit unofficial theme park websites for special tips and trucks. Some examples include, AllEarsNet and Theme Park Insider. Purchase tickets online instead of at the gate and you will receive a huge discount. Don't order tickets too early -- if traveling in July or August, order them at the end of June but not any earlier. You can also save money by presenting your AAA, AARP or warehouse-club membership card. Bring your own food and keep a cooler handy. (Posted: 11/12/08)
17. There are many ways to save money while doing your banking. First, reduce the number of checks you bounce per month. It can save you $20-30 per check and could end up saving you hundreds by the end of the year. Reduce your credit card debt by $1,000. It could save you $150-200 per year from the penalty fees. Make your credit card payments online. It will lower your chances of paying a late fee and could save you $30-35 per month. Only use ATMs owned by your bank or credit union. Using a ATM from a different bank or credit union can cost as much as $3 per withdrawl, or about $150 per year. Keep these tips in mind when you do your banking. (Posted: 11/5/08)
16. Eat at home more often. Bring your lunch to work at least once or twice a week. It could save you hundreds of dollars per year. Make your morning coffee at home instead of buying it at a coffeeshop. The average price of a drink at Starbucks is close to $5 each. If you get a drink each day of the work week, that's $25 you've spent just on coffee. You can purchase a coffee machine and make it at home for far less cheaper. Also, eat at home more often. If it costs $25 on average to dine at a restaurant, but only $5 to eat in, that's $20 you save each month. Be sure to choose less expensive restaurants if you choose to dine out. (Posted: 10/29/08)
15. Take advantage of perks at grocery stores. When shopping at Hiller's Markets, bring your own bag and save 5 cents off your order. It is good for each bag that you re-use. When shopping at Busch's, make sure to get your FREE coffee and cookies upon walking it. Studies show that people who go to the grocery store hungry end up buying more. So get your coffee and cookies and you will spend less! When shopping at Joe Randazzo's, sample fruit and vegetables before buying. Only try one of each item. Not any more than that. Cut out coupons and take them to your grocery store. Some grocery stores will double your coupons or even triple them up to 50 cents. If you have a coupon for 50 cents off an item, it could be worth as much as $1.50 off. (Posted: 10/22/08)
14. Unplug your cell phone charger immediately when your battery is done being charged. It still drains electricity even when the battery is fully charged until it is unplugged. A study shows that 5% of the power used by the charger ends up going to the battery while the other 95% is wasted as it remains plugged in. Another option is to plug it into a power strip then switch it off. Most chargers have a light that indicates if the battery is done or not. However, it remains on anyways. A cell phone charger was recently blamed for a house fire in Delaware. The best idea is to plug it in only when you are home. If you leave the house, anything can happen including a major fire. There are 190 million cell phones in the United States. You can save on your electric bill simply by unplugging your cell phone charger in time. (Posted: 10/15/08)
13. When dining at restaurants, be sure to save your receipt and fill out the survey afterwards by phone or online. Companies actually do care about what you say. Many of them will make changes if you say something was wrong. Workers can get raises if they do a great job or even get fired if they did something wrong. Many restaurants will offer you something free on your next visit in. Burger King will offer you a free Whopper or french fries. White Castle will offer you two free White Castle burgers. Many other restaurants have similar programs. Most times, it will only take about 5 - 7 minutes of your time. Some of the questions will give you a choice of 1 to 5 stars and it can be tedious. Just write down the code they will give you at the end of the survey and mark it on your receipt. Bring it in next time and you'll get free food! (Posted: 10/8/08)
12. Wash your dishes by hand instead of using a dishwasher. According to the California Energy Commission's web site, 80 percent of the energy that your dishwasher uses goes to heat the water. If you wash by hand, you are saving lots of money on your electric bill which totals about 346 kilowatts per year. That is about 4% of the average household electricity use. The only down side is that a dishwasher uses less water, it can sanitize dishes better and it saves you time. If you are in a rush, use the dishwasher. If you have time to spare, wash them by hand and it will save you money. Remember not to use too much soap when washing by hand. It is recommended to have one sink full of soapy water and one with clean water for rinsing. If you run the faucet for the entire time that you are cleaning each and every dish, you are going to be paying more in water. Now you can clean your dishes and save money too! (Posted: 10/1/08)
11. Switch to new compact fluorescent light blubs (CFLs) in your house. If every American replaced just one light bulb with a compact fluorescent one, we would saee enough energy for light over 3 million homes for a year and over $600 million in annual energy costs. These new fluorescent bulbs use 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. You will save $30 or more in electricity costs for each new bulb. There are different sizes and shapes of these new bulbs for indoors and outdoors. There are even CFLs designed for three-way lights. You can purchase CFL bulbs at just about any store. They are more costly than standard bulbs but they will save you in the long run. For more info, visit the website. (Posted: 9/24/08)
10. When shopping, buy in bulk not single items. The large quantity items you purchase, the lower the price will be per item. Many retailers indicate the price per unit on their shelf tags. Sam's Club and Costco are great places to shop. Both stores offer most of their items in large quantities -- therefore you get to save money and make less trips to the store. Examples of items you can buy in large quantities include canned food, candy, paper towel, toilet paper, pop and just about anything. If it comes as a single item, chances are you can get it in bulk. Although warehouse clubs charge a fee to become a member, you are really saving money in the long run. (Posted: 9/17/08)
9. When buying something, check at several stores first. Write down all the prices of what you need at different retailers. Then, buy from th cheapest store. Also, check After typing in the name of an item, the website will show you a list of all the websites that have that item with the prices for each one. It also includes shipping charges. This is good for just about everything -- books, music, electronics, appliances, computer accessories and much more. Just one more way to save money on everyday items. Do not make quick purchases at only one store, it could cost you! (Posted: 9/10/08)
8. Don't run your air conditioner at your house at nighttime. Open your windows if its cooler outside. It's cheaper and it will save you on your electric bill. You can also use a ceiling fan or wear lighter clothing. Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or above. You can save 20-25 percent off your electric bill by raising it five degrees. Close drapes and blinds during the day. Put up screens that reflect the heat during the day. Just one more way to save money on your electric bill and keep your house cool at the same time. (Posted: 9/3/08)
7. Greeting cards can cost a fortune these days. Instead of purchasing greeting cards at major retailers or Hallmark card shops, buy them from the dollar store or at Aco Hardware. Those two stores offer greeting cards for 50 cents each or 2 for $1. The savings will add up fast if you have lots of relatives or friends. Why pay $4.99 for a greeting card when you can get one that's just as nice for only 50 cents. Some discount retailers are also offering greeting cards for 99 cents. If you really want to save money, you can send an online greeting card. Be aware because some greeting card websites require you to join and may charge you a monthly fee. Look for the ones that say "free". (Posted: 8/27/08)
6. Purchase a contract cell phone with the lowest amount of minutes. Then, make calls only when its an emergency. Sign up for unlimited text messages. Instead of calling people, send them text messages throughout the day because they are free. When non-peak hours begin at 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., depending on your service, then make calls. Calls during non-peak hours will be free and will not be deducted from your monthly calling period. Cell phones can be expensive. It's one more way to save money each month. Don't ever go over your minutes again...send text messages instead. (Posted: 8/20/08)
5. If you live close to work, take your bike instead of driving. Not only will you be helping the environment, you will get exercise that will help you live longer. Another option is walking to work. Many people are resorting to walking or taking a bike to work with these high gas prices. Lessen your dependence on foreign oil by using one of those two methods of getting to work. Remember to bring a lock for your bike. Also, get lights for the front and rear of your bicycle so that others can see as you ride after dark. It's one more way to save on gasoline. (Posted: 8/13/08)
4. When going to a fast food restaurant, order everything off the dollar menu. Meals can actually cost $1 or $2 more. If ordering everything separately, the savings add up. You can actually create your own meal by selecting items off the dollar menu. Go to McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's or Taco Bell. Rumors are that McDonald's may be getting rid of it's dollar menu before the end of the year. So you order off it while you still can! Some of the items on dollar menus may be healthy for you. McDonald's features a side salad and a fruit 'n yogurt partfair on it's dollar menu. Burger King also offers a side salad on it's dollar menu. Finally, Wendy's offers a side salad and a caesar side said on it's value menu. (Posted: 8/6/08)
3. When buying textbooks, find out what you need then go to to find the cheapest price. It will give you a listing of all the sites that sell the book you are looking for with the shipping rate included for a total out-the-door price. Don't order from school bookstores. They can charge you as much as double the price. Order from many different online bookstores as possible. Although is the largest online bookstore, it may not be the cheapest. Also, check, and for more great deals. (Posted: 7/30/08)
2. Before going to a festival or concert, eat at a fast food restaurant. Food at festivals can cost as much as $4 - $8 just for a hot dog or hamburger. Many large events require you to purchase food and beverages at the venue. Most do not allow you to bring in food and beverages from home or outside restaurants. If you eat at a nearby fast food restaurant, you can order from the dollar menu and the savings will add up. Especially if you have a big family. Definitely eat before you go. (Posted: 7/23/08)
1. Don't use the air conditioning while driving in your car. Open the windows instead if possible. Air conditioning can use as much as 10% more fuel. On city roads and neighborhood streets, just roll the window down. On the highway, use the A/C because having your window down will slow down your car and require more fuel. (Posted: 7/16/08)


A Brand New Savings Tip Every Wednesday!


's Mike Ismair offers one new savings tip each week. We know the economy is tough. This is our way to help you Save Your Money.



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