Save and Spend: Part 1

Mimi ON Mar 09, 2009 AT 9:30 am

 

Try Cutting back on Starbucks

Try Cutting back on Starbucks

By Bradley Tuck

We bring you some top tips on how to curb your spending so that this year you can still live large even when times are tight.

You’d have to have been hibernating under a glacier to not have noticed that times are tough. The near-collapse of worldwide banking institutions, and the subsequent housing and unemployment meltdowns, have sent most of us into a panic. Unemployment in California stands at  more than 9% , and those lucky enough to still have a job are nervously eyeing their bank accounts and putting any major spending on hold. And yet, if you look rigorously at what you spend your money on without much thought, it’s possible to make some pretty small, and very healthy changes to your  habits that can free up your dollars for more meaningful and memorable purchases. Instead of being a year you want to forget, 2009 might end up being a year to remember, if you follow some of these simple tips.

Batiste

Batiste

SMALL SACRIFICE
Morning, Sunshine! First thing’s first. Buy the largest container of shower gel or shampoo that you have room for. You’ll cut down on packaging, and save money. Stop buying conditioner. Most of the time it makes your hair too limp, but you think you need it because you’ve fried your hair by over washing and blow-drying it. Buy a dry shampoo to use between less frequent washes. The dry shampoo will add lift and volume, and you’ll save money as well as your hair.

If you stop at the coffee shop on the way to work, and pick up a large soy latte, you’re probably parting with more than four bucks a cup. If you throw a muffin into the mix, it’s closer to seven. That means an annual spend of between $1800-$2500. Get a coffee pot, and a travel

Why not try making your own lunch?

Why not try making your own lunch?

cup, and home brew. While you’re brewing the Joe, pack your lunch. You’ll spend about $3 instead of an average of  $8-10. Saving $1300-$1800 a year. Also, making your own lunch gives you a chance to think carefully about what you eat. You might actually move some junk out of your trunk. Don’t take bottled water. Buy a water filter, and refrigerate the stuff from the faucet. You could save at least $350 a year.

If you’re in the habit of smearing your lunch all over your clothes, invest in a ‘Tide’ stain removing pen, and do a little hand washing instead. Many garments with ‘Dry Clean Only’ tags can actually be washed carefully in cool water, and dried flat. Exercise caution, and you’ll save another few hundred dollars a year. Your clothes will last longer too, adding to the saving.

Paul & Joe blazer

Paul & Joe blazer

Speaking of clothes. Go shopping in your own closet, instead of the boutique. Most of us have clothes lurking in the closet waiting to be rediscovered. Throw a party and have your girlfriends bring along their unwanted items, and do a trade. The more friends that join in, the greater the odds of you scoring some great new outfits. What was old to them can be new to you. While you’re at it, raid your mother’s closet. She may have some hidden vintage pieces, long forgotten, that would fit in with fashions eclectic mood right now. Most major designers raid vintage stores for pieces to copy for their collections. Bypass the designer and do it yourself.

Is your back yard really this big?

Is your back yard really this big?

Take a deep breath. Cancel your gym membership. If you drive to the gym just to climb on a running machine, while staring numbly at a sea of sweaty cotton canyons ahead of you, reconvene with Dame Nature. Zipadeedooda! Run in the park, and you’ll get the same workout, but you’ll see flowers and trees, birds, and laughing children. Well maybe we can do without the laughing children, but recent studies suggest that walking or running in the sunshine can have previously unknown health benefits. Vitamin D is produced by the skin in contact with sunlight. It enhances our moods, can help to prevent certain cancers, and there’s evidence to suggest that it could aid in fighting dementia. Sorry, what was I saying? Oh, and you’ll save $360-$800 a year.

Speaking of grass and trees. Is your acreage really so huge that you need a gardener to come once a week to maintain it? If all he’s doing is mowing and blowing, how about this for a radical idea? Buy a push mower for a hundred dollars, and mow the lawn on Sunday. Rake your leaves too. You’ll get some valuable meditative time, a butt lifting and shoulder-toning workout, and you’ll stash away an extra $1200 a year on average.

Click here to read part 2

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