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08/04/2008

Simple Savings Tips for Everyday Life

In my circle of friends and family, I know four different families that have been affected by the slump in the economy. Between being laid off of work, having to take jobs that pay way below what they are worth and even foreclosuring the family home, many people across the United States are hurting to pay the bills. Finding extra money is as simple as making cuts in your everyday spending. By taking a look at what you are spending your money on a daily basis you will be amazed by the amount of money that you are needlessly spending.

Let's first look into the all important gas savings. Gas is a big necessity these days, without it many people would not be able to get to work. That being said, while many of us are ready to trade in our SUVs for a more gas efficient or hybrid car, this might not be the best option. In fact, you can cut your driving down a lot buy making sure to plan out your errands. By sitting down and figuring out all the things that you have to do for the week, you can plan your trips so that you do two or three things on one side of town rather than making the trip three different times. Another thing to consider is carpooling or taking public transportation. By joining a carpool or taking the bus you won't have to fill your gas tank as often. If you live close enough to work you can even opt to ride a bike or walk. In a time when gas costs between $3.80 to $4.10 a gallon, this can be a significant savings that can be passed on to paying important bills.

Another place that you can find ways to save money is on food. According to a study done by the National Restaurant Association the average American Family eats out 4.2 times per week. At an average cost of between $4 dollars to $10 dollars and even more, this can cost you over $40 dollars a week extra out of pocket on food. When translated into a yearly expense that is over $2000 dollars that you could save just by taking your lunch with you to work. Making food at home and bringing your own drinks with you will not only help cut down on spending but will also push you to a healthier lifestyle. You can also save a ton of money by not using credit cards. You should instead opt to pay for purchase, no matter how big, with cash. By doing this you will save money on credit card fees and interest rates. This will also make you think twice as to whether or not you really need to make any purchases; teaching you to shop around before making the purchases to find the best price. You will be amazed at the amount of money you will save by planning out big purchases and cutting back on impulse purchases.

There are many things that take money out of your pocket on a daily basis around your home. You can start with your water bill. This can be done by changing out your shower head to a more energy efficient one and cutting down the length of time you are in the shower by 5 minutes (this means only being in the shower for no longer than 10 minutes). By making these little changes you can save around .57 cents a day. While that might not seem like a lot, if you have 4 people living in a home that is over a $2 dollar saving per day. This could add up to almost $800 dollars in savings a year!

Another thing that you can do around your home to put cash back into your pockets is do you own lawn maintenance. In most areas across the U.S. it can cost about $30 dollars to have an average size yard cut and trimmed. If you have your yard mowed and trimmed on a weekly basis it will cost you well over $1000 dollars a year. Then if you want your bushes trimmed, your weeds and leaves removed or whatever tending that your landscaping needs you can think about spending up to $100 dollars or more each time the service is provided. In most cases you will need service at least once every 6 weeks during the spring, summer and fall months. This alone can cost you about $600 dollars extra a season. This means that over the year you will have spent $1600 dollars to have someone else do your lawn.

Taking the time to go through your day to day money spending can really help you to find simple ways to save money that you have been spending probably needlessly. By cutting back your spending on things that you really don't need to (eating meals out, taking long showers, paying for lawn services), you will be surprised by the amount of money that you find you have been wasting. Take that money and pay your bills and put money towards your retirement instead.

Julianne Alzamora has 7 years of experience as a freelance writer. Her articles can be seen in several financial websites about investing, investment strategy, personal finance and topics on real estate.





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