Thursday, June 04, 2009

Personal Finance - Week I

From The Complete Tightwad Gazette, p. 19:

Most of these either don’t apply to me personally or to people in this day in age, but there are a couple that may work for us.

10 Painless Ways to Save $100 This Year

1. Purchase 10 Articles of clothing at thrift shops and yard sales this year instead of paying department store prices.

This is a good one because often times you can find new/like new clothes at thrift shops and yard sales. For example, I recently purchased a pair of Banana Republic jeans from the DI that appeared to have never been worn. If I remember correctly, it seems like the creases from the store were still visible. Even if I would never have purchased them new from BR I saved the difference between their cost and the cost of a pair at my usual stopping place – Old Navy.

2. Hang four loads of laundry per week instead of using your dryer.

Not too hard, but I would guess that with appliances with today’s efficiencies, you’d be hard pressed to add this up to $100/year.

3. Once a month make a pizza from scratch instead of having one delivered.

Alison makes the best barbecue chicken pizza. One of my very favorite meals. And we’ve even found a compromise on how much wheat flour she uses in her dough. It’s also been fun for everybody in the family (Kate excluded) to make their own pizza on a Friday night. While it may be cheaper than delivery, I’ve got a hard time knowing when to stop adding more cheese to my personal pan pizza..

4. Write a good letter instead of making a monthly long-distance phone call.

Or, how about an email?

5. Reduce your soda consumption by four cans per week.

We rarely drink soda, and if I do buy it, it means there was a killer deal on Peach Fresca.

6. Bake one batch of bread (two loaves) per week.

Unless you are baking bread and dough often you won’t save money. You’ve got to be able to buy your yeast in bulk and not waste it for this to be a frugal tactic.

7. Save $50 each on two children's birthday parties by making homemade decorations, cake, wrapping paper, and one present.

This year Ada will be getting a homemade paper-mache Minnie Doll (cost – minimal) for her birthday and Kate will be getting a bag of old screws and nails I’ve been collecting (cost – free).

8. Reduce your smoking by three cigarettes per day (or give up smoking altogether and save even more).
9. Reduce your whole milk consumption by two gallons per week, substituting dry milk in cooking, homemade cocoa mix, and in half-and-half for drinking.

We don’t currently do this and I’m not sure that we’re to the point that we ever will do this. If you’ve got to cut money from your budget, this is a great way to do it.

10. Pack four inexpensive school lunches per week.

I’ll substitute work lunches for school lunches (and note that this is an area where I can improve). There are so many ways to make a lunch cheap (no processed or pre-packaged foods) and most of the time the lunch is healthier, tastier and better for the environment with less packaged waste. Of course, you would reuse and re-wash your baggies from your lunch.


Trever and Heather said...

I'm going to give up smoking ASAP now. This was just the motivation I've been needing!

Alysia said...

Good tips ty. I especially like the birthday gifts!

JTENMAN said...

I spend about .50 a day on lunch. Let's just say a combination of ramen and hot dogs do the trick :).

Tim said...

Very enlightening. I will definitely have to try out some of those.

Anna said...

I like this list. As for bringing your own lunch to work, I've found that bringing my lunch in reusable tupperware containers, rather than plastic bags, saves money on bags and is a little better for the environment as well. If you REALLY want to reuse and reduce, you could be like my mom and only use old yogurt and sour cream containers instead of buying tupperware.