With holiday season looming before us, many are considering what they can do to cut costs and start saving up for all those extra holiday goodies.
Below are some money saving tips to make sure you’re ready for those extra expenses. They’re all fairly simple, none of them will require you to downgrade your standard of living, and one of them will even help you get in better shape.
Spending Less, Getting Fit
1) Invest in alternative forms of transportation. I promise that despite what your politicians are claiming, oil prices will continue to go up. Given that my local price per gallon is sitting at the bargain rate of $3.68, which totals up to roughly $60 per month on my short drive to work. Add that into any other local driving you might do and you could easily be looking at double that amount, not including the regular maintenance and insurance as well. Suddenly riding a bike or taking public transport seems a little more appealing.
Today a good sturdy bike, such as the Motobecane Jubilee Trail, can be had for just a few hundred dollars. If you’re willing to brave the dark halls of Craigslist, you might even be able to come away a little cheaper. Then it’s just $60 for a decent lock and you are ready to ride. The real quicker in all of this is that riding a bike opens up new routes. Personally my drive was cut down from a meandering 8 miles to a mere 2.5 as parks and nature trails were suddenly open road.
Saving Money Doesn’t Have to Suck
2) Now, if you decide that biking is the way for you then there is one thing in particular you might notice. It’s very hot, and not too long from now it will become cold as well. Now depending on your geographical location one of these seasons is bound to be worse than the others, and as temperatures become more extreme so too does your electric bill. So, how do you save your pennies while also keeping the magic cold air box blowing?
Well first you can be aware of vampire electronics. These are devices that pull energy even after you’ve powered them off, and just like a leaky faucet can inflate your bill. These devices range anywhere from your coffee pot to your inkjet printer, and can account for nearly 10% of your home energy bill according to the US Department of Energy. To combat these devices unplugging is always an option, but less than desirable. Instead, you might invest into a Smart Power strip such as the Smart Strip SCG32. These devices work by monitoring total power draw and cutting power entirely when the threshold level drops to below an operating range.
3) While on the subject of energy vampires, let’s talk about the energy suppliers. Chances are there are a few competing utilities provides in your area, and there’s nothing like a new customer to start bringing up discounts. At this point price research is key, and don’t be bamboozled into an intro rate that comes with a more expensive contract down the road. This is where services like Energy Helpline really shine, whether you’re switching your home or business electricity provider. Armed with new pricing, try contacting your current provider and see if you can’t get a better deal. If they acquiesce then your task is complete, if not then you’re a simple phone call away from a cheaper bill.
4) Buy your dry goods in bulk! This goes for college bachelors as well as parents. Markups on things such as cereal and pasta are as much as 50% higher than their big box store cousin. If such items as pasta or rice are big staples in your household you could be looking at a serious savings. While you might be tempted, avoid items that spoil quickly such as mayonnaise or fruits. There’s no sense in letting food go to waste, which simply translates into money in the bin.
Hopefully some of these quick tips help to stretch that paycheck a little farther each week. Remember, watch for sales, reduce your energy expenditures, stock when you can, and don’t be shy about service hopping to save some dosh.
[Photos by Carlton Reid, Tejvan Pettinger, Amazon, and Anna]