Resolutions #2 and #3 can be tied together: Save Money and Pay Off Debt. Extra cash on hand can go to savings or the credit card bills. But, in the interest of scan-ability, they each get their own post!

Spending Cuts

Everyone knows that the best way to cut spending is to mount a targeted attack against any purveyor of coffee-like beverages.

But if you cannot live without, here are a few other ways to cut back your spending.

Books

I read voraciously. How do you keep down costs? Clearly, library is the best option–it’s free!

For me, I still manage to acquire a great number of tomes. Consequently, my house has as many books as some small library branches. One of the best finds I ever made was PaperBackSwap.com.

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.You post books (e.g., paperback, hardback, audio) with which you are ready to part. When another user requests a book of yours, simply mail it to them to earn credits. Credits you then use, in turn, to request other books for yourself…or as gifts.

So you are getting books for the cost of postage! Much better than a full price bookstore.

You should also check out used bookstores and thrift stores for reading material.

Groceries

You can cut down on your spending by always going with a list to the grocery store. And there’s an app for that!

  • OurGroceries
    • Allows for multiple stores and multiple lists that you can share with your family/roommates. One of the coolest features – you can rearrange your list by aisles as you go so the next shopping trip is that much easier!
    • Available for iPhone, iPod touch, BlackBerry, and Android devices.
  • Top 7 Grocery List Apps for the iPhone from About.com

A few other grocery-related sites:

Clothes

Thrift stores will be my (closet rod’s) downfall. For clothes, cut spending by making the most of what you already have. One way to do that is to take the 30 for 30 Challenge.

Started by a blogger named Kendi in April 2010, the idea is to take 30 items of clothing and only use those 30 items for the next 30 days. If you search the web, you can find a variety of people that documented their Challenge success/attempt.

Finding the “Cheap” Stuff

If you are spending, choose where you are spending wisely.

  • Thrift Stores and Second-hand Shops – Highly recommend them!
  • GasBuddy – Find the cheapest gas prices near you. Android, iPhone, and Blackberry apps available.

Make Your Own Sale

Scour the internet for deals! You can find a large number of bargains when you look for them from manufacturer’s coupons to discount codes to web-only sales.

  • Shopping Tools
  • Entertain Yourself for Less
    • LivingSocial and GroupOn – Both offer local “group-buys” daily including discounts on restaurants, outings, and vacations.
      Fun tip: If you are planning a trip far enough out, subscribe to that city’s LivingSocial or GroupOn for possible activity and dining deals when you visit
      (just check the expiration date before purchasing)!
    • TicketPlace – Local DC area theatres offer day-of /week-of tickets at a discounted price.
    • Goldstar – Discounts on cultural events, available in multiple cities.

Best 4-letter “F” Word

Which is ‘FREE,’ of course. What were you thinking?!

While there may be no such thing as a free lunch, there are a lot of free entertainment options around the DC area.

  • Smithsonian – 15 museums in the DC-area with free admission (though some exhibits and experiences may require payment). Having grown up in the area, I’ve always enjoyed:
  • 100 Free things to do in DC -Sorted by category on the right side of the page
  • Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Series – Free performances almost every day at 6pm in the Kennedy Center. Enjoy the impressive cultural icon without the impressive ticket cost! Take the Metro to Foggy Bottom on the Orange line and catch the Kennedy Center shuttle over.
  • Old Post Office Tower – Dine or shop in the “Pavilion” area, if you wish, but make sure you take the time to ride up the elevator to the observation area since this building is “third in height” in DC.

Share with the Readership

What do you use/do to help you save money? Comment below!