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!
Everyone knows that the best way to cut spending is to mount a targeted attack against any purveyor of coffee-like beverages.
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.
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.
You can cut down on your spending by always going with a list to the grocery store. And there’s an app for that!
- 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:
- Five ways to stretch Your Grocery budget
- Eat on $7 a day or less
- 9 Things You Shouldn’t Buy at Grocery Stores
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!
- ThriftBuddy – Quickly locate thrift stores – this app boasts over 10,000 locations.
- Unique Thrift Stores & Value Village – They have sales on most holidays, like Presidents’ Day or Labor Day. It’s often 50% off everything in store, so get their VIP discount card!
- Goodwill – Greater Washington Retail Stores – Goodwill is a non-profit that provides job training services to folks with disabilities or other disadvantages. A fabulous cause to support with your shopping dollars!
- Salvation Army Retail Stores
- 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
- Coupons – Lots of grocery discounts
- Coupon Network – Also mostly grocery-based
- RetailMeNot – Online shopping discounts codes
- ShopSavvy – A barcode and QR code scanner that allows you to comparison shop on the spot
- 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:
- Air & Space Museum – Listening to the “Planets of the Sun” song. Poor Pluto! I wonder if they’ve updated the lyrics with its demotion.
- Natural History Museum – Scurrying around the Insect Zoo. Love the creepy crawlies!
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden – Staring straight up through a giant tensegrity sculpture. Makes you feel like you belong in the aforementioned insect zoo!
- 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!