Saving money is always a good thing unless you’re like my friend Fred who recently told me he’d saved money by purchasing a $500 laptop computer for $400. “Look,” he said, “I just saved $100.” No, when you spend $400 on a computer, you haven’t saved anything. You just spent $400.
Fortunately, there are a number of fairly easy strategies for saving money – money that you could either save or use to pay down debts.
Strategy #1: Cut spending on clothing
Many of us spend more than necessary on clothes. For example, do you always buy brand name clothing? If so, you can save a lot simply by buying “off brand” clothes. It’s like buying generic grocery items – you’ll get the same quality but for less. If you just have to buy brand name clothing, shop in your favorite store’s clearance section. My wife always shops the Nordstrom’s Rack store and saves anywhere from 20% to 40% on top brand name items.
Strategy #2: Buy catastrophic health insurance
One of the biggest ways to save money is by having health insurance. This is because if you have a medical emergency – whether it’s an illness or because you were in an accident – it can cost you so much you’ll have no alternative but to declare bankruptcy. If you don’t already have health insurance, get some. “Catastrophic” health insurance policies are those with high deductibles. They are reasonably priced and could save you from having to pay thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Strategy #3: Save money on food
Food is what I call a “low hanging fruit” as it’s almost always the easiest way to save money. For example, if you don’t take a grocery list with you when you go shopping, I can promise you’re spending more than you need to. Just sit down at the beginning of the week with your store’s food supplement and plan your menus for the week. Try to build them around items that are on sale. For example, if you see that whole chickens are on sale, buy one, cook it for one dinner and then use the leftovers to fix chicken fried rice the next night. Also, be sure to look for staple items on sale like rice and beans that can be stored for weeks and used as the basis of many meals.
Strategy #4: Save on auto insurance
Your auto insurance company might be willing to lower your premiums if you’ve been with it for some time and have a clean record. Just call your agent and ask. Be sure to also ask about discounts. If you’ve been a safe driver, if you insure your home and auto with the same company or insure multiple cars, you should be eligible for some good discounts. Beyond this, you could increase some of your deductibles. If you just change the deductible on your collision coverage from $250 to $500 you could save quite a bit. If you drive an older car, you might drop your collision coverage entirely, which could cut your insurance cost in half. If you decide to do this, you might want to save the money you would have spent on that coverage to build a fund you could use for repairs or a new vehicle – should you have a bad accident. This is called being “self insured.”
Strategy #5: Save money on phones and cable
If you have both a landline and a cell phone, why not drop the landline? Ours is currently costing us nearly $50 a month. If we could drop it (there are reasons why we can’t), we would save $600 a year. Also, be sure to take a good look at the cost of your cell phone. You might be able to save money by reducing your monthly minutes. If your family has kids that text a lot, consider changing to one of those new plans where you get so many minutes a month, some number of megabytes of data and unlimited text messaging.
A strategy for dealing with debt
If you’re having a big problem with debt, the best strategy we know is to let our debt consolidation providers help. We’re so certain they can help you become debt free in a reasonable amount of time that we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Call us today for more details or fill in the form on this page for a free debt analysis and estimate.