Adding Up the Savings
The best way to save money is to set it aside in a special account. Put ten percent of every paycheck into the account first. Using direct deposit saves time and the need to remember to transfer the money. The account can become an emergency fund. Having an extra piggy bank to tide over any unexpected costs can help during hard times.
Saving electricity and water also saves money. The best way is to unplug any unused appliances, especially chargers that aren’t in use. Drive less and save on gas. Do more than one errand on the same trip. It saves time and money.
Bringing lunch is healthy than eating out. Take out costs a lot more than just the time it takes to line up. Using a reusable container and utensils helps the environment and saves money. Drinks are also expensive. Buy a travel mug and bring a drink instead of buying one at the corner.
Getting Things Free
Take advantage of the many free things available online. Paying bills online is a free service that helps save postage. There is no need to subscribe to a newspaper when the news is free to read. Through the Freecycle Network, people can get things for free. Members give away things they don’t want that others can reuse, helping to keep good things out of the landfills.
The library is the perfect place for getting free entertainment. Books, movies, and music are available for patrons to borrow and enjoy. They also provide free programs such as story times, puppet shows, and movie viewings for young children.
Parks are great places to exercise. They provide fresh air, great views, and don’t require membership fees. Sometimes there are free concerts or events at city parks. Bicycling or jogging through the park provides an excellent way of keeping fit.
Many museums are also free on certain days. For the San Francisco Bay Area, the Cable Car Museum, the Chinese Cultural Center Gallery, the San Francisco Fire Department Museum, and the Randall Museum are always free. The Asian Art Museum is free on the first Sunday of every month. The Cartoon Art Museum, Legion of Honor, SF MOMA, Yuerba Buena Center Galleries, Conservatory of Flowers, and the De Young Museum are free on the first Tuesday of every month. The Exploratorium and the Bay Area Discovery Museum are free on the first Wednesday of every month. The California Academy of Sciences is free on the third Wednesday of every month.
How to Shop Smart
The first step in being a smarter shopper is to make a list. Then only buy the things on the list. This prevents last minute shopping urges. Always clip coupons or download them online. Buying store brands can also save money.
Join a shopping club and buy in bulk. Share the shopping with someone else if the packages are too big. If half the food ends up in the trash, it’ll cost even more. Have a waiting period before buying any major purchases. Think it through before buying. Compare prices first, and then consider whether it’s really necessary.
Saving money is a lot easier to do when there’s a plan. Make a list of some things to try and see how much a difference it makes. Try making coffee for a month and deposit what was saved into a savings account. Borrow a movie from the library instead of going to the movies, or buy potato chips in bulk instead of getting them in the vending machine. The savings will add up, but it’s always easier to spend it than to save it. Divide the savings into an emergency fund and one that shouldn’t be touched. Spending less is the real secret to saving money.