The Economy is bad.
“Blah, blah, I`ve heard of that already, Zambini. Heck, I`m living it! I don`t need any nasty reminders.” Calm down, there, no need to get your hat in a twist! I`m not some mean person who plans to throw around cruel statements without any reasoning. It was deliberate, it was deliberate. (That was some kind of movie quote, but I actually forget which movie! Maybe I need Neville`s remembrall! [Harry Potter movie/book 1])
I`ve not just got jerky things to say- I have cool ideas to back them up. Very cool ideas. Ways and means to cut some bills. I know you`ve thought of the basics and looked at your spending (because I know you are brilliant like that!) and cut out a few basics, like your wildly expensive frou frou coffee- you have coffee, creamer, sugar, and whipped cream at your house already for loads less money- and your wardrobe may have gone without new acquisitions, or at least downgraded from your Thakoon to scourging the internet for some discounts or knock offs of designer stuff. Those are all good steps to take. But I think it is now time to take that to the next level. To cut off some spare cash that you can put into something more important to you, like cutting down on stressful credit card debt or saving up for an amazing Spring Break trip.
1. Down grade your movie experience: cut down how often you go to the theater, switch from cable, downgrade cable plans or hula/ netflix plans.
I`m not saying that you have to cancel the cable and avoid the cinema like the plague, just cut down on how often you go. Instead of going every month, say, only go when you see previews of a movie you are just dying to see. That cuts me down by at least a few months before I visit again. For example, in the last three months, the only movies I saw were the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and The Guardians. And that was actually a lot for me! I average three or five movies a year. Again, though, this isn`t all about torturing you! If you normally go every week, start by cutting to every other week. We don`t want you getting any heart attacks from the strain of withdrawal!
2. Do your own trash pickup.
This is only plausible for areas that have a government, rather than private, run dump or landfill that lets non commercial customers in. Basically, instead of paying $60 or so a month for someone else to pick up your trash, you drive it there in the back of your pick up truck yourself. That way you only pay for a cheap use fee- normally about $5- and the cost of gas. I find it works great for me since I`m still at home and can switch off with Tree Man– my Dad, I felt he needed a cool code name like my Mom Frugal Frau and my sister Dorm Girl– with the fun chore of taking out the trash. Sometimes we deal with the actual garbage, too! 🙂 Of course, if you pay homeowner association fees in your neck of the woods, and garbage removal is included in the cost, don`t pay for the same service twice!
3. Do your own cleaning/ yardwork, or switch to teen/preteen labor.
Do the downgrade that makes the most sense for you. If you do all the work yourself, all you`ll have to pay for is tools and materials; if you can`t afford to use your time that way, you can hire an eager teen or preteen to take care of the work. You may want to give them a smaller task first, just to be sure they are responsible and will finish the job the way you like. With workers like this, you`ll need to lay out all your expectations very precisely. You may want to walk through the job with them and help them to record a checklist. Be forewarned: you`ll be trading a perfect job (presuming that`s what your service gave you) for a good enough job.
You could also trade with friends for some peer labor! If you were to offer pizza and cookies and make a real party out of it, you`d probably get plenty of volunteers that will do a rather good job, and have a fun experience at the same time!
4. Do your own hair and nails, and switch from expensive brands like Matrix to something that is equally good, but a knock off or otherwise cheaper.
It`s easy to be sold on a fancy label and ‘futuristic technology’, but many of the knock off brands were literally made in the same factory, on the same production line, with the exact same product. They just ended in different bottles. And if you can`t stomach leaving your favorite brand and bottle behind, you can always search through the intern
et. I found NouveauCheap`s blog, and I`m pretty impressed with the cool sales and knockoffs kept track of. I know the experience of online shopping isn`t as fun as looking through the store, but it can be really exciting to have a whole lot of beauty goodies arriving at your door. Keep in mind, of course, that it is best to buy multiple products at a time, to save on shipping. OR you can opt for an in-store delivery, with those stores that provide the service, and usually not pay a cent of shipping at all! Wait until you are low on quite a few of your products so they can be shipped all at once. Another thing to remember is that you don`t really need to have five spare bottles of your favorite shampoo hanging out on the shelves. Now that you have them, you might as well keep them- just don`t buy anymore until you are down to only one spare bottle.
Speaking of nails, a great back up present (you know, the little supply of presents for when you remember a birthday the day of the birthday) you could gather up the stuff to make this manicure in a jar! You can also look at my post Talons of Steel for my favorite tips for fighting nail biting and picking, as well as growing long nails the natural way.
5. Switch your phone bill!
It may be time to go to a prepay system like Track Phone or Cricket. Yes, you won’t have unlimited texting, but you will have limited your debt. Another solution is to use your tablet/ laptop as your phone. If you already use your tablet as your main gadget, this may be worth it. There are several free programs available to do your texting while shrinking your bills through free service, and my favorite happens to be Google’s sms texting platform, which is connected to the email platform. You can also use Google voice, as is explored in this article. You have to go to the ‘labs’ tab and select sms, and choose to turn that capability on.
What`s your favorite way to save money without depriving yourself of all joy and becoming a money grubbing zombie?