Everyone is looking for new and creative ways to save money these days. You don’t need to devise an elaborate budget that will have your family wondering if you’ve turned into Ebenezer Scrooge overnight. Some times the best ways to save are the same things people have been doing for years - before 'frugal' was a cool word.
Here are 10 quick and painless ways to save some money right now:
Buy in bulk. Warehouse stores are great for items you use frequently, such as toilet tissue, napkins, garbage bags, and certain cleaning products. Most require a membership before you can shop there. They’re worth the nominal membership fee.
Pay cash. Leave the plastic at home and try using cash for a week. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in your spending. Here’s a hint—once your wallet is empty, your shopping is over for today.
Make the most of after-season sales. The stores will soon be getting ready for the summer, so now’s the perfect time to start checking out the clearance racks for a new winter coat or those beautiful leather gloves you strongly hinted for at Christmas but didn’t get. You can find some incredible sales at the end of each season, so keep your eyes open for bargains.
Swap or barter. Maybe you want to learn to cook but formal lessons aren’t in your budget. Ask your neighbor the chef if she’s willing to teach you a few things. In exchange, offer to baby-sit her kids a few nights every month or take them to school with your kids for a week.
Bye-bye brand names. Whether it’s clothing or food, don’t get hung up on the brand. In the grocery store, generic cereals and canned goods are just as good as the (more expensive) brand names. For clothing, it might be a good time to ditch the designer jeans for a more comfortable, and less pricey, pair.
Eat "out” at home. Most of us have at least a few cookbooks gathering dust in our pantry. Dust them off and try out a few recipes. Cooking at home is a much more affordable solution to eating out. Invite friends or family over for a real dinner party.
Carpool. A good way to save money, fuel, and to get to know your co-workers.
“Shop” in your closet. Admit it—you have more than a few items in your closet that you just had to have, but somehow you forgot about them. Dig them out, cut off the tags, and put a few outfits together. Your co-workers will never know you bought some of it six months ago.
Visit the farmers’ market. Farmers’ markets are a great place to buy fresh produce, flowers, and almost anything else you can think of. They’re also a nice way to support your local farmers and keep your dollars in your community.
Mend or fix, don’t replace. We’re quick to throw things out if they’re broken, torn, or ripped. Look again—it might be an easy fix. Why throw it away? Try to fix it first.