Life is hard, and it is expensive – we all know that. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be that expensive. There are some small tips that can help lower your daily, monthly and yearly costs just by changing some of your habits or investing in small equipment that will do the work for you. So, if you are tired of always running out of money when you most need it, read on and try to apply some of the advice we offer you.
Pay with cash instead of using a card
Next time you find a super-cute top that has a 15% discount and you find yourself reaching for your credit card – stop right there! There were some researches that showed that when you use your card to pay for your goods – you don’t feel like you are actually spending money. Why not think again before buying it (give it a day, another study showed that if you still like it tomorrow, it is in fact a true feeling), and if you still really want it, take your money – your paper money. Credit cards will not make a barrier in your brain saying that you are actually spending your hard-earned cash, this is why you should avoid using them as much as possible.
Buy car at the end of the month
If you have decided to buy a new car, why not wait until the end of the month? It is not such a long time and it may save you some cash. If you are wondering what could possibly be the difference in the price on the first day and the last day – there’s a catch. If the dealer sold less than he was supposed, he will be prepared to lower the price of the vehicle just so he can meet his quota. This way, you will be happy because of your new car, and the dealer will be happy because… well, he didn’t lose his job.
Plant a tree next to your house
Does your air-conditioning bill go through the roof in summer? Well, there is a way to save up to 35% just by being a tree-hugger. Just kidding, no need to hug them, all you have to do is plant them west of your house and wait for them to grow. In the summer you will be positively surprised when you realize that the tree is blocking a lot of heat and that your house is no longer requiring air-conditioning, or at least not as much as it used to before this ecological idea came to your mind. Seriously, you can’t lose at this one – except for the heat, that is.
Get gift cards with a discount and then give them – to yourself
There are numerous sites online that sell gift cards with a great discount, like CardCash, CardHub and GiftCardGranny. What they do is allow the people who received these cards as an actual gift, but don’t need them, to sell them – and they do it at seriously low costs: you can get a $100 gift card for $50, for example. Why give it to someone else if you can save up what isn’t a small amount at all? Also, you can wait for another off-whole-store deal at the store that you have the gift card for, and pair it up to get even better discounts. It is time you treated yourself a little, for a change.
Save up on your default Summer and Winter temperatures
Whether it is too hot or too cold outside, we all like to run into our house and warm up/cool down and enjoy the perfect temperature. The thing is – the temperature doesn’t have to be perfect for you to enjoy it. We usually make the summer temperature around 5 degrees lower than necessary, and the winter one around 5 degrees hotter. If you set your temperature to be a bit higher/lower, you will save immensely. You can save up to $30 per month – and you can spend the money on a new bikini!
Lower the brightness on your HDTV or LCD
Your TV brightness is set to high brightness and contrast by default, and this mode is known as the “Torch Mode”. To lower your electricity bill, lower both of them manually. Instead of the Torch Mode, set your TV up for home use by choosing Standard, Cinema or Movie Mode. Also avoid Dynamic and Vivid modes – they are usually used to show off the TV’s quality in brightly lit stores, but you don’t really need it in your home with normal lightning. By changing these settings you will not affect the quality of the image shown – you will still be able to see everything perfectly, but you won’t be spending as much electricity… and money.
Unplug the devices you are not currently using
While we are talking about TV, here’s another tip: all the devices that just stay plugged in without being used do something called vampire charges. Sounds scary, and it is, because it spends your money for no reason whatsoever. So, your microwave, toaster, coffee pot, TV, computer, as well as game consoles, cell phones and iPads all spend lots of energy while they are plugged in doing nothing. In fact, it adds up to around $10 billion per year! So, either learn to always unplug, or if you don’t feel like doing that all the time, invest in a smart power strip, which will automatically down-power your electronics when it senses that they are not being used. Just remember, it is definitely cheaper than all the vampire charges you will get on your bills if you don’t do something about it.
Put your change in a jar
Don’t spend the change you always keep in your wallet – move it to a jar and it will add up faster than you think. It can be a small daily routine that takes less than a minute but this money can come in handy when you are just lacking a little to pay for some bills. Actually, why not do this with $5 bills as well? You will be rich in no time, just by saving up on small things. Also, you can make a swear jar for the whole family and save some extra cash – a $5 for every swear word is not much per person, and it will also help your loved ones, especially the kids, learn that swearing comes with a price.
Smart airfare Googling
This may seem like a crazy thought, but apparently, the airline companies can see if you have been browsing for a while and they will raise their prices accordingly. It does sound a little 1984-ish, but the good thing is that you can stop it. The trick is very easy: when you are trying to book a flight, what you should do first is clear your browsing history and clear cache. This way, the Big Brother won’t be able to see how desperate you are to book the cheapest possible flight for Paris in the next 15 days. Some say that you can save up to $50 simply by following this rule. It is worth it, don’t you think?
When it comes to travels, there are millions of advice on how to save up on everything from plane tickets (see the note above) to hotels, motels, food and different fees. One way that pretty much covers all of the above is couch surfing. There is a whole network on the internet that can help you find the best match for your needs and make your travels both cheap and interesting. And, in the end, you never know if this will be the way you meet your soul mate… or at least start a friendship that will last for a lifetime. Needless to say, if you are worried about getting stuck with some crazy psychopath, just check their ratings and avoid those with negative comments…
Switch from incandescent to LED bulbs
The LED bulbs may be more expensive in the beginning, but buying them will pay off big time. They will last about 20 times as long and spend around 20% of the electric energy that incandescent bulbs use. So, invest a little more money and you will have to change your bulbs around 5% as often as before – and you will also save some time that can be used for doing something more productive than running to the store because your bulb broke… again. The LED bulbs are also ecology-friendly, free of any dangerous chemicals, they produce very little infrared light and almost no UV emissions. So – healthy, durable and energy efficient for a little more money. Do the math.