Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spending 'Cents', Common Money Wasters

I am always looking for ways to scale back a bit. Especially now that I am unemployed. I was reading an article recently by Lori Bongiorno that contained a couple things I hadn't thought of yet. Things I thought maybe others hadn't heard of either and may benefit from regardless of their job situation. So here are some ways you can spend more 'centsfully' and avoid wasting money.

  • Bottled Water. It hasn't been proven in the U.S. that bottled water is safer than tap water. They New York times estimates that it costs someone $1,400 per year to drink eight glasses per day of bottled water vs 49 cents for an annual supply of tap water. A scaled back option would be to install a filter and drink filtered water. It is still healthier and less expensive.
  • Dryer Sheets. They can do more harm than good with the chemicals that are in them that can get in your clothes and then absorbed into your skin. A cheaper and healthier alternative to achieve the same result would be to use distilled vinegar and baking soda in your laundry (1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda). If you want the 'scent' a dryer sheet can give put some of your favorite essential oil onto a piece of fabric and toss it in.
  • DVDs, books, and TV shows. This is a great one. We all know about the library option to save money. You can borrow DVDs and books there for free right. But, that means you have to keep an eye on the due dates. If you don't prefer to do that check out Swaptree. They can help you trade books, movies, music, and video games. You can also eliminate your cable television service. I know you may think this is crazy but trust me I did it and its not that bad. You can see a lot of your favorite shows for free on Hulu. And, depending on which network you watch, you can catch some current episodes online. I love to watching Dancing With The Stars and although my digital converter box does give me basic channels to watch basic TV stations my schedule doesn't allow me to catch this show. Since I don't have cable television to give me the DVR option I just catch up online. ABC has all full episodes of their shows on their website.
  • Trash bags. A necessity for all of us but it doesn't mean we have to pay for them. Try using those left over grocery shopping bags that seem to always pile up (instead of throwing them away). I know we all know this but it doesn't mean we actually do it. I am guilty of this. Time to put it into action.
  • Wrapping paper. You can get creative with this one although I am not sure yet whether I am even fully on board (let me know what you think). Look through you house for items to recycle like old maps, sheet music, kids' artwork, newspapers, magazines, paper bags, and more. Wrapping gifts in newspaper or magazines doesn't have to appear tacky especially with a little forethought. Think about the gift recipient. What are they like? Are they a sports fan, gardener, or do they like to read books? Choose relevant images or wacky photos. Paper bags can be cut up and decorated (or not).
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