Taken a look at the deodorant aisle in the grocery store these days? It is packed with gels, creams, sticks and sprays. You’ve got extra-strength and clinical strength and day-long protection and all at a very nifty little cost to you. Skip the expense and just apply a quick blanket of generic baking soda under each arm every morning. Same result at a fraction of the cost.
Get a Cash Back Gas Card
If you’ve got a car, you know you’re going to spend money filling it up anyway. This unavoidable expense should at least give you some return, right? Find a credit card that returns a percentage of the money you have to shell out. Some cards can grant you a return of as much as 5%. This one is a no-brainer. Why spend money you have to spend without making some of it back when you absolutely, positively do not have to?
Beat the ATM Drain
If you find yourself heading to the ATM to get cash on a regular basis and you are being charged for the privilege of having access to your money, the first thing to do is try to find a bank that doesn’t charge you. If that proves impossible, then do an audit over the course of a few month of how much cash you draw from an ATM. Now add up how many different times you accessed an ATM and how much you were charged. All that is required to beat the banks as their nasty little fixed game and keep a few bucks in your account each month instead of watching it slip away from absolutely no reason is to withdraw the average amount you get from an ATM per month.
Trust a Moisture Sensor Instead of Dryer Timer
Your clothes dryer is a masked bandit stealing money from you every month. You depend on the dryer to tell you when the clothes are dry, but how often are the clothes wet when the dryer goes off? Forget relying on a timer that may be wasting precious dollars each month drying clothes that are already dry. A moisture sensor will cut off the system when the clothes are dry, not when the timer says the clothes are dry. Over the course of a year, this little trick could save you significant amounts of money as well as make the clothes themselves last longer.
Increase Effectiveness of Cheaper Kitty Litter
Instead of buying more expensive kitty litter, go down in price. Then add some baking soda and, voila!, you have just created a product that is almost certainly going to be as effective as the expensive brand name product.
Look into getting protection against bank account overdrafts if you find yourself bouncing more checks lately. The fees that banks charge for checks that bounce have become downright criminal. Look into any kind of protection that your bank offers. If your bank does not offer protection or only does so at an exorbitant cost, flush them down the sewer and look elsewhere.
Invest in Task Lighting
Do you find yourself reading beneath an overhead lamp that is wasting energy by lighting the 90% of the room where you ain’t? Invest in some small lamps, use more energy efficient CFL bulbs and direct the light only toward where it is needed. Why waste money illuminating an entire room when you only need light right in front of you?
Insulate Your Water Heater
Depending on how old your water heater is and how much you use it, you could potentially save dozens of dollars per year simply by wrapping the water heater in what is known as an insulating jacket. The energy that emanates from an older water can be substantial and substantially wasted. That waste becomes evidence with each month’s arrival of the water bill. Insulate the sucker good and start watching your bill go down immediately. It may only be a few dollars per month, but over the life of your time spent there, the savings can be huge.
Save Receipts and Shop Where Refunds are Easy
If you make a habit of storing every store receipt where you buy merchandise you can return, you will be more likely to return items you discover you don’t want. Make a habit of shopping only at stores that have an easy return policy and one the preferably allows return up to a month after purchase. After 30 days, you should know whether that impulse purchase is really something you want for the long term or not. You might be surprised at just how much merchandise you are willing to return if you don’t have to make an effort to locate the receipt. By storing all your receipts in one place and preferably catalogued by date and store, you psychologically create a state of mind in which getting a refund on merchandise you decide you don’t want becomes a natural part of the process.
Buy Whole Chickens
Do you eat a lot of chicken? Rather than buying pre-cut chicken parts, invest in a whole chicken and cut it yourself. Invest in some quality shears to help butcher the bird and you get the exact same food for potentially half the price. Once you get used to the unpleasantness task of cleaning and cutting the bird, this means of saving money becomes a task you don’t even think twice about.