Savings = Income - Expenses
I found this great article on Morningstar. For all of you that are looking for ways to reduce your Expenses which will obviously increase the amount of funds you have available to save, read through this article and highlight the ones that you can try.
Some of the most general ones I have indicated below. Many of these I adhere to.
2. If you see something in a catalog that you want to buy, wait a week before ordering to see if you still really want it. - This will help you determine whether it is a 'want' or a 'need'. Most of the time, they are 'wants'.
3. Use the public library to check out movies or books for free. - This resource is highly overlooked. Public libraries are a great source of books and yes, they lend DVDs as well.
7. Compare rates for cable and satellite. Go with the less expensive option. Only sign up for the channels you know you'll watch. - Today, we are bombarded by hundreds of channels, most of them we don't watch. Cut down to a reasonable cable package that works for you. Also, keep in mind that many networks offer the most popular shows online now. Sites like Hulu.com and Joost.com are valuable resources for TV shows.
10. Cut back trips to Starbucks or other premium coffee shops. - Do you really need to pay $5.00 for coffee? Well I leave this up to you. I am not a coffee drinker, but the same applies to eating out. Prepare food at home or even take tea bags to your office and make your own tea or coffee. Hey, I'm just providing options. :)
11. Stop buying clothes that are "dry clean only." Learn to iron. - I bought myself a TOBI steamer. I spent $180 a year ago and I believe I will soon earn a return on my investment in a few months. I have not once gone to a dry-cleaner since I got it. I do iron as well.
12. Don't renew subscriptions to publications you don't have time to read. - I have been collecting Time and National Geographic magazines for a year now; which I have no time to read. These subscriptions were canceled months ago.
14. Make IRA contributions early in the year to take advantage of additional months of tax deferral. - I plan to max out my Roth IRA before the first half of this year. Good investing strategy to earn tax-deferred.
16. Only use ATMs where you won't be charged service fees.- I agree; these little fees do add up. I prefer to walk a distance to my own bank than to go to another that's right across the street. The exercise is good anyway. :)
23. Pay off your credit cards monthly and avoid paying interest. - Obvious. I have a system of paying off my cards in full every month.
24. If you must charge, switch to a no-fee or low-fee credit card. Go to Bankrate.com to compare rates. - The alternative to 23.
34. Participate in company retirement plans to save on taxes. Your taxable income will go down and you'll defer taxes to the future. - This is one way to reduce the amount of money you pay in taxes at yearend. Reduce your taxable income by contributing to an IRA.
35. Take advantage of your employer match in your 401(k) or other retirement plan. - This is free money; contribute AT LEAST the amount necessary to get the employer match.
36. Don't take a loan from your 401(k) plan--you'll save on double taxation of that repaid interest. - I agree totally. Penalties are not worth it.
64. Quit smoking. - Not a smoker, but it is a costly habit.
75. Sell stuff you don't need or use anymore on eBay. - I have started selling off some of my old books. I love to collect stuff, but I have realized if I needed them at some point in the future, I could repurchase them at a much cheaper price. Therefore, I might as well get as much value for it now that I can. Ebay is great. I use Half.com for books as well.
79. Cut back on eating out. - Prepare food at home and save money. It is as simple as that.
80. Be a smart grocery shopper--cut coupons, shop at discount stores, and stock up on sale items. Check out Costco or Sam's Club. - Speaks for itself.
87. Plan your purchases--avoid impulse buying. - Not a time to be buying on impulse; unless you are buying great companies that are cheap in the market. :)
93. Skip paying cab fare now and then. Walk or take the bus. - Take a walk; your heart will appreciate it.
100. Sign up for a Upromise credit card. A percentage of your purchases will go into a college savings fund for your children. - I have had a Upromise card for about a year now. I use it because I know it contributes to my two year old niece's college tuition. I love you Breezy. :)
If you have any comments or other great ideas, share them with us.