Make your saving automatic
Have your employer take out 5% of your paycheck and put it directly into a savings account. As your budget allows, gradually increase your savings to 10% of your income. Put any extra money from yard sales, hobbies, raises at work, bonuses and any other outside income in your savings account too. You didn't have the money before, so you won't miss it by putting it into savings.
Pay with cash, not credit
Get used to living within your means by paying for things with cash or debit. If you created a budget, your income should be able to cover the things that you plan on buying.
- There are many online merchants that sell all kinds of used merchandise. They indicate the condition of their merchandise by describing it as 'New,' 'Like New,' 'Very Good,' 'Good' etc. Usually there are pictures too. Previous customers rate their satisfaction with online merchants. You can trust that a merchant with a 99% approval rating for hundreds or thousands sales.
- Consignment shops are a great place to find used items. Most consignment shops won't accept items that don't have a brand name or are in poor condition.
- Many churches also have consignment days where they sell clothing and other articles.
- Flea markets are an excellent source of both new and used items, and you can often buy in bulk.
- Bargains can also be found at neighborhood garage sales.
- Community bulletin boards in your local grocery store or library are a great place find items for sale.
- Your local newspaper still has a classified section for used items.
Wait before buying
Don't buy a newly released item and pay the premium price. After an item has been on the market for a while the price often drops.
General spending advice
- Bring a bagged lunch to work instead of going out.
- Instead of purchasing Christmas and birthday gifts, prepare a special meal for your loved ones.
- Use public transportation instead of a car. You will save money on gasoline and parking.
- Carpool with co-workers.
- Share weekend grocery shopping trips with friends and neighbors to reduce gasoline costs.
- Roll down car windows rather than using the A/C whenever possible.
- Wash clothes in cold water rather than hot.
- Fix leaky faucets.
- Purchase energy saving appliances.
- Buy frequently used items in bulk when they are on sale (toilet paper, paper towels, canned goods).
- If you have a lot of electronic devices, buy rechargeable batteries.
- Buy compact fluorescent light bulbs. They use less energy and last longer than a regular light bulb.