Read these 38 Finances Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Mom tips and hundreds of other topics.
TURN THE TV OFF! Did you know that leaving the television on is the number one electricity waster in the world? When everyone is finished watching television, especially before going to sleep, turn it off. Also turn off your computer when you aren't going to be using it for an extended period of time (like while you're at work). Even in "sleep" mode, computers and monitors will use up a lot of electricity.
You can make your own baby wipes at a fraction of the cost! What you'll need: 1 roll of Bounty Rinse and Reuse cut in half, 2 1/2 cups hot water, 2-3 tablespoons of baby bath, and a resealable container big enough to hold half a paper towel roll. Mix water and baby bath in resealable container. Add in paper towels. Do not take out cardboard insert until the water has saturated the entire roll of paper towels. The insert will then easily peel out. Seal container.
Why buy different cleaners when all you need is an ordinary tube of toothpaste? Miraculous uses for toothpaste that will save you money: polish silver and gold, remove crayon marks from walls, treat acne, remove ink spots from cloth, remove fruit punch "moustaches" from kids, deodorize smelly hands, remove scuffs from shoes, and fill holes in walls.
If you happen to see something that you know would make a good Christmas gift (especially if it's on sale), but the holidays are far off in the future, go ahead and buy it anyway. You'll reduce the amount of money you spend in December, and you'll have one less name on your list of gifts to buy.
A lot of times we get ourselves into debt by thinking that what we want is what we need. The only things in life we need is food, clothing, and shelter. Everything else is in the want category. After you evaluate your expenditures and you find that you are living above your means, see what wants you can eliminate. This doesn't have to be painful, just smart.
If you buy something and it doesn't meet with your approval, return it! A sweater that falls apart after one washing (even though you carefully followed the tag instuctions) can be returned for an exchange whether you have your receipt and tags or not. Food can also be returned if it is defective (moldy, stale, etc.) You are the consumer and you have the right to demand your money's worth. Don't shop in any store that won't honor your request for a refund or exchange.
Invest in a can of spray paint (exterior) to update or renew your personal container gardening baskets. Lay the basket on the grass and spray away. It does not matter how much paint decorates the grass since it will need cutting next week anyway. Repeat as necessary.
Take an envelope (preferrably one you received in the mail and would normally throw away) and write your grocery list on the back side of it. Place any coupons for items on your list inside the envelope. (This is also a time saver, as you won't waste time at the store looking for your coupons.)
Don't throw out used-up lipsticks -- you would be surprised at how much is still in the tube when you think you've used it all up! Dig out the remainder of the tubes with a toothpick and put in a small cup. Melt (a little bit at a time) in the microwave until you can stir them together and re-fill one tube. NOTE: This doesn't seem to work quite as well with the long wearing type of lipstick as it does with the normal wear lipstick.
A different option is to use a lipstick brush to apply what lipstick is left in the bottom of the tube. Retractable lip brushes are the best because you can carry them in your purse without making a mess.
If you are mailing a book to someone (as a gift, for instance) and you aren't pressed for time, you can request that it be send via "book rate mail." This shipping method is one of the cheapest available, typically $2.00 or less for a standard-sized hard cover book. The down side is that you never know how long it will take to be delivered, although a reasonable time frame is 1-2 weeks.
When you go to the grocery store and you're at the check out, write your check for the total BEFORE coupons are deducted. The cashier will give you change for the exact amount you saved. Put it away in your savings account, piggy bank, or wherever. You might be surprised at how quickly those savings add up!
If shopping for furniture, carry a tape measure with you to measure any potential purchases. Also take along a written list of the dimensions for your doorways, rooms, and specific areas you are trying to fill. If looking for collectibles or antiques, bring along an up-to-date price guide so you will be able to tell the difference between a bargain and a rip-off. If you're going to be out a long time (at a large outdoor flea market, for example), consider taking along a brimmed hat, sunscreen, and a supply of water.
Never buy anything from an "endcap" (end of aisle) display in the grocery store, unless it is an advertised sale item. Frequently, stores will put surplus stock on an endcap display with a big colorful sign to make you think it's a sale item. By buying from an endcap, you not only end up paying full price, you also lose your ability to compare prices with other brands.
Buy kids' clothes in the off-season (February-March for winter clothes, August-September for summer clothes) for the following year. Many stores mark down their clothing 75% or more at the end of the season when they want to make room for new merchandise. Remember to buy a size bigger, though, as your kids will grow before they can wear it.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|