For The Love of Money
Spend Less & Save More
Too bad I didn’t think of saving for retirement with my first dollars earned. I was 9 or 10 and instead, I bought a pepperoni pizza and a bottle of coke. I ate my entire earnings. I worked the neighborhood selling cookies. Later on, I sold whatever I could; including tickets to all the shows I wrote, produced and made sure I starred in. By the time I was 11, I was entrepreneurship bound.
I worked my way through college, first as an Avon lady and then selling designer clothing at Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and for Halston himself. With each paycheck I thought I hit the lottery. Some years I saved more than I spent. Others, I spent more than I earned. I thought I was in the money. Looking back, I know that living under one’s means returns the best results of all– money for retirement, also known as peace of mind.
I’ve put together my best tips on how to spend less and save more. Whether time, age or circumstances have forced you to look at money differently–it’s never too late to start over.
1. Pay yourself first. Even if it’s only $5, start a “you” fund and sock money away.
2. At the end of the day, take all your loose change (or dollar bills) and drop them into a huge jar. Unless you have sticky fingers, you’ll save a small fortune in a year’s time.
3. When you’re tempted to make a purchase, ask yourself “Do I want it or do I need it?” Listen to your answer before you forge ahead.
4. Pay with cash! It will force you to think twice before you buy it.
5 Adapt the 14 day rule. Take a wait and see. Chances are you’ll lose interest.
6. Indulge with caution. Just because it’s on sale, does that mean it’s a good value? Would you buy it if it wasn’t on sale? In the long run, it may end up costing you more.
7. Cut out expensive lattes. 3x over the course of a year adds up to $500 plus. Do the math with other must-haves.
8. Shop with a list and stick to it. Plan dinners and stock up on staples according to what’s on special that week.
9. Buy in bulk. You’ll save money and gas on multiple trips to the store.
10. Eat at home. When cooking, double up on the recipe and freeze a batch for another meal (soups, casseroles, lasagna are great items to freeze.)
11. Rather than buying pre-packaged snack packs, prepare your own healthy snacks that have lasting power.
12. Don’t throw out fruit. For instance, that very ripened, gently bruised banana can be peeled, cut up, frozen and added to a smoothie.
(TID BIT: Think of the expression “Going Bananas.” It’s from the effects that a banana has on the brain. It’s a miracle fruit, high in fiber, potassium –a natural sugar and low in salt.)
13. Take lunch to work. It’s cheaper and healthier.
14. Clip coupons and use them.
15. Buy generic–You and your family will save a bundle.
16. Another way to save is to buy one terrific all purchase cleaning product. White distilled vinegar works wonders all around the house and on leather too. Combined with baking soda, on certain surfaces, it doubles its cleaning power.
17. Clean out your closet. Think of the 80/20 rule (you wear 20% of the clothes 80% of the time.) Be ruthless and get rid of what you don’t wear, love or want. You can have a tag sale with the goods, take gently used items to a consignment shop, or even donate them for a tax deduction – all of which turn into money in your pocket.
18. When you leave home, turn the lights out, heat down and air off.
19. If you don’t use it cancel it. This includes memberships, subscriptions, cable and satellite stations, etc.
20. Barter. Money doesn’t change hands. Just favors.
21. Conquer and divide. Share rarely used items with family such as a coffee pot that serves a large crowd, folding chairs, etc.
22. Don’t hesitate to ask for a better deal. Utility bills, Dr. bills, you’d be surprised what’s negotiable.
23. The best gifts to give are those you make. Baked goods, knits, personalized stationery and a scrap-book of memories have been some of my favorites.
24. Rent a movie instead of going to the movies and put what you would have spent away.
25. Keep a journal and write down everything you spend. It will help you to edit or at the very least, it will open your eyes.