Monday, November 10, 2014

Simple Money-Saving Tips for Singles and Couples by Vivienne Diane Neal


No matter how much money a person makes or has, there never seems to be enough. It is important to remember that the good times do not last forever, and one must always save for a rainy day.  Even if you put aside a set amount of money every week, there are no guarantees that you will have enough on hand if some unforeseen setback arises.

People used to say, “Another day another dollar.” Nowadays, that dollar has shrunk to where stretching a buck seems to be a challenging task. Food prices and other necessities seem to be going up, but earnings are not keeping up with inflation. Interest rates on savings are near zilch. Unemployment is still high in certain regions of the country, and many companies are cutting back on employees’ benefits, namely health insurance, paid sick leave, or are contributing less to retirement funds. But you can boost your money. By following these simple tips, you will end up saving and having more money in no time, and when you are ready, start investing in the stock market to receive more of a return on your money. No matter what people say, pennies add up.

Tip No. 1 - Try to live below your means. This may not be easy if you are making large sums of money. The old adage: the more you make, the more you can spend is not being financially sound, especially in today’s economy. You may not need three cars, five pairs of sneakers, twenty pairs of shoes, fifty handbags or a sixty-inch TV in every room. If you have all of these items, you may want to sell some of these things and earn extra cash. Even the rich must cut back at some point.

Tip No. 2 - There is a difference between want, and need. You may want to buy an expensive item, but that extravagant piece is not worth the price if you end up in debt. You do need food, clothing, and shelter. You can cut back on food and still get all your required nutrients, and buy low-priced clothing and still look fashionable. There is no need to spend $200.00 on a blouse. It in all probability, the top cost $2.00 to make, and the person who constructs that shirt may only make one dollar or less a day.

Tip No. 3 - When it comes to your home, you can cut back on your gas and electric bills. Use energy efficient incandescent or florescent light bulbs. Never leave lights on in unoccupied rooms. You can save money if you do your laundry before 10 am and after 10 pm, while there is no heavy demand on the electrical system. You will save money if you wash your laundry in cold or warm water. Using hot water all the time can be costly. An overloaded washer will use more energy; the same is true for an under loaded washer. A front-loading washer uses less energy and water than a top-loading washer does. You will save money if you dry your clothes on a clothesline. To avoid ironing, hang your clothes in the bathroom while you are showering; often, the steam will remove the wrinkles.

Tip No. 4 - Test your refrigerator to make sure you are not losing energy. Place a sheet of paper at the base of the refrigerator and close the door. If the paper slips out, replace the gasket. Vacuum the coils of your refrigerator to remove dust. Too much dust can cause your refrigerator to generate more power and a higher utility bill. Set the refrigerator temperature at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at zero degrees Fahrenheit, and keep the freezer packed or packed with bags of ice to prevent waste of energy. Never let ice build up in the freezer. It is time to defrost the freezer when the ice is l/4 inch thick.

Tip No. 5 - Use your automatic dishwasher when you have a full load. You can set the water temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit instead of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Setting at 120 degrees Fahrenheit will destroy the bacteria. Instead of using the drying cycle, open the door and air-dry the dishes.

Tip No. 6 - Your oven uses less energy than the top burners. A convection oven uses less energy than a conventional oven. A microwave uses energy economically and cooks food quickly.  Copper and aluminum bottom pots and pans are excellent conductors of heat and great energy savers. Cast iron pans hold heat longer and can be removed from the burner during the last ten minutes to allow the heat to finish cooking.

Tip No. 7 - Turn off the air conditioner in an unoccupied room. Set your air condition at 78 degrees to keep the room temperature comfortable. Always clean the filter at least once a month. A fan uses less energy than an air conditioner.

Tip No. 8 - When you buy major appliances, look for the highest energy-efficiency ratio. The higher the number, the less money it will cost to operate that appliance.

Tip No. 9 - Repair leaky faucets. Every drop of water lost means more money out of your pocket.

Tip No. 10 - Having health coverage is fundamental. The Affordable Care Act puts consumers back in charge of their health care. Under the law, a new “Patient’s Bill of Rights” gives the American people the stability and flexibility they need to make informed choices about their health. To read the full law, click here. To find detailed technical and regulatory information on the the Patient’s Bill of Rights, click here. Health insurance may not seem important when you are a young adult, but as one gets older, the need for health care and coverage becomes even more important, and to find an affordable health care plan can be daunting. There are programs such as Medicaid for the needy, and Medicare for people age 65 and over. When it comes to buying prescription drugs, you can comparison shop. Not all pharmacies are the same when it comes to pricing drugs. Consider generic pills, which cost less than most brand name drugs. By purchasing generic medicines, you can save a lot of money, sometimes up to 75%. Many pharmacies offer discounts to senior citizens, which can add up to real savings. You may save money by using a mail-service or mail order pharmacy, especially if you take one or more drugs regularly. Some pharmaceutical companies have programs that will assist people who may be on low, limited or fixed incomes. For your dental care, consider a dental school where students under strict supervision work on your teeth, and you will save a great deal of money. If you need oral surgery, only a licensed dentist will perform the procedure, but the cost will be less than if you go to a private dentist.

Tip No. 11 - If you are working, try to save up to twelve months in emergency funds. If you can save more, fine.  It used to be six months, but it is best to be on the safe side.

Tip No. 12 - Lastly, never bite off more than you can chew. If you want something, and you cannot afford it, wait until you can or do without it.

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