Happy New Year, World of Dreamers, and welcome to Top 8 Ways to Save Money, Part 2.
Just as a quick refresher, here’s a list of the first 4 from last week’s post, Top 8 Ways to Save Money — Part 1:
- Avoid Temptation
- No Debt Allowed
- Rustle Up Some Vittles
- Don’t Hoard, Consume
And now (drum roll please), the Final 4 Ways to Save Money:
5. Buy (and sell) Used
Here’s one that used to be a great money saver, but has lately gotten fashionable and thus not as great anymore. Here in Sonoma, there seems to be a consignment shop on every corner these days. But it’s still a money saver to buy used. Used women’s clothing is almost always a bonanza.
I don’t know what it is about us that makes us buy clothes and then only wear them a time or two, but whatever – it means the used clothing stores are full to bursting with really nice, very gently used clothes at a fraction of their original price. My cupboards are stocked with used dishes. Just about every stick of furniture in my house is used. And I always buy used cars, drive them until they die, and then buy used again. For cash, of course! No debt allowed ESPECIALLY for cars.
Selling or consigning stuff you no longer use is another great money saver, although you have to be careful with this one. I once sold a whole collection of books on interior design, and another big pile of cookbooks. The manager of the store I sold them to said he was going to set up a window display in my honor.
About a week later, I walked by the store and he had done just that. I stood there looking at the display, regretting several of the books I’d sold, finally went in and bought them back. Don’t let this happen to you!
6. Sleep On It
This was an early goal in my first year here at 8 Women Dream: I vowed to write down anything I wanted to buy and not buy it until at least 24 hours had passed. This one is important for me because most of my purchases are small and, on the surface, harmless. Like, $25 or less.
Add a few of those up and they start to be serious money, though.
I kind of forgot all about this strategy until recently, but I’m back on the wagon now. I use Evernote to save e-mails about software or books or knitting patterns. I use a notebook that I keep handy for everything else. And guess what. If I write it down I almost NEVER buy the thing I wrote down, and I can’t recall ever once regretting it. Whereas I often regret something I buy on impulse without thinking about it.
7. Read like a Victorian Gentleman
Back in the Victorian age, people did not read books cover to cover. They would pick one up, read it for awhile, and make notes and copy excerpts in a Commonplace Book. Then they’d pick up another book and do the same. This was a way of establishing a broad, general understanding of any topic.
Amazon has made this practice really easy by allowing access to free samples of e-books. And you don’t even have to have a Kindle to take advantage of it. Their e-reader software is available, free, for Mac and PC. Sampling books sates the rabid book addict within – the “try a sample” button is a lot like the “buy” button!
This practice works well for two reasons. One, a good author always summarizes the thesis of the book in the introduction or the first chapter – so the sample is like an executive summary. And if you want more, you can always buy it! Two, those sample chapters can really pile up fast.
By the time I get around to reading something, I’ve often moved on to another interest and am asking myself what it was I found so interesting about this book. It cuts down on the actual buying behavior, kind of like sleeping on it does (see #6 above).
The original marketplace was all about bartering – trading what you had or could do for a service or commodity that someone else had or could do. Money was invented just to make this a little more convenient. In truth, we’re all still bartering, we just don’t think about it that much because the money acts as a buffer. Don’t even get me started on that rant – I’ll save it for another post.
But why not take bartering back to its original foundation?
- Virgo Man has often said he’d like to find someone who raises beef so he could barter salmon and Dungeness crab.
- We have a friend who is an avid gardener, and we trade him highly valuable compost (fish carcasses and fallen apples) for tomatoes, cucumbers, and corn.
- Remy and I are experimenting with bartering our business coaching expertise for a share of profits.
Let me tell you, bartering makes you much more conscious of how much of your energy you are giving, and what your return on investment is likely to be.
So there you have it, Dreamers – my Top 8 Ways to Save Money. Any additions? I can surely use them in 2012, so please leave a comment below. And have a happy New Year!