A Handbook for Savings

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

If you made a resolution to surround yourself with responsible spending from now on, a set of spending rules can come in handy. Learn them, live by them, and watch them save money.

"Let Mr. Jones handle his own debt and try not to keep up with him."

This rule speaks for itself. Forget about keeping up with the Joneses; they may not be able to keep up with themselves. The mindset of buying a new car if the neighbor bought one causes many people to purchase items they really don't need. Be happy with the things that you do have, think of those who don't have as much, and focus on the really necessary items. In the end it'll be Mr. Jones who comes to you for financial advice.

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"It's not for me unless the shipping is free."

Internet spending can be dangerous. Every store is within reach 24/7, as are their advertisements and specials. This is tempting, especially when the reality of the costs are lost in cyberspace. However, internet spending has the potential to save money and time.

In order to give yourself limitations while surfing the bargains, take this rule into consideration. If items are on sale but shipping charges are outrageous, you're not saving anything.

A word of warning. Don't make this work to your disadvantage. If a store offers free shipping to orders over $75 and you plan to buy a pair of jeans for $22, don't add items on just to qualify for free shipping. Instead, have patience and wait for a better shipping offer or invite friends to combine orders and share the rewards.

"Credit cards are for emergencies, like new roofs and blown transmissions."

Growing up, this is what many of us were taught. Unfortunately, this line of thought seems to have disappeared. Keep your credit cards in a fireproof box at home, and only carry one credit card in your wallet. Adopt the mindset that the card is not to be used for store purchases, gas, or groceries. In fact, the card shouldn't be used at all. If however, your car breaks down on the side of the road, open up your wallet and get yourself safely home.

"Turn it off and turn it down."

By conserving electric and fuel you'll also be conserving your money. When you're not in the room, turn off the lights. If electronics aren't being used, turn them off. This includes computers that sit idle while you're at work and coffee pots that keep a clock running continuously.

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Plasma televisions are not the most energy efficient appliances, so even if you leave the room for fifteen minutes, turn off the TV. Similarly, avoid using the television to play music stations when the stereo uses much less energy to play the same music.

Humans can notice a difference of two degrees Fahrenheit, but so can your heating bill. A two degree decrease in the setting on the thermostat saves 4% of your heating costs.

"Don't shop when you're bored or hungry."

The old saying rings true. Grocery shopping while hungry leads to impulse buying. Similarly, shopping as something to do is only asking for trouble. Instead, shop for groceries after a meal and stick to a pre-written list. For rainy days, plan to attend a movie or do some work at home rather than walk around the mall.

May 28, 20090 found this helpful

I use my credit card for buying clothes, groceries, gifts, gas, paying utilities, and the like, all the time. I routinely get free gifts or money back just for using it. If you are responsible enough to pay it off every month, the benefits can be well worth the effort. If you are immature, irresponsible, and cannot handle credit, that's another matter, and if this is the case, you'll probably be in debt anyway. A credit card isn't a bad thing if used responsibly and not guided by the "entitlement" theory.

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July 2, 20090 found this helpful

I wouldn't stick to the "no shipping costs" as an absolute rule, but it's a great guidleine to make you consider online purchases. With every purchase, do the research to make sure you're getting the best deal. Occasionally, you pay shipping and still get a good deal. Often, free shipping is thrown in with overpriced merchandise.

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