"I've got all the money I'll ever need, if I die by four o'clock."
The start of a new year is the perfect time to start saving money, whether it's for a household emergency, your kid's college tuition, a new car, or simply to protect yourself from our murky and unpredictable economy.
If you want to start small, you can try making your own cleaning supplies. Martha Stewart suggests a simple solution of vinegar and water, or you can check out 25 DIY Green Cleaning Recipes for the Whole House from Apartment Therapy. Some people even make their own windshield wiper fluid and jewelry cleaner.
Did you know that a gallon of bottled water costs about twice the price of a gallon of gasoline? Studies show that bottled and tap water are equally safe, so if you just don't like the taste of tap water, you can add slices of lemon, lime, mint or cucumber and still save a bundle.
In addition to keeping your money in your pocket, DIY projects can be fun. Know someone who's expecting? Try making your own Moby Baby Wrap for under $10.00. Or, considering the fact that a single greeting card costs around $6.00 (and your loved one will just throw it away), try making your own, printing free ones, or subscribing to an online card service. For more ambitious DIY projects, check out the DIY Network for home improvement projects ranging from pergolas to furniture rehab.
Everyone enjoys going out to eat, but the cost can really add up, especially if you order alcohol. Although most couples wouldn't go to the lengths of the couple in video below, you can save money by sharing an entree (but be sure to tip as if there were two) or by going to restaurants such as Panera where there's no tipping at all. Check out U.S. News and World Report for more tips for dining out.
Next: Fashion, entertaining and technology on the cheap.
In Cheap We Trust: The Story of a Misunderstood American Virtue by Lauren Weber (2009)
Everyday Cheapskate's Greatest Tips: 500 Simple Strategies for Smart Living by Mary Hunt (2005)
How to Retire the Cheapskate Way: The Ultimate Cheapskate's Guide to a Better, Earlier, Happier Retirement by Jeff Yeager (CD Book, 2013)
the cheapskate on the date sounds like a real prize. I believe in saving money, but there are limits, and trash diving is one of them.
When struck with the need to shop try Savers, Goodwill or Arc. Carefully peruse the offerings until you find something you need that's too good to be there. Sometimes stores give these non-profits unsold or discontinued merchandise. Sometimes people don't realize what they're giving away--like original art, collectibles and antiques. You never know what you'll find.
Thank you for your comment. My best thrift store find (to date) was a bright orange Le Creuset sauce pan. Look for more info on thrift stores in Part 2!
My husband does the free popcorn refill trick. First time we went on a movie date, he confessed and I knew I'd found someone who shared my values :) My greatest dumpster prize was 20lbs of chocolate from the ChocoLove dumpster, all bagged and clean. Not all trash is created equal.