Tag Archives: brown bag

Tips for Spending Less

If you’re like me, one of those things on the list of New Year’s resolutions was to spend less. Actually, I had already put that plan into place toward the end of last year with some nice results so the goal is really to continue that savings plan.

How did I manage to cut my spending last year? Well, here’s just a list of some of those things!

1. Brown bag lunch to work. An average lunch in Manhattan is about $6 so at 5 times a week times 48 weeks, that’s a savings of over $1400.

2. Skip the Starbucks and other fancy coffee in the a.m. Hubby now makes me my morning cup for the train and I rely on the office coffee pot for my other morning fix. With a typical latte at around $4 in NYC, that’s a savings of another nearly $1000.

3. Charge everything I spend. I know that sounds awful, but here’s why I do it:

    a. I get my reward points for every purchase.
    b. I know how much I spent every month.
    c. I use the tagging feature on my charge account every week to flag business expenses.
    d. I have my account send me a daily snapshot so I know whether I am deviating from my monthly spending limit.

4. Coupons. I always hold onto those Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons and only go when I have several of them handy. I also only go when I absolutely need something, which means my trips are generally geared around holidays, birthdays, etc. I also use online coupon sites such as coupons.com and pgeverydaysolutions.com for weekly specials and since I shop at A&P for my every day items, they have a clipless coupon system connected to my shopping loyalty card. That’s wonderful because if you are like me, you often will forget those coupons at home. Another big thing: Only buy what you would normally use and buy it in reasonable quantities. I read an article the other day that Americans throw out 40% of the food they buy. 40%!!! That’s a huge number.

5. I shop at Costco for the paper goods and other bulk items. I also buy their Kirkland name brand for things like toilet paper and dishwasher detergent. Just as good and generally cheaper.

6. I’ve cut back on dining out and when I do, I try to use restaurant.com certificates or those I’ve purchased at a discount from groupon.com. I also try to frequent local places and they often have online coupons available for discounts on dining.

This year I also plan on brown bagging breakfast to the office. I’ve got a stash of oatmeal and will find a way to make my eggs. Breakfast is important for helping with another New Year’s resolution: Losing weight and eating healthier.

Have you found some other ways to spend less? What will you do with the savings?

Thoughtful Thursday – The Economy

moneyI’m not normally one to dream much less remember them, but lately I have been dreaming. Or maybe it’s better to say I’ve been having worries at night and like many people, those worries revolve around money.

The market is up, although some are calling it a “dead cat bounce.” (Wonder where they got that term). In other words, the slight up phase might not last.

The Fed is printing lots of money to buy bonds. Hmm. . . . If I could print more money for my bills . . .

Anyway, there was one article the other day about how people are cutting back to save by eliminating things like house cleaning services, taking shirts to the laundry and eating out less. Estimated savings for this one family – $10,000 in a year.

A big savings. Playing devil’s advocate here – it’s also not stimulating the economy since now there’s someone with less work cleaning, laundering and cooking/serving food.

Still, I totally understand the reaction to not spend. I’ve cut back by brown bagging it everyday for lunch, finding ways of using up stuff in the pantry before buying new things, shopping at the outlets, big box stores and using coupons (well I always did those last two anyway!).

Have you changed your spending habits lately? Are there any tips you can offer for saving during these worrisome times?