No matter how the current economy is or isn't affecting you, it is important to cut down your expenses and save money for rainy days. Here is a list of things that my hubby and I do to save money.
1. Cook at home. For a while we either ate out or ordered take out every single night and we spent about $200 a week, just on dinner. Now I try to cook every single meal at home, I even bake muffins for breakfast! I work from home so I can eat all 3 meals at home. Now I spend about $100 per week on groceries for not just dinner, but also breakfast and lunch!
2. Wash your own wools. Dry cleaning is so expensive and environmentally unfriendly. Sweaters are really easy to wash, just soak in cold water with a bit of detergent, gently wring out the excess water and lay it on top of a towel, then roll it up like sushi and press it down to get all the excess water out so it won't drip all over your bathroom floor. I washed 6 sweaters over the weekend, and I saved about $40, plus they smell great!
3. Cancel Premium cable and land line. The only person who calls the land line is my hubby, I don't ever watch movies on those premium movie channels and I can rent all of their original series (which I don't really watch anyway) on DVD. We now save about $100 a month on services we didn't really use!
4. Public transportation. I don't ever take the cab unless I'm with my hubby. But we now have a new rule to only take the cab when it's late at night, otherwise, stick with the train or the bus or walk. We can save at least $50 a month by taking fewer cabs (I'm realistic, there's no way we can stop taking cabs!)
5. Join museum membership. Our MoMA Dual membership costs $120 a year, but 3 trips to the museums makes up for the membership (it's $20 admission per person), we go about 8 times a year so we save $200 a year. Not to mention the members-only previews, and the discounts you get at the gift store!
6. Make your own coffee. It used to be an addiction of mine to go to Starbucks with my co-workers. I used to go at least twice a day meaning I spent about $7 a day on coffee. Nowadays I make my own coffee which is much more delicious and cheap, even with the best beans at Whole Foods (about $11 a pound that lasts more than a month) So coffee alone I save a whopping $200 a month!
7. Knit your own winter accessories. It is way fun and it's the best gift for your loved ones. One year I even knitted my hubby a button down vest with shawl collar!
8. Online coupon codes. I was getting a pair of boots online and before I submitted the payment I searched for a coupon code for that particular store, instead I found a coupon code for another store that carried the same shoes with a $50 off coupon, of course I opted for the store with the coupon, plus they offered free shipping and free return (very important because you don't want to spend $10 to ship back the shoes if you decide to return them).
image: wonting, I did the illo for a magazine in 2000.