Saving For A Brighter Day

With less discretionary income, many Americans are wondering how to set aside cash for emergencies. Here are a few tips on how to squeeze the most value out of the money you make.

the cost of shipping, you can save money. Or look for used furniture at flea markets and thrift stores and have the items refinished or upholstered to make them as good as new.

6: Enjoying inexpensive entertainment. These days, the cost of two movie tickets, popcorn, and soda can easily top $30, and if you go to dinner beforehand, you’re looking at a $100 date. If you’re looking for romance, try a home-cooked meal served by candlelight, followed by a long bubble bath or foot massage. You’ll cut your cost in half, and double your pleasure!

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7: Doing it yourself. You can save the money and improve your expertise in the process by tackling projects yourself. Enlist the aid of a handy friend, surf the Internet for information, or buy a book on the topic if you need a little help. If you’re feeling adventuresome, you might also explore adult education classes and workshops to learn new skills and boost your self-confidence!

4: Conserving utility spending. Installing proper insulation and modernizing equipment like your water heater can help lower utility costs. To reduce your phone bill, shop different long-distance carriers for the best rate. You might also want to cut out special services, like call waiting, three-way calling, and caller ID, which can save you as much as $30 a month.

5: Curbing automotive costs. Taking precautionary measures can help you keep your car running smoothly and save on big-ticket expenses down the line. Be sure to change the oil when necessary, keep fluids at their full-level marks, check your tire pressure often, and bring your car in for regularly scheduled maintenance. These simple steps can help you get better mileage and will extend the life of your car.

8: Saving on the small stuff. Even small amounts saved regularly can grow into a sizable sum. For example, do you buy breakfast at the drive-through on your way to work everyday? The $2.50 you spend on a coffee and egg sandwich adds up to more than $625 a year. Invest that amount each year at a 6% rate of return, and in 25 years, you’ll have nearly $35,000. It’s true what they say: “The little things mean a lot.”

9: Locking in the best rates. Ideally, you should pay off your credit card balance in full each time you get your statement, but if you have to run a balance, make sure your interest rate is as low as it can be. If you transfer existing balances to a new card at a low introductory rate, read the fine print before you switch, so you don’t fall into a hidden trap.

10: Trading skills for services. Consider bartering your time and talent for services you might need. For example, you could offer to tutor the 17-year-old next door in French once a week in exchange for him mowing your lawn. Many communities offer full-fledged bartering programs administered through local agencies, schools, and hospitals, so do some research in your area to find

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