May 4, 2011 7:49 am
By Barbara Pronin, RISMedia Columnist
RISMEDIA, May 4, 2011-Let's face it: A dollar only goes so far, especially these days with the price of gasoline at outrageous highs. Saving, for many, has been put on the back burner in favor of wringing the most from every dollar we have.
But savings don't have to be huge to add up in a meaningful way, says Trent Hamm, founder of the financial website simpledollar.com. Hamm offers 10 little money-saving tips that can add up to big dollars over time:
- Switch bank accounts: Instead of paying maintenance fees and earning next to zero interest, switch to a bank like ING Direct, where you will earn interest on both savings and checking accounts.
- Master the 30-day rule: Wait 30 days when tempted to make a significant purchase. You may find the urge to own it fades.
- Make your own gifts: You can make food mixes, cookies, soaps and many other gifts that cost less and mean more, especially when presented to the recipient with a heartfelt note.
- Invite friends in: Almost any activity at home costs less than going out. Have dinner. Play games. Watch a rented movie-and keep your hand out of your pocket.
- Make a list: Don't go to the grocery store without a list. It will help you buy only what you need and discourage impulse buys.
- Try generic brands: the only difference between a name brand and a market brand may be only the marketing, and the savings can add up.
- Clean out closets: Clear out what you don't need and have a yard sale, give it to a consignment shop, or donate it to charity for the tax deduction.
- Clean your car's air filter: It only takes a few minutes, and a clean air filter can save up to 7 percent on gas mileage.
- Swap babysitting: If you live in a neighborhood with lots of kids, swapping babysitting chores with a neighbor or two will save everyone money.
- Start a garden: It's an inexpensive hobby if you have a yard and it will provide exercise while saving you money on produce.
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