Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cash-saving tips that pay big bucks - cont.

Here's the payoff for switching meal plans (from my previous post):
  • A one-time deposit of $3,333 grows to $9,196 in 15 years.
  • Annual deposits of $3,333 add up to $83,755.

Find free entertainment

Between nights out at rock concerts, opera and theater performances, some Americans spend more on entertainment than on groceries and gasoline combined. To cut down entertainment expenses, try hunting for free events in your area and volunteer as an usher for live theater, for example.You could feasibly see at least two plays every weekend, and since tickets are $18 to $45 apiece, that's a lot of money if you wasn't ushering. "If you volunteer at 15 theaters, you could save probably $160 a month doing it.
What it's worth: I don't recommend forgoing all cultural events, but consumers who opt for free or low-cost concerts, lectures, outdoor movies and art shows even one night per weekend can easily reduce their entertainment budget by $50 to $100 per month. For purposes of our calculation, let's split the difference and assume savings of $75 a month or $900 a year for 15 years.
  • A one-time deposit of $900 grows to $2,483.
  • Annual deposits of $900 add up to $22,616.

Use the public library

Home entertainment costs can be considerable if you add up cable television, satellite radio, video games and movie rentals. Young recommends getting familiar with the public library. In addition to carrying books, magazines, audiobooks, films and CDs, libraries frequently offer free children's events, language programs, financial literacy workshops and performing arts events to cut your budget down further. If the library in your area is scant on resources, check out what's on campus at the nearest college or university.What it's worth: According to the School Library Journal, the world's largest book review publication, the average cost of a new hardcover book is $26.43 ($18.02 for paperbacks). Families that buy one book per month and rent two to three movies at $4 to $5 a pop can easily run up a $30-per-month tab or $360 annually.
  • A one-time deposit of $360 grows to nearly $993.
  • Annual deposits of $360 add up to $9,046 in 15 years.

Bargain shop

When buying luxury items, save some cash doing it. For many bargain-hunters, that means using bartering sites such as Craigslist to find used goods and seeking out promotional codes for discounts on all other online purchases.Try using sites like Chainlove.com (an online bike supply store) a lot that only list one item at a time, but for 50 (percent) to 90 percent off. If you can't find something at a one-deal-at-a-time shop,  comparison shop at places like Bizrate.com and Pricegrabber.com to see if I can get a discount.

What it's worth: Making 75 percent of all purchases through online discounts, you can estimate that you could save $40 a month simply by shopping around for deals. Because you can get everything from pencils to plane tickets discounted online, price-comparing families could shave $50 to $200 off their spending budgets each month.
  • A one-time deposit of $600 to $2,400 amounts to $1,655 to $6,622, respectively.
  • Annual deposits of these amounts add up to $15,077 to $60,310, respectively.

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