Creative Ways to Save Money

Looking for creative ways to save money, so you can get out of debt and live free? 

Most people think making more money is the answer, but the truth is, unless you get your spending under control, you'll always live from paycheck to paycheck, no matter how much money you make.

That's because money is never static.  It doesn't stay put, no matter how much you would like it to; it will either grow under careful management or, more likely, disappear without a trace. 

That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of your finances and spend smart.  The good news is, it's easier than you can imagine.  Here are some creative ways to save money.

Photo courtesy of istock.

Creative Ways to Save Money:
Clean and Organize Your Home

Many times we are tempted to buy an item simply because we can't find the other three at home that are buried under piles of clutter.  But if your home is organized, you'll have quick access to items such as pens, pencils, tape, wrapping paper, rulers and other low-cost items. 

It doesn't seem like much at the cash register, but buying those items over and over again add up to a big expense.   Avoid them by cleaning your home regularly.

I always tell my kids that cleaning is like a treasure hunt: you can find all kinds of wonderful treasures if you just pick up your room.

If you want to go to the next level and make sure you never lose anything ever again, get a box of index cards and write down every single item you have in your home.  On each card, write the name of the item and where it's located. 

Place the cards in alphabetical order in an index card file box.  The next time you are looking for one of those pink gift bags you bought two years ago, look it up in the file box and find it in five minutes, thereby avoiding that trip to the store where you'd be tempted to buy other things you don't need.

Creative Ways to Save Money:
Keep a Notebook With You

And write down every single purchase you make throughout the day.  It may seem like a pain at first, but it will become a habit before you know it, and it will give you an accurate picture of how you are spending (and wasting) your money. 

At the end of the month, study all of your expenditures to find ways to save.  Are you buying a donut and coffee for breakfast every morning?  Make your coffee at home instead, and on a Saturday morning, make a double batch of muffins and put them in your freezer. 

In the morning, all you have to do is pull out a frozen muffin and warm it in the microwave.   You could save hundreds of dollars a year.

Write Down a List of Your Needs At the Beginning of the Month

Impulse buying is one of the fastest ways to go over budget.  So is buying a needed item at the last minute.  In both instances, you are more likely to buy a higher priced item rather than spending smart. 

Instead, at the end of the month, make a list of the items you are going to need the following month.  Write this list one week before the end of the month and then put it away for a few days. 

Then, at the beginning of the month, pull out the list again and look it over.  You may find some of those things you thought you had to have weren't nearly as important as you thought. 

Then take the time to find the lowest price for the items you still need.  Look for sales and coupons, and even haunt thrift stores. 

With a little planning, you can often find items you need at a lower price.

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