Living below your means- three new tips

Thanks for the suggestions!

Sean posted an excellent tip:

"A trick I was taught is to pay yourself first. These investments are for you and your future and not to be considered another expense along with rent/mortgage, car payments, insurance, etc.

So, what you can do is direct deposit a piece of your paycheck into a separate account, and then use that account to either save for the initial investment, as you point out, or feed those investment accounts. This way, you never see the money, and, really, once you get used to that $50 or $100 not being in your paycheck from week to week, you don't notice it. And then you can increase it by living further below your means, piping a raise right into it, or some other method.

Something else I used to use when I didn't have a lot of money is sharebuilder.com. The fees add up quickly, but for a would-be investor without a lot of starting capital, I think it can be a good entry into the game."

I have not looked into sharebuilder.com and am curious how their fees work. Regardless, the pay yourself idea is a great tip, especially if your habit is to spend the money in your checking account.

David offers:

"I often buy generic products at the grocery store, and when my employer didn't pay for my lunches, I always brought a lunch."

We'll post more about packing your lunch later- and possibly we'll explore how to find an employer who will pay for your lunches, or maybe we will just mock David to try and abate our jealousy.

Finally, Holly wrote a post a while ago and suggests that you make your own coffee. This can easily save you $100 a month if you currently buy coffee out every morning. I like Holly's approach too- do not 'cut out' going to Starbuck's or Dunkin Donuts if you enjoy their sugary treats. Just do not go every day. And if you experiment, you will likely find you can make coffee you like more than what you are paying more for.

Please post any ideas you have as a comment to this post and I will add them to the list as well. You can also email your ideas to me at wyliemoney at gmail dot com.


David Jones said...

Can Holly's suggestion also be applied to buying your own home theatre?

Jouissance said...

Ummm- maybe if you know how to build home theater components...

Jonesy said...

Get your books from the library.

Cancel the gym membership you never use and go for a run. Buy a set of used dumbells and exercise while you watch 24 and LOST.

ALWAYS pay off your credit card bill.

Only drink water at restaurants. Drinks are marked WAY up, and you need more water anyway. And you don't need the calories from soda or alchohol.

Take your lunch to work. Throw together some leftovers.

Don't forget to lean the mixture. You'll burn less gas and keep the spark plugs clean.

Buy things in bulk that you know you will use, like toilet paper. You will not stop pooping.

Rescue your pets, don't buy purebreds. They will be better pets anyway.

Never buy an extended warranty; they are a waste of money.

Never buy anything from Bose; they are a waste of money.

Don't pay more than $20 for a haircut. It will grow back anyway.

Search the internet for good deals.

Search the internet for reviews of things you are thinking about buying.

Search the internet for clever advice about how to save money and invest.

Sean said...

+1 on the buying in bulk, especially when coupled with the make-your-own-coffee tip. If you use artificial sweetener, it is MUCH cheaper to get it at BJ's/Sam's/Costco. Just make sure you buy enough bulk stuff (TP, sweetener, vitamins, aspirin) that any membership fee at the club is offset.

I never thought of this as a money saver, but I guess it is. Recently I started drinking more bottled juices. I love the taste, but the sugar and calories can add up. Solution? Go half juice, half water. Or even more water than that. Now whatever you just spent on the juice (which you bought in bulk, right?) is effectively half (at least).

In reply to Jonesy:

Right on with the drinks at restaurants. Just make sure you tip your server. The bill doesn't reflect that they served you a free drink.

And don't get alcoholic drinks at a chain restaurant that doesn't list the prices next to the drinks. They're way more than you realize. Even then, I've had some places do something like a bait and switch where I order one drink (margarita) and get something different (some sorta fruity margarita). No big deal, right? Well, it cost $2 more, plus he put in the more expensive tequila without asking. I took his tip and gave it to the next server that brought me water.

Also, good on Jonesy with the dumbells. You don't need the fancy equipment and gym clothing to sit in a chair and pump out a dozen bicep curls. A bit of a tangent, but when I still had my gym membership, I loved to go because they had tvs built into the cardio equipment. It was great for the winter, and it was a good motivator, too. "If I stop now, I won't see the end of Seinfeld! Keep going!"

The other side of that is that I could never understand the people who would stand on a treadmill and flip channels for, literally, 5-10 minutes to find something good before starting up. You could have at least been walking! What a waste.