LookingForClues - Article

  Money Saving Tips

Thanks for visiting our Money Saving Tips page! I suppose a person visiting us here might be in one of two situations. Either you are spending more than you'd like to each month, or you have plenty of money due to your disciplined consideration of your financial situation and you are looking for further ways to retain even more of your money. In other words, you are either in control of your money or you want to be, and soon!

In an effort to point you in the right direction, we present an article on Money Saving Tips, below. But first, we'll talk a little about discipline in general. Then we'll provide some links to other relevant web sites and links to pertinent books for your further edification.

Quite often as we go through our days, we find ourselves in a situation where we want to achieve two competing goals. We want something that will make us happy in some way right now. But often, getting that thing will cause us to slip backwards on our path to some long-range goal that we've decided will make us happy when we attain it in the future. I want that Double Whopper because it tastes soooo good! (I know I should lose weight for my health, but I WILL start watching what I eat tomorrow.) Hey! There's that new DVD that everyone's been talking about. (I told myself, no more spending time entertaining myself until I get all the things on my "To Do" list crossed off, but I'm TIRED!)

At some point, we become aware of the concept of "delayed gratification". If I put off doing something right now that I'd like to do, and save up my resources, then in the future I can do something that will give me much greater satisfaction. Often you get a double reward in the future because you not only refrain from eating the junk food or wasting your time on a pastime, you also save the money that these trivial pleasures would have cost. Why is it important to save money today for the future? Because money taken from current income or savings always costs less than money borrowed. Prove it to yourself by looking at your next credit card bill or car loan statement.

Related Links:

You can read a good college level paper on delayed gratification Here.
Here's information about the biochemical basis for the effectiveness of delayed gratification. Here's a fun-to-read article about what delayed gratification is and when we stopped valuing it as a society.
Here's a link to UK's only Money Saving Expert. This site has information for UK residents but there is material here for everyone.
The Frugal Times provides Tips for Saving Money in the Real World. Here's one of their articles on Money Saving Tips.
The Clark Howard radio show and web site has some consumer advocacy information as well as money saving information.

For more information on money saving and management, we recommend the following books:

The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke
The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke

The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke is financial expert Suze Orman's answer to a generation's cry for help. They're called "Generation Debt" and "Generation Broke" by the media - people in their twenties and thirties who graduate college with a mountain of student loan debt and are stuck with one of the weakest job markets in recent history. The goals of their parents' generation - buy a house, support a family, send kids to college, retire in style - seem absurdly, depressingly out of reach. Over the course of ten chapters that can be consulted methodically, step-by-step or on a strictly need-to-know basis, Suze takes the reader past broke to a secure place where they'll never have to worry about revisiting broke again. And she begins the journey with a bit of overwhelmingly good news (yes, there really is good news): Young people have the greatest asset of all on their side -- time.
Get Clark Smart: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rich from America's Money-Saving Expert
Get Clark Smart: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rich from America's Money-Saving Expert

What are the 3 secrets to building long-term wealth? What are the 5 things that no one thinks of before buying a home? How can you save up to 40% on the car of your dreams? How can you get long distance telephone service for almost nothing? Clark Howard answers all these questions and many more in Get Clark Smart. With practical tips and on-line resources, Howard helps readers to get rich by saving money in unexpected places and investing those savings creatively. Howard has a passion for saving money and a zealot's enthusiasm for sharing everything he's learned. His strategies for getting rich by saving wisely will turn readers into financial wizards. Clark Howard is the host of The Clark Howard Show, a radio talk show syndicated on more than 150 stations around the country.
Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them: Lessons From the New Science of Behavioral Economics
Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them: Lessons From the New Science of Behavioral Economics

Why do so many otherwise smart people make foolish financial choices? Why do shoppers overspend when using credit cards rather than cash? What do our habits of tipping or buying lottery tickets indicate about our relationship with money? In this fascinating investigation of the ways we spend, invest, save, borrow, and waste money, Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich reveal the psychological causes - the patterns of thinking and decision making - of irrational behavior. Most important, they focus on the decisions we make every day and, using entertaining examples, provide invaluable tips on avoiding the financial faux pas that can cost thousands of dollars each year.
Michael Finney's Consumer Confidential: The Money-Saving Secrets They Don't Want You to Know
Michael Finney's Consumer Confidential: The Money-Saving Secrets They Don't Want You to Know

Being a good consumer is not only about money, says Michael Finney, it's also about awareness and fairness. Good consumers are concerned about what is fair, for others as well as themselves. Backed by 25 years of experience in the field, Finney shows how to balance these factors, while he dives into the details of educated consuming. Here is clear, authoritative advice on how to get a luxury hotel room for the price of a roadside motel; how to negotiate effectively; what to look for in an insurance policy; where to get the best deals on consumer electronics, technology, and cars; what to know about savings and investing; how to write an effective complaint letter; and much more. This easy-to-read guide through the maze of consumer affairs includes dozens of firsthand stories about the author and the consumers he has helped over the years.

Enjoy our exclusive Feature Article:


Less Obvious Money Saving Tips

by VC Higuera   5/25/05

Setting a goal of saving money is one of the most publicized New Year's Resolutions. Millions of people are determined to spend less and save more. As a rule they start the year off great and buy simply what they need. However, it doesn't take long to run off course. We live in a commercial world that is obsessed with entertainment and possessions. Although we need recreation and material things, we often confuse our needs with our wants. For example, we may need a new pair of shoes - but we do not need a pair that cost hundreds of dollars. We need food in our homes - but we do not need name brands when store brands will do.

Saving money takes discipline. Just as a child needs consistent discipline, we need to be consistent with our budgets and spending. Money tips that suggest ways to save money encourage the obvious such as lowering expenses, shopping less, foregoing eating out, etc. However there are quick ways to save money that do not require a major lifestyle adjustment.

There are some die-hard money savers who never have fun. Their focus is saving - but what's the point of making money if you can't ever enjoy it? There is nothing wrong with purchasing a new outfit or going out for the evening. The key is balance. In other words, if your disposable income is $200 a week and you spend $150 in entertainment - it may be wise to re-think your spending habits. Nonetheless, there are ways to enjoy the best of both worlds - saving money and having fun.

There are ways to save money that many never consider. A common complaint is not being able to track where money is spent. We know we made some - we just do not know where it went. Money disappears quickly when we spend frivolously. Frivolously spending is simply buying items we do not need on the spur of the moment. This could be a candy bar, fast food, a DVD, a magazine, etc. Many frivolous purchases are under $10. Spending $10 for this, $5 for that, quickly adds up. Before buying on a whim ask yourself, "Will my life end if I do not have this item today?" If the answer is no, put the item back of the shelf, take the money you would have spent and place it into a piggy bank. You will be surprised at the amount of money you save within a month. Tossing spare change into a piggy bank is also a way to generate cash. I began saving spare change two years ago and was amazed at the amount saved. Each January I start fresh, placing all spare change into the piggy every night. The last week in December I crack the bank and wrap the coins. In just twelve months my average savings from spare change is between $200 - $300.

You can also save money by entertaining at home. Going out for a night on the town can easily run over a hundred dollars for two people. This includes dinner, drinks, and a movie. You can save more than half that amount buying food to prepare at home and inviting a few friends over for the evening. Entertaining at home twice a month may reduce your recreational expense by more than half. Another great way to increase your monthly savings is by not trying to keep up with your family and friends. "Keeping up with the Joneses," keeps many people in the poor house. We all have different financial situations. Some have incomes that allow them to eat out three times a week, shop regularly, and take several vacations within a year. When in close company with people who live a very comfortable life, it may be tempting to try and live like they do. However, it is important to live according to your individual means. If your income does not allow eating at expensive restaurants or going on shopping sprees - turn down the invitations. There is no reason to feel embarrassed. True friends will not make you feel bad for earning less.

Another great money saving tip is to find ways to stay busy. Boredom puts us all at risk for spending money. It is not easy to save money when we have nothing to do. To cure boredom, some people choose to go to the mall. This is a no-no for those trying to save money. Stepping foot in the mall can be compared to stepping into temptation city. Despite all intentions not to spend money, we can become easily enticed by a sale, clearance, or going-out-of business closeout. We also tend to eat more when bored, which can increase our recreational budget. An inexpensive way to combat boredom is to find a hobby. A hobby will keep your mind occupied and your wallet closed. It may even help to find a hobby that can possibly earn you some extra cash.

Saving money is probably one of the most difficult things to do. Sometimes situations beyond our control limit the amount we are able to save such as needing car repairs, house repairs, last minute trips, etc. However once we get into a regular routine of saving money it will become like second nature. Soon spare change will become dollars, and we will have a savings account to be proud of.

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