You’ve heard the sage advice on how to make your dollars stretch further: live below your means, shop for bargains, construct a budget and track your spending. Yet, what if you want to move beyond these basics, or you need other cost-slashing hacks to reduce the monthly money squeeze? Frugal living can become an art form, once you know some useful saving techniques. Here are a few to aid you in having more dollars and cents left over after food, living expenses and other bills. They’re just a start, but with these you can develop more hacks on your own.
Repurposing Gives Items New Life
Income-challenged folks have always been superstars at reusing items that most would normally throw away: plastic food containers, glass jars and old gallon jugs, just to name a few. You might be surprised to discover that other common items can also be repurposed in creative ways. Huffington Post writer Elyssa Kirkham gives a couple of more unusual examples, such as reusing the cut-off cuffs from worn-out button-down shirts as coffee cup sleeves. Nearly any household item can be given new life, and plenty of enterprising misers have written blog posts and posted videos of their own creative repurposing efforts.
Look for Fun on a Budget
Money Crashers contributor Susan Borowski debuts helpful hints to save money on entertainment. Groupon and LivingSocial are two popular daily deals websites, with potential discounts on fun stuff as high as 50 percent off their normal prices. Circulars and mailers are also a great source for discount coupons on admission to your favorite spots. Don’t forget that many restaurants offer you a birthday special when you sign up for their email newsletters. If you absolutely have to see that blockbuster film, pick a showtime during the day. Matinee rates are typically in effect at most theaters before 4 p.m.
Cheaper Ways to Get Fit
Your doctor keeps saying that you need to exercise, but you’re not a fan of expensive gym memberships—or gyms, for that matter. Thankfully, there are plenty of hacks to help you work activity into your week. Meetup, an online social network, allows you to find local fitness groups, and these can be a great low-cost alternative. There are also tons of resources on the internet that help you construct your own fitness plan to fit your goals, current activity level and health concerns. Lastly, some workout videos are available for free viewing on YouTube and other video sharing sites.
Pay Attention to Your Auto Insurance
If you’re like most people, you don’t think much about your car insurance each month. You pay the bill and then move on with life. However, your rates can significantly fluctuate for little things such as moving to a different zip code. Even getting older might result in a substantial rate drop, since average premiums for people in their thirties are only about half of what you paid during your teenage years. If you haven’t shopped around for coverage, now might be a good time to switch to a new company, or check with your current vendor for additional discounts.
Get a Thrill Out of Saving Money
Believe it or not, saving money can become a fun pursuit and maybe even a competitive sport. Yet it’s not just about discovering new hacks, jockeying for deep discounts or even watching your bank account balance grow. Finding new approaches and alternatives to old practices can introduce you to new experiences you would never have learned about otherwise. Along with the peace of mind from having more money, you also get the side benefit of enjoying more of what life has to offer.