1) One good way I learned to save money came when I lived in a foreign country and the pollution there gave me seborrhea which caused a lot of my hair to fall out. During the condition’s onset I was at the barber shop one day and the barber became too frightened to cut my hair because it was coming out in clumps! So you can imagine how I learned to save money by cutting my own hair… and the savings is an amazing by-product. Over the last 15 years I have saved about $1,800. I’m actually amazed at the skills I’ve learned out necessity because I’ve had to adapt to different cultures. The situations were painful at first but have streamlined me both professionally and personally.
2) Forget Costco, I’ve met some people who opt for really cheap food from warehouses that SUPPLY Costco. Food is perishable by nature so when it gets near the expiration date, supply houses have to get it off their shelves at cut throat prices. There are village industries that thrive around getting nearly expired food from these places and then selling it. Heck, maybe I just set some of you up for business. There’s lots to be done with this kind of niche.
3) Instead of becoming a member of AAA, ask your insurance company to enroll you in their roadside assistance insurance. For me, it costs an extra $5 a year. If your car ever breaks down on the side of a road, your insurance will pay for a towing company to bring your car to a shop. I believe the AAA fee for this is around $45 a year.
4) Count the number of bank overdrafts you’ve had over the last year and you’ll know what I’m about to say. For most families living paycheck to paycheck, automatic withdrawal to pay your monthly bills will bite you in the end. Even if you can save money by using automatic withdrawal, one mistake in calculating your bank balance can bring you into hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees. If you still want to use automatic withdrawal, get an account at TD Bank instead of Wells Fargo. With a TD Bank checking account, you are not allowed to make a purchase immediately after your account falls below zero. Not so with Wells Fargo. In fact, with a Wells Fargo account you could make purchases for days while going into the red, each purchase accruing an overdraft fee. With the complicated circulation of money going in and out of a bank account, it’s impossible to be accurate using a bank register. So it’s easy to see that a good way to save money is to tackle the overdraft problem by switching banks.
5) I remember learning something in Boy Scouts that has served me well through the years. If you are ever lost in the woods and need food, just look at what the birds eat. The same holds true for your finances. I can’t emphasize enough that listening to a select group of podcasts will help you save and when times get tough, survive. Every one of you has heard the term ‘podcast’, but today is the day for you to understand what it is. A podcast is like a Youtube channel, only it’s usually geared towards audio. Just get on iTunes and find some of the popular podcasts that focus on finance. The show “Stacking Benjamins” by Joe Saul-Sehy is just one of the many that I listen to. If you subscribe, each episode will be downloaded to your computer or cell phone and ready for you to listen. (This is the only reason why a guy like myself would consider getting a cell phone by the way.) Your ability to save money is only as good as how knowledgeable you are. You will find that this practice of listening to podcasts will pull you away from the TV, which steals an average of 3.5 hours a day from the typical American. People in the US think they’re being informed by television media, when in fact they are just being pleasured. If you get hooked onto podcasts, you’ll be listening as you commute which is why this time saving media form is so popular.
6) Studies show that if you are a procrastinator, you are the kind of person who is successful at saving money. Do you remember when the Bird Flu came out years ago? Well, Japan didn’t waste any time in trying to prevent an epidemic and bought tens of thousands of cases of Tamiflu (which doesn’t fight the Bird Flu). The government’s thinking was a hasty stab at prevention was the best way to go. But instead of saving money, it turned out to be a big waste. This is a prime example of how a knee jerk reaction can be costly. Any project coordinator knows the principle of procrastination when it comes to purchasing. He understands that most of what is purchased in the middle of the planning stage is useless at the end of planning stage. This is especially true in the computer industry where a wrong purchase can be costly.
7) This may surprise but I’ve actually been able to ditch my cell phone. I realize that this isn’t an option for most but it works for me. And when I do have to make a call, I just use Skype which is almost free. Before I decided to go phoneless, I was always frustrated with people monopolizing my time. Worst of all, it was easy for them to be late because they had my cell phone number (and I was the one paying for their call to tell me they’d be late). So I decided a good way to save money was to do without the cell. It’s crazy for me to see myself writing this, especially because I’m an Android developer. But the reality is when people want to get in touch with me, they email me and I can reach them quickly via Skype the same day. For those of you who need a cell phone, the big question is, “Why do you need a smart phone?” If you get a cheesy flip phone you’ll find yourself with more savings in the end and more time on your hands without all the needless apps. Soon we are going to be falling into a world-wide depression that’ll be worse than the crash of 1929. When that time comes, your sleek cell phone will become one of your bigger liabilities.
8) I hope people internalize what I just wrote concerning the coming depression. It will first start in the EU and then Americans will only have 2 weeks before it arrives on our shores. Keeping your eye on the situation in Europe is essential. But even if you have a 2 week warning you could still lose a lot of money in the stock market. Stock prices are squirrelly and tank at the hint of bad news. If Janet Yellen so much as even sneezes at a press conference, you can expect a fluctuation. So a good way to save money is to get it out of the stock market and don’t look back. If you don’t get your money out, losing your tail is inevitable.
9) Before you buy something big, pay $5.00 to get an online Consumer Reports subscription. After you research the camera, vacuum or car you want to buy, just cancel the subscription. I did this for a digital camera years ago and was happy I did. Overall it was a good way to save money, until I found the camera missing from my baggage one day at the airport. That leads me to my next point… if you ever travel, especially to South America, don’t put your valuables in your luggage. Even putting them in a carry on can be a problem. When I took the bus from Colombia to Ecuador, a border guard stole something from me in plain site because he knew he could. Both the bus driver and I saw it but there was nothing we could do. Along that vein, never ever send money to a South American country through traditional mail. Chances are it won’t arrive at the intended destination. Instead use FedEx or DHL to be safe.
10) For you guys out there, I have some marriage advice for you. Wait until you’re older to get married and then marry a Russian. The divorce rate with this kind of union is about 10% compared to 50% with an American woman. To avoid scams, stay away from all Ukrainians and just go Russian. But make sure she’s not head over heals for Putin first. The big take home here is that a divorce means HALF of your assets will vanish. You need to prevent that from happening.
11) If you ever have to make an emergency trip to the doctor, you will have a big bill on your hands. Some wise people call the doctor’s office a few days after the visit and say “I was told that if I settle my bill with a credit card I can get half off”. Believe it or not, they sometimes automatically cut your bill in half because of the numerous incidents of deadbeat patients forgetting about their bills.