Have you ever seen or read the book “Eat This, Not That”? It’s pretty ingenious. The premise behind the book is teaching you how many calories each food selection has at fast food restaurants. With this knowledge you can order the healthiest food on the menu as opposed to the food you are accustomed to ordering. It’s as simple as saying, “I’ll eat this instead of that.” This method of substituting not only helps you lessen your calorie intake, it can help you save if you are disciplined. From now on, let your moderation be known when you eat out. Make each order $2.00 cheaper than what you’re used to. Your stomach AND wallet will thank you for it.
Live in this state, not that
This methodology works for more than saving money on food. If you make it a point to research your options before you step into any big decision making process you stand a better chance of coming out on top. So reader, if you want to take advantage of a city’s commerce would you want to live there or some place close by? A lot of people who enjoy working in a huge financial district like Charlotte, North Carolina have decided themselves into a hidden blessing. By living 14 minutes away in South Carolina they can save big on property and school taxes. They don’t even have to get their cars inspected in South Carolina each year because things are more lax there. The extreme savings associated with living in South Carolina allows you to invest some of your extra money into private schools for your children. The rest can be put into retirement savings.
Another reason for planning your residence, especially in your latter years, is the subject of inheritance tax. If you live in Nebraska and you have a substantial amount of money in assets, maybe it’s smart to jump down one state and declare your residence in Kansas. Not doing so will allow Nebraska to take 18% of the money that you thought would be going to your loved ones. In total, there are 8 states that withhold inheritance tax and 15 states that withhold estate tax.
Buy this shirt, not that
I really hate shopping for clothes and always have. My awful memories of this activity go back to my early childhood in New Jersey, being held captive inside of Irv Lerner’s while squirming around in my new corduroys. Until recently, I would tend to pick out shirts and pants at Walmart while getting tools or oil for my car. I would just kind of walk up to something and decide that “it’s good” without going through the hassle of trying it on. The problem is, sometimes I mistakenly got clothes for heavy set people so they would get relegated to cleaning up spills in the kitchen and the like.
This bad habit ended after one of my trips to Europe when someone decided to get candid with me. She said, “You know Dan, you dress really ugly. And especially those pants, they’ve gotta go.” Well, I have to admit, she was right. And an even bigger problem was that most of my clothes never lasted for more than a year and a half. Buying the cheap, no name brands that were made in Chinese prisons seemed like a great deal at the time. But in fact I was having to buy more clothes than I should have because they’d get tattered quickly.
This principle needs to be taken to heart, especially for a large family that relies on hand-me-downs to clothe all their children. Looking at my closet, I can see that the shirts and pants which lasted for years were the name brands. Not only did they save me money in the long term, they made me look good. Here’s a list of brands that have served me well through the years.
If you heed my warning, people won’t equate your family with an 80s sitcom. No one wants to look like they live in a time capsule. Let them dress to impress and you’ll be saving money in the long term.
Buy this flight ticket, not that
Flying on business trips has been a central part of my life since my early twenties so I think I have a little authority to speak about buying cheap tickets. One of the dangers of having to fly so much is falling into the same pattern of buying from online aggregators like Expedia, Orbitz or Kayak. You remember the first time you bought through a company like this and you saved big money so each subsequent flight you buy your ticket the same way. Don’t forget that Southwest and Allegiant Air don’t allow their fares to be listed on such sites. They got tired of operating with so little profit so they only offer tickets from their own websites. Just knowing this is a boon to any traveler.
OK, let’s look at a probable scenario. You know that you have to buy a ticket and the computer is right in front of you. Expedia has your information saved and it would be so easy to pull up a bunch of competing flights through that portal. But you decide to checkout Southwest’s website and find out that its round trip price is $50 cheaper than Expedia! So you go through the process of buying the ticket and fall asleep feeling good about yourself. OK, so the day of your flight comes and you wake up late… and miss your flight. All hell breaks loose in your mind at the airport and you go into a fetal position by the main entrance. But then you find out that you can use your unused ticket for a future ticket because you bought it directly from the airline! Friends, if you had missed your flight after having purchased a ticket through an online aggregator you’d probably be out of luck.