A new year is upon us. Time for ideas, plans, and resolutions to do good things. Some want to lose weight, others things like getting the finances in order. For the first, go see my friend Josh at Youth Pastor Diet. For the finances, let’s dig into it a little here. These are 10 general tips (in no certain order) to save some green. I am not a financial counselor, but I once slept at a Holiday Inn Express…
10. Get help. A good working definition for insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Go to Dave Ramsey’s site, or talk with a trusted person of wisdom in your life.
9. Refurbished is not a dirty word, in the right context. Many of us have money tied up in electronics. New computers, phones, and such can be pricey. Manufacturer refurbished items can be purchased for far cheaper with a comparable warranty. However, be aware that there are many “third-party” refurbished goods that are worth staying away from.
8. Never buy electronics cables at retail/big box stores. You are paying for convenience and packaging. That 6 foot HDMI cable that is $24.95 in the store will cost you about $3 on Amazon in bulk packaging. This is especially true for printers and USB cables. Go ahead buy the printer below cost at Walmart or Best Buy. Just show some patience and go get that $25 USB cable for $3 online.
7. Never buy car chargers and phone cases at the phone company store. This is the same principle as #8. I once bought a Ballistic brand case for an iPhone 4 that was $55 at the ATT store for $18 on EBay new in unopened packaging. That $30 charger will be less than $10 shipped on Amazon in many cases.
6. Is it the right time to refinance a mortgage? There are a few specific situations where a refinance is a good thing. We were 6 years into a 30-year loan. We dropped over 2 full percentage points on the interest we were paying the bank. That made roughly $200 a month difference on the payment. That is a big deal.
5. Evaluate the costs of operating your vehicles. You may have a very low car payment. But you may save money by moving to a vehicle with either 1) a lower payment or 2) less gas consumption.
4. Many times the store brand of groceries are as good as the name brand. We shop often at Aldi when we “go to the city” and stock up. My dad once worked in a plant that made several store brands of Mac-and-Cheese. The same plant also made Kraft Mac-N-Cheese. The only difference was the box.
3. Don’t buy cheap; don’t buy high-end. Shoot for the middle. I often give this advice to people looking to replace or purchase a computer. If you go for a good middle of the road system, you are going to be looking at several years’ use and a decent price.
2. Reconsider replacing a computer because it is “old and slow”? There are some IT professionals that can come take a look, and clean up the computer and make it run like new. I am often called in to do this very thing. However, unless it is a full backup/wipe/restore, it should almost never be over $100 (the exceptions being a virus/malware infection or hardware issues).
1. Plan. I am going to tell you a valuable truth: Christmas is on December 25 EVERY YEAR. Save for it, plan for it, but DO NOT go into debt for it. If that means buying gifts as they go on sale a couple at a time, so be it (that’s what we do). If it means re-gifting or making gifts, that’s okay (we do these too). It is about celebrating Christ first, enjoying your friends and family second. The presents are way down the list.
Have a money saving 2013!