Buy store brands, waste less food, buy used
Purchase private label clothing
Cut costs of utilities by making your home more efficient
Invest in an IRA

Frugal Living Tips
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February 3, 2005 Issue

List of index of all topics with links Financial calculators - printer friendly Cut budget 5000 dollars a year Only $8 / month for all long distance? coupons, free samples, catalogs, close-outs Rebel Consumer Blog

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Save Money * Save Time * Take Control * Help the Environment

Rick Doble, Editor,

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Vol. 11, February 3, 2005

Here is the latest issue. Enjoy.
Editor, Rick Doble


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After ten years of writing and editing this web site and newsletter, these are my top nine tips for saving money that are quite easy, that all of us can do and that we can and should teach our children.

#1. Buy store brands or generics for inexpensive consumer items at the stores where you always shop
Annual Savings = about $1000 a year per household
    Store brands in supermarkets, in office supply stores, in electronic stores, in drug stores, at clothing stores will save you about 20% a year. If you don't like a store brand take it back at the next visit to that store. Stores want you to buy their brands and most are more than willing to refund you money. Over time you will find that you like about two-thirds of the store brands but still prefer about one third of the name brand items. With store brands you will need to change your habits a bit. Instead of looking for the familiar national brand with the bright colorful label on the shelf at eye level, you will need to look at the bottom shelf or the top shelf. Now that's not hard!
Online Store Brand Information
More About Store Brands

#2. Waste less food
Annual Savings = $500
    American's waste about 25% of the food they buy. If that amount can be cut in half then the savings should be around $500. This involves storing food in containers, labeling the containers with the date, eating the oldest food first, and throwing out some that are past their safe period for storage. While this sounds like a lot of work, it really isn't. Doing this means you will avoid having to cook, shop and clean up as much. It really means changing habits a bit.
Food Waste Information Online

#3. Learn when it is smarter to buy used
Annual Savings = about $500 a year
    Furniture, automobiles, clothing, exercise equipment, baby and children's items are often a better deal used. Used CD's and books are also exceptional buys. The savings can be dramatic, as much as 90% off the new price. Some things are better used, even clothing. For example, used trousers that have been washed and worn will not shrink and the color will not run. Any flaws in the stitching should be obvious. And also after three washing virtually no one can tell the difference between clothing that was bought new and clothing in good condition that was bought used.
Buying Used Tips Online

#4. Learn to mix and match clothes
Annual Savings = $1000 a year
    Don't buy all your clothing used, but buy some of it used. Buy some store brand clothing. Buy some expensive designer garbs. The most important thing is that they all fit together with a look that is right for you. You can buy a ready made look at a store with matching everything that will cost a fortune. Yet it is unlikely that an expensive matching ensemble will exactly fit your style. If you work on what looks best on you, you will find your own individuality and save a ton of money at the same time.
Clothing Information Online

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#5. Buy a used automobile
Annual Savings = $1000 a year
    A new car does not have a repair history because it is new. Even if your favorite make and model of car has an excellent reputation, you cannot know for sure whether there are problems with the latest one. If you want a late model car, get a two year old automobile with an excellent repair history for that model. You can find out which two year old models are the best by consulting the annual Consumer Report's Buying Guide. A repair record is the best guarantee that the car will run properly. In addition you will save a ton, because the car is used thus saving you on the initial tax, the annual tax, financing and insurance. My own preference is for cars that are about five years old. The saving are even more substantial and the repair record data is also more detailed.
Automobile Information Online

#6. Get into the habit of making your home more energy efficient
Annual Savings = $500
    Instead of trying to redo your entire home in a couple of months to make it more energy efficient, try to do some things each season that will help a bit. Everything you do will save you money year after year. Over time you will save a significant amount, you will feel more comfortable and add to the value of your home. For example, when you must replace an appliance, get the most efficient one. When you need to do a remodeling job, add insulation into a wall that did not have insulation before. Or every winter you might add a new storm window where it was drafty the year before or an insulated jacket around the water heater or an energy efficient florescent light in a hallway that you leave lighted most of the time.
Utilities Information Online

#7. Get into the habit of looking for ways to save
Annual Savings = $500
    This is sort of a miscellaneous category. The ideal method is to spend a couple of hours discovering a way to cut an annual expense, because that will save you money year after year.
If you keep your eyes out for low cost options, such as lower priced automobile insurance, you will save a substantial amount of money over time. Some ideas will work for some people, some will not. For example, I have suggested that everyone look into the advantages of Time Of Use (TOU) with your electric power company. My wife and I have saved about $500 a year for the last ten years with no change in our life style. A prepaid telephone long distance service such as the Tel3 Advantage service we recommended in the last newsletter, could save you $400-$600 a year. Raising the deductible on your homeowners insurance is a very smart idea, as it will save you money each year and prevent you from making small claims on your insurance which companies often use as a reason to cancel your policy.
How To Cut Long Distance Telephone Costs

So far you have just saved about $5000. Now put that into an IRA:

#8. Contribute to an IRA
Tax savings = $500
    Help your current expenses and your retirement. Put all that money you saved into a retirement fund and get a tax saving this year to boot.
IRA Calculator

#9. Get you best deal on new name brand equipment, appliances, cameras and other expensive durable goods
Annual Savings = hard to predict
    You may not save a lot of money with this, but you will get reliable dependable equipment with few repair problems which will save you a lot of headaches.
While store brands and generics are great for small purchases, avoid them when buying an expensive technical piece of equipment. In most cases I would not buy these used either, although cars are the one major exception. Look for bargains in name brand equipment such as buying new discontinued models or shopping at seasonal sales such as the President's Day sales in February.

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