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Seven Habits Of Saving:
- Use your neighborhood library for books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, video games and all sorts of entertainment. I bet you didn't know half that list was offered by the NYC library system.
- Eat home cooked meals. Bring food from home. Doing this can save you an average of $50 to $70 a week, assuming your lunch costs around $10 to $15 each. Yes, you can find cheaper fare, such as the $1 pizza slice I tweeted about several months ago, but how much pizza can you really eat? Home cooked / prepared is usually much healthier to boot!
- Commute by mass transit. Living in NYC has many benefits, one of which is having a very good public transportation system. Yes we all gripe about it from time to time, but if you journey to other cities and compare their mass transit options, you'll know you are getting a good bargain using the trains and buses. Compare the monthly cost of an unlimited metrocard to driving back and forth to work, you'll most likely save $100 or more a month since you don't pay for insurance, upkeep, gas, parking and other car related expenses. That's at least $1200 a year you are saving on travel compared to a car owner.
- New Yorkers love to shop. If you are one to shop for clothing quite often, you should cut back or scale down. Shop less, shop for only items you need, shop for basics that you can mix and match. Buying the latest in fashion trends can cost you thousands every year. If you can't help but buy name brands, I suggest you check out outlets, thrift shops and other such stores. They often have goods at half the cost you would normally spend.
- Love Music? Who doesn't? Music can get expensive though. Thanks to technology, you can find your favorite music free! You've probably used Pandora or other related sites for music. Online radio, regular FM radio, your existing CD/MP3 collection, are some other ways to enjoy music for no cost at all.
- Use coupons and sales whenever possible. I've gotten items free, and sometimes I even get a little money back from buying things on sale, with a coupon. It doesn't happen often, but every little bit helps in this economy, and especially those still on the lookout for a job. So stop throwing out your Sunday circulars and save the coupons. You can also print coupons from sites such as coupons.com or redplum.com.
- Don't buy new gadgets, I tend to use my existing doodads to its full extent. Those of you with the latest Blackberry or iPhone probably only use certain features. Don't forget to use it as a temporary night light/flash light, alarm clock, notepad, calculator, etc.. Before you buy your next App, check out what's already there.
Do you have any suggestions for habits that can boost your savings rate? I'd love to hear your ideas.
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