Tuesday, December 7, 2010

America's Proudest Cheapskate Serves Up Tips for Saving in the New Year

From RR Star. Why wait 'til next year? Do these NOW!


Set a per-pound price limit for food purchases

Yeager used to swear by a $1 per-pound limit, but rising food prices — he lives in high-cost-of-living metropolitan Washington, D.C. — have driven his bottom line up to $1.19. Consider the cost of living in your community and your own frugal tolerance before picking a number, but pick one. You’ll find it’s a good strategy for paring down your weekly grocery bills.

To make it work, you need to be a creative cook and base your household’s menu on sales and store specials. For instance, this week you might be able to get mangos for $1 per pound, but next week, when they’re twice the price, you will have to choose another fruit that is on sale or in season.

“You’ll find it tends to steer you toward a healthier diet,” Yeager said.

Give up the cell phone

We’ve convinced ourselves that cell phones are necessities, but Yeager begs to differ.

“I would simply encourage people to consider what life might be like without a cell phone,” he says. “I have a successful career, I travel, I do all sorts of things and I have never had a problem living without a cell phone. So why does an unemployed teenager need one?”

If giving up your cell phone permanently seems like too much to commit to, you might consider agreeing to a one-year trial separation just to see how it goes. Add up how much you save during that time.

Green your clean

Yeager cleans most of his house with homemade cleaner concocted of baking soda and vinegar.

Most household cleaners marketed for cleaning one specific surface or room are a waste of money, he says.

“Is kitchen tile really that much different than bathroom tile?” he asks.

Plus, a baking soda and vinegar solution is easier on the environment than many heavy chemical cleansers.

Wear your clothes out

Yeager advocates washing clothes only in cold water to save energy and extend the life of the garments. Also, line dry your laundry instead of using the dryer, which also uses energy and damages fabric over time.

Yeager suggests buying classic, rather than trendy, clothes and wearing them until they wear out, not just as long as they’re the height of fashion.

Shift gears

If you’re in the market for a new or used car, shop for a standard-transmission model. They use less fuel — sometimes getting 2 or 3 miles per gallon more than their automatic counterparts.

And because driving a stick shift is a dying art, you can usually bargain a better price if you know how to drive a manual transmission vehicle.

Park your car expenses

Consider becoming a one-car family. “We’ve gone car crazy,” Yeager says. “The average family has 2.5 cars now. If you can consider giving up one car, it’s a huge savings.”

Yeager and his wife share one vehicle. It requires some coordination, he says, but it’s worth it in the saved gas money, repair costs, license plate fees and insurance. On the rare occasions when they absolutely need a second car, Yeager rents one.

“Yes, it’s an expense,” he says. “But it still is far less than the cost of owning and maintaining two vehicles."

Yeah, I could pick them apart and show you REAL ways to save, but I think you get the drift. I will say that mangoes at $1.00/lb. are too much even for me--they're IMPORTED, and I can eat domestic fruit (in season) for much less. Some nice Red Delicious apples are cheaper, and are in season right now...and more nutritious too.


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