How to Cut Costs When Hitting Rough Financial Spots

Valerie
October 13, 2009

save_moneyWe all worry about money sometimes, especially when running our own small businesses. Your bank account can run low, creditors can start to call, and pretty soon your financial worries can seem to take over your creative flow.

Take it from me, I’ve been there, and it is not a happy place to be. But one thing I’ve learned is that a lot of the time, I seemed to be wasting money that could have easily been spent on bills. Looking over past receipts and purchases, I noticed that there were plenty of opportunities to save my money or use it to build my business instead of my debt. Don’t let the same thing happen to you. Here are some great ways to save money when hitting financial rough spots. Keep energy costs low Wasted electricity is probably one of the biggest money zappers that you can encounter. Since we were kids, we’ve left the lights on, stood in front of the refrigerator too long and evened out the air conditioning by turning on the heat. But these are habits that can cut deep into your wallet if your not careful. Turn off computer and lights when you’re not using them. Instead of going right to the thermostat, grab a blanket in the winter, or go out to Starbucks and work offsite in the air conditioning during the summer. Your electric bill will thank you. Take a break from cable TV Don’t kill me for this one because I’m a TV junkie myself. But sometimes your financial situation may cause you to cut back on “luxury” items that can and should be removed to save money, even if it’s only temporary. Cable TV might just be one of those luxuries, but don’t fret: The Internet has you covered. With such Web sites as Hulu.com, you can watch regular TV right from your computer, eliminating the need for cable TV. Keep in mind that most of these programs run a week behind, but most major networks allow viewers to watch online feeds of the hottest shows as early as the day after they air on cable. Have a yard sale Instead of moving around the unused items in your home, have a yard sale to get some extra cash. Old electronics, clothing, kitchen items and home accents can all attract your neighbors or people in town who hunt for bargains. Your local newspaper often has a section where you can list your yard sale, and you can also post up flyers in your neighborhood. Cook at home instead of eating out Big ticket item = restaurants. If there is one thing I love more than cable TV, it’s food! But eating out every night or even every weekend can get pricey. Paying for an extra value meal here and there can add up to hundreds of wasted dollars every month. Try going to the grocery store at least twice a month and stock up on items that will last. Collect your favorite recipes and start a potluck club with your friends where you all bring a dish and rotate houses. Lose the gym membership and go outside Staying fit is important, but sometimes the gym can get a little expensive. Paying money to run inside might make sense when the cash is rolling in, but when you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel, the park might be more fitting. Take your bike and hit the trail or grab your iPod and go for a walk around the block. Thrift stores instead of retail One of my favorite things to do is go thrifting. Find your local thrift stores and check them out. Some people might be turned off by the fact that the items sold are used, but just imagine what you might give away. Your closet is probably filled with lots of stuff that is still in great condition but is too small. I always purchase items from the thrift store that still have the hang tags on them! Drive slower We all hear about actions that may or may not waste gas. Running the air conditioner as opposed to rolling the windows down is still debatable, but one thing that we know wastes gas is going faster instead of slower. I’m a speed demon myself, but going the speed limit will not only keep you off the police radar - it will keep that gas in your tank just a little bit longer. Check your bank account regularly I hate bank fees! Can I repeat that? I hate bank fees! Just had to get that out. Sometimes checks from employees could bounce, or your account doesn’t balance. ATM fees can sometimes go undetected and you could forget about them. Checking your account regularly can help you to detect charges that are incorrect or allow you to see where you could make transactions differently to avoid them.

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