Everybody dreams of a dirt-cheap wedding, or getting a steal of a deal on a house, or having someone magically foot the bill for our child’s college education.
But for most of us, those are just fantasies. The real way to save money is to spend less of it, particularly by trimming the costs of more mundane purchases we make every day.
Following are ways you can cut costs on such recurring expenses.
Chain stores advertise big sales on eyeglasses, but there are even cheaper options to be found.
Look online for discount glasses that are every bit as good as what you find in any store. See “4 Steps to Finding Stylish and Cheap Eyeglasses.”
Finally, if you simply need reading glasses, they don’t get much cheaper than those sold at a dollar store.
So you drink bottled water at home, eh? Don’t you hear Mother Earth weeping?
No? Well, forget Mother Earth for a minute. Think about your bank account. It’s crying, too. In fact, bottled water is one of those dumb deals for which we all fall.
Is your razor from a major brand name? Or does it boast six blades? If so, you are likely paying too much to shave.
Look for a generic brand of razor with the minimum number of blades you need for a close shave. Some options include store brands or Amazon's own Solimo line of razors.
The point is to find what you need rather than running out and buying the latest and greatest new razor simply because an ad says it gives you a closer, more comfortable shave.
For more shaving savings, read our article “7 Tips to Cut the Cost of Shaving by 50% or More.”
4. Bank fees
Are you paying for your checking account? Racking up multiple ATM fees every month? Getting hit with maintenance fees?
Banks certainly seem to nickel-and-dime their customers with all sorts of fees, but there’s no need to stand there and take it.
Online banks will likely charge fewer or lower fees, and they are likely to pay you higher interest rates. Or, you can take your business to your local credit union, which may be more consumer-friendly.
If you’re constantly upgrading to the latest version of smartphone, e-reader or i-anything, you are spending way more money than necessary.
The latest-generation products often offer only minor improvements compared with the previous model. Practice a little patience, and you’ll be able to upgrade for a lot less once the latest and greatest gadget becomes yesterday’s news.
To save even more, consider switching to a cheaper wireless plan. Use a free online resource like Money Talks News’ cellphone and wireless plan comparison tool to shop around.
6. Birthday and greeting cards
If you’re spending $3 — if not more — for a piece of paper someone will look at once, you’re overpaying.
Unless you know Aunt Bertha is going to treasure that birthday greeting forever, go to the dollar store for a 67% savings on the same sentiment. Or tap into your childhood creativity and make one for as little as a few cents: Just paste a photo or illustration cut from a magazine on a blank card, write your message inside and slip it into an envelope.
Do you really need a purebred dog that costs $500?
If you aren’t planning to show your animal and simply need a loyal pet, there are probably plenty of dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs and rabbits at your local Humane Society chapter or animal shelter. And you might be surprised at the number of purebreds you can find there, too.
The nonprofit Best Friends Animal Society says buying a pet typically costs $500 to $1,000 or more. By contrast, adopting a pet could cost as little as $50 in adoption fees.
Plus, some shelters offer periodic adoption events during which fees are slashed.
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