How to be a Green Queen- with money that is
by Marie Reda
Robert Frost’s famous line “Nature’s first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold” from “Nothing Gold Can Stay” is surprisingly accurate not only for the autumn season that is upon us, but also for the current economic state. It’s been hard parting with the green leaves in our wallets, and it will be even harder to hold onto when the holidays roll around. We should be more prudent about saving now, so we won’t feel too guilty as we hand over the green to the cashier later. No big lifestyle changes required.
One easy way to save some cash is to bring back the brown bag lunch a few days a week. You won’t just save money; by making your own lunch, you control exactly what and how much you’re eating. You can cut costs and calories at once by bringing a sandwich and a drink with you as you head out for the day. Along the same line, when you go grocery shopping, make sure you write a list ahead of time. This way, you’re less likely to succumb to impulse buying. Having a game plan before you get to the supermarket will lessen the time you spend strolling down the aisles, so you’re more likely to buy only what you came for.
You also can remove bottled water from your grocery list. Grab a re-usable bottle and invest in a water filter, which can save you money in the long run. If you shop at warehouse stores like Costco, buying in bulk can equal big savings at the cash register and the gas station since you’ll make less frequent trips to the store.
As an added bonus, you won’t need to use the ATM machine as often. Remember to be wary when using ATM machines since those withdrawal fees can add up. Most banks don’t waive fees for all ATM transactions, so only use ATM machines that your bank won’t charge a fee for. You could avoid this trouble by simply withdrawing directly at your bank.
If you work in the city, walking instead of taking the subway is a smart move and a great way to exercise without paying for a gym membership.
When you’re not at work and have some down-time, check out books and DVDs at the library instead of buying or renting them. And if you’ve been a bit loose with your spending in the past, use cash instead of a credit card when you buy.
Consumers who use cash when making purchases save 18 percent more than those who use credit cards since it’s harder to hand over your hard earned cash than it is to swipe your card and put it back in your wallet.
You also won’t go wild with your credit card if you remove your credit card numbers from your online accounts. If your card information is stored in an account, that makes it easier to click and buy without thinking of the cost. Get out of this habit by deleting your card information from the account so you’ll spend the time getting your card, punching in the numbers, and thinking about what you’re about to spend.
You probably know by now that cooking at home can save you money, but remember to treat yourself every once in a while. Check out Restaurant.com to get restaurant discounts and even deals on gift certificates!
These tips can help you see a little more green in the chilly autumn months, and you won’t stay warm by burning through all your cash. In the words of American humorist Evan Esar, “The mint makes it first, it is up to you to make it last.”