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Eight ways to save money you may not have thought of

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 08-05-2009

Here are some dad advice and ways to save money that you might not have thought of:

  1. Shop consignment stores: Not thrift stores, where used merchandise donated for charity is piled high at bargain prices. Consignment stores are more choosey at what they take in and arrange it more as a store. Sure, you can’t find all sizes, but you can find items that either business-worthy for you, or hip enough for growing kids. You just have to figure out a crafty way of selling this to the rest of the family, but expect savings of 60 – 70% for items that are only gently used.
  2. Switch from premium to regular gas: Okay, this one is not for every family car, but if you’re using premium just because you think it’s like name brand whiskey versus bar stock, you may be throwing a lot of money away. A higher octane rating will not have any affect on a car designed to run on Regular. The difference on a 20 gallon tank you fill once per week could be two to three hundred dollars. Experts also say that the loads you carry and the type of driving you do could influence this decision even for cars that recommend using premium. Experiment with your own car. If you’re not driving heavy loads in hot weather, or can’t break the jack-rabbit start habit, you might be able to get by with it.
  3. “Style” your own hair: Blessed with a receding hairline at 40, I finally decided to take a big scissors to my comb-over and buy an electric razor. Now, every week or so, I shave my head with a #2 blade all over, as if I were a sheep, then use a barber’s scissors to trim around the ears. I save the $20-$30 every month on a haircut, not to mention the hassle of the appointment and 30 minutes of insipid conversation on the chair. If you have boys, get them in the habit of doing this from an early age and it won’t be an issue until you can tell them it’s a luxury they can pay for with their own kids allowance. Kids look cute no matter what their hair length and a buzz cut no longer has any political or social implications.
  4. Buy a soda maker from SodaClub.com: We don’t let our kids drink soda anyway due to health concerns, but we still drank too much Pelligrino and threw more than enough bottles into the landfill. SodaClub makes soda at home, which is healthier and way cheaper alternative. Recipes exist on line for root beer and other drinks. You’ll appreciate the savings on wear and tear on your back too, with one less heavy item to pick up at the store. Sorry, the sodaclub machine does not make beer.
  5. Get serious about family entertainment costs: We know longer live in an era of 99 channels and nothing on. If you really want to save money, you can go to the Netflix single DVD plan, cut all your cable, eliminate the movie theatre, and still find way too much to watch on the computer.
  6. Plan weekly family and kids activities that keep you from spending money on food or entertainment because you’re bored: If you plan a family walk every Saturday morning, you have less time in the day to spend more money and you teach your kids good fitness habits.
  7. Finally, go overboard on going green: You’re not going to save much money doing one or two “green” things, but if you go crazy on this, you certainly will. Do all of these and you will save cash:
    • Don’t drive anywhere under 30 blocks – 1.5 miles
    • Unplug all instant-on appliances, including sleeping computers
    • Take 60 second showers by candlelight
    • Flush with discretion
    • Install motion-activated lights where kids leave them on
    • Move to fluorescents everywhere

Hopefully, there’s something new here that you can do in your own home.