Simple Money Cheat Sheets

Wouldn’t it be great to get things done without wasting time and money? If you’re looking for ways to streamline your efforts while optimizing your spending, it’s possible.

Here are some ways to keep more cash in your pocket while shaving minutes off of your efforts.

1. Buy multiples.

I keep an extra charger in my car. I know it will be there when I need it. I don’t have to constantly remember to bring one from my house and risk losing it. It’s one less thing to carry too. If one breaks or gets misplaced, you’ll have a spare handy.

I also have spare earbuds. I leave the more expensive pair home and keep a spare set in my tote at all times. I can listen to music while working.

Since the wires easily get tangled, I tuck them inside of a plastic case after using them. I repurposed a gum container and store them inside. If they get buried in my bag, I know they are in the case and won’t get ruined.

2. Just say no to work bling.

Zina Kumok website owner at DebtFreeAfterThree.com thinks generic is the way to go on certain work items. She used to believe that having nicer office supplies would make her happier and more productive. That was not the case.

She explains, “Just yesterday I was looking at a buying a $60 planner. But I also know that tools are only as good as the person using them.”

After purchasing pricey planners and notebooks in the past, she realized that they didn’t make her any more productive. We can all get lured into fancy sales copy. Purchases don’t necessarily equate to better work habits. She adds, “You can do a good job tracking tasks using a cheap notebook.”

3. Get a bright lanyard.

I used to constantly lose my keys. In an effort to stop misplacing them, I purposely put my keys on a lanyard. I attach it to the top strap of my tote so I can find them easily. It’s always visible so if I’m in a rush, I know I can find it quickly. I’m vigilant about keeping them in this spot so I can readily find them when I need them. This sanity saver only cost me a few dollars.

4. Own, don’t rent this.

While it can be a complete adrenaline rush to get a discount using a promo code or by handing over a bunch of coupons to slash costs,  following savings tips that you do once, but benefit you repeatedly can be a better strategy. You may even have to go a little rogue when it comes to cutting costs. App creator and financial writer Jackie Beck says to save money on your internet service, consider buying your own equipment instead of paying a monthly rental fee for a cable modem or DSL router. See if you’re able to do this in your local area.

5. It pays to compare.

While falling into the comparison trap on social media can wear on your self esteem, comparing is useful when it comes to shopping. If you’re in the market for a new computer or printer, it pays to look around for the best price.

Karl Quist, an online shopping expert and President of Priceblink.com,  believes that you should always compare prices online before you buy. He explains, “Just because something is ‘on sale’ doesn’t mean it’s not cheaper elsewhere.”  Sometimes a price looks cheaper until you see the shipping costs.

If you’re in the market for a big ticket item like a TV, computer or printer, no need to make your own spreadsheet to analyze costs. Check out comparison tools that can do the heavy lifting for you and ensure that consumers are getting the best possible deals.

6. Read on a regular basis.

Read an article or two on the internet. RockStarFinance.com features some of the most popular money-related articles. It also houses forums, up-and-coming blogs and net worth trackers for those who are highly transparent online about where their money goes and how much they have. Using a net worth tracker yourself (privately) can help you oversee your own financial health. Sometimes just looking at what others do can give you motivation to better your own situation. Maybe you get inspired and even figure out how you can accomplish your goals faster.

7. Think twice about subscriptions.

You might want to stop them before they start. This can prevent a steady drip of money leaks before they happen. It can be tempting to sign up for a free trial for magazines or other recurring bills. You figure you can just cancel if you don’t want the product, service or membership.  

While free trials can work to temporarily get you something for free, it can completely backfire if you forget to cancel. If you know that you’re not attentive to these types of details, you might want to dodge them altogether. Unless it’s something you truly want and can afford long term, consider not doing it at all.

If you do decide to sign up for a free trial, set a reminder to cancel before the trial period expires. Also, don’t forget to stop monthly memberships that you don’t use any more. If you never use satellite radio or your Netflix account, take a few minutes to cancel them.

8. Consider selling items you don’t use anymore.

Are you not getting enough use out of your fancy camera? Or, is your that NordicTrack Treadmill already collecting dust? Maybe you realized that your smartphone is adequate enough for taking photos or that working out at home just isn’t for you. Instead of letting these high ticket items  take up precious space in your home, try selling them to recoup most of the money before they get too old.

The Bottom Line

Your time and are worth fighting for. Don’t hand it over unnecessarily if you don’t have to. Use these ideas to help you overcome spending obstacles that can drain your wallet and your precious time. You can still be productive and whistle get the most for your money.

Karen is a Nationally Syndicated Personal Finance Writer who sharpens her skills at US News Money. You can also find her placing clients on podcasts and reading about home office organization, productivity and habits.

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