Answers to

Practical Questions

Big Changes, Big Savings (with thanks to TheSimpleDollar.Com)

Find a cheaper place to live. Rent or a mortgage is probably your largest expense. Look for a cheaper place to live – ViewIt and are great places to start. Consider a bigger place, but with a roommate, the cost per person drops. Or, if you have extra room, rent it out! 

Drive a less expensive car. Cars are huge waste of money. If you need one, buy a fuel-efficient used car. Even a one-year-old car can save you 25% to 30% off the price of a new car.

If you need to drive, save some money on gas. is an app that uses the built-in GPS on your phone to locate stations near you with the lowest gas prices.

Quit smoking. C'mon, this habit is not only bad for you, but if you invested the money it takes to buy a pack of cigarettes every day in equities at 10% per year instead of butts, you would have $673,000 in 30 years instead of a higher risk of cancer.

Be smart at the grocery store. First, use a grocery list – mundane but important. To make one correctly, first check out your grocery store flyer (online or paper) for this week’s specials, then do a seven-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal plan. Then only put items on the list you need for the seven-day meal plan. Save your meal plans and periodically repeat them to save yourself planning time. 'Plan to Eat' is a great online meal planning and list making tool. The list will prevent you from buying what you already have, (i.e., you forgot you already have bananas, milk or maple syrup), and you will eliminate impulse buys. Breakfast food is cheaper than lunch food and dinner food, so eat breakfast. Buy large use non perishable items in bulk, i.e., toilet paper, laundry detergent, shampoo, feminine supplies, Q-Tips, etc.

Checkout 51 is an app that gives you money back on certain products after you purchase them.

Watch less TV. How does this save you money? It buys you X hours per week to earn more income (see How can I earn at least $11.40 per week more so I can begin to invest?), reduces your cable subscription fees, uses less electricity, skips all those ads that make you want to buy stuff ... but giving you more free time to earn more is the big win.

Fun Substitutes

  • Invite friends in rather than going out on the town.

  • Switch a dinner or movie night out with friends to dinner in watching each other's old DVDs.

  • Make your own beer and wine with friends.

  • Instead of taking a vacation requiring a plane, try a road trip.

  • Instead of going out for a massage, offer to give your partner one. It will come back one day.

  • Instead of buying books, CDs DVDs and magazines, borrow them from the library.

  • In the summer, walk or bike instead of taking public transit. If you drive, try walking and taking public transit instead of driving.

  • Check out your local city or town website to learn about free activities that are going on each weekend.