Here's a few of my fav tips from Money Matters + my own commentary:
- "Maximize your paycheck. Take pretax dollars from your salary to ensure you have funds for things you need. A flexible spending account (FSA) lets you pay for health expenses..." The tricky thing about an FSA though the "use it or lose it" clause. For the first year you open one of these, I suggest figuring out your sure-thing expenses like contacts, birth control and other regular prescriptions. Only set aside enough for those and depending on how you spend, consider increasing the next year.
- "Skimp on the small stuff." This is why my college friends associate me with cheap toilet paper...and toothpaste, paper towels, etc. Needless to say, name brand is not always the way to go, especially on daily household purchases.
- "Make small changes at home. Save $33 a month: Turn your fridge temperature up to 40 degrees and your freezer up to 0." You bet I immediately checked my fridge. The other ideas here include surge protectors and compact fluorescent lightbulbs. I'd like to add in variable or low-flow toilets and keeping your home really warm in the summer and really cold in the winter (guilty as charged).
- "Shop solo. Browsing with a friend triggers competition; you'll be more objective alone." I have to admit this one isn't any fun but I know I do by less when I'm alone so there must be some truth to it.
- Take your lunch. OK this one wasn't in Marie Claire but I find it to be one of the best cost saving things to do on an almost daily basis. When we really need to save we take this one step further and instead of buying lunch stuff will make just a little more for dinner and take that with us. Dinner leftovers are especially cheap when it's pasta night.
- Use cash. Again not in Marie Claire but tried and true in the Black household. If you can't pay for it in cash, you can't afford it.