Principles and Practices to Save Money

General Principles for Making Purchases
1. Ask the following questions before making a purchase:

a. Do we need it?
b. Can we afford it?
c. How much will we really use it?

2. If there is something you want to buy, go home and sleep on it.  You may realize that you don’t really need what you were going to buy. Review your budget to see if the purchase fits in the budget. No decision should be made; no expenditures should be okayed without first ensuring that the family budget will not be compromised.
3. Set goals:

a. Write them down
b. Husband and wife should work together on the goals as a team.
c. Share the goals with the family
d. Learn to say no to your spouse, but be kind about it.

4. Construct a general budget based on your new lifestyle and review your budget regularly. Each member of the family must be dedicated to living within the budget.

Grocery Shopping
1. Don’t buy on impulse and don’t shop when you are hungry!
2. Make a grocery list. Use coupons – however, buy store brand if it is cheaper than using name brand coupon. Sources for coupons:

Sunday newspaper – earns points for gift cards, etc. – saves money for college (has monthly fee) (has a monthly fee)

3. Compare pricing in the grocery ads. Visit grocery store websites for online coupons and offers. Check manufacturer’s websites for coupons and offers.
4. Plan meals ahead of time so you know exactly what you need to buy.
5. Pack lunches for everyone in the family

1. Check out the following sites for lowest gas prices near your home and when are taking a
road trip:

2. Combining errands into one trip will save you time and money.  You’ll not only save fuel, but also reduce wear and tear on your car.
3. Observe the Speed Limit. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.26 per gallon for gas.
4. Remove Excess Weight – An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPGby up to 2%.
5. Avoid excessive idling – Idling gets 0 miles per gallon.
6. Use cruise control – Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.
7. Check and replace air filters regularly – Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car’s gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
8. Keep tires properly inflated. You can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure.
9. Use the recommended grade of motor oil – You can improve your gas mileage by 1-2 percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil.
10. Commuting
If you can stagger your work hours to avoid peak rush hours, you’ll spend less time sitting in traffic and consume less fuel. If you own more than one vehicle, drive the one that gets the best gas mileage whenever possible. Consider telecommuting (working from home) if your employer permits it.If possible, take advantage of carpools and ride-share programs. You can cut your weekly fuel costs in half and save wear on your car if you take turns driving with other commuters. Consider using public transit if it is available and convenient for you.

The cheapest car is the one you already have.  Fix it unless something major goes wrong.

Utility Savings
1. In the summer, cover windows and keep your drapes closed to keep out the heat.
2. Set your thermostat to 78 degrees and use your fans.  Fans cool a house down about 4 degrees and are cheaper to run than the air conditioner.
3. Change your filter monthly.  A dirty filter causes the air conditioner to work harder.
4. Caulk doors and windows where there is leakage.
5. In the winter, open the drapes to let in the sun to heat the house.  Set your thermostat to 68 degrees and put on a sweater.
6. Check into your rate options.  If you are gone during the day, choose a plan that gives you cheaper rates between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.  Do your household duties and laundry
during the times your rates are the lowest.
7. Get on the equalizer plan.  It won’t save you any money, but it will average your utility bills over a 12-month period so you are paying the same amount every month.  It will
help your monthly budget.
8. If you have computers and other office equipment, get a smart strip.  It will shut off your peripheral items automatically when they sense that they are not in use.

General Shopping
1. Watch out for “I deserve it” items.
2. Don’t carry a lot of cash.  It makes you think twice before spending it.
3. Look for bargains.
4. Shop the Clearance Racks
5. Wait for items to go on sale if it is something that is not needed immediately. Remember, just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy it.
6. Shop at consignment/second-hand stores and watch for yard sales.
7. Don’t give your children everything they ask for.  Let them work for their “wants.”

1. Make a list of all your debts, smallest to the largest.
2. Pay off the lowest dollar debt first. However, continue to make the minimum payment on all your other debts as well.
3. When the smallest debt is paid off, apply that payment and your current payment to the next lowest debt.
4. Continue to do the same until all debt is paid off.

Debt Payment Option if you own a home
If you have a large amount of equity in your home and you owe a substantial amount of debt to credit card companies, you can save a bundle in interest by acquiring a home equity loan to pay off your credit card debts.  Interest rates are quite low right now for home equity loans compared to the interest rates on credit cards.  And, if you can pay more than just the minimum payment on the home equity loan, you will pay this debt off even faster.

A NOTE OF CAUTION  This decision requires extreme discipline.  You need to cut up the credit cards and not use them any more or you will get yourself back in the same situation you are currently in.  Your goal is to GET OUT OF DEBT!  Consult with a financial advisor before taking this step and get an accountability partner you can trust.

Bank Fees
1. Ask for a free checking account.  If your bank doesn’t have one, find a new bank. If you carry a large balance in your checking account; put the excess in an account that pays you decent interest.
2. Do not buy your checks from the bank.  They will cost you more.  Go to or call/write them at:  Checks Unlimited, P.O. Box 19000
Colorado Springs, CO 80935-9000   1-800-210-0468
3. Don’t use the ATM machines if you don’t need to.  Plan ahead. If you do, check with your bank to see which machines you can use at no charge.  There may be a limit as to how many free transactions you can make. And using another bank’s ATM could cost you more than $2.50 per use.
4. Balance your checking account monthly.  Make sure you track all those ATM withdrawals and fees.  Bouncing a check can cost you $30 or more per check.
5. Avoid the use of automatic overdrafts on your checking account. This allows you to write checks for more than you have in the bank. But the overdraft becomes a loan – at a high interest rate.

Debit Card Warning!
We are not fans of debit cards. They are tied directly to the money in your bank account.  Reasons:
1. You don’t have the same protection as credit cards. When your credit card is lost or stolen, as long as you report the loss within one or two days, the maximum for which they’ll hold you liable is $50. (In fact, if you have a good credit record and call them right away, they will most likely waive that $50.) But with a debit card, someone can steal it and debit your account down to zero before you even realize it’s gone!
2. The ATM “debit” cards that have Visa or MasterCard logos on them are scary. Banks send them to customers without asking. These cards can be used with or without a personal identification number (PIN), just like credit cards, but the thief has his hands right on your bank account. You might be able to recover your money eventually, but you’ll face a LONG fight with the bank.
3. If you must carry one around, employ the obscure-PIN strategy (never use your birthday or any obvious numbers), and try to hover over your transaction like a human shield when you’re at an ATM machine. Paranoia is appropriate here; ATM card thieves have been known to steal PIN numbers with binoculars.

Can I Use Credit Cards?
1. The best rule of thumb is to destroy all but 2 good low-interest credit cards. The more plastic you have in your pocket that could be ripped off, the more you are open to identity theft, monetary theft, and all sorts of problems.
2. If you can’t pay a card off every month, or over a couple of months, don’t use it.
3. Don’t use credit cards without the consent of your spouse.

Eating Out/Entertainment
1. Plan your budget first to see how often you can eat out.
2. Use coupons. Watch for them in your mail and they are sometimes in your coupons in the Sunday paper.
3. Buy a book from This .book has coupons for just about anything.  Hint: Wait a couple months into the next year and the price of the book will drop.
4. Sign up at  You .can get cash back if you eat at their restaurants. Note:  This requires having a credit card.
5. Go to to purchase discount gift certificates.  The normal price is $3 for a $10 gift certificate and $10 for a $25 gift certificate.  However, they have 50% off sales regularly so you can save even more money.  Note:  Before purchasing a certificate, read the restrictions. Sometimes you have to spend a specific dollar amount and/or buy beverages.
6. Save a good portion on your food bill by not ordering sodas/beverages.  The restaurants make a huge profit on drinks – and water is a lot better for you.
7. If you are taking your children with you, find places where the children eat free with an adult meal or you pay by their age.
8. If you are wanting to go on a date and need a babysitter, work out an exchange program with another couple.

1. If at all possible, pay for your car insurance 6 months at a time. You will save the monthly fee.
2. Check with your insurance company to make sure you are getting all the discounts you deserve:
a. Safety devices
b. Safe driver discount
c. Long-time customer
d. Age-related discounts
e. Student discounts if you have dependents on your policy
f. Risk-related discounts:  parking in your garage/carpooling
g. Raise your deductible to at least $500 and even $1,000
The money you save in your premium will more than make up for any out of pocket expense you may have because of a higher deductible.
h. Insure all your cars with the same company.
i. Keep your homeowner’s/renter’s insurance with the same company as your car.
j. Eliminate extra coverage for automobile-related deaths.

Ways to Make Extra Money
1. Take household items you no longer use and clothing you no longer wear to a consignment store.
2. Have a garage sale
3. Collect your aluminum soda cans and any other items that are recyclable.
4. If you have an inkjet printer, take your empty cartridges to Office Max/Staples.
5. Got books you don’t read or videos you don’t watch any more?  Take them to a book consignment store.

Giving Without Expending Any Cash

For Native American Marriage Enhancement:
If you have a computer, you can give to Native American Marriage Enhancement by using  For .every search you do on the internet, we are given a penny.  Or if you shop on line and shop through GoodShop, a percentage will go to us as well.

We also have a fund raising program where we can send in old cell phones, inkjets, laptops, MP3 players, video game consoles, digital cameras, GPS devices, digital picture frames & portable DVD players and receive cash for them.

Help our Military With their Grocery Budget.
If you are a coupon clipper, clip all the coupons from the ads.  Those you don’t want to use can be sent to military bases to help our military families with the increasing cost of groceries. They can use them on overseas bases up to six months after the expiration date.  Here is the website for more information and the link to a list of bases:

Note: send them in packages weighing less than 13 ounces or you will have to take them to a PO window to mail due to security issues.

This list of ways to save money is not exhaustive.  If you have other ideas, we would love to hear them and add them to the list.

Maxim of the Moment

Chase your passion – not your pension. - Denis Waitley