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February 22, 2009

25 Recession Tips

Want to save money during the American recession?

1. Switch to a credit card with a lower interest rate, make them "emergency only" cards or get rid of your credit cards altogether.

2. Go retro and clip coupons.

3. Be sure to pick up the sales flyer at your local grocer whenever you shop.

4. Do your food shopping at discount grocery stores.

5. Give the office cafeteria a wide berth and get into the habit of packing your own lunch.

6. Avoid using your bank card and leave your credit card at home.

7. Join your local Freecycle network, where people pass on baby gear, furniture, electronics, clothing and craft supplies, among other stuff, for free.

8. Cancel your gym membership. Go for a walk or run around your neighbourhood instead or do push ups/sit ups/etc to get great abs.

9. Ask around for hand-me-downs, especially if you have kids.

10. Buy children's clothes at discount retailers or department stores.

11. Find free or low-cost activities for your kids.

12. If you're getting $100 a month from the government for child care, try your best to keep banking it in a high interest savings account for your child's future.

13. Switch to Skype or VOIP for long-distance calls.

14. Itemize your monthly expenses and allocate money for each by placing it in marked envelopes. If you only want to spend $50 this month on entertainment, then put $50 in an envelope marked "Entertainment" and use it to entertain yourself. Once the money's spent, that's it.

15. Don't ignore inflation. If, for example, inflation hits 5% and you're still only getting 3% in your savings account you're going to come out the loser.

16. Why not try a "staycation" instead of a vacation? Go local.

17. Make an appointment with your financial adviser to review your portfolio.

18. Consider setting up a babysitting co-operative with another family.

19. Bring a coffee maker or kettle to work. If you're buying coffee regularly the cost adds up.

20. Avoiding eating out in fast food restaurants.

21. Review your monthly plans for phone, wireless, Internet and television services and look for ways to save money and cut back.

22. When purchasing household items that are only used occasionally – gardening equipment, ladders, snowblowers, for example – consider sharing with a neighbour.

23. Start an entertainment-sharing club with like-minded friends. Meet monthly to pass around books, magazines, movies and music. Libraries are great too.

24. Try your best to keep yourself employed. With layoffs adding up and unemployment on the rise, there's no way for everyone to come out of this with their careers still intact. Make yourself indispensable at work and take on extra projects that won't burn yourself out.

25. Keep networking, just in case you do join the growing ranks of the unemployed.

Bonus Tip: If you had an economics degree or a MBA you would better understand the fundamentals of both saving money and balancing your budget.

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