NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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A Dollar Here, A Dollar There

A Dollar Here, A Dollar There


                Sometimes all it takes is that first step in the right direction to turn your financial situation around.  Following are an assortment of money saving tips. Some take just a few minutes, while others require a regular effort. But they are all simple to incorporate in your daily life.

                - Heat and cool smartly. Improve the performance of your heating and cooling system by having it serviced annually by a licensed contractor.

                - Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.

                - Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.

                - Look for the ENERGY STAR logo found on everything from compact fluorescent light bulbs to refrigerators. The logo indicates that a product is 10 to 50 percent more energy efficient than products without the ENERGY STAR logo.

                - Use energy saving window treatments, such as insulated or heavy draperies, and storm windows.

                - Use hot water wisely. Your water heater is the second largest energy user in your home. Consider insulating it and using hot water efficiently to save energy and money. Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120 degrees F.

                - Know how to spot a bargain. When you buy a garment, check its construction and care instructions, fiber content, and other label information. Be sure the garment will last and is easy to care for.

                - Use fewer paper products, such as paper plates, cups, and towels. You will be both saving money and helping the environment.

                - Learn to paint, how to hang wallpaper and how to refinish furniture.

                - Take advantage of free or low–cost learning opportunities, trips, and community services, such as schools, workshops, fairs, libraries, concerts, hikes, public tennis courts, home shows, Extension programs, and other adult education courses.

                - Hold a garage sale. Sell those items you no longer use, need, or want.

                - Plan your meals one week at a time. First, review the grocery ads to take advantage of specials. Make a shopping list from your menu plan. You can save hundreds of dollars a year by comparing cost per unit on shelf labels. Stock up on those items with low per-unit costs, and take your calculator.

                - Prepare a large quantity of standard recipes, such as spaghetti sauce, chili, pastries, and stews. Label and freeze them for later use. This not only saves time but also allows you to buy larger amounts of basic ingredients at lower prices.

                - Try limiting food shopping trips to once a week. You will save gasoline, time, and money. And, always eat before grocery shopping to avoid impulse buying.

                - Beware of little expenses. Ben Franklin, American author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, and politician said, “A small leak will sink a great ship.”

                - Pay promptly. Don’t build up interest charges for late payments.

                Shop sales carefully. A seasonal sale may save 10 to 25 percent; a clearance sale may save 50 to 75 percent. Consider the actual savings in dollars and cents. Remember, if you don’t need it, it is not a good buy at any price.

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