Simple tips on saving money

  • Thursday, August 28, 2014

My wife invited me to go with her to help select a new laptop for her job.

Clark Howard has been giving good advice to consumers for years, so I went to his new book for some great advice. It is “Clark Howard's Living Large for the Long Haul.” It is written with Mark Meltzer and Theo Thimou.

This includes real stories from Americans who saved, lost and saved again, with consumer-tested ways to overhaul finances, increase savings and to get your life back on track.

His book “Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times” was a New York Times bestseller.

He outlines cases like Janet, who “steals deals on distressed real estate at up to 75 percent off; Gerry, who sold new cars for 40 years but drove an old one that cost him $300; and Robert and Cia who made a decision about their cars that saved them more than $90,000.

Before you say “No way,” make a list and think of ways you can save money. List them up to 10 or 20 and start high.

I figure I could save a lot of money by stopping my trips to Starbucks. I go to look at pretty young girls anyway, and I remember a time I thought their coffee was terrible. That would save me two cups a day, on some days. $6 a day. Seven days in a week? That means 42 bucks. Sometimes I buy a newspaper or add on to my card. Make it $50 total.

I've made a drastic decision to close out my website, www.timbullard.com, which saves $10 a month. Make that 10 bucks times 12 months in the year. That is $120 a year.

I'm doing this for you to make a point. I may end up saving a pretty penny before it is all over with. Saving money is a lot like losing weight. You have to try until it hurts. Side effects may include drinking cheaper, nastier coffee and a lower rate at home.

At the grocery store, we buy Great Value brands from Wal-Mart. Stop buying music. That means online with iTunes or at Best Buy on Tuesdays when all the new tunes come out.

Use Ebay. Selling your tunes after you copy your library onto your computer.

Write about whatever you do. If you go on a trip, try to sell a freelance story on it. The “International Literary Market Place 2014” is a good source. Check out www.literarymarketplace.com.

You get addresses, emails and other vital information needed to freelance your writing. Publishers and editors come and go, but this group keeps up with that and small presses plus literary agents, illustration agents and lecture agents. There are 12,500 listings with the names of key personnel in the industry.

Open up your car's trunk. There are items in that unholy, dirty space that you can unload or trash which will create room and lighten your vehicle's load, thus saving gasoline. We learned this on our annual vacation trip to Crescent Beach, South Carolina – heaven on earth. It is the best place to visit for your vacation.

We discovered an inexpensive getaway with the Sea Screamer, a $20 boat ride into the Atlantic Ocean where you get to see dolphins. There were a lot of cheap breakfast deals and also free outdoor concerts downtown in North Myrtle Beach.

Let's get back to Clark Howard's suggestions: Joyce and Don used to be casino and credit junkies who whittled off $40,000 in debt. It only took 24 months. Believe it or not.

A guy is playing catch-up at 50 on retirement savings. A couple has three children, and they cut the household tech budget by $2,000 a year without pain.

One guy raised his credit score by 300 points while he makes less than $30,000 annually.

Check out more ideas at www.clarkhoward.com. Clark has a radio show. He has an app also. Bazinga!

Sell your CDs and everything worth anything in your garage or closet. $100? The radio station that carries his show in Charleston from 1-3 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. on Saturdays is WTMA 1250. Also Georgetown's WGTN at 1400 carries Howard from 6-9 p.m.

Turn all vampire electronics off. Take advantage of your local library's free e-books.

Use free virus control software. Don't pay for Microsoft Office software.

I use PC World, NewEgg.com and always check tech news on sites like CNN.

So, I'm telling my wife what Clark says about computers: if the laptop is just for word processing and surfing, you are not going to need the latest tech at a high price. Check out www.dealnews.com, Clark says.

If you smoke, give it up and save more than money.

Stop drinking, and you really save a lot.

My wife wants a computer that costs less than $400. Don't pay shipping. Find a computer that offers free shipping like the Lenovo Z50 i3 Dual 1.9GHz 16” laptop.

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