A recent article on the BusinessWeek.com website by Karen E. Klein called “Three Easy Ways to Cut Costs” focused on ways that small business owners can save money. How can the average homeowner use these money saving tips to “Make Money by Saving Money”?
TIP #1: The first suggestion in Ms. Klein’s article was “Do an asset audit.” Her suggestion for small business owners was that they should conduct an audit of all of the company’s assets, such as electronics, computers, furniture, etc., and sell or otherwise dispose of any assets not being used. How can this suggestion be applied to the typical homeowner?
BENEFITS OF A HOMEOWNER ASSET AUDIT TO SAVE MONEY
Do an audit of your assets. That means your furniture, your clothes, your electronics, your entertainment.
Take the time to go through closets and weed out everything that hasn’t been worn in a year. Go through those bookcases and box up books you’ve read and don’t plan on keeping to read again. Dump out your jewelry box and find those items that haven’t been worn in years – whether they be 24k gold or costume jewelry. The same goes for furniture, electronics, CDs, DVDs, and anything else that may have been purchased “in excess” over the past few years.
Decide if the items are worth the time it will require to sell them on ebay or at a consignment store, or if you would prefer to either give them away, trade them with friends and family (this works especially well with CDs and DVDs!), or donate them to charity. You will make or save money (at the very least, you will get the tax deduction for your charitable contributions!) – or you will get the satisfaction of knowing that you have given or traded these items to someone who will appreciate them.
Being frugal with your money means not buying items that you don’t need. It means buying items used instead of new. It also means selling items you no longer use.
TIP #2: Ms. Klein’s second tip for small business owners was to “Use email over postage mail whenever possible.” For the small business owner, this not only means using email for paying bills, but also for sending out invoices or marketing materials. How can this tip help the average homeowner?
BENEFITS OF USING EMAIL OVER “SNAIL MAIL” TO SAVE MONEY
In general, the homeowner can save money by asking themselves “is there a better way to do this?” Can you save money by buying something online over the cost of driving around town looking for the item? Is it cheaper to pay bills online instead of with checks? Can I pick up my phone and get an answer to my question quicker and easier than trying to get the answer in another way?
If you are one of the 75% of Americans who have access to the Internet through a home computer, then use that computer to save money! To save money on bill-paying, consider using your bank website’s “Bill Pay” options. While the cost of a stamp may seem miniscule, add into that cost the cost of envelopes, checks, pens, the gasoline to get to the mailbox … month after month after year after year … and it will soon become obvious that paying bills online is indeed a worthwhile way to save money!
Bills can also be paid online through store websites, which allows you to use the store credit card and whatever discounts or benefits may come from that usage.
There is something to be said for a handwritten letter, so I’m not going to suggest that such correspondence be stopped altogether if you still keep in touch with friends and relatives in this way. But consider reducing the number of letters to special occasions, and corresponding by email otherwise. If there are several members of your family or friends that correspond with each other, consider setting up a “team blog” where everyone can add posts and keep up on each other’s news quickly and easily. Many blogging sites, such as Blogger.com, contain information about how to set up team or group blogs.
Take advantage of technology to save money over the cost of doing things the old-fashioned way.
TIP #3. Ms. Klein’s third suggestion for small business owners was to “Manage your fuel consumption carefully.” Small business owners save money on their delivery trucks by pre-planning delivery routes and fuel-efficient vehicles. Homeowners can also save money by pre-planning trips and an efficient use of fuel.
BENEFITS OF FUEL CONSUMPTION MANAGEMENT TO SAVE MONEY
Think ahead before going out to run errands. Combine trips. Go to the gas station and the grocery store and the bank and the fast food place, which are all within 2 blocks of each other, during the same trip!
Plan out trips to make sure you are making the most efficient use of your vehicle. Save on the amount of fuel consumed by your vehicle by driving the speed limit (or below). A reduction in speed from 60 mph to 55 will save a half mile per gallon on the number of miles you can get from a gallon of gas. This may not seem like much, but it adds up over the course of a year.
Don’t make jackrabbit starts or stops. Start off slowly from a stoplight – don’t push the pedal to the floor! Slow sensible stops and starts can increase gas mileage by as much as 33% on the highway and 5% in town.
Consider turning the car off if it will be idling for more than 30 seconds. Use your cruise control whenever possible to keep the vehicle’s speed steady. These and other small changes in the way you drive can save quite a bit of money over time.
You can significantly improve the gas mileage of your vehicle – this is not out of your control!
The money saving tips provided in these three areas alone will allow the average homeowner to make money by saving money. And that is the first step to survival in these poor economic times.