Monday, October 10, 2011, AM | 15 Comments
Got the pink slip? What now? In addition to spending your money smarter, here are the top 10 everyday tips that anyone can follow that will help you stretch every last dollar of your severance.
Tip 1 – Open an Online Savings Account
Hold on to your cash! Whatever the circumstance may be, it’s a must to have an emergency cash fund for life’s unexpected surprises. In the meantime, be sure to open a high yield savings account a.k.a. free money in the bank.
Tip 2 – Save Money on Rent
Rent is where most people spend the bulk of their paychecks. If you can find a roommate or a cheaper place to live, you’ll drastically cut the cost of your rent and utilities.
If you do decide to stay where you are, a good way to make some extra cash is to offer up your place for rent on Craigslist to travelers or for short term sublets just as long as you have a temporary friend or family member’s couch to crash on.
Tip 3 – Don’t Eat Out. Period.
Even if you’re buying from the 99 cents menu, with a burger, you’ll need fries then a drink, and before you know it, you’ll be spending 5 dollars or more on one meal.
What you’re spending for one meal, you could spend the same amount or a little extra on ingredients to cook up multiple meals. Do the math! Fast food = High cholesterol + High blood pressure + Obesity.
Tip 4 – Cancel Your Gym Membership
People may not realize it, but there are plenty of ways to work out without having to use a treadmill or elliptical machine at a gym.
For example, in a lot or garage, park your car as far away as possible from the entrance or take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
Keep the bulge in your wallet, but off your buns by walking instead of wasting money on transportation as long as the distance is reasonable.
Tip 5 – Locate Free Internet Hot Spots and Downgrade on Your Cell Phone Plan
Whether it be in your home or on your cell phone, using the internet is quite expensive. It won’t nearly be as convenient, but if you’re willing to make the trip to restaurants or cafes, such as Panera, Starbucks, or McDonalds, that offer free Wi-Fi, you can save big bucks each month.
But with today’s newest smart phones and unlimited data plans, for a flat fee, you “tether” your phone to the internet by downloading apps that will act as the internet connection.
Ideally, it’d be best to get rid of the data usage plan on your cell phone and downgrade to the bare minimum, but before doing so, check your average usage so that you don’t go over your plan, which can end up costing you more.
Tip 6 – Unplug the Cable
Since we just mentioned internet, it’s only fair that we talk about cable. If you have a choice between internet and cable, definitely go for the internet because you can always watch TV online via sites, such as Hulu, Joost, or SideReel, which don’t charge any subscription fee or read up on your favorite shows.
But if you’re still not convinced, nothing’s cheaper than free, and that’s what a single card (not a credit card!) can do for you. With a library card, you can borrow as many free movies, books, and even video games as your heart desires. Just don’t forget to return them on time so that you don’t incur late fees!
Tip 7 – Find Free Local Events
Being on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice having an active social life. Find free local events for entertainment via Time Out, which will allow you to explore and appreciate your city and its culture and to meet new people. Who knows—maybe you’ll even network to your next job?
Tip 8 – Make Your Own Coffee
Believe it or not, millions of Americans spend massive amounts of money on their morning coffee. That single cup of joe whether it be from the corner street cart, smelly deli, Dunkin Donuts, or Starbucks can put a major bust in your budget!
And if you’re a coffee connoisseur who needs your daily dose of lattes or cappuccinos, your coffee could be costing you as much as a single meal! Instead, make your coffee at home, but if you must, then opt for shots of espresso instead and add the free milk at the condiment station, which should cut your cost in half.
Tip 9 – Be a Smart Shopper
The two biggest rules when you’re on a tight budget, i.e., living off your severance is: don’t window shop and stay away from sample sales. If you don’t have the money to shop in the first place, then why put yourself through the painful temptation?
And just because it’s a sample sale and prices are so cheap, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you needed that leather jacket or those lace-up open-toed booties in the first place.
If shopping is a must, then save money by spending savvier then buy neutral colored, key pieces, such as jeans, a basic black suit, or white t-shirt, which can be worn over and over again without worrying about trends and can be easily matched with future purchases.
Also, stay away from material that needs to be dry cleaned, such as silk, cashmere, or wool, to save on cleaning fees and stick to machine washable friendly cotton.
Tip 10 – Buy in Bulk
Always buy everyday, nonperishable household supplies in bulk from stores, such as Sam’s Club or BJ’s. That can include anything from diapers to paper towels.
But if you’re still unsure of what they are, then think about the things that you use every day and have to stock up on as soon as they’re used up. Because let’s face it, who can live without toilet paper or toothpaste?
This is a guest post by Glara Cha – a financial writer – who has lived and is still living off her severance. In the meantime, through her high interest savings accounts, she plans on accruing free money, and from the interest she earns, she’ll splurge on cheap deals on discount tires and take her first cross-country road trip.