On Monday, I showed you three of five ways that you can save AND be green. The purpose of this series is to help you to see that now is the time to make a change in your life. If you start now, you'll be able to make any minor adjustments later; easily. You'll be prepared in your budget for energy spikes and maybe even have some spare change to use for a vacation or money to donate to a favorite cause.
4) Use coupons ...
This may sound like an obvious way to save money and may, at first seem like a hassle. There are dozens of websites that offer coupons ... my favorites are Entertainment Book and WOW coupons.
Entertainment Book offers a physical book of coupons. Usually, I wait until the books either go on a 2-FOR-1 special or make it to $20 shipped. I can make the money spent on the books back with just two of the 100's of coupons in the book. Entertainment Books have several of your favorite local restaurants, as well as national chain discounts. Regal Cinemas has fifteen $3 off coupons in the book. That's more than $90 in savings right there; as each coupon can be used for up to two people. I save $100's of dollars a year using the Entertainment Book.
Once you get used to using coupons ... it will be like carrying cash and be just as convenient for you to use them.
WOW coupons offers more of the kind of retail outlets I visit and doesn't just focus on grocery store coupons like COUPONS.COM.
Before you print certain coupons, check to see if the merchant will just accept a code to save on paper and ink.
5) Be a part of rewards programs.
To me, this goes hand in hand with the suggestion above. If you are not getting at least 1% back on every dollar you spend, you are losing a huge yearly savings. On average, when I combine all of rewards programs I am earning roughly 5% back on all my purchases. I also consider a rewards program as an interest bearing checking account.
For instance, a program that I promote often is MYPOINTS.COM I have a MYPOINTS VISA. Each purchase, even gasoline, earns me 1 point (which is roughly 1%). With MYPOINTS merchants (which include Apple, iTunes, and eBay) it earns me double points + bonus points on occasion. On average, I earn 4% back from this program. When I go to pay my MYPOINTS VISA bill, I transfer from my banking account at Wachovia. Doing so earns me 1% back in a Wachovia Rewards program. All of this is automatic and requires little maintenance after the initial setup.
On top of all this, my money in my checking account is earning interest and my savings program at Wachovia called WAY2SAVE. During the next 3 months my WAY2SAVE account is earning 16% interest. Yes, you are reading that right, 16%!!!! At the end of my first year of WAY2SAVE - Wachovia will match my savings up to $300 as a bonus.
Tune in Friday ... I'm going to talk about Hypermiling. On Monday, I'll have an interview with a prominent US car dealer and his feelings about gas prices, car sales, and where he sees the Auto industry going. I think his answers will surprise you.