by Deb Gaudette
The news, the Internet, even Twitter is full of information on how to survive the current economy. With unemployment on the rise and the cost of living not getting any cheaper, its no surprise people are looking at alternative methods to save money anyway they can. Everyone has heard eliminating unnecessary consumerism, reducing your monthly household costs by canceling cable TV, and getting a handle on where you really spend your money. This article has a few other alternative ideas that I hope you find useful.
Avoid Late Fees
Even if you’re only a minute late, your credit card company can charge as much as $39 for late fees each time. Consumer Action’s 2008 Credit Card Survey reports that 95% of credit cards charge late fees, with the average amount be approximately $26. Even if you’re only late a few times during the year, that’s a saving of over a $100 a year. And the higher the balance, the higher the fee. The best ways to avoid late fees are to pay bills as they arrive or automate your payments to ensure the payments are made on time.
If you’re frugal and hate paper like I do, this section won’t apply to you, as you probably don’t own a printer. However, if you do own a printer and absolutely have to print something, here’s a way you might save $20 this year: Change the default font in the documents you print.
Go Gothic: Because different fonts require different amounts of ink to print, if your default font it Ariel instead of Century Gothic, you could be buying new ink cartridges more often than you need to. The Associated Press ranked fonts that use the least ink to those that use the most ink as Century Gothic, Times New Roman; Calibri; Verdana; Arial; MS Sans Serif; Trebuchet MS; Tahoma; and Franklin Gothic Medium. Switching to Century Gothic just makes “cents”.
Save $, Help Save the Planet: If you want to save money on ink cartridges AND help save the environment, consider Ecofont. According the company website, Ecofont shoots “holes” into the letters as they’re printed, with no effect on legibility. Ecofont is reported to save up to 25% of ink or toner, reducing your costs as well as the amount of cartridges being thrown away or recycled. EcoFont works with your customary fonts and the software costs about $24 for a 3-year individual license.
Brown Knows: The United Parcel Service (UPS) plots its delivery routes to make as many right-hand turns as possible. UPS trucks drove over 2.5 billion miles last year, but the company reported saving over 28,541,472 million miles driven and three million gallons of fuel by plot “right-turn” routes. I decided to try this once as I left work to and had to stop at the pharmacy and bank on the way home. While I didn’t calculate how much gas I may have saved, I certainly saved time as I didn’t have to wait as long at the three stop lights along the route. Try it for a week and see what you think!
f=ma: A simple law of physics is that force equals mass times acceleration. For this post’s sake that means a car consumes most gas as it accelerates. If you want to improve your gas mileage, you need to keep the ride smooth. If you;re in traffic, increase your distance from the car in front of you to prevent having to break and accelerate so often.
Big Gulp NO NO: Don’t fill up unless you are near a quarter of tank. Gas weighs a lot and will increase the mass of your vehicle. However, if gas prices are going down, it could be beneficial to fill up (or if you’re out of town where the prices are lower).
Pump it up! Keeping your tires properly inflated with reduce the contact area of your tire to the road, reduce the friction, and help improve your gas mileage.
Granted, these are all small things which would lead to small change. But over time, the little things add up. Do you have small, easy money saving ideas? I’d love to hear them! If you found this post informative, helpful, or at least humorous 🙂 please spread it around! Thanks!