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by Derek Loosvelt | April 23, 2009


Walk, bike or board: You know those punt, pass and kick competitions held by the NFL for kids? This is similar, only instead of shaking hands with wide receivers and quarterbacks as the prize for having a strong arm and leg, you get to save money on gas and public transport. Of course, you’ll save a lot more dough using your own feet and arms (for balance) to get your arse to work if you already own your own bike and/or skateboard. But two and/or four wheels can be bought on the cheap, and there’s a built-in bonus here: on your way to work, you fit in your exercise for the day.
Potential annual savings: $950.

Brown-bag it, man: As many of you know already (though it’s worth repeating to the unconverted), bringing and/or making your lunch instead of buying it at a café, deli or restaurant can result in monstrous savings. True, you might be waiting in line at the microwave if you like to break between the noon and 2 p.m. rush hour, but buttering your own bread and freezing your own vegetables will, you will find, put more Benjamins in your pocket (a plus is you will likely eat a lot healthier; if you're the one eating the lunch you prepare, chances are you'll wash your hands before preparing it).
Potential annual savings: $900.

Read a book: A what? you ask. That’s right, they still exist, and there are tons of good ones out there (even if your local Barnes & Noble is now a Chuck E. Cheese). As for how you can save by checking out some lit (and please, attempt to stay away from the “chick” or “lad” variety; that may cost you in the long run), it’s simple: the more you read, the less you watch TV, and the less you watch TV, the sooner you'll come to the realization that you shouldn’t be paying $60 a month for 500 channels without a single decent show on one of them (plus, there’s that Internet thing, where you can pretty much catch anything worthwhile for free).
Potential annual savings: $720.

Road trip: What is the U.S. if not the best country on the planet in which to road trip? Heck, that’s why the British came over here in the first place: every time they hopped in their Austin Minis for some R&R all roads kept leading to Rome, and who wants to keep ending up in the same place when you go on vacation? Point is, renting a car is much cheaper than flying (plus, paying for peanuts, which you're forced to do now when high in the friendly skies, is for the birds), and no matter where you live in the U.S. (from the Badlands to the Great Plains, from New England to the Carolina Coast) there’s always a decent vacation spot just a short drive away (yes, even in Arkansas there are lovely nearby getaways). So, bypass that Caribbean trip this year and, instead, hop in an American four-door sedan and take your PTO days locally. You’ll not only be pinching pennies, you’ll also be helping out your fellow citizens, by spending your tourist dollars on their turf.
Potential annual savings: $550.

Ditch your barber: Even if you’ve only paid attention during seven of the more than 100 professional haircuts you’ve received during your lifetime, you should’ve picked up on how it’s done; it ain’t rocket science. All it takes to shorten your own locks is a mirror and a pair of scissors, and don’t be fooled into thinking you need some fancy barber shop pair. Any old twin kickers will do. Granted, when you slice your own locks, they might not look as good as a Freddie Fekkai do when all is said and short, you’ll dearly miss that heavenly head massage by the shampoo girl (God knows I do) and you’ll be putting less cash into the pocket of another worker bee (your barber), but when you think of all the duckets you can save, not to mention time (and time = what? Yes, that’$ right), you’ll be glad you trimmed at home.
Potential annual savings: $320 year (plus tip).


Filed Under: Finance

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