A Penny Earned

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I have too many credit cards.

You know what happened?

Someone stole one and I didn’t notice.

I noticed when I got that bill.

Whoa! It was so much less!

I’m letting him keep it. I’m saving money!

Rita Rudner
Credit cards can be a huge snare. I have said that if you can’t afford to pay off your credit card purchases monthly you really can’t afford to pay the interest either. In other words credit cards are for people who don’t need them.
Before I move on to other retirement strategies I want to mention three ideas I have employed for years.

First, think percentages.

When you are comparing prices don’t think dollar amount difference. Think percent difference.
For instance, one can of beans is a $1 and the other is $.99. If you think amounts, you think about only saving $.10. That doesn’t mean a lot so you buy the $1 can.
If you think percentage you know you are saving 10%. That is significant. If you can save 10% on purchases of $100 you will save $10.
And everyone knows that $10 is a whole lot more than $.10!
When you start buying larger priced items even 1% can add up. Saving 1% on new tires for you car could save you $4-$8. On a car it could be $200.
If your goal is to save 1% more this year, you should be looking for every way possible to spend at least 1% less. Once you have this mindset you will find yourself saving even more.

Second, buy store brands.

I have been buying store brands whenever I don’t have to sacrifice value. That makes it easier to save percentages.
Sometimes, I buy brand names. In the case of beans, I buy Bushes. And I don’t save. But I haven’t sacrificed the quality I desire.
Recently though I discovered a really good frozen pizza. My taste buds like a good greasy pan pizza with lots of pepperoni. I don’t do that very often more for dietary reasons than budgetary.
But a frozen pizza is nice to have on hand when I need a quick easy meal. Recently, I bought a thin crust pizza that was the Safeway Signature brand. It was awesome. The flavor was great and I think it was as healthy as a pizza is ever going to be.
So experiment with store brands. It could be a go to saving routine.

Finally, save your change.

This is such an old idea I almost didn’t mention it. But it is an savings tool that you should be using if you aren’t.
Put you change in a container and label it.
Call it your Financial Freedom Fund; the Retirement Party Plan. Call it whatever will motivate you to add all the loose change in your purse or pocket.
You will find it is a penny earned.

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