Let someone else take depreciation on the chin. Buying used cars, secondhand appliances in good working order, even gently used clothes and books is one of the single best money-saving moves a person can make.
But buying used takes some forethought and strategy. Don’t wait until you need an item to buy it; instead plan ahead. Ask yourself, “What will my family need three months or six months down the road? What should I keep an eye out for now so I don’t have to pay retail when it’s crunch time?” Scour thrift stores for great winter clothing bargains during the dog days of summer. Pick up a used patio set from the classifieds in autumn. Understanding what your future needs will be makes buying used a whole lot easier.
2. Lighten up on the utilities
I’m a child of the ’70s and I distinctly remember the first energy crisis. It seemed like overnight the country developed an energy conscience, and stickers started appearing around every light switch in my school – “Conserve! Lights Out!” Those little labels made a big impression on me back then (as did my parents’ own long-standing house rules).
I still watch the utilities closely today — turning off lights when I leave a room, using dimmer switches, and keeping the thermostat set at reasonable temperatures as the seasons change. It’s an easy thing to forget in the mad dash of modern life, but keeping utility costs in check is an immediate way to save money and reduce our carbon footprint at the same time.
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