Places to find savings

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Saving money is easy when you stop spending it. But who is ever going to do that? Instead, spend it a little less dumbly, and avail yourself of deals that are available if you care to look. The trick is to be picky about how you shop: instead of trying to find the cheapest item, which will be rubbish and unsatisfying, try to get the stuff you prefer at a cheaper price.

Dead tree media

Did you know that printed media is still good for something? Borrow friends' newspapers, circulars and magazines for coupons--diligent use can save serious money at the store. Set up a spamtrap email address and use it to sign up for the coupon sites, too -- go through the slushpile once every couple of days for printable deals you can use.

The Internet

The internet is full of shows, movies and music, all available "inexpensively" compared to cable subscriptions, theaters and LPs.

Cancel the phone part of your cable or fiber service. The way Comcast and Verizon fix it, you can't just get a dumb pipe and save money. The deals are usually cheaper if you bundle in TV. But you can save by skipping the phone service and getting an Ooma, if you even need a landline.

If it is economical to go internet-only, head to iTunes to get season passes to your favorite shows. Netflix streaming has the flicks. Amazon Prime is about $80, but gets you a huge library of free movies and TV, as well as free shipping on cheap bulk groceries.

The hardware store

Put electronics on surge protectors, so you can turn them all off at once at night. Buy reflective, translucent window coverings: cool in summer, warm in winter. Low-flow shower heads save on water. Prevent draughts with excluders or void viller, as appropriate. Get a shotgun to raid the neighbors in the event of nuclear or zombie holocaust. Also, a programmable thermostat.

The Wallet

Don't let yourself swipe for discretionary purchases. Get out a fixed amount of cash every week; that's your limit. Avoid using credit cards except to pay for hotel rooms. If you use a debit card, the hotel will make you prepay for room service, and you won't get it refunded for a couple of weeks

Your Bank Statement

Set aside a weekend afternoon to do nothing except cancel subscriptions, online services, clubs, gym memberships, your cat's domain name, and anything else you pay for on a cycle but don't use. Without the domain name, the cat also becomes useless and may be eaten.

Your kitchen

Do groceries at Costco. The choice isn't as good as a supermarket, but they have one of everything, in bulk containers, cheap.

Stop buying coffee at coffee shops. Brew your own for a fraction of the price. If you're a daily drinker, a fancy espresso machine would pay for itself in a few months. An Aeropress would pay for itself in a week.

Don't bother with bread machines, vacuum sealers or veggie canners. They cost money, incur labor costs, don't save much money, and you'll almost certainly stop bothering after a week. Don't be that guy with the garage sale with the bread machine, vacuum sealer and veggie canner: humiliating.

Photo: Shutterstock.

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