You know what they say: If something from your closet goes out of style, hold onto it long enough and eventually the style will come back. The same can be true when it comes to saving money. Many of the habits of yesterday were smart, savvy and easy to adopt, so why not bring back a few of these frugal ideas if you're looking for a way to save some cash?
Here is a number of retro money saving tips you can try. They might even leave you feeling nostalgic!
Use your local library.
Libraries are fighting to stay relevant in today's technology-centric society, so why not help them out while you save money on books and entertainment? Library cards are still free and your taxes are paying for these resources. Take advantage by borrowing books as well as DVDs of movies and television shows (many libraries offer a lot of new releases) and cut back on your digital purchases and on-demand subscriptions.
Skip the smartphone.
Before you protest, this is definitely a major lifestyle change if you already use a smartphone regularly, but worth considering if you want to save a lot of money each month. Opting for a phone without Internet access -- or even a pay-as-you-go phone, if you rarely need to use it -- won't only cut costs; it might offer the added benefit of unplugging from constant connectivity.
Carpool with coworkers.
Carpooling became popular during a countrywide effort to save gas in the 1970s, and today there are actually signs of resurgence of this trend with new technology that allows commuters in the same area to easily find each other. If you don't have the option of public transportation, search in your own community for carpooling groups or talk to your coworkers to figure out a schedule.
Pack a bag lunch.
Commit to skip the expensive salad bar or lunch spot across the street and pack a bag lunch at least three or four days a week. This can add up to a lot of money saved over time. Upgrade from brown paper bags to a reusable tote to save a bit more.
Write down or track everything you spend.
While you don't need to use a pencil and paper to write down every purchase as was done years ago, the routine of tracking everything you buy can be an important habit for more careful spending. If you'd prefer to stay digital with this tactic, use Excel, Google Docs or an online tool that collects your daily transactions and sorts them for you.
If you need more money, get a second job.
This concept is no stranger to those who lived during economically challenging times years ago; if you didn't make enough money, you simply found another job to boost your income. Today, while job availability, familial roles and time commitments differ greatly from back then, you can still look for additional income opportunities. Freelancing is one option for those that need to spend time at home with family; you can also find seasonal opportunities in retail for the busy holiday season.
Go play outside.
Remember what your parents told you to do when you were bored? That's right: Go outside and play. Not only is this an important lesson for kids -- finding ways to have fun using only your imagination -- it's free. It's easy today to get caught in the trap of spending money to entertain our families, whether it's buying an iPad app, spending money at the mall or the movies or buying new toys. These are fun treats every once in a while, but keep it to a minimum and remind your family of the great outdoors.
Prioritize your saving.
Keeping your savings habits the same each month is something that became more irregular over the years. Take a tip from earlier generations and make your contributions to savings accounts the same, rather than adding more or less depending on other unexpected expenses that might pop up. This might mean rethinking the amount you put away each month; even if you lower it, more regularity over time can have a bigger impact.
Jon Lal is the founder and CEO of coupons and cash back website BeFrugal.com, which saves shoppers an average of $27 per order thanks to coupons plus an average of 7 percent cash back at more than 4,000 stores.
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