You know the saying, sometimes you have to spend money to make money? That pretty much sums up this list of seven money-saving investments. Sure, some of them require a small chunk of change, but the idea is that if you spend money now, it will save you money later.
1. A gym membership. A gym membership is a money-saver on two levels. Rather than hitting the mall, resolve to hit the treadmill. Rather than catching a movie, commit to catching that yoga class. Once you've paid for your gym membership, this is a no-cost alternative to other activities that require you to open your pocketbook. Check out your local YMCA or one of those national chains. Often if you pay cash up front they'll give you a discount. The other way a gym membership can save money is by improving your health and therefore requiring fewer doctor visits, less medication and fewer sick days.
2. A library card. If you haven't stepped foot in your local library since grade school, it's time to rekindle this literary relationship. There are few things in life that are completely free and this is one of them. (Well, unless you count the taxes you've been paying for years that fund your local library.) Plus, did you know that your local library has far more than just books to offer? Check out movies on DVD (just like the ones at Blockbuster) and watch them completely free of charge. Many local libraries have websites that allow you to log on, search for a title, and put a hold on it. When it's available the library will contact you. It's kind of like Netflix only they won't debit your checking account every month.
3. A subscription to a financial magazine. Even if you're not quite a financial guru it's time to get excited about money. A subscription to a magazine like Money or Smart Money delivers a monthly lesson plan for achieving financial success right into your mailbox.
4. A water filter. Stop with the bottled water already. It fills up landfills and empties your wallet. Consider this: a bottle of water costs about $1.50. (You Evian and Fiji drinkers know that's being very generous.) If you buy five bottles a week, that's $30 a month and $360 a year you are essentially throwing down the drain. Tap into a money-saving technique and invest in a water filter. You might also want to pick up one of those washable water bottles.
5. A cookbook. According to a recent government poll, Americans spend 42% of their food budgets dining out. With some planning and bargain hunting, preparing meals at home can save big bucks. Buying a cookbook will help drum up excitement in the kitchen and make meal planning more fun.
6. A subscription to the Sunday paper. Yes, it's important to keep up with current events, but the Sunday paper is full of other good stuff. Here you'll find a list of local entertainment. (Keep an eye out for the free events.) Sunday papers also carry money-saving coupons. Clip a few, use them to buy items you need for that new recipe (see number five) and you'll easily make back the cost of the subscription.
7. A (fill in the blank). Manicure kit? Espresso machine? Ironing board? Buy whatever you need to stop spending money on manicures, mochas, or professional pressing. Examine your spending and identify places to do some budget-trimming. It's an investment that will pay off.
By: Alison Storm
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