Some bills are fixed _ the monthly rent or mortgage payments for instance. Others fluctuate with the season _ think the electric bill in winter and the water bill in summer.
For everything else you spend money on, you don't need your mother to tell you it pays to shop around. Common sense tells you to do some homework before opening your wallet. And, with the help of the Internet, you can easily compare prices and read helpful user comments and reviews.
To help you make ends meet in the new year, we offer these money-saving tips.
_Take advantage of happy-hour deals or early-bird specials at restaurants and bars.
_Meet for drinks at someone's house, then go out to eat to eliminate big-ticket alcoholic drinks.
_Volunteer as event staff at favorite festivals or venues.
_Purchase season passes during early-bird dates.
_Travel in periods shortly before or after peak season.
_Attend reviews of professional shows or quality college productions.
_Check your existing memberships, such as with the auto club and credit-card company, for discounts on things like glasses and for stores and travel.
_Ask for discounts at museums and tours. Visit during scheduled free hours.
_Investigate what your employer offers: group-buying discounts, free tickets, gym memberships.
_Bundle your Internet, cable and phone service; conversely, if you have been bundled for years, may be time to shop around.
_Restore a damaged CD with nongel formula toothpaste and a cotton cloth; rub in a straight line from the center of the CD outward to covering scratches. Rinse with water.
WHAT YOU PUT IN YOUR MOUTH:
_Eat in. Eat your leftovers.
_Make a meal out of what is already in your refrigerator and pantry.
_Buy in bulk. Packaging equals costs equals higher prices. Grate a block of cheese instead of buying shredded. Add water to frozen OJ ...