Longtime readers of this blog know about my girlfriend. We just moved in together and I feel like I’m suddenly Nicolas Cage in It Could Happen to You, except without the winning lottery ticket. I keep handing out more and more money for all kind of crap because well, let’s face it – moving is expensive and messy. Not to mention that you deal with idiots who can’t figure out how to pack properly and smash antiques.

Anyway, the bottom line here is that with all the constant expenses going on, I’ve been hunting for ways to save some money and stop the hemorrhaging. Contrary to popular belief honey, I’m not made of money and spending a fortune to order take out every single night because the gas guy couldn’t come out to hook up the stove for a week isn’t my idea of good economic policy.

So, here are fifty stupid simple ways to save money and improve your finances in the new year:

Sign Up for Rewards Accounts

Let’s start with a simple one: sign up for all the rewards programs you can find. I know what you’re thinking – you’ll be spammed endlessly. Not a problem. Set up a free account with Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Mail.com or a million other places and then send the spam there.

Just make sure to check for deals on anything you need before you shop and then laugh when you only buy the deals and ignore the other crap they hope you’ll buy at inflated prices.

Switch Your Bank

Not only is there no reason to pay your bank for the privilege of holding onto your money, the bank should pay you for it. All too often, Americans seem to act like sheep and just go along with whatever ridiculous extra fees the bank decides they can squeeze us for instead of shopping around. There are tens of thousands of small banks and credit unions dying for your business who will give you a better deal than you can get elsewhere so don’t wait – go and find a better deal.

Get Rid of the Junk Food

No, this isn’t a health blog. However, if you want to improve your finances, one of the best ways to do it is to get rid of the junk food and especially refined sugar. The health problems this garbage can cause will end up costing you a fortune and on top of that, if you cut back on the sugar, you tend to be able to think more clearly and make better decisions about finances.

Get a Picture of that Boat

Got an idea of what you want in the long term financially? Good – then get yourself a picture, preferably a physical one but at least a mental one of what you want in life. It will help you keep your eye on the prize. For me, it’s about buying a nice big yacht and sailing ‘round the world with my girl. For you, it may be something else. Whatever it is, a picture makes you focus on it more.

Keep Your Phone Secure

I still remember how amazed I was at the idea of a computer around the size of a video tape which could house MS-DOS on it. Today, we carry our lives in our pockets on computers that are infinitely more powerful than those used to put a man on the moon. What would you do if your phone was stolen or lost? Your PayPal, email and bank passwords are all likely stored there and vulnerable.

Take the time to properly protect your phone and add Find My Phone for additional protection, just in case it’s lost or stolen.

Shop with a List

This is one of the best pieces of advice ever – go to the supermarket with a list of what you need to buy before you leave. Supermarkets are designed to suck you in and get you to buy as much crap as they can sell you. There are clever designs around supermarkets which are meant to ensure that you will spend a small fortune there. A list minimizes the chances of wasting money because you don’t wander.

Avoid the Sucker Purchases at the Register

Notice how they always have things like candy and batteries at the register in the supermarket? That’s not by accident. These things, along with the inevitable small refrigerator filled with overpriced sugar water calling itself soda are huge money makers. People grab them as they wait in line and jack up their bills. Avoid the temptation and save yourself a ton of money.

Don’t Carry High Balances on Your Credit Cards

This should be a no brainer for most people but for some reason, people are just plain stupid or ignorant about this, so let say it again: credit cards carry some of the highest interest rates around and are a huge waste of money. You need them of course but make sure to pay them off as fast as possible to avoid ever escalating charges.

Dump the Tube

I get it – you love watching The Big Bang Theory. Hey, I do too. But the fact is that watching TV is more than just a way to kick back after a hard day at work. It’s also a complete waste of your time which exposes you to advertising.

After all, who do you think pays for those TV shows? It ain’t free and I got new for you – your subscription fees only pay a portion of the cost of creating a TV show. The rest of the money is from advertising, usually stuff trying to get you to buy crap you don’t need.

Get Rid of Crap

You remember how I said my girlfriend and I just moved in together? We kind of did it in a hurry to hold onto an apartment we really liked (New York City real estate is cutthroat and if you don’t hurry to grab an apartment you like, someone else will snatch it away from you – it happened to us twice before we snagged this place).

The thing is, because we were in such a hurry, we didn’t have time to go through all of our stuff and figure out what not to move with. So now we’ve got piles of crap sitting around that we don’t need. Those old suits which fit me a few years ago? Not so much now – up on eBay they go. The old game consoles and games? Haven’t played ‘em for a while and so away to a new home they go.

Bottom line, get rid of your old crap and not only will it declutter your home but you can even make a few bucks by letting someone else hoard your old junk.

Buy Some Home Automation

Seriously – want to save a few bucks? Invest some money in making your home smart. I know, it sounds stupid – this is supposed to be about saving money, not spending it, right? The thing is, new smart bulbs take almost no electricity and can be turned off automatically when you leave for the day. Moreover, they are rated to last something like 20 years so it’s the kind of thing where you spend money once and then you pretty much forget about new lightbulbs until the technology is obsolete anyway.

If that’s not enough for you, think about this: the new learning thermostats can save a ton of cash on heating and electric bills by making sure that they keep your home at optimal temperatures without wasting money by roasting you alive when the heat was left on all night (sorry honey, I know you get cold at night but seriously – how can you stand it being so hot in the bedroom?)

Fix Your Old Clothing

I have a shirt with a small rip in it. It’s by Brioni so we’re talking about a $200 shirt, not a piece of garbage I picked up at the local version of WalMart (we don’t have WalMart in New York City). A simple repair job which I can do myself saves me $200. I’m not talking by the way where the repair is going to be noticeable – this is ripped right at the seam so it’s an easy fix. Ditto for buttons that fall off – fix it, don’t toss it and you can save lots of money, as long as you have quality clothes to begin with.

Speaking of Clothes

I’ve mentioned this in the past – it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to look like you spent a fortune on your wardrobe. I buy recent Armani and Zegna suits on eBay which are often just a few months old and I literally pay pennies on the dollar compared with what they would cost me brand new. Nobody can tell the difference and I look just as if I’d just dropped $2k buying a suit at the showroom.

Seriously folks – I love nice clothing and I am pretty much allergic to wearing crap. About the cheapest thing I’ll wear is Calvin Klein or Polo Ralph Lauren and even then it’s mostly wear around the house stuff, not the kind of thing I’d wear out in public. I just don’t pay the kind of prices that these things cost though because I understand that once I wear it once, it’s just as used as the recent but nice stuff on eBay.

Stop Ordering and Start Cooking

I know, I know – I keep going on about my recent move. Hey, it was a big deal for me and my girl. First time since I was married that I’ve moved in with someone and it’s been over ten years so it’s a big deal to me. Thing is, the first week and a half we were living here, we were ordering take out pretty much every day. The gas company took a while to come out and hook up the stove here so we couldn’t cook anything.

Not only is takeout expensive, frankly, it’s crap. I’m sorry but I was about ready to scream if I had to eat one more pizza, burger, sushi platter or sandwich. Oh sure, we can get other stuff in takeout form – we dropped $200 on a nice Italian place on the last weekend before we finally got started cooking at home again but let’s face it — $200 for Italian every night is going to get expensive pretty dam* fast.

Do yourself a favor – there are great cooking websites which can give you excellent ideas. Go ahead and cook for yourself and surprise your significant other with a home cooked meal for a change. Very often, you can even make something without a whole lot of prep time and it will still taste better (not to mention end up cheaper) than the crap from takeout.

Cut Back on the Alcohol Habit

I admit it, I hate writing this. I love fine wines and love popping the cork on a nice $200 bottle of wine. Thing is, if you do it every night, it ceases to be a special occasion.

Cut back the alcohol and keep it for special times. Your wallet and your liver will thank you (and in my case, my girlfriend thanks me too since she doesn’t much care of wine – I know, horror of horrors – how can I fall in love with someone who can’t appreciate a fine Bordeaux?).

Visit the Library

I’m a reader – I love to read books and yes, I also like to watch TV and movies. You know where you can get all those things for free? The local library. Thank Andrew Carnegie for his idealism in pushing the library system in this country and then thank modern libraries for rethinking things.

The library is no longer just a repository of dusty books nobody wants to read. These days, they stock lots of digital books and even movies and TV shows you can borrow for free.

Take Full Advantage of Prime

If you don’t shop constantly on Amazon like I do then maybe this tip isn’t for you but for the rest of us, who have long learned to just shut up and hand Jeff Bezos our money, Prime is awesome – free two days shipping is just the tip of the iceberg though.

You also get lots of other benefits – free photo storage, free music, free movies and TV shows, free books every month, free lending library, the list goes on and on.

Invest in Good Appliances

Sure, it’s tempting to buy a cheap piece of crap made in China – after all, it’s all disposable these days anyway? And who can afford a Sub Zero fridge anyway? Well, the truth of the matter is, it’s very easy to buy the stuff you want at a cheap price – you just have to know how to shop for it. And once you invest in those high end appliances, they’ll generally last for decades instead of the few years the cheap crap is designed to last.

Dump the Gym Membership

Seriously, you’re not going anyway, so who are you kidding by wasting $100 a month for a gym membership? I realized a long time ago that if the gym isn’t super convenient, I’m just not going to go. Oh sure, I’ll get all excited and go for a few weeks, maybe a month but eventually, I’m going to be a lazy SOB just like every other American. You know what we did when we moved? Set up our own home gym. Now I can work out whenever I want and it doesn’t cost me a penny.

Dump the One Click Shopping

You know how Amazon and other websites are designed to make it as easy as possible to buy as much crap as possible by keeping your credit card number on file? Do yourself a favor and remove your card numbers from all those websites. Sure it’s convenient – it makes it super easy to buy stuff but if you need to actually find your wallet and enter a credit card number, it gives you a natural pause to consider if you really need that must have knickknack you found on eBay or Amazon.

Buy the Cheaper Toilet Paper

Regular readers know that I’m not one to skimp on buying nice stuff. I’d much rather invest in quality furniture and clothing and know it’s something that will last a long time than buy the junk which will fall apart before long. However, there are some things that it pays to buy generic – the store brand toilet paper is usually made by national brands and is just as comfortable as the Charmin.

Change Your Life Insurance

This one should be obvious but just in case you are still living in a cave and buying whole life insurance, stop, cash out and buy yourself a term policy instead. Whole life insurance sounds good because it ‘builds’ value but the truth is you’re better off putting the savings into investments and paying for term insurance just in case the worst happens.

Dump Magazines You Don’t Read

I used to get dozens of magazines in the mail. I thought it made me look so intellectual to have all these highfalutin magazines in my magazine rack. You know what? Nobody gives a crap. It’s a waste of money and nobody is even going to notice that you subscribe to The American Scholar and The Journal of Foreign Policy. So unless you’re going to read them yourself (I admit – actually do read Foreign Affairs), dump ‘em and save the money.

Learn to Eat Leftovers

Yeah, yeah – leftovers is a dirty word. Get over it. You don’t need to eat a gourmet meal every single night. The leftovers from the previous night’s dinner will taste almost as good and you don’t need to waste money or even waste time on cooking more food. Moreover, it’s good for the planet to stop wasting money buying and or cooking something new every single night.

Buy a Crockpot

I love my crockpot. No, seriously – it’s friggin’ awesome. There are few ways I know of that are easier to save money than owning a crockpot. One of my gotos? Buy yourself a whole chicken, dump that sucker in the crockpot, set it on low, make a mix of ketchup, onion soup mix and sugar and then lather it all over. Dump a few veggies likes potatoes and carrots around the bird and then set it on low.

Every time I do this, my girlfriend comes home from work and thinks I spent a ton of time cooking dinner for her and it’s totally delicious and cheap. Plus, it takes me all of five minutes of prep time before I head out the door in the morning and it’s ready to eat when we get home at night. Total nirvana.

Use Coupons Effectively

I’m not into extreme couponing. I think it’s plain stupid. Sorry folks, but not for me. Now that’s not to say that I don’t use coupons. I do. However, there is a smart way to do it and a dumb way to do it. The dumb way? Spending hours tracking down some obscure deal which is questionable and then fighting with the cashier to get them to accept three different coupons on one item you didn’t even need.

The smart way? Keep an eye out for coupons on stuff you actually will use and would have bought anyway and then take advantage of them.

Recycle Your Old Phones

Got some old cell phones sitting around collecting dust? Don’t just let them waste space – turn ‘em into cash. There are lots of websites that will recycle your old cell phones for you and even pay you a few bucks for the privilege. You don’t have crap sitting around that you don’t need and you have extra money in your pocket to make the bill paying thing a little easier.

Bargain On Everything

Okay, so it doesn’t work everywhere. Your local supermarket cashier doesn’t have the option to give you a discount on the tube of toothpaste as she scans it. Hey, she makes minimum wage – give the kid a break and don’t make her life even harder than it is.

However, there are lots of other places where you can bargain on pricing, even in places where you thought you couldn’t – buying a new TV set? Very often, sales staff at big box stores can knock a little something off for you if you ask nicely. Moving soon? I bargained with my movers and saved myself a few hundred bucks on the price.

Don’t Buy in Bulk if You Won’t Use It

I’m all for buying in bulk – I love to do it and I save a sh*t ton of cash by buying bulk toilet paper and toothpaste. That said, there are just some things you don’t want to buy in bulk. For example if you don’t eat cereal every day with your breakfast, buying the gallon container of milk is probably not the smartest of ideas. I mean seriously – how much coffee are you drinking that you use up so much milk just for that?

Buy a Blanket

Or a sweater. Or a fan. The bottom line is, embrace the fact that it’s cold or hot outside and figure out how to do without the climate control. Listen, I love climate control and one of the things I love the most in our new apartment is that we have central heating and air conditioning here.

Thing is, it’s not central for the building, just for our apartment and that means that every time we turn on the heat, I pay big bucks for warming parts of the apartment we’re not even in. You know what doesn’t cost anything? Snuggling together under a nice down comforter –it’s even romantic to boot.

Make Your Own Pizza

I love good pizza. I’m a New York for Chrissake and New York Pizza is the best in the world. That said, you know what’s even better? Making my own and putting on every topping I can think of without breaking the bank. Not to mention that I can even make my own pizza a bit healthier than the stuff I buy at the pizza shop by using ingredients without sugar in them.

Get Forever Stamps

This is just plain simple and stupid easy – I know, I know – mail is so last century, right? But every now and then, you still need to mail something. And you know what doesn’t go out of style? Forever stamps. I have some I bought 10 years ago and they’re still just as good now as they were ten years ago.

Plus, I save money because I don’t need to buy them at current price. So even if I only mail or two pieces of mail a year, ultimately, it saves me money to have them around. Of course, if you can’t find them when you need them then it doesn’t do you a whole of good but still, the idea is sound. Just be organized and keep them handy. I have a file folder with supplies and like I said, I have forever stamps from 2007 which are still perfectly good.

Travel During the Off Season

I’ve written about this in the past and it still makes sense to do it – not only do you avoid the ridiculous crowds but you also save a ton of money on your travel expenses. So go and see Prague in the winter. Sure it’s cold there, but you know what? The museums and shops are all heated and the prices are half of what you’d pay when you get stuck with all the dumb tourists you encounter during the summer season.

Keep Snacks in Your Bag or Car

I don’t own a car anymore. I used to when I briefly lived outside of New York City but here in the Big Apple, it just doesn’t make much sense to waste money on a car. The parking, the tickets and the insurance are just not worth it to me. However, I do keep a few snacks in my knapsack which travels with me on the subway every day. I also have a spare mini umbrella in there in case it rains.

Is this a huge savings? Nope – the giant pretzel at the subway is still just $2.50 and still smells amazing when I pass by it on my way home. Then again, the bag of chips in my bag cost me less than a dollar and is just as tempting.

Don’t Speed

Okay, so I admit it – this isn’t one that I have personal knowledge of. I mean, even when I owned a car, nobody really speeds in New York City. Let’s face it – we’re known for gridlock even more than LA. Of course, that’s not to say that we don’t get traffic tickets here. It’s just that our tickets are more likely to be for things like running a red light.

That said, I can definitely speak about parking tickets – alternate side of the street parking was my personal nightmare when I owned a car. If I didn’t wake up early enough, I’d have the privilege of paying the city $150 for sleeping in. Do yourself a favor and follow the law. Not only are you likely to save your life but you’re also likely to save a whole lot of money.

Buy a Water Filter

The truth of the matter is that here in New York, we have some of the best water in the world. There’s even a whole thing about buying New York City water in order to make authentic tasting bagels. That said, if you aren’t a big fan of tap water, a simple and easy way to save money is to buy yourself a water filter. It means that instead of $2 for a bottle of water, you spend 10 cents filtering the same water.

Save on Prescriptions

Yeah, yeah I know – you can’t put a price on your health. Tell me about it – I’ve been dealing with a series of infections lately so I know what that’s all about. Not only was I miserable but every day I wasn’t working was a day that I was losing money since I work in sales. That said, just because I was sick doesn’t mean that I couldn’t save a few bucks.

Walmart and Target both offer thousands of prescriptions for cheap, flat prices and if you happen to be taking a medication for a chronic illness, you can even save some bucks by getting a deal with a prescription management service which automatically sends your pills every month. It’s just plain stupid to pay retail for your prescriptions when there are so many discount options these days.

Take the Subway

I’m a New Yorker so I’m biased but the fact is that public transportation is one of the world’s greatest inventions. Not only do you save the planet by not polluting with your private car but you also save yourself a ton of money by sharing the of commuting with thousands of your neighbors. Don’t like the crush of the morning rush? Do what I do – get to work early and stay late. I always get a seat and read a newspaper on the train.

Quit Smoking

Or quit drugs or whatever else your vice is. Hey, I get it – you get stressed out and you need a way to unwind. The thing is, if you want to save money and your life, quitting most of these vices will do both at the same time. And I admit it – I love fine wine and I spend too much on it. But at least I’ve learned to cut back and not waste money buying wine to drink every night with dinner.

Not to mention that by drinking less, my doctor tells me that my liver is going to last me a whole lot longer than it otherwise would have, which means that I won’t waste money by being out sick or by getting stuck in surgery. Bottom line, sure these things are a lot of fun to do – that’s why we do them. But cutting back or eliminating it completely will go a long way to saving you a whole heck of a lot of money.

Forget the Lottery Tickets

Look, I love to dream as much as the next guy does. And sure, it’s theoretically possible you might actually win the lottery. It’s also theoretically possible you may die from a meteor crashing down to earth or that you may be the one human who develops evolutionary skills and can suddenly fly.

Down here on earth though, the reality is that you’re not the person who is going to win the lottery. It’s just a fact. Get over it. Life isn’t easy and frankly, even if you did win the lottery, the odds are good that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy it anyway. So stop wasting your money on those worthless lottery tickets and save it for something more important, which you actually have some need for.

Put Away $50

This is my personal rule and it’s a good one – instead of trying to make it big all the time or dreaming of putting away millions of bucks, just put away a little bit each month. Most people can afford to scrape together fifty bucks a month, even if money is very tight right now.

But what’s fifty bucks anyway you’re going to say? Well, think about it over a course of time. Over a year, that’s an extra $600 in your pocket. That’s an emergency car repair which you don’t need to pawn your wedding ring for.

Or maybe it’s the difference in finally getting away for a quick weekend with the wife while the kids stay with grandma. Whatever it is, that little bit of savings each month is going to grow into a whole lot of money pretty soon and you’re going to be thanking me for putting you on the path to saving. If you don’t waste all of it the next time the Powerball hits $1.5 billion that is…

Don’t Run the Washing Machine Half Empty

This is another one of those things that ought to be obvious but amazingly enough, people don’t seem to be able to figure it out. The washing machine uses the same amount of water and the same amount of electricity, regardless of how much you put into it so why waste money by just washing one shirt for tomorrow? Besides, do you really own just one shirt? What are you, in college?

Oh and bonus tip, want to save some green? Consider line drying your clothes during the summer. Sexy it ain’t but it sure as heck is a cheap way to get your clothes dry, by letting mother nature do the job and pay the electric bill for you.

Drop the Landline

The 1990s called and they want their phone back. Seriously people – forget about that pathetic land line. It’s a dying technology which for some inane reason some people can’t seem to let go of. It’s time to let the old copper wires be turned into scrap metal while fiber optics are used to stream the latest episode of Stranger Things into your home.

Oh and if you’re still worried about the issues of the cell phone running out of juice during an emergency, get yourself a battery pack for that thing and stop whining about how the landline is powered by the phone line instead of electric mains. It’s 2017 for chrissake – time to get with the time and dump the old technology.

Oh and by the way, if you’re worried about overages, just go and get one of those deals where you can get a free number that makes calls over your home Wi-Fi network, like Skype or something. There – no complaints. Now let that landline phone rest in peace.

Invest in Insulation

While landlines are a thing of the past and well left there, there are some things that are still classic. The best way to save some green in your home is to invest in it – buy some good insulation for your home and you’ll be amazed at how much your heating bills will go down. Seriously – it’s a one time investment and you never have to pay for it again but it does pay for itself year in and year out.

Oh and it’s not just about the winter time either. Believe it or not, there are even some kinds of insulation that are designed to keep your home cool in the summer and warm during the winter. So a new twist on an old technology and a way to make sure that you don’t keep literally burning money every winter and summer.

Of course, if you are literally, literally burning money, I mean taking $100 bills and tossing them into the fireplace to keep warm then please – let me know where I can drop off a pile of logs in exchange for your fire money…

Take More at the ATM

This is a no brainer – you can beat the skeevy banks at their own scheme to steal your money. Ever notice how the fees that ATMs charge keep creeping up? I remember when it used to cost nothing to get at your money. Now, there are places that charge as much as twenty bucks to get money from an ATM. Twenty bucks? Are you friggin’ kidding me? You mean there’s a 100% markup to take out $20 to buy my kid an ice cream cone? That’s just sick.

Sure you could hunt for ATMs from your own bank in order to avoid the fees but if that’s not an option, your next best bet would be to go ahead and take more at the ATM.

Fortunately, most of the banks haven’t quite gotten to charging a percentage of the amount you take out. It’s just a fixed fee whether you take $20 or $200 so you can go ahead and plan for a bit more so you don’t need to pay the highway robbery fees every time you visit one of those little monsters.

Use Comparison Shopping Sites

You’d think in today’s world there aren’t people left who haven’t figured out that they can comparison shop to get the best deal but as PT Barnum supposedly said, there’s a sucker born every minute. If there weren’t, the scams we all read about wouldn’t be in the news constantly.

We always sit around reading the horror stories about some poor idiot who lost his life savings to a Nigerian prince or whatever and laugh about how stupid these people must be but then we go ahead and happily buy whatever on Amazon without even bothering to shop around. News flash folks: Amazon is great but it isn’t the only game in town.

Want to bank some green? Go and find some decent comparison shopping sites and actually make sure that you’re getting the best deal before you rush off and buy some knickknack from Amazon just because they have the one click shopping and the guaranteed two day delivery. Ultimately, if you need to wait an extra few days to tear open the package, it’s likely worth your while because you’ll save a few bucks.

Don’t Impulse Buy

My rule is simple: If it costs more than $50, it can wait a week before I make a decision to buy it. My girlfriend has been pissed at me on repeated occasions for what she calls my plans to hoard stuff endlessly. She was furious that we moved all kinds of crap which we just ended up tossing in the garbage when we unpacked in our new place.

I get it – I like nice things and yeah, I buy too much crap. Which is why I stopped visiting Groupon with their stupid deals meant to get you to jump when there it first shows up and instead starting a simple rule: More than $50? It can wait a week.

There’s pretty much nothing that I must have right this second that costs that much. I can always makes do and this way, I don’t end up tossing out that stupid dehydrator I bought on a whim on Groupon for $150 because I had stupid ideas about homemade dried tomatoes (hint: It takes a really, really long time and they still taste like crap compared with the ones you buy at the supermarket).

Grow Some Veggies

This one isn’t for everyone. I have two brown thumbs and have literally managed to kill cacti. I even tried those can’t miss things where you’re supposed to have a computer controlled garden – I missed. Somehow, I manage to kill all living things in my home.

It’s a miracle my dog has lasted the past nine years that I’ve owned her. Of course, if she is hungry or feeling bad, she’s going to let me know so there’s that – plants just keel over and die if they need something I don’t give them.

However, for those who actually understand how to grow veggies and to keep things alive, growing your own is a great way to ensure that you’ll save money and have a fresh supply of goodness all year round. For me, I only wish I could because my girlfriend is a health freak and loves to eat salad with every meal. It gets expensive buying lettuce from the farmers market all the time. Maybe I should try those windowsill lettuce ideas again…

Look Down at the Supermarket

This is one of my all-time favorite pieces of advice and it works every single time without exception. It’s something I heard one time on the John Tesh radio share but I haven’t heard or seen it anywhere since that one time about ten years ago. Want to save money when shopping? Look down at the supermarket, everywhere except for the cereal aisle.

The reason? Supermarket owners are not idiots – they know how to make the maximum amount of money from the suckers walking blindly down their aisles. So they position the most expensive and the most profitable items at eye level for most adults. This means that you’re likely to see the expensive name brand stuff at eye level first.

The one exception? The cereal aisle – since kids often make the decisions about cereal, the most expensive sugar packed cereal is often at kids’ eye level instead of adult eye level. I’ve tried this thing out all over the world. I love to travel and in the 18 countries I’ve visited so far, I have visited supermarkets in every one of them to check this and it’s true everywhere – save money by looking down at the supermarket.

Wait for Sales

I know, I know. You’re saying yeah, Eric. We know that you should wait for sales before buying stuff. Duh. I know that you know. However, what you may not know is that there are specific times of the year when specific things are more likely to be on sale than others.

For example, the end of the summer is when most car dealerships start clearing out last year’s models to make room for the new model year, even though the new model year is a few months away. Want some sweet deals on furniture? Wait until the kids are off from school and you can snag some of the best deals around because everyone else has already snapped up what they want in anticipation of a summer move.

There are right times and wrong times to buy almost anything and if you time it right, you can save a whole lot of money.