‘Tis the Season to Be More Economical

With the current economy looking bleaker than ever, many students are adjusting to the need for frugality. While saving Box Top pieces has not yet become a growing trend, many families are trying to keep their spending habits in check. These are just a few effective and simple ways to save money.

One of the first steps to saving is looking for great deals. Besides hoarding coupons sent in the mail, you can also find printable ones online at sites such as www.coupons.com, where you can specify your zip code and find coupons that apply to stores nearby. Sites like www.coolsavings.com and www.retailmenot.com also contain coupons sorted by category so that you can find great deals on whatever you are looking for, ranging from household appliances and clothing to healthcare and electronics.

Store Brand Products
Refrain from buying brand name products. Ask yourself: Is it really necessary that you get General Mills Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal instead of Safeway Select Cinnamon Crunch? A 12.8-ounce box of General Mills costs $3.99, whereas a 14-ounce box of Safeway Select costs only $2.99. What difference does it make if you have Bounty paper towels versus Kirkland Signature towels? It is a much better deal to go for the store-brand goods, which are not only more practical and frequently better quality, but also often half the price of the brand name products.

Many students and family members are struggling more than ever with tuition costs. The best solution to this is to apply for scholarships. There are community service, minority and academic scholarships that will cover a portion of your college tuition or even grant you a full ride. To begin, you do not even need to leave the school campus. College/Career Center Coordinator Kristin Joseph is always available in the 100-wing, where you can find out more about scholarships and get help filling out applications. You can also find scholarships online at websites such as www.scholarships.com and www.questbridge.org or by using the Scholarship Search provided by the College Board.

Getting gas
If you plan on going for a drive, you should know where you can find cheap gas in Northern California. MSN Autos (go to www.autos.msn.com and search gas prices) allows you to search for cheap gas stations around your home. Simply enter in your zip code and compare the prices that are listed. The two cheapest prices at Los Altos gas stations can be found at the Arco on San Antonio for $1.96 unleaded or at the 76 on El Camino Real for $2 unleaded.

Although the economy is the lowest it has been in years, there is a distinct difference between frugality and stinginess. You may not have as much cash to spare as you did before, but keep in mind that there are always people less fortunate.
If you feel like the plunging economy is not affecting you, think again. Use these methods and save money now so that you are prepared for the economy of the future.