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Brilliantly Frugal Investments in 2012 for your Car, Clothing, and Electricity Savings

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Last January, I detailed a list of inexpensive “investments” on my blog that could help put more cash in the bank by year’s end. Suggestions included: a Warehouse Club Card (often pays for itself in the first month!) and a crock pot (have you seen what it could do to the cheapest cuts of meat?).  I also recommended continuing education (learn how to change the oil in your car, do your own haircolor, paint the bedroom walls, etc.), a Library Card (a wireless device that gives you access to thousands of books, DVD’s and CD’s… for free), and making one extra mortgage payment this year by simply stashing $5/day into an untouchable bank account.  

Well, last year’s list got rave reviews from fabulous readers like yourself. Considering ‘tis the season for New Year’s Resolutions, let’s make one of yours keeping more of your hard earned cash in the bank where it belongs, with a fresh crop of Brilliantly Frugal Investments you can make for 2012!

AAA(1) AAA Card/Membership:  I’ve had a AAA Card for decades; it’s been a lifesaver on those rare occasions when my car inexplicably broke down in unknown territory on a Chester County night.  Speedy tow truck, anyone?  Not only that, but I’m realizing that the usual 20 minute wait I’ve had for AAA tow truck drivers is a lot faster than what I’ve heard from friends who don’t own a AAA card.  

A couple of weeks ago on “The Brilliant Frugal Living Show,” I interviewed Jenny Robinson of the Public & Government Affairs division with AAA-Mid Atlantic.  She dazzled me with the perks and savings inherent in today’s AAA Membership (that I never utilized until now!).  Discounts on shopping, travel, movies, vacations, automotive services…it’s incredible!  Get yourself a AAA Card pronto, then get online to AAA.com to see what discounts await you.

(2) Clothesline & Dish Rack:  A while back, I did a little experiment on how much money using a clothesline and dish rack would save my household.  Nothing fancy, we’re talking about a Dollar Store dish rack and 40 feet of clothesline strung from the back door railing to the swing set and back.  I was certain my little experiment would prove that my energy-efficient appliances were getting the job done for pennies a day. This was not the case. My little experiment netted me 40% savings on my electric bill in the first month alone. I never looked back. In the years since, for about 20 minutes of effort a day, my household has saved thousands of dollars. I highly recommend it.  

(3) Car Wash Kit:  Have you ever seen these?  They’re fabulous!  You can get them just about anywhere for less than $20, and they include everything car wash kityou need for a fantastic, professional car wash in your own driveway.  I’ve spoken to people used to washing their cars once a week who are now saving over $1000/year courtesy of one of these little kits.  

(4) Power Strips: The vast majority of us have at least one television in our home at this point; amazingly, many of us have more than one home computer as well. These inventions are fabulous, and fabulously power hungry.  

When you’re not using them, turn them off, and shut off power to everything with a Power Strip. Not just the computer, but also the printer.  Not just the television, but also the DVD Player and stereo system as well – get my point?  I realize you can’t shut down a TiVo system, simply plug that into a separate socket.  Put everything else into a power strip, and watch your electric bill drop by hundreds (if not more) a year.

Here’s to another fantastic year’s worth of opportunities to keep your hard earned money in the bank.  

Happy New Year, everybody!  

Kristen Hagopian is an Author, Columnist, Motivational Speaker and Radio Talk Show Host with WFYL 1180AM. “The Brilliant Frugal Living Show” airs Tuesdays and Saturdays at 11:00A. She lives fabulously & frugally in Chester County with her husband and two kids.  Log onto www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com for more information.

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