Starting Small to Save Big

Cutting back here and there can payoff big time

Small cutbacks here and there can have big payoffs in tough economic times.

Kristina Iverson and Monteil Crawley unplug anything that has a computer or clock inside that's drawing a current from the wall, which includes the coffeemaker, lamps, stereos and TVs.

Iverson monitors six Web sites for discounts on clothes, kitchen appliances and big-ticket items such as computers.  She put in a target price and waited. She saved $500 on her laptop.

There are plenty of deals online, and you don’t have to drive to get them, according to Kim Lankford, an advice columnist at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.

Iverson and Crawley also take their lunch to work, saving them about $50 each every week.  They take a free shuttle to Metro and together save more than $450 by not having to park in downtown D.C.

They trimmed their trips to the grocery store in half and they save by clipping coupons, using circulars and planning weekly menus.  They’ve also loosened up on brand loyalty. They save $200 a month now on their food bill.

“We always use cash because when you do carry cash you feel leaving your hands, it makes a difference” according to Crawley.


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When their cell phone contracts came up, they combined plans and saved $175 per month.

Now is also a good time to revisit your monthly budgets and bill payments.

Cutting back has allowed Iverson and Crawley to put aside more in savings and their 401-k accounts.

“I didn't feel that when I made more money I would spend more," Iverson said. "I would rather keep more if I'm making more."

The goal that keeps them disciplined is buying a house, and, as with shopping for anything, they are willing to wait for the right time and the best deal.

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