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‘Penny Pinching’ Offers Practical Advice

According to the December issue of Kiplinger’s magazine, the consumer price index is expected to rise about 3.5 percent in 1995, compared with a 3 percent rise for ‘94.

If you didn’t get much of a raise in ‘94, it’s time to honor that New Year’s resolution and cut household expenses before you’re buried in debt.

Here’s a book that can help: “Penny Pinching: How To Lower Your Everyday Expenses Without Lowering Your Standard of Living” by Lee and Barbara Simmons, published by Bantam Books.

“Penny Pinching” is the third book in the series. It is an updated and revised version of issues published in 1991 and 1993 by the husband-and-wife authors.

This is not one of those how-to publications that recommends splitting fat rubber bands to make two out of one. Nor do the authors condone becoming the neighborhood coupon collector.

Instead, you’ll find usable advice and tips that won’t send your teenager into throes of embarrassment when you check out at the grocery store. Even the book itself is a bargain at $4.99 in bookstores.

Some of the tips:

At the grocery store - When grocery shopping, is impulse buying your enemy? Avoid temptation by sticking to the list and shopping only once a week. Avoid convenience foods and small packages, if possible, because they’re generally not bargains. Don’t shop when you’re hungry.

The best buys are usually on the top or bottom shelves. Check unit pricing for the best buys. Buy in bulk when you can. Switch to generic or store brands if you can’t tell the difference in taste and quality. Use coupons only for items you use normally. Cash in on refund offers. Buy cheese in block form and grate or slice it yourself.

Around the house - Check weatherstripping to make sure you’re not heating or cooling the great outdoors. Use ceiling fans. Install a clock thermostat that can be preset for lower temperatures at night. When you need to call a company long distance, call the 800 directory-assistance, (800) 555-1212, to see whether there’s a toll-free line.

When traveling - Send excess baggage ahead via United Parcel Service; it’s cheaper than paying extra baggage charges. Use a city reservations service for the best deals possible. Join a travel club. Eat dinner early for early-bird specials.

Loans and credit - Beware the floating loan rate. Know the annual percentage rate ) before signing loan papers. Pay off high-interest credit cards first.

Tags: budget, money