10 Ways To Squeeze More Out of Your Money
These days it seems everybody is looking for ways to squeeze more out of less. Learn how to get more out of your time, money and energy, with this fun and surprising look at the easy ways to make a big difference on a day-to-day basis.
1. Squeeze More Out of Your Boss
Psychologist Todd Thorsteinson, PhD, has found a way to trick supervisors into being more generous: joke about a big raise. The University of Idaho professor conducted a study with role-playing students in which he asked the “supervisors” to decide how much money to offer job candidates who were supposedly already earning $29,000 a year. The candidates who were said to have requested only slightly higher starting salaries or made no salary requests at all were offered about $32,000. But candidates who jokingly requested $100,000 were awarded more-about $36,000 on average. Even though the supervisor realized the request wasn’t serious, it subconsciously affected the offer.
2. Squeeze More Out of Toothpaste
According to tests by Consumer Reports, what seems like an empty tube may still hold up to 13 per cent of its contents. To get to the rest, run the tube under hot water for a minute or two. It will soften, enabling you to roll it up tighter to get a few more brushfuls. Then use scissors to cut one side of the tube open lengthwise so you can rub your brush around inside. Or you can make the job even easier. Squeeze Ease Tube Squeezers ($3, containerstore.com) slide up the toothpaste tube and flatten it for you.
3. Squeeze More Out of Your Entertainment Budget
Looking to skip the cable TV bill each month? Try making the most of your internet connection instead. Netflix ($7.99 a month) offers unlimited viewing of thousands of movies and television shows streamed directly through your computer, Blu-ray player, Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. NHL Gamecenter Live streams hundreds of regular season live NHL hockey games through your entertainment devices, and similar one-time-fee services are offered for NFL, MLB and NBA games.
If that’s still too pricey, the cheapest home entertainment solution may be a digital antenna. These small boxes receive free, high definition over-the-air broadcasts from major Canadian networks, including City TV, Global Television, CTV and CBC. If you’re looking to pay nothing (or next to nothing) for television, digital antennas are the way to go.
4. Squeeze More Out of Your Wi-fi
Turn your router into a shouter with these three no-cost tweaks from Aaron Weiss, Wi-Fi guru at bordella.com:
• Set it free: If the router is in the basement, on the ground floor, or in a closet, it’s imprisoned. Moving it to the top floor and to the centre of the house will enable its signal to avoid more obstacles as it radiates downward.
• Change the channel: Although routers can communicate over 11 channels, most choose No. 6 by default-which means everyone else in the neighborhood is on the same frequency, causing interference. Refer to your router instructions, and switch to No. 1 or 11.
• Flip up the antenna: If your router has one, make sure it’s vertical. “Many people have them down or at an odd angle,” says Weiss. “It’s a common mistake that really compromises range.”
5. Squeeze More Out of an Auditor
Auditors are human, and they have a lot of discretion over how they handle cases.
• Never show up late or miss a deadline: It’s guaranteed to upset them. Book the last appointment before the weekend or an extended holiday, when auditors will be in a better mood, or grab the last slot before lunch. “This may produce a shorter audit, especially if the auditor has another appointment at one,” says Scott Estill, a former IRS auditor in the U.S.A
• Dress conservatively: “Never give the impression that you’re making more than your tax return shows,” he notes. Also, call the auditor Mr. or Ms.-everybody enjoys respect.
• Get ’em talking: Instead of instigating small talk yourself, wait for the auditor to cr eate an opportunity for it. For instance, if he says “I see you made a donation to a college,” follow up with “Yes. I like supporting my alma mater. Where did you go to school?” According to Estill, “The more an auditor likes you, the better the result in many cases.”
6. Squeeze More Out of the Gym
Instead of counting up to your workout goals, count down. According to fitness trainer Joe Vennare of The Hybrid Athlete.com, counting up while exercising reminds you of how many repetitions you’ve done (tiring!), while counting down emphasizes how few you have left (inspiring!). “If I’m doing 20 reps, I’ll count down from 10 and then down from 10 again,” says Vennare. The tip can be used for just about anything that involves counting, whether it’s frosting 100 cupcakes or signing 100 letters.
7. Squeeze More Out of Coffee
They’re convenient, but if you drink a lot of joe, K-cups can grind through a lot of dough. To squeeze 30 to 50 per cent more coffee from each little cup, kcupbarista.com recommends buying a bold or extra-bold flavour and brewing one large cup into an extra-large mug. Then open and close the machine’s lid to reset it and, without removing the original K-Cup or your mug, brew another by pressing the machine’s “small-cup” setting. As your mug tops off, quickly and carefully slide another cup into place to catch the rest. The coffee that initially comes out during this second brew will still be pretty good. The more-dilute stuff caught in the second cup can be discarded or used as a mild coffee flavouring for baking.
8. Squeeze More Out of Your Cell’s Battery
As the editor of Climbing magazine, Shannon Davis spends 70-plus days a year in “nowhere zones.” His mobile phone is his lifeline. When the battery runs low, here’s what he says to do:
• Switch to Airplane Mode: Sliding it on conserves significant power while still keeping essential apps (“like the flashlight”) available. “This allowed me to go four days on one charge while climbing Mount Rainier,” Davis says. Keep in mind, though, that doing so disconnects cellular service and probably GPS too.
• Schedule your calls: Instead of wasting power by repeatedly trying to reach someone, leave a voice mail and/or send a text message telling her to contact you “on the hour.” Then simply turn your phone on and switch off Airplane Mode for a few minutes every hour until you connect.
• Keep it warm: Davis has noticed that cold batteries drain faster. So he keeps his phone in the interior breast pocket of his down jacket. There’s less chance of losing it there too.
9. Squeeze More Out of Your Closet
The key is a technique called double hanging. Remove the rod that’s currently in your closet. It’s typically installed about 60 inches from the floor. Reinstall it at 84 inches and attach a second rod at 42 inches. Pants and skirts go on top; shirts and blouses, down below. With all the extra space in your closet, and all the money you’ve saved with the rest of these tips, it’s time for a trip to the mall!
10. Squeeze More Out of a Nap
Dogs are champion nappers. Stanley Coren, PhD, who has studied sleep in humans and canines (and written a book called Do Dogs Dream?), says there’s much you can learn from the way pooches sleep. The major thing is to lie flat when you nap. Being propped up-when trying to nap in a comfy chair-prevents you from slipping into the deepest, most restorative stages of sleep because you’re on subconscious guard against falling over. Another lesson is to catnapI: instead of squeezing in one long nap, take two or three short ones; you’ll wake up less groggy. Catnaps are particularly useful during stressful times when you’re not getting enough rest at night.