Five simple ways to save money every day

“A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) is credited with this quote, but (not to burst your bubble) it’s not his. This comes from George Herbert’s, “Outlandish Proverbs,” circa 1633. As a financial advisor, I believe that any money saved or made from investments is money that does not have to be made by the sweat of your brow. This column is about the five simple ways that I save money every day, thereby having to make less and being able to do more with what I have.

Just buy and use those gift cards! Yes, you can save money by buying yourself gift cards. This time of year, restaurants, spas and specialty stores have some great promotions via their gift card options. My favorite and most common are restaurants that offer $120 worth of gift cards for $100. By getting $120 in goods and services for $100, you enjoy an immediate 20 percent return on your money. That is money well spent and earned. Similarly, pick your favorite store and join the loyalty programs. I belong to one major drugstore chain loyalty program and I cannot keep up with all their coupons. It is great knowing I never pay full boat even at the drugstore.

Just ask for it! I recently joined a new gym close to my office, and not only did I get my initiation fee of $175 waived and $100 off a personal training package, but my daughter got $250 credit to her account. How you ask? I mentioned that she belongs to their other location and spoke so highly of it that I came by to see it myself. Please note, the only thing I was offered initially was the $100 off my personal training package. The $175 initiation fee and the $250 credit for my daughter were all thrown in after I asked.

Just walk away! Most consumers are too embarrassed to say “No” and walk away from the deal. Do not to be afraid to walk away! My father gave me a great piece of advice about four decades ago, he said, “Carlito, siempre el dinero en tu lado de la reja.” Oh yes, translation: “Charlie, always keep the money on your side of the fence.” This comes from the experience that once you let go of your money, the courtship of you (actually your money) is over. Before you let go of the money, make sure you have all you want, clawing back the money is never easy or pleasant. I say this many times a month to my clients and friends, “Remember they want the sale more than you want to spend the money.” Just this week we saved a client almost $5,000 in the purchase of her new car.

Just ask before you buy, “Is this the best you can do?” You work too hard for your money, why should you pay a penny more than you have to pay? A discount less than 10 percent is not a discount at all, as it does not cover the sales tax. Recently, I bought a great leather bag, black and brown, handle, shoulder strap and just awesome in styling. My partner told me to get it, he said, “This is the bag you would have designed, just get it.” He was right, I would have designed that very bag, I told the sales clerk that I loved it but I was not going to be impulsive and would wait for a sale. She asked me to wait for a minute, proceeded to her computer. She looked up and told me that if I purchased it that day, she could honor a 25 percent “friends and family” discount but I would have to wait a week to pick up. “Sold,” I said. I saved 27 percent because remember I saved on the sales tax too.

Just use debit cards to budget yourself! Yes, you save your money by using debit cards. I limit myself to $20 a week at Starbucks. Every Monday, I load it with $20 and never go over that limit. If in any week I do not use the whole $20, I only load enough to true it up to $20. Voila money saved and in the bank!

In closing, my favorite Benjamin Franklin quote is, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing,” probably because I have a column to write.

The opinions and recommendations expressed herein are those of Mr. Garrido and do not necessarily reflect those of the firm and are subject to change without notice. This information is not to be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities. The information contained herein has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but is not guaranteed as to accuracy and does not purport to be a complete analysis of the security, company or industry involved.