I applaud the AARP Bulletin for listing 99 Great Ways to Save in 2011. For bargain hunters it's a wonderful chance to say "I knew all of that." And many of you probably do know old chestnuts such as "use your auto's cruise control to save gas," "buy airline tickets on Tuesday (not the weekend) to pay less," and "use the Sunday comics section for gift wrap."
So I decided to stick my neck out and list some tips that were new to me. If these are old news to you, feel free to share one or more tips of your own.
1. A cup of water to save gas. Of all the tips to save gas, the one that can save the most (between 5 and 33 percent) is avoiding jackrabbit starts. AARP suggests training yourself to avoid a lead foot by keeping a full cup of water in the car's cupholder. By making a game of not spilling the water, you will rein in jackrabbit starts, sudden stops and higher speeds. Slow learners, bring a towel.
2. Pay yourself when you do something you might get paid for. Put an open jar in a conspicuous place in your home (maybe not too conspicuous if some family members want to help themselves to a quick loan). Every time you do something such as ironing, cooking when you're exhausted, fixing a good cup of java, or changing your own oil, feed the jar with what you might have spent. Ewoldt's tip: Decide in advance what you'll do with the savings for the most reward.
3. Save water by turning the valves under the kitchen and bathroom sinks halfway off. The water won't come out in a gush and they'll still be plenty of water to brush your teeth. Ewoldt's aside: Maybe this tip will ease the guilt I have over the water cannon of a showerhead I absolutely love. It's so forceful, and yes wasteful, that my showers are quick but bracing.
4. Put an inflatable fireplace damper to keep your home's warm air from escaping a leaky metal damper. Pay $50 to $200 once and save $50 to $200 each year, said AARP.
5. Call overseas free. Freephone2phone.com gives you 10 minutes of free talk time to landlines in 55 countries and cellphones in some. Like 1-800-FREE-411, you listen to free ads and then connect.
To read all of the 99 tips, click here and scroll down to the bullet points such as "cut costs at home."