The Black Friday countdown has begun. And while every day is Black Friday at dealnews, there are just a few weeks left for trimming the fat from your budget in order to save up for a big Black Friday purchase like a new HDTV. After perusing our Black Friday HDTV predictions, you may want a blueprint for constructive cutbacks so that you can actually afford to take advantage of these rock-bottom prices.
Keep in mind that we're forecasting 42" 1080p LCD HDTVs to reach a low of $189, and 47" 1080p LCD HDTVs will sink to as low as $299. And while $200+ may seem like a lot of cash to find beneath the couch cushions, our handy tips below will set you on a course to New HDTV Land. Here are some ways to cut back on your spending to save in time for Black Friday.
Ditch Bottled Water for Tap Water
Depending on where you do your grocery shopping, a case of Evian water (24 bottles, 11.2 oz.) goes for between $32 and $38. By buying fewer cases of bottled water per month, you can save at least $60. Need your water on-the-go? Use a refillable plastic bottle like one of these Collapsible Water Bottles (3-pack) ($5.99 with free shipping, low by $4) with filtered tap water, provided by the PUR FM-9600 Water Filter ($31.99 with free shipping, a low by $11). The filter may be a substantial initial cost, but it'll offer big savings in the long run, if you're a devout bottled water user. What's more, you'll help keep untold plastic bottles out of landfills.
Projected savings: From $32 to $76
Cut Down on Car Use
We're not advocating that you sell your car in order to buy a new HDTV this Black Friday. But gasoline can be expensive, and fewer trips around town can save you more than you think. It only takes a little ingenuity to combine errands into one round trip that connects the dots of your to-dos via a sensible route. And because every penny counts, you should know where to find the cheapest gasoline in your town. The GasBuddy app can help you do just that. And it's free, to boot! Your goal should be to cut down on 75 miles of driving per week, which will net a 3-gallon savings if you average 25 mpg, and pay a few cents less for gas when you do fill up.
Projected savings: $60 to $75
Behold the Power of Lasagna (or How to Eat Leftovers for Lunch)
Tis the season of slow cookers, casseroles, soups, and stews! Not only are these dishes great for cooler weather, but most recipes yield eight to 10 servings, which, for a family of four, means leftovers — or your lunch for the week! The key is to think in terms of foods you really enjoy, and coming up with dishes that yield portions you can dole out for easy transport to work. Moreover, the foods you make at home will likely have less of a waistline impact than most take out. Even if you're eating Subway every day, you're likely socking your wallet to the tune of $40 or more a week. You can eat heartier and healthier with just a small investment of cooking time on the weekend.
Projected savings: $200 to $500
Cancel Unused Subscriptions and Memberships
It's been known to happen to just about everyone: we join a gym, and then stop going. We sign up for a free trial, and then forget to cancel our membership. You can save by honing in on at least one paid service that you can terminate painlessly; just do a simple check of your credit card statements and bills to find the most eligible candidate. Try to also apply this logic to do away with dormant phone lines or subscriptions to unread magazines.
Projected savings: Varies
Grocery Shop the Sale Aisle
Many dealnews readers know never to pay full price for anything, but at the grocery store, we sometimes throw that logic out the window. Since sale items aren't concentrated on a single aisle, shoppers have to be conscious of price points at every turn. It's smart to stick to your shopping list, but even smarter to only buy items that are on sale. Combine this with just a few minutes of coupon clipping beforehand, and we predict that you can cut your grocery bill by at least 10%. Assuming a weekly grocery bill of $100, which is modest for many households, this careful pruning could save you at least $40 before Black Friday. Another tip: Eat before you grocery shop. It's proven that people who do this spend less at the checkout line.
Projected savings: $40 to $80
Avoid ATM Fees Whenever Possible
These days, a consumer should never have to pay ATM fees. If you're unable to find a machine from your bank, consider picking up a $1 pack of gum at a nearby pharmacy and opting for cash back via your debit card. Cash back is a free service that can help you avoid ATM fees, and you'll get a pack of minty fresh gum out of it. You can also consider whether you even need to take the cash out in the first place, as we've become a largely cashless society; even IOUs for a dinner out with your buddies can be transmitted via person-to-person payments on your mobile phone. If you make even two ATM withdrawals a week at terminals that charge $3 a pop, it's time to buck up and change your cash-handling habits. Now repeat after me: "Down with fees, up with HDTVs!"
Projected savings: $30
Of course, the other side of the equation here involves finding novel ways to bring in a few extra dollars. In many areas of the country, it's still warm enough for a garage sale. Or you can take the garage sale virtual via eBay or Craigslist. And believe it or not, there still exists a market for used CDs at indie record stores. It only takes a few minutes to take hold of your spending now to earn yourself some extra holiday cash later.