2009 Money moves: Cutting the consumerism habit

The best way of all to make money in 2009: Don't spend it.

My dad, always decades before his time, starts chuckling when he sees commercials or newspaper advertisements claiming to teach you how to save hundreds, or thousands, of dollars(!!). He has a better way that can save you even bigger: don't buy the item in the first place.

Over the past few years, my family and I have been working hard to reduce our consumerism and re-assess whether we really needed that flat-screen TV (we don't). Here are some great ways to start:

  • Sell your car (or park it) and bike, bus or walk instead. It's extreme. But it's really hard to bring that must-have new toy home if you have to haul it yourself. And you're far less likely to go to Costco or Target for entertainment if you have to take two buses to get there.

  • Stop watching TV (or at least cut off cable). The more you watch, the more you want. My family watches most of its TV on Hulu.com; the commercials are far fewer, thus, we have lots less to desire. And whatever you do, don't watch those home improvement shows.