Julie at the Family CEO has revisited a post of hers listing 25 ways that she is able to save money. She extended the idea to be explored to others and I have taken her up on the offer. There are plenty of ways to keep some extra money in your pocket and, hopefully, I am hitting on a few that you haven’t thought of yet. Some of these are detailed out in other posts and others will be explained in more detail in later posts. Let me know what you think.
1. Coupon clipping
The most obvious way to save some cash is actually looking through coupons and using them for groceries or other services. My advice is make sure that you are not buying anything just because you have a coupon and look at various stores that have the item. You may catch a sale that you can combine with the coupon.
2. Buying clothes on clearance
I recently posted about fashion and how I approach it. A summary is, no matter what type of clothes I am looking for, I go right to the clearance rack in any store.
3. Pack a lunch for work
When I go out to eat, I spend from $6 to $15 and do not make healthy choices. My packed lunch runs about $4 and is much healthier.
4. Use reusable containers for food
I use a lunch bag and not brown bags as well as Tupperware and not plastic sandwich bags. Not a huge savings, but very easy to do.
5. Make dinner at home
When my wife and I eat out, it will cost at least $35 and is not very healthy. A prepared meal at home costs about $10. This savings will only go up as our family expands.
6. Use the library
I love the library as a savings tool. I use it for books, movies, music and magazines. Plus, it is close enough that I can bike there!
7. Bike when possible
Biking is one of my favorite money-saving activities. We are so attached to our cars that using a bike for transportation is like finding this massive loophole in the system. I bike for small grocery trips, the library, and work commutes.
8. Use workout facilities at the office
I have been able to get workout equipment very cheaply for home and use the gym at work so that I never need a gym membership. If you have a long enough lunch, I find working out a great way to break up the day.
9. Carpool with my wife
Only recently have I been able to take advantage of this, but it is great.
10. Basic plumbing
Things like installing a toilet or sink are very manageable. I will be posting more about DIY projects for those that have not done any.
11. Basic electrical
Changing outlets, running wire, and adding boxes are also manageable. Again, more to come.
12. Install Flooring
Putting down floating floors or tile are also jobs that can be done on your own. I would stay away from installing your own carpet, though.
13. Do yard work on my own
Cutting the grass, mulching, and planting are all things that can be done without hiring someone.
14. Keep the thermostat down
We like to keep the thermostat a little lower in the winter and higher in the summer to avoid higher energy costs.
15. Use credit card rewards
I stick with a cash back card because I can find better deals on flights and hotels elsewhere and don’t feel obligated to use frequent flyer points. Make sure to pay off the credit card every month and make sure the card has no annual fee (unless the benefits seem better than a card without one).
16. Use basic cable
There is so little useful television out there and most shows you can stream online anyway. We keep basic cable and bundle it with the internet and that is it.
17. Limit alcohol consumption
I do enjoy beer, but all alcohol is an expensive drink choice. I try to keep it down to a couple of drinks a week.
18. Consistent car maintenance schedule
I make sure to stay up on oil changes and other maintenance so I have less chance of a much costlier repair later.
19. Pay bills online
I love bill pay. Nearly every bank has it at this point and is free. Every bill paid online saves $0.50. Plus, you can set up reminders so you don’t forget to pay something and pay a penalty.
20. Don’t go out to movies
I wait for the DVD that I can rent at the library for free in 99.9% of cases.
21. Drink water
The cheapest and healthiest option available.
22. Buy older technology
Some examples: I only bought a smart phone last year and I received a free Play Station 2 a couple of years ago and can get used games for a few dollars.
23. Drive efficiently
I love the feature on cars now that shows your average MPG’s. I do the standard things like driving at or around 60, no quick starts and stops, and coast up to traffic lights trying to expect it turning green so I don’t have to stop completely.
24. Cell phone discount
Everywhere my wife or I have worked offer employee cell phone discounts. Simply find the best one and make sure they apply it when you sign up. Make sure to check that first bill, though. Sometimes those discounts have a way of conveniently disappearing.
I have found great deals through the bidding feature on Priceline and Hotwire with Better Bidding. Better Bidding is a forum where users state what area, star level, price, and when they bid and then tell you what hotel they got as a result. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process and the deals are much better than the published rates.
These are some highlights of ways that I can save money. I can’t stress enough, however, that it is not truly saving money if you are buying something simply because it is on sale. Make sure that you are looking for deals on items that you are going to buy anyway.