Tag Archives: Money Saving Tips

10 Ways to Save

I enjoy a challenge…at first trying to live on less money made me angry, sad, thought God was punishing me, filled with self-pity…I think that about sums it up. Now, I have come full circle and I enjoy the challenge.

When I was in my 20’s I did the starving college student thing, I have done the newly married and just starting out thing. I thought I was done with that. In my 30’s and 40’s, I thought I had it all. The perfect husband, a house that was almost paid for, 2 kids, 2 cars, a job I loved. How that can all change in a blink of an eye still floors me sometimes. There really is a positive side, however. I love the challenge of living on a budget (not at first..as I said above). I love learning how to repair and reuse items. I love researching how to save money! Here are some very effective ways to cut your spending.

1) Unplug!

Did you know that if you leave your computer, cell phone, iPod charger in the wall socket, that it is using electricity EVEN when not in use? Unplug! Also, turn your computer off and do not leave it on ‘stand-by’ 24/7. You can save up to $200-$300/ year by unplugging!

2) Get a BIG pretzel jar (or a large plastic bucket)

At our house, every time someone finds a penny or any other coin, we drop it into our old large plastic pretzel jar.It never quite fills up. When it is half full we take it to the bank. We usually end up with somewhere between $200-$300. As a family we then decide how we will use it. Sometimes we treat ourselves out to a dinner and movie and save the rest. We have paid for an entire weekend of fun things like the zoo, movies etc, just by saving our change.  Throwing pennies and coins in a jar is fun for our family. You can make it a family fun thing to plan what you will do with the money. Of course, you could save without telling anyone. When Christmas or birthdays roll around, you will not have to go in to debt.

3) Use a low flow shower head

If you can not afford a new shower head, go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and buy a low flow insert for your shower. Twist off your current shower head and insert the water saving device. You will not lose any pressure, actually you will find it is the same if not better. Since our daughters hit their teen and tween years, it has saved us hot water draining nights.

4) Repair and re-use

I said in an earlier post how much I love eBay and YouTube. I have learned how to repair everything from iPods, computers…how to strip wallpaper….how to cut hair at home…how to train my dog…anything that I would normally have spent money on is at my fingertips. Instead of throwing out your broken items, challenge yourself to educate yourself on repairing them. My Grandfather taught me that almost anything can be repaired.

Re-use plastic baggies…rinse and reuse.

5) Consider a Pay as You Go cell phone.

My first cell phone service was Verizon. I liked the service but I am not a huge cell phone user. I switched to Net10. I spend approximately $15.00 month as opposed to $40.00 a month. With $15.00 I still get 2 1/2 hours of talk time (which I rarely use up), I can text and I get the same coverage as my old Verizon plan. $25.00 a month savings right off the bat!

6) Saving Money and the Planet!

10 Ways to Save Money in a Recession
By investing in items such as CFL light bulbs (Compact Fluorescent) is not only good for the environment, it can save you a bundle. They cost a little more upfront BUT they can last up to 10 years and the cut your electric bill. You actually end up saving money in the long run. You do not have to replace all of your bulbs at once. Simply replace burned out bulbs with new CFL bulbs.

7) Go to your local library!

I love to read. I used to think nothing of dropping $200.00 on books…at one time! My daughters love to read as well. We make a weekly trip to the library and get books, movies, music CD’s..all for free! My daughters love picking our new books every week and it encourages them to read what they have since they have to return it.

8) Reset that thermostat!

If you adjust your thermostat by just one or two degrees, your body will barely notice the difference but your pocket book will.

9) Get a good travel mug!

Why? Make your own tea or coffee and put it in your travel mug every morning for your commute. If you are used to spending $3.00 or more on Starbuck’s, you will not only be saving a bundle but you will also be saving our landfills from paper and plastic cups!

10) Buy Local!

Have you tried your local farmer’s market? Buying your produce closer to home not only helps the local farmers, it lowers your carbon footprint.

If you grandparents lived through the depression, they probably taught you how to save and reuse. When the 80’s hit, we became a ‘throw away’ world. Prosperity is not always a good thing.

A little dose of financial humility is not only good for the soul…it can be good for our planet.

For more great money-saving tips consider purchasing “The Complete Tightwad Gazette” :

The Complete Tightwad Gazette

Cathy Roll is a work at home mom. Visit her blog “Living on Half” at http://livingonhalf2.blogspot.com. In Cathy’s blog she shares the trials, tribulations, tips, joys and humor of losing her job and redefining herself at the ‘tender’ age of 48. Also visit her new blog Wandering Wondering Me Although she has just started publishing this ‘TravelBlog,’ it has been years in the making. Follow her 30+ years of stories from her international travels and photographs.

Miscellaneous Money Saving Tips

1. Look into dumpster diving. Many stores throw things away just because it is missing a piece (that you can fix or substitute something for) or because it was an overstock or out of season. This isn’t for everyone but if you don’t embarrass easily it is possible to find treasures this way.

2. Shop yard sales (you can get clothes cheap this way and many other household items)

3. Tips for saving money around the house

4. Turn your hot water heater down.

5. Use half of everything (half laundry detergent, half dish washer detergent, half laundry sheets etc) Half will in most cases do the job just as well and if you find it not quite enough you can increase it a little.

6. Sell unused items (outgrown clothes, books that you no longer read, and unwanted items) on eBay.

7. Use cloth menstrual pads

8. Hang your laundry instead of using your dryer.

9. Make sure you check over all of your bills in case you are overcharged or billed for something you weren’t suppose to be billed for.

10. Use the library for checking out free books and free movies.

11. The library usually also offers story hour.

12. Start a change jar (loose change can accumulate fast)

13. Turn your air up a degree or two and your heat down a degree or two for savings.

14. Track where your money goes so you know where the leaks are.

Do You Have These Frugal Living Habits?

Frugal living requires skills and ways of looking at things that help you take advantage of the money-saving opportunities in life. The truly frugal person makes these into habits. Six of these habits are outlined below. These are techniques that can be learned in a matter of a day or two, and made into new habits a few weeks. Then they will save money for you for the rest of your life.

1. Frugal living requires a knowledge of values. How can you get a great deal on a car if you don’t know what a great deal is. Get in the habit of educating yourself on prices, especially before you’re ready to buy anything that costs a lot. It takes a few hours of looking at listings for sale, for example, to know what homes are selling for in an area, but this is knowledge that can save you thousands.

2. Learn from other people. Most of us know someone who always gets the best deal on cars, boats, homes, or even groceries. Why not ask him or her how they do it! One person will tell you that the cheapest coffee in town is $3 per cup, while another will say 50 cents. Ask the latter about coffee shops. People near you are living a good life on half of what you make. Investigate that. See how others do things, and you’ll know your options.

3. Frugal living means always looking for alternatives. You might have just as much fun taking a discount trip to Mexico as you would going to Jamaica. Maybe you happen to enjoy pizza more than fine French dining. If so, why not skip the expensive restaurant and call Dominoes. This isn’t about sacrificing, but about getting even more of what you really enjoy by paying less for cheaper alternatives that work just as well.

4. Pay cash. What happens when everything you buy costs an additional 20% because of the interest you pay over the years? You can’t buy as much! Everything is cheaper when paid for in cash instead of credit. If you want that new patio set, divide the price by the number of weeks you can wait to get it. Set aside that much each week, and buy it for cash when you have the money. Not only do you save on interest, but you’ll often get a better price when you pay cash.

5. Learn to do the math. Did you really save $400 on that car if it costs you $500 more in gas each year? Did you know that some stores are cashing in on shopper’s assumptions that larger is cheaper? It’s true. That gallon of pickles might actually cost more than four quart jars. Make it a habit to do the math if you want to save money.

6. Tell people what you need. Mention it in conversations. Many people get free or cheap things, just because they talk. For example, a neighbor wanted to upgrade her living room debt, and was thrilled that I would take her three-month-old couch off her hands for $30. I sure am glad that I mentioned I was looking for one. You need to make this little trick a part of your frugal living habits.

About the Author – Steve Gillman has studied unusual ways to make money for thirty years. To learn more, visit his website, Unusual Ways To Make Money.

Save on Groceries

Unlike a fixed monthly cost such as your mortgage or car payment, the amount you spend on groceries each month is somewhat flexible. While the common advice of clipping coupons and buying generic brands to save money while shopping is sound, by far the best way to truly keep your grocery shopping expenses under control is by understanding how grocery stores entice you to spend more than you really want. By fully understanding the ways grocery stores encourage you to spend, many of which you probably never even noticed before, you can combat their strategies and spend money only on the merchandise you really need.

Although a grocery store may appear to be simply a place to purchase food and other household necessities, in reality it’s a cutting edge example of “how to sell more than consumers really need.” Since you are the consumer, it’s important that you realize these sales tactics so that you walk into a grocery store to get only what you need while avoiding everything else that the grocery store wants to sell you. Here are some ways that grocery stores manipulate you into spending more than you had planned and some simple steps you can take to counter them:

Smell: One of the first things you’ll notice when you enter a grocery store is the mouth-watering smell. There is a specific reason why grocery stores smell of freshly baked goods, and also why the bakery is almost always found near the store entrance. The reason is that a bakery making bread and desserts gives off an enticing smell, and that smell is likely to make you hungry. The grocery store also knows that if you feel hungry while you shop, you are likely to spend more money – a lot more – than if you are not hungry.

A simple way that you can combat this is by going grocery shopping only after you have had a meal and are full. If timing doesn’t allow for you to do this, at least drink a couple of glasses of water before leaving to make you feel full before shopping. Shopping while you’re full makes it much easier to resist the great smelling temptations that the grocery store will flaunt in front of you.

Overall Store Layout: Did you ever notice that when you only need to buy a few staple items, you have to travel the entire grocery store floor in order to get them? While one might assume that the convenience of putting basic staple items in the same general area would make happier customers, grocery stores know that the longer that they can keep you in the store, the more money you are likely to spend. They also know that making you walk as far as they can inside the store will make it more likely that you’ll pick up impulse items. Stores are specifically designed in such a way as to make you spend as much time as possible inside them and walk the entire store floor to get the basic staples that everyone needs.

Although there is no way around going to the far corners of the store to get the groceries you need, you can avoid the trap of impulse purchases on the store floor by taking the time to make a list of the items you need and sticking to it when shopping. Getting into the habit of making a single trip once a week to take care of all your grocery shopping needs instead of several smaller trips throughout the week will also greatly reduce your time in the store and the chances that you’ll buy items you don’t really need.

Item Display Layout: Manufactures of brand named products pay hefty stocking fees to stores to have their merchandise placed on the shelves at adult eye level (and child eye level in the case of products aimed at children such as cereal). Manufactures are willing to pay these prices because they know that you are much more likely to purchase something that you can easily see as you are walking down the aisle than something you have to stop and search for. The result is that the products placed at eye level are usually the most expensive.

Before grabbing the first item you see, take a few seconds to look at the upper and lower shelves. Similar products are placed together and simply looking will often reveal the same product at a much better price.

“Sale” Merchandise: Grocery stores will advertise a certain number of items at rock bottom prices (called “loss leaders”) to get you to come to the store. While these can be genuine bargains, don’t get fooled into thinking that everything that has the words “sale” or “bargain” above it is really that. While aisle ends are reserved for these “bargains,” they aren’t always the deals they seem to be and the discounted products are often displayed along side higher price products. You can sometimes even find similar products in the regular aisle section that are less than the end of aisle “sale” merchandise.

The important thing to remember when grocery shopping is to focus on the price of the product and not all the fancy advertising and slogans promoting the product. Take the time to check the other brands and see if there is a better deal. Also, remember that if you weren’t planning to buy the item and you don’t really need it, then it really isn’t a bargain for you no matter what the price. Only consider those items that you regularly use and you have a need for.

Product Appearance: Product packaging at grocery stores is bright, usually in red and yellows since these colors attract the eye. Just because something grabs your attention, however, doesn’t mean that you have to buy it. Keep focused on your shopping list and don’t get distracted by products you don’t really need.

Packaging will also be much larger than the actual product for many food items. Manufacturers know that shoppers assume that larger sized packaging equals a better deal. It would make sense since bulking items together saves the manufacturer on packaging, shipping and stocking which they can pass along to you. With a mantra “buy in bulk” now firmly grounded in most people’s minds as a way to save money, manufacturers are taking advantage of this. While still not the norm, more and more larger sized packages are less of a deal than their smaller sized counterparts since manufacturers know you will make the above assumptions and probably not compare the per unit cost.

Before grabbing the largest box of a product, take the time to calculate the per unit or per weight cost. More often than you would expect, smaller packages of an item are actually a better deal than buying the same item in a larger package.

Check-Out Layout: The check out aisle of a store is like a mini mart in itself. This is because grocery stores know that they have a captive audience while you wait in line to pay for your groceries. They squeeze in every little thing that might remotely peak your interest to rack up a large amount on impulse sales.

The best way to avoid these temptations to is plan your shopping during off peak hours. Avoid the weekend if at all possible since this is when grocery stores are most crowded, as well as the evening when everyone has just gotten off work. With many grocery stores now staying open 24 hours a day, late night and early morning trips when the aisle and check out lanes are practically bare are the perfect time to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible.

By taking the time to understand how the grocery stores try to influence your shopping and spending habits, you have now put yourself in control. Utilize the suggestions about how to counter the grocery store’s selling techniques and you will be able to control your grocery spending to a much greater extent and should have a much easier time keeping to your monthly food budget.

Jeffrey Strain has published hundreds of money saving articles and is the co-owner of http://www.savingadvice.com – a website dedicated to saving you money.

Help in the Laundry Room – 10 Frugal Tips!

Finding bargains on clothing is one of the primary goals of frugal living.

But, making that clothing last and look good for as long as possible is sometimes a real challenge, given today’s high prices on laundry products.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your clothes looking their best without spending a fortune!

1. Buy good quality. If you are buying new clothing, it is especially important to get the best quality you can afford. Poor quality garments just won’t last no matter how carefully you care for them.

2. Wash as directed on the label. If it says wash in cold water, then be sure you do. One sure way to ruin an article of clothing is to use an improper cleaning method.

3. Wash everything you can in cold water. Most experts say clothes get just as clean in cold water as in warm or hot. For sure, there will be less shrinkage. And if there’s a stain you didn’t see and pre-treat, it won’t be set in by hot water and maybe you can still get it out!

4. Always rinse in cold water; hot water sets wrinkles.

5. Turn T-shirts and sweatshirts inside out before washing. This will cut down on the “pilling” on the fabric caused by the clothes rubbing together during the wash cycle.

6. Hang those T-shirts and sweatshirts to dry instead of throwing them in the dryer. The decals or printing on the front and back will stay looking nice much longer.

7. In fact, hang dry everything you can. Especially if it’s 100% cotton. Heat sets wrinkles and shrinks cotton. Smooth the garments out as you hang them, whether you’re hanging them directly on a hanger or on the clothesline outdoors.

8. If you accidentally leave a load of clothes in your washer overnight and they have that sour smell, just add about 1/2 cup white vinegar and run through a rinse cycle. They’ll smell sweet again!

9. Here’s a recipe for homemade pre-treatment: mix equal parts of water, ammonia ( maybe lemon-scented), Wisk and water. Put in a spray bottle and keep it handy in your laundry room. Spray on spots just like you would the expensive kind!

10. Instead of buying an expensive specialty product for your fine washables – try using a small amount of baby shampoo. Works just as good!

But, of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important!

Cyndi Roberts’ website, “1 Frugal Friend 2 Another” will show you ways to save money everyday. Receive a free e-course on saving money at the supermarket! To learn more, visit
http://www.cynroberts.com