10 ways to save money
These are 10 ways to save money that I personally use, I hope one or more are helpful to you and your situation!
1. Excessive Utility Bills: Keep your A/C and heater tuned and cleaned, change your filters regularly and invest in thermal curtains to help cut costs.
2. Hair Cuts: We have little boys that are adorable with short hair. We purchased clippers, and cut their hair (and Nick’s) at home to avoid hair cut fees for four of the five people in our house!
3. Unnecessary Car Repairs: We are thankful to have cars, and take proactive steps with preventative maintenance to avoid these. Get regular oil changes, tune ups, tire rotations, brake services, transmission services, etc to keep things running well, and prevent engine, brake, transmission damage, etc.
4. Late Fees: Set up auto payment or when you get your bill in the mail, log on to the company website and set up a future payment for the due date so you can avoid these fees! You no longer need to buy a stamp, mail the payment, and hope it gets to the destination before the appointed hour on the due date and risk a late fee!
5. Bank Fees: There are ways to avoid monthly service fees at most banks. They may not be convenient, but it is possible. Sometimes though, it may be worth the fee to you to gain access to additional services. My husband has an account that is free with Direct Deposit via his employer. It has extras and features associated with it. For me, I use the e-account with just the basics for free. I do all of my banking online, at the ATM, or with a debit card. It costs extra to visit a teller, but I rarely if ever do that, so it works out for me.
6. Refinance loans: I have a friend that just bought their house 5 years ago. Rates are lower now, and after hearing me talk about how much we saved, she looked into it. She got a great rate, and they decided to keep their payment amount the same and reduce the number of payments they owed. They originally had a 30 year mortgage with 25 years left. With the reduced rate, they are paying the same amount, but it will be paid off in just 18 years, they shaved 7 years off their mortgage payments! Some might need lower payments and keep the 25 years, but just make sure the savings make up for the closing costs associated with your refi!
7. Eating Out and Convenience Foods: Everyone can save money by shopping at the grocery store and cooking meals at home. Compare the prices and sizes of the brands you use. Normally, if you buy a larger size, it’s less expensive, but not always. Avoid single serving packages. Buy in bulk, open the packages and break them down into smaller serving sizes when you got home. They’re easy to grab and you’ll save money with very little effort. If you work all day and have activities at night, make use of your slow cooker, and you can come home to a meal that is hot and ready to go!
8. Examine your bills: We recently noticed our cable bill was higher than normal. Upon examination, we saw that we were charged a fee in error. I called and had that $50 refunded. While on the company website, I noticed that new customers were getting a much better rate than ours, even after the introductory rate. I asked for a price reduction, and got it. It costs companies more to bring in new customers than retain current ones, so it’s in their best interest to keep your business. I’ve done this with our insurance, cell phones, and credit cards (when we had them). The worst thing they can say is no, so be sure to check regularly what the going rate is and keep yours as low as possible.
9. Plan your route: With gas prices so high, it helps to make a list and know what errands you need to run while your out. It also serves as a reminder so you don’t forget anything. We have a toll road next to our neighborhood. If I am going across town, it is less expensive for me to pay $1.15 for the toll than to drive the maze across town in traffic to get there, and it saves time. I keep a cooler in the trunk for hot days so refrigerated/frozen items stay cool. I start at my furthest errand, and work my way back towards home. I also know that once a week we have an appointment over there, so I try to plan all my errands in that part of town for that day of the week so I don’t have to keep driving all that way multiple times.
10. Use the items that you buy and get organized: When I buy fruits and veggies, I have found that if I don’t clean, prep, and keep them front and center, they’ll go bad before they get eaten. So, I take the few minutes to get them ready to eat, and place them at eye level for the kids. They WILL eat them if they see them. I also do this with shampoo, lotion, etc. Maybe I don’ t “love” the scent, but if I’m not allergic to it, I just use it anyway until it’s gone. If you’re allergic, that’s a different issue, and it needs to go – perhaps give it to a friend. Before I got the cabinets organized, I’d find myself buying things that didn’t need to be replaced. Now that it’s organized, I’ve trained the family to add items to the shopping list if they open the last bottle of something. I don’t have a huge stockpile, but I do keep 3-4 of most things we use daily in the cabinets when I get them on sale with a coupon. If we run short, I’ll grab a small bottle, and increase the amount I buy during the next sale. Learning what is a reasonable amount to “stockpile” for your family and your specific needs is a trial and error method.