Saving money: Tips and Tricks
How about a thread where people post their money saving ideas - What they have done or do...
Try to put it in more detail than just do "x", if you can. Quantifying results help, but I realize that we all don't do it. I've figured out how much I've saved by doing a few things, but have long forgotten.
Some ideas are obvious, but even the most obvious get overlooked. And just because you "know it", doesn't me we also do it.
I'll start with two things I currently do in the next post.
1. No home phone.
The reality is, most of us have cellular phones and there is very little to no need for a home phone. By cancelling your home phone you can save ~ $40 to $50 a month in some cases.
If you MUST have a home phone (like in my case, I have one for my alarm system), cancel everything and just keep the basics. I do not have caller id, call forwarding/waiting, or even long distance. I can only call toll free numbers and local people. People can call in, but I can't really call out. I use my cellular phone for that. This saves me $20 to $30 a month by cancelling everything I do not use. That's $360 a year in savings and that's probably on the low end of figuring out how much I save.
2. Program your heat
This is one of those more obvious ones that most people forget about. For those of us in the great white north, winters are cold. But I'm also not home for much of the day. I've set the programming to warm up the house when we get up, and when we come home. And then is tapers off, so the house cools as it's time for bed. I've also set the temperature a bit lower in general when we're home. Not too cold, but I'm not hanging out in shorts either.
I'm fully utilizing the programming aspect of my heat this year and so far have saved $200 in heating costs (and that's with the cost of heating oil having gone up!)
Credit cards with cash back. I have the capital one card: Cash Rewards for Newcomers | Details
I pay a yearly fee, but it pays for itself. I get 2% cash back to go towards any travel related expenses (1% to whatever else). So the 2% pays for my hotels, rental cars, flights.
Works out real well for me. I use my card for general purchases, pay it off every month (this is key folks... keep track of your purchases and cash, and don't go negative). And I get my hotel rooms for free when I go to EMR.
Just checked my rewards balance, and I have $209 to go towards travel or hotel right now. I think they only charge me $35 to have that ability. Yeah, it pays for itself.
Again, the true key to making this work is to let the credit card work FOR you, not against you. You can't make flippant purchases. Have an allowance, and never spend more than what you have put aside to pay off the card.
Play stock class, and buy a new marker every few months on the paint savings. It's how I afford to play at all. :D
The biggest thing I can say is learn to cook. If you've got a spare hour a day, you can save yourself hundreds a month by learning to cook and buying inexpensive fresh veggies and staple foods like beans and pasta in bulk instead of buying pre-packaged crap and fast food. For the price of ordering a pizza ($20), you could be eating ribeye steak with a baked potato, some roasted asparagus, and a salad and still come out ahead.
Quitting eating out all the time helps as well. Fast food especially is absurdly expensive for the crap quality of the food. To get an idea how bad, keep your receipts from fast food trips for a month, and add it up at the end. Most don't realize how easily you can blow through money this way.
2. Quit drinking soda. Cold turkey, get the **** rid of it. The price has doubled here in the last decade, and after a couple weeks you don't miss it nearly as much as you like not spending $5 a 12-pack every few days. If you're dying for something sweet, Kool-Aid is a hell of a lot cheaper.
Don't toss recyclables out it's the easiest money you can make !!
Think before you buy.
I know many people who constantly buy 'stuff', and argue that it was 'cheap' and 'neat' or 'looked useful', but they are sinking huge sums of cash into what amounts to delayed landfill contents. The cheap junk breaks, gets tossed in the trash, and then the cycle continues as they find something to replace it with.
Learning to fix things properly can go a long way over time. You're not constantly replacing things, nor are you stuck having to hire someone to come in and fix every little thing around your house. (One of my classmates was upset one time as he was going to have to pay a handyman $100 to fix a loose door knob in the house he and his wife bought... I fixed it with my multitool from my back pack. He was not impressed when I asked for my $80...)
But the key is Properly. Don't half *** it with household repairs. If you're not sure you're doing it right then get online and start studying, and find someone who actually knows that can help. One of my former employers lost several hundred thousand in electronics because their landlord 'fixed' a plumbing issue himself to save a few bucks.
Ive saved a TON of money on my auto insurance... by fleeing the scene of several at fault auto accidents..
Use a health or flexible spending account from your state or employer. This is pre-tax money set aside to pay for medical expenses. I also use a dependant care program to pay for my sons child care with pre-tax money. I also use it pay for contacts and related expenses for both my wife and myself.
stay out of the bst
Keep track of your change. I know it doesn't save you a huge sum of money but it adds up. In the course of a month I had around $10 in change that I would put in a jar I had lying around.
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