10 Ways I Save Money EVERY Month

10 Ways I Save Money EVERY Month

It seems that every time I turn on the TV or pick up a magazine, someone is talking about “ways to save” or “to cut back”. Most of them are great advice – but, call me weird, I hate paying more for anything than I have to pay. So I’ve been doing it for quite awhile. It’s easy to trim our budget because it’s always been slim!

It’s also the way I run my business, I don’t invoice for anything unless I’d pay it myself, and I don’t want my clients to pay any more than they have to pay. It’s the way I sleep soundly at night.

So, how do I save money? Here’s some of the things that I do regularly and you can easily do. None are scary or “difficult” so get started!

  1. Mindset: A lot of these ideas start with “thinking differently”. Much like the discipline of losing weight; spending less starts with the dedication of “deciding” to spend less. Often, your budget helps with your resolve; much like health issues do for diet dedication.
  2. Telephone: We use Vonage. We pay only $24.99/month for unlimited calling, all the features and unlimited long distance. If you tell them I referred you (either me personally or PinPoint Creative Group — 336-765-3800) you’ll get 2 Months free (and I will too!). Contact me if you have any questions. We love it!
  3. Cable TV: This is a bit tricky. If you want sports continuously; perhaps this isn’t for you. But we pay about $8/month for basic cable. We watch TV shows on Hulu, iTunes or the network websites. The average U.S. cable bill is $60/month. Consider the $600 you’ll save by doing this, and what you’ll get done without TV on all the time. Or bundle your cable, internet and phone. At home we’re considering dropping phone service since we all have cell phones.
  4. Eating Out: Try to brown bag-it (but I do miserable with this). Instead, I live by 2 simple rules: A) Don’t order soda at lunch. Water helps with digestion better any way. B) I rarely pay more than $5 for a lunch meal (unless I’m entertaining). My favorite right now is the McDouble (I request no cheese) and a small salad for $2.00. Or the Hamburger happy meal with Apples instead of fries for around $3.  Or a grocery store rotisserie chicken and it lasts for 3 days. I eat baked chips or a side salad with it. This is about $3/day too. Save $4/day (soda, and eating less) and in a year you save over $1000!
  5. Pay Cash: use this to negotiate a better rate. I just saved about half the cost of a doctor’s bill by doing this. It’s always worth asking. And stops my dependence on credit.
  6. Insurance: We have a $1000 emergency fund that allows us to reduce our monthly payments by raising our deductibles to $1000. I renegotiate insurance rates every year before they come due. Also, buy term insurance — it’s all you need and it costs less.
  7. Tithing: I throw this in, because when we decided to give 10% to our church, it was the way we started having more money. It sounds like an oxymoron, but God’s principles always work.
  8. Sell it: We all have things we stop using or wearing. The moment you realize it, get rid of it (its value drops everyday you wait)! You don’t need all your stuff — and there are lots of places to get an audience to buy it. Computers and electronics – Ebay or Craigslist; Seasonal Clothes – a local Consignment shop.
  9. Travel: There are lots of places to find the lowest price. I use Travelocity or Expedia (to find out what current prices are), then I switch over to Kayak. I check what the lowest prices for the trips are (ANYTIME in the next few months) and jump over to priceline or hotwire and bid the lower price that I know the airline takes at another time of the year. I usually get it. I also rarely ever stay at a conference hotel — if I walk an extra block I save enough to pay for my meals for the conference.
  10. Gas: We use Costco for gas. The savings aren’t huge but the savings pay for my oil changes.

When I started this, I wondered if I could come up with 10 ways and now I realize I have lots more… but I’ll save them for a future post. More importantly, what are the ways YOU save money?

  • On facebook, someone added:

    Kelly Stacks at 1:20pm March 16
    I quit putting everything on my check card for groceries and eating out. Only pay cash with what we budgeted for weekly.
    This cut our budget by $150 the first month.

    March 16, 2009 at 2:02 pm
  • I bought a pair of hair clippers 6 years ago and haven’t paid for a haircut since then, don’t say it. “I can tell.” Haha We have essentially stopped going out to eat and we do not buy something unless we really need it. Over the past two years we have been able to save an extra $15,000 per year by simply cutting back.

    March 16, 2009 at 2:54 pm
  • Don’t go shopping. It was recommended to me by my grandmother last year. A truly innovative solution to curb spending! She says, “If you go to the mall, you’ll find things that you never knew you always wanted or needed!” The mall was an easy thing for me to leave. Now, Target? Well, I’m still working on that one!

    March 16, 2009 at 4:20 pm
  • Great stuff! I stopped looking at the flyers in the Sunday newspaper. I always found stuff that I didn’t know I needed!

    Also, for our kids, we won’t allow impulse buying. If they see something that they want, they must pay with cash (no borrowing from us until they get home) — or wait a few weeks from the time they see the ad. Often their desires “go away”… but it gives us great ideas for gifts (from the relatives).

    March 16, 2009 at 4:28 pm
  • We bought the kind of coffeemaker that fills two travel mugs, and we buy a nice quality coffee on sale – saves lots of money over stopping at the coffee shop.

    And we’re trying our hand at buying a $100 Visa gift card for dining/entertainment, and when it’s used up, we’re done for the month. So far so good…

    March 16, 2009 at 4:53 pm
  • Coffee can sure add up. Is there much of a service fee on the Visa card? I wish it was free… but according to statistics, putting things on a credit card adds 20-30% more (because we don’t feel the pain of paying out of our pockets!)

    March 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm
  • Another from Facebook:

    Gena Piper at 4:10pm March 16
    I spend less when I grocery shop alone. Whenever Bryan or Ashley shop with me, we buy more ‘junk’ and spend more cash than intended.

    March 16, 2009 at 5:25 pm
  • Mark MacDonald

    From Facebook:

    Carol Brown Giddings at 6:18pm March 16
    I save all my change, doesn’t seem like much but that would include twoonies and loonies (editor: dollar and 2 dollar coins in Canada). It adds up very quickly, and I use it to pay for lessons for the kids, sports, vacations, school trips, etc.

    March 16, 2009 at 8:32 pm
  • Tammy

    I create a “big” shopping with a budget in mind at the beginning of every month (I get paid once a month) and that covers everything we should need for the month. (food, toiletry, diapers, cleaning supplies, etc) We then have a set amount for going out, grocery, lunch every week. Some weeks are better than others.. but without a goal you have nothing to aim for.
    Also.. if there is something we want to do.. we have to trade. Example… I really wanted to take a certain scrap-booking class… but I had to give up something else.. so I decided to color my hair at home for a few months to save the money to take the class….
    It is all a mind set….
    and almost 8 mo later of no credit card use….. it can be done!!!

    March 16, 2009 at 10:12 pm
  • It must be hard to budget for a whole month at once! Or the last week of the month is VERY slim pickings!

    Congratulations on the NO CREDIT CARD use! The world would be a better place without them — and to think the first card was the Diner’s Club card in the 1950’s — then the 1970’s introduced the “other” cards with the magnetic stripe on the back. 40 years later, the world is addicted to them.

    March 17, 2009 at 8:42 am