Money Saving Ideas
1) Cancel Subscriptions and Contracts (even if you want to keep the service). Look at all your monthly subscriptions and determine which ones are absolutely essential, then cancel all the rest. Even if you plan on keeping the service, call and tell them you want to cancel. Once they realize they are about to lose your business they will come up all sorts of discounts. This strategy works best when your contract is either expired or getting close to expiring. I did this with our cable provider in three consecutive months and eventually cut my bill by about 40% (I eventually cancelled once our contract was up but I saved money until then).
2) Call Customer Service to Complain. Even if you are overall satisfied with the service, call and complain when anything goes wrong and request refunds, discounts or deals. The service provider will sometimes wave fees or other expenses to keep customers happy. I’ve received entire months worth of fees waived just by calling and complaining. The most effective way that I’ve found is to first make the customer service representative connect with you as a person. It takes little effort to be personable and courteous. Once you establish rapport with them be specific on how the incidents of faulty service have negatively impacted your life. You will be surprised on how some people will go out of their way to take care of you.
3) Make Shopping Lists. Before going to a store make a shopping list and stick to it. Go directly to that item, pick it up, then go straight to the next item. Try your best to have tunnel vision as you go from item to item. Do not browse or look for other deals, just get what is on your list then go to the checkout. For more tips on saving money on groceries see our article on Grocery Saving Tips.
4) Shop When You are in a Hurry. If you are on a time crunch you are less likely to wander the isles and pickup extra items not on your list. If you are in a hurry you are more likely to stick to your list without adding a lot of extra items.
5) Buy in Bulk. You will save money if you buy in bulk. Even if the food is perishable, you can store excess in ziplock bags or spare containers and freeze them. Buying in bulk will also save you gas by having to make less trips to the store. Don’t buy bulk unless you will be able to use the product before it goes bad.
6) See Little Expenses in the Big Picture. If you buy a $4.00 latte every morning before work, it is easy to justify such a small expense. If you calculate the yearly cost of a $4.00 latte before work ($4 x 5 work days x 52 weeks) you are actually spending $1,040. Use this principle for all the little snacks and treats you purchase daily. Look at how much they cost you everyday then calculate that into a yearly expense. If you see your latte as a $1,000+ habit instead of a $4.00 one it will be easier to cut those small expenses.
7) Synergize Gifts for Children. During Christmas and Birthdays coordinate gifts with grandparents and other relatives. Let the kids give you their “wish lists” then let the parents, grandparents, extended families, and other siblings chose which items they will give as gifts. You will spend less money during the holidays and birthdays but your kids will get more of what they want. This will make it better for everyone.
8) Set Limits for Holidays/Birthdays. We give each of our kids three presents on Christmas. Doing this not only saves money but this also helps illustrate the spirit of Christmas as well. Jesus got three presents (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) so we tell our kids that they get three presents just like He did. Do you still have or even remember what you got for every Christmas/birthday as a kid? Neither will they so don’t spend a lot of money on stuff that your kids won’t keep or remember. Your kids will appreciate the holidays more by spending time together and having traditions, not by giving them toys they will break by the end of the day.
For birthdays we give our kids the choice of having a party or presents from us but not both. When they choose to have a party we give them something small but they end up getting more presents from their friends than they would from us.
9) Don’t Spend a Lot of Money on Entertainment or “Things” for Your Children. When I was overseas with the Army I would send a gift home to my son on a regular basis to let him know that I was always thinking of him and boost his spirit during difficult times. I am a cheap person and I can’t tell you how disheartening it was to watch my son open a gift then throw the toy to the side, only to play with the box or pop the bubble wrap. Other times I would let him get a toy at the store only for him to lose interest in it before we get home. He will then find a stick on the way to the front door and play with that for hours. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on your kids to show them love. Many people think love is shown by “spending money” when it is actually show by “spending time.” Spending time instead of money will make your kids much happier on the long-term. Click here for ideas on free (or almost free) activities.
10) Factor Gas Prices Into Everything. Always be on the lookout for deals but keep a holistic approach to saving money. Don’t drive to the next town over because their bread is $0.50 cheaper. You are actually spending more money when you factor in gas and time. If that store is cheaper on everything then go there when you can combine it with other things you have to do in that area. Also, go to stores with lower average prices on everything. That store with the cheaper bread may only be selling it for less to get you in their store so they can charge more for everything else. You can also check out our article on Gas Saving Tips.
11) Cook a Little Extra at Dinnertime. Why will cooking extra save you money? There are several ways and I will list some of them. 1) The first is by packing the leftovers for lunch the next day. If I do not pack a lunch then I usually spend at least $7.00 to buy a lunch. If I use the same formula for Tip #8 then that adds up. 2) People are going to snack during the day, might as well be on leftovers. It is cheaper for them to snack on leftovers than individually packaged junk food. They may complain at first but as they get hungrier, the leftovers will get more appealing. 3) If your life is busy you won’t always have time to cook. If you have food that just needs to be heated up it will save you from going through the drive-thru.
12) Make a Budget. A budget is essential regardless of how much money you make. You cannot maximize your savings unless you adhere to a budget. Our click here for our article on budgeting.
13) Work Toward a Goal. Set a goal on why you are saving money; whether it be a home, education, specific amount in savings, vacation, etc. If you are working towards a specific goal it will be mentally and emotionally easier to decide to cut back. When faced with cutting back, compare the short term benefit of spending the money with the long-term goal you have. Often it will be easier to save the money instead of spending it when you have a specific target in mind.
If you have anything else you would like to include this in the comments section.