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Tips to Save Money

save money tips

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#1
GoldenEagle

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Here’s some personal experience on great ways to save an extra buck. I'd love to hear your tips! I hope you enjoy!

1) Car Insurance

1a) If you haven’t quoted your car insurance in over six months to a year it may be time to do so. People can often save $200-600 by switching companies. These savings can be greater if you have home insurance/ life insurance bundled. We switched from Farmers to Progressive and cut our car insurance by half! Also we get a discount by paying 6 months up front.

2) Save money on gas

You can do 2 things easily:

2a) Buy a Wal-Mart Gift Card and use it at the pump. (NOTE: Must be disciplined not to buy anything else.) I did this and saved 10 cents per gallon last week.

2b) Use Credit Card rewards. This is a bit tricky but doable as long as you pay off your bill every month. Otherwise you are paying 15% interest or more in most cases. You can earn up to 5% (about once a year Discover offers 5% rewards for 1-4 months. Also on groceries, travel, etc. I used this accumulation of rewards this year to buy my wife a $50 gift card which I used only $40 worth of Discover reward points) on rewards offered by various companies. I know CitiBank and others offer similar rewards programs with cash back. This assumes you are responsible with your spending habits, pay the bill off every month, and have a decent credit score to qualify for the card.

3) Cell Phones/Landline

3a) Are you using up all your minutes? Do you have 4000 rollover minutes? Do you need unlimited data or can you do with 200 texts? Is your contract about to expire? You can usually transfer a number to another cell phone provider for free. Time to see what the competition has to offer?

3b) Do you really, really need your landline? We got rid of ours. We were paying $70 a month on phone/internet. We got rid of those 2 services and signed up for less than half the cost for just internet through a promotion for a year. Update: The promo ran out. I called and threatened to discontinue my service and was given a 6 month 50% off discount. (Note: We also have plenty of rollover minutes on our cell phone plan.)

3c) Check out alternatives to a landline or even cell phone. You can get Skype via your computer and actually see the other person. All for free! MagicJack is a landline hooked up to your computer using your internet connection. MagicJack is only $30 a year I believe. There is also MagicJack phone service that plugs into your telephone line now. You can get a local number and use it as much as you’d like!

4) Go Out to Eat or Make it Yourself?

4a) We realized that going out to eat once a week is a lot more special. We also save a lot of money this way. Currently I bring my meals from home to work. I brown bag it, eat leftovers, or bring a frozen meal. (An occasional meal out is not bad though for variety.)

4b) Of course now I’m married so life is even better! I make some mean egg/omelets and of course my wife is a fantastic cook! We save a ton by eating in.

4c) However, if you do go eat out check these three websites:

restaurant.com sells $25 restaurant gift cards for $2 to $10 to thousands of restaurants around the country. These are great gifts as well!
On groupon.com you can get discounts on a variety of things. We have gotten Groupons for 50% off or more at local restaurants. In fact restaurants are just one thing you can get discounts on. I’ve found massage offers, jet ski offers, family photo shoots, and more!
EntertainmentBook.com sells restaurants, shopping, attractions, and travel booklets for discounts!

5) Clip Coupons

5a) Last month I saved $25 on groceries and I’m not even that serious about it. Buy the Sunday paper! It is easy to save upwards of $50 a month if you enjoy it. Sometimes things can be bought for pennies or even free!

6) Groceries

6a) Write a list before you go shopping – and stick to it. There are people hired just to make sure the milk and eggs are in a section of the store… Or that you will have to go from groceries in the middle of all these clothes to get to your home goods or toiletries.

6b) Never shop while hungry! Don’t fall for it! Also don’t buy things at the checkout aisle. They are marked up usually and are impulse buys.

6c) Buy in bulk at wholesale box stores such as Sam’s Club or Costco. If buying in bulk for a smaller family or even singles makes wholesale unaffordable then get a shopping buddy! You can split the cost and the product with your buying buddy. Or even split the cost of membership! I do this with a relative. You are allowed two membership cards per account.

6d) Make a comparison shopping list. I made an excel version of this and compared basic items we buy every week. Basically compare your major stores for the items you buy over about a two month period.

You might be surprised to know that where you think is the best prices may not be. Walmart for example in our area is usually more expensive in many every day grocery items than Kroger or even Target. If you don’t mind generic, store brands Aldi’s is a great option as well on a variety of items.

You can also see the local adds online and shop before you go to the store.

7) Drink More Water

7a) Water is not only incredibly healthier for you but will also help with the waistline. Soft drinks, juice, energy drinks, coffee, and such are fun but they don’t usually help your pocket book.

7b) Give up your Coke or Starbucks for a week and see how much you could save. Try it for a month or a year. Dave Ramsey talks about cutting back on smoking, Starbucks, etc. and putting the money instead in a mutual fund.

8) Shop Right After the Holidays

8a) Yes Black Friday is fantastic. If you can get up early enough that is and stand the lines. I’ve done it for the last 6 or 7 years. However, often the same deals are available online or are still on sale after the big day. Great time for good deals on appliances and electronics! Also keep in mind there are some great sales after Christmas. Save up your money throughout the year and buy on Holidays or the day after.

9) Save Energy

9a) Turn off the lights when you leave your home! Don’t leave lights on throughout the night unnecessarily. Replace your standard light bulbs with HE (high efficiency) bulbs. Turn down your thermostat when your away from home. Only run your dishwasher when it is full.

10) Keep an Idea Book in your pocket

10a) It is easy to waste time and money because we forget the ideas in our head. Also, making random to do lists that disappear makes it difficult to track tasks. One idea my Dad always gave me was to buy an agenda and keep tabs on tasks. Another idea is to use your smart phone to keep track of things. Whatever works for you.

10b) Instead of using my memory I have a little book I put ideas down. I’ve used this for the past few months and seem to be a lot more productive. {edit now I use my iPhone]


#2
udx

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Tax refunds is a big way to 'save' money.

#3
GoldenEagle

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Tax refunds is a big way to 'save' money.


I'm not a big fan of giving the government my money for free for 1-12 months and then getting it back with no interest. But I hear you it is nice to have that big check around February or March.

#4
GoldenEagle

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Tips continued...

11) Get RID of your Cable/Satellite Bill

11a) Yes, you pay too much for TV. I have friends and family that pay $140 a month for HDTV services. Try switching and getting promo's from your current providers competitors. In the summer especially guys get rid of your bill please. The only sports worth watching in the summer is baseball which many local games are televised on free TV. The news is too depressing and sitcoms are a bit of a waste of time. Try it at least for a couple of months to see how much you can save. If there is some final or championship game that is vital to watch try a local sports bar or watch it at a friends/family's place.

12) Be Smart With Your Movie Rentals

12a) Netflix.com (yes, the rates went up to $8 a month for 1 movie and $8 a month for streaming but this is still the best deal out there.) and we watch movies on occasion.

12b) If the need arises we can always get a movie at your local Redbox or Redbox.com. DVD movie rentals are about $1.00 or $1.20 so a night. It is only $1.50 for Bluray DVD’s. Also, come to find out if you sign up for the Redbox texts you get a free rental every week or two sent to your phone! We get to watch a movie for free at least 1-2 times per month!

12c) Hulu.com is also a great option. Or if you sign up for Amazon Prime they also offer free streaming content.

12d) The local library has movie rentals for free! In our area you can check out 10 movies a week. Or your local church library might have a good family selection as well.

13) Buy a Deep Freezer

13a) After the initial investment this can be a great bargain. Buy all sorts of foods in bulk and store them. You can even store meals in advance.

14) Plan a Budget and Stick to it!

14a) Plan a budget. Spend all your income in your budget. Plan for tithing, saving, bills, and then for fun stuff. If you don’t have it don’t spend it!

15) Have an Emergency Fund

15a) My Dad always told me to “Save for a rainy day.” Well around where I live it rains at least a few times a year. The best thing to do is to have an umbrella on hand. An umbrella in finances is like an emergency fund. A good goal is to save up an emergency fund. This is not that hard once you get it going.

15b) If you make less than 24 thousand a year start with a goal of $500. If you make over 24 thousand a year your goal should be initially $1000 in your emergency fund. Emergencies always will happen. The frig will need to be replaced. The car will break down. The kids will need to go to the doctor. Credit cards are not a way to pay for an emergency! Be prepared ahead of time!

#5
MorningGlory

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Wow! I REALLY love tips on saving money, G.E. Thanks for posting these! :mgbowtie:

#6
udx

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Tax refunds is a big way to 'save' money.


I'm not a big fan of giving the government my money for free for 1-12 months and then getting it back with no interest. But I hear you it is nice to have that big check around February or March.


It is not like people have a choice in the matter. The government get first dips on my paycheck before I even see it.

#7
Fez

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There are ways to make tax "pay" for you here.

One example is a thing called "Income protection".

How it works is, say I know that my tax bill at the end of the year will be $1000, and that is what i have to pay to the revenue service.

I can take out an income protection insurance for $90 a month (don't know $ comparisons to our currency, just using figures as an example). If I can't work for any reason like illness, accident, etc, the insurance pays out my monthly income for 10 years.

The $90 a month is tax deductible, so although I am still $1000 or so out of pocket at the end of the year, the money does not go to the tax man, it goes to insurance and I don't get the $1000 whack at the end of the tax year.

I have a good financial adviser, who is a friend, and stuff like this is legal here, and declared on my tax return.

#8
GoldenEagle

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Wow! I REALLY love tips on saving money, G.E. Thanks for posting these! :mgbowtie:


Sure! I know try them out. Well there are about 35 and I keep adding to the list. Started it back this summer. Didn't think anyone would read all 35 so decided to provide "baby steps." Glad you enjoy them!

Stay tuned for more!

#9
GoldenEagle

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16) Pay Off Debt

16a) Save money by not paying interest on products and by becoming debt free. Make a list of all your debts. Pay off your smallest debt first. Pay the minimum payments on the rest. Then apply that payment to the next lowest. Keep doing this until all your debt is paid! This is called a debt snowball strategy.

16b) Be intentional

I know of a friend of ours who paid off $15,000 in just 4 months. He and his wife spent about five or six months working their tails off. They sold some things. He got extra jobs and they pinched the pennies. The result is they were debt free! Dave Ramsey often says “You have to live like no one else (now), so that you can live like no one else (in the future).” It’s all about changing your mindset.

16c) Spend less than you earn! If you have two incomes try to live off of one. If you make $3000 a month don’t spend $4000. The three biggest stresses in marriage are money, sex, and in-laws. Having an emergency fund setup and paying off your debt will eliminate stress. Save money, tithe, give, and have money left over for fun stuff.

17) Buy a Used Car

17a) The value of vehicles depreciate (20-50%) the greatest during the first two years of ownership. Let someone else take the hit and buy a used vehicle. Always get the Carfax report for any vehicle you buy.

18) Go Out to the Movie Theatre for Matinees/Weekdays & Don’t Get Snacks.

18a) A Matinee can be anywhere from half the price or a couple bucks off the regular price. Avoid 3D (except on a rare occasion) especially for prime time. 2D is still great. Also always take your student ID for a student discount for movies during the week.

18b) Eat a good meal before you go to the movies and don’t buy any concessions. You will save a ton!

#10
udx

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16) Pay Off Debt

16a) Save money by not paying interest on products and by becoming debt free. Make a list of all your debts. Pay off your smallest debt first. Pay the minimum payments on the rest. Then apply that payment to the next lowest. Keep doing this until all your debt is paid! This is called a debt snowball strategy.



That is not the best way to pay off debt. You should pay off the debt with the highest rates first, not the one with the smallest balance.

#11
GoldenEagle

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16) Pay Off Debt

16a) Save money by not paying interest on products and by becoming debt free. Make a list of all your debts. Pay off your smallest debt first. Pay the minimum payments on the rest. Then apply that payment to the next lowest. Keep doing this until all your debt is paid! This is called a debt snowball strategy.



That is not the best way to pay off debt. You should pay off the debt with the highest rates first, not the one with the smallest balance.


Actually I agree from a financial standpoint. However, paying off debt to many is an emotional decision. "I'm going to give up all these luxuries and unnecessary expenses to get out of debt and live debt free."

The debt snowball is not the best way to pay off debt if you are disciplined with money. However, most people who have debt are not disciplined with money. People who have debt look at money from an emotional perspective. They need to have small victories. The debt snowball strategy allows people to build momentum in getting rid of their debt.

I take it you're not a fan of Dave Ramsey?

See: http://www.worthychr...et-out-of-debt/

5. Choose: E) How are you going to get out of debt?

– Lowest balance (Debt snowball) or highest interest.

If the debt snowball…

a. Create a list of all of your debts: credit cards, car loans, student loans, mortgages, etc…
b. Next to each one write down the total balance owed.
c. Re-order these from smallest to largest debts (use Excel to make this simpler.)
d. Pay the minimum payment on all of the debts – except the smallest one.
e. Put every extra dollar you can find towards paying off that smallest debt.
f. Celebrate like crazy when you get that first debt paid off.
g. Take the amount you were paying towards the first debt and put towards the next smallest debt. Do this until this one is paid off.
h. Celebrate again!
i. Continue this process until each one is paid off.


Edited by GoldenEagle, 12 October 2012 - 10:25 PM.


#12
udx

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16) Pay Off Debt

16a) Save money by not paying interest on products and by becoming debt free. Make a list of all your debts. Pay off your smallest debt first. Pay the minimum payments on the rest. Then apply that payment to the next lowest. Keep doing this until all your debt is paid! This is called a debt snowball strategy.



That is not the best way to pay off debt. You should pay off the debt with the highest rates first, not the one with the smallest balance.


Actually I agree from a financial standpoint. However, paying off debt to many is an emotional decision. "I'm going to give up all these luxuries and unnecessary expenses to get out of debt and live debt free."

The debt snowball is not the best way to pay off debt if you are disciplined with money. However, most people who have debt are not disciplined with money. People who have debt look at money from an emotional perspective. They need to have small victories. The debt snowball strategy allows people to build momentum in getting rid of their debt.

I take it you're not a fan of Dave Ramsey?

See: http://www.worthychr...et-out-of-debt/

5. Choose: E) How are you going to get out of debt?

– Lowest balance (Debt snowball) or highest interest.

If the debt snowball…

a. Create a list of all of your debts: credit cards, car loans, student loans, mortgages, etc…
b. Next to each one write down the total balance owed.
c. Re-order these from smallest to largest debts (use Excel to make this simpler.)
d. Pay the minimum payment on all of the debts – except the smallest one.
e. Put every extra dollar you can find towards paying off that smallest debt.
f. Celebrate like crazy when you get that first debt paid off.
g. Take the amount you were paying towards the first debt and put towards the next smallest debt. Do this until this one is paid off.
h. Celebrate again!
i. Continue this process until each one is paid off.


Actually I do listen to his show. And he said to pay the debt with highest rates first. However, I disagree with him in avoiding all types of debt. I don't buy his pay with cash and debit card all the time idea. Like you said, credit cards is a fine way to get rewards, and it is technically a debt you take on monthly, assuming you paid it off. There are many more protection that credit card offers than debit cards.

#13
GoldenEagle

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Actually I do listen to his show. And he said to pay the debt with highest rates first. However, I disagree with him in avoiding all types of debt. I don't buy his pay with cash and debit card all the time idea. Like you said, credit cards is a fine way to get rewards, and it is technically a debt you take on monthly, assuming you paid it off. There are many more protection that credit card offers than debit cards.


I agree with you I use my credit cards as debit cards by paying them off every month. I mean I'm going to buy gas and groceries anyway. I might as well have my money work for me right? I also agree that credit cards offer more protection than debit cards.

DR's FInancial Peace Course (which we've taken twice) suggests people use the debt snowball strategy. Maybe the new version launched this year (2012) does not. I'm not sure. Like I said paying off the highest interest first makes sense from a financial standpoint. Have you heard of Gazelle Intensity?

See: http://www.daveramse...andmoney_other/

But take Bob for example. Bob has the following debts:

Credit Card 1 $7000 @ 17% Interest
Credit Card 2 $2000 @ 14% Interest
Car Loan 1 $21,000 @ 11% Interest
Car Loan 2 $15,000 @ 13% Interest
Home Mortgage $155,000 @ 4.5%

The logical thing to do from a financial standpoint would be to pay off the CC1 first right? But if people build momentum and destroy CC2 first they will have knocked out 1 of their 5 loans. A little success can mean the difference between failure and victory for people with terribly money management skills. Can we agree?

Therefore the reason handling money is an emotional decision. ;) But either way paying off with the smallest balance first (debt snowball) or the highest interest the end result is people still get out of debt.

Edited by GoldenEagle, 13 October 2012 - 09:47 AM.


#14
GoldenEagle

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17) Buy a Used Car

17a) The value of vehicles depreciates the greatest during the first two years of ownership. Let someone else take the hit and buy a used vehicle. Always get the Carfax report for any vehicle you buy.

18) Go Out to the Movie Theatre for Matinees/Weekdays & Don’t Get Snacks.

18a) A Matinee can be anywhere from half the price or a couple bucks off the regular price. Avoid 3D (except on a rare occasion) especially for prime time. 2D is still great. Also always take your student ID for a student discount for movies during the week.

18b) Eat a good meal before you go to the movies and don’t buy any concessions.

19) Amazon Mom (also for Dad’s)

19a) For people with newborns… We found that saving 20% extra (about $5 to $10 per box) on diapers saves a ton of money. You can sign up for a year and get free shipping as long as you purchase $25 worth of product every month. That’s like one purchase of 200 diapers a month – so easy to use and save!

20) Free Babysitting

20a) If you have family that lives around you they often will jump at the suggestion of the opportunity to take the kids for an evening or weekend. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, & sisters are a good place to start.

#15
GoldenEagle

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21) Don’t Own A Car

21a) If you live in cities like NYC, Boston, Washington D.C., etc. public transportation is often cheaper than gas/insurance/maintenance plus you don’t have to battle every time you need to find a parking space.

22) Cancel your Magazine Subscriptions/Newspaper

22a) Last year we made it a point to go to Barnes & Noble and the local library about twice a month. We were able to save a ton by getting our news online and reading free magazines at these locations. Not to mention getting a good book and reading at B&N is a great date night if you’re into that thing J

23) Cancel Your Gym Membership For A Few Months

23a) There are lots of Fitness DVD’s out there. Amazon has plenty to choose from for $20 or less.

23b) Another option is to exercise outside. We tried it last spring for a couple of months. It was actually very romantic, fun, and saved us $70 a month on memberships.

24) Christmas Gift Giving

24a) Assuming you celebrate this holiday save tissue paper & re-use gift bags. We stopped using wrapping paper a few years back. Tissue and bags are a lot easier (especially for us guys) to use. Plus they can be recycled/re-used as long as the bag is in good condition!

24b) Have a contest to see who can buy the nicest gifts (including brand name stuff) for the best (lowest) price. A friend of ours does this every year with his family. There is voting by each family member. The winner of the contest gets a great prize!

#16
GoldenEagle

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25) Buy Gift Cards at discounts

25a) Times are tough. Often at the end of the year companies will have promotions: Subway had $5.00 off your next sub with the purchase of a gift card. We bought two gift cards ($25 each) and each had a free sub. Plus we had enough for going out on very inexpensive date for the next couple of months.

26) Haircuts

26a) For guys a simple home hair cutting kit ($20-30 usually) can save a ton over time. I bought a kit last summer to buzz my hair and saved an average of $15 every two weeks for four months. We saved about $100 over the course of that time. Plus anytime I want an inexpensive haircut it can be convenient.

26b) For women try going to a cosmetology school (In the Dallas are there are several Ogle Beauty Schools). Instead of paying $30 you might pay $10 for a good (hopefully) haircut. Plan on spending double the time at the hair stylist as they are just learning! My wife did this our first year of marriage and we saved about $100 for the year.

27) Live in a smaller home

27a) I have a (now single as his wife passed away) great uncle who recently moved from a 3 story home to a 1 story home. He saved on utility bills, maintenance, and cleaning. If the kids have moved out do you really need a four room three bathroom home?

28) Use the Barter System

28a) Have a skill? Are you a great photographer and need a plumber? Why not exchange a family photo shoot for a couple of hours of plumbing work. Or how about music lessons in say piano or guitar?

29) Start a Side Business or Get a Part-time Job

29a) Blogging is a good option or being a free-lance writer. Even perhaps starting up your own photography business or baking business might be a fun/good idea.

#17
GoldenEagle

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Tax refunds is a big way to 'save' money.


I'm not a big fan of giving the government my money for free for 1-12 months and then getting it back with no interest. But I hear you it is nice to have that big check around February or March.


It is not like people have a choice in the matter. The government get first dips on my paycheck before I even see it.



Technically you could opt to have them take less up front, and get less back on the back end. That is what GE is referring to.


Right Ben.

#18
ncn

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The best way to save money is not to spend it :rolleyes:

(Poetic license taken from an old Welsh proverb) :help:

(Probably there isn't a Welsh proverb that says that, but it made me laugh)

#19
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There are a lot of good ideas here, but it is missing one.

"JUST SAY NO" when you feel the urge to buy something that is a need/want, but not a necessity.

#20
udx

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There are a lot of good ideas here, but it is missing one.

"JUST SAY NO" when you feel the urge to buy something that is a need/want, but not a necessity.


If it is something you need, you have to get it. The skill is distinguishing between what is a need and what is a want, and say no to wants. By definition a need is a necessity.




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