This is a follow-up to my original post “Money Saving Tips & Tricks”. You could say that I’m addicted to saving money, I’m also addicted to spending money….hmmm…..isn’t everyone? I almost enjoy spending money to see how much money I can save. I challenge myself to new saving habits all the time, I research ways to save money and I reward myself with expensive items that I pay next to nothing for. My original money saving post was about cutting costs, clipping coupons and finding ways to save in your daily spending and shopping habits. This post will be about long term savings options for you and your family. Ways to reduce your monthly or yearly costs. I’ve implemented all of these in my life and have reaped the biggest reward of more time with my son, I can work part time and enjoy more of these years with him that are flying by too fast.
Here are some ways to save hundreds of dollars each month……
- Refinance your home. Interest rates are at an all time low right now, talk to a mortgage professional today to see if refinancing would be in your best interest. This is a great option for those who plan on staying in their home long-term. If you plan on moving soon, the cost of refinancing will probably not be paid back in your monthly payment savings before you move. If you do qualify this could save you hundreds of dollars each month!
- Adjust your insurance policies, all of them. Shop around, I found better coverage for our automobiles at a lower price. More coverage and less money, that was a no brainer. I picked one company for our auto’s and home and received a multi-policy discount too. Don’t over purchase insurance, buy as much as you need with a little help and guidance from your insurance agent, but be careful not to over-insure which costs you unnecessary money.
- Adjust your cable, internet and phone packages. Do you really need HBO, Showtime, etc? If you don’t, cut your cable package down to what you need. Reduce your internet speed to save between $10-15 per month. Get rid of your home phone (unless you need it for your home security system), how much do you use it anyway? Also reduce your data package on your cell phone and connect to wifi when you are at home, work, etc. Cut your minutes if you can too.
- Cut your grocery spending in half. Get creative with your menu, clip coupons, shop sale ads and DON’T WASTE! Use up all of the food in your house before you go buy more. Reward yourself with a nice dinner out once a month, it’s something you will look forward to and the rest of the month you will enjoy the extra money in your pocket.
- Transfer credit card balances to a low or no interest introductory credit card. You can pay them off faster if you aren’t being charged interest.
- Conserve energy and water. Run the dishwasher and washing machine only if they are full. Line dry your clothing. Set a timer for your shower so you don’t waste unnecessary water. How long does it really take to shower? Not 30 minutes……Unplug items that you don’t use daily, turn off lights when leaving a room, turn off the tv and computer when not in use. Open your blinds to naturally heat your home from the sun during the day and turn your thermostat down or up when you leave. All of these things can reduce your water and energy costs by $5-$50 a month!
- Recycle, Recycle, Recycle……EVERYTHING……I’m not just talking about recycling cans, glass and newspaper, I’m talking about recycling and reusing things. Those glass jars that spaghetti sauce and pickles come in make great storage containers for the bathroom and garage. Coffee containers make great storage containers for Lego’s and small toys for children. Milk jugs make great watering cans, poke holes in the lid. Diaper and shoe boxes can be transformed into decorative storage bins with some cheap fabric and spray adhesive. You get the idea……get creative and reuse and recycle items you already have instead of going out and buying new.
- Did you know you can grow many herbs and veggies from plating the leftover root and it will re-grow? I haven’t tried this yet, but I will when I plant my garden this summer. You can re-grow celery, green onions, herbs, etc from keeping the root end and re-planting it. Google this for specific instructions. This goes along with re-using and not wasting anything. Re-plant it if you can and continue to reap the rewards of ONE PURCHASE!
- Make toys for your kids from empty tissue boxes, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, construction paper, egg cartons, etc. My son loves things he’s not suppose to have so when I give him a paper towel roll or an empty water bottle to play with he thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Kids don’t need expensive toys to be happy, they need love, affection, attention and an imagination. Let their imagination run wild with unconventional and FREE toys. Toys are expensive and kids have a short attention span, I have a living room full of toys and my son would rather have an empty box and a paper towel roll.
- Make as many things as you can yourself. Life doesn’t have to be so complicated. Take a minute to get back to the basics. It’s so easy to go out and buy things these days, and we pay a pretty penny for those conveniences. Don’t get me wrong, I love the modern-day conveniences that we have today, but I also enjoy making things for myself. You don’t have to be crafty or creative, you just have to believe in yourself. Make something you’ve been wanting to try instead of buying it. You will save money and you will be doing something for yourself. Cook more dinners at home, try making your own household cleaners and detergents, re-use, recycle, up-cycle, conserve, create and believe in yourself.
- Put yourself on a budget. It’s as easy as writing down your income, then your set expenses, then your adjustable expenses and then what you wish to save every month and figuring out where you can cut costs. Challenge yourself to save money and reward yourself with that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeballing if you meet your goals. Make sure you find a coupon though 😉
- Bring your lunch, make coffee at home, pack snacks to avoid the vending machine. I can easily spend $10 a day on lunch at my favorite restaurant, Panera OR I can spend about $2 a day on lunch by packing it myself the night before. That’s $8 a day I’m saving by putting forth a little effort and making my own lunch. My favorite coffee from Panera is $4 a cup. I estimate that a cup of coffee from home with a delicious creamer I might add is probably about $0.10 a cup. I bring pre-portioned snacks to work to avoid overspending on carb and sugar filled snacks from a vending machine. This saves me money and unnecessary carbs!
- We all love to do activities, go to the movies, tour a museum, do a sporting adventure or attend a sporting event, but all of those activities can add up. Think about a matinée instead of an evening show. It’s less money and you are less likely to spend money on concessions because it’s right after lunch or right before dinner. Find free activities and museums in your city. St. Louis has a beautiful, huge and FREE Zoo! That is one of my favorite places to go, right in the middle of Forest Park which has many other free activities and the animals are always doing something new. It’s great for the whole family and FREE! We pack a picnic and make a day of it. Find Groupon’s or saving certificates for sporting adventures or events. Look for discounted sporting tickets on Stubhub.com or buy them on a promo day.
- Try the 52 week money challenge, see my original post. It’s not too late to start…..what will you do with your savings?
- Do yard, home and auto maintenance yourself. I’m very lucky to have a handy husband who can do oil changes, who takes care of all the home and yard maintenance and saves us tons of money by doing the not so fun homeowner chores himself. Get out there and get your hands dirty, cut your own grass, landscape your own yard, build yourself something. Change your own oil (if you know how) instead of paying someone else to do it. Clean out your gutters yourself, maintain your own lawn instead of paying a company to do it. Fire the maid and get your kids to help clean. Teach them responsibility and pay them to help with chores. Teach them how to spend and save their money wisely. Win/Win!
All of these ideas might not work for you, but I urge you to try some of them. It’s amazing how much money we throw away each month until we step back and look for it. A happy family doesn’t consists of riches, it consists of love, memories, laughter and fun. All of which can be created without a single penny! Challenge yourself to live more frugally and then reward yourself with the savings if you wish. Take that vacation you’ve been dreaming about, you’ve earned it! Combine these tips with my original money saving tips post and you have many options to help you save money!