Tag Archives: Money

More Money Saving Tips & Tricks

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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.

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Here are some ways to save hundreds of dollars each month……

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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!
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 😉
  12. 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!
  13. 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 matinĂ©e 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.
  14. Try the 52 week money challenge, see my original post. It’s not too late to start…..what will you do with your savings?
  15. 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!

Money Saving Tips & Tricks

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If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I like to save money. I get asked how I score great deals all the time and I’ve spent a lot of time compiling this list to help you save some money too.

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– I shop around…..I don’t buy something at the first store I see it at. There are many app’s for your smart phone that can help you compare prices. I also type in a certain item in the Google search bar and see what comes up.  I then compare the price of the item at different stores and check for any deals or discounts I can find.

– I shop sales, clip coupons and participate in many store rewards programs. Shopping sales is easy, all you have to do is check a store’s sale ad for the time you are wanting to shop. Clipping coupons can be time-consuming but the savings can be tremendous, especially at stores that have their own store coupons that you can combine with manufacturer’s coupons. I go through the coupons that come in the Sunday paper, I check websites like www.coupons.com, www.redplum.com and www.smartsource.com for coupons for products that I use. These coupons you print at home. Many retail stores also offer coupons on their websites, or you can register your email to get sales and coupons emailed directly to you. Go to a stores website and look for their “coupons” tab. Also check stores coupon policies, some stores like Kmart offer double coupons everyday (up to $1).  Lastly, I sign up for many rewards programs which reward you with extra discounts and points earned on your purchases. Ask at your favorite stores if they have a rewards program.

– You need some self-discipline with this one, but it can pay off with many discounts. Retail store credit cards often offer extra discounts throughout the year to their users. These are coupons that you would not get unless you have a credit card with that store. You usually have to use the credit card to redeem the discount, but you can pay off the balance immediately. Another thing to look for is major credit cards with rewards programs. I have stayed in very nice hotel rooms for next to nothing with credit card rewards points. I also just got 50,000 free airline points through Southwest Airlines after signing up for their credit card and making a minimum purchase. You can pay the balance off immediately, but still reap the rewards of the rewards program. Like I said before, you need self-discipline with these savings options because it is easy to get carried away with spending on credit cards which defeats the purpose of saving money. This idea is for those who want the extra discounts of being a credit card holder, but will pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t get charged any interest.

– Buy generic, I urge you to try generic items! Many “store brand” items taste just as good as the “name brand” and the cost savings can be tremendous! Also try smaller stores like Aldi’s which has their own brand of products and a wonderful, fresh produce section. I buy a lot of their products, and prefer their produce over many of the larger chain stores. You have to bring your own bags to bag your groceries, but that’s one of the reasons why they can keep the cost of their products low.

– Ask for discounts. It never hurt to ask, right? All they can say is no….you can handle that two letter word that no one likes to hear. You will be surprised, you will probably hear yes more than you will hear no. Just like you ask at a restaurant what their specials are, ask at stores if they have any coupons or discounts. Many times they will have un-used coupons from other customers sitting at the register that you can use or they will tell you about their rewards program that will give you discounts. Send brands that you like an email and ask them to send you coupons, this can be food, baby items, clothing, etc. More times than not, I’ve received an email back asking for my address and within a few weeks I’ve received a coupon in the mail. It’s as easy as that!

– Sign up for daily deals from websites like Groupon and Amazon. I most recently got a great mount for a tv for $39 with free shipping from a one day deal website. The original price was over $100, and it was a nicer mount with more features than the original one we were considering which was around $50. I’ve also bought discount spa treatments and other discount certificates through these types of websites.

– This tip is for my fellow Target lovers. Target offers its own debit or credit card. The debit card links to your checking account and immediately takes the funds from your checking account after purchase. The credit card is a true credit card that you have to make payments on. The benefit of either of these options is that you get 5% off your total purchase every time you shop. This is in store and online. Online you also benefit from free shipping on all purchases. Target offers their own store coupons on their website and you can get them sent to your mobile. They allow you to combine their store coupons with Manufacturer’s coupons for additional savings.

– Many restaurants offer rewards programs and coupons or discounts. Ask about their frequent dining rewards or their kids eat free days. Another way to save at restaurants is to check out www.restaurant.com. It’s a website with discount gift certificates to restaurants in your area, you buy the gift certificate on their site, print it and take it to the restaurant with you. Be sure to read the fine print, some exclusions do apply.

– If you don’t have the benefit of using rewards from a credit card for hotel stays, then look into hotel rewards programs. They often offer a discount after so many night’s purchased. Also inquire if they offer a discount if you are active military, a veteran or a member of AAA, AARP, NRA or any other organization.

– If you are a senior citizen, be sure to take advantage of the senior citizen discounts at many stores and restaurants. They may not always offer it because some people get offended if they are offered the discount and aren’t a senior citizen, but if you qualify, be sure to tell them to take off your senior citizen discount which is usually around 10% off.

– I tend to shop online more than I do in stores because I don’t have the time. I’ve posted about this before, but I can’t encourage you enough to check out Ebates. It’s a website that literally pays you to shop online (check out my previous post about Ebates for more info). You can find a lot of discounts when shopping online from free shipping to certain percentages off your purchase. My favorite site (besides Ebates) to check for online savings is www.retailmenot.com. This website has a list of discounts for certain stores. Check the store where you are wanting to shop and see what discounts they have to offer.

– Pay with cash. I know this sounds like I’m contradicting myself, but some stores offer a discount if you pay with cash. They are charged every time they swipe a credit card, so to avoid that charge, they offer discounts to cash paying customers. You will find this more in small businesses, but the savings can vary from 1-10% when paying in cash.

– Buy an Entertainment book. Yes those coupon books that organizations and kids sell to make money for a certain cause. They actually have good discounts in them and most of the coupons will pay for the cost of the book in the first use! Ask to look through a book before you purchase it to make sure there are enough savings that you would use.

– Travel during “non-peak” times. Look up the destination where you are wanting to travel and research their peak travel times. If you are flexible, then don’t travel during their peak period. Airfare, rentals and activities will all be more expensive during their peak travel season. Deep discounts can be found during non-peak travel times. Research the area before you arrive and look for coupons or discounts to places you wish to try.

– Lastly, being organized and planning will save you money in the long run. Research, take your time, save money, look for discounts and plan our your purchases.

Earning Opportunity – Ebates.com

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Have you heard about Ebates? It’s a website that PAYS YOU to shop online. I know is sounds too good to be true, but I’ve been a member since 2007 and I have earned $386.62 to date. That is FREE money just for doing what I love to do – SHOP. I do a lot of shopping online because I’m a busy mom and I don’t have much time for stores (other than the grocery store) and I get a bonus for shopping online through Ebates. After you become a member of Ebates, it’s very simple to use. You simply visit Ebates.com everytime you want to shop online and you type the store where you are wanting to shop in their search bar. It brings you to a page that lists any coupons or deals they can offer you for that store and then you click “shop now” and it takes you to the store’s website. It’s as easy as that! By doing this you are creating a “tracking ticket” with Ebates and after your purchase is complete, the store reports your order to Ebates and you earn CASH based on your purchase. Different stores have different percentages of cash back, but you can earn at over 1,500 stores!!!!! Check it out and see for yourself how easy it is to make FREE money just for shopping online! You get a little bonus for signing up and so will I if you tell them I sent you. My referral email is kelsey_21_2004@yahoo.com. Happy Shopping!

52 Week Money Challenge

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I originally saw this on Pinterest and being the thrifty person I am, decided to try it. It’s easy to do by transferring the set amount at the end of each week from your checking to your savings account and with little “loss” to your checking account each week, you can save $1,378  in a year! What to do with that money at the end of the year…..spend it or keep saving it? I think it sounds like the perfect savings plan for a vacation! 52 Week Money ChallengeWhat will you do with your savings?