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filmfann's avatar

What have you done to save money?

Asked by filmfann (39580 points ) September 29th, 2011

What worked, and what didn’t?
Times are tough, and these days every penny counts.

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30 Answers

filmfann's avatar

For example: we got a smaller garbage can from the disposal company. We save about $15 a month, but now the can is nearly overflowing every week. Some weeks, we can’t fit it all in, and we have to sort some of it into the recycling, when it probably isn’t.

Bellatrix's avatar

We squirrel money away straight out of our pay packets. So, I have a direct debit that goes straight to another account. We also pay a heap off our mortgage. We have a redraw facility so if we need it, it’s there but we have to go and get it from the bank. Makes us think twice. If it isn’t in the bank account, we don’t spend it.

We don’t go out for coffee/lunch etc. as much as we used to either.

Symbeline's avatar

Make my own lunches for work and school. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s crazy how much money you can actually save by not going to restaurants or buying stuff from cafeterias.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Symbeline and it usually is seasoned to your liking when you make it yourself, not watered down to the least common denominator like most cafeterias.

AmWiser's avatar

I have stopped being a name brand junky and have started buying/testing many store brand products. So far I’ve notice there is no difference in many most of the products tried so far. The savings have been very substantial.

Symbeline's avatar

@WestRiverrat Yeah. That’s one incentive I did have; sick and tired of the same old shit all the time. If you make your own stuff, you can have the variety you want, within reason.

lillycoyote's avatar

I’m not really a good with money or have a seriously planned budget but one trick, more of a psychological trick that has always work for me is to pay cash for a lot of the day to day stuff, groceries and certainly discretionary items like books, DVDs, etc. That seems to be the way that money leaks out of my budget. I get $100 or $200 dollars out of the ATM and that has to last me a certain amount of time. I like the “physicality” of it; the “fist full of dollars” effect; or 20s in this case. It helps me remember that I am spending real money and I can track my diminishing dollars in a way that simply handing my debit card to the cashier doesn’t do.

And, @Symbeline it’s not at all ridiculous. I think if a lot of people actually sat down and realized how much eating out, grabbing your Starbuck’s and maybe getting a snack or a candy bar every day at work added up to over the course of a month it would probably be somewhere between $80 and almost $200 dollars a month for a one person. A whole family with those habits, at work and at school, is looking at some serious money every month.

Bellatrix's avatar

A coffee where I work costs over $4 for a large mug. That means if I go each day for a working month I spend more than $80 just on coffee. So now I go less than once a week.

JLeslie's avatar

Only eat in restaurants once or twice a week.

Use coupons for groceries, restaurants and entertainment.

Plan errands together to save gas.

Ask the bank for deals to get higher rates (altough right now the rates are so low it barely makes any difference, but for many years it did, and might again).

Use my credit card for everything, always pay in full at the end of the month, get back money on a department store card, and free flights on others (also, back in the day this earned $‘s, because the money stayed in your bank account an extra few weeks before paying for what you bought. I probably made a few thousand over the years always using my credit cards, not even including the free flights).

We never drink alcohol, well never is too extreme, when we have people over we have alcohol for them, but that is very rare, and my husband probably has 6 beers a year, maybe some Baileys in his coffee 6 times a year, but basically never compared to most people we know. Especially out at restaurants or bars we have probably ordered a drink 10 times in our 18 years of marriage.

We don’t buy a lot of clothing. We repair our clothes if we can. My husband just darned a few pairs of socks, and I told him he is being two extreme.

We resole good shoes rather than buy new ones.

Also, when we eat better we spend less on food, because we are eating less. I have never actually calculated the difference, but I bet we save about 10–15%. Some healthy foods are more expensive, but the quantity I buy of everything is cut back.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I don’t buy headphones, I let the music blast from my computer speakers.
I only drink water. Once in a while, I’ll buy Arizona Iced Tea for a buck.
I buy used CDs/Dvds/Games/books/condoms (Well maybe not the condoms part)
I rarely eat fast food. If I do, I’ll buy it from a Halal cart. Fuck yeah Chicken gyro over rice for 5 bucks. And it’s filling, too. I also take advantage of restaurant week if I want to be classy as fuck.
I read free books on Project Gutenberg. If I need No Fear Shakespeare, I use Sparknotes.
I listen to free music on youtube. I’ll support the artist if I like it.
And other stuff!

XD's avatar

My most successful effort to live within my means was when I followed the methodology of Your Money or Your Life (except the investing advice). I had a small budget, and I was single, but I always had money in the bank. The interesting thing I discovered was that I always had income from sources other than my primary job.

My other suggestion is sort of “Secret” like, but I really think it is worthwhile is to really open your mind to possibilities of abundance and to do it in a way that works for you. To me, this doesn’t mean wishing more money into your life so much as maintaining an openness or receptiveness to resources coming into your life or to your family.

Bellatrix's avatar

@XD‘s post reminded me of something else. We buy in bulk when things are on special. So if loo rolls are on special, we buy a few packets. That can save you a lot. Also, making a list when we go shopping (and sticking to it!) can save you a fortune. All those extra things you throw in your trolley that you never planned to buy add up a lot.

marinelife's avatar

I go to the library instead of buying books.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Buy your meat from a meat locker or butcher, on the surface it may not look like you are saving money, but there is usually less waste and the meat quality is better. And if you build a good raport with the butcher, he will steer you to the better valued cuts of meat.

You don’t need to buy the top sirloin when the flank is nearly as good quality and about ⅓ less expensive.

Blackberry's avatar

Started cooking more at home instead of eating out. Eating less works, too.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

Eat out less. Eating at home not only saves money, but strengthens the family bond.

Not going out shopping as much as we used to.

Buying only things we NEED and not WANT.

Turning down the heat in winter and wearing warmer clothes inside the house when it gets cool.

Boiling tap water for drinking rather than buying bottled water.

Getting by with less (like using a lot less Brylcreem or shoe polish to do the job) Lol.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Right now I’m saving by using my extra spending money to pay down my credit card. I don’t pay the minimum. I pay about 4 times the minimum and hope to have it completely paid off in a year. That will save me thousands in interest.

Doing this means I have much less money for extra things. I buy only what I need.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake in the long run you will be able to spend more on the extras, because you won’t have to pay the interest on the CC bill. I was surprised how much I had left over every paycheck when I didn’t have a huge credit card bill to pay first.

ucme's avatar

Quit the cancer sticks some 8 years ago now. Money money money, must be funny, in a ri…..

postcard's avatar

One method I have found helpful in saving money is reducing the grocery bill. My method for doing so is threefold. First, I check to see what’s on sale at the market for the week. Then I make a meal plan and grocery list for the whole week. Lastly, I have budgeted an amount I am willing to spend on groceries for the week, so based upon my knowledge of individual item prices I alter the grocery list and menu to fit within the budgeted amount. It’s a bit of work but I found I eat well and spend the amount I planned to.

augustlan's avatar

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Stinley's avatar

I shop at cheaper supermarket. We have Aldi here in UK and its marketing line is ‘like brands only cheaper’. This is more true than I can tell you. I also buy from second hand places. If things are used, they are not usually worn out so have plenty of wear. I try not to buy too much in the first place and therefore avoid that inevitable come down when you get said shiney new thing home and its just ordinary. I also visit a website called Money Saving Expert before making any major purchase. (Its for UK)

martianspringtime's avatar

-We buy in bulk at Sam’s Club, and shop around for what we can’t buy in bulk. Farmer’s markets, a few different grocery stores (we have a lot of Spanish supermarkets to choose from here, as well as Publix, Super Target, etc.)
-We don’t go out to eat often, though we don’t usually anyway.
-I shop mainly at thrift stores when I just want to shop. Furniture, clothes, shoes, books.
-I mainly get movies from the library. I don’t have netflix or anything like that.
-When I buy movies, or am looking for anything specific – including school textbooks – I get them used on amazon.
-I go to school about 10 minutes away (and about 15–20 once a week) which cuts on gas.
-I’m pretty good about electricity. During the day if I’m in my room, I open the curtains and just make use of sunlight. I go around the house turning lights off pretty often, and my paranoia of electric things catching on fire ensures that I unplug all hair dryers/curlers/etc and turn the coffee machine off if it’s not being used/we’re going out, etc. We do keep the computer on pretty much 24/7, though…

Bellatrix's avatar

I just found a fabulous site for buying books through. It is an Australian site but it seems to search globally. Booko

Hope it saves you some $$$ I just bought some books from Amazon Canada and saved about $100.

HungryGuy's avatar

I take the bus to work instead of drive (except when it’s brutally hot or brutally cold).

Hi Tammy! Hope you’re enjoying that promotion! Your passengers all miss you :-)

Bellatrix's avatar

I wish I could take the bus or train to work. There isn’t one from here to there though. :-(

It’s good when you make friend with a great bus driver isn’t it @HungryGuy

HungryGuy's avatar

@Bellatrix – Yes. Some of the drivers will even stop for me if they’re running early and see me waking to the bus stop. And I’ve made lots of casual friends on the bus :-)

dabbler's avatar

We minimize debt, pay off the CC every month and paying the mortgage down at an accelerated pace.
We make stuff when we can, but that’s largely because it’s fun. If we can’t make something that we need ourselves we might contract a friend who has those skills and resources.
We fix stuff when we can because that’s fun too, and saves time, hassle and money.

Keep_on_running's avatar

Well lately I’ve been making 24 cups of tea out of one tea bag, then hanging it on the line to dry and reuse the next day…you know stuff like that.

But really, I’ve been turning the water off when I put conditioner in my hair and then turning it back on a couple minutes later to rinse. Just using less of everything generally saves money.

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