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willbrawn's avatar

How do you save money?

Asked by willbrawn (6588 points ) December 29th, 2009

I was reading a site about how a popular photographer buys all the latest and greatest gear. In the article he talked about how he doesn’t buy anything but dollar items when going to get fast food. Always gets water at restaurants. Never buys a new car, plus other things. Point is, after cutting back he always has money for the big toys that he wants.

Are you thrifty? How do you save money? What do you cut back on?

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24 Answers

nomtastic's avatar

cook at home, eat at home. even with fancy ingredients, it’s just about always healthier and cheaper.

pjanaway's avatar

Just don’t buy crap, spend it on something that either increases in value or makes money.

Pay for everything online if you can, works out cheaper usually.

J0E's avatar

Like @pjanaway said, I don’t waste it on crap that I don’t need.

jaytkay's avatar

Cook at home and shop around.
Start with rice, potatoes, dry beans, pasta, etc instead of processed/packaged foods.
I discovered fruits and vegetables are 25 to 50% cheaper at produce stores. Rice is 50% cheaper at the Asian markets.
Spices are 75% cheaper at ethnic groceries.
Oatmeal costs a small fraction of the price of packaged cereal.

Use your library. They might have a lot the books, music and movies you are buying and renting.

janbb's avatar

Figure out a budget of what you need to live. Get the rest of your paycheck direct deposited into a savings account. Don’t use credit cards, do everything on a “pay as you go” basis.

pjanaway's avatar

@jaytkay – Yeah things like noodles you can buy at asian shop/market in bulk for like 10c a pack saving you like 300–400% that you would pay in a regular supermarket. lol

JustPlainBarb's avatar

First, live within your means. Don’t buy things you can’t afford. Try not to charge things unless you’ll be able to pay off balance each month. If you do have to have a running balance, don’t just pay the mininum monthly payment.
Shop sales, use coupons, buy only what you need.

gemiwing's avatar

We’re thrifty and we make a game of it. It’s actually fun after a while.

We shop at discount stores for snacks and staples. At a local discount and dented food shop we paid 45 bucks for 150 dollars original price at Kroger. Walmart for household items. Kroger for meat/bread/veggies.

We keep the thermostat at 65 and block off rooms we don’t use. I also use the sunlight to warm the house since I’m home during the day.

We buy store brands of almost everything. Diet Coke tastes just like Diet Big K. (Dr. Pepper is the only thing that never tastes right from a store brand)

We cook at home. I can make just about anything. Hamburger helper? No way- buy a pound of meat, noodles and add some spices. You’ll save tons of money.

We buy huge bags of rice and pasta because they keep. We buy frozen veggies on sale and that saves money too.

We shop at thrift stores for household goods and clothing. I have Versace and Calvin Klein clothes that I paid a fifth of their original price for. I just bought a 400 dollar air purifier for fifteen bucks.

Know what the prices are at other places! Just because you’re at a ‘discount’ store doesn’t mean all the prices are good. Same at Walmart. You’ll pay less for Febreze but more for meat. Know where the savings are and shop accordingly.

We have our old car and Hubbs bikes to work.

When you’re not using an appliance- unplug it. Computer, tv, coffee maker, microwave- all of it. While you’re at it- replace all the bulbs with CFLs. We cut our electric charges to five dollars a month by doing this.

Once you get started and see how much money you can save it is exhilarating!

Macaulay's avatar

Refraining for eating out is, in my opinion, the biggest money saver. Ordering water when you do eat out helps, as well. I consider myself pretty thrifty in the sense that I save my Atlanta Bread Company coffee cups and refill them throughout the week. I also save my change, separating silver coins from pennies. I use quarters for gas money to get to the coinstar. Keep in mind that change converters keep about 8% of your money.
Cigarettes are cheaper at CVS rather than gas stations.

I conserve gas by making a route of my errands, as opposed to driving from point A to F and back to C.

Retailers like Ross and Marshalls are huge money savers.

xboxfan's avatar

Cut grass for people, ask parents if you do chores, to give you money, and don’t buy crap.

limeaide's avatar

Great answers above. I’d add, do any car/home maintenance you can. Buy a repair manual for your specific car. Search online for how to repair things at home. I’ve saved thousands by doing most the work myself and outsourcing the stuff that was out of my league.

Blackberry's avatar

I take lunch to work instead of buying it. I go out less, and this isn’t a good idea usually, but I awhile ago I started playing Online videogames, or any games in general get you sucked into them and make you forget about a social life lol. But you do save money playing Online videogames.

Ansible1's avatar

Make a shopping list and do not deviate from it, don’t go shopping when you’re hungry.

janbb's avatar

Shop around the perimeters of food stores where the basics are, don’t load up[ on the crap snacks in the middle. (Works for weight control, too.)

Macaulay's avatar

@Ansible1 Good point. Also, and I hope I can articulate this well – shopping around the perimeter of your grocery store is bound to save you money and time. This will help you avoid impulse purchases, and will keep you on track to buy fruits, veggies, and meats rather than chips and Debbie cakes.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I;ve always lived intentionally below my means. The only exception being things that pleased Meghan, in that case cost was no object.

CMaz's avatar

“How do you save money?”

By finding a woman that has some.

SarasWhimsy's avatar

I’m not great at saving money but I’m thrifty. I don’t buy household cleaners because they’re hugely overpriced. I make my own out of lemons, salt, baking soda, vinegar all that good cheap stuff. And I save all of my change.

limeaide's avatar

@SarasWhimsy if you have time could you share your recipe’s for the cleaners? Thanks!

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