General Question

imrainmaker's avatar

What are some money saving tips that you would like to share?

Asked by imrainmaker (8365points) November 28th, 2016

Not extreme ones but average will do that can be followed easily.

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44 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Don’t drink or smoke. Drink water instead of juice or pop.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Using rechargeable batteries for high draining devices, for less draining devices I reuse the batteries from high drain devices, they maybe too weak to really power a flash for a camera etc. but for a small flashlight or remote, there is still enough power in them to go a bit.

Short trips to the store etc. get on the bike or walk and leave the vehicle at home; more healthy for you anyhow.

johnpowell's avatar

Not so much a suggestion of what to not buy. But write every penny down. Then at the end of the month look over your list. You will be pretty shocked at the crap you bought. That KitKat might have felt good at the time but a month later you might think you wasted a dollar.

chyna's avatar

Instead of buying a pop at work every day, buy a 6 pack, 12 pack or 24 pack at the store and take your pop every day. Much cheaper.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Get everything you can 2nd hand. You would be amazed what you can find at yard sales. Thrift stores are not bad either. Homevrepairs from salvage can be a massive money saver if you have a good eye and creative streak.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Get out of cell phone contract Hell.

I buy last year’s really nice phone on eBay for $200.

I have a US Mobile plan for $9/month (100 Mins, 100 texts, 100MB data).

PLUS with Google Voice, most of my calls, texts & data are over WiFi, they don’t count towards the $9.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Make saving your priority!

Whenever you get money, monthly salary for instance, don’t spend it on celebrating your getting money. Just put it aside. Don’t watse your money on things that only momentarily make you feel good either – think carefully when you buy anything. You’ll be surprised one day, when you need money really bad, that how much some little 1$ bills accounts for your saving.

Pandora's avatar

1. Make dinner meals large enough that you can take left overs for lunch the next day, or at least make a sandwich for lunch instead of buying out.
2. Use plastic grocery bags for the lining in your small bathroom trash bins instead of buying new bags. (Though it is cheaper if you buy recycle bags for your groceries instead and just deal with cleaning the small garbage bathroom bins and empty it out into your large garbage before putting it out.
3. If you really don’t use a printer that much at home, then don’t invest in a printer. The ink doesn’t seem to last long at all. I probably replace my ink twice a year and if I printed 10 pages the whole year than that is a miracle. Cheaper to pay 10 for a total of 10 pages than the 36 bucks for new ink cartridges. Same for printing photos.
4. Vinegar a little bit of baking soda to clean your stove top is fantastic. Pour the vinegar onto a paper towel. Wet the stove top with it, and let it sit for a few minutes and then sprinke some bake soda and rub the grease off with the paper towel. Then just wipe off. Do this once a week and your stove top will remain spotless and easy to clean. And you won’t have to spend 4 bucks for something that will corrode your lungs.
5. Don’t buy more than you will eat for the week. Less likely that food will spoil and end up in the trash.
6.Use dishwashing detergent like dawn to scrub your tub clean. (Vinegar for hard water deposits and mold)
7. Just use hot water and a rag to clean your mirrors.
8. Vicks vapor rub for colds and bug bites. Rubbing alcohol also helps for bug bites.

Mostly try to buy things that can have multipurpose uses. Vinegar can be used for cooking and cleaning a lot of things. It also helps for ring around the collars of shirts.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@Pandora has some good tips.
Buy washing powder, toilet rolls and the like in bulk.
Pay your mortgage weekly.
Pay your credit card off each month to avoid interest charges.
Check out free entertainment options. Our libraries show films and things like that.
Take a packed lunch to work.
Buy a couple of reusable drink bottles and take them out with you instead of buying water.
Use old sheets and the like for cleaning rags.

jca's avatar

Drink tap water, not bottled when possible.

Buy generic or store brands when possible, but check the price per oz. or per each, because sometimes the name brand on sale is cheaper than the generic.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Stop using your credit cards.
Budget everything you buy in a month.
Write down all purchases for three months compare this to your income including taxes.

kritiper's avatar

Get a programmable thermostat for your home.
If you haven’t dome so already, replace your old incandescent light bulbs with CFL’s or LED’s: I cut my power bill by ⅓ by doing so.
Make certain you have adequate insulation in your attic. Insulating your subfloor (basement ceiling) will help, too.
Use synthetic lube oils in your car.
Use the correct octane gasoline for your car. Lots of people use high octane thinking it will increase the engine’s power or make it last longer. It won’t!!!
To seal drafts, seal/caulk the inside of outside windows along the window side and wall side of window trim.
Check doors for bad seals/weather strip. Storm doors can save money by increasing door insulation values and stopping or cutting down on drafts.

Pachy's avatar

Use cash as much as possible rather than plastic. Research shows that we tend to spend significantly less by doing that. I heard a fascinating piece about this phenomenon on NPR recently, but I already knew it’s true.

Oh, and the comment above about a programmable thermostat is absolutely true. My NEST has saved me quite a bit of money this year.

JLeslie's avatar

Never have credit card debt. Always pay off your CC in full every month so you don’t incur any interest or fees.

Don’t drink alcohol, or keep it to rare occasions.

Plan trips ahead, and if you are flying, Tuesday and Wednesday flights are typically cheapest. Try not to travel when everyone else does, especially if you don’t have children and aren’t controlled by school holidays.

Use coupons. Only cut coupons for products you use anyway. I’m not great at couponing, I just keep them in an envelope and check the envelope before I do to the store. I probably save about $30 a month at the grocery store. I keep a separate envelope for restaurant coupons.

If you travel a lot become a rewards member with a hotel group and be loyal. I like Marriott. Marriott has all sorts of deals above and beyond rewards like stay two nights get another free.

Don’t buy coffee from a coffee shop, make your own.

Limit eating out to just a few times a week. Unless you happen to live in a city where eating out isn’t much more than making your own food.

Adjust your heater during times you aren’t home to save utility costs.

Switch the lights you use the most to reasonably priced LED bulbs.

Don’t buy ridiculously expensive laundry detergent like Tide, unless you find it in sale.

imrainmaker's avatar

Wow.. looks like great advice everyone..will go through each one of them and see what I can do..)

rojo's avatar

Hide your money from yourself. this only works if you have a bad memory

imrainmaker's avatar

^^ it won’t work for me then..)

rojo's avatar

It works for me and as an added bonus, putting on a jacket for the first time in the winter is like christmas; I never know what I will find in the pockets.

Seek's avatar

Research every purchase. Do not impulse buy.

Sales and stuff are only helpful if you know the context of the savings offered. A 10% “savings” on an item that’s already grossly overpriced for the market is not a savings at all. That goes double for coupons. Save $0.75 if you buy two of something that a single one costs $1.00 more than the store brand that tastes exactly the same. You’re still losing $1.25.

Seek's avatar

I like to break down purchases into hours of work.

If I do X, it will cost me four hours of work at my current salary. Would I be willing to work four hours to do this?

The change in perspective is helpful.

JLeslie's avatar

I forgot a couple of things. Don’t buy anything you don’t need for a while. Save and save so when you need to buy something you have the money sitting there. Eventually, you can use some of the money just for a want and not a need.

If you don’t have extra money in the bank, one piece of bad luck and you can wind up in a really bad spot. If you can’t pay your bills your credit score goes down. If you put the expenses on your credit card you pay more money for everything because of the interest. If your credit isnt great, buying a car, a house, and other items that are reasonable to purchase with a loan are more expensive. Low credit means you pay higher interest rates. This is one of the sad facts in America that the poor often wind up paying more for items than people who have more money.

I’ve been in the spot where I couldn’t save anything money was so tight, so I’m not assuming you have extra money, but if you can manage it I recommend it. It makes finances much easier going forward.

I don’t know if you wanted to save for a specific something you want to buy, or just to save in general. If it’s the former, try to do some for the latter too. People who have money partly have it, because they didn’t spend it all.

Pachy's avatar

@JLeslie, AMEN. to not having credit card debt! As one once buried with it and now debtless for years, I can heartily attest to both the financial AND emotional freedom that comes from having a zero balance.

I do use plastic for some expenditures.—impossible not to these days—but I always, always pay off the full balances in 2 weeks or less. Haven’t paid a finance charge in 10 years.

JLeslie's avatar

I meant to also say that @Seek‘s advice to not buy impulsively is great advice. It goes along with only buying what you absolutely need for a while.

Sneki95's avatar

Buy the things you need, not the things you want.
If you see something new, flashy, and nice looking that you want to buy, ask yourself if you really need it. Do you really need that new dress, if you already have five dresses in the closet? Do you need new shoes, if you already have a perfectly good pair? Is that book really necessary to buy, if you can go to the library and rent it?

Buy things for their function, not their looks.
A pdf version, second-hand version, or a book bought from the street seller is as good as a book bought in the bookstore. Second hand clothes are as good as covering you as the clothes from from fashion houses. A laptop is as good as PC. City buses (or your legs) is equally good in giving you a ride as your car. And so on.

Learn to create and fix things by yourself, rather than buying it or paying someone else to do it.
You have a bunch of DIY tutorials on everything. Don’t buy something if you can make it yourself. If something is broken, try to fix it first, rather than throwing it away and buying a new product.

Recycle and reuse old things. Those jeans are getting too short? Cut them off and make a shorts. The shirt is too small? Make a tank top.

Live a healthy lifestyle. Smoking, drinking, eating junk food, driving cars instead of walking etc is not only unhealthy, but expensive as well.

Buy in amounts you need. Buying more than you need is wasting of both money and the unused product. If you want to eat oranges today, you don’t need to buy five kilos of it and then let it rot in your fridge. If you need a coat, you need only one, not fifteen of them sitting in your closet and take space.

Live a simple life and don’t trap yourself in consumerism. Buy to live, not live to buy. More than half of the things we spend money on, we don’t really need, and we spent money on it simply out of luxury, not necessity.

flutherother's avatar

Don’t own a car and make your own meals at home. Buy clothes only to replace what has worn out. Keep a spreadsheet showing your expenditure month by month.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“Don’t own a car”
Good luck with that in most of the USA

canidmajor's avatar

@JLeslie mentioned making your own coffee at home. It sounds small, but as a quick small fix, it’s outstanding. When my friend retired, she saved $25 per week by not buying a couple of coffees each day. This applies to all consumables. Take your lunch when you can. Have a few friends over for a pot luck instead of meeting at a restaurant.
There are so many ways you can shave dollar spending out of your day!
The Internet is your friend, there are blogs and sites devoted to this.

jca's avatar

When you go to a store and they have deals like “buy one, get one half off” it’s not that great of a deal. If you think about it, paying full price and then 50% for the second means only a 25% discount on the two – not that great.

Those who know me know I’m always advocating for Costco and other wholesalers. Some people say “I don’t need so much food, it’s just us at home.” I use Costco for so much more. You will eventually use 100 garbage bags, 40 rolls of toilet paper, paper towels. They also have housewares, clothes, automotive stuff, pet food, books, toys, shampoo, vitamins, K-cups, the list goes on and on. The milk gallon is cheaper than a half gallon in a regular grocery store. I use Costco for my prescription eyeglasses, tires, prescription medications too. They have a liquor section and I’m not a big drinker but at this time of year, if I need wine or liquor to give as a gift or bring to someone’s house, I get it at Costco.

I have the $100 Costco membership (as opposed to the lesser $50 one) and I get 2% cash back. With the cash back annually, the membership is cheaper than the $50 one.

jca's avatar

Another idea: When stores, restaurants or cafes (like Panera) run a promotion where you get a free gift card with gift card purchase, that’s another way to save. Right now Panera has $10 gift card for every $50 worth of gift cards purchased. I few weeks ago I bought a Barnes and Noble gift card and they had the deal where you had to buy maybe $60 or 75 dollars in gift cards and then you get a free one. I bought the gift cards and now if I have a party my daughter is attending, I have the gift ready and then I get the free one for myself. For Panera, I may buy some just to use myself as “money” and then I get the additional free one.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I do some of those deals too. I missed a really good one at Texas Roadhouse. Buy $100 gift card and get a $30 meal free. I guess the $30 wasn’t really a gift card, but we usually spend $30 for a meal for both of us anyway.

I just say, like other coupons, only get them if it’s something you really use frequently and can get rid of pretty quick.

LuckyGuy's avatar

If you live in a cold climate recognize that heat of any kind is money. Running the kitchen or bathroom exhaust fan blows heated air out of the house while sucking in cold air from outside. Only run the fan when you need it. Minimize usage.

If you have a big basement and an electric dryer, vent the exhaust into the basement during the cold winter months. That will add badly needed moisture to your air, add heat, and will not suck in cold outside air. Running your dryer that way will reduce your heating bill!

Let waste heat vent into your house. Don’t put the fresh baked apple pie outside to cool. Let it cool in the kitchen.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

Get a filter pitcher for your refrigerator, fill it with tap water, and drink delicious, chilled water. Filtered water tastes as good as bottled water, but without the cost or all that trash from the empties.

As other people have mentioned, drink water instead of soft drinks or alcohol. This is true both at home and in restaurants (when you can’t avoid eating out). Beer and wine are somewhat pricey to have at home, but extremely expensive in a restaurant; the markup is about 300 – 500% wholesale.

Become a big fan of your local library. A library is a wealth of magazines and newspapers to read free of charge, and books to borrow, enjoy, and return.

jca's avatar

Libraries also now have musical acts, plays, movies, lectures, teas, craft classes and other events free of charge.

JLeslie's avatar

I borrow movies, TV series, all sorts of stuff at my library. Free.

Seek's avatar

I’ve often said that if your money saving tips include telling me to not go to Starbucks everyday, you already think I have more money than I do..

JLeslie's avatar

^^Good line. I have the money for Starbucks and I’d never fathom buying coffee there every day. We have a Keurig and we use the reusable filter thingy to save money even from the individual coffee cups they sell.

Sometimes the obvious needs to be stated though. I once was telling someone some ideas to spend less money and it was beyond their comprehension that there were adults out there who didn’t have a drink every night. I know women who can’t imagine doing their own nails.

I think it has to do with what each person perceives as normal every day expenditures. What they grew up seeing maybe.

Plenty of people can’t afford Starbucks and beer and manicures and they continue to buy those things. My niece gets manicures regularly since her teens, and I don’t think I had my first one until I was in my early 20’s, and I’ve never gotten them regularly. That’s just a normal expense to her and to me it’s a luxury item that is way down in my list of luxuries.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

When I was a single-mum and every cent counted, I used to go to the supermarket about an hour or so before closing time. I actually used to hang around and wait for the staff to mark down the meat/bread/chickens. It helped me save a lot of money. I’d buy bulk chops and so on. They couldn’t sell the meat the next day, so the price really dropped to get rid of it. Then I’d freeze it. Same with loaves of bread. I bought a few and put them in the freezer.

People have mentioned home cooking, but being savvy with what you cook can also save you a lot of money and make you healthier. Make casseroles but cut back on the meat and boost the veggie content. Saves you money and gets those veggies in your body. You can add further bulk, by adding pasta or rice to casseroles.

I never bought soft drink. I never wanted my kids to drink it anyway, it’s so bad for your teeth and it’s full of sugar, but it costs money. So we just drank water. If it’s not there, they won’t nag for it. Same goes for biscuits and chips and the like. There was fruit available, and if you only buy seasonally available fruit and veg, you’ll save money, but no confectionery products except as an occasional treat.

And start a present/special needs account. Christmas and birthdays were always a trying time because I had to try to find extra money for presents. Make a list of all the birthdays and Christmas presents you need to buy for. Work out a budget and be strict with yourself. Make a calendar for when those events are and how much money you need for those occasions. Start putting a little away each week. Then stick to your plan. Look for sales and keep a careful note of what you’ve bought. I buy presents for people now and forget I’ve bought them! I’d never have done this then. I just couldn’t afford to.

Put another amount away for emergencies. Even $5 a week will make the difference when someone gets sick or you have an unexpected bill.

Make up a budget. Write down everything you spend. Even go through your bills, checking account, credit card statements and find out where your money goes. Do up a calendar for when bills will come in and what you expect to do. Calculate the annual amount and divide by 52 (or 12 if you’re on a monthly salary), but money away every pay day that does not get touched. It’s for your bills.

Check for discounts on bills. Pay things on time to minimise costs. If I pay my rates on time, I get a cheaper rate. Subscribe to newsletters for your local supermarket, shops you buy from regularly. Take advantage of any special offers.

Use secondhand stores for clothing and things you need around the home. One man’s junk is someone else’s treasure. We have a thing called kerbside collection here. People put things they don’t want on the pavement (sidewalk), and it’s really not uncommon for other people to scavenge. I picked up wicker chairs and all sorts of things that helped me pretty up my home and cost me nothing.

Make your own clothes if you can sew. Make clothes for your kids (or grandkids). I used to make my daughters’ ballet tutus. I made track suits for my kids in winter and shorts and tee shirts for them in summer. Again, I watched for specials on fleece and bought it when on sale. They sometimes had colours they weren’t in love with, but they looked neat and tidy and it saved me a fortune.

Ask a question about cheap, healthy meals. I bet people have some great money saving recipes that ensure your family is also getting a healthy diet.

jca's avatar

I, too, would never pay Starbucks prices for a coffee drink every day. I can afford it but I don’t comprehend how people will give them $100 a month or more (at $5 per day x 20 work days).

@JLeslie made a good point about some people thinking these things are standard and for others, they’re not.

I think I was in my 40’s when I had my first manicure. When I was in high school and was really into my nails, I did them myself as did all my friends.

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LuckyGuy's avatar

I’m still reusing K-cups. If I’m on the third reuse I now add a tiny spoonful of instant coffee to the mix. It turns the hot water just brown enough.

canidmajor's avatar

Ew, @LuckyGuy! And I thought I was bad by reheating yesterday’s leftover coffee! (I’m pretty lazy.). :-D

LuckyGuy's avatar

@canidmajor I absolutely would reheat the previous day’s coffee. I can’t tell the difference.
It’s a gift.

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