Saturday, September 4, 2010

25 More Tips for Saving Money

It is a tough economic time for many people these days. Here's more ways to save your cold, hard cash:
  1. See if you can get a cheaper cell phone plan. For example, Virgin Mobile has a $25 per month plan that features unlimited text and web, and includes 400 talk minutes.
  2. Go to free events in your community. Check out the online version of your newspaper (#3) or local blogs to find out what's happening each weekend.
  3. Cancel newspaper/magazine subscriptions and read their online sites instead.
  4. Cancel your home internet if possible (sometimes it isn't) and use free internet at the local library or at your school/office. Even our local Home Depot has free internet which you can access from their parking lot.
  5. Cook at home instead of eating out. It will save you LOTS of money.
  6. Build your menus around the loss leader sale items at local stores.
  7. Forage for free food. This month there are plenty of blackberries and apples in our area that are ready for picking.
  8. If you need clothes try: garage sales, thrift stores, friends who are cleaning out their closets, and the clearance racks of discount stores such as Walmart, Target, and Ross. There is no reason to pay full retail for clothes that will be bargain-basement priced within a few months.
  9. Make your own treats. It is simple to make everything from milkshakes, to potato chips, to cakes and more, for a whole lot less than what you would pay in a store or restaurant.
  10. Think preventive medical care: exercise daily, eat nutritious food, use home remedies for non-life threatening illnesses, etc.
  11. Set up your own blog and include ads. This can be a great way to express your creative side, help others with the information you provide, and make some extra money.
  12. Consider some free activities you can do with the family: camping, hiking, Parkour, playing at the playground, starting a neighborhood baseball game, etc.
  13. Stay out of legal trouble (this can save more money than all 25 tips combined!).
  14. Consider becoming a one car--or even no car--family.
  15. Consider cancelling cable and hooking up a digital antenna to your TV. You can also watch shows via your computer hooked up to your TV.
  16. Have a garage sale. It will cut down on the amount of stuff you need to take care of and make you some extra money.
  17. Do free stuff for your spouse: bring flowers you picked on the way home (for wives), tell the husband to go fishing while you mow the yard, etc. Happy spouse, happy house.
  18. Pack your kid's lunch for school each day. And/or, if you qualify, sign your kids up for free or reduced cost lunches at school (a caveat: I recently look at the menu for one of the grandkid's school lunch programs and nearly everything they were serving looked like stuff we don't even eat because of how unhealthy it is so beware).
  19. Ask friends and family to help on yard/home projects instead of hiring labor. Of course you should be willing to help them out when needed.
  20. Reload your own ammo. If you have a group of friends that want to do so, consider sharing the cost of reloading equipment.
  21. Barter for services. Want to take karate classes but don't have the money? Find out what services you should provide the local karate school and trade for lessons.
  22. Use CraigsList to your advantage. Sell stuff, buy stuff (at much cheaper than retail prices), check out their "gigs" if you need to make some money, put in an ad for your own services each week, etc.
  23. Make your own beverages! If you have a daily Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts habit, this could save you LOTS of money.
  24. Make a spare bedroom the "family room" when the temps drop outside; this new family room can be heated with a space heater at a fraction of the cost of heating the entire house.
  25. Consider renting out spare rooms in your house. This may give you flashbacks to college, but when times are tight, any extra money helps and it also provides shelter for someone who could use it.

Stay tuned for more money saving tips...


  1. Insight,

    As someone who lives at or below the poverty line (thanks to law school) I can certainly relate to many of the ideas you espoused above.

    Some others may include:

    - Turning off the AC when you are not at home. (I live in a very hot and humid sub-tropical area, so its easier said then done, but it will save you a lot)

    - If you can't turn your AC off, at least set it 5 degrees higher then it currently is. Heat is 5 degrees lower.

    - I can't begin to say all the great things that occur when you cook at home. Its easy. Its relaxing. Its CHEAP. You will save TONS of money that way, and better yet, you can control your portions are lead a healthier lifestyle, as you mentioned.

    - Cook ahead. To save energy costs, if you are going to eat a particular dry-store food (i.e: spaghetti) more then once a week, cook it all at the same time and store the rest in the fridge. Running the microwave for 2 mins is much cheaper then trying to boil another pot of water.

  2. Part II

    - Keep curtains down to keep the cold air/heat in the building and not outside.

    - When you are not using electronics, don't just turn them off, plug them into a surge protector and switch the protector off when you are away. Electronics that are plugged in and not on will still draw power, in some cases, significantly so.

    - Rely on natural light during the day. Limit your lighting use at night.

    - Read. Its a free way to pass the time humans used for thousands of years. Libraries make it very easy and a library card is free.

    - Netflix. For $9 a month, you can get nearly everything on demand that cable will cost you $100+. If you want to watch the game, go to a friends house or local bar. Buying a $2 beer there is cheaper then the $150 price tag each month for Premium Cable or Satellite

    - Walk to places nearby. When that's too far, make a $100 investment and get a bike. The costs you save on parking, gas, and wear and tear on your car will pay for the bike in a week or less.

    - Wash your dishes by hand. Its soothing. This also helps control the stuff you eat as well when its tougher to clean up.

    - You don't need a gym membership to stay in shape. (Now I have one because of the nature of my training.) Running daily, or every other day, and doing a simple body weight workout will be sufficient to keep your body from gaining weight. (Assuming you are watching what you eat.)

    - If you need to entertain your kids for cheap, I refer you to the aforementioned reading.

    - If they need to go outside and blow off some energy, give them a football or soccer ball. Its cheap, there's nothing else to buy to play, and they'll stay occupied for hours.

    Those are some of my ideas. Thank you for the blog! Love reading it!