Can You Help with Money Saving Tips?

Updated on October 22, 2008
A.H. asks from Kenosha, WI
16 answers

My retirement savings just took a major nosedive with the recent stockmarket drops so I am going to need all the help I can get with saving money. Is there one major (or minor) tip anyone can give me to help save money and save for the future? I already subscribe to Cheapskate daily and Simple dollar and read everything I can on investing. Thanks so much for the help. Any and all tips will be gratefully accepted and used.

6 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

I can't begin to thank you enough for the wonderful ideas. I plan to use each and every one. Any website referral was greatly appreciated and all ideas will be pursued. I knew I could count on the folks from Mamasource. You people are the greatest. While retirement is not imminent, I have been spending many sleepless nights over this and I feel very much more in control of all this with your ideas. Again....thank you.

Featured Answers



answers from Chicago on

I've been hearing so much of this lately! I don't know if this will help?! But I belong to a whole sale club that is saving my family so much money! They are a green company, but are cheaper than Walmart or Target.

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

Grab some visine! Here are some things I have done and hope that you can do the same!

You can call your credit card company- assuming you have a balance- and ask them to lower your interest rate. Most companies are willing to rather than lose you to another company. If they will not then look around. Find one that has a lower interest and no fee for transfering balances.

I also was able to borrow money from a family member so I could lower our interest even more!!!! We recieved the check in the CC statement for 3.4% for the remainder of our balance. I paid off the balance and then wrote the check to my family member and it has saved us over $80 a month on interest that goes straight to the balance. Only bad thing- actually good thing- is that if I use our CC now the new purchases get a higher interest rate and that balance will not get paid off until the lower interest rate balance does. So that interest will majorly add up- needless to say we no longer use this card!!!!

We only use our CCs for emergencies and for internet charges and our IPass. Other than that if we can not pay cash it is not something we need!

Go back to the basics! Cook "old school"! Make foods from scratch and you can save a bunch! I now buy cheaper cuts of meats and put those in the crock pot to make them more tender. Add you veggies and you can have a great HEALTHY meal for much less! The nice thing about this is you can also lower your medical costs by eating more healthy!

I also drive further to get better prices on my groceries. I drive 45 mins but save a considerable amount each week compared to shopping at Dominicks and Jewel and even Super Walmart!!!!! Try to shop with a list so you do not impulse shop! Set your limit of what you can spend each week. If you beat it all month long treat yourself to something small!

If you "must" go out to eat go to and get a gift certificate that you can print out on your printer. It will cost you $10 for a $25 certificate. So you can save a considerable amount of money in the long run if you need to go out to dinner.

Check out You can get lots of nice things for FREE! You can also get rid of things that you have that are just collecting dust!The concept of this site is to keep things out of the landfills. I have gotten rid of all kinds of things from clothes to a tuba! I have also gotten some toys for my daughter this way that I would otherwise not be able to splurge on! Check it out!

Some really cheap things I have recently done is cut up old towels and use those instead of buying papertowels for wiping up spills! We used to buy 2 large packs of Bounty each month and now we buy one about once every other month. I am also looking into making my own cleaning products- vinegar or amonia and water etc.... trying to learn to save!!!

Rather than go to Blockbuster go to your library. You can get some movies usually from there for free! Also watch the newspaper for free entertainment in your area or surrounding areas. Lots of times park districts will have doings as well as library and things. Pull out board games and things you used to do YEARS ago as a family for entertainment!

I have also checked my cell phone compared to other companies. I have recently checked our plan and searched around for the best deal.... I am now saving $45 a month on that! And you get to keep your phone number so you do not have to worry about that! If you do not want to change usually the threat that you will because of the cost will make them change your rate plan and sometimes even get a new phone in the process!

Check out your cable, internet and phone bundle packages. I used to have basic internet and cable, our local phone service and AT&T for long distance. Our total for that was over $225 a month- INSANE!!! I went with the bundle 2 years ago. Saved a ton of money! Well then it went up and with the economy where it was I had to look around. I called Comcast and told them I was leaving if they could not lower my bill to what they give to new customers. The did. That saved me $50 a month and they actually upgraded my cable!

We actually HAD to get rid of one vehicle. The other one we downsized and got one that was more economical. I wish I could say that we saved money in gas but the prices kept on climbing! But now that they are going back down again we are not looking at it as money we are saving.... we are putting that towards a bill and not blowing it. Same with the insurance on the second car that we had.

The savings will really add up! I think the biggest thing to doing all this is rewarding yourself also. Just like on a diet... this one a money diet! If you do not get to splurge every once in awhile you will blow it all! Make sure you reward yourself for doing well!

Good luck in finding ways to save and putting that money towards investments! I have been pondering asking this question myself and am glad you did it(Although right now I can not afford to invest except for in today lol)! I also just signed up for! Thanks for putting that out there! I am proud to be cheap now a days!

Blessings to you!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

If you've not set up a household budget yet, do it and stick to it. If you are like me, who used to have a nasty Starbucks habit, see where you are 'wasting' money and eliminate those behaviors. $4/day during a work week = $20/week and $1040/year! If you work and buy your lunch at the rate of $5/day that equates to $25/week and $1300/year! Make the coffee at home and pack a lunch that would be much cheaper. Dropping both habits is also a healthy lifestyle change, too.

Avoid even moderate use of your credit cards. If you must use them, only do so if you can pay off the balance each month. Why give the credit card companies more money in interest over time?

Many people will disagree with me on this, but if you are not sufficiently adding to your retirement account but saving money for your children's college - stop. Put the money into your retirement savings. Your child can (almost) always get loans to cover the costs of higher education but you cannot get loans to cover the costs of retirement living.

Seek the advice of a qualified CFP (Certified Financial Planner) who can assist you with making decisions regarding long-term wealth and security. My close friend from high school is a CFP with a small, family-based business and they treat their client's wealth with extreme care. I mention this not as a plug or recommendation because she lives several states away, but because she and I have great conversations about appropriately and conservatively growing wealth over time to fund retirement. Find a friendly CFP who looks out for your best interests, not their bottom line and commissions boost.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Really appreciated MR's post. We're all taking a nosedive here and I have read that advise to forego the college saving if you aren't putting a little away for retirement. My big thing that my husband and I would like to find out from a Financial Planner is how to invest our 401K so that we don't continue to take the huge hit that we've been taking.

Getting our kids on that bandwagon and making them realize that their habits of leaving lights on and running extra water all adds up to more money. I want them to have an awareness that they can make a difference in saving money for our household. And we're all going to have to get used to the house being cooler this winter and wearing more sweatshirts. I think our dog will be the only one happy about that - being cooler, that is! Good luck to you!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Hi A.,
You've gotten some great advice so far, the worst thing you can do right now though is move your long term savings into a CD. there is a great article by warren buffet

I am a financial advisor and would be more than happy to sit down with you and explain what is going on in the market right now. Part of the plan that I put together is how to budget, get out of debt sooner, save for retirement as well as for emergencies. You can reach me at ###-###-#### with any questions you may have.
G. Hashish

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

There's a great book out there called "Living Frugally for Dummies". It' s not a full size book, so only costs a few dollars, and it's worth it for all the ideas and advice the author gives. She covers money saving ideas on every aspect of life. It's amazing how you can save money just at the grocery store and on meals. Also - I know Aldi's is cheap, but if you have a Food for Less around, I prefer them. They carry all the major brands you'd find at a regular chain store, but also 2 different "store" brands. My husband and I spend about $100 - $125 every 2-3 weeks on groceries and that includes all of our meat!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Did you do the typical things they suggest on money saving websites?

-Change to fluorescent coil light bulbs
-Lower your thermostat a degree or two in the winter- and lower it at night a little more
-don't drive anywhere unless you have multiple trips to make
-cut your children's hair yourself (it's actually quite easy for a boy if you buy a trimmer. I am shocked at how well I can do with it)
-Use the library to rent videos
-unplug all appliances that are not in use because even if they aren't being used, if they are plugged in they are draining energy
-always turn off all your lights when you aren't in the room.
-before you spend any money, ask yourself if you really need this item and if there is any way you can find it cheaper
-for your cell phone, I know it's hard but lower your monthly plan to the lowest possible and just use it in case of an emergency. (I am on my mom's plan as an add a line for $9.99 and I just use it for emergencies). And, don't pay for texting or anything like that. Use your home phone or email.
-shop resale shops more than retail stores
-is there anything you buy that you can buy in bulk and stockpile. Or, can you share the cost with a friend and split it.
-shop the ads and stock up on great deal items. If your family likes hamburger helper, buy like 10-20 boxes when it goes on sale for $1 or less.
-watch for good deals on stuff and read their forums.
- get all the free after rebate or rewards things from CVS, Walgreens, and Menards. I haven't bought toothpaste or soap or the like in years as I get the free stuff and save it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Hi A.! I just recently saw a discussion with Mark Cuban (American billionaire entrepreneur) regarding this very subject. He said put your money in 6 month CDs and sleep like a baby.

Check out your bank and other banks - see what they have to offer in the way of these CDs. They are supposed to be the safest and most lucrative investment you could make during these troubled economic times.

Hope this helps! Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

A., I can show you how to save on your personal care product choices, and if you so desire, teach and train other folks so they save money and you earn money. check out my website at and read the first page, it will give you some good info.

The same thing happened to my Dad when he retired 30 years ago and he has struggled ever since. It was very sad, he had worked so hard for this company for so many years.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

There are always CDs from the bank, they are safe and you will not lose, but you also don't gain a lot and there is the taxes too. Do you have a life ins policy? I have a policy that is an EIUL. It is guaranteed not to go lower than 0% even when the stock market does, as it is linked to the stock market, however you do not lose any money and always gain 1% regardless, however their is a 13% cap. It acts as a Life ins policy and savings as there is cash buildup. I got an EIUL after leaving my employment. Now my husband and 1 year old son have one. The only thing is is you cannot take out the cash build up until at least 10 years of maturity and then you can take out 90% without being taxed. It is great for saving for college and downpayments. Please let me know if you have more questions. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My husband and I have been through some tough times with him being laid off for seven months once and now I'm a stay-at-home mom so we have to scrimp. But the biggest money saving advice I can give is to shop at Aldi. We buy $150 every two weeks...then shop a little at Woodman's for items we can't get at Aldi. We shop at Costco for fruit and things of that nature...but 90% of our groceries come from Aldi.

I know it has a bad rap by some, but we love it. The hamburger has so little grease I rarely have to drain it. The pork chops are tastey. The milk, eggs, cereals, bread, cheeses, soups, beans, pasta, bisquits, cottage cheese, apple juice, tuna, and so on are really, really good. If I bought all the stuff I get from Aldi at another major chain like Jewel, Dominicks, Meijers or so on, I would pay more than triple. I can't tell you how much money we save shopping there. Like all stores you have to look at the produce before you buy it..but most everything else is the same quality or better than the major chains.

Some other advice sit down and make a budget. Write down how much you make, figure out what you need to set aside each month for long term bills like insurance and subtract that from you check, then subtract monthly bills, and figure out what you have left over...set some aside in for a rainy day and then use the rest for groceries and incidentals. Don't go beyond that., husband and I have $150 for groceries and $150 for incidentals every two weeks. We make sure we don't spend more than that.

Look for sales on things that you buy often and stock up. Cut out unnecessary expenses...we decided to cut out cable tv when he was laid off. We haven't had tv since. My girls are smart as whips and you wouldn't believe what I get accomplished because I'm not sitting an hour/two/three in front of the boob toob.

Get basic phone service with limited long distance or if you have a cell phone with a good plan...think about just using that. Our phone, long distance, and internet are less than $60 a month. I don't have a cell phone and my husband's is through work.

Cook from scratch and don't buy too many prepared foods that are frozen or in a box..they tend to be more expensive.

Sign up with stores you like to shop on-line and they will send you email advertisements about sales. I buy most of my clothes on clearance through on-line sales.

I set aside a little money each month if I have some for Christmas and birthdays...whatever is in the fund is what we spend and never more. If there isn't much there then we make due.

I cut my own hair.

My hubby signed up to be a marketing consultant with Ambit...we switched our Nicor gas to Ambit to save money, we are signing up 15 other people to get the average of their bills deducted from ours...and my hubby is trying to build a team to be an independant contractor with Ambit so maybe he can make a little money on the side. Anyone can save on their gas with Ambit and not be a consultant. All you have to do is swith (no fees) and then if you want more savings get 15 friends and family to switch too...they will deduct the average they spend on their bills from you bill. If you do this though..please email me and use me as a referral since I told you about it. You get more savings by referring people..that is how they are trying to gain market share quickly.

I would list some more tips I use, but my little one is crying. Have to go. Good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You have had some fabulous advice so far....
My husband looks very hard at the companies we put our money into..ex. Fidelity has very few fees that you pay when you put your 401 or 403b into. Check with any companies you are using and their fees, sometimes they are the middle man and if you do a little research you can go right to the source.

Heating adn cooling is also another place to save. We keep the heat at a constant 64 and I would keep it lower, we used to keep it at 58 before we had kids, but I worry my 1 yr old would freeze since he doesn't stay covered. But that is a huge savings! I have friends that keep it set at 70 and holy cow are their bills high, I say put a sweater on!
Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My husband and I read David Bach's "Smart Couples Finish Rich" and we have tripled our savings over the past 6 months. We also DVR Suze Orman daily.

I agree with MR. You need to cut out starbucks and blockbuster and thngs that are not absolutely neccesary. (I don't drink coffee, but I know to some is is a MUST!) I also agree about the college savings. Your child can always take out loans, but you can never get a loan to help you with your retirement.

Good luck and thanks for posting...I will continue to read to see what others say because we are all always looking for ways to save money.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Hi A.,
Things we have done:
-Switched to CD One Price Cleaners instead of using regular drycleaners for almost all of our clothes, only $2.29/item, even a dress and a suit. My husband still can get his polo shirts cheaper at his dry cleaner so we split the load.
-If you have a savings account, use an online savings account, like ING. They give a much better interest rate because they don't have all the administrative costs of a "brick and mortar" bank.
-We also called Comcast and asked for all the new customer packages, and they gave it to us! Huge savings there.
-Go to to find the cheapest gas each day. It's amazing how within a few blocks you can have huge differences in gas prices.
-If you are able to work from home at all, see if your employer will let you do that at least one day a week, savings all around.
-If you have a 401(k) at work, and your employer matches, make sure to contribute at least the minimum amount so that you can get that FREE employer match.
-If you get a refund when you file your tax return, that actually means you are withholding too much from your paycheck. It means the government is earning interest on your money instead of you. You should attempt to break even, or owe just a little. If you use a tax preparer, ask them to help you figure out how much you should withhold. Or I can help, as I'm a tax accountant.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Sounds like there's lots of good advice. Skimming through, however, I didn't see anyone put down This, and other swap-type groups help people find some of what they need (clothes, dishes, small appliances, etc.) gently used from people who don't need them anymore and want to keep them out of the landfills. There's this one and several others like it out there. Also, sometimes the chat groups associated with the Freecycle groups are great for people sharing local deals, sales, and other things they find out about for helping keep things in budget.

Good luck! I'm hoping the economy will recover a little in the months after the elections are over. Let's all keep our fingers crossed. :-)



answers from Chicago on

Suzi Orman is most famous now days for her tips. Head to the library and look her up for the best advice

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches