Ways to save Money

Updated on January 28, 2010
S.O. asks from Genoa, IL
13 answers

Does anyone have a good way to save money? Things are hard right now and any idea someone can share would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

3 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all these great ideas! We will definitely be using them.

More Answers

N.M.

answers from Chicago on

When I had my son 3.5 yrs ago I ended up quitting a job that paid really well and went immediately into shock at the loss of income. Over time we realized all the things we had that we could live without -- here's a brief list:

a1) We NEVER USE CREDIT CARDS unless we really must! We also have a 15yo TV... :) it works, it doesn't look fancy, but it works!!

a) Extended cable -- now we get the package above basic that includes Sprout and Noggin. We get this package in conjunction with:

b) Phone and Internet, for $129 per month for all 3. We are saving about $70 (using Wowway) than we were when using Comcast. I think Comcast has pretty much the same package now.

c) We have a rule only to eat out once a month (right now), it saves us prob $200 a month.

d) We do cook a lot w/ hamburger and chicken, I do miss my salmon and steak nights but if we can save $30 in grocery bills a week, that money can go to the kids in some other way, and they don't eat salmon anyway :)

e) I'll go through my grocery cart at the end of trip and look at what i really need and what i just want, and usually put back 1/2 of what i want (sayonara, cookies).

f) I've spent the last 6 months learning about the stock market and bonds and mutual funds and have taken control of my own 401k (which i actually transferred to an IRA, which is AWESOME in that you don't pay taxes when you cash it in at retirement -- so I put in tax-free 401k money and turned it into tax-free retirement draw!) Since i've been controlling it (Fidelity is still account manager), I've made $8000 more than I would have had i just left it in mutual funds alone. Because it's not just about saving the money you have, but about being smart w/ the money you've saved!

g) Find a stylist at a salon that cuts hair for $15, you'll save $30 and get the same (pretty much) hair style from Marios.

h) Color your own hair, if you color it. I look at it like it's only temporary color, and it's only temporary that I'll be doing it (i'll go back to work someday, not sure when). You will save at least $40 by coloring your own hair -- go to Sally Beauty and buy a mixing dish, a brush/wand, the colorant and the fixative, mix it yourself and you've got the same thing your salon is using. The fix is i think $12, lasts about 20 hair colorings, and the color is $3.99. CHEEP! :)

i) I work out at home/around neighborhood now, instead of Ballys. Save huge $.

j) Coupons, i cut them but always forget to bring them, drat. When i don't forget,i usually can save about $5.

k) Dupage County ParentSwap site, you can get rid of the thngs you don't need and usually find what it is you are looking for on this site. W/ my first son we pretty much bought everything because we had "first child syndrome", where nothing but the best for our child!! Now i don't fall for the advertising or the pressure or the feeling that I'm a bad parent if we don't have name brands, realize that life is short and things really aren't necessary, but the necessary things (winter clothes for example) are easy to come by on Parent Swap! It's a gem of a site, run by a gem of a lady.

?) There are also Freecycle sites in every community out there, similar to ParentSwap.

??) Online Garage Sales, Craigslist, you can find anything on these sites too.

???) Sell your old stuff that's still saleable on ebay, you get most $$ for it there. Otherwise, give it back if you got it from Freecycle or the p-Swap, it's good karma.

That's bout it, have to say we have saved tons and are able to get by w/ our $2000/month mortgage and bills on just one moderate income. Thanks for the question, I do sometimes forget what we have here as money continues to trip us up. GOOD luck to you, hope you can find ways the work for you.

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A.

answers from Chicago on

1. Write down all expenses weekly/monthly.
2. Look at items that seem high or may quickly reveal some unnecessary waste and prepare to make changes.

I think there are some monthly expenses,particularly with food, paper goods, etc that we can spend money on so quickly without noticing how much it adds up.

3. Cancel/change those unnecessary expenses - cable bills, magazine subscriptions, etc.

4. Inventory your homes canned goods, frozen foods, paper products, etc and make a list of items used regularly. Create shopping lists monthly and stick to it, using coupons and buying in bulk and cheaper when you are able to. There are some fantastic coupon websites out there so sign-up!

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Y.S.

answers from Chicago on

Sign up for freecycle, freesources and dupagecountyparent swap. It's a recycling site where people give stuff away, and you can get rid of stuff. You can get a lot of good stuff for free. I've received some winter boots for my kids, halloween costumes for 2 years for both of them, christmas tree, toys, sleeping bag, etc. I've seen people give away a car, computers, furniture and a lot more stuff.
Go to http://groups.yahoo.com/, then search for freecycle, freesources groups in towns in your area. Just type in your town, sign up and have fun. It's an awesome site! You get a lot for free and by recycling you help save the environment!

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D.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

I had a REALLY bad habit of spending money on uneccessary things, so my husband and I got seperate checking accounts. Since my husband makes twice (probably more) as much as me he payes 2/3 of the bills and groceries and such and I pay 1/3. I pay full price for the things that are ONLY for me. I have DEFINATELY stopped spending as much money plus we are on our way to paying off our debt sooner than expected.

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K.

answers from Indianapolis on

The Thurs Indy Star has coupons....start there... go through your junk mail for coupons. When you grocery shop, price match. I know you can go to Walmart w/an ad they will give you the cheaper price. You get paid to take surveys here:https://www1.pineconeresearch.com/Signup/Signup_Form_LI3.asp It is legit...I do them! Good luck!

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K.M.

answers from Terre Haute on

I have been able to save quite a bit of money on my grocery bill by shopping at places like Dollar General for some stuff like milk and cleaning supplies. I also go to Aldi's for my canned goods and also Kroger always has alot of stuff marked down. I also buy my meat in bulk and it is alot cheaper. I have been hitting the goodwill for the kids clothes..they have some really cute stuff there and its really cheap. I hope this helps you

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T.T.

answers from Indianapolis on

Rent movies from the library for free 

Also, have you read the book Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy? She has a couple others too. Check out her website at www.miserlymoms.com

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M.C.

answers from Indianapolis on

Hi S.,

I will tell you what I do. I sell items on ebay and most people pay with pay pal. This is an account that is online and linked to your checking account. As I sell the items I never withdraw the money unless I aboustly need it. It is an easy way to have a saving account that is not to easy to get to. In order to get the money you have to send it to your checking account which take 3 business days. They do have a debit card that you can get I just do not have one. Just a though..

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S.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

Use coupons at the grocery store. Kroger and Scott's will triple coupons .50 and below. We use them ALL the time and it saves us a ton of money on our groceries. I only clip the coupons for things that we use. Also, pay attention to the sales flyers. When they have meat on sale, stock up. Using store brand foods helps to save money as well. I know Kroger has part on their tag that tells you how much everything costs by the unit. I always look at that before I buy anything. Sometimes the sales can be misleading. It may actually be cheaper to buy things that aren't on sale. You can also talk to the school system you sub for. Make sure they know that you are available. I used to sub and that really helped me get more days. Don't be afraid to talk to the teachers as well. They should be able to request you if they need a sub. Before you buy anything, ask yourself 'do I need this?'

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A.R.

answers from Chicago on

If you have not yet done so, really start thinking about your income and your 'outgo'. Keep all your receipts and track where your spending is. Do you eat breakfast at home or do you go through the drive-through/do you pack a lunch for work or do you buy it every day/do you eat dinner at home every night or are you going out to eat or ordering in food? That area right there can suction a whole lot of money out of the family treasury. Yes, your grocery bill will inflate BUT you will be saving money in the long run because it is WAY more expensive to eat your meals outside of the home.

Analyze your spending wants and needs. Obviously needs are things that have to be paid: house, car, insurance, utilities, etc. Wants can be things like cable, internet, magazines, too many new toys or clothes, etc. Make a household budget, taking care of the needs first them appropriate a reasonable amount for wants. Make sure that even if it is only a few dollars each paycheck, put something into savings so you have either an emergency fund or you are preparing for holidays/birthdays, etc.

If you have credit card debt, stop using the credit card entirely if possible. Not only do your minimum payments increase with use, you are also paying more in interest which is like flushing your money down the toilet. You could even try to call the credit card companies and ask for a lower interest rate. If they cannot do it, then look to transferring the balance to a card that is lower (and let the original card company know, because the mere thought of losing you as a customer may push them to lower the rate).

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S.L.

answers from Indianapolis on

Andrea had some great suggestions! To add to that, one thing that has helped me is to go through my checkbook occasionally and see where I'm spending money that I shouldn't. When you stop at the gas station are you buying a drink and a snack every time? Do you smoke? Quitting smoking saved me a ton of money! If you and your family need new clothes, go to GoodWill on the north side; its a nice store and they have a lot of great clothes that are gently used, its like raiding someone else's closet. I love going there!

I used to have a boatload of trouble not spending way too much at the grocery. I'd make a list but wouldn't look at it while I was shopping, and I inevitably bought things I didn't need. Make sure your cabinets are organized in a way that you know what all you have to eat and can make a good grocery list off that. Then save some money; WalMart has really good deals on a lot of products. I recommend buying produce elsewhere, but you can save a lot going cheaper or generic.

I have also found Dollar General great for cleaning supplies, and especially laundry detergent and fabric softener. I don't like the super cheapo kind, but Arm & Hammer is good detergent and I really like Gain Fabric softner, which are both under $3 at Dollar General for good sized bottles.

You can also save a lot of money on fueling your car if you avoid unnecessary trips and of course drive slowly. 5 mile an hour can save you a ton of money in a given month. Make sure your tire pressure is correct, running around with low tires can decrease fuel efficiency, as can taking too long to change your oil. Frequent oil changes also decrease maintenance work needed as your car ages; its the best thing you can do for your car. Rama car wash on the south side actually details inside and out your car and changes your oil all for $40. Or I go to WalMart, buy a couple quarts of oil and a filter for $10 and ask my dad or my brother to help me out and change it.

Little things help; use cold water when you do laundry, it will save a lot on electricity. Turn lights off when you aren't in a room. Turn lights off throughout your house when you go to bed. Keep your heat about 2 degrees lower than you usually do and wear slippers and a sweatshirt instead. They actually say its healthier to sleep in colder air, between 65-68 degrees, and you'll save a lot on your heat bill.

I know those seem fairly obvious, but they are things a lot of people just don't do, they don't really think about. I'm a single mom and I pay an arm and a leg for childcare and rent alone, so I know how important it is to save money! Sometimes you do everything you can and still don't feel like you're getting anywhere. Just keep your head up and know that things will get better :)

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J.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

When not in use, unplug things like toasters and coffee makers. Not only will it help with your electric bill, it's also environmentally friendly. Also, I write out a menu each week of what's for dinner before I go to the grocery store. That way when I go, I only buy what I need for my dinners. It really saves a lot of money, but also a lot of wondering "what's for dinner" each day.

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S.H.

answers from Detroit on

I do not know if this is too late but a way I have been saving money lately has been buying generic health care products. A great source that I found is 'ehealthsource.com' It has over 400 value-branded products that are all FDA approved. I recently bought their first aid bundle and it had everything that I needed! I saved over 40% when compared to national retail brands. Just google, 'ehealthsource' and check it out!

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