Money Saving Ideas

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by kisat, May 25, 2008.

  1. kisat

    kisat Songster

    Apr 1, 2007
    Washington State
    A good idea in these tough financial times are figuring out ways of saving money. So, as I was thinking (and someone pointed out just now) why not start a thread on good ways to save money? My brain isn't working right now since it's still on my sick chickie babe so I can't contribute any right now, but as I think of them, I will post them here.

    So what are some good ones that you have?

    There is already a section for recipes, so if you have a recipe, post under the Recipes section, this will be for all other ideas. I'm hoping this is the right place for this topic [​IMG]

    Remember, even if you've been doing something for years, try and be aware of it and post it. Some may only be money savers, some may be frivolous, but this is for ANY kind of saving in ANY kind of way. Some people may see it as obvious, while others may not have thought of it for a second. Anything and everything goes. Energy savers, food cost savers, gas savers, etc.
    Last edited: May 27, 2008
  2. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Oh, there are so many!

    First, don't get into debt and if you are in debt, get out of it. Anytime you pay on credit, you spend that extra 20+ percent on an item. Thus, if you want to save money, only buy what you can afford to pay for at that time.

    I know that sounds hard, but it can be done. Hubby and I both put ourselves through college, plus worked low paying jobs both before and after graduation, so it was no surprise when we ended up in debt. Once we decided we were done with all of that, we created a system to get out of debt and haven't had any credit card debt in almost 20 years.

    With a lower debt-to-credit ratio, and an on time payment record for your bills, your credit rating improves and you then pay less for long term big ticket items that you *must* use credit for (house, car).

    How we did it -

    Spend a couple of months assessing EVERYthing you spend money on. Divide it by categories so that you fully know where you spend your money.

    Then, sit down and take a good hard look at what you can cut back. You may be surprised to find just how much you are wasting on things. Do you need to run through Starbuck's when you can make a cup of coffee and take it on the road? Do you really need this season's newest style? That pedicure? Bottled water? Soda Pop? (side note here - I know someone who's always taking her soda cans/water bottles in to be recycled, saying that she needs the money. I keep telling her that she's spending $3.30 in order to get back the 30 cents. Wouldn't it be better to just not spend the money in the first place?)

    Look at your energy usage at home? Turn off lights, replace bulbs with CFLs, hang more things to dry outside. Don't run the water while brushing your teeth. Take shorter showers.

    Do you have health insurance? You may not need to carry the medical portion on your car insurance? Can you raise your deductible and set aside the difference you'd need to pay for that larger amount?

    Do you have a cell phone? Do you use all your minutes? If not, you may be wasting money. A cable plan? Do you use all those channels? Can you move to a lower plan or to no plan at all?

    How about your banking account? Is there another bank in town that'll give you a better deal?

    Buy your groceries based on what is on sale, cook some meatless meals, eat more at home and fewer processed foods, etc. Eat all your leftovers and let nothing go to waste. Grow a garden.

    Write down all your debts and what you pay toward them each month. Set a goal to pay the minimum payment, plus the interest, plus any purchases so that your balance is going down, not up. Take the money you're saving by making all these changes and tackle one debt at a time, plus set aside some money for savings/emergencies.

    As you eliminate one debt, take the money you were paying toward that and set about tackling the next debt. As you do so, raise the amount you're setting aside in your savings account. Your savings account is your emergency fund and you need one of these because things break down and need to be replaced, etc.

    Keep a chart of all of these things. It'll go slow at first, but as you keep doing this, you suddenly find that you're finding money here and there that you didn't think you had before because you weren't utilizing what you had to the best of your abilities. When everything is paid off, you'll be surprised and pleased at what you were able to do!
  3. redoak

    redoak Songster

    Feb 27, 2008
    Russia, NY
    1. Mow your lawn less often, rake the grass and use as mulch/fertilizer. I've been mowing every 3 weeks, instead of every weekend. I'm using 2 1/2 times less gas (lawn is thick in parts and need to mow slow), and with the mulch fertilizer in the garden I'm weeding less often. Also with the mulch we don't need to water our garden as often.

    2. We went in with a relative for garbage. So we cut our garbage bill in half. We make about a large breadloaf of garbage every 2 weeks so was kinda silly to have this large can and almost empty every week.

    3. In my spare time I've started foraging for food to use in cooking (leeks, raspberries, blackberries, puff balls, etc)

    4. Drive only 55 mph or less, take foot off gas for corners ahead of time and coast to stops. Went from 29 mpg to 33 mpg.

    5. We live about 18 miles from the "city" and save up all our errands for once a month, including grocery shopping.

    6. I make all our furniture, headboards, quilt racks, end tables, coffee tables, etc.

    7. We got a TV antenna and canceled our cable TV.

    8. We stopped using our dryer and use clothes line in the summer and hung one inside for winter use.
  4. kisat

    kisat Songster

    Apr 1, 2007
    Washington State
    Those are great so far!

    - A thought on the mowing too. You can mow your lawns at a higher height and it will cut down on the amount of water the lawn needs.

    - An old trick that my dad also taught us - kinda weird but it worked then, and I'm sure it would work even now in the energy efficient toilets - was to place a brick inside the back of the toilet tank. Less water was needed to keep it full.

    - Good idea that I mentioned before in a different forum, so this time I will throw in the fact that as someone mentioned (or if concerned about the dangers of the plastics), if you're not into using plastic, or reusing certain plastics, this idea won't work for you - but for us - it works. Reuse old laundry buckets. Wash them out well, then you can use them to store dry goods in - we use them for rice, pasta, flour, cornmeal, etc. We usually have a bag inside the bucket, plus some plastic wrap, or tin foil over the top before replacing the lid. We keep them stored out of the heat and light, then we take out what we can store in our tupperware containers that sit on the counter. Alloys you to store more.

    - This one may be an obvious one, but not to people that haven't considered it before. Having an extra freezer - if you can afford it - to store meats, etc., in. Then, you can stock up on those items - chicken, meat, breads you've made or purchased, veggies, etc. - you need when they are on sale and have a place to put them.

    I'll think of more I'm sure [​IMG] Remember to keep 'em coming, even if you think that it is obvioius. There are plenty of people that might not have thought about it, or don't know about it.
  5. sunnychooks

    sunnychooks Songster

    Jul 21, 2007
    I used to spend $50-$60 to get my hair colored. Now I do it myself at home and spend only about $6.99. Honestly, I don't think it looks any different and I save time and gas money by not having to drive to the hair salon. Same with nails.
  6. texasreb

    texasreb Songster

    May 18, 2008
    Ways to save when you do dine out:

    Share a plate, even if it costs a buck or so extra or if you are dining alone, ask for the to go box at the beginning of the meal and put away half of the meal for later (these tips also save calories).

    Order water instead of soda, alcohol, etc.

    Order the daily special.

    Go to new restaurants. Sometimes that have ultra low introductory prices to lure in customers.

    Order family style if it is available.

    Go to close by restaurants instead of far away ones.
  7. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    -Take a look at your cell phone bill. If you haven't upgraded your minutes lately, chances are they've come out with a better plan. Give your cell phone provider a call and see if they have newer plans that will save you money. A plan that cost $50 two years ago may cost $30 now!
    -For cable/Internet/Phone- Call around and see what the other providers are offering. We shaved $20 a month off of our bill because we told Charter that another provider was offering the same service for less. Instead of losing a customer, they lowered our bill. We are going to do the same thing with our homeowner's and vehicle insurance provider.
    -One thing that has really saved us money is taking a list to the grocery store and sticking with it. I don't buy anything that's not on the list, even if it's on sale. Why do they have the sales in the first place? To make you buy stuff you don't really need! I do the same thing when I go to Target. I take a list and I don't stray from it. If I don't do that, a "I just need some conditioner" trip will end up costing me $100... just from browsing and picking up stuff I don't really need.
    -Pick a "luxury" you can afford. It's easier to cut out all the other stuff if you have that one thing. Maybe it's getting your nails done once a month. Maybe it's a cup of Starbucks on Fridays. Whatever it is, pick it, stick with it, and get rid of everything else.
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Just a side note for all those who mention replacing the incancdescent bulbs with those newfangled twisty fluorescent realize that they contain mercury and should not just be thrown in your trash cans, right? Those are hazardous waste. Just something to think about-solve one problem, create a worse one.

    We haven't had cellphones in a year. I don't color my hair and a neighbor cuts it for free. We dont owe any money except the small house pymt and if someone would buy my three acre parcel I'm trying to sell that adjoins my place, I wont have a mortgage. My two vehicles are ancient and paid for, one with only liability coverage on it. We have no lawn to mow-the chickens see to that. Never had a manicure or pedicure in my entire life. Don't smoke, dont drink, never did. Starbucks? Dont think I've ever had a cup. Dont live near one. Dont go to the movies, haven't been in over a year. Rarely go out to eat. Do one big grocery trip once a month. Rarely leave the mountain except to go to the doctor or the feedstore or that once-a-month grocery trip or maybe to pick up prescriptions. Grow a garden. Have lots of berries and fruit trees. We live in a small house that needs lots of work, and it has for years. Not sure when that will ever get done. We don't use A/C or our electric heat, we heat with our woodburning soapstone stove. Dont know many more places to save money.
    Last edited: May 25, 2008
  9. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Tips for saving fuel and getting better MPG from your vehicle:

    Avoid prolonged warming up of engine, even on cold mornings - 30 to 45 seconds is plenty of time.

    Don't start and stop engine needlessly. Idling your engine for one minute consumes the gas amount equivalent to when you start the engine.

    Avoid "reving" the engine, especially just before you switch the engine off; this wastes fuel needlessly and washes oil down from the inside cylinder walls, owing to loss of oil pressure.

    Eliminate jack-rabbit starts. Accelerate slowly when starting from dead stop. Don't push pedal down more than 1/4 of the total foot travel. This allows your car to function at peak efficiency.

    Buy gasoline during coolest time of day - early morning or late evening is best. During these times gasoline is densest. Keep in mind - gas pumps measure volumes of gasoline, not densities of fuel concentration. You are charged according to "volume of measurement".

    Avoid filling the tank to top. Overfilling results in sloshing over and out of tank. Never fill gas tank past the first "click" of fuel nozzle, if nozzle is automatic.

    Traveling at 55 mph give you up to 21% better mileage when compared to speeds of 65 mph and 70 mph.

    Traveling at fast rates in low gears can consume up to 45% more fuel than is needed.

    Manual shift driven cars allow you to change to highest gear as soon as possible, thereby letting you save gas if you "nurse it along". However, if you cause the engine to "bog down", premature wearing of engine parts occurs.

    Keep windows closed when traveling at highway speeds. Open windows cause air drag, reducing your mileage by 10%.

    Drive steadily. Slowing down or speeding up wastes fuel.

    Think ahead when approaching hills. If you accelerate, do it before you reach the hill, not while you're on it.

    Do not rest left foot on the brake pedal while driving. The slightest pressure puts "mechanical drag" on components, wearing them down prematurely. This "dragging" also demands additional fuel usage.

    Avoid rough roads whenever possible, because dirt or gravel rob you of up to 30% of your gas mileage.

    Stoplights are usually timed for your motoring advantage. By traveling steadily at the legal speed limit you boost your chances of having the "green light" all the way.

    Automatic transmissions should be allowed to cool down when your car is idling at a standstill, e.g. railroad crossings, long traffic lights, etc. Place gear into neutral position. This reduces transmission strain and allows transmission to cool.

    Regular tune-ups ensure best economy; check owner's manual for recommended maintenance intervals. Special attention should be given to maintaining clean air filters... diminished air flow increases gas waste.

    Inspect suspension and chassis parts for occasional misalignment. Bent wheels, axles, bad shocks, broken springs, etc. create engine drag and are unsafe at traveling speeds.

    Remove snow tires during good weather seasons; traveling on deep tire tread really robs fuel!

    When buying tires don't buy the widest tire available for your wheels, wide tires create more friction and rolling resistance, therefore use more fuel.

    Inflate all tires to maximum limit. Each tire should be periodically spun, balanced and checked for out-of-round. When shopping for new tires, get large diameter tires for rear wheels. check manufacturer's specifications for maximum tire pressures.

    Remove excess weight from trunk or inside of car - extra tires, back seats, unnecessary heavy parts. Extra weight reduces mileage, especially when driving up inclines.

    During cold weather watch for icicles frozen to car frame. Up to 100 lbs. can be quickly accumulated! Unremoved snow and ice cause tremendous wind resistance. Warm water thrown on (or hosed on) will eliminate it fast.
  10. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Quote:That's correct. I neglected to point that out. Thanks for the reminder!

    However, since the amount of mercury is relatively small, about the size of this >>> . <<< per bulb, it's only an issue IF, you drop one (the vapor is the problem, leave the room, and carefully clean up after the air has settled) and IF you dump them in the regular trash so that multiple sources of mercury begin leaching into the system. Treat them as you would your spent batteries, then the mercury will be reclaimed and recycled, plus less mercury is being released by the electric company to power the higher wattage bulbs!

    I've changed nearly every bulb in my house to CFLs and have cut my electric bill significantly. It's now down to just about $50 a month!

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