How to save money every day the way I do
Here at the Fulton’s we are always looking for legitimate ways to save money. Especially when it comes to every day expenses. Some of these you probably already do, others will seem extreme, and the rest you will want to start doing today!
Everything I’m about to talk about is something we currently do, use, buy, own, or have previously done, used, bought, or owned.
- Ting mobile phone service. Ting is a pay-per-use service, so you can control your bill! Our bill, for two smart phones, went from about $150 on Verizon to about $35 with Ting! Ting uses the Sprint network, so it’s reliable. They will even credit you up to $75 to get out of your current contract! Click here to see how much you can save.
- Menu Planning. My wife plans out two weeks of meals at a time, then generates the shopping list based off of this. Between having a plan for what to cook/eat and shopping with a list, we cut our grocery bill by 25%!!! My wife uses this App/service; it’s not perfect, but works for us (let me know what you use)
- GasBuddy.com. If you want to compare gas prices before you head out the door, this site is great! Prices are reported by users of the site and app (yes, there is an app that you can use!). Don’t waste your time/fuel driving around to find the best deal!
- Lower the thermostat. In the winter, we keep the thermostat pretty low (55F!) and wear warm clothes inside, and blankets while sitting on the couch. We both work in the same room/office, so we use a small oil-filled space heater to keep that room at a reasonable temp. In the summer we use fans, except when it’s too hot for that.
- TV. I cut the cord years ago, “giving up” traditional satellite TV service. We will check out movies (and TV series) from the local library (they can get movies from other libraries if it’s one not in stock), or use Redbox.com for a new release (pro tip: reserve online or w/ the app to ensure the movie you want is at the kiosk closest to you). Also, now there is the option of streaming content from the internet; devices such as a Roku, AppleTV, ChromeCast, or Fire TV allow you to stream free content or inexpensive subscription programs such as NetFlix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu+.
- Cloth napkins. And no paper towels. Not only do cloth napkins add some ‘class’ to your meals, they don’t cost anything to re-use (they will fit in your normal laundry load)! We use old hand-towels instead of paper towels. Again, they don’t add measurably to the laundry (and are tougher/more absorbent than paper, anyway!).
- Cloth diapers. With Baby-J on the way, we wanted to find out how to keep costs as low as possible. We calculate that we will save several thousand dollars over the course of two children; this includes the cost of buying quality diapers, extra laundry loads, and our time.
- Amazon Wish List. This may seem counter intuitive, but hear me out. I’m a spender. So I’ll put stuff I want or think I need on the list instead of buying it right away (even if it’s in budget). I’ll take some time to price shop and to just let it sit. Many times I’ve removed something from the list, either because I realized I didn’t really want it that bad, or I found a better option.
- Buy used. Craigslist, eBay, etc are all great places to find used, quality goods (80% of my furniture, and my last 4 cars were found on Craigslist).
- Buy quality. When it counts. Some things, like baby clothes, don’t matter, but with many things, buying it once, for a little more, if better than buying it many times. Or the usability factor can make it worth while to buy the better model.
- Cash Flow Planning. This is the single BEST way to reduce your spending and save money. It forces you to be intentional about your spending. It is how we ensure we only spend on what is important to us. It reigns in the impulse spending and prevents overdraft fees. We use You Need A Budget (YNAB for short) as our budgeting software. It is super easy to use, has a free mobile app, great resources, forums, FB group, and even has a good looking interface! I’ll be writing a formal review on it, soon. But for now, download the free trial here. If you want to buy it, save $6 by using this link.
What money saving tips would you like to share?
Disclosure: some of the links provided are for referral programs. By clicking those links, I will receive an account credit or money. You may also receive a credit from those same links.