Sunday, December 10, 2006

100 Ways to Save Money

Updating this 2006 list....will add more soon.

These are things I've done to save money, but I'd love to find more:

1. Use compact fluorescent bulbs.

2. Keep heat at lowest temperature you can stand ,which in my case is 64 degrees.(2009 update: 58 degrees in the winter now!) Use small space heater in colder rooms.

3. Keep drapes open for solar heat in winter, draw drapes in summer.

4. Reverse ceiling fans in winter.

5. Insulate outlets.

6. Join Amazon Prime for unlimited movies, television shows, and a lending library for books(with Kindle).

7. Turn off lights in rooms you are not using.

8. Use a power strip for electronics with power lights that stay on after you turn them off. Flip them off when not in use.

9. Close off rooms not in use.

10. Use heavy insulated drapes to save on heating and air conditioning.

11. Switch to a prepaid cell phone if you normally use less than the max of your free minutes on a contract plan.

12. Buy prepaid cell minutes at discount places online like  or

13. Use basic(lowest cost) hardline phone and cable services only. If internet rates are good, ditch the hardline(if cost efficient) and use free phone services like Google Voice or Skype. Ditch the cable and go online for entertainment.

14. Use a dial-up ISP and free Wi-fi at hotspots

15.Shop thrift stores, Freecycle, Craigslist, estate auctions, and yardsales for gently used items.

16. Don't use dealerships to repair and service your cars. Find a good reliable privately owned local shop.

17. Learn to do your own vehicle oil changes and routine maintenance

18. Service your car frequently to keep in in good shape...practice proactive car care, not reactionary care.

19. Drive more slowly and evenly, it saves a lot of gas.

20. Make up a monthly errand list and plan your trips using the least amount of errands in the same general vicinity. Planning saves gas.

21. Use coupons and savings programs. Check prices online, many times online deals are better than brick and mortar store deals. Triple up on deals - use online coupons through discount savings sites with a discounted gift certificate. See sidebar for discount saving sites.

22. Don't forget to use your association and union discounts.

23. Use community resources for fun and recreation.

24. Buy yearly passes to museums, zoos and other cultural centers of interest if you plan to go regularly. Sometimes going twice will be same price as a yearly membership for a family. You could break even going at least two times a year.

25. Use the library for books, music, and movies.

26. Drink water, not soda. Use a Brita gallon pitcher to make your own bottled water.

27. Buy frozen concentrated juice and water it down to last longer.

28. Cook from scratch with basic ingredients.

29. Take care of your health and teeth. Floss your teeth daily. Get regular check ups and dental cleanings. It will save on medical bills in the future.

30. Get in shape, eat well...saves on medical bills and lost wages due to illness.Free exercise alternatives to a paid gym membership.

31. Buy a car that will last 10+ years with very little maintenance. We buy the least expensive new Hondas, and they last forever. We use them until they run no more.

32. Cut your own a used how-to book on Amazon, or purchase a Flo-be.

32. Price compare on Ebay before buying at online retail stores.

33. Replace disposable napkins and paper towels with cloth.

34. Replace Energy Star electronics and appliances.

35. Buy used appliances on Craigslist.

36. Use inexpensive multi-use cleaning products at dollar stores.

37. Use basic cleaning supplies, like a cotton string or microfiber mop, a sponge  a scrub brush, and a bucket. Use a slightly damp rag to dust, or reuse your dryer sheets as a dust cloth. Avoid cleaning supplies that require expensive replacements in exchange for convenience.

38. Keep your HVAC serviced, and change your filters regularly.

39. Buy glass bakeware with matching plastic lids - oven to refrigerator.

40. Eat leftovers before you cook another meal. Make soups or stews out of small portions or unused(overage) food in the refrigerator that would otherwise be forgotten and thrown away. You can mix many different things together for will still taste good with a little seasoning.

41. Don't buy prepared snack foods. Make your own popcorn on the stove with raw kernels. Have cheese, nuts, fruit and crudites handy for snacks. Make your own cookies and sweet breads.

42. Shop discount stores for beauty products. Family Dollar and Dollar General often have deeply discounted prices, and with coupons you can really save. Dollar stores have super deals for shampoo and toothbrush multi-packs.

43. Reconsider your need for expensive beauty products. Make your own .

44. Buy store brands and compare cost per units for best deals. Usually buying a larger quantity will save you money.

45. Buy large lots of same kind coupons on ebay, and take advantage of bigger savings. This is especially true if something is already on sale.

46. Sign up for savings programs with your grocery store.

47. Automate or pay your bills online to save on stamps, envelopes and checks.

48. Take advantage of your money back credit cards. This is only good if you know you can pay off your balance every month, otherwise you waste your savings on finance charges.

50. Buy a heavy duty vacuum which is multi-purpose. We have a Rainbow which vacuums, cleans the air, and wet vac cleans the rugs with a detergent. This saves our rugs and makes them last longer. It also cleans furniture. It last forever. Ours is ten years old and still going strong.

51. Limit going out to eat

52. Learn to sew. You can make repairs, alter clothing, and make things for the home. Quilts and curtains can be made from sheets.

54. Have a yardsale, or rent a table at the flea market, or at the next church bazaar. This is a good way to re-coup some of the money you spent on your items.

55. Recycle your metal items at a scrap yard or recycling center and get paid. We took our old gutters in and got back around $40.00 when we replaced them.

56. When you landscape or garden use drought resistant plants which do not need extra watering. Use extra mulch to keep plants moist and keep away weeds. Make a rain barrel.

57. Instead of using lawn chemicals, improve the health of your lawn by mulching instead of bagging. We use a mulching mower and never bag anything. The lawn is thick and green. Mulched materials are natural fertilizer.

58. Get used coffee grounds(free) from Starbucks to fertilize.

59. Get free mulch(chips) from tree companies.

60. Buy plants from ebay; shrubs and trees are often less expensive. Check wallyworld first though.

61. Get free trees and shrubs by joining the National Arbor Foundation for $15.00 a year.

62. Plant fruit trees and grow your own garden.

63. Buy a laser printer for cost effective printing costs.

64. Use the blank side of junk mail letters in your printer, or cut it up for scrap paper.

65. Search Pinterest for craft and home ideas that use recycled items.

66. Recycle and reuse junk mail envelopes by turning them inside out.

67. When mailing items, recycle plastic mailers and reuse packing boxes. Buy inexpensive packing tape at Dollar General or Family Dollar.

68. Sell your used books on Amazon.

69. Buy tube socks for children...they won't outgrown them as fast as socks with a heel.

70. Buy rechargeable batteries.

71. Use free learning apps for children's online entertainment.

72. Make your own entertainment center or bookshelves with pine lumber.

73. Do your own home repair and remodeling. Buy a guide at Lowes or Home Depot, or attend their free classes.

74. Be your own contractor when you do a remodeling job. It's a lot of work, but it's much less expensive if you get bids and do the hiring yourself.

75. Rehab your kitchen and bathroom cabinets by painting them and adding new hardware.

76. Use online banks as they usually have better interest rates.

77. Make your own coffee in the morning.

78. If you work outside the home, bring your own lunch from home.

79. Paint your own home.

80. Keep all your receipts and warranty information on items your will save money if you need a replacement. Our faucet broke after 2 years, and we were able to get a free replacement with the lifetime guarantee.

81. Buy Sun brand laundry detergent in the giant pails. We have very clean clothes; it works fine. For stains I use Sun brand Oxyclean, or use a laundry booster like Borax. This brand is 50% less expensive than top name brand detergents.

82. Consider inexpensive DIY painted or stained floors rather than hard surface installations or carpeting.

83. Make your own holiday ornaments

84. Use YouTube for free movies, DIY tutorials, and children's learning videos. 

85. Take day trips instead of overnight vacations.

86. Buy store brand dishwasher detergent.

87. Shop discount eyeglasses and contact lenses online.

88. Periodically transfer your prescriptions among pharmacies using those $20.00 gift certificates for transfers. They appear in the paper or in the store circulars every so often. Ebay often has multiple coupon auctions for prescription transfers.

89. Use plastic grocery bags as garbage can liners in the bathrooms. In the kitchen, I use non-name brand liners from a dollar store. They are very inexpensive, come in large rolls, and last a long time.

90. Find religion, it's cheaper than therapy.

91. Read The Millionaire Next Door

91. Make your money work for you; save and invest at least 10% of your income. Don't let your money sit in a low interest account at a local bank.

92. Eat more poultry and beans, it's less expensive than beef. Eat more veggies, even less expensive.

93. Consider taking from nature for side tables(stump) or lamp(stick/branch light).

92. Buy furniture that lasts. Older or antique furniture can be less expensive than brand new low to moderately priced furniture. Buy hardwood furniture and look for dovetails in the drawers. Older hardwood furniture can last many lifetimes, and can always be refurbished easily with a little sanding and stain. You can't do this with furniture that is particle board or has peeling veneer.

93. Plant shade trees where you get the most searing heat in the hotter months. This is usually in the southwestern part of the house. Plant tall evergreen trees to break cold north winds.

94. Look into solar power.

95. Live with less stuff; purchase less house with more money down. Plan to pay it off early with a mortgage that has no early payment penalty.

96. Homeschool instead of private school.

97. Look into external degree programs for college, a fraction of on-campus price. Study for
CLEP tests , and potentially CLEP out of 30 hours of college credit. Get experience by interning/volunteering in order to build your resume and slide into job more quickly.

98. Use preprinted forms for wills, and other easy legal matters.

99. Research medical problems online before going to a doctor. Write up an outline of your history, problems and possible diagnosis. Believe it or not, as busy as doctors are these days, they will appreciate this. They can go down your list and address your concerns. I think it helps doctors give a better diagnosis since most doctors don't take the time to read your history! This will save on unnecessary tests and assumptions on the doctors part. If the doctor minds, get a new one. Information is should know what is going on with your body.

100. Find specialists for serious medical issues. A specialist will be more efficient with a diagnosis and save you money, time, and your health.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Cell Phones and Saving Money

So we decided to cancel our Verizon cell phone service. It got really expensive, and we don't use up the 400 free minutes every month. I bought a T-Mobile prepaid phone today for $59.00 online. They are going to give me $25.00 minutes free and a $30.00 mail-in rebate. So really all I've spent is $5.00. I love doing this online, so quick and easy! I went through the T-Mobile website and got to keep my same number. They approved me via Chat which was wonderful as well.

I'm so glad to be rid of the 2 year contract and big bill every month. I compared prepaid phone services and browsed the intenet for reviews. T-Mobile seems like the best for us - no roaming or other extra fees. The best deal for minutes is the $100.00 refill card as it's .10 a minute plus a 15% bonus on refills, or something like that. The minutes roll over as long as you top them off before they expire which is one year. Everytime you buy more mintues, your year begins over. We had to pay a penalty with Verizon, but we'll break even in about 4 months if I don't use the cell much. We should be saving $25.00 or more a month with the cell phone change.

I found two places for cheaper minutes:

I'd love to cut out a few other expenses. Our hard line phone service is $30.00 a month, and our cable bill is $10.00 a month. I thought about getting rabbit ears for the televisions to save on the $10.00 monthly charge, but it's hardly worth it. By 2009 it won't matter; I'll have to have cable or get nothing because television stations will no longer be transmitting analog signals. My choices after 2009 would be to buy converter boxes for all the televisions, or pay for them to reinstate my cable service. If I had HDTV sets I could get free stations, but those sets are still very pricey.

I pay $48.95 for my ISP, hard line telephone and cable. I guess that's not so bad. We'll be working on saving on the water bill; ds keeps leaving on the water in the tub. He forgets to turn the handle all the way, and sometimes it trickles for hours before I notice it!

We also seem to have mounds of laundry. Most of the clothes ds wears aren't dirty, so I need to go through them more carefully before I wash them. I'm going to have dh put up a laundry line inside the garage, so that I can line dry clothes. Someday we'll get one of those smart dryers with a moisture sensor which shuts off when the clothes are dry.

About Me

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I'm a homeschooling mom of two, a teen and a little. I hope this collection of mine helps you as much as it has helped us. I have an Etsy shop here: And a blog: