Saving money in everyday life is easier than you think and who doesn’t love to have extra money when it’s really needed.
No matter where you are in your financial life, there is always a way to save or to turn a bad situation around. Sometimes all it takes are a few steps to get things moving in the right direction for you and your family.
My husband and I use to flip homes and had several rentals for several years. But, in 2008, the market fell out and we lost all our companies capital. It was hard. All of a sudden we had a lot of credit debt and had to figure out a way to get back on our feet financially. It took 5 years, but we are not debt-free with only a mortgage which will be paid off soon.
Here are a few steps we took to keep more money in our pockets and still use today. Maybe a few will work for you too!
The biggest step we took to start saving money was to not buy anything we couldn’t pay for in cash. We still used our credit cards during that period for the perks which came with it, but we always paid it off every month. We still follow that practice today.
I use a few apps to help me with the earning process. Some I have been using for a very long time and a couple I haven’t been using long. But, most importantly, they work. And who doesn’t need some extra cash?
The very first program I signed up with back in 2000 was My Points. If I do any shopping online, I go through their website first or use their Chrome extension.
Each store has different amounts of points per dollar spent. You can earn points by taking surveys, watching videos, sharing your opinion and receiving emails. I have earned over 175,000 points to use with gift cards in the past. There are over 1900 stores to shop from and over 80 stores to redeem your points from. I mainly purchase Amazon gift cards with my points. You can also redeem for PayPal credit too.
It’s so easy to earn points from the MyPoints website:
- I search for the store I want to shop at
- Click on Earn Points button
- Shop and earn.
Another way I earn with them is printing out grocery coupons. The more coupons you print out and redeem, the more points you will receive.
Just go to MyPoints and sign up!
If you have Chrome, get their extension and when you go to an online store to shop, it will show you at the top of your browser if that store uses MyPoints or not and will list all the coupons associated with that website.
This app is so perfect for any shopper. If you have receipts during the day, then you need to take advantage of this app. All you do is download the app, snap a picture of your receipt and you will earn bonuses and coins to exchange for PayPal cash or Amazon Gift Card. Basically, any kind of receipt will earn you either coins, bonuses or sweepstakes. Go HERE to read the list of receipt types accepted.
Head over to Receipt Hog to find out more and where to download your app.
Fast Food Apps
I admit it. My guilty pleasure is having a Chick-fil-a meal now and again. But, I’m saving while I go there because by using their app, you earn points to purchase items in the future. The more points you earn will get you free food perks from your local manager! I love that I can make my order and pay via the app and then by time I get there, the food is ready for me to pick up either at curbside or drive-thru.
Here are a few other fast food apps to check out:
- Taco Bell
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Domino’s Pizza
Buy Used & Refurbished
I really try to NEVER pay full price when I shop. I know there are some items you have to pay full price for, but you can save when you shop at the grocery store, online, in the market for a new car, tools, baby clothes, video games, books, etc.
One of my favorite places to shop is at Goodwill. I find some really great deals there every time I go. Our family calls it the GW since we are frequent visitors. Goodwill will get a lot of items some stores don’t want anymore which are brand new and at really low prices. I have found several kitchen items that are brand new, nice clothing with the store tags still on them, lots of seasonal items, and hubby will look for pants and shirts for work since he doesn’t care if they get dirty or not. When I need a picture frame for a DIY project, I will always go there first.
Are you looking for a new pet? Go to a shelter or rescue organization. It’s a win/win! You can read about our rescue pup experience HERE.
Buying refurbished electronics is so much cheaper and depending on the product, you will receive a good warranty with it also. Look for Certified Refurbished in the description. BestBuy, Apple, eBay, Newegg, and Amazon also offer refurbished items. I bought my Canon T3, Kindle 10′, Fitbit, iPhone, and other items refurbished.
Don’t buy the newest and greatest item that has come out on the market. You will save a lot of money by waiting at least 30 days. Reading up on places to purchase them after the newness has worn off. Electronics depreciate very quickly and in a few short weeks you can buy one cheaper.
Trade-In Your Old Electronics
Amazon has a great Trade-In service you can use for your old electronics just sitting around the house. The Amazon Trade-In program allows customers to receive an Amazon.com Gift Card in exchange for thousands of eligible items including video games, Kindle E-readers, books, and more. Free shipping is offered and you find out immediately what your item is worth before you send it to them.
Always a good choice! Compare prices not only in sale bills from local stores but check online. There are several websites to compare shopping online. Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, Shopzilla, and Shopping.com are a few I have used in the past. Woot.com is one of my favorite places to shop if you are looking for daily deals. If you do buy online, make sure you check to see what the total price with be with shipping costs. You may see FREE SHIPPING on an item, but it may be cheaper somewhere else with shipping costs.
Stores with BOGO offers are just begging you to come into their stores and buy their products. It’s the best way to stock up on staples you use all the time. Grocery stores are not the only stores that offer BOGO items. I have seen several major department stores offer BOGO 1/2 off. If your state offers a No Tax Weekend, take advantage of that too.
Cut The Cord
Cable tv and satellite prices are only going up. Streaming services are becoming the norm today and with more and more companies offering their streaming services, the prices are very attractive now. This is definitely an area to do serious price shopping in. You can go from an average $100 a month to around $20 a month and have all the tv entertainment you would ever want to watch.
Mr. G and I are in the process of figuring out our next step by cutting the cord. We have been Directv users since the 1990s but the billing is starting to make us cringe when we look at it each month. Even though every year I call to check on promotions that still make our bill at $100 a month, the pricing is just getting out of hand. And now that Directv has announced they won’t be replacing or adding any new satellites and will be working toward on-demand and streaming services. Check out my post on Cutting the Cord HERE.
Check Your Subscriptions
If you have already cut the cord, do you really need multiple television and music streaming services? How many magazines show up in your mailbox each month? If you haven’t thought about all your subscriptions in a while, then maybe its time to see if you really need them. I keep a spreadsheet list of all our subscriptions, monthly and yearly, and go back at the start of each year to see if there are any I don’t really need anymore.
Stop Collecting and Start Selling
Go through your closets and find anything and everything you no longer use or want. Then, sell some on eBay or Craigslist for some extra cash and have a yard sale with the rest. The items you don’t sell, take them to Goodwill.
Consignment stores are all the rage now and a great way to sell the items you have collected over the years. Mr. G and I will stop often at consignment stores to find items for gifts or if we are looking for an item that needs to be replaced.
Workout at Home
Walking is by far the cheapest way to get a good workout. It’s easy, you can basically do it anywhere and it’s FREE. Grab a friend or the dog, because he needs to walk too and enjoy the weather and your surroundings. Use workout videos in the comfort of my home. My favorite workouts DVD’s are Leslie Samsone’s walking videos. YouTube is also a great way to find workout videos for FREE.
If you still love the idea of working out at a gym, try the YMCA. Their monthly dues are really low and they also offer a wide range of classes to sign up for. I love doing Deep Water Aerobics at the pool. You can find your local YMCA here.
Make Your Own Gifts
If you are short on money and need to give a gift, try creating your own. You can make food mixes, clothes, candles, fresh-baked bread or cookies, soap, sugar scrub, and all kinds of other things at home quite easily and inexpensively. This is especially great at Christmas time when money is really tight. There is just something special about receiving a homemade one of a kind gift. Need ideas? Check out Pinterest.
Take Your Lunch to Work
Going out to lunch will cost you about $15 – $20. So, why not bring lunch from home? Make larger meals at home and bring leftovers in lunch containers which can be reheated and reused. By bringing your own lunch, you could save about $100 a month!
Drink More Water and Make Your Own Coffee
Not only does drinking plenty of water have its health benefits, but it also keeps money in your pocket. Use a Water Filter Pitcher to filter your tap water to pour in your favorite water bottle. Also, order water when you do go out to eat to keep the bill down. You can save up to $1000 or more a year by not drinking bottled water.
When it costs up to $4.00 for one cup of specialty coffee drink, it just makes sense to brew your own coffee. That’s about $120 a month in savings toward a vacation, retirement fund, furniture, etc. Make your own ice coffee by using a Mason Jar and a stainless steel mesh filter for only pennies per cup. Save the specialty drinks for a treat now and again.
Cheaper Cell Service
I am very frugal when it comes to spending money on cell phone service. So for years, I was using Ting as my cell phone service provider. They offer packages where you pay for only what you use. My bill usually ran about $18.00 a month because I didn’t use that much data or should I say, I was afraid to use much talk and text time. Ting provided the cell service I needed, but I had to really watch my usage.
Then, as I was trolling around the internet, I found a new service provider called Wing. They offer UNLIMITED talk and text and also offer different data packages depending on how much you normally use. I was so excited about the unlimited talk and text!! I choose the 500 Mb for $15.00 a month, but if you want unlimited data, those plans start at $70 a month. Not only will I be saving a couple of dollars a month, but now I don’t have to worry about paying more for talk or text or going over my basic plan price. There is also a family plan.
- Unlimited voice & SMS
- HD voice & WiFi Calling
- Visual voicemail
- Device tethering/hotspot
- Picture & video messaging
- Group messaging
- Caller ID
They also offer inexpensive plans for international traveling.
The transfer process from Ting was done very quickly, with no troubles at all, by Wing and I kept my same phone number.
This is the perfect solution for anyone who wants a really low cell phone bill.
You can either bring your own cell phone to Wing or they have phone plans to choose from with 0% financing if you need that. You can check if your phone is compatible.
Here is another perk using Wing. At the end of each month, they will credit you back the difference between the data you paid for and the data you actually used!
For example: if you’re on a 5GB pocket but only use 3.4GB of data during your cycle, we round you up to the nearest half GB and credit you back the difference between the prices of the 3.5GB and 5GB pockets.
I purchase my cell phones from Amazon and don’t pay a cent for them. Pictured above is the phone I got from Amazon for FREE!!
Wanna know how I do that?
I use their Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Credit Card and with every purchase, you receive Amazon credit points. I use that card for basically everything I purchase. Groceries, gas, restaurants, drugstores, shopping, doctor visits, everything! You will receive 5% back when you shop at Amazon, 2% for restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, and 1% for everything else. If you buy a lot at Amazon as I do, your points will accumulate fast! And then when its time to buy a new phone, I have enough points to purchase one through Amazon and don’t have to pay a cent for it! That is saving me over $300+ for a new phone.
Do Your Own Maintenance
Learn how to do your own maintenance around the home and in your car. There are so many YouTube videos out there that are really informational. Start by changing out the filters on your HVAC system. A nasty filter will cost you money on your electric bills too. Mr. G recently changed out a part in our car which would’ve cost us about $700. He watched a YouTube video to learn how.
Changing out a broken sink faucet, cleaning out a clogged drain, painting a room, changing the filters on your car are just a few things Mr. G does around the house to save us money.
Never give up on learning how to save money in your life. Take it a step at a time and learn what works for you.
* * * *
I’m just a country girl loving my geeky life with my wonderful husband, always taking pictures, getting my hands dirty in the garden, being crafty, exploring with travels and enjoying all this on a budget. But above all, living my faith as a child of God!