Rebecca loves sharing what she knows about alternative medicine, health, frugal living, fun, animals, and how to live a better life!
Save more money
There are many unexpected ways you can save money. Some may be obvious, others not so much. Here are a few suggestions to save more!
Debt debt debt
How many "extras" do you have?
If you answer yes to these statements you could use a few changes.
- Do you have credit card debt over 5,000? Average credit card debt in the USA is a startling: $15,204, according to Nerd Wallet.
- Are you drowning in school loans, child support, and alimony payments?
- Do you have a cell phone? Are you paying over $100 a month? Most people pay well over $100 a month for even one phone! You don't have to do that. You can get 3 phones for that price with my advice!
- Do you have cable? How often are you home to watch it? Do you really need live sports packages?
- Do you tend to buy name brand merchandise or food? I understand some brand preference, but there are so many brands that can be equal to or greater than what you currently use!
- Are you driving a car that is not fuel efficient? A big SUV? A truck? A hummer?!
- Do you dine out too often? 3+ times a week?
- Do you have expensive hobbies?
- Do you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck with no savings and lots of debt?
Do you have to many extras?
Other ways to save!
- Ridiculous Ways to Save Money
Simple things you can do around your house to save money. It's also fun and entertaining!
Create a budget
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Don't let money, home budgeting or finances drive you nuts!
You don't have to suffer by living within your means
- Pay down credit card debt as fast as possible, and don't live on credit! Credit is meant to supplement your income, not be it. Start with a card that has the lowest balance and pay that off, double-up payments. When you knock out smaller debt and get better at doing it you feel a sense of momentum and accomplishment. Cut that card when it's paid off and work on the higher balanced cards if you have any. With this being said, however, it's not a bad idea to have one credit card on hand for emergency uses only! What would constitute an emergency? Car repairs, sometimes medical bills, surprise home repairs!
- Make sure your bank pays you interest for EVERY account you have. Capital One 360 is great for this.
- Get current on student loans by calling and arranging manageable payment plans
- Get current on child support! Your kids deserve that, and taxpayers are not responsible for your children. If this means getting a part-time job, do it. Even if you work at a diner or restaurant 2x a week it can really help you get caught up on any back support.
- Negotiate interest rates and discounts with utility providers and credit card companies! It never hurts to ask, and most are happy to change terms to keep your business.
- Buy large plastic (water and element resistant) bins to store seasonal items so that you can reuse them for years and years! My friend's mother (rest her soul) used to take the lining of cigarette packs and make silver stars that she hung from the ceiling every Christmas, they were beautiful and I'll never forget them (this is obviously extreme) but a lot of things can be reused over and over, like window clings, ornaments, cards and mementos your children make. You don't need to constantly buy new decorations if celebrating Holidays are your "thing". With the use of the internet, it's almost inexcusable to not make a lot of your own decorations. And doing this is a great way to start new traditions and make more memories.
- Shop at discount stores such as Aldi, Save-a-lot, and Amish Salvage (if you are lucky enough to have these in your area). Amish Salvage stores are great for slightly expired items and toiletries. You can find name brand soaps and shampoo's for 50% off or more. Some are greatly discounted because the packaging was changed, or an item was discontinued.
- Bundle entertainment packages, cable, internet, home phones. Shop around for the best bundle deals and negotiate terms with companies! Don't be afraid to haggle for bargains, they want your business! Remember, you're the customer, and the customer is always right! If you find you just can't live without cable, consider reducing your package. Do you really need live sports? Can't you go watch games at a friends? Or maybe even at happy hour in a local tavern? The few dollars you'd spend on some drinks still won't equal that increased package rate and you'll get a chance to be social. Just don't take your SUV and be responsible, you sure don't need a DUI!
- If you can't bundle entertainment, consider elimination. Use an antenna. Many antennas are available to receive high definition signals, so they are still great for your super large and obnoxious 60 inch flat screen! There is also the Roku Streaming Player, Amazon, and Netflix. Roku is 100% free after purchasing the receiver! It offers thousands of things to view, including games for kids! Use a MagicJack for a home phone, plans start as low as $20 a year! Keep in mind, however, that Roku and Magicjack both require internet. Look at Pageplus for cell phones, this company has no contracts, and plans as low as $30 a month and they use the Verizon network.
- Pay attention to your energy consumption and reduce usage when possible. Unplug unused items to lighten the phantom load, check the insulation of your home, maintain your furnace, turn down your water heater, and save heating and cooling energy by also using blackout blinds. You can make your own for as little as $5 a yard at a fabric store.
- Use your local library, not only is it free, but you can save money by using this for forms of entertainment like books, movies, games, audio recordings, and free family events, you can also access computers if you get rid of your internet.
- Stop buying name brand clothes, you don't need it. Many styles and brands of clothing look just as nice as designer labels. Buy winter clothes at the end of season sales, same for spring and summer attire. Take advantage of local thrift stores and consignment shops. Or stores like Plato's closet, which is great for teenagers, it keeps them feeling trendy and keeps money in your pocket!
- Downgrade your house if possible. Singles don't need 4 bedroom homes and families don't need 3000 square foot living spaces. Better yet, if your single with extra space, get a roommate!
- Get rid of a gas-guzzling car that requires expensive maintenance and reduce payments and insurance at the same time! Better yet, buy a gently used car, look for local car auction sites in your area that are open to the public, these are also great for helping your teen get the first car. Driving a Hummer may look cool but is status really that important? Who are you trying to impress? News flash, no one cares!
- Stop using high octane fuel, most cars don't need it and you pay the premium.
- Cook at home as often as possible, not only does it save money, but it's a great way to bond with your family or loved ones. And get creative on meals, no one ever said you can't have omelets and french toast for dinner!
- Take advantage of free community events, there are many! A great place to check is with your local Metro Park System. They have events for all ages from children to seniors and everything in between.
- When planning parties ask guests to not bring gifts and have an activity instead, this is a great way to eliminate unnecessary clutter and teach kids that life is not about consumption or greed. It also builds great family memories.
- Learn how to style your own hair, do your own nails, and learn eyebrow waxing/tweezing, none of these things are hard. You can also save a ton by learning to give your man or young boys haircuts at home.
- Take advantage of thrift stores, especially for gently used children's clothes, after all, they grow like weeds, why do they need $20 shirts? And always remember to donate and pay it forward with things cluttering your own home that you can't sell.
- Recycle when you can!! If you have old scrap metal or appliances take it to a local recycling center or junkyard. You can even get paid for it!
- Do your own yard work, landscaping, and house cleaning-it's great exercise builds self-esteem and homeownership pride! And it's a great hobby and relieves stress!
- Don't rush to the doctor every time you get a sniffle. Give your body 7 days to get better and try home remedies like Zinc, Garlic, Oil of Oregano, and Vitamin C, D and E, if still not well, consider seeing a doctor.
- Make your own cleaning products with stuff you already have in your home. Baking powder and vinegar are amazing!
- Refurbish old furniture, it's not hard to do, and it's a great way to revive a family heirloom.
- Use Craigslist and flash sale sites for home items, dining out, and activities. The savings are incredible. I suggest Groupon, Living Social, and 88hours.com, but there are many many more!
- Wear pants or shirts a few times before washing them, saves on fabric wear and reduces your water consumption.
- Contact your county to lower your taxes if your home has not been evaluated for awhile.
- Buy knock off toiletry items. A lot of brands are much less expensive and are not lower on quality
- Reuse things you can like plastic shopping bags, toilet paper rolls for crafts, if you have a paper shredder shred colorful paper for confetti for parties or gift baskets (like Easter basket grass).
- Take walks and work out at home and cancel your gym memberships, if you live in an area that gets cold in the winter, walk in a local strip mall when it's too cold outside. Window shop and enjoy a cup of coffee, tea, or read a book while you are there. It's surprisingly pleasant to sit next to an indoor waterfall to relax and reflect, and it's free! Malls are also great places to walk during Holidays to enjoy the spirit of the season and get exercise!
- Use coupons and save samples from mailings or magazines! Samples are great for travel size use when going out of town. I also save every perfume sample I get, I never get bored of trying new scents and can't even remember the last time I bought perfume! Now there are so many apps that do the clipping for you!
- Don't adopt or take in more pets that you can't adequately care for. It's not fair to them. You can't save every homeless animal, but if you can save one and give it an exceptional life that is a great deed! Donate to local shelters with the extra money you save from my suggestions! Or to other charitable causes. It feels great to give back when you can and the donations are tax-deductible.
- Think first before you purchase something. If you find you want something really bad, wait a week before you buy it and see if you feel the same. A lot of times purchases are made on an emotional whim, only to have the merchandise collecting dust in your home months later and you scratching your head with buyers' remorse!
- Don't buy the newest technology the minute it hits store shelves. Most items will decrease by at least 20% within the first 6 months, do yourself a favor and buy it when the price decreases!
- Find cheaper hobbies. You don't have to golf every Sunday. Try walking, gardening, writing, swimming, hiking, bicycling, woodworking, car repair. Not only will you save money but you'll learn a lot too!
- Plan vacations 30 to 60 days in advance to get the best rates and use travel discount sites.
Try some of these suggestions and I guarantee within the first 6 months you'll have less stress, be more engaged with loved ones, save money, and leave a lighter imprint on mother earth.
Once you start altering your lifestyle, you'll reap so many benefits physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and all the extra money you save can be used for greater purposes like donating to those less fortunate, saving for that dream vacation, or starting retirement or college accounts early! Even paying off your house!
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© 2013 Rebecca