Save $225 Per Month

Save $225 Per Month

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We need to think differently about money and saving money. We don't realize just how much we need later on in life and just how much actual inflation is from year to year. The following ideas are tested and proven techniques to keep more money in your pocket; allowing you the financial freedom you diligently seek. Most of these techniques are easy to follow or accomplish and do not sacrifice any quality of life. Any companies or entities listed are suggestions and should not be construed as an endorsement, unless otherwise noted.

One of the best books regarding debt and saving money that I have read is How To Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously by Jerrold Mundis (available below). The author discusses how our psychology in relation to money, spending and debt is off base. Once we begin to think different about our situation, we can begin to strive for financial freedom.

The first thing to do to save money is cut your cable or satellite subscription. Just by picking a lower subscription level (less channels) you can save at least $30/month. If you have cable and you currently subscribe to several premium channels, you are giving away money. Showtime, Cinemax and HBO show the same "new" movies each month, so you really only need one of them, maybe two. As for satellite service, or Dish, or DirecTV, or whatever your choice; reducing the number of channels you subscribe to significantly reduces your bill. The other obvious way to reduce this financial impact is to bundle with an internet provider. I have included a link at the bottom for a great new product on the market for this service. Whether you reduce your subscription or bundle, you can save a minimum of $30/month.

A great way to save money is to reduce your cell phone plan. If you pay for unlimited minutes and text and so on, but you don't use near that level of either, it would be cost effective to change or update your plan. "A Family Plan," is another great way to save money; you get several phone lines for a reduced amount. AT & T has a family plan that starts at $10/month for each line, and free calls between all (family) members on the plan. The greatest thing in cell phones that I have seen lately is Simple Mobile (link at bottom of page). A fast growing service that allows you to bundle cell phone, text and internet at a great rate. It is compatible with smartphones and the newer ipad and the highest rate is $60/month. A friend of mine told me, took me to the website and showed me the features. He also informed me that the tax is built into the price, so the unlimited everything plan for $60 is the price including tax. Look at your current cell phone bill and look at the taxes that are included, you are going to save that much more each month. I know a great many persons that have a monthly cell phone bill well over $100. By changing plans or doing research for just a few minutes, you can save a minimum of $50 to $70/month.

The next best way to save money is the old cliche, "brownbag it." Bring your lunch and a snack to work at least one day per week and you could save more than $8 (formula assumes $6 for lunch and $2 for a snack). This also saves you time, you don't have to wait in those long fast food lines. It is also healthier because you are not consuming heavily processed, fried or greasy food. You can also cut down on the fancy coffees! Espresso, cappuccino, whatever you want to call it, brew some at home just once a week and you have saved about 10 to 15 minutes by not having to stop and nearly $5 for the actual fancy coffee. Or just drink a regular coffee once or twice a week instead of the expensive one and you still save around $5. The minimum you can save each month from doing these two steps is $42 ($13 per week times 4 weeks).

One of the largest expenses for most of us is our grocery bill. I have stated in another hub that coupons can save you a lot of money. I can not stress this one enough, because it is easy, it doesn't have to take a lot of time, and the savings add up quickly. I believe it is an urban legend when people claim they had $200 of food in their cart and they used coupons and their total came to a ridiculous $15. Realistically you can save a signicant amount by using coupons. For example, in just three visits per month to my grocery store, and using coupons, for every $60 I spend, I am saving an average of over $8, that is close to 13%. A couple or roommates or a family can save even more. You can also buy meat at Costco or Sam's Club or other wholesale club because it is sold in bigger amounts (bulk) and runs cheaper than a traditional grocery store. Note: Wholesale clubs do not accept manufacturer coupons, however, Costco recently began issuing their own coupons to members. A single person between coupons and shopping at a wholesale club, can save close to $45/month. Two people or more can save closer to $65/month because you are generally buying a bigger quantity and the per ounce cost goes down when purchased in a larger amount. This step is important so I am going to say it again, USE coupons and shop smarter! Two people or more can save a minimum of $65/month.

Save on entertainment items like DVD's, books and video games by shopping on Amazon.com. If you don't yet stream movies and you don't "have to have it," the day it is released, you can save at least 30%, and if you wait about a month, the prices usually go down even more. Many of us still read actual books and again you can save immense amounts on Amazon.com. If it is an older title you can generally save nearly 75%. For all the gamers, you can find recent games at Amazon.com or retail stores. In the past 3 years, many used game stores have sprouted in malls and elsewhere. You will save no less than 75% buying video games this way. Assuming a household "consumes" one of each per month, you can save $6 on the DVD, at least $6 on a book and you'll save over $30 on a video game. Your total savings in entertainment for a month is $42.

Most families want to save money on clothes. If we can get past the pride, another great way to save money is to buy clothes used or at discount stores. Savers is one of my favorite stores for clothing; a name brand pair of jeans slightly used goes for around $9 - $12, that is over 65% off regular retail. Obviously, wash before wearing items. Stores such as Marshall's and TJ Maxx offer stylish, brand name products but for a more "normal" price. A pair of dress slacks for men (black) go for $19.99 and many dress shirts go for $14.99 (Geoffrey Beene). They are the same brands and the same quality that you can pay 4 to 10 times more for at a department store. Also, buying clothing at the end of a retail season can save you significant amounts. JCPenney has great discounts at the end of each season. You can also find great deals on clothing, new or used at Amazon or Ebay. Assuming having to buy some kind of clothing twice a year for change of seasons and 4 times a year if you live in Minnesota, and assuming at least a few items for children, your monthly savings would come out to around $40.

Now if you add the totals in the last sentence of each paragraph, you'll find the total is closer to $300, well over $225. All of these savings are realistic, sacrifice little or no quality of life, and just take a couple of extra minutes of planning. There are hundreds of other ways to save money but these are on common items that we all use or possess.

Saving at least $225 per month allows you to live with less stress, it serves as a buffer for when you have emergencies (automobile breaks down, water heater breaks, dryer doesn't dry anymore, etc.) so you can avoid using a credit card and allows for more recreation. Why not put some extra in a 529 College Savings Plan for the kids, or take a long weekend to Vegas after saving for a few months? You can have a girl's or boy's night out once in a while and not have to worry about the cost. Having more cash in your pocket gives you greater control and a better quality of life.

Feel free to leave your own success stories or suggestions in the comments section.



4 comments

Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

Well, we're at bare bones on cable and have a cell phone, only, that covers a calling area which is all we need but have to have because where we live, everything is long distance, but I agree these are two big money drainers!

I always take my own drinks, coffee, iced tea and water and a snack when I go on the road and never buy anything from convenience stores ... no need to. I bought a small cooler from a thrift store and everything fits right in there and stays cold and a thermos for coffee.

We only buy books or dvds as gift for the grandchildren. Anything we want to see or read comes from the library or free on line. I also use Amazon gift certificates I earn doing studies from Stanford, Yale and another University to watch new hits on Amazon when my granddaughter visits and wants to watch a movie.

I use coupons too but always make sure I'm not paying more for a name brand than a generic and I make sure it's some thing I really want to try or will use not just because I have a coupon.

I've found we've been taught to sue more of a product than necessary in a lot of ways. Cutting your dryer sheets in half works just as well as a whole sheet. I buy ground beef in family pack and freeze 3/4 pound packages instead of pound and use these when making shies that call for a pound of hamburger. You never notice the difference and that extra 1/4 pound from a family pack will get you at least one more meal.

I think you are on the right track here. Savings is so very important and when an unexpected bills comes along it sure is better to have the money to take care of it instead of having to take our a loan or use a credit card ... and don't even get me started on paying interest!!!!


CJamesIII profile image

CJamesIII 5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN Author

Thanks for the great ideas poohgranma. I don't buy things just because I have a coupon either, it's got to be something I would already buy. I was just trying to urge all the folks out there that don't use coupons or say that it takes too much time to try it and see that it can just take a few minutes each week and the savings really do add up. I also freeze extra meat for extra meals. Great idea about dryer sheets plus it is kind of "green" too (using less material).


CJamesIII profile image

CJamesIII 4 years ago from Minneapolis, MN Author

Does anyone else have any success stories on how they save money every month? Please share in the comments...


CJamesIII profile image

CJamesIII 3 years ago from Minneapolis, MN Author

What have each of you been doing to save in the last 2+ years since I wrote this hub?

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