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16 Ways to Save Money- A Challenge for 2013

Updated on August 6, 2013
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Whether you are already pinching pennies or just starting out as a frugal consumer, this article will highlight ways to save money. Over the years, I have found many ways to save money. This year I am challenging myself to 12 new ways to save money. First, I want to share what works for me NOW:

1. Minimize your wardrobe- To begin, only purchase items that you LOVE!! Try to find items that you can wear with more than one item and are practical.

2. Menu plan and shop with a grocery list- Take fifteen minutes or so a week and plan your menu. From your menu, you will then make a list of the ingredients that you need. MOST IMPORTANTLY, stick to your list!!!!

3. Do not make impulse purchases / never pay retail- Surf the web for coupons before going out to make any purchases. If you can't find a coupon, do you really need the item? Can you wait until it is on sale?

4. Shop used- If you have not been thrift store shopping yet, I recommend giving it a try. You can pay $20 for a new shirt, or go to Goodwill and get 5-6 gently used shirts for that price! Need furniture, scout Craigslist for the perfect item. If you have the patience, you can definitely find what your looking for! Our big score last year; a FREE slate pool table!!!

My Plans for 2013

January- Create a Budget

A budget is important in helping you understand where your money is going each month. I am breaking my budget down into appropriate categories. I have my fixed expenses; mortgage, insurance and cell phone. Then, I have utilities which vary each month. Later in the year, I will be focusing on trying to get the electric bill lower. Then, I set a limit for the varied expenses. To take care of the odds and ends, I have named that category "misc." Currently, our grocery budget is $300 but I hope to work it down by another $100. I have just started implementing the envelope system for misc. and groceries. The rule of thumb for the cash envelope is that when you run out of money, you are done for the month! This will be hard, but I believe it will motivate me to ensure that I spend under $300!

I will look over and revise the budget at the end of each month. The system I will be using is just a piece of paper to keep track of our expenses. Deducting an expense from the budget on paper makes it real for me, I am forced to think about my purchases. I believe there are several ways to budget and you will need to experiment with what works best for you just as long as you know where your money is going!!!!

February- Learn to Coupon

The average person can drop anywhere between $500-$1000 a month at the grocery store just on four people or less! I think $100 a week is a reasonable goal if you are just beginning to save money! The Krazy Coupon Lady video featured in this article shows us how to feed a family of four for $40 a week. $160 to feed my family for a month, sign me up!!!

March- Call Service Providers to Ensure You Are Getting the Best Price

Several companies offer savings just for signing up for their paperless billing, usually five dollars or so! Many tell you that to call each year and ensure that you are getting the best rate.

April- Get Rid of Cable

I could go either way on this one. If having cable is your splurge, by all means keep it! We live in a semi-rural area so when we first moved in we were under the impression that we needed to have some sort of service to even have the basic channels. We have the cheapest package available with our provider; $29.99 for the family package. Basically, this includes the local channels and the kids channels (Nick, Disney, etc.) With fees and one HD receiver our total per month is $46.99!!! This is crazy to me because we watch tv for about two hours tops total for the whole day and most of the time it is the free channels. We found that we can purchase a roku and an indoor antenna, which will allow us to get back to our free tv!

May- Pretend We Are a One-Car Family

I was inspired to pretend we are a one car family by reading the book, 7. Similar to the author, we are not ready or willing to just have one car. However, I think it would be interesting to compare the savings between having just one car as opposed to two. Considering the fact that my husband drives a truck, we will drive my more fuel efficient car for the month and bank the money that we would normally spend on fuel for his truck.

June- Garden

Since my family and I LOVE eating fruits and veggies, we are going to attempt to grow our own this year!!

July- Pre-order to Get Best Price

For us, this applies to our propane bill. We moved into our house less than 2 years ago, so it took me awhile to realize that the price of propane is a lot lower in the warmer months and more expensive in the cold months. For a penny pincher like me, they offer a prepayment plan which would save a ton of money.

August- Hang Laundry

Since I dislike ironing, I will leave the clothes out to dry and stick them in the dryer for 5 minutes to get the wrinkles out.

September- Hand-wash Dishes

Out of all the household chores there are, I actually enjoy doing the dishes. I might as well save money by hand-washing dishes and running the dishwasher a lot less frequently in order to save money on our electric bill.

October- Make Your Own Cleaners

Thanks to Pinterest, we now have access to several different recipes for homemade cleaners. I have seen homemade window and floor cleaners, homemade laundry detergents and homemade bath soap. I plan to at least give these cleaners a try.

November- Freezer Cooking

Something I have always wanted to try because I believe it will save me A LOT of time and money! Having meals all ready to stick in the oven or crock pot helps eliminate the last minute decision to just go pick up fast food.

December- Make Hand-made Gifts for the Holidays

I opted for a much simpler Christmas this year and thoroughly enjoyed the season! With the aide of Pinterest and other websites, I plan to make several of my gifts this year in an effort to save money.

I plan to be more intentional in my efforts to save money in 2013, will you join me in the challenge? Please share your money-saving ideas! I am always up for new ways to save money!!

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    • stuff4kids profile image

      Amanda Littlejohn 4 years ago

      Very useful ideas that most any one should be able to use at least some of to counterbalance these economically restricted times. Some of these help cut down the carbon footprint and energy use, too, which can only be a good thing with scientists now saying that they are 95% certain that climate change has been driven by human carbon emissions.

      Here's another idea: save three dollars a day. Think of something that you could do without that costs around the three dollar mark - could be anything, maybe just that cappuccino in a cafe, whatever. The point is that many of us think that three dollars a day isn't much and we could find ways of saving it. But it adds up. Three dollars a day is $1095 dollars a year!

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks, LKMore01!! :)

    • LKMore01 profile image

      LKMore01 4 years ago

      Stephanie,

      Thank you for sharing some wonderful, practical ideas. For most people these are easy to read but hard to follow. Great Hub! Voted up and useful.

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Learner365, thank you! :)

      Annette Hendley, thank you! Glad to hear that one car is working for you! :)

    • Annette Hendley profile image

      Annette Hendley 4 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      Great tips. We have changed to only one car, which we don't even use much. The London traffic is so congested, public transport just makes more sense. I find the dishwasher takes a lot of energy and not everything washes that well.

    • learner365 profile image

      Saadia A 4 years ago

      Great suggestions. I am sure many of your ideas will come in handy and will help balance the budget. Thanks for sharing.

      Voted up and useful !!

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Dwachira, thanks so much for sharing!! Good luck with May's challenge! :)

      Jainismus, thank you! :)

      Prospectboy, thanks so much for sharing!! I just bought 3 like new shirts from Goodwill this week for $3 a shirt!! :)

      Sheri Faye, thank you! :)

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Great ideas on saving money. When things are on sale and it is stuff I use I stock up. I have seen some of those cleaners on Pinistrest and mean to try them.

    • prospectboy profile image

      Bradrick H. 4 years ago from Texas

      Great and useful tips that you've provided. I've shopped at Goodwill before, and actually found some great deals on some shirts that I brought. After taking them to the cleaners, they were like new. Being frugal and finding ways to save money in these times can be challenging, but it's vital. Voted up, rated useful, and sharing.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 4 years ago from Pune, India

      Great suggestions, thank you for sharing.

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi stephanieb27,

      The coming month is May and i might as well try the May tip for saving money "May- Pretend We Are a One-Car Family" My wife and i work at different parts of the city so i just have to think and think smart :-) Voted up, useful and shared.

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks so much, SallyTX! :)

    • SallyTX profile image

      Sally Branche 4 years ago from Only In Texas!

      Excellent, practical, useful ideas! Voted up and awesome! ;D

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Eddy! :)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      So very interesting and a wonderful challenge.

      Enjoy your day.

      Eddy.

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Mary615, thanks so much! I will definitely have to check out your frugal hub! :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Well, I was frugal before frugal was cool....I wrote a Hub by that name.

      Check it out when you have some time. I gave up cable about 3 years ago (don't miss it), I hang my laundry. There are so many ways folks can save money if they really want to.

      Voted UP, etc.

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Boisegal, thanks for reading! I will have to check out retailmenot.com! :)

    • Boisegal profile image

      Holly 4 years ago from Boise, ID

      #3 and #4 are my personal favorites. It boggles my my mind how much my friends spend on clothing. I ONLY buy used, and it's not very often that I buy clothes for myself, yet I'm usually wearing the same styles as friends. The website "retailmenot.com" is my favorite for finding coupons before shopping. Thanks for the Roku tip. I need to look into that.

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks, healthylife2! Good luck in reducing your grocery budget! :)

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      These are great tips that I can really use this year. I think I will try using cash for groceries to see how much we really spend since that's the only expense I can really reduce. The rest are fixed expenses. Thanks for the motivation!

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Drpennypincher, thank you!! Planning for the entire year is definitely keeping me focused! :)

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      You could save thousands of dollars this year! I like how you are planning for the entire year. I think you are attacking the biggest opportunities to save: food, energy, and transportation.

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks, Margarita!! Good luck in menu planning. :)

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 4 years ago from Oregon

      These ideas are so practical and down to Earth, I love it! I always wanted to create a menu and plan my meals better, so far haven't gotten there yet, thanks for the wonderful money saving ideas!

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Kasman, thank you! I broke it down into months so I could experiment with different frugal living tips and keep me focused! :)

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 4 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Awesome Stephanie. Love the hanging clothes part, reminds me of being overseas. I also love how you broke it up into months! I love your tips. Voting up.

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      mperrottet, thank you!! I am excited about learning how to coupon, I like to save any way I can! :)

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      joaniebaby, thank you! I struggle with a budget too! The money envelope worked great this month for us!! :)

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      ChristyWrites, thank you!!!! :) I love using a list also to make sure I don't put extra items into the cart! :)

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      These are great ideas. You are right about the cable bill, and I'm considering getting rid of it myself. Putting off purchases until you can get a coupon is something I should learn to do. I'm guilty of making impulse buys occasionally, and not getting the best price. Wonderful suggestions, voted up and useful.

    • joaniebaby profile image

      joaniebaby 4 years ago

      All great ideas, and I am proud to say I make use of most of them. But I don't always stick to my budget (which I have already made out for 2013). I have never used the money envelope for groceries, and thought I might give that a try. Food prices just seem to be going up, up and away! Voted up and useful.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Wow, good for you with these tasks to save money. I always make a list to take to the grocery store and it works at ensuring I don't buy extra items. Well done and sharing this one.

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Jpcmc, I agree having children is what helped us make our finances a priority!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Wow, you've got your year planned! I used to be an impulse buyer and it got me in trouble. Now that I have a child, it's best to be careful with finances. In a few months my daughter will attend nursery school. That's another expense that I have to prepare for.

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks, Lizam1! Glad I could offer new suggestions! :)

    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 4 years ago from Victoria BC

      Hi, what good tips. I already do some of these but you have given me a couple of new suggestions and how to's. Thanks. Voted up and shared.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks for these great money saving tips. I am going to try the freezer cooking.

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Rosie! I'm glad to hear that the homemade cleaners work better!! I look forward to experimenting with them! :)

      Rebeccamealey, thank you so much for the share!!! :)

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia

      Great ideas! Several months ago I started making my own cleaning products to save money and use safer ingredients. To my great surprise, the homemade cleaners work better, smell better, and save a lot of money. I recently wrote a hub about how to make eucalyptus laundry detergent. Voted up and pinned!

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Audrey, good luck with your savings goals and thank you for sharing!!!!! :)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      I love this plan--I am looking at a roku myself since I hate paying for tv--sharing this!!

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks, teaches12345! Good luck in your saving for the year!! :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Great year's plan for saving, Stephanie. We are getting down to a one car family to save on money and begining a container garden this spring. Already use the coupon, cleaner and budget idea, but can certainly work on the others you have listed. Thanks for the inspriation!

    • stephanieb27 profile image
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      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Billybuc, now I know who to go to for advice!!! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I swear to God, Stephanie, we do all of these. Great suggestions for the new year and I hope you are able to follow them. We only have one car....no cable...dry clothes outside...garden extensively...and on and on. Love it!