101 Money Saving Tips - From the Pantry to the Gas Tank - Sensical Common Cent Savers
All those pennies add up to dollars in your wallet
Do you want to save money?
Who doesn't need to save money these days?
The prices of goods and services in America is steadily creeping in an upward direction. They have been for several years. Paychecks are on a one way road to less while taxes slowly rise.
What's a body to do? First, realize you are not alone. In fact, if you realize there's a problem, you are one step ahead of many people.
Follow along here to see 101 ways that you really can save money. You have heard of some of these, I'm sure. But, I doubt you have heard of them all.
Image credit; Poetvix.
Following these steps got me totally out of debt.
I kid you not. It wasn't easy but you can do it too.
For me, the very first step was deciding to make a serious kind of change. I woke up one morning and realized I was a slave to my job and my bills.
I liked the job and the stuff I had that caused me to incur the debts. I had to really think about what was important to me. All my life, I had been taught bigger is better. Get a bigger house in a nicer neighborhood. New cars are better and they even smell great. Clothes should be the latest fashions, so on and so forth.
You've heard it. We all are constantly bombarded by messages telling us to spend, spend, spend. It's the American way.
It's killing us.
I had to do some serious rethinking about my priorities.
I wanted freedom.
When I finally figured out that the freedom to chose how I spend my day, my money, time, effort, blood, sweat and tears was the most important thing to me, I was lost.
It sounded good but how the heck to actually pull it off was the question. I had to start small. It took a few years all told. But, now that it's done, I'm so much happier.
Keep reading to see 101 ways you can do it too. Generations prior to my parents despised debt. They avoided it whenever possible. It's a trap. Lets check out how to escape.
Image credit; American flag by EverSunProducts.
This book was just as much fun as it was educational.
Clara, the author, survived the Great Depression. Not only did she just survive but she thrived and still employs many of the money saving strategies learned then in her life now.
She shares them here in the most enchanting, personable way.
I so love this book.
Reading it is like sitting down and talking to Clara. She includes so many pictures and personal stories along the way.
Full of folk wisdom and basic common sense type things so many of us have forgotten, this book saves me money every time I open it.
I don't live in a gorgeous brick house with a pool anymore.
I don't have a mortgage either so it was more than worth it.
Do I miss the big house? Yep, but not near as much as I don't miss that crazy bill every month.
We ended up selling it to pay for the house we have now. It's very small, used, in the boons, but paid for. It's not that hard to pull off if you are committed and do your research.
Research? There's homework?
There was for me.
We were shelling out thousands in property taxes and insurance. I mean serious money. I moved to a much more affordable state. My property taxes have gone from just under five thousand a year to less than five hundred. That's a big savings.
It took a whole bunch of little steps to hit that one major move step.
Here's 101 ways we saved money to make our move, get out of debt and change our lives for what we think is the better.
What are your thoughts on credit cards?
Number 1 - Pay off the credit cards.
Everyone says the first step to getting out of debt is to pay off those credit cards we have all become so attached to. They are right but no one ever tells us how to do it.
First, stop using it. If you keep running up debt, you will never get out of debt. That's just the sad reality of how it works.
The only way to pay it off really is to send in more than the minimum payments. For me, I stopped buying lunches and DVD's until I got the cards paid off. It took about a year.
One thing that really helped was I started making two payments a month. Making a payment in mid month not only reduces principal but hits the interest harder than the regular scheduled payment.
It really can be done.
One strategy never works for everyone. When attacking any overwhelming opponent, one needs multiple lines of defense.
Employ as many means of debt reduction as you can all at once for maximum effect.
Use this Kindle version, downloadable book to discover multiple ways you can attack housing debt and win the battle on banking.
Number 2 - Pay off housing cost.
Get the debt off or get rid of it.
When starting to pay off the cards, I saw real fast my mortgage was just as bad or worse. I started applying extra to principle every month. It really does work, well.
The way interest is computed, on a thirty year fixed note, paying one extra house note a year applied to principle only will save you roughly the sale price of the home over the duration of the loan. For real, check it out.
I got my balance seriously under what the value was and sold that puppy. Asta la Vista baby!
For those of you stuck paying rent, my heart bleeds for you.
You have to get out. Your paying for someone else's portfolio. Save where you can and consider alternative housing such as a tiny house.
If you shop around, you can find land you can afford. Stay tuned for some links at the end of this article for sites to help you find land. Even if you just get the land and start improving on the weekends or vacations, start down the road to home ownership. You'll never get there if you don't get started. Take the plunge.
For me, it meant buying the land first, selling the house and then getting a used mobile home. I know it's seriously lacking in the glam factor, but it was way cheap. Having pulled a brief two year stint in manufactured housing sales, I knew the markup on a new one was over thirty percent. I shopped around and got one heck of a deal on a used one. You can too if your persistent.
How big a deal? Lets just say I've paid more for financed cars when I was younger it pains me greatly to admit.
Now, we have a paid for roof over our heads while we build our tiny house. Is it house beautiful? Nope but it's clean and I have peace of mind now.
Let's talk about the forbidden. If we don't, we can't ever improve things.
Thoughts on Obamacare in relation to improving health care and lowering insurance costs.
Number 3 - Save a boatload on insurance by paying yearly, not monthly.
This works for home, life, car almost any kind of insurance you can think of. It's a hard hit once a year, but it will save you hundreds of dollars.
For my car insurance alone, it was a one hundred and seventy five dollar savings.
Save more money by eliminating the agent and buying directly from the company. Call them up. It's easy. Compare companies and ask for any and all available discounts.
Discounts vary but many companies offer them for home owners, teachers, good driving records, and so on. They aren't going to mention if if you don't ask, so be sure you do.
To pay or not to pay, that is the question.
Current form of TV viewing?
Number 4 - Get rid of reoccurring monthly bills for things you really don't need.
You won't die without TV. Seriously.
On our road to becoming debt free, I had to learn that some things just did not fit in the budget.
Ta ta TV bills. Do I miss it? Not too much. I still get my favorite shows on DVD and I read more. I'm saving roughly seventy five dollars a month, so it's more than worth it to me.
Many shows can be watched online for free and Red Box is cheap for a quick movie pickup.
Number 5 - Do some serious scoping on the cell phone bill.
I was paying about seventy dollars a month on my cell phone. Mr. Vix was paying the same. It's crazy!
We downgraded to prepaid phones. I don't have all the fancy bells and whistles but I still get text, all the call time I want or need and a camera on the phone but now I'm only paying thirty a month.
I'm about to get rid of that.
If you have kids, consider family plans and be sure to preset a limit with the company for all children's phones. I have a good friend who had to pay a several hundred dollar phone bill that his 8 year old daughter ran up. Not good.
Number 6 - Look to the past for communication.
We have decided to go the CB route for close communication.
We really don't need cell phones to call each other with a CB. We are going to keep one to stay in touch with friends and family that live far away. We will share it.
Why pay and extra thirty dollars a month just to call each other? CB radios work and once paid for, stay that way.
Keep the communication, toss the bill.
Back in the day, these were all the rage. While mostly toys for so many back then, they really do work.These hand held, portable models have fantastic range allowing for family communication at all times without the monthly bill.
What are you driving?
Number 7 - Toss the car note.
What is needed is something that will get you where you are going not something to bleed dry your bank account.
Buy used whenever possible. The same application of extra to principle works on any kind of loan including cars. Get out from under every monthly bill you can.
Getting a car with low mileage that's only a year or two old can save thousands. I got mine that I drive now when it was two years old with only eleven thousand miles on it. I paid less than half what it would have cost new.
Cooling means that won't spin that electric dial out of control. Beat the heat without your wallet taking a beating, too.
Number 8 - Turn up the heat on debt by turning off the air conditioning.
For thousands of years, our ancestors didn't even know what air conditioning was. They survived just fine.
For some of us, especially in the south, summers get really hot. The temptation to run the air conditioning is great. Resist.
Use fans, cold showers, trips to the swimming hole, what have you but save yourself hundreds of dollars a month by simply refusing to turn it on. Of course, I'm sweating as I type this for mine's not on either. There's a sweaty smile on my face though as I think of my less than one hundred dollar electric bill for a totally electric home.
Don't toss when you can recharge for free on any sunny day.
This will quickly pay for itself just in the money saved on batteries for digital cameras alone.It sure saves me a boatload. Battery power is free here so using them for things like clocks, radios, boom boxes, toys, cameras, what have you saves on the electric bill and the battery resupply bill.
Number 9 - Use battery power whenever possible.
When I looked around my house to see what little energy sucking appliances I could do without or cut back on, I found it was the little guys collectively eating my lunch just as much as the big ones.
Things like radios, clocks and such constantly pull the power even when not in use.
Trade them in for ones that run on battery power.
Don't go burning through the costly batteries either.
Use the rechargeable ones. Let the sun provide the power for small stuff easily.
Number 10 - Use only LED lighting.
The big drawback with LED lighting is the initial investment. Who wants to spend twenty for a bulb when you can get one for a buck? It's worth the extra money because it saves you more over the long run.
Rope lights are a great way to get ambient and even outdoor lighting for pennies on the power bill. They are really inexpensive if you stock up at Christmas sales.
Be sure yard lighting is the solar powered kind. Turn off any lights not needed and beware of those pesky surprises like attic lights and basement lighting that kids often forget to turn off. Check regularly to be sure there is no power wastage going on when you don't know about it.
Lastly, consider if you really need all night outdoor lighting such as a porch light, street light, spot light on the garage and so on. You might and if you do for safety reasons be sure to keep it but if you don't really need it, consider turning them off. If you can't turn them off, look into motion detector tripped lighting that only comes on when it needs to. Just be sure to set it so that cats and squirrels aren't always setting it off.
Protect your investment.
Surge protecting plug tracks not only provide multiple outlets and the ability to turn off all the tiny power vampire lights, but they offer protection too.
A power surge or bolt of lightening can kill a thousand dollar computer in a flash.Don't take a chance with your expensive electronics. Flat screens, gaming systems, home security and so forth should all be protected.
Number 11 - Put your life on a plug track.
Okay, maybe not your entire life, but every power sucking thing you can think of. The tiny little lights on TVs, CD players, gaming systems, cell phone charging units, radios, virtually every small appliance or gadget you can name sucks power even when you are not using it.
Personally, I suspect collusion here between the manufacturers and the power companies.
Seriously, do I need yet another clock on my oven? I think not.
Do I need that tiny blue light on the flat screen? Not one bit.
When not in use, hit the plug track to cut off power to all those appliances that are designed to run up your bill regardless of you using them or not.
Number 12 - Keep the freezer and refrigerator full.
That's not going to save money. Groceries are expensive!
The more empty space contained in the freezer and refrigeration spaces, the harder the system has to work to keep it cold.
Look to the past here for the most simple solution. Make ice or even just large jugs of water in the refrigerator but keep the unit itself full. The more that is in it, the less power it will use to stay cool.
When updating your unit next time, think about downsizing. Do you really need all of that space?
Number 13 - Let the laundry save you loads.
Clothes dryers are energy hogs. If you look at average rankings of what sucks up the most power, it's typically heating/cooling, refrigeration and then we get into other large appliances like clothes dryers.
After I drastically cut down on how much I used mine, I noticed a real drop in the electric bill. I still use it for certain fabrics, when it's raining and I just can't wait and other times. Shame on me.
Seriously, even if you don't have a yard or it's raining, it's pretty easy to rig something up in the house. I've even draped shirts over chairs in a pinch. It works fine.
The down side of a clothes line is really multifaceted. There will be times when there's an unexpected shower and you have to run out there to save the load, but you will get exercise without the gym fees. You might have to iron a bit more, but you will save a good bit of money.
Number 14 - Give up the blow dryer.
Your do might not thank you but your hair will and so will your wallet.
It's crazy but such tiny little things like hair dryers, straighteners, curling irons and so forth send that little dial on the electric meter just a spinning.
You can check it out. Do an experiment. Turn off everything in the house except the hair dryer. Now, go look at the little dial. The faster it goes, the broker you will be.
Your hair will love you for it too. Hair dryers and constant styling can strip hair of natural oils making it dry, damaged and brittle. So, what do we have to do? We spend more money on hair care products. Break the cycle of abuse. Toss the dryer.
How would you rate your home's energy efficieny?
Number 15 - Do your homework when you have to replace an energy user.
Appliances come with energy ratings now. Shell out the extra to save money over the long haul but also remember the old makeup adage, less is more.
Less clocks, lights, bells and whistles that we seldom use and don't need add up to more money in your pocket each month.
Also, look for rebates, in store coupons, sales and such. Further, and this is a good one, talk to store managers about buying the display model. Often, you can get a discount.
When we moved recently, I had to get a new refrigerator. These things are so not cheap. I found one on display that I really liked and noticed a tiny dent at the top.
About half an hour later I was getting it for less than half the already on sale price. It took a little talking with the manager but it was worth it.
Number 16 - Give your home a check up every year.
Be sure to check all of your weather stripping and caulking at least once a year. Things crack, get chipped, slide, what have you and leave all these tiny little cracks that really are just the minuscule cuts that your money bleeds out of.
These can be found around windows and doors obviously, but remember to check the not so obvious. Check under gables, where piping comes in and out, dryer venting, anywhere and everywhere. If there's the tiniest crack, fill it with caulk, or spray foam insulation or something to keep the critters out and the comfort in.
Check and replace, if needed, filters at this time too on heating and air, ice makers, water softeners and so on.
Beat the heat by sending it back from whence it came.
Here's a easy DIY for reducing heat coming through the windows.Anyone can do this. It doesn't take a lot of time or specialized tools. Check it out.
Number 17 - Block the heat in the summer.
Windows let in so much heat, unless you get the really good energy efficient ones. I totally recommend that if you can but they get pricey fast.
Again, lets look to the past for some solutions that won't break the bank if we can't upgrade. Thermal backed curtains, reflective window tinting, screens, awnings and others all provide practical solutions to the beating the heat.
While the neighbors might think your a nut, mirror tint like what they put in cars before it became illegal is awesome for reflecting heat before it invades your abode. Mother nature can help out too. Consider planting trees, taller bushes and such to shade your windows. You will save money and add value to your home all at the same time.
Number 18 - Think of snow capping your roof.
Okay, maybe not snow but something that looks like snow. Basically, I'm talking about using white shingles. Almost no one does it but most shingles come in many colors and white is usually one of them.
Mr. Vix got the idea some years ago that if the earth were really heating up due to melting of the polar ice caps then perhaps we should turn all roofs white to compensate.
We tested this theory in a microcosm kind of way after hurricane Ike. We had to get a new roof so we went with a white shingle. My bill not only dropped but the house stayed noticeably cooler. It was amazing.
This, for me, knocked the biggest dent in the cooling bill.
Originally, I got mine in one gallon increments. This larger size is much more cost effective.
Honestly, painting the attic is not fun. It's hot. Mine was dusty and had nails sticking out of the roof that I was forever banging my head on. My knees hurt and I was not a happy camper.
Fast forward to when I started getting my new electric bills and I was doing the happy dance in the shade. The whole house stayed cooler. It's more than worth it though I recommend you do the job in cooler weather or at night.
Number 19 - If your smile should be radiant, why shouldn't your roof?
Radiant barriers work. There are many kinds available and most can be done DIY with a lot of sweat and getting icky in the attic.
I've done it twice. The first time I used a special paint that I got at Sherwin Williams and did it all by hand with a brush. It was a truly miserable experience. I hated every second of it.
The second time I paid someone to spray one on using a product he recommended which was a ceramic based equivalent. The first one worked much better. I would do it again myself next time and save myself the six hundred dollars I paid this bozo. Live and learn.
I had a neighbor that decided he was really going DIY redneck style. He used about eighty bucks worth of tin foil to do his entire attic. It worked! He said his bill dropped noticeably.
Number 20 - Cook in the winter, go raw in the summer.
Or, barbecue, cookout, what have you.
Nothing heats up the kitchen like cooking. While super fantastic in the winter, who wants the added heat in the summer? Any cooling going on just has to work that much harder and you fry right along with the food.
It's just so not worth it. Use summer for exploring new salads, cookouts, crock pot recipes, things you can do on your George Foreman grill and so on. Keep the kitchen heat to a minimum.
As for the raw part, there really is something to it. Studies have shown certain foods such as watermelon and cucumber which are typically consumed raw help the body stay hydrated and cooler. Enjoy your fruits and veggies while you save.
Number 21 - When you have to run an appliance that emits heat, plan your strategy.
In winter, if you have to run the dryer, do it when it's the coldest to help heat your space. Conversely, in the summer, run it only at night if you have to run it at all.
Guess what else gives off a bunch of heat that you might not suspect? Vacuum cleaners give off tons of heat. Use it just like the dryer, when it helps the most or at the very least does as little damage to the temperature as possible.
Sadly, my favorite gadget, my computer, also gives off a boatload of heat. Best to shut down when not in use. Not only does it save on power, but it cuts down on the heat. I'm still working on this myself as I tend to live online.
Number 22 - Do combo cooking whenever you can.
Ovens use a ton of electricity and/or gas. Either way, it's eating into your money though gas is much better than electric.
Combine cooking whenever you can. For instance, if knowing your going to want cookies tonight and be cooking quiche in the morning, consider putting them both in at the same time if possible.
This doesn't work for all foods but really, most things are cooked at 350 degrees. Unless it's something stinky like fish, it won't hurt to put a few things in at once. Use your phone to set timers to beep for each item and set the oven timer for the one that will be in the longest.
Number 23 - Use store cards when ever possible.
Store cards can save you money not only on groceries, but these days on gas too. So many places are offering them now from CVS to Kroger to some gas stations.
Store cards in this instance mean things like a Kroger card that let you access special discounts just for card holders. Don't confuse this with a store credit card like for Wal-Mart or Lowes.
Avoid store credit cards like the plaque. They have insane interest rates. But use the discount cards to access the deals. Many times, if you hit the store website, you can load special coupons onto your card. Hit a sale that lets you combine the card with the coupon and it's worth the trip.
Number 24 - Keep the pantry stocked.
If we are going to be brutally honest here, grocery prices have done nothing but gone up for years. It's not going to change.
Knowing that sad fact, stock up when non perishable items are on sale. Somehow stocking has become the anti vogue and too many associate it with hoarding.
I'm not talking about buying anything that will go bad or that you won't use but give some thought to what you really do use. For example, we use a lot of mustard. I hit a sale not too long ago that had mustard for less than twenty cents a jar. I got enough to last me just over a year.
It may sound a bit extreme, and it is, but it will keep and I saved over a dollar a jar. Do that for several items and the savings really start to add up.
Number 25 - Pad the pantry with staples.
Some things last a very long time. Dried beans, rice, pasta and others will last for years if you store them properly. While it takes longer to cook using staples over canned, frozen or boxed alternatives it really is much more cost effective.
It's really better for you too. There are not near the preservatives, salts and refined sugars in the food when you prepare things the old fashioned way.
These items are less when bought in bulk. Divide them into separate containers and you're good to go. A good way to store many of these is in glass jars. To really see the savings, reuse large pickle and olive jars for this kind of storage. They work great.
Number 26 - Know your local pricing.
You can't get the best deal if you don't know what's what where.
While it takes a little time and isn't the most fun task, spend a few minutes each week checking out all the sales in your area. Most grocery stores send out weekly circulars. Other store discounts and promotions can be accessed online like ones for dollar stores and such.
Sit down with the stack and a highlighter. Compare, compare, compare. Remember, just because it's a great price, if you don't use it, your not saving. Look for those things you know you use over and over again.
For years, I was loyal to certain stores. They were close or I liked something about that particular store. It cost me bundles over time. Now, I do it like granny did. I make the rounds and hit them all once a week getting only the best deals.
Number 27 - Use the coupons.
Not cut, use.
How many times have I cut the coupon and forgotten to take it to the store? No more. They go straight into a mini expand a folder in my purse right after I cut them.
Again, here we go with the annoying time consuming task, but it really does add up on the pennies saved.
Don't limit yourself to bits of paper. Online coupons for Kroger and other grocery stores can be loaded straight to your card magically from the website. Okay, it's not magic but it seems like it. Click, click, click the ones you want and hit submit. Hand the card to the checker at the register and watch the total go down.
Check the inside labels of certain foods and other products for coupons printed inside. Dog food bags, cookies, box mixes and others have been known to do this. Lastly, check the isles while you are shopping. Stores put out coupons in the most inconspicuous places. They are free but not always noticeable. Find out where they are and use them when you can.
Number 28 - Grow the food, the fun and the finances.
Plant, plant, plant and don't forget to water.
Everyone can have a garden of some kind even if it's just in the windows. Grow whatever you can for yourself and your family.
Gardening is a fun, rewarding and educational activity for children and adults alike. From super small container gardens to huge back yard plots, they all produce.
If starting small and indoors only, consider growing herbs in pots by the windows. It's really easy to do. Most require very little care, a little water, a little sun, some love and the next thing you know your herbs are smelling great and you can just clip as you cook. My poor mint plant doesn't even make it that long. I'm forever snagging leaves and munching as I walk by.
Back in the day, my parents and grandparents put in huge gardens. They stored enough for the entire year. I don't think my grandmother ever bought a veggie at the store when I was little. She had nine kids and fed them all really well just out of the garden. By the time us thirty plus grand kids came along, you would think she would have slowed down, but no. She believed in her garden and had it all of her life.
Number 29 - Look for manager specials at grocery stores.
Each one hides them in a different place on a different day.
You have to know your stores here. Some will put things on a special shelf. I know one that sits out a roller tray over by the milk, another that has an isle way in the back, but most have a "manager special" spot.
These are items that are about to go bad that the store wants to move. Typically, these have considerable discounts.
Be sure to use these buys immediately. Also, look for combination specials, things like buy five of any red labeled item and get a special price. Lastly, check for accompanying free item sales. Some stores, especially HEB, advertise if you buy x amount of any certain things on special you can get another item for free. If it's stuff you will use, get it. I got a free carton of eggs this week like that.
Number 30 - Know when to shop.
Double your dough where you can.
Often, stores will have overlap on special discounts. The day a new cycle starts is typically the same day another ends. Shopping on this day will allow you double deals.
Try double coupon days too, if you can still find a store that does it. Most used to but fewer do now. Still, some is better than none. When doing the coupon thing, it really helps to hop online and get a copy of the store's coupon policy to know what specials you can combine. If you can't get it that way, managers are usually happy to give you a copy.
This concept of strategically timed shopping works for other items. Buying at times other than the height of a season can save money. For example, if you know your lawn mower will need to be replaced, plan to get one at the end of summer when stock that hasn't moved is on sale. Check online for the best times to buy things.
Cars and other big ticket items can be haggled for in a big time kind of way right before New Year's Day because the lots don't want to have to pay taxes on the inventory. They are much more likely to bargain at that time of the year.
Number 31 - Buy what's in season.
Break out of the repeating meal rut.
Do you ever get in a rut making the same old same old meals all the time? I do if I don't watch myself. It's just easier.
It's much cheaper though to buy fruit and veggies that are in season, not necessarily the strawberries I want in the dead of winter. Certain meats, poultry and other products work this way too. Turkeys always go on major sale before Thanksgiving. If you have the freezer space, stock up.
Are you on the lookout for ways to stretch the meat?
Number 32 - Use fillers to stretch ground meats.
Sounds strange, huh?
It works and no one will ever know unless they see you do it or you tell them. Restaurants do it all the time. That's how I found out about it.
As a teen, I got the typical entry level fast food job at a Del Taco. Every time we had to make the taco meat, we would add in a bunch of raw oats. Now, we were making it by the boatload so you have to scale down for regular meals, but still the principle is the same.
For a normal one pound, I would add half a cup to a whole cup depending on what you are making. Just dump them in right after draining with the seasonings. Go light though. If you add in too much, you get paste. Just do a bit at a time. It works great for meatloaf, meatballs, tacos, casseroles and so forth.
Number 33 - Water can stretch just about anything.
From dish soap to ketchup, it really works.
During the days of frugality being the primary behavior of the masses, people used to water down everything from the drinks to the cocktail sauce.
It works really well as long as you don't go overboard. For things you are going to use in cooking to make sauces anyway, you can't even tell after everything is cooked.
It works in a pinch for any kind of liquid soap too from shampoo to dish soap.
Number 34 - Extend the milk by adding milk.
Powdered milk has been a staple of moms for a very long time. If you follow the directions, in my opinion, it's pretty nasty. But, you can make it work pretty good by doing it a little differently.
You can easily turn three gallons into four without too much detection on the taste. Keep an empty gallon. When you buy new ones, get three. Pour equal parts from each into the empty and then mix the powdered milk in the amount needed to fill the empty space in all four containers. Divide equally and shake really well.
Over the last few years, I've gone from paying just over two dollars a gallon to paying four dollars and eighteen cents. That's a heck of an increase in just a few years time.
Number 35 - Remember what they said in the movie, Steel Magnolias.
"If they can't hunt, shoot or stuff it, marry it."
Technically, that's paraphrased but the idea remains the same. Grab some game of your own.
Back in the day, people hunted much more than they bought. You still can. Or, better yet as far as I'm concerned, fishing can be relaxing. Personally, I'm of the stick the pole in the dirt and kick back with a book kind of fisher woman but Mr. Vix really gets into it. So did my father. For the price of a fishing license and not much more you can quickly fill a freezer.
In the south, hunting is huge. One deer can feed a family for the winter. Crawdads, frog legs and other southern delicacies are pretty easy to hunt up fast.
Number 36 - Think Mr. Green Jeans and get your farmer on.
On top of growing the fruits of the earth, farming has much to do with raising livestock. If you can, get some chickens for eggs and/or meat.
Do you have large dogs? Back in the day, a lot of folks bred rabbits for meat. Dogs do very well on rabbit meat kibble supplements, fish too for that matter.
If you have the room, chickens, rabbits, ducks, geese and certain goats are really pretty easy to raise. A word of caution however, don't jump in all at once if you have never raised these kinds of animals. Start small and expand if you find it's working for you. We have done chickens, ducks and geese a few times. They are fun and take very little upkeep. The eggs are fantastic! So much better tasting than store bought.
Number 37 - Cut down on meat consumption.
People thought for years that meat was needed for protein. It's not the only way to get it. Go meatless a few times a week.
Things like eggplant parmesan, red beans and rice, and quiche make hearty meatless meals that won't break the bank and are kind to Mother Earth and your arteries.
Meat, veggies or both?
How often does your family eat meat?
Number 38 - Don't hate them just because they are generic.
Know where you can use generics.
Some generic products are just as good or even better than their higher priced counterparts. Store brands often work the same way. This does not always hold true and is largely a matter of taste.
Find places you can "hide" some generics that maybe you would not want alone. For example, we love Kraft cheese for sandwiches and I have never found a lower cost brand or generic that comes close. Mr. Vix just flat out refuses to eat any other kind. Kraft is pricey. What to do?
Substitute where I can. Lower cost cheeses work fine in anything that they are melted on or into. So, get creative on how and where to slip in the generics without sacrificing on taste.
Number 39 - Plan, plan and plan some more on the weekly menu.
Time put in on the front end saves dollars and time on the back end. Granny said this, in better words than I, and it is as true now as it was years ago when she insisted weekly meals were to be planned out down to the last snack.
She was right. Plan dishes that will use up leftovers. We all have them. It's unavoidable I think when cooking at home, so use it to your cost saving advantage.
For example, one thing that can be used over and over again all week to make a variety of meals that are just as good as the first is a plain old pot of beans. Make beans and cornbread with greens one night, chili another, add to left over taco meat and Spanish rice with a little cheese another night for a cheesy south of the border casserole, wrap up the pot with bean burritos.
It's amazing how much money goes in the trash can every day.
How many things have I tossed that I could have gotten dollars for? Too many. No more. Scope out these cool ways folks are making more money through recycling.
Number 40 - Recycle to be kind to your wallet as much as to the planet.
Crush those cans. I know it's a pain in the behind and storage is an issue, but seriously, it adds up.
I had my class doing can recycling one year to add to their grocery budget (sped program). Some weeks they made almost thirty dollars. I would not make a trip just for one bag but over time they add up. Keep an eye on the prices being offered and when you have a good amount and the price hits, make a trip to the recycle yard.
Also, and this is big, pay attention to what you throw away. We have become such a throw away society, we don't even think about it half the time. Oh, appliance broke, throw it out. No worries, local trash gets big stuff on such and such a day. Yea, they do and where I was half the time the trash guys picked it over and turned it in for extra cash themselves.
Do you know how much you can get for say a broken washer tub for instance? Tire rims? Old drip pans? Pretty much anything that is metal has recycle value and can be turned in for cash.
Number 41 - Skip the soda.
It's killing an entire generation.
My generation saw the rise of sodas. Prior people drank mostly water or tea, coffee, buttermilk (ick) or some such. Sure, the had sodas but somehow in the late 70's and early 80's so many Americans began drinking them constantly.
I'm guilty of this and addicted to diet coke. It's horrible for a body and worse on little bodies. When teaching, I could tell in just a few minutes time what kids had been drinking sugary sodas and which had not. The hyper they bring on in kids is bad, the crash is worse. It's hard on them both mentally and physically and does nothing at all for attention span.
Look for a generic you like for those times you just have to have one. For the longest, I could not find one I liked but recently found Best Choice Diet Soda. It tastes almost exactly the same but is less than half the price. Over time, that really adds up.
Number 42 - Re purpose food containers.
You already overpaid for it, you might as well get more value out of it.
Hopefully, you didn't over pay and hit one heck of a sale, but chances are if you are like most of us, the store got you at the register.
Coffee cans can be turned into storage, planters, all kinds of things. Jars can become candles or storage containers for pantry items.
Plastic bottles can become really cool vertical hanging vegetable gardens. Think re purpose for every single item headed to the trash before tossing. You will be amazed what you can come up with. Google upcycle crafting or can craft and other such titles for more ideas than you can shake a stick at. Then, let the kiddos go wild with the crafty too and all of you have some fun while saving the funds further.
Number 43 - Scope on the ride.
Your baby may be bleeding your wallet when your not looking.
Be sure to keep an eye on things like tire pressure, air filters, oil changes and the like to maximize running efficiency and gas consumption.
If your like me and not really into remembering what the optimum tire pressure should be, write it on a piece of masking tape and put it on the inside of the glove box. When you get gas, check the tire pressure and adjust as needed.
Check out a few neat tricks that a lot of folks are saying really work.
I just found this little magnet tidbit. It can't hurt to try. I'm going to give it a shot and will let you know with an update in a few weeks how it works out. The others are known to be pretty solid.
Number 44 - Loose the junk in the truck.
I'm horrible about keeping things in the car. As a teacher, I used it as a mobile office almost and was constantly taking things back and forth from home to work.
The added weight translates into the car using more gas. Between the gym bag, the books, the emergency kit, the umbrellas, the extra jacket just in case, so on and so forth, it's like hauling around an extra person. Loose what you can, but be sure to keep the emergency kit though possibly scaled down or lightened.
Number 45 - Plan your route.
The shortest distance between two points is not always the best on gas.
That sounds impossible, but it's true. If the distance is shorter but you spend more time in traffic, you will very likely use more gas.
Depending on where you are, elevation may be a factor too. Going uphill for shorter distances can use more gas than going on a flat surface for a longer distance.
Plan your trips to combine errands, shopping, what have you and maximize your gas efficiency.
Number 46 - Become a night rider.
When it's hot outside, you use more gas.
People tend to run the air or roll down the windows. Both eat up your mileage. During the hot months, try to do as much of the driving you have to do at night when it's cooler.
Number 47 - Carpooling works.
Especially for work, school, clubs and so on.
Park and rides are popping up more and more too. Look for ways to use either or both as much as you can.
Public transportation is a viable alternative in many of the larger cities.
Number 48 - Consider an alternative mode of transportation.
America has been in love with cars since the fifties.
Do you really need it all the time? Consider walking or riding a bike for short trips like to the corner, a friends and so on.
Motor cycles are great gas saving alternatives to cars and trucks. It might not always be practical, but it sure can save you a boatload if you use it when it is.
This is not a money saving alternative I'm using at the moment, but Mr. Vix has done it many, many times. In fact, he prefers two wheels to four. Not only will it save you much on the gas, but it can be cheaper on the insurance and upkeep too.
Number 49 - Put away the paper towels.
Seriously, what are they good for that can't be done with a towel that doesn't wind up getting thrown out?
Further, while somewhat icky, handkerchiefs are a lot more economical in the long run than tissues.
Number 50 - Limit the laundry.
Do you wash the towel after each use? I did. Use it at least twice. Just hang it over the towel rack or shower rod to dry immediately after use.
Do you have teenage girls that love to change clothes five times each morning before school in that never ending quest for the perfect outfit? Be sure all those not right for today tries get hung back up and not tossed in the laundry or on the floor.
Washing machines pull a good bit of power so try to limit the laundry as much as possible.
Number 51 - Are you throwing money down the drain?
If using ready made laundry soap, a good bit of your money goes down the drain every time the washing machine comes on. Well, yea but the clothes have to be clean, right? Right! Most definitely, but you don't have to have expensive laundry soap to do it.
DIY laundry soap recipes abound on the net. Personally I like the one posted by the Duggar family from TV fame. For pennies per load, the clothes come out cleaner and smell better.
It's really easy to make your own. I like to refill a huge plastic container that originally held enough powdered detergent to do 140 loads. Since I don't need as much of the DIY stuff, I get about 200 loads from that container. From just a some Borax, some Ivory soap, baking soda and scented oil I can whip up a boatload for less than three dollars.
Number 52 - Cold water washing keeps from wasting on the energy bills.
Contrary to popular opinion, everything can be washed in cold water. Not only will the clothes still come out clean, including the whites, but they the colors will stay brighter much longer.
However, at least once a month, wash something in hot. Why? To save money on the pipes and septic system. Pipes and systems tend to clog with grease and sticky gunk over time.
A city plumber told me once that running just one load on hot once a month goes a long way towards washing all that nasty out of the pipes helping stave off clogs and needing septic systems evacuated. If you have your own tanks, Ridix once a month goes a long way towards that too.
Number 53 - Cleaners take you to the cleaners.
In more ways than you may think, cleaning products hurt you and your home.
Cleaning products come full of harsh chemicals that we really don't need. Not only do they wear down finishes and fade things over time, they leave sticky residues and generally bleed the wallet. Worse, they are horrible for kids and pets.
A few common household items will do most jobs better than the high priced stuff. Baking soda, Vinegar, Creme of Tartar, white toothpaste and hot water clean just as well or better than most cleaning products one can name.
There is one though you should keep around. Bleach is highly useful in its place. It can be used for things like laundry, stain removal, water purification and best of all, it's a serious type germ killer. Vinegar has disinfecting properties too but if someone in the house has a cold or flu, I like to do a top to bottom clean up with a solution of one part bleach to seven parts water to ensure maximum germ slaughter.
Teachers, moms and care givers can really squash the spread of illness by wiping down tables, chairs, desktops, door handles and such with this solution frequently. In schools, day cares and care centers, a cold can literally sweep the building in a day. Keep it at bay with the bleach water. Just remember it's only good for 24 hours after being mixed.
Number 54 - Just say no to the long term student loans.
A good college education should cost a hundred thousand or more is a myth.
Student loans are one of the biggest financial problems facing young adults today. You don't have to have them.
While not popular, community colleges offer the basic undergrad classes everyone needs. The classes are smaller and the information just as good. Just be sure it will transfer to the higher level institution of your choice.
Be sure to get that in writing from the receiving institution before enrolling in the class. While it may take longer, consider going part time and working part time. In house short term loans are available at many colleges and universities. Typically, students have the semester to pay them out with little or no interest. This can be a great money saving alternative.
Number 55 - Buy used when possible.
Call it vintage and it's uber cool. Call it used and not so much but the fact remains, a deal is a deal.
So many things can be bought used that are just as good. Books, DVDs, music, tools, all kinds of things are just as good and a fraction of the price when purchased used.
Where can you find such deals? Amazon, Ebay, flea markets, garage sales, church sales, thrift stores and many other places all offer great savings for those willing to shop.
Number 56 - Don't feed the vending machines.
How many times have I needed a drink at work and made a quick run to the vending machine? It didn't used to be too awful bad at fifty five cents a pop. Last year saw them at a buck twenty five for the same canned semi cooled soda.
I think not.
Use a carry all or such to take drinks with you. Just one soda from a machine a day during the work weeks adds up to over five dollars per week.
Number 57 - Turn worn out linens and clothing into new items.
Granny nor Grandma either ever threw out the tiniest scrap of fabric. They each could turn what looked like trash to me into something totally new.
Sheets, pillow cases and linens that are damaged can become cute curtains, little girl dresses, doll clothes and so on.
Smaller scraps can be turned into fabric art, fancy pillows, stuffing for another pillow or what have you. Do you have a small stain on your tee shirt? Cut it out in a cute shape. Repeat the process in a few more spots on the shirt. Finish off the cut with puffy paint, liquid stitches, beading or any number of ways and get a really cute new tee.
Number 58 - Always get your haggle on.
So many of us are conditioned to shop at the mall where the price is the price and no one hardly ever haggles there. I will but I'm a nut.
Just about any other venue welcomes the art of hammering out a deal. I suspect many vendors actually get a kick out of it.
Overcome the conditioned behavior of price acceptance by resigning yourself to never paying full price for anything and stick to it. It becomes almost addictive after you get a few really good deals.
Number 59 - Get your morning cup of Joe a new bed.
Do you like coffee? I'm major hooked on it. Worse than most, I drink it all day long and all night. I snapped one day when making a fresh pot that every time I made a pot of coffee, I was throwing money in the trash can.
Coffee filters are so cheap. I love to use them for ulterior crafty purposes but I stopped using them to make coffee.
Replace disposable filters with a washable basket for your coffee pot. They go straight into the dishwasher and don't need to be replaced. For the price of two bags of filters, you can get a basket that will last years.
Number 60 - Lets do lunch! Not.
Lets avoid the temptation to go out to lunch or grab a fast food calorie fix we will regret later. Pack a lunch.
This one was really hard for me sometimes at work. It wasn't that I don't like a packed lunch or what have you but I really liked going out and being with my friends and coworkers.
A few of us got together and made a weekly potluck lunch date. One day a week, we would all bring a simple dish from home and everyone munch together. It was great, always a surprise on the menu side and we had so much more time to enjoy it and each other since we never left work.
Number 61 - Give your vacuum a check up.
If it's a bag or filter hog, kick it to the curb.
Don't you just love how manufacturers make sure they keep their hands in our bank accounts by creating products that constantly need companion products? Not, in a big time kind of way.
Bags, filters and the like really add up over time. Get a model that doesn't take bags and has washable filters.
Fresh Tip - Do you like how some of the new foam and paper filters come with great scents? I do but I'm not about to buy what I know I'm going to throw out anyway. Wrap a dryer sheet around the cleaned foam filter and voila, instant fresh smell.
Number 62 - What works for the vacuum works for the mop...
Dusters and all those other nifty cleaners too.
I thought the new dusters and sweepers were the coolest when I first saw them. Of course, I got one too. After going through two boxes of the replacement cleaning cloths, my Swifer was quickly given away.
At the rate I was burning through them, it was going to cost me over five dollars a week just to get the cloths for cleaning the floor. Not happening! Back to the nasty traditional mop? Nope, not me.
Traditional mops are gross and disgusting. They get stinky, nasty and become fortresses for germs that then only get spread around the floor when its used. For me, an OCedar mop was just the trick. It has a disposable mop head too. Where's the savings there?
The savings is in the washer. The replacement cleaning pad can be laundered in a flash. The package says it can only go through seven washes and then must be replaced. I originally bought two packages of replacement pads. I'm still on the first pad. I think I have washed it at least 20 times and it still works like a champ.
For tougher jobs (I have large dogs and get some tough jobs) try a Shark Steam Mop. I love mine and use it for deep cleaning. It never needs chemicals and runs on water. The mop heads go in the washer and all is good. The one draw back for me with this mop is that it is what I would call labor intensive. You have to keep it moving vigorously to keep the steam coming.
Number 63 - Start saving.
Do it today for tomorrow never comes.
Even if it's just change squirreled away daily, savings can save your bacon when money is tight.
Traditionally, people put their money in banks and got a pittance in interest. They could watch their money grow. Well, interest rates in America are laughable and have been for years now.
Consider an alternative. Credit unions pay higher interest rates on savings. It's still a joke of a low amount, but it is more. If your a die hard don't trust the banks type, I say hats off to you! Be it buried in the yard, under the mattress what have you, put something back every week.
Number 64 - There's only one time of year to buy office supplies.
But, it isn't at the office supply store.
School supplies and office supplies are pretty much the same things. Paper, pens, printer cartridges and so on are needed by both.
Every year, just before school, stores all over America run fantastic sales on school supplies. Load up! At that time of year, if I hunt around, I can almost always find spiral notebooks for a nickle each. I buy a few boxes. Other times of the year they run over a dollar a piece.
Stock for stocking stuffers too. Grab the crayons and markers, the stickers and pencil packs, all of it for pennies and use them at Christmas to stretch the stocking stuffing options.
Number 65 - Do holiday grabs the day after.
Right after each major holiday in America, stores put out the left over holiday merchandise for typically seventy five percent off. That's the time to load up.
After Christmas is my favorite for I stock up on candles. I've gotten ten and twelve dollar candles for less than a dollar. Wax melts are really well priced then too. What normally runs just over two dollars becomes twenty five cents for the holiday scents.
After the Fourth of July is the time to grab the summer savings on things like patio umbrellas, picnic and outdoor eatery, table cloths, tiki torches and other such similar items. If you're into swimming, boating or water fun in general, that's the time to load up on the pool toys and accessories too.
Number 66 - Never trust the utility companies!
It bears repeating. NEVER trust the utility companies.
Did you know sometimes they like to estimate the bill? For real. I wouldn't have believed it myself but it happened to me. I got a crazy several hundred dollar gas bill one year a few years back.
The gas company thought I would never catch it because I had gas heat and it was cold. Wrong! I wasn't running the heat but using the fireplace so I knew my gas bill should have been around twenty bucks not several hundred.
When I called, they informed me it was no problem and they would gladly credit my account. Of course, this was AFTER I paid the over inflated bill. In other words, they keep your money and collect interest on it while crediting your account for the future. Nice, huh?
We're moving on now before I start using language you won't like. Just remember, if you think the bill is crazy high, it probably is.
Number 67 - Check out the costs of your cosmetics, hair and body care products.
If your like me, you will find your spending way too much. I have very long hair and it tends to frizz and just be wild so like most of us, I loaded it up with the products. It worked but it also costs a small fortune.
At just over seven dollars a bottle for conditioner alone, which for me only translates into three washes, it really wasn't cost effective.
The internet is loaded with DIY recipes for body scrubs, shampoo, conditioner and other products that are much cheaper to make, smell better and work better. Further, they don't have all the nasty sulfates that strip our hair and leave us having to buy more product. Hunt around. You will be amazed what you will find.
Number 68 - Look for group discounts and join some groups.
They are everywhere but not as well advertised as I would like.
Did you know there are tons of discounts for many groups? AARP is one of the best known groups for discounts. While I personally hate their politics, my mom is racking up the savings on hotels using their group discounts. She loves it.
Serious savings are available to groups such as students, retired persons, vets, teachers, police, medical care workers and others. Take advantage of these when and where you can, especially if buying a home in a new neighborhood. Almost all of them offer small breaks to cops, firefighters, teachers and nurses.
You have to ask. They aren't going to tell you otherwise. Book stores are great about giving teachers really decent bargains so be sure to get your member card and discount there too.
Number 69 - Start a compost bin.
You paid for it, why throw it away?
Grandma had a big bucket she kept under the sink. Every meal saw scraps added to it and after the dishes were done one of us grand kids would have to run it out the compost pile or the pigs. Nothing ever went to waste. A quick rinse with a water hose and it was right back where it belonged in the kitchen.
That compost was something my grandparents swore by. They had the best gardens every year. Grandpa always said the trick was in the compost.
Number 70 - Become a tree hugger.
Fruit trees that is.
Fruit trees are one of the easiest things in the world to grow. For the most part, you stick it in the dirt and forget about it. When young, they need attention paid to the watering, but after a season or two, I just let mine go and they produce.
Grandma had lots of these. She could tell you about every fruit tree she had. Where it came from, when she planted it, how well it produced, what it liked and didn't like and so on. I think she loved those trees as much as she loved us.
I know I loved the pies we got almost daily as a result! It's not just trees either. Blackberry vines and other berries are super easy to grow. A word of caution about the berry vines. Snakes like them too. I don't know why but they are almost always hiding in the blackberries.
What to do? Make a ton of noise. They don't like it and will leave allowing you free pickings with no snaky interference. Personally, I always take the dog with me just in case.
Number 71 - Scope out the entertainment budget.
I was spending way too much here.
We love concerts and festivals. They can get so pricey!
Look for city and county sponsored events such as parades, festivals and outdoor plays and concerts. Often, they are free or minimally priced.
Local colleges, schools, parks, libraries, zoos and museums offer many such opportunities. Check their web sites to see when the best free fun is for your area.
Number 72 - Take control of the taxes.
Most people who have a mortgage pay what's called escrow. It's a combination of a monthly breakdown for taxes and insurance. It's a huge rip off for the consumer.
What happens is you pay too much every month while the bank just deposits the money for you. At the appropriate time, once a year, they pay the taxes and insurance with your money. Here's the thing. All year long they are making interest on your money.
Further, and worse for you, you can't even get the discount for paying it yearly when the bank pays it. Shop around for your own. You don't have to go into escrow. I know I have never accepted a mortgage that had escrow. Just pay your own.
Number 73 - Retire your debit card.
Don't cut it up, just put it up.
Did you know a quickly growing number of stores are charging more for debit cards?
It's true. Put yourself on a cash allowance. When it's gone, it's gone.
Put the card up. Keep it for emergencies and such but stop using it at the pump and the register.
Number 74 - Let Mother Nature save you money.
Even if you have your own water well, water cost money. You have to pay for the electricity to pump it, maintain the equipment and so on.
Good old Mother Nature has your back if you just help her out a tiny bit. She pours down water all the time. Use rain barrels, kiddie pools, cisterns or whatever you can think of to collect and save rainwater.
It's so much better for your plants than city water that's pumped full of poison. (You didn't know?) It really is. Floride might keep your teeth strong but it will also kill you over time. City water is full of chemicals. Seriously.
Number 75 - Try your hand at fish farming.
If you have the space, put in a pond. Once it's in, they pretty much maintain themselves.
Take advantage and get your fish farming on. It's really easy. Just stock it and let it go for a while. At first, you will have to feed the fish. Dog food works really well.
Soon, the pond will develop its own little eco system and you won't even have to do that. Not only will you eat better and spend less but it will beautify your property.
Number 76 - Avoid contractors like the plaque.
It is so hard to find an honest contractor. Find one that's good too and you've got something that is worth its weight in gold.
It is typically much cheaper and faster to find a way to do the job yourself. Sometimes, that just isn't possible.
Look outside the normal realm. We needed a few strong guys recently for a bunch of heavy lifting. Basically, we needed movers to unload a huge truck. After getting a few several hundred dollar estimates, I went with an alternative program called Teen Challenge.
A supervisor came with a crew of young men. They knocked the job out in no time. They were polite, hard working and honest. I paid just under one hundred dollars for the entire crew. I can't say enough good things about this program. It's all over. See if there is one by you.
Number 77 - Bring back the barter, baby!
For thousands of years people traded goods and services. Bartering was the norm more than not. While it's somewhat out of style, it still works great.
Not only can you trade someone else for goods and services, you can keep the tax man out of it. I do this with neighbors, friends and folks I know.
You can find barter sites online that will even hook you up with folks that fit what you need.
Number 78 - Look at your brandname attachments.
Do you get attached to certain brands? I do. I think most of us have at least one. My mom is in love with Tide for some reason though I have shown her several times where my DIY works just as good.
It's something psychological. Make no mistake, advertising is powerful. It taps into our emotions and love of certain things to make connections in our heads that over too short a period of time attach to the products.
Loose them. It's just soap, or coffee or what have you.
Case in point - Meet Linda
Linda is a deer friend. We love her like oxygen. She's a nut but in a good way. She spends seven dollars and fifty cents every day Monday through Friday just for a cup of coffee. I kid you not, this is true!
That's over thirty dollars a week. I can get a huge can of coffee that will last me almost a month for less than what she pays for that one cup. Is hers good? Oh, yea that mocha latte foamy thing she gets is the bomb but at that price it's bombing her bank account.
The lesson? Stay out of Starbucks. I know it's fun. I like it too. It smells like heaven and I can sit and read with no one bugging me. It's fantastic. It's not worth thirty bucks a week. Ta ta and goodbye to the fancy Joe.
Number 79 - Cancel the automatic bank drafts for cell phones and television.
Do this today!
I know. I really do know. It's faster, easier and allows one not to have to worry about yet another blood sucking bill in your face, but it can reach up and bite you right in the behind when you least expect it.
It has happened to me. It has happened to Mr. Vix. It has happened to our friends. No more!
Here's the deal. Typically, the phone or TV bill runs about the same every month so we think auto pay will be okay. And, it is for a while, maybe a year or two. Then, out of the blue one month you get an insane bill. Guess what? Your money that you most likely did not owe in the first place is already gone and your close to screwed when it comes to getting it back.
You can't gripe to the bank because you authorized auto pay. Well! Telling them you didn't authorize that insane amount matters not. Don't take the chance. They can literally wipe our your account and it can take months of fighting to maybe get some of it back. Just say NO to auto pay for any bill that is not set in stone. I won't even do those if I can get around it.
Number 80 - Donate money to a worthy cause.
Yea, yea, big surprise. We all know there is a tiny tax deduction. While this is true, it's not why I'm telling you a great way to better your finances is to donate to a worth while cause.
I'm telling you this because it's true. Karma is a big time force in the world. You really do reap what you sow. The tiniest good deed comes back many fold when needed the most almost magically. But, you have to have something in the Karma bank for that to work.
We all need help sometimes. Okay, some say I always need help since I don't think like they do but the point is we can everyone of us help someone else.
Number 81 - Loose the baggage.
How many of us pay for storage? Things go into a unit that sucks up coins every day and often we don't see or use them again for years, if ever.
If it hasn't been used in a year, do you really think it's a needed item? What about things we hang onto for sentimental reasons? Should we toss them? Only you can say. For me, if I can't find a way to store it on my own property for free, it got given away to someone else.
Number 82 - Save on groceries at meat markets, fish markets and farmer's markets.
I used to think things were more expensive at the meat market. If judging just from what's really promoted at the front of the counter, that's correct.
However, there are great deals to be had. Just talk to the butcher or manager. The meat, fish and produce is so much better. Often, they have several good deals going or will be able to tell you about one coming up.
Let's talk turkey, or in this case hamburger. Sure it's a few cents more for the same amount I would get at the grocery store. It's way worth it because the few extra cents on the front end comes back to me many times on the back end when the meat does't shrink to half its size and I don't have a ton nasty grease left over.
Number 83 - Look at what you are paying for labor.
Do you wash your own car? I love to run through the car wash. It's so much easier, faster and I don't get all icky. It's also not needed and it won't hurt me at all to get the added exercise of washing it myself.
The same can be said for lawn care. I won't pay anyone for it any more but I have many times in the past. I find if being totally honest I do a better job myself and it's free. It takes me longer and it's not something I really enjoy but there it is again, good exercise and more money in my pocketbook.
Number 84 - Watch out for those super appealing deals on merchandise.
There's a great rush involved in getting something for half price. There's a great headache and added expense too when it falls apart.
I'm all for bargains, but do a little homework. Be sure the product will last. If you have to replace it again anyway, you really didn't save any money. Goodness knows I've fallen for this one.
Kitchen pots and pans, cheap lawn mowers, upright vacuums and printers are all items that I have fallen into this trap with.
Number 85 - Learn more about home health.
Health care, medicines and keeping fit in general has become big business in America.
It's going to sound cynical, but there is much evidence to suggest many an illness is "managed" instead of cured because there is no money in a cure after the initial cash outlay. It's sadly true.
There are many home remedies that work just as well or better for very little money. There is an art to treating yourself and your family, however. Don't take a chance with anything serious. Learn to spot and fix things before they become serious.
I'm no doctor but I will share one of many that we use. Granny told me years ago to use Creme of Tartar in water for boils, abscesses and other nasty and painful things doctors like to cut and treat with stinky cremes. They like to give out several hundred dollar bills for it too. Granny's disgusting and seriously nasty tasting concoction typically works overnight for less than three dollars for an entire container.
Number 86 - Utilize your public library.
It's not just for nerds anymore.
Public libraries offer way more than just books. Don't get me wrong, I love reading, but they have movies and music too.
Many have share programs that can bring in items they don't have in just a few days.
You can't beat the public library for variety, a place to hop online if your system crashes, air conditioned space you can kick back in and read a book or magazine for a while, a safe place for the kids to hear stories and get off the games. The list of benefits is tremendous.
Number 87 - Start a home based business.
I know everyone says it takes money to make money but that's not always true and really not on a big scale.
Look how many people are making extra money online at places like Etsey and Ebay. One of the best new start up businesses for families are nurseries. You can sell the plants at flea markets, club sales and such.
Better still, you can employ your children and pay them up to a certain amount that can be sheltered from taxation. You can also deduct percentages of your bills. Check into the laws applying to what you want to do and go for it. You have nothing to lose and possibly a lot to gain.
Number 88 - Throw your fruits and veggies in the dryer.
I'm just kidding, but not really. So many people stock up the freezer and may do some canning but the art of drying is almost forgotten.
Most fruits and veggies can be dehydrated and stored in pantries without canning. When you catch a super sale on produce or get a bumper crop, think about dehydrating and storing in addition to freezing and canning.
Number 89 - Take advantage of free education.
So many places offer free mini classes on how to do just about anything. From one day community college seminars to demonstrations at the local Lowes or Home Depot, take advantage of the free.
Knowledge is power and you never know when you will need to know how to do whatever.
Television is great for this too, if you tune into PBS.
Number 90 - Bring the club and party home.
Who doesn't love to get their party on with friends? From adults at the club to teens at the mall, we all love it. It costs a lot of money when you figure in drinks, parking, gas so on and so forth into the poorhouse.
Should I give up social interaction? Not a chance. Get with the gang and plan party nights that rotate. Everyone bring something. Games, music, some snacks, a little laughter and the next thing you know your having more fun than you would have in the club anyway.
Number 91 - Get involved in the community.
So much of our money goes for taxes. Sales taxes, income taxes, property taxes and now even death taxes. Yep, you read that right. It cost your heirs money for you to die now.
These types of taxes are on a steady upward rise. They are looking stronger than gold. It will continue as long as so few people get involved. Go to your local government and get vocal. I don't mean be loud or rude, just make your views known and declare calmly your vote will follow suit.
Lastly, and more importantly, watch how they vote like you keep track of money, because trust me, it's your money they are wasting. Never trust what they say. They lie on a scale you can't even imagine. Look at the voting records. I mean primary source documents here not some news or website's commentary on their voting record. It's all public information and is available for free.
Find a link at the end of this article to see their voting records.
Number 92 - Go to school.
The board meetings that is.
Want to know who is driving up your property taxes more than any other single group around? I promise you, it's your local school board.
Don't go planning to be able to say much. Check into their rules online at the district's site. You will find for the vast majority if you are allowed to speak at all you only have a few minutes, can name no one, and are restricted to certain subjects.
School boards are silently becoming more dangerous than home owners associations. While we would all like to think they are there to make our schools the best they can be for our kids, think again. The bottom line is they are politicians. They might be low level and new to the game but a duck is a duck.
Check into things like why certain companies are awarded certain contracts. Then check into who is related to whom. You won't like the disparity between what's said and what really is.
What can i do about it if they won't let me speak or muzzle me quickly?
I'm so glad you asked. This is one of my personal pet peeve political issues. Go to parent nights and teacher meetings and start calling all your kid's friend's parents. The board can legally shut you up and even have you arrested for disturbing a supposedly public meeting if you don't zip it when they say. They don't have that kind of control outside the meeting room.
You and your friend's votes are REQUIRED for them to keep their jobs. Let them know through community chatter they will do as the people want or they will be gone. Further, when you find those questionable contracts to family members, jot off a quick letter to the editor of your local paper.
Number 93 - Cancel routine deliveries and subscriptions.
How many of us still get huge bottles of water delivered? It's really cool. You don't have to lug it around but it adds up. Refilling it yourself at the grocery when your going to be there anyway cost a fraction of the delivery service.
Magazine subscriptions, the flower of the month clubs and all those are a lot of fun. I love them. I can see the magazines online for free and I can buy the flowers at Lowes for less.
Number 94 - Scope on the child care cost.
It should be a crime in America, the cost of child care. it's insane and most day cares are way too big for the children to get the kind of individualized attention young children really need.
I've known several teachers who had to quite their jobs because the cost of multiple children in day care just wasn't feasible.
If your a mom in that boat and have to stay home with the kids, look into starting your own in home day care. Keep it really small. You can make some money and provide a way needed service with love and understanding. Also, consider teaming up with other moms to do it on a rotating day basis in your own neighborhood. Chances are many have varying days off and a Monday through Friday schedule can be set up that benefits everyone involved.
Number 95 - Call the cards until such time as you can get rid of them.
I know they are not fun to talk to. I hated it myself.
It's worth the hassle. Negotiate for lower interest rates. You can almost always get something out of the conversation even if it isn't a rate reduction on the first call.
First call? Yep. Try, try to try again. Once a month until such time as the card is paid off or you get the rate you want works well.
Scope on the strategies below for paying off credit card debt fast.
Number 96 - Keep your dollars local.
Buying products not made in America costs America jobs. It costs the environment as what is made in China is shipped across the world. I'm not meaning to pick on China here. The same principle applies to goods from all over the world.
I would say if you live in another country don't buy American and keep your money but sadly, America doesn't make anything any more. I would like to say that's a joke. It's not.
Number 97 - Save on medicines by asking for generic prescriptions.
Generics are not always available, but many times they are and they cost a lot less.
Too many doctors won't prescribe them first and they aren't going to tell you it's a viable alternative. Make it clear that is your preference.
Do a little online research. It only takes a few minutes. If you find there is a generic available and your doctor just won't prescribe them routinely, find a new doctor.
Number 98 - Take a look at your driving habits.
Do you have a need for speed? Love to go fast? Like to drive in the fast lane? I do.
It kills the gas mileage.
Slow down, avoid excessive breaking, take off slow and basically be bored in your drive and you really will save money by not having to hit the pumps as much.
Number 99 - Avoid cheap gas.
I want to save money. That makes no sense.
There's a difference between a good price on gas and "cheap" gas. The later often has water in it. While it might cost less initially, your car won't run as well and you end up getting fewer miles out of it.
How do I know the difference?
There's the trick. Really, you don't. What seems to work best for me is a two fold system. First, burn me once and ta ta to my business for you bud. Second, ask around with the local mechanics. They will tell you which stores to avoid.
Number 100 - Stop worrying and take time every day to smile and enjoy life.
It sounds kind of new age hokey pokey but it's true. Stress is one of the leading killers in America. It's not getting any better. Everyday the news reports some new high in terror, some ratings getting cause for alarm.
Turn it off, kick back and just be content for a few minutes. Take a bubble bath, a walk, play with the puppy, something to chill and relax. Your health will last longer, you will be happier and you can think more clearly.
Number 101 - Know that you are in control not your bills.
Some times life throws one an unexpected curve that can wipe out a budget in a minute. It's natural to panic and send money to the person screaming the loudest.
Step back. Take a breath. You're in control not them and not your money or the lack thereof. Prioritize what's important to you and go from there. It won't happen over night but you really can get out of debt. Save your pennies America just like our grand parents did. Look to old memories and ways of doing things that have gone by the way side.
Frugality is in our blood. So is independence, productivity and resourcefulness. Modern society wants you to believe you have to constantly be making and spending your money, that debt is better than not having the latest and greatest and that if you just slave a little more you will catch up with the Jones. I'm hear to tell you I met them. They are broke.
Don't buy the hype.
The time is ripe.
Is it time to wrap it up?
Not hardly. There are at least a thousand other ways to save money I haven't even thought of. Never stop looking to improve your frugal. Life is short. Don't be a slave to the dollar. Contrary to popular opinion it is not almighty. Really, it's just a dirty piece of paper. Use these tips and any others you can find to save it, not be a slave to it.
Take control of your life and your finances today for tomorrow never comes. Sorry, Scarlet, but it's true.
Useful information for more money saving tips.
- Meet the Duggars.
This family can manage some finances like on one's business. Debt free with 19 kids, check out how this super mom does it.
- Free Faith based credit counseling.
Everyone needs help and a few pointers sometimes. The worse thing you can do is wait.
- Check out how they voted before believing what your elected officials say.
What they say is one thing, what they do another. Know what's up for real. It's your money.
- A good jumping off point for starting your land search.
Remember when looking to check for things like water and mineral rights, easements, taxes and the like.
- A good source for quick demographic information on all states.
When you find an area your really interested in, do google searches for local web sites. They give a much better indication of the flavor of the area and people than a data bank.
- Teen Challenge
Now that I know about this program, I go here for my contracting needs save plumbing. (I have a great plumber).Going by the name, you would think it's teen age kids. It's not. They are young adults that never come without a supervisor.
© 2014 Rhonda Lytle