How to save at least $100 per month
Actively Cutting Costs
Cutting costs is something that we should all look into doing to have more financial resources, but especially in light of economic factors that can leave us short at the end of the month. Here are some easy ways to save money.
We all use it. It costs money. Turn out lights if you are not using them. Switch off and unplug things when they are not in use.
If you are able to switch electric companies, shop around. The prices can vary greatly from carrier to carrier. If you do switch, see if any loyalty program that you belong to offers an additional incentive for switching. There is even a carrier that offers airline miles back for using them!
Some areas may have programs available to you if you are low income, or may have other programs. Before you do switch, call and speak to a representative with the company that you are currently using. If they offer specials, write them down to compare them with offers from competition.
Use solar chargers when you can for smaller devices, or charge electronics off your USB when you are using the computer, anyway. Once everything is charged, unplug the laptop and enjoy the savings. There is no reason to have your laptop plugged into a wall at all times, and when you are not plugged into a wall, you should unplug everything not being used off the wall socket.
Switch from old light bulbs that generate 9 times more heat than they do light.
Why buy bottled water if you live in an area where the water is safe to drink? Purchase a reusable water bottle and fill it every time you leave the house with fresh, clean drinking water. No need to purchase a disposable bottle.
Add a brick or other item to the toilet water tank to reduce the amount of water that is dispersed when you flush the commode. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth, lathering hair and body, and when at the sink lathering your face. If you don't have an ice maker at home, place pitchers of water in the fridge so that you can always have a cool drink if you don't enjoy room temperature water.
Don't wash something that you only wore once unless it is really dirty, or if it is underwear. If you wear 5 pairs of jeans (approximately one load) per week, and wear them twice before you wash them, that is a savings of 52 loads of clothes per year. That savings will quickly add up.
You can reduce the amount of laundry detergent that you use and still get great results. Measure with a measuring cup, NOT the cup included with liquid detergent. Pour that amount into the manufacturer's lid and mark it with a permanent marker or duct tape. Sometimes, the manufacturer is very generous with their measuring so that you consume more of their product. That ensures that you purchase more.
Fabric softener is also a place where less does the job just as well. Cut the liquid by half, or cut the dryer sheet in half. I discovered that towels dry people better when a fabric softener is not used at all. Huge savings!
Better yet, for even more savings, put everything out on a clothesline after it is washed.
Hair washing. There is no need to wash your hair every day unless you use a lot of product, or if you are working out every day, sweating. Even if you are sweating, you can dilute your shampoo by splitting it in half with water. Use the same amount of shampoo on your hair that you were using before you divided it. It will lather less, but your hair will still come out clean. Same applies with conditioner.
Liquid soap is preferred by many because it is convenient, it lathers more, and is more strongly scented. Switch to bar soap and use a soap pocket or similar device. You will then be able to use the bar of soap until it is completely gone. Best of all is the savings. You will get more baths or showers from one bar of soap versus the same amount of liquid soap. How much more? We purchased a small bottle of liquid soap and placed it in the shower. One member of the family agreed to shower with only bar soap, and the other agree to only use the liquid. At the end of the month, the bar was only 1/2 gone, and the small bottle of liquid soap was down to small drops in the bottom of the bottle. A savings over one year is over $50.00 per person!
Lotion is another area where you can water it down and it still performs the same. Don't deceive yourself that thicker is better. I now make my own lotion and salve and balms.
There are so many sources to get coupons from. Newspapers, weekly sales, online, on your phone, and in your email. I am sure that there are some that I am missing, but if you are wanting to save money, you cannot be brand loyal on every single item that you purchase. Not only that, but check the sales and last minute sales in the grocery store. If your area has loyalty cards, get them. If your area offers grocery stores that double and triple coupons, check them out. Most loyalty cards now allow you to add special deals to your loyalty card for even more savings.
Do you use your home phone? If so, do you use all of the features on your phone that you may be paying a premium for? How many times are you conference calling? How many times do you use any of the services on your plan? If there are ones that you use, determine how much for just those services, not everything. In certain instances, you can downgrade your plan and save quite a lot of money. Do you use long distance from your home phone? Dump it if you don't. Learn about Skype and how to use it.
Americans who have cell phones often pay over $100.00 per month if they have a plan with a smart phone. By switching to a simple phone that does not offer all of the bells and whistles, you can get a plan for as less than $20.00 per month. That is at least $600.00 per year saved. Other non prime carriers offer talk, text, web, and other features for less than $50.00 per month, but may have caps on certain features. If you choose to go this route, you can still save $600.00 per year. Evaluate what features you want, what features you actually use and what features that you need. There are now cell phones for extremely low rates who use WIFI as the prime means of delivering phone calls. Republic Wireless is currently the cheapest one out there.
Another choice is to drop the mobile phone entirely, checking for messages with free online phone services, or to get a virtual phone number and use a deactivated phone when in a WiFi region. I have a friend who does not have a mobile phone. He checks his messages when he arrives at work, when he leaves to go home, and when he is away, he checks his messages one time per day.
Plans change all of the time, and bundle plans can seem like a good idea. A good idea until you stop and determine how much time you really use the rest of the features. Take a long look at what you are using. If your budget is very tight, a valid option may be to use free internet at places like the library. It is inconvenient, but if saving some money is the difference between home and homeless, or eat versus go hungry, this option can save you between $300 to $2400 per year. My above friend with no mobile phone has a list of places where internet access is offered and a list of which ones have computers for use by guests. He also notes if they are free for all, as in a public library, or free for guests of a place, such as a hotel. Email is the best way to reach him during work hours, and he returns calls within a few hours. Inconvenient? Perhaps. However, he is very financially tight right now, and the saved money allows him to afford meals.
Does your bank charge you to do business with them? Why are you still doing business with them when there are plenty of banks offering free checking? A quick look around online will show you a list of banks that offer free checking. Banks offer all sorts of incentives to draw your business. From free checks, waived ATM fees, personal banking services, many banks only make money from you if you overdraft the account. Don't do that.
Do you have health insurance? If you are paying for it without the help of your employer, get a copy of what your benefits are and compare. My sister saved over $3500.00 per year by shopping around. She got the same coverage through a different company, and she has better prescription coverage as well as vision and dental. Stopping by your HR office and asking if you can get a different coverage policy may have results that surprise you. Many places online offer free discount prescription cards as well, in case you don't have coverage in that area. I have a friend who pays less for his health insurance than he does for his car insurance. He uses low cost clinics, learning clinics and other similar services to make sure that he is healthy. A benefit is that some of these places will offer low cost or no cost shots for adults. The cost of his flu shot administered from a student nurse? Free. The cost of my flu shot at the local pharmacy? $35.00. Who did better in terms of savings? I think he came out ahead.
Compare prices, and compare the cost of operating the car versus public transportation if that is a viable option where you live. It may take longer and be less convenient, but if you can take public transportation or car pool part of the time, you will be putting less miles on your car, using less gas, and reducing your carbon footprint. I know someone who reads during her commute, checking out books at the library several times per month. She said that her commute is peaceful and quiet. How many daily drivers can say that? If you must have a car, shop around for car insurance.
There is a wealth of reading materials available for free at your local library. I was happily shocked the last time I was at the library to see two books that I had been wanting to buy. I checked them out and was glad I had saved my money! Donate your old books to a library if you don't need the cash, sell them if you do. If your library has odd hours, call and ask how you can check out books. Some will mail books to your home, and most have a night drop to get them back to the library. Most libraries are now adding e-books to their selections as well, this is awesome for being able to read a book without the hassle of having to schedule when to return it.
Why buy new when there are used clothing stores all over the place, online and in brick and mortar shops. A lot of these shops help finance charities, and some are just cool places to recycle clothes so that they don't end up in a landfill.
Do not buy new unless you have to. Find a great shoe repair person. They can work wonders with your shoes, giving them a new lease on life and putting more money in your pocket. If you are a hard to fit size, or have feet that are two different sizes, look online for groups that exchange their oddly matched size for yours. Someone I know wears a size 5 on one foot and a 7 on the other. A person in another part of the world has the opposite problem. In their shoe group, both parties buy two pairs of identical shoes, match the shoes to their size and send the other pair to the person whose feet are opposite feet sized. This can be a tremendous savings.
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