Monday, September 16, 2013

25 Ways to Save Hundreds Each Year

Stop buying bottled water. On average a 24 pack of bottled water is $3.99. If your family goes through even just 1 pack per week – that equals $207.48 per year. I purchased a water pitcher with a filter for $18.18 on Amazon. I purchase a new filter every 3 months – which runs me about $6 dollars for a total cost of $24 per year. Add that $24 to the $18.18 I already spent and my total cost for the year is $42.18. So I just saved $165.30 by eliminating the cost of buying bottled water.

Saved: $165.30 per year 

Give up your Starbucks habit. Or your Dunkin Donuts habit. Or whatever coffee shop you hit up in the morning. When I sat down and took a hard look at my budget – I saw I was spending $4 a day on a large latte. That is $20 bucks a week. $80 bucks per month. And $960 bucks per year!! I was spending almost a thousand dollars per year on coffee. Those figures really haunted me. So I searched around and purchased the Mr. Coffee Espresso Machine.

The reviews were excellent and the price was right. I paid $39.99 for it. The machine works great! I was surprised to find such an awesome machine for such a reasonable price. I can have Espresso and Cappuccinos any time I please. I also buy my espresso roast in bulk from Amazon.  I get a 40 ounce bag and it usually lasts me 4 months. So I only have to purchase 3 per year. I pay $79.80 total for the year for my espresso – but combine that with the $39.99 I spent to get the machine and my total cost per year is only $119.79. I just saved $840 bucks per year.

Saved: $840.21 per year 

Commute to Work – We have garage parking at work and the cost was coming out of my pocket. I was paying $75 per month to park. Not to mention the gas money. I was averaging about $40 bucks in gas per week even though my job is only about 20 minutes away. But I live in a very heavily congested area – and my commute was almost always a pain. And worse was the knowledge that I was spending $235 per month just to get to work and park at work. When I realized that if I took public transportation to work – it would only take me 30 minutes get there, I started thinking more about it. I always thought it would be a long and crazy commute if I took metro. But thr bus ride is about 15 minutes and then I would have 3 stops on the train until I am right outside my job. So I gave it a shot. Now I don’t have to deal with the traffic. I just sit back and catch up on some reading or some paperwork. And despite occasional issues – metro runs on time. I was late more often when I would drive in and traffic would be backed up for whatever reason. I spend $100 bucks per month to commute. That’s a huge savings! And maybe public transportation doesn’t work for you – but you could also consider carpooling. 

Saved: $1,620.00 per year

Drop your cable company. I have heard this before and I truly thought I could never do that. But when I really started flipping through channels and seeing the hundreds of channels I was paying for and never watching – it was kind of a reality check. I started out paying $30 for cable. But that only lasted the first year. Then my bill went up and I was locked in for 2 years – so I couldn’t do much about it. I just paid $50 per month. But when my contract was up I realized I didn’t need all those fancy channels. Basic cable was just fine for us. I purchased a Netflix streaming subscription and a Hulu subscription. Now we can watch all the latest TV shows, hit movies and more. And I only pay $15.98 per month. 

Saved: $408.24 per year 

Invest in a Bread Maker. You can read my full post about my bread maker HERE. We don’t always realize how much we spend on bread. There is sandwich bread, dinner rolls, sweet rolls, pizza dough, bread sticks, hot dog rolls and hamburger buns. My family of 5 was averaging around $30 bucks per week on bread items. That equals out to $1560 bucks per year. That’s a lot of bread! So I purchased a bread maker to see what all the fuss was about because fellow bloggers claim to love theirs. I soon realized why. I purchased my bread maker through Amazon for$59.00.

This baby does everything. It makes a loaf of bread from start to finish. I can also make dough for a variety of recipes. I just add the ingredients and go about my day. The machine does the rest of the work. I also buy all my baking ingredients in bulk – including flour and yeast. I spend approximately $300 per year on baking ingredients. I still buy sandwich bread because I can get it for $2 at my local grocery store and it’s just easier for me. So add my sandwich bread cost, my ingredients cost and the cost of the machine – I will spend $472.18 this year for all my family’s bread needs.  And yep – I just saved over $1,000 bucks.

Saved: $1087.82 per year 

Coupon!! Even couponing on a small scale can save you hundreds per year. You can read my how I started couponing HERE. Or find out where to print coupons online HERE. Now set a goal for yourself to go through the Sunday paper each week and clip out coupons you know you will use. Use those coupons every time you shop. Even if you never organize them, never make a shopping list and never even compare your coupons to what sales are going on – you could still save an average of $5 dollars per week using 4-5 coupons per week. That is $260 in savings per year right there. But if you get organized, make a list before you go shopping and compare sale prices to the coupons you have – there is the potential to save a minimum of $600 per year.

Saved: $600 per year 

Buy in Bulk. There are several ways to do this. Wal-Mart offers free shipping to your home when you spend $45 in Home Free items. Home Free items include flour, toiletries, food and more. Plus they offer huge discounts on bulk items. Amazon does this as well. You can purchase flour, sugar, personal care items and more in bulk. Or you can purchase a membership to Costco or BJ’s. However, I only buy items in bulk that I know I can’t get a good coupon deal on – like sugar, flour, etc. Or I purchase items that I don't have a brand loyalty to. Like AIM toothpaste. You can get a 4 pack at Wal-Mart for $5.50. That’s $1.37 per tube. Now I could coupon and get a top name brand for that price – but I don’t really care too much about that when it comes to toothpaste. I am just fine with AIM. The point of buying in bulk is to save. Not just money but also save time. So if you can snag a great deal on an off brand item without having to coupon...go for it. You can save an average of $25 per month when you buy in bulk.  I also purchase chips and other snacks in bulk. Breakfast sandwiches. I try to shy away from all those frozen appetizers like Pizza Rolls or Taquitos. I much prefer making them at home – that way I save money and cut out some processed foods from our diets.

Search Amazon Bulk Grocery Now

Saved: $300 per year 

Brown Bag It – I find it much easier to plan my lunch for the week on Sunday – which is also my baking day. I usually have yogurt or fruit for breakfast with an English muffin or a breakfast sandwich (all from home). So breakfast is usually easy. For lunch I cut up some romaine lettuce and some spinach and store it in a large container. I will also grill some chicken breast and cut it into strips – or purchase ready make strips. I take my whole bundle to work on Monday and put it in the fridge there. That way I have my salad topped with chicken all week – and I don’t have to think about what I am having for lunch. I never run out of the house and forget my lunch because it’s already at work. And even if you don’t have the convenience of a fridge at work – you can still pre-make your lunch for the week and store it in 5 individual containers. Of course salad is not for everyone. You can purchase 5 different soups for the week. Or even 5 TV Dinners (though that is adding more processed food to your diet.) Or make up sandwiches for the week. The point is to plan your meals for that week so you do not purchase lunch from a restaurant. I use to spend $8 bucks per day on lunch out. That was costing me $1,920 bucks per year. Now I spend about $600 per year on my lunch. Quite a difference.

Same idea goes for the kiddos. School lunch costs almost $3 per day at my daughter's elementary. Plus she is always tempted to buy ice cream or cookies because they are right there on display. Packing her lunch makes more sense health wise and budget wise. 

Saved: $1320.00 per year 

Unplug it already! You can save money on your energy bill every year. My first tip is unplug your stuff. You are using power even when you aren’t using power if your stuff is plugged in. Make it a routine each night to unplug every electronic and appliance that doesn’t need to be plugged in. Another way to save on your energy bill is to wash your clothes in cold water and line dry if you can. Not everyone has the ability to line dry their clothes (I don’t.) But I would love to if I could. It extends the life of your clothes and it can leave them smelling like sunshine. Yes, it takes more work – but it can really add up in savings. And my last tip would be to use energy efficient light bulbs
 and even appliances if possible. I am not saying go out and buy a new refrigerator if yours isn’t energy efficient. But there may come a time down the road that you will have to replace a major appliance. When you do – opt for an energy efficient appliance. The different in price will pay for itself. 

Saved: $200.00 per year 

Use cloth – You can replace most paper products. You can purchase  cloth napkins
for around $25 dollars or less on Amazon. I eliminated paper towels and paper napkins which use to run me $5 dollars per week – totaling $260 per year. Use dish clothes instead of those heavy duty paper towels. Just pop the dishtowel in the microwave for 1 minute to kill germs or boil them for 1 minute. And wash regularly in your normal wash.

Another route some parents go is cloth diapers
. You can stock up on cloth diapers at Amazon – get 30 for $44.97. That can turn into real savings compared to an average of $300 per year you’d spend on disposable diapers. Of course there is more work to this – and a lot more laundry. It’s a personal choice for parents – and one factor is the savings benefit. 

Saved: $490.03 per year 

Learn to treat yourself and entertain your family on a budget. We all love to go to the movies. So why not go to a matinee? Instead of $12 per ticket we pay $8. Or save even more by having a family movie night at home. If you have a RedBox in your area – you can go grab a movie for just $1.29. Or you can subscribe to Netflix’s DVD service and receive movies right to your door all month long starting at just $7.99 per month. Pop some popcorn, cuddle up with blankets in the living room and have a really nice family movie night.
And before you have your next manicure or haircut – consider doing it at home. Or check out deal sites like Living Social or GroupOn – they usually have salon deals going on. You can end up paying half of what you would have originally spent.
Dinner out with the family? Same deal applies. Consider cooking dinner together at home. Maybe take the meal outside and have a nighttime picnic. But if you want to head out for the evening – you can check Living Social and GroupOn for restaurant deals as well. You can save half off your meal. I would also check out restaurants that have Kids Eat Free promotions like Chili’s, Denny’s and Applebee’s. Another tip – Like your favorite restaurants on Facebook and signup for their newsletters online. You can snag great coupons this way. And snag freebies on your birthday. For a complete birthday freebies list click HERE.

Saved: $800 - $1200 per year 

Get Cash Back – You can get cash back on most of your online and offline purchases without having to use your credit card. Ebates offers cash back at hundreds of online retailers. Signup is simple and free. And you can save when making your every day purchases offline by using free programs like UPromise and Plink. I earn about $14 dollars back per month using Ebates – and about $14 as well with UPromise. With Plink I get about 50 Swagbucks a month which can be redeemed for cash. So I usually bank $30 bucks per month in cash back for my every day purchases. That adds up to to $360 per year!

Saved: $360 per year 

Ditch your debt! I know it can seem impossible at times to eliminate our debt – especially if that debt has gotten so completely out of control. But the longer you hold debt the more you are paying for it. A real wake up call for me was when I read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.

It was definitely my “Ah ha” moment. We can’t keep accumulating debt. Then borrowing to pay off that debt and just putting ourselves in more debt in the process. Credit cards stink! They do. It’s basically saying it’s okay to purchase items we can’t afford right now – and slowly but surely we will pay off these items but pay more than the original purchase price. Stop taking out new credit cards and loans. Stop the cycle. I would strongly recommend reading Dave’s books. He made getting out of debt seem feasible for the first time ever! 

Saved: Hundreds on interest per year 

Use a Debit Card – Not just any debit cards. Many come with huge fees that eat away at your money. But there are great prepaid debit cards out there. And there are many reasons to ditch banks and credit cards. To start with, even reward credit cards are costing you. You still pay interest on your purchases. And one late payment can cancel out any rewards you may be getting. And banks are great and all – but I only like have a savings account. With a checking account there was too much wiggle room. I could overdraft my account for a rainy day emergency and pay huge overdraft fees. I could use that last $1 in my account and fill out my gas tank a week before payday – and end up in the negative. Or forget about one check and have it bounce – and I am paying the company and my bank a huge fee. But with a prepaid debit card I never get myself into trouble. I know what cash I have on hand – and that is it. I can’t link it to my savings account, so I don’t touch those funds. There are great reward prepaid cards and they have minimal fees. You can even get prepaid debit cards through certain banks and pay just the bare maintenance fee per month of $3.
If you never overdraft your bank account and you have never paid a bounce check or overdraft fee – then this wouldn’t be profitable for you. This is for those of us who have spent $30 bucks or more on fees per month. When you look at it that way - $3 per month for a prepaid debit card doesn’t seem so bad. Add in rewards and it’s a pretty sweet deal.

Saved:  If you have just 4 overdrafts/bounced check fees this year – that is $100 or more. Compare to a prepaid debit card that costs $36 per year to maintain with no overdraft fees and rewards! 

Re-evaluate all your insurance. 

Health insurance is a must have, so you must always find a way to work it into your budget. But you can make sure you are getting the most for your money. Always get your physical and all your screenings. And couples can take a look at their individual insurance coverage at work. Does one employer provide better insurance rates than the other? Would it be more cost effective to add your spouse to your insurance verses you each paying your own coverage separately. Or maybe your employers cover some or all of your individual insurance and it makes more since to each keep your own separate coverage. When it comes time to renew your coverage, sit down and take a close look at all your options. You may find a better plan that works for you and your family's budget.
What about life insurance? Are you getting the best deal available to you? With life insurance it's best to get with the right company from the start. So don't jump at the first offer you see or switch companies every few years to get a better rate. Find a trusted company that works for you. One with rates that are affordable and make sense. A policy that can build cash value. And a company you can build a lifelong relationship with.

Note: Some companies do offer their employees life insurance. But you must remember that you are only covered while employed there and usually cannot take that coverage with you when you leave. You build no cash value and you don't personally have a relationship with the insurance company. Consider any life insurance from your company as a bonus. You still should have your own life insurance policy.

And care insurance? Grab a great rate from the start. But also shop around and always be on the lookout for a better rate. And stick with a company that appreciates your good driving history. Does your insurance keep going up while your driving record is pristine? It’s time to look around and find a better rate. 

Saved: $100 or more when I switched car insurance companies.

Do the little things every day. Walk whenever you can instead of driving. Cook your meals at home. Drive safely. Stay healthy. Recycle and use less energy. Don’t impulse buy. Stick to a budget. Don’t try to keep up with the Jones. Be smart about your money. Coupon whenever possible. And pay yourself first. 

Saved: Endless possibility


Post a Comment