I wrote a post on this a few years ago, and with financial times the way they are, I thought this might be a good time to update it and ask:
How are you Saving Money?
- We live in a smaller house than we can afford, and do our own gardening, home repairs and painting. This year, we redid our front garden to expand it and use only plants that don't require watering, and that are perennial. This is going to save us a lot of money on annuals! Plus it's going to save a lot of time spent on mowing. The new tree will also give us more shade in the summer and save on energy.
- Pay bills online with a free checking & online account which also pays interest on our balances.
- We stay out of debt and almost never pay interest.
- We never use an ATM or any other banking service that charges fees.
- We changed all our lightbulbs to compact flourescent bulbs including our front porch and outdoor lights. Of course we got them in bulk on sale. We still have not had to replace any of these bulbs. They really last.
- We use a single Amazon.com Rewards Credit Card and get $25 rewards every month or two. We put all daily living purchases on it and pay it in full every month. We use the reward certificates for birthday gifts that we can simply enclose in a birthday card. In 2008, we earned over 500$ for using our card.
- We use a Miles One Rewards credit card for all business purchases and get free miles for traveling. In 2008, we got Alan's ticket to go with me to the NSGCD Conference for free.
- Don't go to movie theaters anymore - we have cable & wait for movies to come out on cable. We use Tivo to record movies we really want to see.
- We only eat in restaurants or get takeout maybe once a month or even 2 months. We cook at home every day.
- We only run the dishwasher and washing machine when it's full.
- Only drink water, coffee or tea...no sodas, etc. We don't drink alcohol at all any more.
- We moved our car insurance to Geico last year and saved $1500 per year. Northern NJ has nearly the highest insurance rates in the country. We couldn't believe we saved this much. And our insurance rates have actually gone down every year! Probably because my car just keeps getting older. We also have a huge collision deductible which also keeps rates down.
- I cut my husband's hair myself.
- I buy used books when possible.
- We also buy other things used...like our dining room set.
- I mostly only wear lipstick and blush. Only use full makeup for special occasions.
- Only wear a watch and my wedding rings as jewelry. Jewelry on my neck, wrists or ears causes me a lot of discomfort and annoyance anyway.
- Do my own pedicures and go out for a pedicure maybe once a year as a treat for a special occasion.
- Do my own manicures...and I don't use nail polish on my fingernails - it saves a lot of time too.
- We rarely throw any food anyway. We have a system for storing leftovers to make sure we use them them. We always put leftovers in a designated section of the top shelf in the fridge next to the milk so we can't forget about them. We use leftovers the next day for lunch or snacks or as a side dish with dinner.
- We have a small Cuisinart counter top combo toaster, broiler and convection oven and use that for heating and baking small portions instead of turning on the oven.
- We keep our cars. I've only bought one brand new car in my life. On my 40th birthday I got a 2000 Sebring Convertible which I will keep as long it is safe to drive.
It is actually very practical as we can open the top and haul just about anything an SUV can. Plus it gets about 27 MPG. Not bad when you consider what gas hogs SUV's are. In 2008, it is still going strong, but does have a little water leak in the roof.
- We don't buy CDs or DVDs anymore - we download most of our music - we get 25 songs free every month with our Comcast cable internet service. The super high speed internet pays for itself between the free music and all the research we do on it to save money.
- We avoid processed foods like microwave popcorn, we use the bulk kind and have a West Bend Stir Crazy popcorn popper.which is actually a lot of fun to use.
- We make our own sugar free ice cream with fruit and milk using a Vitamix blender. Cutting out sugar and gluten has saved a lot of money in addition to improving our health dramatically.