Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Top 7 Ways I Save Money

I wanted to switch it up a bit and create a post on saving money. Home Depot's saying of "more saving, more doing" is really spot on. It's all about doing more with less. Below are the top seven ways I personally save money. Feel free to comment below and add to the discussion.

1. Largest Expenses First - More often than not, things like rent can be negotiable. Now obviously if you have a mortgage, you aren't going to have much luck. Mortgage rates are still low and many people have already refinanced.

I have found, in my area, that owning is considerably less than renting. This is not the case everywhere.

Always think of needs vs. wants. Do you really need a guest bedroom if no one ever visits? Saving money here can lead to a healthy down payment on what you really want later.

Automobiles are another large area that can be easy to overspend on. Think wants vs. needs. You need a car to get safely to and from work, school, doctors, family, etc. Other modes of transportation are available in larger metro areas. In most places I would list a vehicle as a need, but not a make or break one. My point is think about what you are buying. Do you really need a V8, shinny rims, or a premium sound system? All of these may sound great but decide if it is really worth it and think of the overall price. Only $10 per month more doesn't sound too bad until you realize its for 6 years and has a total cost of $720.

Shop around for insurance, whether it be auto, home, health, etc. You should shop these annually whether you think you need to or not. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples with quality companies.

Possible savings - $100 per month est. (a lot more for some)

2. Cell Phone - I know far too many people who claim to have money problems and pay $80 a month for their cell phones. There are lower priced options out there. All you need to do is talk, everything else falls under a want. I personally don't use data because I don't want to be connected when I am out. I want to relax and get away from it all. If there is an emergency someone will call me.

I tried out Republic Wireless a little over a year ago and it works perfect for me. It's $10 per month for unlimited talk and text, and I can get data over WiFi (no mobile data). Runs off the Sprint network and they have good coverage in my area.

Possible savings - $50 per month est. 

3. Cable - This is another area of life that counts as a want, not a need. When I tell people I haven't had cable in 7 years I usually will get a strange look followed by a "what do you mean you don't have cable." The fact is, when I visit people who have cable, I find nothing I want to watch. I would consider Internet a need for me since I often do extra work online.

I have a Roku box that allows me access to NetFlix and many other apps. Many apps with older shows or movies, and public channels, offer free content.

Possible savings - $30 per month est. 

4. Home Phone - I understand generational changes but I don't understand the concept of a cell phone and a home phone other than for business purposes. Many times it will be included with a package deal. You still have an option to remove it and it could save you money. I was speaking with a friend once who had a package deal and they stated that "the cable company said my bill would only go down $5 a month without the home phone, so I kept it." $5 a month adds up to $60 per year, plus tax.

Possible savings - $5 per month est.

5. Do Work Yourself - If you have home or small auto repairs that you can do yourself, give it a try. There is a YouTube video for everything! Never changed a windshield wiper blade? Watch a YouTube video or ask a friend for help.

Completing work yourself saves a lot of money. I remodeled my first house by myself for 25% of what it would have cost to hire someone to do it. This also ties into number one. Buy a fixer upper and do the work yourself, cheaper mortgage and a lot of pride once you're done.

Possible savings - $50 per month est.

6. Groceries - I buy things that are on sale. If pasta is buy one get one free, I'm there whether I already have a pack at home or not. The basics are usually always cheaper than processed foods. Grow a garden at home for extra fresh vegetables. Fresh foods can be cheap at the store but are seasonal. Take advantage of store apps, coupons, credit card deals (pay it off every month), or memberships.

Going out to eat once can usually buy me groceries for at least two days. Choose your meals out wisely. If you are in a rush crock pots are great ways to have dinner waiting for you.

Possible savings - $50 per month est.

7. Entertainment - Entertainment is an expense that will vary for everyone. Avoiding impulses can save you money. If you want to go bowling, you can usually get a better price on a Monday night rather than a Saturday night. Movies are often less in the morning than at night. Redbox is under $2 for a movie rental if you can wait until it is out of theaters. Check out local small business specials (support local businesses), Groupons, and free events in the local paper (free online).

Possible savings - $25 per month est. 

Total Savings

The above examples would save $310 per month. I tried to estimate low, in some cases you may be able to save more. Nothing sounds like a lot until it starts adding up. If you were to set this aside every month, in one year you would have $3720.

These are surely not the only ways to save money. Living within your means and saving money is essential for a healthy financial future. Eliminating debt can save you thousands of dollars, or more, over your lifetime.

Thank you for reading and I hope you save some money!

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