Saturday, November 2, 2013

Saving Money on a Day to Day Basis

As I wrote previously about our current financial situation (read here) and how we are working to get out of debt, I couldn’t help but spend the next few days thinking about ways we work to save money EVERY single DAY.

So I consciously wrote down what we do as I went through my day. Thus I created the following list to share what we have learned with you:


Child needs
·       Cloth diapers
·       Borrow baby items
·       Buy used baby items through Facebook exchange sites and Craigslist
·       Use baby items given to you
·       Breastfeed
·       Focus on needs only. Stay away from all the tempting wants.
·       Use coupons and shops sales
·        Get professional pictures done when major sales are occurring (like waived sitting fees)
Grocery Shopping & Eating
·       Shop at the store as few times as possible each month
·       Always take a grocery list with you, stick to this list
·       Pre-plan meals 
·       Send the significant other identified as the saver or someone that will help you stay focused on needs
·       Shop sales
·       Buy generic products over brand name
·       Eat at home
·       Plan for leftovers with at least 1 meal/day
·       Eat leftovers
·       Make as many foods homemade as you can (bread, tortillas, pizza)
Grow a garden and can any surplus vegetables/fruits
Keep inventory of items in your pantry and freezer(s). Look at this list frequently to ensure all items are used.
·       Junk food, coffee, and pop are luxury items rarely in our house.
·       Homemade desserts (cookies, brownies, pies) are regularly made on the weekends to satisfy our sweet tooth.

When you do go out:
·       Consider splitting your meal in half, eat half at restaurant and take the other half for your lunch the next day.
·       Challenge yourself to drink water while out. All other drinks can add up quickly.
·       If you are drinking alcohol, alternate drinking water as well to decrease the amount of alcohol consumed
·       Use coupons
·       Join rewards programs to get coupons (dairy queen, sonic, etc)
·       Consider the specials for the night (although evaluate if it is a good deal)

With Utilities

·       Shop around for the best deal
·       Continue to shop around at least 1x per year, just to be sure you still have the best deal
·       Disconnect tv services
·       Use Hulu and other free sites to watch television
·       If necessary, purchase Hulu Plus or Netflix for television. Either of these options is 7.99/month
·       Cancel Netflix and/or Hulu Plus during time when your favorite shows aren't airing new episodes, typically during the summer
·       Line dry your clothes whenever possible to save on your monthly utility bill
·       DIY build a rain barrel to cut back on yard watering
·       During the winter, keeps the thermostat settings as cool as you can.
·       During the summer, keep the thermostat settings as warm as you can.
·       Have your thermostat automatically set to be warmer/cooler (depending on the season) when you are regularly gone (for example, when everyone is at work).

Personal Hygiene Products/ Personal Care

·       Make your own soaps (laundry, body, dishwasher)
·       Make your own cleaners
·       Make your own deodorant
Get the idea.... Anything you can make will most likely be cheaper than what you can buy

·       Sell make-up/skin-care products, build up your business at least enough to make the cost of these products free to you
·       Dry your razor after every use. The razor will last longer.
·       If you buy a shampoo or conditioner and don't like it (who hasn't done this?), use it for something else, like shaving cream or the conditioner can be used for homemade laundry softener)
·       Postpone haircuts until you absolutely need them


·       Cancel gym memberships
·       Use Pinterest to find workouts already created to try
·       Use YouTube to find workouts already created to try
·       Find a workout partner that will help to stay motivated (they may or may not actually work out with you, but they could cheer you on with your successes)
·       Set a goal for yourself and work towards that (such as run a 5k)
·       Get outside


·       Change air conditioner filters as recommended
·       Clean air conditioner annually
·       Put extra money towards mortgage to save on interest
·       Own home rather than rent
·       Own a house that you can AFFORD. General rule of thumb seems to be no more than double your annual income.
·       Maintain your home. Do not hire a handyman for repairs, do it yourself.


·       Change oil to maintain vehicle
·       Own rather than rent
·       If you have loan, pay off as quickly as possible
The best way to save money is to pay for a vehicle without taking out a loan
·       For long trips, wash car, your vehicle will get the best mileage
·       Use the gasbuddy app to find best gas rates in your area before you fill up your car
·       Plan ahead for errands. Run all you errands in 1 trip instead of many little trips

Credit Cards

·       Pay all cards as you go, NO payments
·       Get on a reward program and use earned cash to make extra payments on debt
·       If you will be too enticed to buy large items and make payments, say “NO” to any and all credit card offers


·       For all insurance (life, home, car,etc), shop around
·       Know that generally it is cheaper to lump everything together, BUT that is NOT ALWAYS true.
·       Always read through your insurance paperwork. We have found errors that we were paying for (did you know rates are higher if you have a fireplace).
·       Reevaluate your insurance policies yearly. Make sure you coverage amounts are accurate.
·       Shop around yearly to make sure you are still getting the best bang for your buck. Many people get too comfortable with their insurance companies and let increasing costs slide. Keep your insurance company competitive.
·       For vehicles: When you get a window ding or chip, double-check to see if you insurance will allow this to be fixed (for instance, through Safelite) and fix it if it does! Most policies do this and most people don’t take advantage!

·       Sell anything you don't use, need, or like
·       Buy secondhand
·       Borrow items that you won’t use regularly. This could include interview outfit, a one-time formal event, maternity clothes, etc.
·       Set a budget and stick to it
·       Focus only on essentials (if you don’t have to dress professionally, don’t have more than 1 professional outfit)
·       Avoid going to stores, even to browse. This will help to avoid impulses
·       Throw away catalogs as they come. If you don't know what they are selling, you are less likely to give into impulse buying
·       If you must buy new, shop around for the best deal.
·       If you must buy new, use coupons or use the internet to see if you can find coupon codes (this site has many coupon codes)
·       Separate your needs from your wants. Focus on needs.
·       List your want to present ideas for your family and friends that need ideas


·       Focus on finding low cost or FREE thing to do in your community
·       Plan special nights at home (game night or movie night anyone)
·       Budget for nights out (so you know you can afford them and so you have nights out to look forward to)


·       No magazine subscriptions, unless they are a gift
·       Create a budget every single month!
·       Set financial goals you are working towards. Write that goal down (find a picture that represents as well) and put where you can see it every day! It will remind you of what you are working towards.
·       Plan for 1 week each month where no shopping is allowed. This occurs more frequently for us during the first week of the month. We use this time to use up the surplus foods we have in the house that we forgot about!
·       Save your change! We always collect our change in a jar to use for extra spending money on trips! It adds up!

There you have it! I hope you find something in my list that you didn’t know before!

What ways do you save money on a daily basis that I missed?

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