Friday, August 24, 2007

25 Ways I Save Money

Way back when, Frugal for Life collected a list of links to other bloggers' money-saving tips. I don't expect anyone to find anything life-changing on my list, but I thought it would be fun.

1. Keep my cars as long as I can. I do buy new, but I buy an economical car with a great record and aim to keep it ten years minimum.

2. I rarely go on vacation and when I do, I visit family so that I only pay the cost of the plane ticket (both of my Florida trips this year were paid for by someone else).

3. I refuse to buy bottled water. I drink tap water at home and at work. I recently revised my rule at bars only. I will now switch to water if I'm out at a bar.

4. I rarely go out and when I do, I usually go to free or inexpensive places- that includes movies, dinners, theater, amusement parks, etc.

5. When I rent, I don't look at the maximum I can afford, I look at the minimum I can pay while meeting my needs. Because of my reasonable rent, my beau and I should be able to save for a house this year.

6. Every time I've had a loan, I've rounded the monthly bill up to the nearest hundred and paid that every month. I usually end up paying the loans in half the time and save on interest.

7. Prior to my move here, I earned money by using a credit card that rewarded me with savings bonds. I paid it in full every month and over two years, I probably made $400 in bonds. I will confess that I've probably broken even since then because I've been carrying a large balance since I moved.

8. I use CFL bulbs.

9. I unplug many of my appliances when not in use.

10. I never buy clothes at full price.

11. I think this one is cheating, but several folks on the list used it: I wear very little makeup. I don't wear makeup every day and when I do, it's usually just eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. I think it's cheating because not everyone is able to embrace my minimal beauty regimen due to work, etc.

12. Along the same lines, overall my maintenance costs are low: I don't use any hair products; I don't color, straighten, or perm; I don't blow-dry my hair, I let it air dry; I never get manicures or pedicures; I rarely paint my nails; I use very few products, and buy the cheapest most of the time. Compared to the average woman, I'm sure I save a lot.

13. I buy generic medicines and other things where the difference doesn't matter.

14. Lots of folks said they save by not having magazine subscriptions. I save by having them (but I do weed out ones I no longer read). A subscription costs $8-$15 per year which is the cost of 2-3 months on the stands. I knew that I would treat myself to a magazine at least twice a year so I subscribe instead. I do go without them and then figure out which ones I end up buying regularly before I commit.

15. I make it a habit to avoid buying snacks and drinks at work or on the road. That includes coffee and vending machine items. I bring my own or have it at home or go without. When I really want to buckle down, I don't buy any food or drink (including dinners out) on the road. I've had times when I allowed myself only the change generated from neccessity purchases to pay for those treats. This strategy made it much easier to stick with my no buying food and drink rule.

16. For high ticket items, I buy only when neccessary and only what I need. Eleven years ago, I bought a small TV/VCR which remained my only TV until I lived with other people. I didn't own a DVD player until years after the rest of the world, and I was able to get one for $30. When I decided I was finally ready for an mp3 player, I researched and then bought a first generation iPod shuffle because I didn't need the added features of the more expensive players. I could go on and on. I'm stingiest with big ticket items, and am often the last to own the latest technology.

17. Before cable internet, I went without cable TV. Now it comes with the internet, but I have the cheapest package.

18. I don't need the best of anything. Every item in my home gets used until it can no longer be used: electronics, towels, dishes, clothes, shoes, furniture. If it still works, I don't need a new one.

19. I've never bought a purse or bag for more than $20.

20. I don't have a landline.

21. I buy my good shoes at outlet stores to get the quality for a better price. Any shoes that are not daily wear or are a weird style, I buy at whatever cheap place I can or at a significant markdown. I'm not much of a shoe person anyway.

22. I'm organized so I don't lose things. Every chapstick I've owned has been used up to the end. The same goes for all of those other things that need to be replaced because they were lost. I don't lose things.

23. I buy used textbooks.

24. I've never paid for a gym membership. Prior to my treadmill purchase, I used my town and my own body to get all the exercise I needed.

25. I use a free blog service. :)

Phew, that got harder at the end. One of the posts I read suggested a 25 ways we waste money follow-up. I think I will follow up with a post about the things I don't save money on.

Edited to add: I just read another person's entry and realized I missed two big money savers: I rarely run an air conditioner in the summer and I don't turn my heat above 64 in the winter. The heating saves me about $200 a month in the winter.


~Dawn C said...

Interesting thoughts on the magazines.
Amen on the free blog service as well!

I have added your ways to the list :)

~Dawn said...

I was wondering if you could correct the link back to
as that would be very helpful. Thanks!