Welcome to the Savings Catalog! This is a running (and hopefully growing) list of ideas for saving money in your own coffers instead of spending into someone else’s.
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Home / Household / Living
- Marry someone who’s even more frugal than you.
- Own a modest home.
- Live in a low-cost-of-living area if possible.
- Purchase modest appliances (but good enough that they don’t break so quickly).
- Use your utilities sparingly, keep your heat on 64 degrees (or lower) during the cold months, and on 81 degrees (or higher) during the warm months (ceiling fans allowed). Push yourself to see how far you can tolerate cutting back on the heat and A/C, until you’re a bit uncomfortable, and keep it there. Use a programmable thermostat to help keep it regulated on a schedule.
- Replace light bulbs with LED’s as the old ones burn out.
- Replace high-flow shower heads with low-flow heads with an adjustment to reduce the flow even more.
- Take shorter showers.
- Turn lights off and unplug electronics not used for a while.
- Learn some DIY repair for your home, but …
- Don’t overspend at the home improvement stores.
- Use household items as sparingly as possible: shampoo, deodorant, hand soap, toothpaste, paper towels, napkins, etc. Use only as much as you need and keep minimizing to see how little you can use reasonably.
- Throw most of your small trash in plastic bags from the grocery store.
- Make some of your own clothes.
- Buy clothes / furniture sparingly. (Buy everything sparingly, unless you find good bulk value that you’ll actually use — sparingly.)
- Skip the mani/pedis and color your own hair at home.
- Cut your hair at home, or less frequently.
- Drive modest vehicles, pre-owned or inexpensive-new, and for as long as you can.
- Own reliable vehicles with high fuel economy and smaller wheels (reduces repairs and replacement tire costs).
- Keep your vehicle(s) properly maintained.
- Only change your oil every 5,000-7,500 miles as per the car manual, not every 3,000 miles which is totally unnecessary.
- Unless your car absolutely requires it, do not use premium gas. It is a waste of money if your car doesn’t need it. The only thing premium about premium / high-octane gas is the cost!
- Drive carefully just at the speed limit (enough you don’t get run over in the right or right 2 lanes). This saves a bundle over time, and you’re also legally paying less taxes this way (due to lower fuel costs). (Speed up when you pass, though, or risk being tailed! And speed up when you merge onto the road. And don’t slow down when you’re about to exit until you’re actually on the exit, unless the exit is too short! Ok, off the soap box.). Driving carefully will also save on speeding tickets and auto insurance. Some people like to hyper-mile, but you don’t necessarily have to hyper-mile to conserve fuel depending on your current driving habits. As an added bonus, keep your tires properly inflated for better fuel economy.
- Reduce your time on the road. Combine errands.
- If you must finance your car or home, finance for the fewest number of months or years possible.
- Don’t buy/finance an expensive motorcycle or ATV.
- Ride a bike, take public transportation and walk if and as much as you can.
Food / Eating
- Breast-feed your infants if you’re able rather than buying formula.
- Don’t eat out often, and when you do, just get water for your drink(s).
- Take your coffee with you from home on your commute to work. (Easy one!) Use ground coffee that will last a while.
- Take your lunch from home, and eat less expensive food.
- Reduce or eliminate all desserts / sweets and other snack-food items you don’t really need.
- Don’t overdo it with supplements you don’t need.
- Watch your grocery bill. Don’t overeat. Eat less meat, especially beef.
- The time-honored tradition of reusing plastic baggies (within reason), foil and even paper towels (for some things).
E^3: Entertainment / Electronics / Exercise (Health)
- Don’t buy a TV, don’t subscribe to cable TV.
- Don’t go to the movies or other expensive entertainment/sports venues.
- Only buy inexpensive PC’s or (a little) better ones on sale.
- Be happy with a modest audio system (you can get really good equipment for pretty cheap now), and keep it for a long time.
- Have just one inexpensive PC/audio-video combined system, not separate systems.
- Buy a less-expensive mobile phone, or one on sale/deep discount. Check out Gazelle.com for a great certified (buy & sell) mobile resource. They have an interesting article on what to do if your phone gets wet: How to Save Your Cellphone After Swimming from Gazelle
- Use your employer discount (if there is one) to reduce your mobile data plan costs. Just ask your provider if there’s one available.
- Don’t oversize your mobile data plan if you don’t use the data. Only buy as much as you need.
- Print using draft copy to save toner, and once it gets low, take it out and gently shake it from side to side. Sometimes it can last quite a while longer.
- Don’t pay more than $20 for a gym membership and walk/run/bike for exercise.
- Don’t drink / smoke / take illegal drugs. Live a generally healthy lifestyle.
Shopping / Credit / Recurring Payments
- Shop Goodwill or another second-hand shop (or yard sales).
- Don’t “window shop” and unsubscribe from all solicitation emails. Spend weekends at home and don’t go out where you might buy something unless and until you really need it.
- Don’t carry credit card debt.
- Use reward-points credit cards and just use the cash-back option to help pay down the bill when the points accumulate. Of course, if you’ll actually save money and use an item / trip or something else from the reward points, then that will work, too.
- While looking for sales and good deals, don’t go too far and waste money on stuff you don’t really want or need simply because it’s a good deal. It’s even a better deal to save your money.
- Check all of your monthly bills and subscriptions to see what you can cut out or down.
- In fact, check your recurring daily and weekly expenses. Live with a conscience toward your consumption.
- Double-check all of your grocery / shopping receipts immediately after purchase. Some stores guarantee accuracy and will give you items free if you’re overcharged. And this happens more often than you might think.
- Don’t fall for scams that take your money or infect your PC.
- Freeze your credit at the 3 major and 2 minor credit agencies to protect your identity and accounts. It requires a simple, temporary thaw whenever you need to apply for credit.
- Save your loose change in a jar or some other container and let it accumulate.
- Don’t adhere to expensive traditions just to satisfy emotional cravings, or conform to expensive social mores. For example, you don’t have to wear a diamond engagement ring or have an expensive wedding. If you know what you’re doing, you can have a very respectable modest ceremony. You don’t have to participate in office / school / organizational gift exchanges just because peer-pressure dictates. This isn’t to say you can’t do these things, but if you really need to save money, or just need a way to save more, you have to consider issues of this nature as well.
- This one usually gets someone’s dander up a bit. But if you want to save a good chunk of money (a worthy endeavor) and are willing to change habits and your mindset to do it, break free from holiday expectations to purchase gifts. This has become the ultimate consumer crowd lure, where if you don’t go along people get upset, look at you weird or feel sorry for you — when you need to save money for what’s most important to you. No, I’m not saying it’s wrong or bad to buy gifts in a general sense. Of course not. And if you’re able, you can always make your own gifts. But you don’t have to unload piles of coin for the holidays just because everyone else goes on a spree and gets buried in debt for months, all in the name of giving or enjoying the holiday festivities. You can help others in many ways without heating up the register or card/pay app every year. But do carefully manage others’ expectations ahead of time if this will be a big change for them — people are so locked into their emotions about this that it can be tough to extricate from this seasonal splurge.
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