It seems like today mostly everyone is looking for a way to save a few dollars. Financially, things are a bit tight and I do what I can to get by on my husband’s income alone. During my time outside of the working world, I have been able to perfect quite a few easy ways to save money. I have been able to cut down on our grocery bill, the electric bill, and even save money shopping for the kids. Saving money has become an art form for me, and I am always looking for better ways to stretch a buck!
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Easy Ways To Save Money
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When it comes to shopping, I am pretty serious about my savings. There are quite a few easy ways to save money at the grocery store. I am an avid user of coupons, and you can see my in-depth Couponing 101 explanation. Even if you aren’t an “extreme” couponer, you can still shop the sales and use coupons to maximize your savings. It is not as time-consuming as so many make it out to be either. I probably spend an hour or two a week on my couponing and still manage to save a large amount of money off of my grocery bill.
I recommend ALWAYS taking stock of what you have at home before you go to the store. Make a list of what you need and stick to it. This way you won’t find yourself buying duplicates of items that you don’t really need.
I also make use of shopping apps like Ibotta. Ibotta basically gives you rebates for purchasing certain items. Once you hit a $20 threshold, you can cash it out to PayPal. That $20 is pretty easy to get, especially since you get a $10 bonus when you sign up and make your first purchase. Typically, I like to save up all of my Ibotta money and use it at Christmas time for gifts.
Another awesome shopping tool i like to use is Ebates. This is probably my favorite shopping site to use. They offer cashback on your purchases at an endless amount of online retailers. I did almost all of my Christmas shopping online this past year and got about $200 back from Ebates. It is super simple to use as well. You just select your store from their list and boom, you are getting cash back on your purchase. They even have an awesome referral program once you sign up as well. If you sign up through my link you get a $10 bonus once you make your first purchase.
Save at Home
I live in Florida, so as much as I want to say to not run the air conditioner as much, for me that is just not possible. One thing I found that has helped my family save money on our electric bill is the Nest Thermostat. This little gem learns your habits and will optimize your heating and cooling to save you money. Once it learns your habits, it will automatically kick on and off at the appropriate times and keep your house at the perfect temperature. It is a little bit of an initial investment, but SO worth it in the long run.
Another thing I had to train myself to do was make sure I turn off the lights when I am not in a room. After a while it becomes a habit, but I was terrible about leaving all of the lights on for the longest time. Lately I have been MUCH better about it and it has made a difference. For one it saves electricity by not running the lights, but it also keeps the house cooler so the AC isn’t running as hard. We also replaced all of our lights with LED bulbs, like these. Again, while it may be a bit of an initial investment, it is totally worth it!
Wash in cold water. Most of our clothes are fine in cold water, so I do pretty much all of our laundry that way. It may be a slight cut down in energy, but every little bit counts!
Unplug unused appliances. I have been unplugging anything I am not using. My coffee pot, toaster, phone charger and items like that get unplugged when not in use. There is a small amount of power that is still consumed when these items are plugged in and not being used, so it can help you save some money by unplugging them.
Stop Buying Unnecessary Items
I realized that I had been buying things that I really did not need. Some easy ways to save money involve not buying items that you really can live without.
Don’t buy paper towels. I realized that I was spending so much money on paper towels. Once I stopped buying them and started just using washable hand towels, I noticed that I really did not miss my paper towels at all.
Stop buying paper plates. This was a hard one for me since we do a lot of get-togethers at my house. I ended up going to Dollar Tree and buying a bunch of inexpensive plastic plates and now we use those for parties. I can wash and reuse them, but if they get broken they were only a dollar. Paper plates were just wasteful and costly in the long run. This also applies to Solo cups. Just get inexpensive plastic cups and reuse them for parties!
Clear all your debts
After finding ways to reduce my monthly bills, I always make sure that I clear all of them before moving on to the next month. I realized that if I carry forward a utility bill over to the next month, I always end up paying more due to high-interest rates. To make it easy for me, I use various online tools to monitor and keep track of my bills. If my bills rise in between the month, I can identify whether my electric or heat bill usage is raising the invoice.
I have also been using a simple mortgage calculator, which has helped me pay my house loan. Once you pay up such debts, you can save money at home without any worries. If this sounds too much, just think of the benefits you will get by living a debt-free life. By clearing my debts on time, I can live a stress-free life, and my husband has more disposable income, which we use on other things.
There are tons of easy ways to save money by buying used items.
Brand new clothes off the rack are great, but really they can be very expensive. Especially with my kids, I have found that second-hand is the way to go! Kids grow out of them so fast that there is almost no point in buying brand new. Even for myself I purchase second-hand. My favorite place to buy clothes, for me and the kids, is Thredup. Thredup is an online thrift store that sells gently used, name brand clothes for women and children. Unfortunately they do not sell men’s clothes, but they really need to get on that! I was even able to get a brand new Michael Kors purse for well over 50% off of retail. If you sign up here you get $10 towards your first purchase as well, and they are always running great sales!
Even furniture can be found used at a great bargain. We got our whole living room set at a consignment store for dirt cheap. You have to be patient and keep looking around, but there are always great deals to be found. I have found that the best time to buy used furniture is around the start of summer. Especially if you live near a college town. College kids will be offing their stuff for cheap because they are moving out of their apartments for the summer.
If you need to buy a car, buy used. I don’t mean an old beater, but you can find awesome deals on cars that are a few years old with low miles. Once a new car is driven off of the lot it depreciates so fast that it is unreal. Save yourself some bucks and get a nice used car from a reputable dealer.
Utilize Credit Correctly
Looking for easy ways to save money and get some extra cash back? We have all of our monthly bills set up on one credit card that we pay off in full every month. The beauty of this is that we use a card that gives us a percentage cash back. Since we never hold a balance, we never pay interest on this card. We simply reap the benefits of the cash back rewards! Our card is through USAA, and if you are eligible I would highly recommend this bank. They cater to military members and their families and offer amazing accounts and credit cards.
I know it isn’t always possible, but making sure any credit card is paid off in full each month will save you quite a bit in interest in the long run. We try to use our cards only for things that are either an emergency or something we know we will pay off by the end of the billing cycle.
The easiest of the easy ways to save money has to be ditching cable. We were paying well over $100 a month for cable TV at one point. We decided that this was just too much so we made the switch to streaming and have never looked back. For a total of $20 a month we have Netflix and Hulu. I love them both for different reasons. Netflix is great for movies and binge watching full past seasons of shows. Hulu (my personal favorite) is great for watching up to date new shows the day after they air. Now they aren’t going to have EVERYTHING, but it is very close. I have been without cable for years now and don’t miss it at all. We do have an antenna, like this one, on the outside of our house as well to pick up all of the local stations.
I am sure I could go on about more easy ways to save money, but the basic gist of it is to think about what you spend. Start spending smarter and eliminating what you don’t really need. I would love to hear what your easy ways to save money are in the comments below!