Saving money is a huge deal anymore. The cost of living has gone up causing everyone to crack down on spending and if you’re anything like me you’re constantly looking for different ways to save money. Between shopping around and utilizing coupons, I’m always trying to find the best deal. Here are a few tips and tricks that I have learned on how to save money each month. So far I’m saving roughly $200 a month by following these simple steps. It’s amazing how much of a difference just a few simple changes to your monthly spending can make.
1. Shop Around for Car Insurance
When I bought my truck last summer my car insurance jumped up to $180 a month with Progressive. I thought that was ridiculous so I tried got a quote from Erie since that is where I have my homeowner’s insurance (thinking I could save a little by bundling) but they quoted me for $190! I gave up after that and decided not to look around any further. Well one of my co-workers convinced me to look around again and get several different quotes. I did that and now I’m saving $70 a month on my car insurance since switching to Geico!! I feel like a commercial when I say that. lol. I have the same exact coverage with Geico as I did with Progressive I’m just saving more money. At least once a year you should try shopping around for your insurance to see how much you can save.
2. Purchase Your Own Gateway
I’m currently not very happy with Comcast and plan on canceling my plan with them and going some where else; however, purchasing your own gateway is an excellent way to save a little extra money. A gateway is a modem and router in one. It’s what you rent from Comcast for $11.00/month. If you purchase your own for roughly $100 you’ll have broke even within 10 months and then begin saving money! Even if you have a different provider purchasing your own gateway is a good investment regardless. It saves you from having to rent one that may be otherwise crappy.
3. Coupon/ Bargain Shop
Now, I have never been very good at couponing. I’ve tried to understand it and I’ve tried to do it but I just can’t get it. It always amazes me to hear about how women saves hundreds of dollars with coupons and only spend like $1 on what should be $200 worth of groceries. Instead, I make my phone help me. I have several apps on my phone that do a majority of the work for me. lol. I use Walmart’s Savings Catcher the most because I generally only shop at Walmart. I just snap a picture of the receipt and it checks around to see if there were better deals any where on the items I bought. I actually really love this app and surprisingly it saves me A LOT of money. I also combine this with coupon.com which also has an app and virtually clip coupons prior to purchasing my groceries. It’s very similar to Checkout 51 (another app I use) if you’re familiar with that app. Pairing these apps with bargain shopping (checking sales and circulars) and I generally get some really great deals! Click here to see the apps I use to save money.
4. Necessity V. Luxury
Track your spending for an entire month (I use Mint.com to help me with that). Go through and determine things that you spent money on that you actually needed and things that were a luxury. Are you paying for cable that maybe you aren’t using? A house phone that never gets used? Monthly trip to the nail salon/spa? I know I’m wasting a lot of money on cable that I don’t even watch. In my house we only stream Netflix. I’m currently looking into different internet providers. Cutting out things that you don’t need will help save you a TON of money in the long run.
5. Stay in Instead of Going Out
It’s amazing how much food and drinks cost anymore. Even just grabbing McDonald’s or Taco Bell can get pricey. Packing your lunch at work and making dinner at home is definitely a better option to eating out constantly. It saves your waist line and your wallet. lol. An occasional nice dinner out is no big deal but if you find that you eat out more than you eat in then you should reconsider. You’re wallet will thank you. Even going out for drinks with your friends is expensive. I don’t know about you but I cannot drink beer. I can smell/taste the yeast in it and it all tastes the same to me which in return makes my tab go up because I generally drink wine or mixed drinks which are about $6+ versus $1-2 beer. Just grab a bottle and invite your friends over for a fire or to porch sit!
6. Keep Birthdays/ Celebrations Simple
We all love to spoil our children/loved ones with extravagant gifts or parties. Not all of us can afford it. Generally, for my son’s birthday we do a small family party. I host it at my house, I supply the main course (burgers and hot dogs since he’s an August baby), beverages, and cake and my family members will bring a side dish. I do minimal decorations (i.e. cheap disposable table cloths from the dollar store and themed dessert plates) since they aren’t really reusable and I don’t want to store them for next year anyways. I also don’t go over board with Ray’s gifts. The past few years I have gotten him one or two gifts mainly because one of the gifts was a “big” gift. Last year his big gift was a power wheels gator and this year he wanted a TV for in his room ( he’s been asking me for years and I kept telling him no but I finally caved). We also don’t invite friends. I know he would love it but it’s very stressful and expensive to have a ton of 6 year olds running around and you can’t just invite one or two kids from his class you have to invite the ENTIRE class.
7. Repair Clothing Instead of Buying New
This is something I am guilty of to the extreme. Darn near every pair of jeans I own has a patch in them. I just can’t bring myself to spend the money to buy new jeans when I only wear one or two pairs a week. If you were to just stitch up that tear, patch that rip, and replace that button you would save so much money. You wouldn’t need to keep buying new clothes every time you lost a button. Now this doesn’t mean that you should never buy new clothes again and that you should continue to repair clothing that are way beyond repair. You also need to know when to retire an article of clothing.
8. Shop Around for Electric Providers
In my area we are able to shop around for electric providers. Sometimes you have to be careful that they aren’t double charging you but on the other hand sometimes they can drastically cut back your power bill as long as you pay attention to your renewal date. I had signed up for Ambit Energy last year through my son’s grandmother and I never noticed a difference on my bill (my electric bill was already super cheap – I signed up as a favor to her) but when my yearly contact was up my bill doubled. I assumed it was just because it was winter and I had my Christmas lights on. Well just last month I decided to check my bill and low and behold I was being charged twice. Once by West Penn Power and once by Ambit Energy. I called right away and got that taken care off and now my electric bill is down $40 a month!