A few weeks back I wrote a post called 7 Things I Don't Buy and One Thing I Do. While I wouldn't call it wildly popular, it was somewhat well received by my extremely small base of lovely and loyal readers. So......I thought I would do another post on saving money...because we all want to save more money, right? Even if you have plenty of money...if less of it flies out the window on dumb stuff, you have a lot more of it to spend on fun stuff.
So, here are 7 of my more unusual money saving tips...so you can have more in the piggy bank and less gone out the window.
We pay about $20 per month (total) for 2 cheap, pay-as-you-go cell phones that cost $20 each. We don't have a landline, so this is our only phone expense.
Since the minutes are more expensive this way, we take certain steps to minimize our minute usage.
Did you know that if you have a gmail account, you can use it to call anywhere in the United States for free over your computer? We use this for calling out to businesses or other places where we may have to be on hold for awhile. Or, it's really useful if I'm home alone and can't find my cell phone because a certain someone walked off with it...I can simply call it.
We sometimes use Skype for long-distance calls to friends and family and as a bonus, you get to actually see the person. Of course, the disadvantage to this, is you can't talk while in your underwear...but life is all about sacrifice.
And those $20 cell phones...they are way hardier than anything more expensive we've had. They've gotten wet and been dropped numerous times and still work just fine.
When it comes to kids clothes....save the expensive/necessary stuff and get rid of the "easy to come by stuff." As I mentioned in my other post, the vast majority of our kids clothing was given to us...a few things we purchased. I generally save everything that is a bit "harder" to come by and get rid of anything that is not...for example, I save things like Halloween costumes, coats/jackets, hats, mittens, bathing suits and rash guard shirts, shoes (if still wearable) and "uniform" clothing (items which may typically be found in a uniform..navy or khaki skirts or pants, white polo shirts, while button down shirts, black skirts). These items have come in useful over the years..for various events and activities. The rest of their clothes, I pass on as soon as they outgrow..because we've moved too much for me to want to hang onto things. Saving the "harder to come by stuff" saves us a lot of money...since things like rashguard shirts and uniform skorts aren't often given to us..while we get jeans and t-shirts a plenty.
When looking at food...don't just look at the cost/oz. or price, but look at the cost/nutritional benefit. Goldfish may be cheap...but they provide ZERO nutritional benefit and are the most annoying snack ever...because they are so ubiquitous. We can't get away from goldfish...no matter where we go, someone is always offering my toddler goldfish. Why can't people bring sunflower seeds everywhere? Anyway, sunflower seeds and raisins and cheese and fruit and nuts may be more expensive...they are also loads more nutritional. Sometimes it helps to think of cost/gram of protein instead of cost/oz. when deciding what to buy.
From Britax Marathon to Cosco Scenera
Don't assume that just because something is more expensive...that it is better. When Heidi was a baby, she rode around in a Britax Marathon...at that time, considered by many to be the best carseat on the market (and definitely the most expensive at $230). Now, Elsa's main carseat is an Evenflo Triumph and when I needed an extra seat for our second car I ran right out to Wal-Mart and picked up the cheapest one I could find...the Cosco Scenera for only $40.00. And, you know what...the cheaper one is just fine. It's rated to the same safety standards, and was actually the EASIER to install rear-facing.
Yes, procrastination can be a GOOD thing. Impulse purchases are one of my weaknesses. I'm a real sucker for a sales pitch. Seriously...I am. I KNOW when I'm being sold, and I'm still a sucker. So, I try to make a point of not buying anything without considering it's purchase for at least a week. Because, I have a really bad habit of thinking I need something, right now and running right over to my trusty laptop and ordering it on Amazon right away. I'm especially prone to do with this vitamins/minerals/supplements...I've spent a fortune on unused vitamins. So, I've started procrastinating when it comes to buying something....I just keep putting it off and putting it off and putting it off, until eventually I either realize I DO need it and buy it, or realize that I DON'T need it and save the money.
Did you know that you can borrow books on Kindle? It's true, you can. If you lend someone a book, it goes off your Kindle account and onto theirs, and then they can return it and it goes back to yours. Pretty cool..huh? It's just like borrowing real books...except you never have to worry about the book getting lost or ripped or destroyed. So...if anyone wants to loan me any books....I love reading!
And, speaking of borrowing (real) books...if you happen to be like me, and prone to forgetting when library books are due and wracking up fines, you can avoid this by marking on your calendar when the books are due, sending yourself a reminder (I use Google calendar and email myself reminders) and then going online and renewing the books before they come due. I've managed to avoid lots of library fines this way.
Okay, so this isn't that unusual a tip..but it really does make a big difference in gas. Combine all your shipping and errands so they are grouped by location. And, consider the gas cost when deciding where to go....but only do this up to a certain point..because if you do it too much, you'll decide you can never go anywhere, and then you'll drive yourself crazy. Or at least, I would drive myself crazy!
Oh...and one other thing. Yesterday we got an absolutely wonderful and generous surprise in the mail! So if you happen to read this blog, thank you, thank you..whoever you are!