Friday, October 25, 2013

7 Unusual Ways to Save Money

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 you can have more in the piggy bank and less gone out the window. 

1.  Phones

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. 


Kids Clothes

When it comes to kids 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 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. 


Food Costs/Nutritional Analysis

Image credit on bottom of photo.

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 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 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.   


Procrastinate Shopping

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.


Borrow Books

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.


Combine Errands

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!

Linking up with Jen    Cari for 7 Quick Takes Friday

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  1. Amen to your phone item! And to the others, too, but I actually have something to say about the phone. My husband would rather have a broken limb than a cell phone, and he's never away from home without a driver (generally me) anyway, so he doesn't have a cell.

    I have a cheap cell with a cheap prepaid plan that I use only when I'm away from home. It doesn't get reception on the ground floor of our house anyway, what with our living in a low pocket of a valley. I don't give out the cell number; we use our landline for that.

    We've cut long distance from our landline, and we also use Google for long distance. You can still use Skype in your undies—just block the webcam!

    Also, on what planet are goldfish cheap? I don't think I've ever seen them under $3/pound. But then I'm ridiculously cheap when it comes to food!

    1. I actually don't really buy goldfish, so I don't know how much it typically is. I guess I just assumed they were cheap because EVERYONE seems to take them everywhere.

  2. Wow! I think I need to get a phone that you have... Sebastian and I currently have a phone plan together, it has all the "necessary" unnecessary stuff which amounts to $150 a month. We both think this is outrageous and want to switch over to something else. We have been spoiled by smart phones, but $150 a month is ridiculous! The sad thing is it is so hard to get a phone out there without having to buy the data package, It makes me SO angry.

    Thanks for you tips :).

    God Bless!

    1. Just to clarify, we aren't big phone talkers, so this works for us. For people who do talk on the phone a lot, it they might need a more expensive plan.

  3. I think I invented the procrastinate buying trick. Right now I'm procrastinating buying that sailboat we've been dreaming about so that we can sail around the world. So much research involved in that, I'm sure I'll never get it done!

    1. Oooo...I sailboat..THAT would be exciting!

  4. These are great! I especially love #3! I don't buy cereal for exactly the same reason. And AMEN for procrastinate shopping. It's the one place that my flaw becomes a strength!

    1. I think cereal is one of the worst foods as far as cost/nutritional analysis goes.

  5. I'm with you on the phones! Fancy phones are a hundreds-of-dollars expense I currently have no need to indulge in!

    1. I do have "smartphone envy" at times, but then I think about the big monthly bill and the envy goes away. :)

  6. We dumped our cell phone plans back in '08 when I quit working to stay home with our new baby. Pre-paid cells in combination with Google voice have worked for us. At the beginning of the year we got rid of our DISH account and bought a digital antenna and a roku. Best investment ever.

    1. We just have the cheapest cable plan possible and use it for internet...haven't really looked into DISH and roku much, need to do that.

  7. What a great list! Do you mind if I share it in my Food for Thought Round up tomorrow?
    And I'm glad you said something about the kindle book borrowing as I was just wondering if this is possible. How do you do this?
    ~ Erika Marie (via 7 quick takes link up)

    1. Yes, feel free to share this (please to link back to it, thanks!).

      To loan a book out on kindle, the person doing the loaning needs to log into their kindle account. Then click "manage my kindle", click on the title of the book and it gives you a list of options, one of which is "loan this book." It takes you to a page with a form you can fill out with the person's email address and you can loan it to them.

      The publisher sets the terms of how often it can be loaned and for how long. For example, on one book I clicked on in my account it said that
      "The publisher has set the following lending terms: this book can be loaned once for a duration of 14 days"

      Hope this helps.

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