Now that you have made your budget and are working hard on sticking to it why not try some alternative ways to free up some spare change?
1. Cable: Turn it off. There are many options out there to get news, TV, and movies cheaper. How much do you pay a month for cable? My cable bill was coming out to 60.00 a month including the rental fee for the cable box. Considering many of the shows that I watch are now on Hulu, Netflix, or even offered for free from the Network’s they are on website. Why pay for cable? If you don’t want to watch TV on your computer consider using Hulu Plus. It is a way to stream Hulu on your TV for $9.99 a month.
Cutting cable isn’t something that you want to consider? How about revisiting your plan. Call your cable company and let them know what their competitors are offering. Ask them to either meet that price or do better. Also explore the options of buying the cable box vs renting. Remember you can attract more bees with honey than vinegar. Be nice, but firm with the customer service rep. They will be more willing to work with someone one not screaming or cold to them.
2. Buy In Bulk: Get a Sam’s Club, Costco, or other warehouse card. Yes, I’m not a fan of big box stores, but when I can buy 4 times the amount of shampoo for a little more than what it would cost to buy my regular size bottle I win in the long run. If some items seem more expensive than what you would usually pay don’t get scared. Calculate the price per ounce/gram/fluid ounce or what ever the units it is sold by and compare to what you would pay else wear.
Groupon is another great way to say. The concept is simple. A retailer offers a coupon (sometimes as much as 75% off) of a product and service. They set a certain amount of people who have to buy it for the coupon to be activated. If the right amount of people buy it than you save! If they don’t sell enough coupons you don’t get charged. So for example. Yesterday I bought a coupon for $20 off a $30 photo book on Shutterfly. 200 people needed to agree to buy it (over 5,000 actually did). The coupon was activated and I got a $30 book for $10. How awesome is that. Deals on the site range from tourist activities to eating out and even yoga.
3. Food Smart: This morning I cleaned out my fridge and was embarrassed at the things I threw out. A recent statistic I read kept running through my mind: The average US family wastes $600 of food a year. Think about it. Every little bit adds up. One trick to use is a list. Plan meals for a week. What will you need to prepare each? Add that to the list. Now, before you go shopping eat. Silly, right? Well, people are more likely to compulsively buy food when shopping hungry.
4. Don’t Buy Full Price Books or DVDS: Add to that don’t rent movies from the video stores. I’m a big fan of Netflix and for what you would pay to rent a movie or two would cover the cost of one month of Netflix. Plus there are no late charges.
Joining the local library is also a great, free way to save. Many now have large selections of DVD’s and keep up on the latest bestsellers.
Browse the racks of second-hand book stores if you really want to buy a book or check out your local library for sales. During the summer many libraries make room on their shelves for new additions and clean out what they have. Most of the time you can score a hard cover for $1.00. Plus the money is going to a good cause.
5. Phone Smart: Do you use all the minutes you pay for? If not why not cut your plan back a bit? Or try alternative methods for making calls. Use Skype to make international calls or call using your Gmail account. Right now you can make free calls in the US and Canada.
6. Stop Impulsive spending: Do you buy things for that hobby you never get to? I have piles of fabric lying around. My boyfriend has books that have gone unread. My landlord buys cars to fix up. Yes, we all have something that we love to buy, but never have the time to work on. Stop spending on that hobby. Tell yourself I won’t buy fabric until I finish all my projects or no more books until I read at least 5 of the ones I have already.
How do you save? Have you come up with other creative ways to cut your spending? Please share!