If you’ve read a number of money saving tips articles, you may have concluded that you’re seeing the same money saving tips over and over again. You might have also found that many of these tips don’t amount to much money savings, or they aren’t practical for you to put into place.
I’ve put together a list of my 10 best ways to save money – real money saving tips, not just rehashes of things I saw somewhere else. One of my pet peeves about online writing is how often I see different people writing the same exact thing in a different way. Either they’re copying each other, or people amazingly come up with exactly the same ideas, often around the same time frame.
Writers also tend to pass along the same bad information, time after time. I don’t mean to dis other bloggers and writers, because there’s lots of fantastic information out there. However, I recently read an article in USAToday online advising that you put a wet smartphone in rice.
Research doesn’t show any benefit from doing this, but it’s such common advice that it gets printed over and over. Just because something appears in writing or on TV many times doesn’t make it true, though.
I’m not saying I don’t get ideas from other writers, but I don’t parrot them back in my own articles. I research thoroughly and often test theories personally. These money saving tips are, for the most part, from my real life experiences. Of course, your mileage may vary. Everybody’s situation is different, so not every tip will work for every individual.
This post may contain affiliate links; please read my disclosure here.
Save on Internet and Pay TV
If you’ve cut the cord on cable or satellite TV in favor of a Roku or other streaming device, you’re already saving a bunch of dough. Even if you still pay for TV, you can still call and request a discount. See if there is anything they can do to lower your bill. If you threaten to cancel if they don’t lower your bill, you’ll need to be prepared to follow through.You can do the same thing with your high-speed Internet service, which might already be through the same company as your cable TV. Unlike with pay TV, though, you can save painlessly by buying your own cable modem.
Providers of cable modem service are required by law to allow you to use your own equipment. That’s according to a woman I talked with at my cable Internet provider.
Apparently, this isn’t the case with DSL Internet providers or cable or satellite TV service – just cable modem Internet. This can save you around $10 a month, and buying a cable modem costs around $50 to $90.
Downgrade Your Wireless Phone Bill
When you’re free to change wireless providers, look closely at “prepaid” carriers like Boost Mobile. You can cut your smartphone’s monthly nut to between $30 and $50 a month per phone line, depending on what plan you choose. Some carriers charge even less than that.
You’ll have to pay full price up front for the phone with no-contract companies, but most major mobile phone companies are moving away from contracts anyway. They’re making you pay full price for the phone, either upfront or in installment payments, and still charging huge monthly bills. With Boost Mobile, you can find a nice selection of great phones like the Samsung Galaxy Prevail LTE, which costs around $100. Then, you’ll pay a whole lot less per month than you would through the major carriers.
Get Your Oil Changed for Free
While those spam emails you get advertising so-called “Mystery Shopping” opportunities are probably not on the up and up, some companies actually do offer legitimate secret shopping services.
One such company, Best Mark, works with GM dealers nationwide. If you own a GM vehicle, you can sign up to get reimbursement for your oil change and tire rotation at a local dealership, plus you’ll get a small shopper’s fee on top of that!
In return, you’ll need to complete an online survey regarding your experience with the auto service provider. In order to successfully complete a mystery shop, you’ll need to be able to follow instructions closely, remember details without taking notes and be capable of meeting deadlines.
Stop Paying Too Much For Car-Related Expenses
Chances are pretty good that you’re spending too much on many things related to your car. You’re probably getting your oil changed more often than you need to and might be wasting money on expensive gasoline.
Plus, there are numerous things that you think will save money, but won’t. These tips will help you find out where you could easily save money on your car expenses.
Buy Clothes at Thrift Shops
If you live in a fairly large city or metropolitan area and you’d like to save a bundle on clothing for your family, you really need to check out nonprofit thrift stores.
Most thrift stores have fitting rooms so you and your kids can try on stuff before buying. If you’re like me, though, you can usually look at something and tell whether it’ll fit your child.
Some clothes at thrift stores were donated by retail stores such as Target when the items didn’t sell, so they still have tags on them. Some pieces were gifts that didn’t fit but were never worn.
Some items may not have tags, but appear to have either never been worn or been worn rarely. In many cases, the item seems to have been mis-sized or else it’s just really large or small for the marked size. I look for items that look new or nearly new, in most cases.
It takes some practice to find the right thrift stores and get the knack for knowing what to buy and what to leave. It’s definitely worth it, though. Kids will either outgrow their clothes in what seems like no time at all, or they’ll get stains on them or put the knees out of their jeans, or do something else to ruin them.
At least now that I have a sewing machine, I can cut off the torn jeans and make shorts out of them. It’s still a whole lot less distressing when my daughter puts the knees out of a pair of jeans that I paid $3 for than a pair that cost $10 or $20.
Explore Secret Power Company Perks
Your electric company might help you pay for a new water heater, air conditioner, furnace, dishwasher, refrigerator or other home product. They might also foot part of the bill for a/c or heating tune-ups or other types of maintenance.
Offerings vary widely, and the best way to find out what’s available is to contact your electric company directly. Some electric companies offer quite generous programs, while others provide for very little. It’s definitely worth checking into, though, especially if you currently have a need for a new appliance or heating or cooling system.
Buy Glasses and Contacts Online
I was floored when I found out how much we were overpaying for eyeglasses for my husband and daughter by buying them from the eye doctor. It’s mainly because one huge company makes nearly all the frames that eye doctors sell, and this outfit charges enormous prices for them.
That same company also owns nearly any eyeglasses or sunglasses retail store chain you can think of, including Sunglass Hut, Pearl Vision and Lenscrafters. You can save hundreds of dollars by taking your eyeglasses or contact lenses prescription elsewhere, such as Walmart or Costco, or by ordering online from somewhere like 39DollarGlasses.com or Warby Parker.
Ditch the Magazine Subscriptions
If you or anyone in your family keeps receiving magazines that they never read, you may want to check to see if they auto-renew – charging your credit card for an annual subscription every year. This has become extremely commonplace, and since many people don’t check their credit card bills carefully, they might not notice for a long time.
If you subscribe (on purpose) to several magazines for yourself and your family or you can’t resist the urge to pick up a magazine with your weekly groceries, check out Next Issue. The service costs as little as $9.99 per month for unlimited access to nearly any magazine you can think of. You can read magazines easily on any Android smartphone or tablet, iPhone or iPad, or on a Windows computer, tablet or phone.
Before Paying for Software, Check Out the Free Stuff
For most basic home computer use, you can probably get by with not paying for software other than for the operating system, which likely already came with your computer. That would be, for most people, Windows 7 or Windows 10. You can find free replacements for Microsoft Office products like Word, plus free anti-virus and parental control software and lots more.
Know the Best Money Saving Tips for Conserving Electricity
You can find thousands of articles online about how to save on your power bill, and most of them say the same types of things. It turns out that most of them are wrong.
For example, unplugging electronics that aren’t in use – a common tip – may save pennies each year. However, there are numerous things you can do that actually will cut down on your power bill. Many of them will probably surprise you.
How About You?
What are your favorite money saving tips? What money saving tips have you heard that turned out to be duds?