Problem #42: I need some practical ways to save money quickly and cut costs.
This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure for more details.
Each of these ideas below are things that I personally do or have done. I have saved thousands of dollars per year implementing these ideas. Ok, so that’s not exactly quick. But did you really expect a get rich quick scheme here? You should know better than that. Read this post.
I know there are many other ways to save that are included in other posts like this. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I couldn’t recommend things I haven’t actually tried.
Let me know in the comments below of other ways to save money that you’ve tried. I know there’s some pretty wild ideas out there!
Don’t go out to eat. (est. savings ~ $200/month)
Instead buy groceries to cover your meals for the entire week – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We go out to eat on average once a month, which costs us close to $50 for our family of 4+. By contrast, the average American spends $3000/year dining out, which equates to $250/month. And that’s just an average. Some spend more.
Cut your own hair. (est. savings ~ $35/month)
Now I don’t have much experience about how this would work for a girl/woman. But for the guys in my house, I purchased clippers on Amazon 6 years ago for $60. I figure this has saved me (15 haircuts/year @ $15 each = $225/year) over $1300. And that’s just for my haircuts. I also use these clippers for my two boys and their haircuts.
Evaluate your cable package and cut back. (est. savings ~ $140/month)
Do you really need that $180/month cable package? Can you actually watch all those channels? We only have basic cable ($40/month) bundled with high-speed internet ($45/month). It has all the network channels which carry most of the sports I watch anyway. Anything else we just wait to watch on Netflix.
Eliminate any un-used subscriptions. (est. savings ~ $30/month or more)
Take a fresh look at all the subscriptions you have. From magazines to online accounts (cloud data storage) to streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or Sling. It seems that any service you can think of has a subscription service – from gourmet coffees to fashionable clothing to kid’s toys. Do you really need a monthly subscription for pet food? I’m not saying eliminate them all, just the ones you don’t use or need.
Perform regular maintenance on your vehicles. (est. savings ~ $25/month)
When it’s time for an oil change – get it done. With regular maintenance your car should last well over 100k miles. You also don’t need an oil change every 3k miles. Most cars today can handle oil changes every 5k miles. This makes it easier to know when it’s time (schedule oil changes at 5k, 10k, 15k, etc.). Bonus points if you do the oil change yourself.
Shop at discount stores (est. savings ~ $20/month)
It easy to find great bargains in stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and even Goodwill. Shopping at these stores are life-savers when you’re strapped for cash. Another option is to buy kids clothes from department stores off-season when they are deeply discounted. We’ve scored nice new clothes at 80 or even 90% off just by being patient. Yard sales and garage sales can be another option, though it takes more planning and work to find the good deals. Usually you have to get up early on Saturdays, otherwise the “good stuff” will be gone by the time you arrive.
Projects like painting, fixing door knobs, or replacing light fixtures are relatively simple if you (or your S.O.) are even a little bit handy. I take care of all these jobs around my house, and many larger projects as well. Depending on the frequency and size of the projects you tackle, you could see some significant savings in this area. Just as an aside: I’ve done many projects around the two houses I’ve owned, so if you have any questions about DIY projects, I can help in this area as well.
Do your own taxes. (est. savings – $25/month)
If your tax situation is relatively simple (think: no rentals or side businesses), you can easily do your own taxes. Software programs like Turbotax, or H&R Block are great affordable options. Each of these programs are easy to use, and they walk you through the process. I personally used Turbotax this past year, but I have used H&R Block in past years. It sure beats paying $350 or so going to a brick and mortar tax service.
What do you think of these ways to save? Do you do any of these things? Let me know in the comments below.