Post # 16
I love getting together with friends, but drinks, dinner, brunch, etc. can really add up. I’ve started asking friends over to my house to bake cupcakes and watch Netflix or meet up in a park with the dogs and we always have a great time for very little cost. Sometimes it just takes a little creativity.
Post # 17
Honestly a big thing for me was to stop using Amazon entirely. It made buying useless stuff too convenient. Now that I have to shop more mindfully and put a little more effort into it, I buy far fewer things. I’ve also started buying better quality clothing, at a much less frequent rate – I maybe buy clothes once or twice a year max these days. I’m no longer haunted by masses of little-worn clothing that I purchased on impulse.
Aside from that, all of the usual stuff like I bring lunch to work every day (which is huge for me since lunch in the area where I work runs $12-15 a day) and other things PPs have mentioned.
Post # 18
Oh I thought of another one. I unsubscribed from all emails from online shopping sites. I used to get emails from like Nordstrom or DSW or Old Navy or Anthropologie about THIS AMAZING SALE EVERYTHING IS 99.9999% OFF and I’d be like, “Well, it would basically be irresponsible not to buy something if it’s 99.9999% off,” and then I’d go spend a bunch of money thinking smugly, “Look at all the money I’ve saved; I am a coupon queen!” And my husband would be like, “But how much would you have saved if you hadn’t bought any of it at all???”
So now if I’m looking to buy something specific I will sign up for the emails at that particular store so that I can wait for a sale but otherwise no emails.
Post # 19
I pay myself (savings account) as if it’s a bill. Darling Husband and I have a non-negotiable amount that we put into our savings account out of every paycheck.
Post # 20
I think all of this is really interesting. My faves are the ideas listed above that involve reuse, cutting down consumption, or sharing. We need to do more of all these things- good for our wallets, good for our planet.
Other than that though, to save more money I think the smartest thing one can do is think long term, invest time and money into planning for career growth. You make more, you save more. I’m very curious about couponing: How much do you actually save, and how long does it take? It strikes me as a great idea on paper, but is the time invested into it really worth the reward?
Post # 21
Where do you get discounted gift cards? I see deals like that, but I never know if it’s legit or a scam.
Me too!! I’m loving all these frugal ideas!
Post # 22
I’m all about being frugal. I honestly would say we make more larger purchases, less. Rather than making a lot of little purchases on things. I’ve found that dropping $500 on our beef once a year actually lets us save more money in the long-run.
Things have been super tight, so I’m really working hard to re-do our budget and watch where we spend and see where we can save. Like we literally just drained a savings account that held some inheritance money (low 5 figures, so not an insane amount) because we needed a new roof and another big construction project done on our home and it hurts so bad.
Adulting sucks sometimes.
Post # 23
when I was right out of college I couponed a lot. I was working with such a small income and I already had a second job babysitting every weekend. I needed something easy I could do while also relaxing and watching TV. I saved a lot of money using coupons, store rebate programs (many of which have since been stopped which is a bummer), and matching all of those things together. I would find toothpaste on sale then stack a manufacturer coupon and a store rebate and get PAID a dollar to get the toothpaste. It was also a fun game for me so it doubled as entertainment lol. Now that I make more money and have way less free time I just look for sales and use coupons that come my way, but don’t seek them out the way I used to. Our weekly circular sometimes comes with coupons so I’ll flip through them quickly and see if I can use anything. A coworker loves to coupon and always saves me any she finds for diapers which is sweet.
I get discounted gift cards at costco mostly. My credit card rewards will also sometimes run sales that make it a better exchange rate to get a gift card than cashback so I do that once in awhile.
Post # 24
I’m pretty obsessed with maximizing point earning. I have a travel rewards credit card (that I pay in full every month) that I use for all purchases. My big splurge is always travel but I just booked a trip where I earn travel points on my credit card, which was used to pay for my hotel on Expedia where I also earned Expedia points, and then I have my Aeroplan card which also gets me miles for Air Canada which is the airline I end up using most. The points really start to stack up after a while where I will get free hotel nights or my flights paid in points. I understand only paying in cash if you’re carrying a balance on credit cards but if you’d be paying it off I think people really miss out on the benefits of rewards cards, whether it’s cash back, travel etc.
Post # 25
My tips are a bit different since they’re not small hacks like some of the others here. But…
The biggest thing my husband and I have done to save money is that we aim to live off his income and put mine into savings. My paycheck gets deposited into our high yield savings account, and then we only transfer back money into our checking if we really need it to cover bills that month. We don’t succeed in saving all of my income all the time, but limiting ourselves to thinking of his paycheck as our money to budget with and my income as our savings money keeps our spending in check, and keeps us living beneath our means.
Of course, this is only possible because we have combined finances, my husband makes a decent salary, and we were both used to living fairly cheaply and didn’t change our lifestyle much when we moved in together or got married (stayed in a small apartment rather than upgrading, don’t have kids or pets at the moment, etc). That said, it has worked well for us so far and has allowed our savings to skyrocket since we got married.
The other big thing that has helped our savings was that when my husband got a raise last year, instead of factoring the extra money into our budget, we upped his 401k contribution so that his take-home paycheck stayed the same. This kept us from giving into lifestyle inflation and it wasn’t hard since we were already used to living on that amount. Similarly, bonuses go straight to savings rather than being spending money.
Those are the two major things that have allowed us to save a lot this year. We do also use credit card rewards (Amazon & Whole Foods purchases always on the Amazon card for 5% back, travel on Sapphire card for hotel/flight points which we’ve redeemed to help pay for vacations, etc), keep savings in a high yield account (~2.25%, which adds up!), and some of the other little things mentioned. We are saving for a home downpayment so every little bit helps!
Post # 26
Aside from the usual, pay yourself first, cut this cut that, etc… I’m all about maximizing points on credit cards. I have several different cards with rotating rewards and make sure to use the one with max benefit for each type of purchase. It takes zero thought and adds up. I cash out I think every few years when I remember. (I actually just cashed out last week, and it was over 2.5k)
Post # 27
I know! It’s so hard not to spend money hanging out with someone! Even after a free activity, it’s so easy to suggest lunch/dinner!
Ugh, I hate it when it feels like I’m finally getting ahead & then some big expense comes along.
Wow!! I don’t seem to get much cash back, typically only $300-$400/ year.
Post # 28
I set a goal for myself of not buying any new clothes (I can buy used) for myself or the kids. I’m trying to make it the rest of the year to start, but I’d love to be able to keep going after that, both for the cost-savings and the environmental aspect. I’m making an effort with kid gear and toys also. I just got a huge bin of Brio trains ($$$) for $40 on the local parenting listserv!
I try to max rewards. Between things like Ebates, Mr. Rebates, my Expedia app and credit card, and our JetBlue card, I try to figure out which combo will get us the most for what we’re booking (Ebates is usually best for hotels, non-JetBlue flights are best with Mr. Rebates, etc.).
I also have an Amex that gets 6% back at the grocery store. To max this benefit I’ll buy gift cards for places I shop anyway, like Starbucks, Home Depot, and Amazon. If buying online, I’ll use the gift cards in combo with Ebates to get extra cash back.
Post # 29
browneyedgirl24 : when my husband got a raise last year, instead of factoring the extra money into our budget, we upped his 401k contribution so that his take-home paycheck stayed the same.
This is a fantastic plan, and exactly what I did years ago. It really works well, and the compounding gains in the stock market over many years are amazing.* I have a decent paying job and no debt other than my mortgage. I am up to a 25% contribution.
Probably the best thing I did in order to continue packing my 401k was buying a great car that I knew would last. I kept noticing a LOT of older Toyotas on the road, so that’s what I bought. I am still driving that car… it’s a 2000 model, purchased new in late 1999. Normally I would not buy a brand new car, but since my plan was to “drive it until the engine fell out”, I bought exactly what I wanted. My commute has never been lengthy, so it’s low miles for its age too, and I haven’t had a car payment since 2002 🙂
*I did lose a painful amount during the 2008 crash, but left my money exactly where it was (aggressive investing) and my made it all back within 5ish years.