A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned
I don't even pretend to understand what exactly happened with the banks and stock markets that has put the world into the financial mess that it is in, all that I do know is that every month it gets a little more difficult to make ends meet.
The credit crunch, national debt, recession, and tighter budgets don't mean a lot to me, I didn't cause any of this, so why is it that I feel like I am the one who has to pay for it all?
Less money in my pocket, more taxes on my earnings, and higher prices on the high street all mean that I have had to tighten my belt and try to make savings on my spending in any way that I can.
Over the past few years, I have had to reduce my monthly budget whilst still having to pay the ever-increasing prices on my utility bills, fuel, and grocery shopping costs, I had to find ways to reduce my costs or to put it bluntly I would have sunk like the titanic unable to feed, clothe or keep a roof over my family's head.
This article shows some of the ways that I have managed to save money on my everyday living.
Reduce Your Grocery Shopping Bills
20 Ways to Save Dollars on Your Grocery Shopping
Food, drinks, cleaning products, and personal hygiene products are all the essential items that we buy on our monthly trip to the supermarket, and every month the cost of these items seems to be more than you paid the previous month.
By shopping wisely and taking a little more time to go around the store you can save $50–$100 every month.
- Just because an item has a well-known brand name does not mean it is the best product on the market, save a few cents and keep the good quality of the product by buying the second most popular brand, save even more money by trying the cheapest product in the range and if you don't like it try the next cheapest the following month until you find a cheaper alternative to your usual brand that you like.
- Coupons and money off vouchers, you don't have to go to extremes as you see on television but if you see a voucher or coupon for money off a product that you already buy why not use it, if you have ten coupons for 50c off ten different products then that is $5 dollars less on your total cost.
- Most big stores offer regular customers a loyalty card free of charge, use it with your monthly shop and you can see the price drop as soon as you reach the checkout.
- Beware of the sales that are not really sales, Often supermarkets will offer you items "On sale" buy three items for the price of two be careful with these offers, sometimes the items work out cheaper if bought individually. For example, you may see buy 3 for $2.50 but if you look at the individual price of 1 of the items it is only 75 cents making the special offer more value for the store's pocket than for yours.
- Look out for special offers, of course most of the sales like three items for the price of two are genuine, if it is something that you normally would buy then go for it.
- Wait until about an hour before the store closes to buy perishable foods such as bread, pies, cakes or milk you can often find those at a much lower price at that time because the store would rather sell them at a reduced price than have to throw them away after the store closes.
- Most supermarkets have stock hidden in dark corners that is reduced in price because of slight damage; dented cans of food, cleaning products with a broken lid, torn packaging or multipacks with one item missing from them, look out for these bargain bins and see if there is a product that you would normally buy in there.
- Before you go shopping, use a comparison website and find out which supermarket is offering the best deals on the items that you plan to buy, you may find that by changing to a different store from the one you usually use could save you $10-$20 dollars or even more.
- You will find the most expensive brands at eye level on the Supermarket shelves, remember to look up to the top shelves and down to the bottom shelves for cheaper options.
- Ask for a rain-check, if a product that you would normally buy is on a special sale price and the store is out of stock, you can ask for a rain-check and buy the item at the cheaper price the next time you go shopping.
- Write a list before you go shopping and stick to it, resist temptation, and stick to your list.
- Don't be scared to try the store's own branded products, the packaging may be plain but the quality and taste are almost the same as the bigger brands.
- Eat a meal before you go shopping, this may sound silly but if you are hungry you are more likely to pick up snack foods that you don't really need.
- Cheap furniture polishes and washing powders work just as well as expensive ones brand names don't always mean better products. you could save even more if you clean your house with a clean white vinegar or lemon juice.
- Air fresheners really are a waste of money, if the weather is warm open your windows to freshen up the smell of your room, if the weather is cold spray some lemon juice or perfume onto your radiators, the heat will soon circulate the fresh smell around the room.
- Don't be tempted at the checkout, impulse buys such as candy, gum, or magazines will ruin all of your good work.
- Frozen vegetables are cheaper to buy than fresh vegetables and if you have a freezer they will last longer too.
- Buy whole foods, pre-packed foods such as diced carrots are often double the price of buying a whole carrot.
- Consider Alternatives, Supermarkets are not always the cheapest option, if you buy a lot of fruit and vegetables you could always shop at your local market for them.
- Make a list of the shopping that you need and stick to it, you will be surprised how much those small impulse buys add up to if you don't watch what you are doing
By using all or some of these 20 tips you will notice a significant reduction on your supermarket shopping costs leaving you with a little extra breathing room in your monthly household budget. Personally, my shopping bills are around $100 less than before I started taking notice of what I was purchasing.
Coupons and Vouchers
Save Money At Work
10 Quick Money Saving Tips In The Work Place
Even the daily routine of going to work costs more these days leaving another dent in your monthly budget but there are a few ways that you can slice your costs of going to work too.
- Carpooling if you have a car you could either drive four of your workmates to and from work for a small fee of course or you could join a carpool and save fuel on alternate weeks, if you pool between four or five different drivers you would only have to drive to work one week out of the month saving you wear and tear on your car and fuel costs and you get to drive in the carpool lane.
- Instead of buying food from the works canteen, why not brown bag it and make your own sandwiches, take in a flask of tea or coffee and save yourself around $1000–1500 every year.
- Opt out of those pointless and costly collections, when someone has a baby they want your money, when someone has a birthday again they want your money tell them you don't want anything on your birthday or if your wife has a baby or for any other reason that they might make a collection for you and refuse to take part in collections for others.
- Stay away from the lunchtime card games, the games may only be for a few pennies but if you play every day those pennies soon add up to Dollars which you can ill afford to lose.
- If you have to buy your own tools for work, buy them from your employer if they offer that option, your employers buy in bulk and will offer you a discount rate that stores cannot match.
- If you live within three miles from your workplace, leave your car at home and save fuel, if you live within ten miles of your workplace invest in a bicycle and again save money on fuel.
- Stay away from lottery syndicates or workplace sweepstakes, the odds of you winning are very slim anyway.
- Take an extra sandwich or two with you just in case you are asked to work late, even if you are not it still works out cheaper than buying food from the canteen at lunchtime.
- Avoid Vending machines at work they are more often than not more expensive than what you would pay in a store for the same items.
- Park your car legally in the work's carpark, to avoid getting a ticket or even worse paying to get your car back after it has been towed away.
Save Your Money
Every Penny Counts: 10 Ways to Save on Energy
- Get into the habit of turning off any nonessential electrical items at the socket when not in use: Lights, televisions radios anything that does not require to be on 24/7.
- Wait a month or two before buying the latest console games then buy second hand online at amazon.com, I bought Call of Duty 3 two months after it was released for 1 cent on Amazon.
- When calling free telephone numbers never use your cell phone, you will be charged for them, always use your home phone or a call box.
- Save 10% of your annual electricity cost by turning off appliances instead of leaving them on standby.
- Use energy-efficient light bulbs.
- Insulate your home, it may be expensive but it pays off in the long run.
- Fan ovens use around 20–30% less energy than conventional ovens.
- Make sure your dishwasher is full before using it.
- DIY: instead of paying someone else to do those repairs around the home, go online and you will find plenty of websites with step by step instructions but always remember safety first and hire a professional for electrical and gas work.
- Get rid of all of the unused or unwanted items in your home and sell them either in a yard sale or online.
Read More From Toughnickel
20 Quick And Easy Ways to Save Money Every Day
The way we live our lives also makes up for a large part of our monthly budget, saving money in almost everything that we do would help to make that budget go a lot further and maybe allow us to afford more luxuries at the end of every month or even save up for that long-deserved vacation.
- Why pay for 700 television channels when you only watch around 20 of them at most, contact your provider and cancel all of those channels that you never watch.
- Do you use all of your talk time or text allowance on your cell phone every month? If not contact your provider and ask to go on a lower plan.
- Turning your heating down by two degrees will save you over $250 every year and you really won't notice the difference in how warm your home is.
- If you like to read you should use a library and borrow books for free instead of buying them, alternatively you could buy from a second-hand shop and sell them back when you have read them.
- Hang out your clothes on a washing line, clothes dryers are very expensive to run
- Keep an eye on local newspapers, there are a lot of free events you can attend with your family for fun days out.
- On your fun free days out, take a picnic, make your own sandwiches and drinks, and do not be tempted to go to a cafe or restaurant.
- Again on your local free days out leave the car at home, not only will it save on fuel costs but it is good for your health too.
- Bottled water is very expensive, invest in a cheap water filter and bottle your own tap water it will save you a fortune in the long run.
- Freeze any leftovers from meals, they can be used at a later date as part of another meal.
10 Simple Money Saving Ideas
- Use old grocery bags as bin liners
- Sell your broken or unwanted gold jewelry.
- Buy your Christmas cards, wrapping paper, tinsel, and decorations in January when the are much cheaper.
- Wash your own car why pay for something that is easy to do by yourself.
- Reuse old batteries: when the flash on your digital camera can't get enough power from the battery to work use the batteries in your TV controller which does not need as much power to run.
- Use the Internet to talk to friends and relatives who live overseas, there are plenty of free chat options available and you can use a webcam with most of them.
- Stay away from the dry cleaners, most clothes labeled dry clean only can be gently hand washed.
- Wash your clothes with cold water.
- When boiling the kettle, only fill it with the amount of water you need.
- Put your loose change into a jar you will be surprised just how quickly it fills up.
10 Frugal Money Saving Tips
- Instead of using a hairdryer, towel dry your hair it is more economical and it causes less damage to your hair.
- Do you have a stockpile of old cell phones in the kitchen drawer, sell them for recycling.
- Only go shopping when you need something, not just because there is a sale on
- Only withdraw money from free ATM's or ask for cash back in stores.
- Close your curtains at night to keep the heat in.
- Invest in a crockpot, it uses a lot less energy than an oven and you can freeze any leftover food for another time.
- Sell your old vinyl record and CD's there are many online sites specialising in them.
- Avoid extended warranties, most items come with a guarantee anyway why pay extra.
- If you have to use a premium phone number to contact a utility company ask them to call you back.
- Pay all of your bills on time to save getting late fees.
Dig Up Some Savings
10 Painless Money Saving tips
- Shop around for the best prices on your car, home, or life insurance costs.
- Buy non-branded medicines from your pharmacy, by law all medicines must contain the correct dosage of active ingredients.
- Cut out the junk food. make your own burgers or buy frozen pizza.
- Tear up old clothes for cleaning cloths.
- If you must buy snack foods buy multi-packs they work out a lot cheaper.
- Don't buy newspapers, go online and read them or visit your local library.
- Use what you have, use all of those tins of food in your cupboards before you go out and buy more.
- Email instead of sending letters and save money on stamps.
- Take up Knitting or Crochet and make some of your own clothes.
- Grow your own vegetables in your garden.
Save Money When Pregnant
20 Money Saving Tips for New Parents
- Diapers cloth diapers work out a lot cheaper but if you are planning to use disposables, buy the cheaper brands for during the day when you are awake and can change baby at a moment's notice and the higher quality more expensive brands for overnight.
- Newborn baby clothes can turn out to be pretty expensive and don't fit for very long, ask your friends if they have any baby clothes or buy second hand.
- Use large pillowcases as sheets for baby baskets and baby carriages.
- Take up knitting, there are a plethora of free knitting patterns for babywear online.
- Don't buy an expensive sterilising unit for bottles, Boiled water from the kettle does the same job.
- You see more and more babies wearing shoes these days don't do it, buy or knit simple booties and buy shoes when baby can walk.
- Although quick and convenient, baby wipes are expensive and a damp cloth does the same job for free, although you should keep a pack of wipes for when you go out.
- If you are thinking of buying a second-hand crib or cot factor in the cost of a new mattress, it may just work out cheaper buying your crib and mattress new. (Apparently, it is illegal in some places to sell a second-hand crib mattress for safety reasons.)
- If you are planning to use disposable diapers visit the manufacturer's website, you will normally find that they offer a lot of freebies and discount coupons.
- When browsing baby products think more about what your baby will need rather than what looks cute or great, your baby will need a potty at some point but does it really need to be an expensive musical one or have a well-known cartoon character on it?
- Baby foods are really expensive, make your baby's food at home and blitz cooked vegetables it in the blender and freeze any that you don't need for a later date.
- Save on breast pads and fold some kitchen wipes into squares.
- When pregnant pick up an essential baby item such as diapers or bottles every time you go shopping, you will soon build up a good stash of things before the baby comes along.
- When decorating the baby's bedroom or nursery use a neutral-coloured paint and put up some posters out of children's magazines.
- There is no need to buy a baby changing mat or a changing table, a clean towel on the floor is much cheaper.
- Before going shopping for baby things ask your friends what they really needed for their baby's and what things that they bought but never used.
- Go online and subscribe to all of the baby clubs that you can find after you do this you will get regular free samples through the mail that tie in with your baby's development stages.
- When your baby grows out of clothes toys or furniture, sell them online and make a few dollars back from them.
- Don't stockpile clothes, babies grow at an alarming rate and they will not get the chance to wear a lot of them. Unless you plan on having more children that is.
- Buy clothes that are a little big on your baby that way they will get longer wear out of them.
Do You Coupon?
Let Your Savings Work For You
By using some of the tips above you should by now be saving a fair few dollars every month, why not open a savings account and put those savings to good use earning you up to 3–5% interest. Remember though be frugal and shop around for the highest interest rate that you can find.
Please help me and use the comments box below to share any money-saving ideas that you have used and I have not mentioned on the list above.
© 2013 James Paterson
Frances Antigone on November 27, 2017:
Love it. Thank you for the tips
mikeydcarroll67 on July 11, 2015:
I love the detailed approach that you take here. You really outlined a lot of good ways to be able to save a little bit of money.
Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on October 21, 2014:
Thank you for writing this article about easy ways to save money. I am grateful to you for sharing your knowledge. It is wonderful to save money for things that people need. During elections most people are helping or working to make sure things are rigth. Evryone is short on money. Any good piece of advice is good for everyone.
ElleBee on August 18, 2014:
i'm always looking to save. you have lots of good ideas here, thanks for sharing.
Nithya Venkat from Dubai on December 13, 2013:
Great tips on saving money, thank you for sharing. Yes I must remember to go shopping on a full stomach. Thank you for sharing.
Joy from United States on July 18, 2013:
Simple Money Saving Ideas Are Awesome. Great List Thanks For Sharing.
catgypsy from the South on May 29, 2013:
Really great list, James! I do a lot of these, but learned some new ones too that I hadn't thought of.
Joanie Ruppel from Texas on May 29, 2013:
This tip expands on your #16: do not start the habit of buying a treat for your children at the check out counter. It adds weekly cost and is not a proper incentive for them to act well during the shopping trip. Instead, have a treat on your list that you will give your children when you get back home.
Agnes on May 24, 2013:
Fantastic tips, some of them surprised me - only because I couldn't believe I didn't think of them myself :-); Great work!
James Paterson (author) from Scotland on May 18, 2013:
Thank you all for your visit and comments, and sharing your money saving tips.
Francesca27 from Hub Page on May 17, 2013:
This hub took a lot of thinking time. You did a great job. I've been doing most of the things you've mentioned for years. It's the only way to live out loud!
stephanieb27 from United States on May 16, 2013:
Great list! I love learning new ways to save money! We just ditched our cable because we don't watch tv enough to justify paying for it! :)
Barbara Badder from USA on May 16, 2013:
Great ideas! I wrote a hub with 70 ways to save money. You beat me.
Nell Rose from England on May 16, 2013:
Good luck jimmy, and this was great. I remember how quickly babies grow, and luckily we all chipped in with clothes passed down and friends swapping too. Its great where I live because we all tend to 'barter' stuff. I give my friend next door all my old books, she pays me for babysitting, and recently gave me this great computer in exchange for free babysitting for a few weeks! can't get better than that! my other neighbour gives me clothes and shoes, and I send round pot plants! lol!