I live a fairly simple, frugal life and over time I’ve learned some very easy, simple ways to save money through minor life style changes. Some of these ways you may already know, but others may be new to you. Not all these will be appropriate for everyone or meet everyone’s situation.
Pay your bills online
My credit union recently started offering free bill pay online. I can use their service to pay all my bills, even those to individuals. In the process I now save the cost of the stamps, as well as dramatically reduce the number of checks I use, which also saves me money. If you pay five bills online monthly, as opposed to mailing in checks, this will save you about $2.50 per month or $30 per year, using the current postage costs.
Use a credit card that gives a percentage back
I use one credit card for my purchases whenever I can that gives 1% back. I pay this credit card off in full every month. This is particularly useful to me since I purchase my postage for my book business using my credit card; this allows me an easy way to discount a regular expense, which certainly saves money. However, I need to mention if you struggle with credit card debt or have difficulty paying off your card on a monthly basis I would not recommend this strategy; the interest you’ll be paying will far offset the financial benefits.
Purchase your priority postage online through USPS.COM
If you want to mail a package USPS Priority, you can get a discount and/or free tracking if you purchase your postage through the USPS.COM website. This includes international priority. Another benefit is that you don’t have to stand in line to purchase your postage; you just drop off your package at your post office, and side step the line. If you mail priority packages regularly, like I do, those pennies you save on postage adds up in time, and the service is free.
Maximize your public library’s resources for free entertainment
I am fortunate to have access to not one, but two quality public library systems. I love to read (which is very helpful as a bookseller) and like watching movies, being your average media addicted American. But I can’t afford to purchase every book new that I’d like to read or even afford to rent every movie I’d like to see. Fortunately my libraries have these lovely services that allow me to place requests for movies and books currently on the shelves, as well as put in purchase requests for newly published books. It requires patience to go this route – it may be a few weeks before your requests become available – but knowing you didn’t pay a penny beyond your normal taxes makes reading that book and watching that movie more pleasurable, in my personal opinion. If you read as much as I do, you will definitely save money.
Dry your laundry outside when the weather permits
Here in Eastern Washington we have several months of sun and heat. Spending the money to run an electrical dryer during the summer here would be an utter waste; I have a clothesline and I use it. I know not everyone has this luxury or possibly lives in an area with restrictive neighborhood covenants, but if you can do it, do it! I’ve never calculated how much money I’ve saved doing this, but I know if I had a family, it would be substantial.
Walk, bike, or take the bus
When gas prices continued to go up and up, I started to pay attention to how many times I drove to places that I could have easily walked to. It is sometimes more time-consuming to walk, bike, or take a bus over driving a car, but the money you save with reduced costs, and the extra health benefit might just be worth it for you. One place I mail my packages from is about 1/3 of a mile away; instead of driving there, I’m walking now. The reality is once you add in the time it takes to start the car, back up, deal with traffic and park, it is comparable to the time I would have spent if I had just walked. If you start walking regularly as opposed to taking the car for shorter trips, you will definitely save money and will feel great doing it.
Buy generic or store brand products
I almost always buy generic or store brand products whenever I can. They are almost always markedly cheaper than the flasher, pricier and more well known brands, and contain all the same ingredients. Just with my contact saline solution, for example, I found I could save almost $2 per bottle by going generic! As this is something I need to purchase regularly, this is a very easy way to save money. Grocery stores often put the generic or store brand right next to the more expensive competitor, so you can see the comparison.
If you want to see a movie in the theatre, go to a matinee
There are some movies which I will pay to go see in a theatre, though they get fewer and fewer every year. I can’t remember the last time I paid full price by going to an evening show; I have almost always gone to the matinee. With matinees costing $6 now this is still pricey, but compared to $9, it is a definitely cheaper. This is a very easy way to save money.
Use phone cards and take long distance off your phone plan
I know there are multiple phone plans out there, so this might not work for every one, but what worked for me was to take long distance off my landline phone plan and switch solely to phone cards. I purchase these phone cards from Costco for about 3.5 cents per minute and can access long distance through a toll free number. This was much cheaper than what my phone company was offering and can be used at any time, from any phone. This also reduced my monthly fee from the phone company, since I now have a very basic, local only phone plan. I don’t know how much money I have saved doing this, but it is substantial.
Buy cheap soda pop or stick to water
OK, I had to include this, though some of you soda snobs may object. I can purchase 12 cans of diet Shasta pop for $2.35. That’s $0.19 for a can of pop! When I was visiting my family in Colorado, their grocery stores didn’t have Shasta, they sold something called Big K, for similar prices. I must not be discerning enough of a soda pop drinker to see why people are willing to pay so much more for their Coke, Pepsi, or 7 UP, when you can get comparably flavored drinks from Shasta and Big K. And then when I see how much restaurants and movie theatres charge for soda… come on, people! Just water for me, please! If you were to add up how much money you saved by making this simple change in your drinking habits, I think you would be astonished.
In conclusion, I know that I’ve only scratched the surface of the simple ways you can save money by making minor life style changes. These are just some of the ways that have worked for me, and hope that some of these will work for you, as well.
Tags:10 Minor Life Style Changes that Can Save You Money