Having voluntarily made myself unemployed, saving money is all I have on my mind right now. It seems pretty daunting to figure out how you’re going to make up for that lost income, but if you really evaluate how you are currently living, there are TONS of ways to save money without really having to give up much, if anything at all, in your quality of life. Here are fifteen things AJ and I started doing to save money not tomorrow, or next week, but TODAY!
- Stop buying bottled water. Water is free. No matter how cheap that bottled water is, it’s not cheaper than free.
- Stop paying credit card fees. Call your credit card company and tell them you want to speak to a live representative and cancel your card. Tell them it’s because of the fee you were charged (annual, late fee, whatever it is). They will likely waive that charge to keep your account active. My friend does this EVERY year and never pays the fee for his premium credit card.
- Order free energy-saving light bulbs. Many energy companies like Duke Energy offer free CFL light bulbs, delivered right to your door, so you can change your light bulbs and save money on your energy bill as soon as you change them.
- Once you change your light bulbs, turn the lights off! AJ always yells at me for this. I like to leave the lights on everywhere I go and forget to turn them off.
- Write a list for this week’s groceries before you go shopping – and stick to it. Make a plan of what you’ll buy before you go, then stick strictly to that list when you go to the store. Don’t put anything in the cart that’s not on the list and you’ll come out of the store saving a bundle.
- Re-evaluate the stuff in your house. Go to each room in your house and evaluate every single item in that room. Guaranteed you’ll find stuff you forgot you had and things you probably could have saved money on. Just this alone will make you hyper aware of what you are wasting your money on, and hopefully deter you from doing it again.
- Wear a sweater. Turn down the heat (not to freezing!) and wear a sweater instead if you’re cold. You’re wasting a ton of energy blasting the heat! We also keep a blanket on the couch so we can snuggle while we are hanging out on the couch!
- Watch less TV. TV exposes you to ads that make you want to buy stuff and takes more more electricity than doing other things: reading a book, attending to chores, playing a board game, having an actual conversation etc.
- Buy and freeze. We buy most of our food in the family pack size knowing we won’t be able to eat all at once. When there’s a good sale on any meat, we stock up and put in our freezer to eat when we have that hankering for steak.
- Don’t open your junk mail. They’re all just ads trying to get you to buy shit you don’t need. If you see “Pre-Sorted” in the top corner of the envelope, you don’t need it. Just throw it out.
- Collect your change. I once went around my house one day with a giant piggy bank and just looked for change everywhere. In my jacket pockets, in my purses, on the counter, in drawers. I found $30! I used it to go grocery shopping that week.
- Repurpose useless things into art. AJ refuses to give up his surfboard he had while he lived on the beach, even though we are now four hours from the closest beach and he has not surfed once in all of 4 years I’ve known him. After arguing about what to do with it, we decided to turn it into our living room art. It turns into a great conversation piece and doesn’t make more clutter!
- Clean out your filters. Clean out any and every filter in your house: your air conditioner, your dryer lint catcher, your car air filter. All that gunk in there is making those machines less efficient and therefore using more energy. AJ always reminds me to remove the lint from the dryer before putting in the next load.
- Go through your make-up drawer and medicine cabinet. I have bought so much make up on a whim and I don’t even wear it every day and it goes bad before I ever finish even half of it. Check out this helpful expiration chart for makeup. Same things go for medicine. Take all the expired stuff and put it in a shopping bag before you through it out and physically SEE how much money you just wasted.
- Delete all your credit card information from your shopping accounts. When I’m bored, I tend to shop online. Don’t keep your credit card information online. When you make it harder for yourself to buy something by having to get up and get your credit card, you may think twice on buying that dress, or in my case, 10 dresses, you don’t need.
What are some of your tips to save money today?