Thursday, March 06, 2014

Thursday Thirteen: Saving Money

Earlier this week, I finally convinced my husband that we needed to do something about the outlandish monthly payment we had with our satellite TV. With a phone call, and returning the second box we had in the bedroom, we managed to save about $240 over the course of the year. Not a lot - if it were up to me we wouldn't even have satellite TV - but better than nothing. I made a $30 purchase for an HD TV digital air antenna and have six free channels and a DVD player in the bedroom. That is all I need in that room.

So I thought I'd look and see what other things we might do to save a little do-re-mi.

1. Check your monthly bills (satellite, cable, internet, phones) and see if there are things on there you can downgrade or rid yourself of. Do you really need caller ID? Call waiting? Are you paying extra for such niceties?

2. Eat at home. We eat out about twice a week, and this likely won't change. I work for home and need the outings. But unless eating out serves some other need (as it does for me), then cutting this back would be doable.

3. Make a grocery list - and stick to it. I am bad about throwing extra things in the cart. However, to go along with this, I think you also need to create a menu for the week, so you know what you need to buy. If you don't buy potatoes, then on the night you want potatoes you won't have them.

4. Buy nonperishables in bulk. We do not have a Costco in our area so we must go to Sam's Club, but we make that trip about every six weeks. There we purchase tissues, paper towels, dishwashing detergent, Splenda, and similar items.

5. Reuse items. Grocery store bags can be used to line small trash cans, for example. Apparently there is a market for buying toilet paper rolls (I read that somewhere recently but can't find the link).

6. Don't pay late fees. How do you avoid this? Pay on time, of course.

7. Use the library. I am bad about buying books because I like new books (old ones upset my asthma sometimes) but I do use the library frequently for audiobooks. To be honest if I didn't use the library for audiobooks I probably wouldn't listen to them, because they are expensive. Our local library also carries DVDs, which saves on the price of purchasing those.

8. If it costs more than $100, walk away. We have a rule that any single purchase over that amount must be discussed with the partner. That keeps us from making purchases that we might regret later. We've had this rule in place for 30 years and it has worked well for us. Sometimes by the time you talk about it, you realize you don't really want it or need it.

9.  Stop magazine subscriptions, or don't renew. I go through periods where I do this. We seem to get a lot of magazines and while I generally read all of them, I certainly don't need them.

10. Keep your car a long time. We bought our 2003 Toyota new (which is a no-no but I think if you're planning to keep it for over 10 years then you could get a new one) and it's still going strong. We keep the oil changed and take care of it, and I expect to get at least two more years out of it. It is really nice not to have a car payment.

11. Comparison shop. Check on insurance fees, for example, and see if you can find something better elsewhere. If your bank is charging you fees for everything, maybe you can get a better deal at the new bank down the street. Or a no-fee credit card.

12. Don't waste energy. We have a hard time with this one - everything we own seems to take forever to boot up if you leave it completely unplugged. If you walk around my house at night there are all kinds of little red lights. About once a month I go around in the dark, look at what's glowing, and unplug things. If it gets plugged back in, then it's something we use, but sometimes something stays unplugged for a good long time and that's a saving.

13. Wait to buy. This is different from #8. Maybe you won't need whatever doohickey you're looking at in 30 days. Or maybe it will go on sale. If you find you can live without it, wouldn't the money be better in your pocket? Patience is a virtue.

And speaking of spending money on absolutely nothing, I read recently that the company that created Candy Crush made $1.8 BILLION dollars last year. The company charges $0.99 for little extra moves, or moving up a level, or whatever. With patience and persistence, you don't need to buy a darned thing on these video games, and I refuse to dole out my money in tiny little increments like that. Soon you've spent $20 and not even realized it.

Until I received my Kindle for Christmas, I didn't realize that companies were charging people like this, in increments instead of paying, say, $6.99 for the entire game. It's really a rip-off and I can see how it would get out of control quickly in the hands of a child or teenager (or impatient adult). Be wary of your internet providers who set limits - that can add up and be quite costly.

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 334th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.


  1. good advice. with the library I still incur late fees. but it's a community donation.
    buy no processed food, or minimize it. McCain has $6 billion. it doesn't need us too. buy direct from farmers so the middleman fee is squeezed out.

  2. #12 is a problem for us because we have such an old house. The walls themselves are well insulated, but the attic is not. It's on the list for diy projects this summer.

  3. Lots of cool suggestions. I'm acting on tip 2 and 5 but 7 is my favorite. I love the library.

  4. Some good tips. I gave up cable about four years ago because it was too expensive. I get about a dozen channels with just a TV and antenna, so for the most part don't miss cable much at all (though I admit to missing some cable channels in fall/winter). I'm also a big beleiver in saving energy. I only plug the toaster in when I need it (maybe two minutes a couple times a week), and unplug the bedroom TV/DVD player unless I'm actually using them. If off the computer for a couple hours, I also make sure to turn that off. And, if I'm not in a room, the lights are off. I rarely eat out (usually only for a friend's birthday) and always write up a grocery list. I rarely buy something not on the list, and have even crossed something off once at the store. Now to come up with some ways to make extra money . . . My T13: Recently Read

  5. Hubby and I actually do most of these things because we want to save up for holidays. We do all our dining out during our holiday.
    I get audio books via the library too because they're so expensive. Our local library is awesome and I get most of my non-fiction books for research via them.

  6. Got to downgrade our insurance and we'll be in the money. I check out magazines at the library and channel my clothes addiction to the thrift shop (for the most part).

  7. I do try to save where I can. I should have read this before shopping the other day...while hungry. Big mistake. Of course I knew better. I have played Angry Birds as far as I can for free. I won't pay for add-ons. Oh, did I admit to playing Angry Birds?

  8. A good list. I'm so like nos. 2 and 3. And the traveling I'm doing is limiting my movements to sort out my PhD. Thanks for the extra on Candy Crush and internet providers. Wish there were either FB, Google plus or Pinterest buttons for this post.


I enjoy your comments and always appreciate the opportunity to visit the blogs of my readers. I hope you have a great day!