No one likes to save money and stretch dollars more than I do. Different people have different ways of getting the most out of the dollars they have. There are only so many dollars so you have to make them work for you and not against you. Here are ten ways my wife and I save money and make our dollars work harder and stretch farther.
- I clean my own carpets and upholstery. Two weeks ago I rented a carpet cleaner with the upholstery wand and devoted about six hours to cleaning all the carpet, area rugs and upholstery in the house. Cost, less than $50. Annual savings estimate $250
- I do my own yard and basic car care. People ask me all the time how I get my yard to look like it does. My answer, I care for it myself. I follow the recommended schedule for care and treatments. It really doesn’t take that long. And I wash my own car (with a few exceptions) and do general care myself. And yes, I still change my own oil. Annual savings estimate $400
- I fix it myself. Calling a repair man or service technician is always my last resort. If there is a way to fix something that breaks or malfunctions, I will at least attempt to figure it out. Only when I have run into multiple dead ends will I give in and make the call. I can count on one hand the times that has happened over the last forty years. One of those times was last night. The tension spring on our garage door snapped yesterday. One look at it told me that I didn’t have the tools to do the job so I made the call instantly. Annual savings estimate $350
- I exercise regularly without a health club membership. I am in my sixties and have never felt better health wise. I jog on a regular basis as my exercise of choice. Though I need to supplement with some strength training, it keeps me healthy and feeling great. Last year I gave in and got a three month club membership for the winter but this year I bought some cold weather jogging clothes and decided to tough it out. It really hasn’t been tough to this point. Not only do I save money on club membership, I save untold amounts of money on doctor’s visits and medications. It might be in the genes, but I cannot remember the last time I went to the doctor for sickness. Annual savings estimate $500
- We give at least a tithe to God. Right off that sounds like a cost instead of a savings but not when you discover how God works. For example, in Mal 3:10-12 it says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty. When God is honored with faithful tithing he not only blesses in ways that money cannot buy but He preserves and protects and extends the life of what we have so that it is more productive and doesn’t break down as often. I wish I had time to share some stories but I need to get to #6. Annual savings estimate, inestimable.
- We research and wait on purchases. We make sure when we make a purchase we have the best possible deal out there. We refuse to allow salesman or impulse buying get their way. The bigger the purchase the longer we wait, pray and research. We never make a sizable purchase without waiting at least over night. For some reason the desire and urgency just isn’t there in the morning. Annual savings estimate $350
- We use credit to our advantage. We have one credit card that we use to purchase everything on, and I mean everything, if they will take credit. We pay off the total every month—EVERY MONTH. We never carry a balance. At the same time, we are getting two dividend miles for each dollar charged. So each year we are getting about two free airline tickets. And by the way, if I ever get a payment in late, like I did one month last year, when I thought I had made the online payment and for some reason it failed to go through, I called and asked for grace and they refunded the interest and late fees. All it took was an ask. Annual savings estimate $600
- I use Priceline and other discount sites for all they are worth. I really like to work Priceline. I never pay asking price for a hotel or rent-a-car and usually save from 30-60%. For example, when we go to visit our kids in Cincinnati and might need to get a hotel I get the four star Hyatt Regency in downtown Cincy on the 20th floor for $50 a night. I have done that on a number of occasions. Annual saving estimate $300
- We take care of what we have. An article appeared on the MSN homepage last week on “9 Ways to Keep Your Car’s Value for Resale.” I can say it in one; take care of what you have. That means preventative steps as well as fixing it when it is broken rather than letting it go and lead to more and more costs due to neglect. And that’s not just the car but everything. I always keep a list of things I need to fix or take care of. It may take me awhile to get around to some of them but do eventually. Annual savings estimate $500
- I have saved the big one till last. I make my own coffee. That’s right, I pass right by the expensive coffee store. The only time I pull in, is when someone has given me a gift card. I love coffee. I drink way too much coffee. But I also like good coffee. And I like it when I want it. I have a Bunn coffee maker. For those who don’t know, that means the water is hot all the time and the coffee comes out as fast as you can pour the water in and close the lid. I buy good coffee at discount prices and make my own, morning, noon and night. Annual savings estimate $750.
So, if you add them all up it comes out to about an annual savings right at $4000. That’s a pretty big chunk of money. There are, however, three requirements for something like this to work in any setting, planning, ambition and discipline. If you have or can develop these three, even when you really don’t want to, it will always shake down to saving big buck.
I would love to hear of your ideas on how you save money and about how much it saves you in a year.