The truth is, I’m on a never-ending mission to reduce my family’s household expenses. I’m frugal, and I’m proud! It just doesn’t sit well with me if I have to spend an insane amount of money on so-called “essential” expenses.
Over the years, these 10 practical tips have been the most consistent ways my family has been able to save money in our household. The best part is, they can easily be done in your home too!
1. GET RID OF CABLE/SATELLITE!
When we had cable, we watched maybe 8 percent of the channels and paid $110 per month! What a waste! After some research, we decided to cancel cable and go with the Amazon Fire Stick. We found that it offers more bang for the buck, plus it has the perks of cable!
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you have access to its library where you can watch movies, TV shows, listen to music and play games. This was an added bonus for us since we were already Prime members.
If you’re worried about Amazon Prime not having your favorite shows or movies, you can download other apps, including Netflix, Hulu, and Sling TV! Since we prefer on-demand television, opted for Netflix and Hulu and pay about $20 per month for both! That saved us $90 per month! And if you’re a news junkie, there are several news networks you can download to stay caught up on current events.
Whether you choose the Amazon Fire Stick or the Roku, trust me…you won’t miss cable!
2. GET RID OF YOUR LAND-LINE PHONE!
With landline service from a national company, we were paying about $38 per month. That amount was not worth it to me! I learned about something called VoIP, which is Voice Over Internet Protocol.
VoIP is phone service over the internet. A VoIP device simply connects to the internet and can be hooked up to a regular phone and boom, you have a home phone!
After looking into several VoIP providers, we chose MagicJack Go. We purchased the device for $35, and 12 months service was included! We were also able to keep our current phone number!
There are a lot of perks with MagicJack. Some of these perks include unlimited calling, conference calling and free mobile calling with the free magicApp! Can you say score!
We absolutely love our MagicJack Go! Setup was easy, the connection is great, there’s no lag time, and honestly, I can’t tell a difference between regular landline service and VoIP service.
Annually, we renew the service for $35 per year! PER YEAR! That’s $421 savings per year!
3. GET RID OF YOUR CELL PHONE CONTRACT!
We paid over $140 per month with our contract phones. Yuck! We knew that pre-paid cell phones were the way to go. There are so many prepaid options out there, but we didn’t want to have a boring plan so we made sure to go with the best company that provided the best plan for our money.
For me, Straight Talk Wireless was a no-brainer. If you have a GSM phone, it’s an easy transfer. If not, their phone selections are amazing. I have an iPhone 6s and I pay $45 per month for unlimited talk, text, data, and 8GB. I never overuse my data so that is plenty for me!
4. DON’T PAY FOR MORE INTERNET THAN YOU NEED!
The amount we were paying for the internet was about $80 per month. Again, a little ridiculous. I called and asked my internet provider if they had newer promotions or deals that could help me lower my bill. Usually, this works if a company wants to keep its customers happy, but they said no, so I gave them the boot!
Don’t be afraid to give the boot!
Depending on what provider you have, most mid to basic internet plans will offer plenty of speed that you will need in order to properly use your Amazon Fire and MagicJack. However, if you’re like us and use other devices frequently, you may need to look at a higher speed. Just don’t go overboard. Know what you need.
After we switched to a new internet provider we went with 100mbsp and pay $50 per month! That’s a $30 savings per month!
5. SAVE MONEY ON YOUR NATURAL GAS AND ELECTRIC BILLS!
When we first heard about energy deregulation, we were extremely skeptical. Luckily we had a friend who was very knowledgeable and walked us through everything. Once we had the information, we gave it a chance.
Without getting into the boring details, energy deregulation means that you, as the consumer, have the right to choose the rate that you pay for your natural gas and electricity bill.
It costs you nothing to make the changes!
You simply choose the option that works best for you. The good thing about it is that you don’t have to stay locked into one rate. You can opt for a rate and choose a different rate at any time.
You also don’t have to change who provides you with gas or electricity, you’re simply changing the supplier. That means you pay your bill to the same company as you always have.
When we made the switch, we opted for 6.39 cents per kWh for electricity and 57.9 cents per CCF for natural gas. This doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up over the course of a month. Each month our bill was different because of our usage, but it was a lot cheaper than what we were paying!
It’s a very simple process. Unfortunately, this option isn’t available in every state, Click Here to see if this is available in your area!
6. MAKE A WEEKLY FOOD MENU!
You know how it goes. You go to the grocery store just to buy a few things and you leave with an entire cart full of food, spending more than what you planned.
Been there, done that way too many times!
Here’s what we did; we plan our menu for a week, sometimes two, write out our shopping list (and stick to it) then shop once per week. That’s it! It really helps to keep you focused only on what you need. If you’re having trouble making a menu, Pinterest is always a great resource.
It’s important to stick to what’s on your list! This is an important step and will save you some serious cash!
Look at sale advertisements from your local grocery stores to see where you can get the better deals. See what items you can use coupons for and use them on the items you need. And please, be practical with coupons. Don’t get all crazy! Who has time to be extreme? Certainly not me!
If you see certain items on sale that you can’t pass on, buy it and use it for a future menu meal. If I see something on sale that’s a serious deal, I grab it!
I picked up some awesome steaks that were on sale for buy one, get one free. I snatched them up and I will now plan future menus with these items! Beware and don’t go overboard! Make sure it’s a steal of a deal! Produce is the only thing I don’t recommend buying when it’s marked down. The only time I recommend it is if you’re going to use it immediately, like on the same day. Otherwise, skip it.
We’ve cut our grocery budget significantly by doing this because we are not shopping blind. We go in with a plan and stick to it!
7. SHOP CLEARANCE!
I love clearance racks!! Don’t be afraid to buy things when it’s on clearance! You can find all kinds of goodies from A-Z. It all depends on what you’re looking for.
The best time to buy items on clearance is at the end of the season. For instance, with clothes, you can stock up on winter items when springtime is around the corner. You can do this for any season of the year! At the end of last summer, I purchased a $120 grill for my husband for $30! Score!
All types of things go on clearance. I always shop clearance first!
8. SHOP ONLINE!
I love getting a good bargain. It drives me crazy when I see something overpriced. Online shopping has become my favorite way to shop!
There are TONS and TONS of ways you can save money by shopping online. Amazon, Groupon, and Facebook are my absolute favorites.
You can buy just about anything on Amazon! You name it, they probably have it.
We shop Amazon at least a few times per month. There are things that I buy on Amazon that I just can’t find in stores anymore. And if you are a book junkie, like my husband, it’s also a great place to buy affordable books.
An Amazon Prime subscription is a no-brainer for us. With this subscription, you will save even more money with free 2-day shipping. If you need something asap, Amazon offers a service called Prime Now, where you can choose from thousands of items and it is delivered to your door on the same day within 2 hours!
Amazon has saved the day time and time again for our family.
Groupon is my go-to place when I’m looking for activities, restaurants, and entertainment ideas.
I recently purchased bounce house passes for my kids and they had a blast! My husband purchased a prenatal massage for me and it was fantastic! We’ve purchased several Groupon’s for restaurants and they were delicious!
It’s also a great place to shop for photographers if you need new family photos.
Give Groupon a try! You’re bound to find something wonderful!
Facebook Buy Sell Trade:
Facebook has surprisingly become a great place for me to shop. There’s this thing called Buy-Sell-Trade, or BST groups that are like a huge yard sale where people post items they want to sell. Many people, like me, find it easier to post their items for sale in these groups rather than having an actual yard sale.
When I have something I want to sell, I post it and it’s usually sold within a week! If I want to buy something I browse the groups and see what’s up for sale. And if I’m looking for something in particular, I search the BST group first before I shop elsewhere. I can usually find what I’m looking for and if needed, I negotiate for a lower price. I find myself needed to hold back on shopping in BST groups because I can get a little bit out of control!
These groups have rules that you need to abide by or you’ll get kicked out. So make sure you’re a civil and respectful person. You’ll also need to go pick up your purchases either by meeting with the purchaser or doing a porch pick up at their home.
Be smart about who you’re selling to and buying from. Use your gut instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, pass on the item you want to buy, or move on to the next person interested in the item you’re selling.
9. BUDGET BUDGET BUDGET!
Budgeting is crucial when it comes to saving money. You need to know how much money you have before you spend it. Otherwise, you’ll overspend and waste money.
Budgeting helps us know what we’re spending, where it’s going, and when it’s going to be spent. We write down what’s coming in and what our monthly expenses are. That’s why having a menu written for meals is so important so you can budget for groceries.
After budgeting for bills, I recommend that you withdraw the amount of cash you need for expenses like gas for your vehicle, groceries, household items, and other miscellaneous items. Once your cash is spent…spend no more!
If you have extra left over put it into savings.
10. PAY YOURSELF!
This one is important! My husband and I implement a 10-10-80 system. This simply means that whatever we get paid (on gross), we give 10% to tithes, 10% to our savings fund, and we live on the 80%.
Some of you may read the tithing part and respond negatively. If you’re a Christian, like we are, this makes sense. If not, no big deal. You can pay yourself an extra 10% or give 10% to your charity of choice. Either way, it’s a generosity concept.
Saving money in today’s economy is very important because things can quickly turn upside down. Knowing you have a cushion to rely on will be more reliable than asking and/or waiting for Uncle Sam!
To sum it all up, you will thank yourself for implementing these tips. Annually, it has saved us a significant amount of money!
Although there will be small upfront costs to implement some of these money saving tips, it will be well worth it because it will pay for itself time and time again!
Save Well Mama!!