Money saving tips

I think there was an old thread about this but I can't find it and think that now is a good time to revive the theme.

1. If it applies to you, STOP paying someone else to cut your grass, then stop paying for a gym membership. If you have a lawn, you might have a mower somewhere. Find it and learn how to use it! You will certainly get a workout, especially during hot months. I think about this every time I cut grass and can't believe how much money people waste on these things.

2. Don't watch infomercials. Or commercials in general. You CAN boil an egg without a $100 system to do it (my elderly mother used to drunk-dial these things and order everything because she wanted to talk to someone and I was shocked to see the stuff that came in the mail). You can also peel potatoes and organize your spice cabinet for free. Also, I am pretty sure Miracle Spring Water is BS and you won't go to heaven if you help buy a yacht/jet/mansion/luxury car for another human.

3. Buy only the sale items at grocery stores. Unless it is truly an emergency, plan ahead and stock up on things you will use when they are discounted. Use coupons if you can find them. Keep a running list of which stores have the lowest price on things that are rarely on sale, such as milk.

I would love to learn other people's strategies and can add more of my own if anyone wants to know.

sestrahelena

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@sestrahelena .. You've hit one of my "hot buttons," thank you. First off, I mean absolutely no disrespect to any of you if I appear to be less than diplomatic.

In light of the current crisis, have you thought about how ridiculously insipid some of the TV commercials sound?

Ladies, Madison Avenue wants you to believe that you NEED that super-expensive cream/lotion etc., whereas you most certainly can use a less-expensive product with equal effect. Shampoo commercials are ones that frequently put me over the edge. With a female sultry voice-over that often sounds like something that should be done in the privacy of the bedroom, the commercials conjure up the most absurd scenes in an effort to get you to purchase the ridiculously expensive products that are carbon copies of the "store brands."

Men, just by taking this non-prescription pill that is being hawked by some muscle-bound spokesman, we will ________________________ [insert any ridiculous euphemism for prowess in the bedroom]. "But wait! If you call within the next 10 minutes, we'll also send you two EXTRA bottles for FREE!" Let me think, there are DOCTORS for this issue.

The list of ridiculous commercials is endless. What I cannot understand is how on earth these marketing companies were able to convince the clients that these commercials make any sense at all; most of the time--in my opinion--they simply devalue the product because it is abundantly clear that they think very little of the consumer.

OK, rant over [for now]!
Along these lines, be wary of all ads, promotions, commentaries, news, alleged news, co-opted news, articles, and commercials. This is a significant election year, and one well-funded party is doing its expensive darnedest to brainwash people to vote in certain ways. We also do not need to be bullied by the other major political party. We can do our research, and we can make up our own minds. This nation is all about helpful forms of strength.

At the food store, look for value. Considering everyone's dietary needs, which foods will meet them best? Least? Allocate food dollars accordingly.

If you have a job, even any job, be grateful. You have a place to go and something to do. Your hoped-for work might still be some distance in the future, so it is good that you have something to keep you out of trouble now.

If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music. - Gustav Mahler
Opanel- stupid, insulting advertising is one of my hot buttons too. Sadly, a large # of people watch, tolerate and (oh, no) believe.

sestrahelena
Take advantage of reward programs at grocery stores, drug store gas stations, etc. Don't let accumulated points expire. Use them!

sestrahelena
Barter / share. Do you hunt or fish, does your neighbor have fruit trees or a garden? Balanced meals can be had for all with a little negotiation!

sestrahelena
Check your local Freecycle group for free things; also, give away what you do not need on Freecycle. I have gotten a lot of free outdoor plants on Freecycle and when my iris and day lily beds got over crowded, found Freecyclers who were happy to come and thin them to take some home to their gardens. I even found a couple who came and dug up three huge azaleas and took them. This meant that I did not have to pay for help when I was revising that garden area.

Or donate to a charity store or shelter. When at a charity store,to donate, shop for bargains on clothing, small appliances, etc. My $98 coffeemaker was $15 at a local charity shop. And, yes, I actually did need a coffee maker. The 2 new enameled, covered, cast iron cookware pieces that I have (Creuset) were less than 20% of retail. I was told that they came from the estate of a serious chef and had arrived at the store about an hour before I did.

There are several chains (Cort comes to mind first) devoted to renting furniture. Most also have a sales outlet. A lot of that furniture and artwork has been used just to stage model homes or apartments. Other pieces for very short term rental because the tenant did not expect to be in a temporary job (in the area) for long. A lot of the furnishings for my rental unit in the basement came from such a store, and were, literally, as good as new. And, the best bets are also for office furniture that looks quite unused. So much so that I wondered if some large business went out of business and the store got all of its unused office stuff.

Need major appliances? Check out the "bump and dent" offerings of appliance outlet stores. My best finds include a super fridge/freezer that had a large scratch on the side of it that actually faces a wall in my kitchen. That was 50% off, came with the original warranty and , because I opened their credit card, 1 months of zero interest financing. I paid that off and closed the cc account. 18 month later, when I needed a combo washer/dryer for my kitchen, I pulled the same stunt and bought a former floor model that was at the same "bump and dent" place. They again made the same cc offer so I saved 40% and got free financing. Almost forgot... I did a similar deal there several years ago for the refrigerator and stove that are in the basement apartment in my home.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Political ads and brand name pharmaceutical ads are the ones that annoy me. I will always remember accompanying my widowed Mom to her doctor where she had her list of drugs she had seen on TV she thought might work for her. The doc was very patient with her but even he had to bite his lip to keep from laughing when she asked about Cialis.

Buying the loss leaders from the grocery ads is definitely a way to keep the budget intact. Unfortunately in a time of 'stay at home' I need to identify one store for my weekly expedition and hope they have what I need. This week I am torn between a store with spiral ham at 95 and butter at 2.29 and a store with fresh asparagus at 1.49 and ham at 1.19. Buying brand names may provide you with coupons but these days the coupon value often makes them still more expensive than the generic stuff that often is produced at the same facility.
I got the ham and the butter, partly because Aldi is the only store where I can consistently find bread so I go there first.
1. Cost Track - In my case, I have a detailed logged spreadsheet with previous purchases with optimal prices to purchase many commodities. For example, my optimal price point and absolute dream deal either Charmin Ultra Strong or Quilted Northern Ultra Plush Three-Ply priced at or under $0.00262/sheet. If that deal ever comes around again, I'm buying a year's worth! The same ideology goes for literally all purchases.

2. Addressing Debts: Eliminate as many debts as you can: car note, credit card debt, etc. Sounds like common sense advice, but I learned that this is not the case.

3. Cheapen Your Car: Aim for a older vehicle with low mileage. Though the car you purchase is not worth of value at all or in many cases, you'll be paying for MORE than the Black Book value, you aim for longevity and Cost Per Use, plus lower insurance rates as well.

4. Consolidate, Consolidate, Consolidate: If there are options to drop your total cost, consider it, even if it means sharing bills with your family. Me, my sister's family and my parents all share lots of things together including phone plans, subscriptions such as Costco, Sam's Club, Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc. Put your pride aside and gain trust with your family, if you have one to turn to.

5. Purchase Items That are "Buy It For Life": Some items will cost a lot upfront, but over the long haul, you end up gaining the benefit of "Cost Per Use."

6. Hack Your Way to Drop Cost with Coupons, Card Offers, etc.: In my case, I've been stocking up on a LOT of Amazon gift cards, as I'm able to easily purchase them for 10% off. For every $1,000 I frontload, where I can purchase other gift cards to other outlets as needed, I pocket a tax-free $100 on the backend. This adds up quite quickly.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 30 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.
If you have time, space, and can find enough food: You can make one comprehensive shopping trip, do food prep for multiple ingredients and recipes, and freeze as much food as you have space for in your place. Some foods do not freeze well or as long as others do, so you do need to plan. This is intensive (if you are filling large freezers) but when you have finished your tasks, you have time for other interests. Your monetary savings will mostly be buying in bulk and using transportation less. Some people go so far as to calculate whether there is a savings in the cost of using appliances. I do not bother about that because this probably varies from household to household. I save enough with bulk purchases that I am satisfied with just this much work.

For some tasks and people, it might be possible to share costs and duties without violating social distancing rules. This goes along with Tarantado's great suggestion in 'consolidate!'

If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music. - Gustav Mahler


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/2020 02:18AM by Shop-et-al.
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In line with SEA's tip, organize your cooking so that, if you intend to use the oven, cook several things at the same time to save electricity. I often cook 3 main entrees on Monday then serve them through the week with a little warming up and simple sides. (Although the microwave might use as much electricity as the oven, I don't know. Not good at math.)

sestrahelena
I only buy clearance meat at Safeway/Albertsons. I only buy the ones that were on sale (yellow tag below the regular price and then also have a 30% off sticker on them. I'm now vac pac and freezing it. I also scour the clearance rack for baked goods and canned goods. I cannot make 9 jumbo choc chip muffins that I buy on the clearance rack for $2.99. Or a loaf of La Brea whole grains bread for $1.99 cus its day old....
Oh, another thing. When you see a loss leader being advertised, like a Cook's ham for $0.99/lb, buy two of them. Cut up, use and freeze one, and the other is good until June 2020 cus its vac packed, at which point you won't be sick of ham anymore and will open that one. And keep the bone for yummy soups!
Take yourself off of catalog mailing lists and email lists. Those catalogs just create desire for things you don't need.
Shop for several households. Often the 'large economy' size or 'restaurant size' is a stupendous price but a whole lot more than one household needs. I got my son's list and did a major shopping for his house and mine. Stopped by his house on the way home and we split and wrapped for freezing an enormous package of pork chops that will make 32 servings of one chop each or more if the chops are cut up for stir fry. A 10# chub of ground beef gave us each 5 1# rewraps for freezing to make burgers or chili or whatever. We each can refill our granulated garlic jars out of the big container. Neither household uses a gallon of milk before it goes bad but a gallon is cheaper than two halves so we split it. A 10# bag of rice is a lot cheaper per pound than the smaller bags so we split one. Etc. etc.
I was thinking of doing a garden this year. I read on a local nursery's website that $40 worth of plants will generate about $400 worth of produce. Problem is, there is clay soil here. I ordered a potato growing bag that I thought was pretty neat. It comes in different sizes, like 7 or 10 gallon. You fill it halfway with soil and plant tubers. As the plant grows, you fill with more soil. There is a flap on the side near the bottom that you open to harvest the potatoes. I've heard that the food supply chain could very get messed up as they can't find people to plant/pick crops because of the virus.

Kim
The problem for farmers here is that with the schools and restaurants closed down there is not the demand for all the fresh produce they grow. They tend to harvest according to their market, so green tomatoes are picked for shipping because they can last for weeks under refrigeration while tomatoes are picked almost ripe for local restaurants and the schools. In my area the Food Bank usually hands out non-perishables such as canned vegetables and dried beans. Because the choice for farmers is to plow under their onion and potato crops and feed their tomatoes, peppers and celery to their cattle, the Food Bank has been sending trucks out to the farmers to collect fresh produce.
The news featured a farmer I thought from the CA area that plowed under an entire plot of beans because he didn't have anyone to pick.

Kim
If I could bring my own unique tools for my own adaptive work and not have to join a union, I would pick beans or whatever.

If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music. - Gustav Mahler
1.) Co-habitation (if bearable). I live with my parents and save $7-8K a year on rent. They don't charge me and know I've been saving up. This can be a huge boon financially, but it comes with relationship costs and isn't for everyone. Will your parents really let you live with them? Is it bearable? If there is an argument, what happens?
It's not ideal, but many do it to save money or even out of necessity.

It doesn't have to be with your parents, of course. Although, that is often the best rent-free route. Another is to live in with an elderly person. A lot of times, they may offer you greatly reduced rent (possibly even free) vs. market value if you're willing to assist them around the home with things. I have a relative who did this for probably five years. She's a registered nurse, so there was probably some natural fit there as well. But even with a good paying job, she still saved in this way when first starting out in life.

2.) Mystery shop for food. ...Oh wait...yeah...we're in a recession/depression and all those fantastic meals we got for the price of a report are now gone. sad smiley sad smiley sad smiley

3.) Use a space heater and fan vs. turning on your entire home/unit AC/heater.

4.) Buy some basic exercise equipment for a home gym and avoid monthly gym fees. No - not a Peloton. winking smiley

5.) Cut your cable TV cord, trash Netflix, and get a Disney+ subscription, so that my Disney stock will rise in price. *just kidding* ...Consider getting rid of your subscription TV service, though. YouTube (which is free - and ad-free with Ad Block Plus) has been a great substitute for me. My entertainment, news, and educational needs are all met on YouTube. If you want to make my Google stock rise, please watch ads on it too! *just kidding*
@shoptastic wrote:

1.) Co-habitation (if bearable). I live with my parents and save $7-8K a year on rent. They don't charge me and know I've been saving up. This can be a huge boon financially, but it comes with relationship costs and isn't for everyone. Will your parents really let you live with them? Is it bearable? If there is an argument, what happens?
It's not ideal, but many do it to save money or even out of necessity.

My kids have both been home from time to time. The relationship is odd as it is not really parent/child and not really adult/adult. I can recognize the short term need, but I have my own post-child rearing life. I fulfilled my moral contractual obligation by getting them educated. They need to be living their own lives, not mine.

@shoptastic wrote:


3.) Use a space heater and fan vs. turning on your entire home/unit AC/heater.

Today the electric company installed a new meter and turned on 'net metering' to my home's new rooftop solar electric system. With the 26% tax credit in 2020 it should take me between 7 and 10 years to recoup the cost for a system that should last for 25 years. (The difference in years to break even depends on how fast the electric company continues their rates and 'funny money' extra charges.)
Stop buying lottery tickets. Powerball, scratch offs, whatever they are. Chances are, will never win enough to exceed or even meet your lifetime expenditure on these. I will never understand how people on a low/fixed income spend $20-50 on this crap as soon as their, "Check comes in." I have heard so much of this at gas stations over the years.

sestrahelena
Ignore the tsunami of advertising on FB. You do not need a new computer, new shoes, or any of the thousands of other items they're trying to peddle. These companies have ONE GOAL, and only one--to get YOUR money. Don't fall for it.
Another thing that puts me right over the edge is this concept of fast food delivery (I'm not talking about pizza delivery, which is normal), especially by these "third-party" companies. The commercials all make it seem to be so trendy and convenient; just make a couple of entries on your smartphone, and, "POOF!" a cornucopia of hot, fresh fast food--or, even more ludicrous, candy and snack items--will be delivered to your door. The pictures are all staged to make it look like so much fun! Oh, such convenience! Then, you FINALLY notice the bill. By the time they tack on all of the little "extra" fees, and with the tip to the driver, you could have purchased at least three times the amount of food had you made it yourself.

Keep your money in your wallet, folks. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets any better. Rant over.
@Tarantado wrote:

3. Cheapen Your Car: Aim for a older vehicle with low mileage. Though the car you purchase is not worth of value at all or in many cases, you'll be paying for MORE than the Black Book value, you aim for longevity and Cost Per Use, plus lower insurance rates as well.

I'd just be careful with potentially storm-damaged used cars. A lot of cars were soaked in hurricane flood waters in recent years and may be "molded out." We're suspicious my sister's used car was like this. You want to check the car records well and do an inspection to look for signs of water damage.

The mold spores may come back to bite you later during humid weather, as it "reactivates" and grows again.
For Britophiles, Acorn TV has some good old shows, movies, and documentaries to watch. It costs little and provides much for people who appreciate this stuff. For me, its ROI is substantial.

If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music. - Gustav Mahler
@sestrahelena wrote:

Stop buying lottery tickets. Powerball, scratch offs, whatever they are. Chances are, will never win enough to exceed or even meet your lifetime expenditure on these. I will never understand how people on a low/fixed income spend $20-50 on this crap as soon as their, "Check comes in." I have heard so much of this at gas stations over the years.

If I could get those low-income folks to spend $20-50/month on gold or silver ETFs...they'd be making money. winking smiley

GLD (although, I prefer SGOL and PHYS now for higher security)
$118 in December 2018
$162 today
30% return

Better than a bank CD for sure! Better than their lottery ticket gambling most likely. With so much money printing right now throughout the world and a global recession, gold is set to rise for many years.
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