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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Save Money Now: 25 Ideas for Saving

I breathed a gigantic sigh of relief when I made my final student loan payment. I worked hard to pay off my credit card debt and worked doubly hard to pay off my car two years early. This was my last debt. What a great feeling to be debt free. 

But that's just me. We still have mortgage debt. And my husband has some credit card debt. 

We're working on it.

We're not alone.

According to Federal Reserve statistics, the average United States household owes $15K in credit card debt, $154K in mortgage debt and $34K in student loan debt.



Overwhelming.

Our long term goal is long term travel. We hope to buy income property here in the States and live comfortably on our retirement once we are in Spain full time. It's a lofty goal.

So how can we make this happen? How can you make your saving goals happen? 

Here are some ideas.


  • Pay down the debt. Pay off debt with the highest interest rate first. Then apply that payment to what is being paid on the next highest and so on. Keep working up until all debt is paid. Or start with the smallest debt and work your way up. And no new credit cards. Pick one (or two) and stick with it. 
  • Create a budget and stick to it.
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated and save in gas mileage.
  • Try a savings plan like the 52 week savings plan.


  • Brown bag your lunch and save up to $2500 a year.
  • Consign clothes you no longer wear and items you no longer use.
  • Install energy saving devices in your home.


  • Turn down the heat/ac. Consider an automatic thermostat to regulate your temperatures.



  • Quit cable and use Hulu or Netflix. Try a Roku and stream on your television.
  • Find a meet-up group centered around fitness and put your gym membership on hold. Get outside.



  • Cook at home and take the money you would have spent and add it to your savings.
  • Make your own coffee. 
  • Set up automatic savings from your paycheck to a savings account. It all adds up.


  • Have friends over for a get together instead of going out. There is more than a 300% markup on alcohol in bars and restaurants. The savings on drinks alone makes it worth it to have your wine, beer and drinks at home.
  • Use generic items. You may have some non-negotiables, but most items are just as good as the brand names.
  • Consider a dollar store...you may be surprised by what you can find these days.
  • Use only your bank's ATM and avoid costly fees. Get free checking with no fees.


  • Shop at a consignment store. Or, if you go retail, only shop on sale. Take the money the receipt says you saved and add it to your savings.
  • Use your library instead of buying books. Many libraries have e-books that can be sent directly to your e-reader.


  • Know your prices and only buy things on sale. Save where you can.
  • Walk, bike ride, use public transportation, or carpool whenever possible. It saves energy and money.
  • Have a movie night at home, or if you want to see a first run movie, go to the last matinee of the day. Also, around here, Tuesday is "Cheap Movie Night" where the theater charges matinee prices for prime time showings. Check out your local theater...maybe you can find a deal.
  • Use savings sites like Groupon or Goldstar.com to find deals on entertainment.
  • If you're not using it, shut it off.
  • Give up a vice. It may save you hundreds per year.
Saving today is not easy. But if you save where you can and put that money into  a savings plan, you may be surprised at how quickly it accumulates. 



How do you save? Any great tips? 

28 comments:

  1. I used David Ramsey's "Seven Baby Steps" method to get out of debt. It was SO easy to kill off my owed debt using that. I would also suggest printing coupons and using savings and coupon apps to save while shopping. There's always a deal somewhere! Good list of tips!

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    1. You are so right, Jessica. If I don't have a coupon for, let's say Kohl's, it's not happening. Because I buy many generic items, there aren't always coupons, but I try to only buy things on sale. Great tips. :-) Congratulations on using the "Seven Baby Steps" to get out of debt! That's a huge accomplishment! :-) Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comments.

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  2. Great tips! We are trying son hard to save also! So difficult (yet sounds so easy!)

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    1. Hi Alena,
      It is hard, but it's a great feeling to feel like you're winning the war on debt. Keep at it. You'll get there. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comments. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Breanna. Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you come back again soon. :-)

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  4. Great tips!

    I cook at home, we only go out to eat every once in a while. I bring breakfast & lunch to work five days a week most of the time, sometimes I pick lunch up on Fridays as a treat.

    I paint my nails at home (pedis still get farmed out) and shop sales.

    I take the train to work over driving, group my errands to save on time and gas, get books from the library weekly, and only go to my bank's ATM.

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    1. Thanks, Steph. You have some great strategies in place. I farm out my French pedis. If it's just a quick color, I do that myself. :-) Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comments. :-)

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  5. Yes, thank you. Awesome tips! We are currently saving for IVF and it's taking forever. Those last-minute things always seem to come up!

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    1. Hi Jenn. You're right. It seems like there's always something that comes up. Good luck with your IVF! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comments. :-)

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  6. Great tips! I'd suggest one more: Don't just cut off the cable, if you are keeping internet service - talk to the company about packaged deals. I save $10 per month by "bundling" internet and cable compared with just paying for internet. We don't even have a tv, so it's a little silly, but if it saves us money...!

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    1. You're right, Anna Belle. Sometimes bundles make more sense than cutting out a service completely. You have to work the numbers. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comments. :-)

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  7. Hi Kelly. Really enjoyed this Post and the many great tips. Saving is so important, and also cutting costs to enable what you want when you want it. There is a used book store nearby that sells used books like through Amazon and such, so I regularly scout it out for cookbooks- I won't say what a great deal saver this has been- but it is amazing! Also, I find takeout dinner to be one of the costliest items that can be slashed substantially choosing then to eat out a better place another time, plus the savings, of course, outside of pizza, and for a family, along with supporting the local business, I'm not sure you can do better on that one.

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    1. Thank you, Peggy! Shopping local is so important, and when it offers savings, it's a win-win. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comments. :-) Have a great weekend!

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  8. Great tips! I pay extra on my highest interest card and use enacted when shopping online.

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    1. Great plan, Kerry. Eliminating the highest interest card first seems like the way to go. I use one card for everything and then try to pay it off completely each month...I'm saving points. :-)

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  9. 2 summers ago we invested in a new air conditioning unit an energy efficient digital air condition control. We are still amazed at the savings. It will pay for itself in 5 more years.

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    1. Hi Jeannie.
      You're so right and smart about that investment. Sometimes you have to spend money to save money. My husband wants solar panels and a tankless water heater. The initial investment is substantial, but the savings in the long run make it well worth it. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comments. :-)

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  10. It is a great idea, that "take the money the receipt says you saved and add it to your savings" - I haven't thought that. Years ago we use to save by putting all the coins in the jar, but it is not happening anymore. Should start it again, too!
    But I have to confess, I feel sometimes very frustrated, when everything what comes in, goes out, too...

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    1. It is frustrating. Everything is so much more expensive today and so many have to live from paycheck to paycheck; there simply isn't money left over to save. But, the smallest amounts add up. Good luck! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comments. :-)

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  11. I really love your tips. I need to get on some of these ASAP

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    1. Thank you, Alesha! Good luck! :-) Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comments. :-)

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  12. Hi Kelly! Thanks so much for sharing this at Let's Get Real today. Money is tight for so many people and I am no different. We are trying really hard to pay for college for my son and it has things really tight for us. There is some great advice here. Every little bit helps that is for sure! Added bonus..........when you brown bag your lunch.......it is likely healthier than anything you would buy out.

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    1. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share this post. Money can be such a source of stress and frustration for so many people. We save where we can. It all adds up. Sometimes, it feels like the movie Up...you save some and then you have to crack into the piggy bank. But then, hopefully, you can start to save again. You're so right about the bagged lunch. You know what's in it, it saves you money, and it's healthier...a definite win-win. :-) Thanks again!

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  13. Great tips! Happy to say we've been doing some of these. We recently put aside our debit card and are trying to just use a certain amount of cash for weekly expenses. We'll see how it goes!!

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    1. Thank you, Leilani. What a beautiful name you have. I love the idea of using cash. I hate carrying debt. It's often a necessary evil, but a drag, nonetheless. Good luck with your cash project, and thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

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  14. You forgot STOP BUYING STUFF. Or at least, be more mindful of purchases. As the old war poster says, use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

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    1. Agreed, Melissa. The less we buy, the less we owe. :-) Great point.

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