Seven Unconventional Ways to Save Money

by News Guy on June 26, 2013

In these times of tight cash, finding an edge in controlling the weekly budget can be a life saver, especially for folks who are responsible for taking care of a family or in school.  Here are a few steps that can help bring your expenses under control.

  • Do it yourself. This sounds like a no-brainer, but performing tasks that we’d normally have others do, can save us cash that can build up over time. One example is an oil change – normally, an oil change costs about $30 at an outlet, oil included. Stopping by an auto supply retailer and getting motor oil and a filter, plus about 45 minutes of work, can cut the cost in half. The same thing can be applied to numerous home repairs like, repairing a leaky faucet, or other things that we normally do to save time. Of course, we should be strategic with this, but there are a host of things that can be done at home — and for free.
  • Selecting entertainment alternatives.  This author used to pay $200 monthly for his premium cable service, but then went entirely online, using services such as Netflix and Hulu for entertainment. The savings were dramatic.  Inviting friends over for a movie through a streaming service as opposed to going to a movie theater or a bar can lead to big savings. Another great alternative is volunteer work – volunteering for a worthy cause is good for making connections, getting exercise, doing something virtuous and having fun.
  • Drink more water, and from the tap. Soda and other sugary drinks usually cost $1.50 per bottle. Assuming that you have two a day, that’s $21 a week added to your budget and several hundred calories you’ve eliminated from your diet.  Further, buying bottled water is just as expensive as soda – better to carry water with you in your bag in a simple plastic drink bottle chilled in your fridge.  Bottled water is no safer than tap water and the lost calories alone bring health benefits.
  • Own your phone. The average mobile phone bill for a contract is between $60 and $80 a month, while pay-as-you-go providers such as Simplemobile.com charge only $50 for unlimited call and text 4G plans. When your phone contract is up ask yourself – do I need to finance a loan from my phone carrier? Most of the major carriers also have month to month payment options. You may be using a phone that’s two to three years old, but if your phone has the functions that you need then the cost savings can be surprising.
  • Walk and use transit. Of course the situation will vary depending on where you live, but using the bus or train even two or three days a week can lower your gas bill and the wear and tear on your car significantly. Many transit systems offer deep discounts for purchasing monthly passes. Plus, you’re walking more (burn those calories!) and you’re reducing your carbon footprint —good for the planet!
  • Plan out your meals. This works even if you eat out a lot. By creating a discrete food budget and holding to it, you can control your food spending. Plan out your daily meals, prepare lunch at home, and take snacks with you from home instead of buying from machines or making impulse purchases. This can even extend to things like coffee or tea. This can work hand-in-hand with a nutrition plan and make things cheaper and healthier.
  • Unfriend, unfollow, opt out and disconnect. We’re more likely to make impulse buys when friends make recommendations and when we receive offers over social media or e-mail. Remove shopping apps from your phone and selectively disconnect yourself from shopping feeds of various types over Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

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