100+ ways to save $100 or more a year

03 Oct

Most people don’t like depriving themselves.  But we also have dreams for our families both for quality of life and freedom to chart our own course.  We sometimes think what will it hurt if I buy a fancy dress for my daughter or buy this new TV?  But as you can see from the list below, the savings add up.  I’ve only included tips that will save $100 or more a year – sometimes many times that.  None of these tips involve recycling tin foil, although that is a fine thing to do and is helpful for the environment.  Not all of the tips will apply to you, but if you implement the ones that do, you could save up to $10,000 per year.

  1. Buy all ladies jeans at Goodwill, St Vincent de Paul, etc. About $8 each. I usually try on a half dozen likely pairs and buy one on a given visit. Focus on better brands, look at the tags!
  2. Buy all the dresses for your daughter(s) used at consignment stores except for one for spring/summer and one for fall/winter.
  3. Only take professional pictures every 5 years, or whenever there is a new member of the family.
  4. Drop collision on oldest car.
  5. Buy only two purses a year, about $50 each or less. (TJ Maxx or Marshalls).
  6. Don’t buy fashion shoes, just basic colors of good quality brands. Same with shoes for children; don’t buy the flashy ones, buy for practicality and quality.
  7. Buy used toys and children’s books from consignment stores, Goodwill, etc.
  8. Buy used TVs off craigslist, or smaller models, and use them as long as possible
  9. Don’t have car loans for longer than 3 years, if at all.  It almost goes without saying to buy quality used cars instead of brand new.
  10. Don’t buy new DVDs; buy cheap classics or vhs at the thrift store.
  11. Learn to cook, make soups and cost conscious meals.
  12. Eat brown rice and potatoes regularly, they are healthy and filling.
  13. Eat oatmeal for breakfast half of the days of the week.
  14. Buy fruit in season, when it’s cheap, ripe and delicious.
  15. After children can walk well, buy some of their shoes used from consignment stores.
  16. Clean your own carpet with an initial investment of a carpet cleaner.
  17. Go to parks instead of bouncy houses and other paid kid entertainment.
  18. Get a zoo pass if you have small children. It pays off quickly if you live near one.
  19. Don’t go out to eat on a weekly basis. Have take-and-bake pizza when you don’t feel like cooking. Don’t forget your coupon!
  20. Don’t buy a bathing suit every year unless you are an avid swimmer. Also, buy fewer ladies dresses.
  21. Ladies can keep hair in a longer style to go longer between cuts. Skip the highlights and be natural!
  22. Buy frozen juice instead of canned, it has more enzymes in it, less packaging waste and it is a lot cheaper.
  23. Don’t buy trendy items; only adopt a trend that works for your lifestyle.
  24. Buy less often and take advantage of volume discounts, like 20% off a purchase of $50 at Carters, or free shipping offers.
  25. Buy seasonal items at the end of the season, for 80% off. Great for kids’ coats for the next year.
  26. Save receipts and write down all you spend in a week and add it up. While doing this, sort through saved coupons, throwing away expired ones and making a note of ones to use that week.  Writing your expenditures down is a helpful reminder of what you spend.  And if you use just $2 in coupons in a week, that adds up to over $100 a year.
  27. Avoid daily latte habits; keep it more of a social habit.  Bring your coffee to work in an insulated container!
  28. Take lunch to work 4 days a week.
  29. Make desserts at home instead of buying them at inflated prices at the grocery store.
  30. At a restaurant, don’t always order separately for your child.  Share your large meal with them.  Also, have water instead of soda when at the mall with your kids. Healthier too.
  31. Do work out tapes at home, and save on gas to the gym and perhaps the membership.
  32. Don’t keep soda pop in the house.
  33. Don’t buy a new coat, robe, or similar item every year, buy quality ones in basic colors that last forever.
  34. Have fewer hobbies. If your hobbies are golf, triathlon competitions and scrapbooking decide which one or two you can do without.
  35. Serve smaller servings of meat. Less than a pound of salmon can easily serve two or three.
  36. Buy generic diapers that are good quality. I’ve found Up & Up from Target to be superb.
  37. Quit smoking.
  38. Take the bus or train to work, if applicable, and save on parking, gas and upkeep – not to mention risk of accidents on a freeway.
  39. Only go to the movies about once a year. A Netflix membership is a lot cheaper than outings to the movies plus concessions.
  40. Don’t have the deluxe cable package; the family package is as much as you probably need.  Or if you are strong of mind, do without!
  41. Don’t have children involved more than one or two extracurricular activities. Also, all extracurricular activities need not cost money. Volunteering is an extracurricular activity!
  42. Hit Value Village or Goodwill when it’s back to school time and get some quality used clothes. Kids will not receive worse grades if they are not dressed in new clothes.
  43. Organize a free social activity, like a Bible study, and skip happy hour.
  44. Big tip: never leave the house without a full water bottle!
  45. Don’t buy perfume, or use it sparingly. Many offices don’t appreciate it anyway
  46. Other than your wedding gown or perhaps a bridesmaid dress, don’t buy any outfit you will only wear once.
  47. Turn off the heat when you leave a room. Leave heat off in bedroom and have a down blanket.
  48. Make sure you have well-fitting undergarments, but don’t buy designer underwear!
  49. Avoid fast food. It’s fattening, and can quickly bust a food budget!
  50. Skip buying the latest gadgets – iPhones, tablets, kindles, etc. and don’t be an early adopter of the latest technology.
  51. Don’t buy designer kids clothes. Or keep the purchases few and far between.
  52. Buy adult clothes very selectively, with a plan to keep them 5 years or more. Avoid dry clean only.  Shop your own closet.  If you lose 5-10lbs you might be able to better fit in all of your clothes!
  53. Buy jewelry very rarely and selectively. Don’t buy junky stuff but also don’t spend money on unnecessary bling. I never had my ears pierced, think of the money I’ve saved on earrings!
  54. Don’t have lavish parties or gifts for your children. Just observe what they really like or are interested in. I bought my two year old a tricycle that will last at least a couple years but costs less than $80.
  55. Buy large sizes of cat or dog food instead of small bags or cans. For treats you can sometimes give table scraps, like tuna or salmon for a cat. Also remember that a mutt type of dog or cat is typically easier to take care of, and cheaper!
  56. Skip convenience foods (grated cheese, snack packs, small serving kid’s snacks, etc.). Make things from scratch and bulk sources.
  57. Have middle class values in housing – enough space and possessions to function, but not the carrying costs of a more elite lifestyle including extra maintenance, electric costs, etc.
  58. Substitute healthy food – including all kinds of veges and fruits – for sweets, and save a lot of medical bills and time off work!
  59. Have middle class values in furnishings. Buy quality to last (sometimes used); don’t buy a leather couch that your kid will mark on!
  60. Delay purchases.  Often you can most of the things you want, but not all at the same time.
  61. Don’t gamble or buy lottery tickets.
  62. Never buy a home without at least 20% down, or you will pay many thousands extra for the life of the loan in interest charges as well as pmi!
  63. Bargain or ask for a discount. Whether it’s paying cash for a medical charge, buying a car, or negotiating a big auto repair, it is easy to save $100 every year!
  64. Shop at several different stores to get the best savings. Different stores are better for produce, grocery, baby supplies, pet supplies, kid clothes, etc.
  65. Don’t have a land line if you don’t need one.
  66. Don’t have the Cadillac package on your cell phone. Do you use the texting feature a lot? Do you really need unlimited data?
  67. Have a day with no meat every week. Rice and beans, anyone?
  68. Consign your kid’s used clothes before they go out of style, including shoes and fancy dresses. Save some, if you plan on having more children, and save a few ‘sentimental’ pieces.
  69. Buy bulk packages of meat on sale and freeze the portions you don’t use right away.
  70. Have a slow cooker or roasting pan. A pot roast for a family of four is cheaper than steaks! A roast chicken is about the cheapest!
  71. Comparison shop and follow thrifty web site(s). Don’t buy a particular car seat or toy when you can find it $50 cheaper if you time the purchase just right and buy from a particular retailer.
  72. Stretch everything and buy simple and plain. Dilute fabric stain remover with water, save leftover food, use less shampoo and toothpaste. Buy multipacks of white paper towels instead of single designed ones. Buy bulk hand soap and fill individual containers.
  73. Do not visit places like a furniture store or car lot if you do not have immediate plans to buy something! Observe the 10th commandment!
  74. Buy in bulk, but only when it results in savings. Do the math at the grocery or warehouse store when buying things like sugar, flour, cleaning supplies and paper goods. Buying yeast in bulk, for example, usually gives you terrific savings.
  75. Don’t buy computer games or entertainment, or buy them 2nd hand, from your ‘rich’ friend.
  76. Obey the law and practice defensive driving. Nothing sucks savings like higher insurance costs, speeding tickets or other moving violations, or an at fault accident.
  77. Take care of your teeth. Brushing, flossing and eating a nutrient and calcium rich diet can save a lot of dental costs.
  78. Do. Not. Buy. Junk.
  79. Take your family camping instead of vacationing in a hotel or resort.
  80. Scale down your gift giving and put more thought into it.  You don’t have to accept every party invitation and be all things to all people.
  81. Trade babysitting with a relative or friend who has kids.  You both have kids, so it’s more like a play date.
  82. Take advantage of the library for books and resources for kids and grownups.
  83. Have fewer things but have them better organized.
  84. Read the reviews on products!  Why would you buy a sweater that will fall apart, an inferior appliance or a book not worth the paper it’s printed on? Also, stick with quality brands you know, rather than buying a discounted item that hasn’t built up the same kind of customer loyalty (usually for good reason).
  85. For a special meal, have steak at home and skip the steakhouse.
  86. Do not be a materialistic mama.  Pick more grounded friends than the ones bragging about their purchases for their child or the events they’ve attended.  Give your children YOU and not labels.
  87. Solve problems creatively rather than buying something to fix a problem.
  88. Don’t buy single purpose appliances or gadgets that are a hassle to store.
  89. Avoid food waste by keeping tabs on what is in your refrigerator and prioritizing use of fresh food.  Cleanliness and organization can also save money!
  90. Do not use your credit card unless absolutely necessary.  Some have the discipline to pay a balance every month but most people don’t. If you are carrying a balance, not using the card is the only way to reduce the balance and interest charges.
  91. Don’t drink a lot of wine; however a moderate amount can be good for one’s health.
  92. Don’t buy candy except rarely.  It’s expensive and can sabotage weight loss or maintenance goals.
  93. Have a fairly routine life, instead of insisting on endless variety.  If your goal is to try every restaurant in a large metro area or visit every country in Europe, your pocketbook will likely suffer!
  94. Have a routine to read your Bible daily and reflect on what you are thankful for – especially your family!
  95. If there is something you really want or need, wait for the best sale.
  96. Implement a family game night instead of taking your family to expensive professional sporting events or movies.
  97. Do not buy extended warranties unless you are quite sure they will pay off.
  98. Find ways to reduce your energy costs by eliminating drafts and regulating your energy use.
  99. Be grateful.  Also teach your children gratitude instead of a deserving attitude.  Teach them to do simple chores at a very early age in return for a very modest allowance.
  100. Work daily at organization to provide both balance and beauty in your life.
  101. Do not buy the most expensive thing.  Everything gets old and has a shelf life and the most expensive thing will not necessarily last longer or provide more value.  My $20 coffee maker still works great after 10 years!

To sum up what is contained in the tips above: we need to keep it simple.  The Apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy was: “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” I Tim 6:8.  Paul was actually highly ambitious, but his ambition became a zeal for working towards God’s kingdom.  Likewise, we don’t need to worry about what is parked in our driveway, the age of the furnishings in our home, or when we are going to acquire the latest gadget.  Keep it simple!

– Janet

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Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Family, Living on Less


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