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Your Take: Your Best Money Saving Tip

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Cat Sniffing A Coin JarNear the end of last year, I put together a list of 100 money saving tips that became very popular. The post itself took quite a bit of time but in the end was worth it for me because I picked up a few ideas I hadn’t thought of beforehand or just recently hadn’t done. For example, after writing that, I looked at tip #22 and realized I hadn’t checked my car’s tire pressure lately. Almost that day, I eye-balled my tires and saw that one of them was a little low. I took it over to Costco because the tires had nitrogen (you can add regular air too, but we were going to Costco anyway) and they discovered that the valve was broken and had to be replaced (gratis of course, Costco is wonderful!). That little trip saved us a little bit of money and a lot of headache down the road.

So I’m curious, what is your best money saving tip? If your friend, as I hope I am, walked up to you and asked you for the best idea you had for saving money, what would you tell them? It’s perfectly OK if that tip is one of the ones on that list, I’d still like to hear it and how you’ve saved with it. It’s OK if it’s an “obvious” tip, because we see obvious tips every day that we never think about (like checking tire pressure!).

What is your best money saving tip? Let’s have it! :)

Heck, just to juice it up a little, a $20 Starbucks gift card to the person with the best tip as chosen by me. Contest ends next Friday, January 23rd, at noon. Void where prohibited.

Congratulations to Lauren (Comment submitted at 01/16/2009 at 2:28pm), winner of the $20 Starbucks gift card! Please feel free to continue leaving tips but the contest has ended.

(Photo: formatc1)

{ 118 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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118 Responses to “Your Take: Your Best Money Saving Tip”

  1. saladdin says:

    1. Don’t get married.

    2. Realize that not everyone needs to have kids. Nothing wrong with being one of those people.

    saladdin

  2. Wendy says:

    My big three money saving tips are:
    1. Eat your meals at home before going to the movie theater, sporting events, etc.
    2. Wash delicate clothes (i.e. office wear, dressy shirts, etc) either by hand or with cold water, using the delicate cycle, and then hang dry. This decreases your dry cleaning bills significantly.
    3. Leave the credit cards at home and use only whatever cash you’ve allocated for that day. If you don’t have it in cash, you won’t spend it!
    4. If you must eat outside your home, consider a supermarket deli or salad bar. If you’re at a restaurant, consider splitting your dish with your significant other or friend. Most times those portions feed two people anyway!

  3. Kevin says:

    Get rid of the television part of your cable/internet provider. Most shows are available online and if you really want to watch that sports game, find a sports bar. Heck, even after canceling it, you can by one of those fancy Apple TV devices and still save the monthly service fees.

  4. bill says:

    My best tip is to make the move to online bill payment.

    There’s the obvious benefits, like saving money on stamps, checkbooks, and general time and hassle of opening all those bills, writing checks, mailing them, etc.

    Then the slightly less obvious. Like avoiding late fees, since you can set up recurring payments to happen on whatever schedule you wish.

    And, the subtle. Since you have all of your bill payment information in one place, you might start to notice things you didn’t before. With all the information easily downloadable to spreadsheets, you now have a budget with no extra effort.

    I was really surprised, for example, how much I was spending just on lunch in the cafeteria at work. Now I take my lunch most days, and bank the savings.

    You also have the opportunity to see all your debt in one place, and do smart things, like put larger payments on those debts with the least favorable terms.

    • jim says:

      Online billpay has saved my rear many a time… I also like how you can schedule payments in advance so you can maximize interest savings while not risking that you’ll forget to pay.

  5. Buy the most reliable car you can afford (not necessarily brand-new!) and drive it until it falls apart.

  6. Monevator says:

    Don’t buy pre-prepared food, and save eating out for special occasions.

    I know it’s a well-worn tip but by learning to cook I can feed four people with fresh ingredients for the price of one pre-packed meal, let alone a restaurant bill (could probably feed 10 people for that!)

    Plus dinner guests are much more appreciative than checkout staff. ;)

  7. MissMartha says:

    My favorite money saving tip is to go to your local library! Libraries can provide you hours of entertainment for free. You can check out movies (sometimes even new releases), CDs, and of course books. Also when we didn’t have access to the internet at home I would walk to the library and use the internet connection there for free. Plus, with being able to watch a movie in your PJs at home, who would ever want to go to the theatre??

  8. Jeanine says:

    Quit smoking- 1 carton 20-30.00, 3 times a month- savings 60-90. month.
    Eating out- 4 times a month- 40.change to
    2 times a month. savings 80. a month.
    Lottery tickets- 20/week- dont buy, you won’t win- 80 a month.

    just changing these 3 things can save 250.00 a month!!!! Put that in your IRA and watch it grow!!!

  9. Christa says:

    Take care of and maintain all of your possessions from your shoes to your car. When things are cared for they do not need to be replaced as often, thereby saving you money.

  10. Vik Dulat says:

    You should always think twice before buying anything. Here are the questions you should ask:

    1) Do I really need it? 99 % of the time, this will deter you from buying it.

    2) Do I have the money for it? You don’t want to put it on your credit card.

    3) Find alternatives for things: Rent a DVD for FREE from the library rather than paying $5+ at blockbuster

    • jim says:

      Ever try the 30 day rule? or even the 5 day rule? Don’t buy something until you’ve waited 30 or 5 days, if you still want/need it, get it.

  11. Robby says:

    Always know how much money you are spending.
    When ever filling your shopping cart keep a running total of approximately how much you have spent. When shopping for clothes or anything keep that running total going. That way there are no surprises at the check out and if there is a surprise you can check to see why your total was different.

  12. Rachel says:

    1. Rent movies from Red Box inside grocery stores and Wal-Marts for $1.00 a night

    2. Shop at the dollar store

    3. sign up for an interest gaining savings account at ingdirect.com

  13. April D. says:

    My best money saving tip is- Only use cash. Make a budget before you get paid, stick to it-get someone to hold you accountable if necessary and use cash for purchases. This never fails. Having cash on hand has so many benefits and having a budget also keeps your goals in check. Keeps you sane.

    • jim says:

      I’m discovering that this is a very popular tip, I like how you point out that having cash on hand is also beneficial for other reasons too.

    • Joyce says:

      Yup, this is my tip, too. I “pay myself first,” and that is my cash for purchases til the next paycheck. Everything else is used for bills and savings. If I run out of cash, then I over-splurged and didn’t pay attention to the budget. If I have money left over, it goes into the savings account for a “rainy day.” Paying attention to what I’m buying, and only paying cash has really helped rein in my over-spending.

  14. Sarah Denk says:

    1. Pay yourself first. Take at least 20% off the top of a paycheck or money you receive and put it into savings.

    2. Shop grocery stores (triple coupon events) and CVS/Walgreens/Rite Aid and get all the grocery items you can for free. Only buy what you need to fill in. Live off freebies as much as possible.

    3. Use the drug stores listed above to get free medicine and toiletries. Don’t be afraid to use a different shampoo every month. It won’t kill you. :)

  15. Donna Freedman says:

    Don’t let other people make decisions about how your money will be spent. I’m not talking about your life partner, your creditors or your landlord — I’m talking about peer groups and advertising. Question ALL such influences, and be realistic in assessing the benefits and drawbacks of expenditures. You’ll keep a lot more of your money that way.

  16. Abigail says:

    My favorite tip is to attack your debt with each paycheck.

    First of all, you’ll see effects more immediately. This is better for your overall attitude and will keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

    More importantly, for those carrying balances on credit cards, it will have an impact on the interest you pay.

    Most credit cards are on a double-billing cycle. As you probably know, this means that you are charged interest based on your average daily balance over the last two months. This means that higher balances continue to effect your finance charges, even as you pay them down.

    If you pay more often, it means a lower balance, sooner, which decreases the total interest charged.

    Still, the biggest impact is in your outlook. You see more immediate results, which keeps you feeling in control and effective. This lessens the chances for frugal burnout.

  17. Joyce says:

    I ditched my cable and my gym membership, and bought a GPS off eBay for $50 (works like a dream!). I now go out geocaching and hiking with my GPS. Keeps me busy, and I get my exercise, too!

  18. Sarah says:

    Learn to cook well and from scratch. Yes, eating out is nice, but when you can cook great meals at home, you won’t have the desire to go out. Fresh ingredients are way cheaper than pre-prepared dinners!

  19. Ben says:

    Check retailmenot.com before I make any online order. 90% of the time I can find a great coupon that gives me a discount!

  20. Brad says:

    I suspect that the best “tip” for most of us (myself included) is to get serious about this process. I am getting much better, but it is an ongoing struggle to not buy something I don’t need! Following that “tip” would likely be the most cost effective thing most of us could do.

    In fact, the same advice would be good for my other challenge now – food! Only eat when hungry. I just need to say that enough that I believe and act on it and things will work! :D

    Brad

  21. The best money saving tip is to live alone and be a home-body. I never go out and do things, ever. I mean I go grocery shopping and go to work, but after that all my entertainment needs are met at home. The internet is a wonderful thing and that is such an understatement. Bittorrent is a great way to save money instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars a year on movies and computer programs you just torrent them and save the $20 you would have spent. Sure, some people have a moral aversion to this, but if you really want to save money it gets the job done.

    I own my own house, but I don’t decorate it and I only buy necessities. I really don’t have a problem with not spending money. I’d rather have a big pile of money than have a big pile of toys that are going to be obsolete or broken in a few years. Some people get endorphins off of buying new things, I get endorphins from seeing how much I can save and how big my stack of money grows. Also, I believe that being a cynical person is tied to saving money.

  22. Lovely says:

    I think most people would agree that saving money is something “easier said than done”. Personally, I believe it’s a mind-set that needs to be developed by creating good money-saving habits.

    Here are some things I’ve done to help change my spending habits:

    - Cooking more at home ? Eating out is very expensive especially if you do it a couple times a week
    - Shopping online ? You can find better deals than in the store and you save on gas (I recommend http://www.shoptivity.com)
    - Paying the full balance on credit cards each month ? Interest charge is like giving away free money
    - Don’t forget to pay yourself ? Set up an online savings account (they pay higher interest than a normal savings account)
    - Setting a budget and goals ? It’s good to have your goals written down so you see them everyday and don’t lose focus on your ultimate objectives

    Again, saving money requires a lot of patience and hard work. However, you’ll thank yourself later on in life. Good luck everyone!! =)

  23. D. Zuehlsdorf says:

    I am a coffee snob, and I buy ground French Roast at Peet’s Coffee and Tea for about $14 per lb. That price adds up when you drink coffee every day, so I decided to “cut” the Peet’s coffee with cheaper coffee from the grocery store. I bought the store brand for about $7lb and mixed it with the Peet’s 50/50. The result is 2-lbs of really good coffee for $21

  24. sharon says:

    soaps that come in bottles, like shampoo, washing up liquid etc… i dilute them. they are mega concentrated and we tend to use too much anyway.


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