Featured Image: @musesuniform
Article By: Danielle McQuillen
So many of us are continually looking for ways to save on our bills. I grew up with frugal parents, and I am so grateful for the lessons they taught me. My husband and I are about as frugal as we possibly can be with our circumstances. Here are some ideas for you to get started!
1. Cut Down on Your Electrical Bill
There are many ways to cut down on your electrical bill, which ones you decide to pursue all depend on where you live. One straightforward one that seems minor, but can make a considerable difference is unplugging everything when you’re not using it. Obvious exceptions would be your fridge, freezer, etc. But anything that isn’t required to run 24/7? Keep it unplugged unless you’re using it or you know you will.
This tip also includes power strips. We have a few that we use, and unless either of us is using whatever device is plugged into them, the power strip is off and unplugged. Yes, it can seem inconvenient at times to not have everything ready to go all the time, but when you see the drop in cost in your electric bill, it’s so worth it!
Another tip would be to look into whether your power provider has a budget plan. We were on our plan for over a year; then upon looking over one of our statements, we realized that because of how little electricity we used throughout the day because of our frugal habits, we’d be paying less half the time if we went off the budget plan. This idea won’t work for everybody, but go ahead and check with your electric company to see what budgets/discounts they offer. You might be pleasantly surprised!
This tip probably goes without saying, but pay attention to your light bulbs. If you have to experiment with them, go for it. Find out what voltage/illumination you can get by with, and if you can do so with the bulbs that don’t use as much power and still last forever, that’s likely your best option. We use a mix of bulbs, it depends on what we need to do, but the majority of our bulbs are of the compact fluorescent type.
Another thing to check for that goes hand in hand with lightbulbs is to make sure your electrical wiring is all up to par. We went through a few light bulbs at one point until we realized it was the wiring at fault. Make sure it’s good, which will also save you quite a bit in the long run.
2. Take Advantage of Thrift and Rummage
I am a MEGA fan of thrift stores and rummage sales! I know some people can’t stand the idea of owning something that’s already been used. If that kind of grosses you out, just clean the item thoroughly before you use it. Except for food and some miscellaneous items here and there, my husband and I rarely pay full price for anything that we can get at thrift stores and rummages.
Clothing, appliances, furniture, books, DVDs, CDs (for those who still listen to something other than mp3s or whatever), the list goes on of things you can save a lot of money on if you take advantage of the thrift stores and rummage sales.
If you happen to have a freecycle group around your region, it’s an excellent resource to tap into. You can ask for something you’re looking for, trade items, it’s incredible! No money exchanged!
3. Take up Hobbies That Will Teach you How to DIY
This one right here is something that will help you go a very long way into saving money. I’m a crafter/creator/DIYer by nature, so it comes as the instinct to me to always look for ways to tackle something myself.
If you have the ambition, try taking up hobbies like sewing/crocheting/etc., you might discover you enjoy making things for yourself. You can tackle gift lists by handmade presents! Yes, there will be some cost to get the supplies/equipment you need to pull off any hobby you want to learn, but the investment will be worth it, trust me! And, you can find most anything you need to craft at thrifts and rummages.
If you think you’d be handy with tools after enough practice, definitely try building the things you need. Again, sounds spendy at first, but long-term could save you quite a bit.
Growing your food is a huge thing for many people. I know I can’t wait to be able to have my garden because there are so many foods you can grow yourself. The less you have to buy at the grocery store, the better!
4. Save on Food Costs
I already touched on this a little, but along with growing your food, keep an eye out for discounts/sales/coupons. There are so many coupon sources available now, and with many phone apps at our fingertips to make couponing more accessible, it’s better than ever to get food on discount! One of the apps I’m experimenting with is Ibotta, which makes it easy to save money on groceries.
Ibotta is an app that gives you cash back on store purchases, this is the app that helped me make an EXTRA income of $50 a month. I used my cash to repurchase more groceries for the next month. You can sign up for Ibotta HERE, and when you sign up and upload your first receipt you will receive a $10 sign up bonus that you can put towards your grocery budget.
Another helpful tip is to look for the bulk deals, when you have the money to spend on buying bulk, don’t hesitate, grab them up. When stored properly, this can save you so many last minute trips because you don’t have that particular item (I’m sure we’ve all been there!) you can grab it from your supply because you already have it! This tip will also be handy with meal plans, if you plan your menu ahead of time, both time and money will be saved.
And to go with the whole gardening idea, look into learning how you can, if you don’t already. I know it’s a long process, but isn’t it so much nicer to have food stocked up that you don’t have to worry about making an emergency trip to get and you grew it yourself? Double reward!
I would highly recommend you check out the Beginner’s Garden: A Practical Guide to Growing Vegetables & Fruit without Getting Your Hands Too Dirty. This is the book that helped me get started with growing vegetables and fruits at home.
RELATED ARTICLE: 10 TRICKS TO SAVE HUNDREDS AT THE GROCERY STORE
5. Cut Down Vehicle Fuel Costs
When thinking about how to cut down your fuel expenses, consider the trips you need to make during the week. How many stops can you put together on one drive? If you plan them, you can save a lot of gas by making one big trip during the week for all your non-work-related trips. And think about where all the stops are and make sure you’re not backtracking if at all possible.
Did you know that you can earn gas cards by completing surveys, shopping online, watching videos, and surfing the internet?
When you complete a survey on Swagbucks you can you earn points that can be used to purchase free gas cards. You can then use the gas cards you earn to get free gas! How cool is that?
If you like the exercise and weather permits, ride your bike! Walk; however, you want to get there, go for it. This tip will save so much $$$ on your tank.
See how many gas stations in your area do special fuel discounts. It seems like every one of them now have some gas card you can sign up for. We have one that ties in with our local grocer, which is pretty handy. Some stations will send you a code through text that you can use.
You can also use a gas app to help you find the lowest gas in your area. I use the Trunow app, it helps me find the cheapest local gas prices and also provides cash back rewards when I upload receipts from any gas station nationwide. This is the app that has helped me save over $50 on gas every month it is a lifesaver!
You can use the Trunow Referral Code: 3TIGNN when you register in the Trunow App to qualify for your $1 sign-up bonus.
6. Slice Your Cable Bill
I know many people are looking for ways to cut their cable bill. We’ve been telling everybody about our Roku device since we got it! Such an easy setup and, besides Netflix and Hulu, we’re not paying for any of the channels we have loaded on there!
Since it’s connected to our internet service, all together, our tv bill is in the mid-60s (I’d have to recheck the bill to know for sure). Netflix and Hulu provide just about everything we want to watch. The free channels that are available have many fun things to explore. It’s all about you deciding what you want to pay for and adding that to your home menu. I LOVE the fact that we don’t have to pay for channels we couldn’t care less about!
The Roku is so fantastic, and it’s just a tiny device, it comes in stick form too so you can plug it into your tv. You don’t have to deal with the channels you don’t want because the menu is fully customizable, you build it entirely yourself with what you want to watch. Find out more information on the Roku device and purchase it HERE.
You can also opt for Amazon Prime which is what another tool I currently use. Amazon Prime offers Prime Video, they offer lots of popular movies and TV Shows that come with your subscription. You can try Amazon Prime for 30 days free.
So that’s it for today! These ideas should help you get started on your frugal living journey, and hopefully, you can start seeing the savings stack up!