Friday, May 24, 2013

10 ways to save money

With all these changes in our life, few are more important than changing the way we spend money.  My salary as a stay-at-home mom doesn't pay what my full-time job paid (or anything for that matter) so as we go from two incomes to one, we need to make adjustments immediately.  I was really surprised how much money we instantly saved with some minor cut backs.  Here are 10 detailed ways to save money.  Be prepared to make some phone calls and get out your current monthly bills.   Would you believe I saved $838 a month with these changes?  It's true and here's how. 

1. Start by calling your cable company.  I called Hargray and told them I was looking for ways to save money.   The customer service rep ran down a list of my options and we ended up saving $65 per month by cancelling call waiting, caller ID, premium HBO service, reducing the number of channels we get (we're on "Digital Light" now) and no HD service on the 2nd box.  So now Molly is watching PBS instead of Nick Jr and I answer the phone "hello" instead of identifying the person by name immediately.   Big deal and $65 a month saved! 

2. Take a hard look at your mobile phone plan.  Since I am not working, I don't need data service on my mobile so I called to cancel data on my phone. I found out I could keep the data (horray! I can still check my Facebook on the go...) but go down to 500MB at 3G and then a slower speed after 500MB, while keeping Mike on the same speed.  Can you believe it but we saved $100 per month just by doing this.  We use T-Mobile. 

Red lawn mower on green grass

3. Check your lawn care.   We unloaded $45 per month by cancelling the lawn treatment that our landscaper uses per month.   We were watering 3 times a week and now we are watering 2 times a week, saving $14 per month.   That's $59 in lawn services cut and if it were really necessary, we could cut another $145 by mowing and taking care of the lawn ourselves.

Feet of woman mopping kitchen

4.  DIY Cleaning.  At one point we were paying our cleaning lady $80 every week, then more recently $100 to come once month.  Though it's much more work, I'm not above cleaning my own toilets, mopping,  and vacuuming a few times a week. I found a great site called Clean Mama who helps organize your cleaning by day.  (Monday is bathrooms, Tuesday is dusting, Wednesday is vacuuming.  Plus she has amazing lists and deep cleaning schedules like"30 days to a deep clean.")  This is the saddest cut back for me but it has to be done and Clean Mama helps me and feeds my love of lists, order and organization. 

5.  Cancel magazine subscriptions.  Cancelling Martha Stewart Living, Us Weekly, and Food Network Magazine saved us $156, or $13 per month.  I can read most articles online and I hope for less clutter with unread magazines lying all over the place.  

6.  Cancel gym membership.  I save $35 a month by cancelling my gym membership.  I wasn't using it anyway and there are plenty of at-home work outs I could do.  Who am I kidding.  I am not working out right now anyway. 

7. Cancel random monthly memberships. I sign up for services that bill annually or monthly if they are small.  They sound like good ideas at the time but really have added up over the course of a few years.  For example, I cancelled a subscription to,, Avast computer security software, video editing software that was being unused, and my Amazon Prime membership (which I am not using in an effort to save money anyway).  Getting rid of these memberships saves $257.88 a year, or $21 a month. 

printable screenshot Free Printable Planners

8.  Plan your trip to grocery store.  This probably should be a separate post since I have a lot of tips here but first, I recommend downloading and printing a Weekly Menu Plan and check out all these printables from 5dollardinners.  Then carefully make a list of all that you need for the week.  I am limiting my shopping to two times a week, and if we are out of BBQ sauce, we are out until the next trip.   Planning my grocery trips and sticking to a weekly budget is saving us a lot so far but I estimate about $40 a month. 

9.   Coupons.  This seems obvious, but now I am couponing.  I am not headed for Extreme Couponing (though this article was interesting)  I don't need a stockpile of soaps, ketchup and razors but I could benefit from some weekly savings. has coupons that you can load directly onto your loyalty card.   This is perhaps the easiest way I ever saved $5 off my grocery bill and it takes a few minutes.   Other coupons are available at and, or if you go directly to the manufacturer's website, or like them of Facebook, you can get instant coupons.

MAJOR SAVINGS: Anytime you make a purchase online or in-store, you should check Retail Me Not first for all available discounts.   Unbelievable how much you can save!

10.  Refinance your home mortgage.   We get solicitations in the mail almost daily to refinance and I just kept tossing them in the trash. Until one day Mike took a hard look and made some phone calls.  It took months and a lot of paperwork, but we closed last month with zero closing costs and are now saving $443 a month.   Start by calling your bank who you pay your monthly mortgage to.

So those are my tips to share but what have I missed?  Will you share your ideas with me here?  I know there are a lot of money saving ideas out there. I look forward to reader's suggestions on areas I have missed.


  1. This is great, Libby!! Our cable bill recently went from $125 to over $200 a month because all of our new customer discounts expired. I've been battlting with them to reduce the bill -- and now I'll call back and be very firm about figuring out what can go!

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