14 Easy Ways to Save Money, Without Drastic Measures

It may seem strange for a happiness blogger to talk about saving money, but money causes so many problems in relationships,  I would be remiss to ignore it.  Even if you aren’t in a relationship, money can cause a ton of stress in your life.  This post is all about the little things.  No drastic changes, no extreme couponing, just simple things you can do to help you put a little cash in your pocket and hopefully take a little stress off of your shoulders.

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Shopping

Shopping is something we all have to do.  Some of enjoy it more than others, but even if you are a hermit, you are going to have to do at least some shopping.

1. Ebates – I live in the middle of nowhere, so I do a lot of online shopping. (Seriously, we have a Wal-Mart and that’s about it) I got a little over $100 back last year, just buying things I would have normally bought. In addition to the cash back, Ebates also has coupons for each of the of the hundreds of stores it represents to add to your earnings.

2. Flipp App – The Flipp app gives you all of your local circulars in one place.  This makes it great for those of you who live in an area where you have more options than Wal-Mart. You can look through your local ads to help you make a meal plan, or finding the best deal on an item.

3. Meal Planning – If you haven’t read my story of discovering meal planning, you can read it here.  The really short version is I saved close to $400 a month.  Julie at Filling the Jars has tons of great meal plans and shopping lists.  If you aren’t sure you are cut out for meal planning check out her meal planning posts.

4. Coupons.com – If you plan your meals, using a site like coupons.com becomes so much easier.  It’s not extreme couponing, but you can save a few dollars with not a lot of effort.

5. Buy store brands (most of the time) – If you think I am buying store brand ice cream instead of Haagan Daaz you would be wrong.  But store brand staples like sugar, flour, salt, and pasta can add up to big savings at the end of your shopping trip.  It’s okay to splurge on one or two items, but make the majority of your purchases store brand and you will save cash quickly.

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Utilities

Utility bills are one of the biggest expenditures in most people’s households.  I am not talking about going off the grid, just a few little changes to save some money.

6. Change your heat or air conditioner settings – Most of us are gone during the day, so lowering the temperature during the winter and raising it in the summer can greatly reduce your heat and air condition costs.  We also usually turn the heat down while we sleep.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal sleeping temperature is between 60 -67 degrees Fahrenheit, so don’t be afraid to knock the temperature down a little while you sleep.

7. Line (or shower) dry some of your clothes – Sweaters and cotton shirts can shrink pretty easily, so hanging these things on a line or hanging them in the shower will lengthen the lives of your clothes and can lower your utility bills since you won’t need to run your dryer quite so much.

8. Negotiate with your cable or satellite provider – I really don’t like doing this, but my satellite bill had gotten out of control.  So when cable was offered in my area I quickly switched.  Suddenly, my satellite company was willing to cut my bill by 2/3. When I called to cancel my satellite TV the nice lady on the phone said “Oh all you had to do was call and we would have lowered your bill.”  Don’t be like me, call and negotiate.

9. Take shorter showers – I don’t like this one, I enjoy a good long hot shower, but shortening your showers a few times a week can save a little on your utility bills.  Just think of it as a way to sleep an extra 5 minutes a day.

Some Fun Stuff

Saving money doesn’t have to be all bad, you still need to have a little fun.  Here are a few ideas to have some fun and save a little money.

10. Groupon – Groupon has great coupons for everything from dinner at great restaurants to great vacations. (Double your money, Go to Ebates and get cash back on the deal you find on Groupon)

11. Kindle Unlimited – For the bookworms like me, Kindle Unlimited is a great way to read lots of books, for not a lot of money.  I shudder to count the amount of money this program has saved me. (Amazon is also a cash back site on Ebates)

12. Book of the Month Club – For those of you that prefer the feel of a real book in your hand.  Try the book of the month club, a new book each month and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

13. Rent the Runway – If you manage to score a killer deal at Groupon, you are going to need a killer dress to go with it.  Rent the runway lets you rent a dress from top designers for a fraction of the price.

14. AirBnB – Want to go to a fabulous Caribbean vacation?  Don’t have $300 a night to spend on a hotel room?  Airbnb offers some incredible deals on private residences that can get you on the beach, without breaking the bank.

So here is how you do it. Use Ebates to shop for all your non-food items.  Use your Flipp App to check out the circulars and plan your meals.  Turn the heat down while you sleep.  Tell your cable company you are going to jump ship if they don’t lower your rates. Then take all of that savings and buy a great airline ticket from Groupon, sign up for Kindle Unlimited so you have something to read on the flight (and laying in a hammock on the beach), and stay in some great AirBnB accommodations.

Save money, have fun, leave the stress behind. 

 

4 Comments

  1. Beautifully Imperfect Mama

    February 22, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Fantastic tips! I always forget about negotiating some of those bills down but I’ve heard it’s very effective.

    1. Michele Cook

      February 22, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      It is effective, but it took me forever to actually do it. I was so happy I did, lowered my bill by about $40 a month!

  2. Mehgan

    March 9, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I also live in the middle of no where and order online often. I have yet to try out Ebates but feel it would be beneficial. Great tips!

    1. Michele Cook

      March 10, 2017 at 6:07 pm

      I live in the middle of nowhere too and I love Ebates, cash back plus coupons, and I get to shop somewhere other than Wal-mart. Can’t beat it!

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