Editor’s Note: Since the theme this month is Money, on Fridays we will be featuring a money-making or money-saving idea.
The SmartyPig contest drew in a lot of comments on how to be creative in saving an extra $50 a month. Married with Luggage Readers are not only good-looking; they are also smart!
The winner won’t be announced until Monday, but we can all benefit now from these savvy tips. (Have you entered your tip yet? Hurry, the deadline is 5 p.m. today!)
- Patrick is going to spend more time researching the best deal for all his “I want” purchases. He is also going to wait a day to purchase for every $50 in value to make sure he really wants it.
- Nick has a 10% rule. By cutting 10% from everything – coffee budget to electricity to cable – he can save much more than $50 a month.
- Christine recommends finding a grocery store with fuel perks so you can save on gas while you shop. Her store is called Giant Eagle, and I know other stores like Costco have this option as well.
- Courtney and Kari are going to start walking to work and taking lunches from home.
- Jeff switched to a local repair shop that only charges for labor – parts are at cost. He also saves on gas every time he bikes to work, which he does 5-10 times per month.
- Julianna is going to the thrift store to find a dress for an upcoming wedding. (You would be surprised at the great deals and nice clothes you can find in a consignment/thrift shop).
- Jonez is swapping clothes with friends to save on her shopping bill. More info on clothing swaps here.
- Sara is a new mom (congratulations!) and loves shopping for new baby clothes. She’s going to save money by limiting her shopping trips.
- Sara is thinking about graduation parties and will be hosting her entire event for $50 in the park pavilion nstead of the $20/person restaurant events her friends are hosting. This is a great idea for all your upcoming summer parties.
- Brandi says she will save money using Netflix over Blockbuster.
- Courtney is going to make her own greeting cards from material she already has at home.
- Erin bought a PC-to-TV adapter for her laptop so she could get rid of cable. You can find a huge number of movies and shows online for free from Hulu, and if you have a Netflix account you can also watch movies online.
- Jonez is creating the trendiest happy hour spot in town at her house, which allows her to save on the price of food and drink while still socializing with her friends.
- Karen loves to read and has a lot of books, so she has arranged a book swap with her friends.
- Karen also recommends going to happy hour instead of dinner for socializing. This is something I have been doing for a couple of years now and it saves big bucks while still giving you time to meet with friends.
- Alice is a live-in nanny and has a new blog called The Financial Nanny with tips specifically for nannies. She also recommends going to the 10 a.m. show to get super-matinee rates. I’ve recently discovered this as well and loved seeing both Wolverine and Star Trek at bargain prices.
- Joe is going to exercise more so he won’t spend money on prepackaged diet food to lose weight.
- Drew is going to barter on Craigslist for bicycle gear instead of buying new.
- Brandi is going to use Mother Nature instead of the gym for her workout space.
- Courtney is going to dust off her exercise tapes instead of signing up for a new exercise class.
- Thomas is going to stop buying diet drugs like Xenedrine and focus on eating right, exercising, and using restraing. Go Thomas!
- Edward gets a huge pat on the back for quitting smoking, saving himself a lot of money every month and tons in healthcare costs down the road. Way to go, Edward!
- Meg has decided to give up wine for a month to see how much she could save. I have to confess, this is a hard one for me, too. I love having a glass or two of wine in the evenings, and over the course of the month this really adds up. And the doctor says the first glass of wine is good for my heart…after that, not so much.
- Sean is going to join a local food delivery group to get fresher food at a lower price. To find the options in your area, just google “organic grocery delivery” and then your town’s name.
- Kari recommends shopping at a different store to see if you can save money. She found out by accident and saved $60 off her regular shopping bill. Will recommends Trader Joe’s over Whole Foods to save money (and I agree).
- Courtney is going to start using coupons for shopping.
- Jesse drinks 3 cans of soda a day and is going to switch to water. (I did the same thing a few years ago and saved money AND lost weight!)
- Jeff buys in bulk for his basics, everything from granola bars to chicken.
- Clara goes out for breakfast on weekends and spends $12-15 each time. By cutting back and cooking at home, she’ll save money and gas. JJ is also cutting down on eating out.
- Julianna is going to bike down to the Farmer’s Market for her groceries. She’s also going to stop buying water bottles every day and reuse one.
- Jen is going to cook more “made with love” meals at home and avoid the “franken food” she’s been eating.
- Erin started a vegetable garden to cut down on food waste. She now just clips/picks what she needs instead of letting things go bad in the refrigerator.
- Jonez is limiting her grocery shopping to trips every 2 weeks and clipping coupons.
- Jacob is bringing his lunch to work because he wants a fatter wallet.
- Sam the Romantic gets a free meal every shift at work. Instead of eating it on his break every day, he is going to save it to take home to share with his wife 3 times a week (the portion is enough for two people). Good for the pocketbook and the marriage.
- Steph is going to start a biweekly cooking club with some friends. By taking turns cooking and hosting, they save money and get a meal out every month, not to mention spending more time with friends. Jill is going to do something similar by cooking up extras to share with friends.
- Rachel usually buys microwaveable meals for lunch at work. She’s going to start bringing her lunch to save money and eat healthier.
- Keesia and her coworkers eat out a lot. So she’s initiated “patio lunches” at work where everyone brings their lunch but still dines together. A great way to save money and still get away from your desk at lunch and socialize.
- Sara is going to start planning her meals before she goes shopping to save money and have less food waste.
- Man vs. Debt is going to switch his phone service to Skype. This will be a big savings for him since he’s moving from the US to Australia next month.
- K-Inthehouse is going to switch to the Magic Jack from AT&T to save on long-distance charges.
- Candy is dropping her landline (we did this 3 years ago and haven’t missed it). She’s also dropping her newspaper since she reads it online anyway (also saving her gas in driving to the recycling center!)
- Jonez is investigating her options with her cell phone service and switching to a plan that is 20% less. I found out the hard way that even when you’ve been a loyal customer, you won’t always be informed if a better/cheaper plan comes along that will fit your needs. Be proactive and regularly ask for the best deal for your usage.
- Alan is going to a pay-as-you-go plan to save money on his cell-phone bill. If you regularly go over your minutes/texts, this may be a good option for you.
- Clara is going to mulch her flower beds to save on her water bill (she lives in hot, hot Texas).
- Julianna is going to use her windows and fan more to save on the cost of air conditioning.
- The Medium got a little extreme and suggested turning off hot water for a month. Yikes! That’s a lot of cold showers, my friend. Jonez also recommended cutting of air conditioning, but if I lived in Arizona that is one thing I would not do without!
Betsy Talbot writes about carving the lifestyle you want out of life you already have. When she’s not writing, she’s paring down, saving up, and getting ready for a year of travel with her husband.