This is the second post in a three part series to help save you money. By now you’ve tried, or at least plan to try Part 1, 10 Beginner Tips to Save Money. These next 10 methods do require some up front work and time, but are well worth it. Now that you’ve mastered checkers, let’s play some chess.
For Part 3, click here: 10 Tips to Save Money While Saving Our Planet
Now here’s a list of 10 advanced methods to save money:
1. Check Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist first!
Not sure if you’ll like your new hobby enough to justify buying a whole set of brand new gear? Check out Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for someone selling their used version at a steep discount. It might take a little longer to find precisely what you are looking for, or even involve some haggling to get the best price, but the effort is usually rewarded.
2. Call up your auto insurance and internet provider!
If your car is a few years older and you don’t owe anything on it, increase your collision deductible for a crash, you can put the extra money you’ll save into your bank account and use it in case you get into an accident. Chances are you won’t though, and you’ll just end up with a few hundred extra dollars each year.
Another question to ask the insurance company is if you are getting all the discounts for which you may qualify. There are discounts for being a customer at certain banks and even having certain professions.
You should also call your internet and cable provider. It may mean lowering your internet speed, or eliminating cable, and that may be doable for you but if it isn’t they may give you something for free and keep you at the same price. Such as paying the same price for internet but getting a year of cable for free. Just be wary of promotional pricing that ends after a set time period and then increases again.
Explain your situation and ask your questions directly and politely. The person you are talking to on the phone doesn’t set the prices or service packages so don’t bother asking for their manager, instead, ask for their Customer Retention Department. Chances are they will give you a discount instead of losing you as a customer.
If they simply won’t work with you, spend some time shopping around for an alternative. The 30 minutes you spend getting a new car insurance quote may yield a savings of $500 per year. You never know until you try.
3. Don’t order delivery!
This may not be an option for you, especially if you have little kids or are at work, but delivery charges plus the gratuity you need to give to the driver simply make this antithetical to maximizing your savings.
Having worked at a pizzeria for years, I can tell you that deliveries often sit around under a heat lamp for 10 or 20 minutes while they wait for another order near your address. Picking it up yourself allows you to plan to grab it right when it is hot and fresh out of the oven!
4. Pack your work lunch!
Whether you work at a construction site, an office, or you’re a college student, packing your lunch is a good way to save some money. My personal system is to pack a healthy lunch 4 days a week, and then have a dedicated day to eating out as something to look forward to.
If your workplace offers a cafeteria at a reduced price for employees that could also be a great alternative to going out each day.
5. Trim your streaming and subscription services!
Do you really need Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max AND Disney+? Could you trim it down to the one you watch the most and simply rotate every couple months based on the catalog of shows you are watching at that time?
Also be cautious of signing up for free or low price trials of subscription services such as Spotify, Sirius XM, HelloFresh, or DollarShaveClub. Oftentimes you may forget you signed up, only to be charged a hefty full price for your second shipment or month of the service you weren’t even using.
6. Mow your own lawn and shovel your own driveway!
Not only is this a great way to get some exercise, you’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing you are personally managing the appearance of your home.
The one big caveat to this is if you can and will use the free time to earn more money, or improve your mental or physical health, pay for the service to afford you the time to work on something more productive. The opportunity cost of time is real.
7. Take advantage of credit card cash back rewards!
If you aren’t taking advantage of credit card rewards, you are missing out on free money every month. There are many credit cards which offer a percent of cash back based on what you spend each month. Usually it is 1-3%, but sometimes the categories of spending are specific such as groceries or gas, and you can get an even higher percent back as cash.
Either way, you should aim to find a card which does a base percent of cashback on every purchase. On average, I get about $25 dollars back each month simply from putting all my purchases on my cash back rewards credit card.
Set up your credit card to be used every where possible, and ensure you always pay the entire balance in full each month. Never carry a balance month to month, or it will defeat the whole benefit and possibly get you into debt you can’t manage.
8. Return items you aren’t happy with!
Sometimes you buy an item, use it only once, or don’t even open it at all and feel buyer’s remorse. For these types of purchases, remember that returning it may still be an option.
You may feel guilt, embarrassment, or simply don’t want to go through the hassle of returning something. That’s fine, but just remember, the power of retailers and marketers is completely stacked against you in this world.
Consumer rights and protection allow for the return of items we aren’t satisfied with. As long as you aren’t buying something with the sole intention of using it and returning it, don’t feel bad about taking it back. Feel bad about keeping something, never really using it, and filling up a landfill with it.
If you can’t return it, but still don’t want it, sell it on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist at a reduced price.
9. Follow through on rebates and keep warranty information!
Most companies know only a small percentage of consumers will actually follow through on rebates. So putting in just a few minutes to fill out the form and keep your receipt is all it takes to save on big ticket items like appliances and tools.
Keep your warranty information organized and accessible. Even if it means just putting the warranty cards that comes with the packaging in a folder. If something breaks, instead of buying it again, check to see if the manufacturer’s warranty covers it. I’ve done this a few times to save myself from having to repurchase expensive equipment.
10. Open a Health Savings Account!
Many companies offer Health Savings Account (HSAs) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSPs) for medical or health related purchases. The general idea is you use pre-tax dollars to pay for things like prescriptions, planned surgeries, eyeglasses, and even emergency room visits.
Depending on your income tax bracket, you could be saving upwards of 25% on health and medical bills if you set this up.
You can allocate just a small amount each year into the account, and at the beginning of the year, you’ll get a card loaded with the balance you chose. Check out this article to see if an HSA is a good idea for you.
While each of these methods may take some work, or may not work out every time, I hope the mentality is the true takeaway. We have options as consumers.
Being aware of the many small demands on your money which add up over time is the true aim. Are there any other ways you save money I’ve missed? Leave a comment below!
Follow these tips and maybe one day you could be this guy, hiking through someone’s backyard in the Philippines.
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