If you’ve been following this site for a while, then you’re probably aware that I am a HUGE proponent of modifying your lifestyle in the short-term to accomplish your long-term financial goals. The blog is called the “FRUGAL”ennial, after all! So, to that point, over the past several months’ my wife and I have cancelled cable (saving around $1400 in 8 months = WIN), switched cell phone providers and carpooled to work – all in an effort to eliminate our debt as fast as possible.
The unfortunate part of our particular situation is that, no matter how much we cut from our budget; there is a minimum that we HAVE to spend on household and living expenses. With two little ones under two, there are certain expenses that just can’t be avoided – and that limits the amount that we can spend to knock out debt.
Fortunately, we’re resourceful. Not resourceful in a “separate the two-ply toilet paper to get an extra roll” type of way. (Note: I’m not above that kind of creativity, though…) Resourceful, in that we are always on the hunt to find ways that we can either save on the things that we have to spend on, or unconventional ways that we can bring additional income into the home.
It’s that type of resourcefulness that has led me to create this: 28 Ways To Put Money Back Into Your Pocket.
Some of the ideas may be unorthodox while a few others may be slightly more familiar. Either way, the most important takeaway from all of this is: to take action.
Stop paying for coffee: Odds are you are one of the 1 in 5 households that have a Keurig coffee maker sitting on the counter at home. If not, more than likely your employer has free coffee in the breakroom. Take advantage of it and save yourself some $$$! Sure, it may not be handed to you with your name misspelled from a smiling barista; but you can at least try these tips to fool your taste buds into thinking so.
Cut out meat once per week: So, yeah…I’m not really into vegetables – in fact, I’ve only had a salad MAYBE four times in my whole life. Not really sure how much this will work for me but hey, it’s worth a shot. Most people who have tried this say that they save around $20/month.
Start a vegetable garden: You can actually accomplish this in several ways. You could buy seeds from a store. Or, if you’re really feeling frugal, you could save the scraps from some of the fruits and vegetables that you eat; and plant them to grow your own. Check out some great examples here. *Another bonus: you can sell what you can’t eat at a Farmers Market.
Shop at Farmers Markets: If you’re not the gardening type, look into buying your fruits and vegetables from your local farmers market. They are generally a lot more cost effective than shopping at the grocery store.
Stay away from convenience meals: It may be quick and easy, but it is slowly costing you more money
Don’t go grocery shopping while hungry: Nothing will increase your grocery bill like shopping on an empty stomach. Check out this post where I talk more about it.
Make your own laundry soap: Depending on how often you do laundry, you could save a LOT of money. See how to make it here.
Cancel your gym membership: Everyone wants to look and feel their best. The good news is: you don’t have to pay an expensive gym membership fee to get those results. If you’re committed, workout DVD’s can be a good place to start. If it’s the sun you’re after, going to a park or running around your neighborhood can also work.
Don’t pay for books: If you haven’t been to the public library since elementary school, you’re missing out! Of course, you can rent physical copies of books but they also have the technology for you to download books to your tablet or phone.
Buy your clothes out of season: Don’t wait until it’s hot outside to buy your shorts. Wait until the end of the season when most stores offer deep discounts. The same applies for the cold weather. I’ve paid an average of around $25 for the last few coats that I’ve bought using this tip.
Buy diapers from Amazon: This is, of course, if you have kids. If you don’t then please don’t buy diapers. But I’m hoping you already knew that…
Have grown-up game nights: Yes, going out and having a good time is FUN, but it can also be very expensive. Remember those games that you loved as a child? Well, dust those off and invite some people over and make a night of it. Have everyone bring an item to eat or drink and you will really save money!
Check your community calendar for free events: Check with your local library or community center for a list of free events that are happening during the month.
Do your own oil changes: you can YouTube anything – even how to change your own oil. Depending on how much you normally spend, you could save upwards of $30 per oil change.
Share meals at restaurants: Restaurant portions are HUGE! Why not save a few dollars and share a meal when eating out?
See if you qualify for lower rates on cell phone and internet: It’s always good to check in once or twice a year with your cell phone and internet providers to see if you qualify for any discounts.
Use Wal-mart gifts cards to buy gas: Wal-mart has some of the lowest gas prices around. When you use one of their gift cards at the pump, you can typically save an extra $.03 to $.05 per gallon.
Get paid to take selfies: *Disclosure: I HAVE NOT used this company, but I thought it was kind of interesting that people will pay you to take pictures of yourself. Find out more info here.
Have a garage sale: Make a little money while getting rid of stuff that you no longer use = WIN/WIN
Sell your stuff on Craigslist or eBay: If you don’t want to go the garage sale route, sell your stuff on craigslist or eBay.
Drive for Uber or Lyft: You can make money (and possibly a few friends) by using your car to drive people around. You can find more details here.
Get paid to conduct mystery shops: With an enhanced emphasis on customer service, many companies will pay you to grade them. This is one company I have used.
Start a blog: If you have an interest in something specific, consider starting a blog. While most people recognize blogs as a creative outlet, many are unaware that a blog can bring in significant money. Check out this example.
Find a need and fill it: Whether or not you’re aware, you have a talent that people are willing to pay money for. The internet makes it easy for you to share your gifts with the world and earn extra money by doing it.
Be on a virtual jury: Not many people enjoy jury duty, but how much would that change if you could do it from the comfort of your home? Check out this website for more information on becoming a virtual juror.
Deliver pizzas: With a flexible schedule, decent hourly pay and unlimited tips, delivering pizza has long been a great option for people looking to increase income in a relatively short amount of time.
Take surveys: Companies are always trying to improve their products and are often willing to pay for your perspective. Although they don’t necessarily pay a lot, if you take enough surveys in your free-time, it can add up to a decent amount.
Donate blood and plasma: Depending on your blood type, you can earn a decent return on about thirty minutes of your time. As an added benefit, you may be helping save a life.
Did I miss anything? What are some of the things that you’ve done to put money back into your pocket? Let’s chat. Join the conversation!
I’m really enjoying your posts. BTW – my husband and I eat like post-midnight gremlins. We’ve started working in a few vegetarian meals here and there and the difference it makes is phenomenal. One little tip that I didn’t see (and maybe it’s because other adults don’t need to be told this) is making use of leftovers and taking your lunch to work. In my (still minimal) experience, vegetarian meals tend to fare out better as leftovers than meats.
Thank you Dionne, I really appreciate that! Eating like ‘post-midnight gremlins’…HILARIOUS. I’m planning to start making a dedicated effort to incorporate more vegetables into my diet and eventually work my way toward full-on vegetarian meals. It’ll definitely be a challenge but I’m sure it’s worth it. Thanks for the leftovers tip. That’s something that I’m actually pretty consistent with but didn’t think about adding to the list.
There are some good ways to save money on your heating and cooling bills like closing the vents in unused rooms in your house. Why heat or cool a room that nobody is using? There are tons of videos on YouTube that show you how to better insulate doors, windows, and other areas of your house. Setting the timer on your thermostat to so it doesn’t run as much during the hours you are not usually at home and even bumping up your thermostat by a degree or 2 can make a difference over time. Every little bit helps!
Thanks Konichiwa, those are really good tips that I hadn’t even thought about! Like you said, “Every little bit helps” and I’m sure that closing vents tip could make a huge difference with these brutal Texas summers.