25 Best Ways To Save Money by NOT being Normal

Originally this article started as 16 ways to save money by NOT being normal, but over the years we have written about so many great ways to save money, I thought I would expand on it a bit to create an even larger list of some of the best money saving tips.  So now we have 25 unique ways to save money if you choose NOT to be "normal"Originally this article started as 16 ways to save money by NOT being normal, but over the years we have written about so many great ways to save money, I thought I would expand on it a bit to create an even larger list of some of the best money saving tips.

Now we are up to 25 ways to save, so peruse and enjoy!

1. Use Ebates when shopping online

Normal = Don’t get any cash back on purchases

If you are shopping online Ebates is a no-brainer! Basically it works like this…

You visit Ebates.com, then click a link to your favorite online store (they have over 1200 stores like Target, Kohls, Walmart, etc) and make your purchase like normal. Ebates will then will be paid a referral fee by that retailer and will share the earnings with you. They pay you a percentage (1%-25%) of the purchase price back. It is completely free to and they even give you a free $5 gift card for signing up. I have been with them since 2008 and have earned hundreds of dollars. For more info read my review (what is Ebates?). You can also try out a competitor of theirs Memolink as well.

2. Regularly Shop Insurance Rates

Normal = Buy insurance and keep renewing without checking rates

Regardless of who you buy from, you can be abnormal and save money by shopping around every year or so for insurance. I have saved over $530/year for the same coverage by getting car insurance quotes on a regular basis. Now there is something to be said for finding a top-rated insurance company - it may not be worth saving $50/year to switch to a terrible company, so use your own judgement.

Term life insurance (READ: Christian view of life insurance) is recommended for most people and you can read my Zander term life insurance review if you are interested. To get other types of insurance quotes you can just click the links below…

3. Save money with the library

Normal = Pay for things that the library offers for free

If you can get past the frequently outdated décor, public libraries are home to a wealth of resources. Of course you can borrow books instead of buying them, but they also often have subscriptions to high cost services or publications like Hoovers or Valueline. Our local library has grown a huge collection of popular CDs and DVDs over the last few years. So, it can be a cheap (free) ways to catch a few good movies. If you must be “Normal” and buy, at least use these 5 ways to save money on books.

4. Have someone negotiate your bills for you

Normal = Just pay the standard rates

I recently found out about a pretty cool service called BillCutterz.comBasically they are a bill discount service. All you do is send them your bills and they call your providers and negotiate better rates on your behalf.

You then split the savings with them. From their website, “We split any savings we obtain with you. This means if we save you $100, you get $50 and we get $50. If we don’t save you any money, there is no charge to you – ever.”

Pretty cool, huh? Find out more about them here.

5. Drop Your Health Insurance (and use an alternative)

Normal = Pay an arm and a leg for typical health insurance

If you are a Christian and adhere to a Biblical Lifestyle, you may be eligible for Medishare, which is a Christian health insurance alternative that costs a whole lot less than typical insurance.  I am a member, and I estimate that we pay about 50% less than we would be paying if we had comparable health insurance coverage.  It works in a similar fashion to insurance, but it costs a lot less because the members are working together.  Find out more here.

6. Buy used gift cards

Normal = I never thought of that!

Did you know that you can buy used gift cards at a discount – sometimes as much as 15% off the face value of the card?  So this essentially means that you can pay $85 for a $100 gift card in some cases.

But the key to actually saving money here is to buy gift cards for stores and products that we will be buying anyway.

Sites like Cardpool.com or Giftcardrescue.com offer nice discounts on thousands of gift cards like Walmart, Target, Grocery stores, and most other large retailers.

To learn more check out this post.

7. Save money on Designer Clothes

Normal = Pay full-price like all your friends!

If you are someone who loves to have the latest styles and brands, just because you want to save money doesn’t mean that you are doomed to outdated and decade-old clothing.  But, you do have to think a little outside the box in order to make both work.  Sites like Rue La La send you daily emails with huge discounts on the hottest brands.  They are free to use and can save you up to 80% off of retail.

8. Buy jewelry from a discounter

Normal = Buy jewelry from the mall jewelry store or another traditional store

save money on jewelry If you haven’t purchased jewelry in a while, you may be interested to know that the jewelry industry is going through some major changes. Diamonds have always had ridiculous markups, but recently there are more options for relief. Many direct importers are selling rings themselves at much better prices than you could get from the traditional stores. It makes perfect sense – the traditional stores have to pay for a storefront, sales force, utilities, etc., therefore the importers can usually beat their prices hands down. I bought my wife’s engagement ring at Amazon and ended up having it appraised for thousands more than I paid. That may just be my best way to save money.

9. Simplify your wardrobe

Normal = Buying clothes that you like without looking at the wardrobe as a whole

Don’t buy clothes that will only work as one outfit. Look for clothes that you will be able to wear with many other things, creating multiple outfits. Instead of buying that green and purple striped coat that will only go with one or two outfits, you could get a solid color gray that will work most of what you wear. Spend less money on the trendy items that won’t be in style long, and spend more on quality items. You really can do this and still be stylish at the same time. Simplifying your wardrobe is just one way you can save money on clothes.

10. Make money with your clutter

Normal = Garage sale or throw away clutter

It is easier than you may think. eBay and Amazon.com make the process a breeze. Sign up for an account, take a few digital pictures, post it, and watch the buyers come to you. HINT: The biggest key I have noticed is selling brand name items and taking a few seconds to think, “If I wanted to buy this item, how would I search for it?” If you do this, you will be much more successful.

Below are a few more ways to make money selling your clutter…

Of course, some of your junk won’t be worth the effort of selling it online. For that stuff – maybe garage sale, maybe just save yourself the hassle and give it to the thrift store.

11. Get Rid of Your LandLine

Normal = Spending $25/m for a phone you never use

Many people can save money by only using their cell phones and just doing away with a landline. If you are like me and prefer to use a landline rather than a cell-phone, you can still save money by getting free long distance calls using a device called Magicjack. I have been using it for years, when I purchased mine it cost me $20 for the device and it costs $20 per YEAR to use – which equates to about $1.66/month. Admittedly it is a little quirky, so read my Magicjack review to be sure you know what you are getting into.

12. Saving energy = Saving money

Normal = wasting energy

Even though, “Being green is so IN right now,” the “normal” thing to do is waste energy. So not only will everyone think you are cool, ;) but you can save money as well. Check out these 10 Energy saving tips.

Also, I am not sure how much money this will save you, but check out Blackle.com – birthed out of a question, “How much energy would be saved if Google had a black screen instead of a white one?” Supposedly, the search results are the same as the regular Google results.

13. Save money on exercise

Normal = Sign up for an expensive gym membership and never use it

Why not be extremely abnormal? You can get much cheaper access to a gym AND use it too!! Sign up for a class at a local community college (as little as $35 a semester). Then, use your ID to work out at the community college gym. That is a lot better than the $30-$40 a month most gyms charge.

14. Buying used stuff always saves money

Normal = Buy new

This is one of my favorite creative ways to save money. I first learned the power of this back in college, when I discovered that I could get my textbooks for free, by buying and selling them at Amazon. I was paying a few bucks (at most) for my textbooks that many of my classmates were paying over $100 for.

Leo from Zenhabits suggests to, “Send out an email to family or friends, or just ask around. You might be surprised. I was about to buy a printer, and then found out my mom just bought a laser printer and didn’t need her old inkjet.” Freecycle.org and craigslist.org are also good places to look. And of course, you can always check out garage sales and thrift shops.

15. Live in a smaller home

Normal = Buy the biggest house you can afford (or more than you can afford)

Save money with a smaller house For some reasons, Americans just love to assume that bigger is better with just about everything. There is a plague of families constantly having to get a larger dwelling because their stockpile of junk gets too large for their current home. Often just by throwing junk away and spending time organizing storage areas and closets, you may realize that you DO have a big enough living space, it just needed a little organizational love. A lot of money can be saved by living in a smaller place. When you think about it that way, organizing really might pay very well. ;)

You could even try living in a 100 sq foot house!

16. Buy a used car

Normal = Buy a new car, pay it off (or maybe not) and buy a new one

You can save a lot of money on car depreciation by purchasing a car 2 years old or older. Some cars can lose as much as 35% in value during the first year. It’s best to drive a car as long as you can especially if you do purchase them new.

17. Shop after the season

Normal = buying Christmas décor during Christmas season

Shop for holiday cards, decorations, and gift wrap as the season ends, and keep them for next year. We do this and then we also enjoy the nice surprise after Thanksgiving of finding out what we bought the previous year that we forgot about.

18. Shop when no one else wants to

Normal = House shopping while the weather is nice

If you are considering a new home, remember the best time to buy is in the dead of winter, when other buyers huddle inside. You can save 5 percent off the peak-season price.

19. Save money on your home entertainment

You can now watch many TV programs and many free legal movies online if you hook your computer up to your TV. Or you could spend about $60 on a device that allows you to watch HDTV on your computer. Or if you rent a lot of  movies one of the best ways to save money is to use Netflix or Blockbuster’s streaming or online video rentals. For even more, you can check out these 5 movie renting alternatives.

20. Get lower rates on your Monthly Bills

Normal = Keep paying what you’ve always been paying.

Using a service like WhiteFence, you can just enter your street address and the site quickly lets you compare rates for cable, internet, phone, electric, natural gas, and more.

21. Save money at the hospital

Normal = Don’t know that it is possible to save money at the hospital

I didn’t realize that you had options and to be honest most times if the hospital is involved, I am “normal” and could care less about what it costs. But, if it isn’t an urgent matter there are ways to save money at the hospital that I had never thought of. Did you know that you can bring your own stuff (e.g. pillows, linens, nightgowns)? Evidently, hospitals charge quite a bit for these items. (I have no personal experience with this one – can anyone confirm or deny?)

22. Use the Ibotta Phone App

Normal = Don’t use technology to save yourself money!

The Ibotta App is a nifty little app that allows you to select products that you regularly buy from Target, Walmart, or others and get cash back for those purchases to your paypal acct.  Their website describes it as “a fun and easy way to earn $20 or more each time you go shopping. The more you use it, the better and more personalized your offers become.”

Download the free app here.

23. Go out to dinner for half price

Normal = Go to the same few restaurants all the time and pay full price

I love to try new restaurants, but since it is quite an expensive hobby – it is nice when you can save a few bucks. Enter the Entertainment Book. This wonderful tool costs about $25, but will pay for itself quickly if you use it a couple of times. It is available for most large U.S. cities and has thousands of coupons to participating restaurants – most of which are buy-one-get-one-free. This is one of my favorites ways to find new places to eat and save money in the process. Also consider Groupon.com or Restaurant.com who sells $25 gift certificates (with restrictions) for $10 to thousands of restaurants across the country.

24. Maintain stuff

Normal = Buy new, don’t maintain, it breaks, then buy new as cycle repeats again and again.

Even if you buy the best stuff, if you don’t maintain it you will not save you as much money as it could. You’ll then spend less on buying new stuff. When you buy something worth maintaining, take a few minutes to read the maintenance manual, and create a maintenance checklist that you can attach to the item. For important things like your car’s oil changes or tune-ups, put them in your calendar. To make it even easier schedule most of your maintenance all on one day with a Car Day.

25. Save Money at the Grocery Store without Cutting Coupons!

Normal = Cut coupons the old-fashioned way or not at all

If you haven’t yet heard of Savingstar you may want to check them out (our Savingstar Review).  Basically their FREE website allows you to mark which products you will be buying from the grocery store and then you get cash back after you buy them. The website links with your store loyalty card, so you don’t even need to print or cut any coupons, all you have to do is select the items from the website.  Pretty simple huh?

26. Get Your Property Tax Lowered

Normal = Just keep on paying what they ask you to pay (even when you shouldn’t be).

If you own a house and the last time your county assessed your home’s value was during the boom, you may be paying way too much property tax. According to one tax expert, “More than half of homeowners are paying too much in property taxes”. You can get contact your county to re-assess your home’s value and potentially lower your property taxes each year.

This article is part of our FREE 4-week email course to help you save hundreds of dollars, get out of debt, & better organize and manage your finances. Get the rest of the lessons here.

Feel free to share any creative and ways that you save money by NOT being “normal.”

25 way unique ways to save money if you don't want to be "normal"

 

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— Maggie S., Amazon reviewer.

 
 
























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145 Comments
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  1. I hadn’t even thought of the community college one. Another thing to consider is looking for fitness classes at the community college.

    • Sleepless Aquarius

      Or just walk (if you live close enough) or drive to the town park. Its totally free! :) Walk or jog the paths. Bring your dog, he would like the excercize too :) Or brings the kids. They probably need to get some air & get away from being glued to computer screens & video games :) It could be fun for the whole family :)

    • Florencia

      This is a pretty good idea. Unfortunately for me, my community college has several locations and the one with the gym does not carry any of my classes. Many times there are classes going on there as well, and most teachers kick you out during them. Due to this, my boyfriend, who also attends my same community college, got a subscription for $10 sign up, and $10 a month with Planet Fitness at the beginning of the year. It’s worked out to be a great deal to him: he goes 5 times a week either before or after school and it is not far from his house or school. Gym memberships are cheap during January, but after that most people cancel them, so about mid-year they come up with specials again. I’ll try to find out for a good deal. :)

    • Kimberly

      We actually spent about $100 for a Florida State Parks Pass for our family. Since we spend so much time at the beach, but the free access beach is over 20 minutes away while the State Park is 5, we save tons on gas. Plus it is a lot quieter area and has fishing areas and other activities that we enjoy doing as well. And on top of that, we can get into any state park around Florida for free, so when we go exploring, we can aim for new parks and save money at them. And, as my husband is a vet, we weren’t shy about asking for the veterans rate there or at other places. You might need to keep a DD-214 with you unless your state is like Florida and puts a notation on your drivers license if you show them your DD-214 when you get your license. That has saved us quite a few dollars.

      Also, ask your local chamber of commerce or visitor’s center if there are places that offer discounts to residents. Many museums and historical sites will give steep discounts or even free admission for residents. For our family of 5, that makes a huge difference and has allowed for some really fun educational outings.

  2. Minimum Wage

    If you are a college alum and still live near your alma mater, you might be able to get a very good deal on a semester pass to the intramural facilities.

    My college also offered library privileges – a lifetime library card with a $10 deposit.

  3. I would use Darkoogle http://www.darkoogle.com instead of Blackle to save energy since its got the ‘simiar page’ on the result page like the normal white Google.

  4. One that really does go along with buying used, but I think could use an extra “shout out,” per se, is buying clothes second hand. I try to buy as many of the clothes for our family of five second hand as possible. (And, I have never turned down hand-me-downs from friends and family. Sure, sometimes things are quite right for us, but I would say that more than 50% of my 3 year old daughter’s clothes in her lifetime have been free to us because they were hand-me-downs from friends, family, and even friends of family members.)

    I would say another thing that we have done that is not “normal” is that we have not had our children in daycare. This has often meant a lot of crazy schedules while I have worked various part time jobs (or now that I work part time as an independent contractor through our state for early intervention services for kids), but not only did it mean a lot to us to be able to care for our kids ourselves, we also about died when we were paying so much for daycare in the two week period that we had two kids in daycare (before I left a full time job then to just stay home instead). I know that this can’t work for everyone, but I just can’t imagine how some people are making money after paying daycare costs.

  5. @Mrs Micah and Minimum
    good points, thanks for sharing

    @Angie
    I don’t have kids yet, but I completely agree with hand-me-downs and basically CHEAP clothes for kids. When they will only wear it for a few months before they outgrow it – it seems like a good idea to spend as LITTLE as possible on it…

    • I have also found in buying off season when it comes to kids clothes. I was able to purchase a pair of $20 jeans for $4 at Target, because it is the middle of summer and they needed to clear out stock. I bought many pairs in various sizes for my 3 children, that way they can grown into them later, and it will not be an expense for me over the next couple of years. I also am doing all of my school shopping during the year and early part of summer, before everything gets marked up for the next year.

      As far as hand me downs, great for older kids, not always able to do for busy 3 year old boys! :)

  6. Another option instead of gyms and local schools is fitness DVDs. Amazon sells tons of them for pretty cheap, and I have often found some decent ones at discount stores like Ross and Marshall’s. They let you work out with professionals on your own time without ever leaving your house — as many times as you want!

  7. Debbie M

    I love this entry!

    At conferences, it is normal to stay in the attached hotel. And if you drive in, it’s normal to park very close to the conference site even if you have to pay.

    Abnormal things I have done to save money at conferences: 1) Stay at a state park (in a tent), drive in to the closest free parking lot, and walk the rest of the way. 2) Stay at a hostel and take a bus to the conference site. 3) Stay at a cheap hotel within walking distance after taking a bus, instead of driving, to the city where the conference is being held.

    I also save a little money by not seeing movies at the normal times (Friday and Saturday night) and instead going to matinees. (Or waiting until the movies come out on DVD, of course.) Also, I don’t eat at movies.

    Normal people get hair cuts and apparently get their hair dyed when it starts greying. I let my hair grow long and just have a friend cut it straight across the bottom, and I don’t dye it.

    • Have your spouse dye your hair for you. It’s easy and only about $6 a time. My husband did it for me for years!

      • Or eat more seaweed and they can grow black again…
        The more greens in your diet the better, and seaweed (spirulina, chorella, kelp, etc): wow, it works wonder!!!
        At least it works for me…

  8. The stuff about the hospital is totally true. They will charge you for kleenexes in your room, so take them when you leave. Where you can save the most money at the hospital, though, is by bringing your own medication. If you take any medications at home (from vitamins to blood-pressure pills to an aspirin a day), your doctor will likely continue them during your hospital stay. If you don’t bring your own, you will pay a high price for each dose you get at the hospital. Always let the doctor or nurses know which medications you brought with you. If it’s an emergency, wait until your patient is admitted and stabilized, and then let the nurse know that someone will be going home to get the patient’s medications. Don’t forget to retrieve your meds before you are discharged!! This can save you a bundle, especially if you take a lot of meds at home!

    • This is noted down below, but the hospital I work at will not allow patients to use home medications unless we do not supply the actual medication, which is usually just various vitamins or hormone pills. I think we also allow it for bulk item medications (inhalers, lotions, etc. as long as they’re packaged in their original container and haven’t expired). This is to prevent medication error (we scan wristbands and medications and many home medications don’t have the same barcodes) and to help the doctors know exactly what patients are getting and how it’s affecting them especially because they might be changing around blood pressure or other cardiac medications.

    • When I knew I was being scheduled for surgery, I “shopped around” by calling different hospitals to see who would be cheaper. Also, when you are uninsured they will most likely give you a discount too. If you aren’t able to schedule your hospital visit, I have called the billing department to negotiate a discount afterwards.

  9. DivaJean

    I like seeing that I’m even more “abnormal” than your tips!

    My tip for saving money on exercise- don’t bother with any. And before you go ballistic about health and exercise- here’s part 2 to that theorem– there should not be a car for every living adult. WALK or take the bus once in a while.

    As for clothes savings- we go by the least cost possible. Kids clothes are thru this intense networking of friends- boxes of clothes are handed around and back again. The rule is no selling- if it turns up that a size/gender combo is not needed by the collective anymore, it gets donated. It has been an excellent system- twice a year we go thru our kids dressers and then hit our own stockpiles. Usually, the only thing needed to buy is shoes and underwear. The kids in this group are especially hard on shoes! My hubby and I only buy clothes infrequently- but if its something specific we need (say a white shirt) we would start at the Rescue Mission or Salvation Army stores and work our way up the cost chain until we find what we need. It really cuts down on impulse buys!

    And- we never go out- except for our annual foster parent dinner and my work’s Xmas party and summer picnic. Hubby has had a gastric bypass- it is no fun to go out to eat with someone who doesn’t eat! So we cook nicer meals at home. We nver go to movies because the babysitting costs are too high for 4 kids. We splurge on cable for entertainment.

    So we are able to afford to live on my paycheck alone (hubby is a stay at home parent)- 2 adults and 4 kids on under $60k.

    • You say don’t bother exercising but state that your husband had gastic bypass surgery. I’ll stick to my $10 a month gym membership and do without the 100K gastric bypass surgery any day!

      • I agree with Tracy, but also wanted to add that not all cities have convenient buses/bus routes so get off your high horse. I wouldn’t trade the suburbs for anything though! I’ll keep my gym membership too :) Great article!

        • never go out? NEVER? I’m sorry but everyone needs to have a little fun sometimes. And also lets not forget you get money from the state for each of your four foster children, so saying you manage on less than 60k is not really acurate.

          • Jessie Mey

            WOW. You’ve obviously never been a foster parent before. I have driven our foster daughter round trip 150+ miles as many as three times a week to visit her mother. The “reimbursement” that the state gives us is quickly eaten up with gas and wear and tear on our car. Not to mention that these kids have a lot of extra needs that you couldn’t even begin to imagine… so I agree: this couple NEEDS a little fun sometimes. Too bad it’s too hard to get respite care for the foster kids so they CAN go out. You can’t leave these kids with just anyone. Trust me I know. Foster parent for 4 years now.

  10. @erin
    thanks for confirming that – I will have to keep that in mind if I am ever visiting…

    @everyone else – thanks for adding to the list

    • Does anyone know if you can still use a fax machine once you have installed the Majicjack?

  11. I have to comment on DivaJean’s no workout rule. I would DIE without working out! I love running and biking! I go to my gym about 6 days a week. With that being said, I do belong to one of the cheapest gyms in my town…but I love it, so I go. Even though I bike to work, I would be upset if I wasn’t able to get more exercise than just walking…

    I agree with Debbie M that a lot of women pay too much for their hair. However, I’m not totally ready to let my hair go…I’m too vain! I go to an Aveda school. I get a trendy haircut for next to nothing. Plus, I get awesome styling advice and great conversation. Also, I go about 12 weeks between hair cuts instead of the recommended 8. On the hair note, I did stop coloring my hair and went with my roots. By the way, I’m fabulous as a brunette.

    Normal=Driving to work
    I ride my bike for 10 months out of the year. I have to stop during January and February because the temperatures dip below 0…and I just can’t take the windchill.

  12. Something I do that is “abnormal,”

    I have rabbit ears (the kind that have a built in amplifier and plug into the wall) and nowI get all my local channels as good as if I am watching the station on cable. So, for a one time $30 investment, I get to skip the monthly $75 cable bill.

    Something else. My local Goodwill doesn’t get many pair of men’s used jeans, but they always seem to have 5 racks of women’s jeans. Try them on. Noone can tell and they fit fine.

  13. @paul
    LOL – I love the goodwill idea!! No promises that I will do that, but I got a nice laugh out of it!! ;)

  14. Don’t buy any jewelry, discount or otherwise…..

    • You have to be a man, are you kidding???

      • Kimberly

        Annie, what a mean comment to make.

        Besides my engagement and wedding rings that have been on my hand for 10 years, I have a couple of necklaces that have been gifts from family or friends over the years (one was from my first communion at age 8), but do not need my husband or anyone else to get me jewelery every year. I love the pieces that I have and see no need to have more when I don’t wear jewelery daily and cannot wear more than a piece at a time when I do.

        I don’t understand why women have boxes full of jewelery that they will wear once or twice and that is it. Trade around with your friends if you need a “new” piece for a special event, but don’t demand that your husband try to buy your love with material items.

  15. DivaJean

    I agree on the hair and jewelry. Hair styles work best when they go with the natural haircolor and texture. Fighting nature is only going to cost- in terms of time, effort and money. I gave up haircoloring a few years ago and within the last year or so decided to also give up on getting haircuts every 4-6 weeks and let my hair grow out- I just trim my bangs when they get too long. As for the kids, hubby learned how to clipper cut the boys hair- and the girls are also wanting long hair like mine. End of it (except for hubby who goes maybe every 6 weeks for a Supercuts).

    Jewelry is nothing we value in my family anyways. I didn’t even want a diamond engagement ring- the whole diamond industry is full of lies, scams and shams– and the blood of diamond miners. Not for me.

  16. The stuff about hospitals is only sort of true. I am an RN working in a critical care unit in a top flight hospital. Here’s the deal. We have no mechanism in place for charging for kleenex and toiletries or linens. If you bring your own linens they will most likely either be thrown out or join the hospital linens as soon as you soil them in a fashion which we will not discuss. I also throw out any underwear which you insist on wearing as it becomes soiled. I do not carefully remove clothing which you insist on wearing, I make my life easier by cutting it off. In other words if you are not well enough to do self-care and I have to do it for you I will do it in the most efficient way possible.

    As for the medications, regulations require that they be in the original containers with the original labels. They must be sent to pharmacy for identification and relabelling. They might be returned if pharmacy actually completes that job. Then they are locked up for the duration of your stay. There must also be a physician order for me to administer your own medications to you. You will not be allowed to self administer as I am not going to be liable for your errors. At the end of the stay they might remember to return them to you. Most of the time the docs totally change the medication regimen anyway, sometimes several times a day. In addition, all of our medications are bar coded and I have to match the bar code of the med to your individual bar code to prevent medication errors. This is mandated. In other words, if you insist on bypassing the system you will be more likely to be a victim of medical error. Even vitamins have well known and not innocuous interactions with medications.

    • I agree. I also work at a large hospital and you we are not allowed to use patient medications unless we do not carry that particular one and the doctor ok’s it. There is no system in place to charge for gowns and linens, patients are simply charged a flat rate per day depending on if they are in critical care or on a med/surg floor.

      • I agree with these two. Keep your nice linens for when you are at HOME and healthy. You could save the hospital some money by not using their sheets/ect…but you won’t see a difference in your own bill.

        As for the medications…Please, leave them at home. As Tamara so eloquently pointed out, you will be more likely to fall victim to a med error. Depending on the severity of the error, this could cost you more in the long run…

        • As a nurse, I too agree with the above comments. You should have an updated list of the medications you are on, in your wallet, at all times. You can bring your own meds, so the nursing staff can find out exactly what you are taking, but then send them home with a family member. Unless the hospital doesn’t have available a specialty or experimental medication. The hospital sheets, kleenex’s, etc, are included in the room charge, so take any left over supplies home with you – you paid for them! (I do bring my own pillow if I’m going to be there awhile – but definitely keep track of it!)

    • I’m glad someone addressed this. You are so right. I am also a critical care RN, and I’d just like to add that home linens sometimes aren’t permitted as they can be an infection risk.

  17. daydreamr

    I say shut off the TV. People don’t realize how much power it sucks up. It’s not just the TV, it’s the ad’s that “alert” people to new products. Media also brainwashes ppl, telling them what is normal and they internalize this crap. Then they feel the need to buy a new car, a bigger house, etc.

  18. Re: clutter…If you have a thrift store that uses the money for causes you care about you can give it to them. That way you can make a donation to a group and get rid of your stuff in a relatively headache free way.

  19. nick lewis

    LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO BE CHEAP!

  20. @nick lewis I am not following you – are you referring to the article or someone’s comment? Either way I agree with you – but know that there is a huge difference between being CHEAP and being wise with your money… I strive for the latter…

  21. daydreamr

    Cheap is one thing, it would be different if $$ really did grow on trees. It’s a totally different thing when you struggle to make ends meet. Do you get a 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) job so you don’t have to be cheap? Well life’s too short to spend it working for the man!

  22. some of these things are really worth thinking about. :)

    about the pillows and sheets in the hospital, I think some do that. one of our biggest hospitals has stopped the practice though. they’re trying to keep people from bringing in stuff with germs that could worsen patients’ conditions. that’s what I heard from a doctor anyway.

  23. Newbie

    A few more suggestions:

    - Don’t own a car (if you live in cities like NY, London or Paris): public transportation may be so convenient that it saves both time (we can read and work on one’s laptop while traveling) and money (no need to purchase a car not to subscribe to any insurance)

    - Scan as many papers as possible: most papers, magazine, etc. we store are just not read at all. We just keep them in case we need them some day. So, it really doesn’t cost much to print them out whenever we really need them. By scanning all these piles of papers and saving copies on different Hard Drives (and DVDs), we can easily save much expensive storage space in cities like NY, Paris or London where house prices are so high!

    - Learn foreign languages for free: it appears that Christians are from all nations and… languages! For my part, I now speak fluent English, French, Chinese and conversational Spanish thanks to churches having services and small groups in various languages :) Apparently, there are also Japanese and Korean churches in in my city…

    • Hey I was wondering how can you learn foreign languages for FREE !!!

  24. courtney

    how about using free directory info source as well?
    I found a great free Directory Assistance service, 1-800-411-SAVE. You can call it from any phone and get free directory assistance (Business, Government, or Residential). The best part: you actually get to speak with a real person immediately, instead of some silly machine. The other great thing I like about the service is that they also connect the call for free so I don’t have to write the number down. I don’t think you can get directions but I usually just ask the place once my calls is connected anyway…….getting 50+ text messages for directions is CRAZY!!!! It is much easier to simply speak with a human…… Check out the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLvUGXL4oCY

  25. Always looking for new ways to save $$.

    Good comment on the used cars. I bought an 05 VOLVO with 60k miles on it for 15,000. It sold for 40,000 new.
    Should run a long time.
    Why buy new on a seriously depreciating asset?

    • We bought a 2001 Nissan Maxima for $6600 two years ago that had 133,000 mi. on it. We are on the road all the time. It now has 267,000 miles and we’ve never had it in for any major service. My husband changes the brakes (learned how to on the internet) and the oil regularly. We hope to have lots more miles on it, too!

  26. RN Alegarbes

    In this time of Global Crisis… maybe be can settle for the things we need and not on the things we want… Most of the people know how to tighten their belts except for infants… Enjoy life to the fullest…

  27. The only problem with bringing your own meds is that they have to go to pharmacy and be identified labeled and that could be time consuming, your dose would probably be due before you could get them back. This is done because the same pill can be a different color due to different manufacturor. We don’t charge for tissues, actually we throw them away if you don’t use them. There is a room charge and everything in the room is included, you are not billed for each item, it is in the price of the room. Most hospitals do have assistance available and they will review your bill and help out with it. I see this a lot. People just have to seek the help.

  28. I like the one about buying a used car, I completely agree with this. And, the make money with your clutter. The average home has a lot of stuff that isn’t being used that could be sold on ebay or craigslist.

  29. Sites like Blackle.com do not save energy or money if you are using an LCD monitor (laptop or flat screen for your desktop). The way LCDs work is that the liquid crystals in each pixel are twisted to varying degrees to let light through from the backlight. Therefore a black screen just means that more light is being blocked by the liquid crystals. It doesn’t mean that the light is turned off & using less energy. This fact about LCD monitors is why you hear so much discussion about contrast ratios & “black levels”: better LCDs are better at blocking the backlight, while cheap ones still let some light thru.

    Blackle.com WILL save energy if you are using an old boxy CRT monitor, or if you are using a plasma HDTV.

  30. Awesome ways to save money

  31. I not only use the great restaurant.com site all the time (they have 30-70% off their normal price certificates often, sent straight to your email if you signup for free on their site), but I also fell in love with vrbo.com. (vacation rental by owner) where you can find stays in houses, condos, lofts, etc. basically anywhere in the USA. You can search by price, by rooms, or by amt. the place sleeps. You can find something for every taste. I just recently stayed in a 2/2 condo, right on the beach, completely redone with granite counters & 1000TC sheets. It was amazing and I paid 1/2 of what I found the cheapest hotel in the area quoted me. Hope this helps!

  32. Completely agree with number nine. I have an incredibly huge issue with my parents buying another house. We’re not even moving, so at the moment we have two houses. They think it’s okay to just buy a two-floor house with more bedrooms than we have people in our family. We have to drive there every week to keep it in condition. There are costs for the pool, the gardening, fuel for the forty-five minutes each way, etc. And then my mother has the gall to berate me for wanting to get a video game, saying it wastes too much money? Seriously, I’m just barely a teenager, but I’m sure a lot of people would agree that a second house is more unnecessary than a game.

  33. I love number 5, “maintain stuff”. So important. Go for quality things at a good and reasonable price, then take good care of them and they will serve for ages. In this way, you save money you may not realize.

    • Sleepless Aquarius

      Especially with cars! My 97′ Honda Civic had only 31K on it when I bought it used 10 years ago from a one owner. Now it has 278K & STILL is an awesome car! I change the oil EVERY 3 thousand miles with Mobil 1 Synthetic & this car has never left me stranded or cost me any money. I just put a new timing belt on it, & thats been about it. I think keeping the oil changed regular has been the life of it. Dont neglect or put off oil changes! I would LOVE to get a new car, but this one is still going & not costing me anything. & The best part is it only takes $30 to fill the tank, & man has it be AWESOME on road trips, & I make several a year. I love my Honda :) !!

  34. Nice list. I did the car insurance one and saved over $100 per month, it was crazy. I went on a savings drive and using lists such as the above, saved myself probably around $2000 per year! Now of course, I am investing that money and so it makes me even more.

  35. RE: Medial Facility Bills…23 years as a hospital employee…the bring your meds very seldom actually occurs…sheets, towels, soap, etc. charges are incorporated in the room so bringing your own isn’t saving any money.
    To save money, call the numbers on the hospital bill and ask for a DISCOUNT if you pay today, this month, within 3 months, whatever is your budget. Some hospitals will offer up to 70% day of service for full payment from uninsured/underinsured patients. A discount of 50% is very common if you pay the day you receive a bill. A lot of physician offices and labs will also give a discount based on a gross household income sliding scale. The majority will even give a discount if you pay your accounts in full with 6 or 12 months depending on the amount.
    Normal …don’t ask…save with Abnormal…CALL and ASK….for a discount….Medicare/Medicaid/etc. states the patient must ask for DISCOUNT…so ASK…
    Thanks and God bless!

    • Alishea

      Very true! I saved a ton on money when I called the finance office at the hospital after I had my daughter. Another thing that I did was, I called the various local hospitals as soon as I found out I was pregnant to see who charged the least with my insurance for a regular pregnancy without any complications. To my surprise, the hospital staff was wonderful. In fact, many of them even pulled up recent deliveries from mothers who had the same kind of policy/insurance I had. The only thing I had to do was change OB’s to a doctor who had privilege at the hospital I chose but honestly I am glad I did because I had such a better experience with the new OB office then with the previous one, that I was familiar with. Bottom line, I saved about $5K after insurance paid for medical care for prenatal and labor care.

  36. For hospital expenses: I have a girlfriend who brought all of her own toiletries when admitted to the hospital for having her baby. This was her fourth child in almost as many years. Armed with the knowledge of what the hospital provides, we shopped for small containers of baby shampoo and baby bath. She brought her own Lip Balm and tissues among other things as well. It was important to bring the same or good name brand of very basic supplies. The nurses knew if the baby got a rash, that the J&J baby bath that she brought was the same they were using and less suspect. Before doing this check with the hospital and your recently new Mom friends for the current products.
    At the time she had no maternity coverage and it saved a bundle.

  37. Hospital will discount! As I lay in bed recovering from a heart attack two women from the front office came in to talk to my cardiac roommate who had no insurance. They offered (unsolicited) 20 percent off if my roommate would pay bill off at discharge. I just about fell out of my bed. After they left we discussed it a bit and I suggested negotiating a further dicsount (after I picked myself up offf the floor). Look at the hospital’s offer as an opening bid.

    When you look at the bills after the face, you will see insurance companies get huge discounts. Why not a patient?????

  38. Regarding hospital bills; it took a lot of paperwork and patience, but we were able to get a 75% discount of a hospital bill when my husband was underinsured. For myself we received a 20% discount on a different hospital bill. ASK and ye shall receive :)
    BTW – for both we were allowed to make monthly payments over a 24-month period.

  39. I just stumbled upon your blog and I love it! Will be sharing it with my husband. We’re a young, married couple (almost 4 years now) and we’re always interested in how we can be better stewards of the money God has given us. By his grace, wisdom and provision, I believe we have been able to do this.

    By the way, I really enjoyed the title of this article, because I think that how my husband and I live, it’s not so “normal”: we don’t have cable TV (we can’t even get local channels b/c of bad reception), we don’t have any fancy smart phones and just use pay-as-you-go phones, we’re on a budget system, we don’t own new cars, and still own a stereo that I got from when I was in high school! We’ve learned to do without and know that we’re not entitled to any luxuries. This helps tremendously and we just keep training ourselves to know the difference between “want” and “need” is.

  40. With the hosiptial bills you really and i mean really have to be patient, the paperwork, red tape and hoops you have to jump are crazy but thats how they get you not do it and get to steal your money.
    Something else that has recently saved me money monthly was getting net10, the cell phone was cheap and the minutes are just a flat rate, os for someone like me that uses a cell phone moderately it has cut my phone bill in half.

  41. I completely agree with your article and when you really distinguish between wants and needs, there are so many ways to save money. just need to be creative.

  42. For my family of 3, We live comfortably in a one bed room, 680 square foot Co- Op. I make 55 g a year and i pay 4 g for medical through my job. We have no car so that saves us some cash. we pass BJ’s coupons to each other for stuff to buy in bulk. I carry allot of stuff with me on bus and subway when shopping. we pay one year of special park pass to use the zoo and garden on weekends. we do eat out but mostly at food courts. We don’t really shop at the mall unless its for a special reason. Even then we compare prices on the web first. we make sure at least $3000 per person goes into our IRA . my son is 2 and 1/2 and has 10 g for college.
    I am lucky enough to still have a job. I try to bring in some extra cash from freelancing after work, tho that can be very tiring. My suggestion is to post an ad on craig’s list if you want to offer your services. It help with me.

  43. Minda

    If your smaller than the average goodwill contributor or just can’t find anything flattering, try Plato’s Closet. They have racks and racks of clothes that might have been worn three times. You can get name brand jeans that originally sold for $60 for $10 or $15!

  44. Here is a food savings idea for you:

    Each week look at the sales fliers from the grocery stores. It’s better to have a couple of markets that you normally shop at and, if they have something on sale that you would normally buy, stock up on that item. It is not a good idea to go from store to store, spending a lot of money on gas, just to save a dime on a bag of flour.

  45. Just wanted to echo that buying used clothing is a great money saver – especially with jeans, because decent quality denim will last for a good while.

    Also wanted to point out that aside from Goodwill, Plato’s Closet and other brick & mortar thrift shops there are also plenty of outlets online. Goodwill has their own online auction site, and Ebay of course has tons of used clothing. In fact, I sell used jeans myself both on Ebay and my own website (just click my name if you want to check it out!). Pretty much everything I sell goes for about $15 including shipping :) But there are tons of great deals for all kinds of clothing out there. I recommend doing a Google search for “online thrift shop” or something similar, you’ll be surprised at some of the deals that are out there.

    A bit of advice about buying used clothes online – go by the measurements for sizing, don’t just go by the tag size! Pre-owned clothing may be modified or just fit looser than it did originally, and unlike a local store you can’t try anything on before hand.

  46. Just to follow up on an earlier comment – I’m a nurse, and in every hospital I’ve ever worked in – you can not bring your home medications and take them during your stay. It is against hospital policy, and can actually be very dangerous to your health, as they may have particular interactions with the medications that are given to you during your stay.

  47. Karen604

    Since I wrote my first response my husband was hospitalized for heart surgery. He is 10 weeks post op of a 5 bypass.
    We were instructed to bring in some of his meds as the hospital pharmacy did not stock them. The meds in original Rx bottles were brought in and sent to the pharmacy for verification. The meds were returned and stowed in a locked med cabinet adjacent yo his room.
    I was informed that this can be done with physician approval for any Rx meds. Check the hospital policy it might save you some money.

  48. Saving money by running all day from one supermarket to another to buy a packet of crumbed biscuits a bit cheaper doesn’t make you rich. And credit cards are nothing but a trap.

  49. That’s interesting about the community college gym. Do you get gym access by just taking one class?

  50. I see your hospital comment solicited a few responses from nurses. I am a nurse as well and can verify that patients are not charged for things like linens, tissues, basic personal care items, or even simple medical items like EKG patches and IVs. The reason is these these are just on the unit stocked, we grab them as we need them and don’t have time to keep track in order to charge you. People have a very unrealistic view of how busy and hectic nursing is, we don’t have time to do paperwork other than the relevant charting in your medical chart. What you are charged for is one set fee for your bed, which also covers all bedside stocked supplies and your nursing care, and then additional fees are charged for labs, procedures, Dr. consults, etc.

    Even though it won’t save you money, I would still strongly recommend bringing your own pillow and blanket and bathing items, just for the comfort factor, and the fact that the hospital supplied stuff is relatively low-quality compared to what you have at home.

    Regarding meds, it is a great idea to bring them all in so we can update your medication list, however bringing a written list is probably easier. The pharmacy will just copy the information on the bottles and then give them back to your family members or lock them up. If you’re on something so unusual that the hospital doesn’t stock it, and/or it’s incredibly expensive, then there is the whole process the meds have to go through, which has already been described by some other posters, and at the end of that I can possibly give you some of your home meds and save you a little bit of money. But this is only done if there is a special reason, since hospital supplied meds have elevated safeguards in place such as being in unit dose packages with barcodes so I can be 100% certain I’m giving you the right thing.

    Bottom line is bringing in your home meds won’t save you any money unless you happen to be on something exotic or super-expensive.

  51. I have to disagree with you some Emily. I am a correctional officer and had the chance to watch a surgery performed on an inmate who had decided to cut his wrist when he wrecked his car. I guess he knew he was going to jail. He severed the tendons. The hospital that was done in had a nurse assigned to a computer and she logged every single item down to the number of gauze squares they used. I realize the other staff were counting to make sure they accounted for every thing but she carefully logged it into the computer. I do like all the suggestions, information and comments here. Thank you.

    • MagickToad

      I can’t be one hundred percent sure here, because I don’t know the full context of what they were counting, but isn’t it typical for healthcare professionals to take careful inventory of equipment during surgery? Not to charge per square gauze, but to make sure that when the surgery is over, no foreign bodies were left behind in the wound. I’m not in the healthcare business though, so if anyone knows better, please correct me.

      • Stephanie

        I have worked in the operating room for over 12 years and no hospitals do not charge for every square of gauze. We count everything so that nothing is left in the patient and yes everything is documented for patient safety and for the safety of the staff. I have worked in five different healthcare facilities and there is usually a bulk charge that covers the typical items and there are many items that are not covered in that and some of those items do not get charged for at all.

  52. So my daughter and I went to the movies (matinee) but then we messed up and bought the snacks there $12.00, no kidding, wow!!!!!!!!!! So the next time, we will go to WalMart and buy their boxed candy for $1.00, same size as movie theater and see a matinee and still come out on top.

  53. SuzieDsouza

    To avoid late payment fees and possible interest rate increases on your credit cards, make sure you send in your payment a week to ten days before the statement due date. Late payments on one card can increase fees and interest rates on other cards.

  54. I confess, I’m a gym sucker that i have paid for years and yet never fully took advantage of what it has to offer. I will love to see another article about how to get the best deals on vacation trips.

  55. Nice article!

    My husband and I paid an extra $15,000 on our mortgage in the past 4 months by using my personal favorite money-saving tricks. Thanks for this information. I love the eBates tip, and I’ll add it to my post. :) We love not being “normal.”

  56. Jonathan K

    This is a great list Bob! Thanks for your insight.

    My parents use MagicJack and it is fantastic. We got rid of our landline. Best decision we ever made. Paid $50.00 for a phone we used only a couple of times a week.

    We do not own a TV. We get all our news from the Internet for free! We have laptops so we can watch movies from Netflix or Redbox.

    We bought a new vehicle a few years back. However, the next vehicles will be used. The depreciation is the key factor. Right on!

    http://www.groupon.com and http://www.restaurant.com are great resources!

    Other great ways to save money:

    1) Gas: Buy a Walmart gift card and save 10 cents on gas per gallon!

    2) http://www.redbox.com If you register with Redbox and sign up for their texts you can receive free/discounted movie rentals every week or two.

    3) Rewards Programs: Bob has several articles on these. Basically http://www.starbucks.com , http://www.khols.com, http://www.americanexpress.com , http://www.discover.com all offer great rewards.

    4) Plan your meals! http://www.e-mealz.com is recommended by Dave Ramsey. This website will help you make a grocery list based upon the store(s) you shop at then plan out your meals for you. This service is very reasonably priced and great for families.

    5) I think Bob posted in another article about using the envelope system. We will be doing that this next month. Several friends of ours use this system and it really saves money! Establish a budget. Determine an envelope system that fits your budget and don’t borrow from other envelopes! Label each envelope tithe, savings, utilities, groceries, rent, entertainment, gas, shopping, etc. I think people spend way too much money on candy, fast food, snacks, entertainment… We’re going to give it a try.

  57. Thanks for the input. I like your attention to detail, especially in with the rewards debit card. I agree that a debit card can offer just as good of rewards as credit cards. The only down side that I find is that credit card companies are usually better at protecting you from fraudulent charges. Any person can learn to become disciplined enough to pay their credit card balance each month.

  58. Another way I save money is by renting instead of buying. I’m mainly talking about tools. I started this too late, as I have lots of $300-700 tools that gather dust and take up space in my garage. Anyway, renting tools is pretty inexpensive and saves you money, space and maintenance costs.

  59. Jonathan K

    This week we saved $500 a year by getting a new quote and switching to a new car insurance provider! We have the same coverage and deductable as well as insurance through a recognized national provider! This is a great suggestion to do every 6 months or so. It was sad to tell my current auto agent but $42 a month is amazing savings! And remember to ask for discounts and try again in 6 months! Thanks again Bob!

  60. all good doable tips.

  61. Actually, in order to stay fit; all you need is your two feet to run, jog and climb stairs outdoors and a pair of free weights. You don’t even need classes at a community college.

    Another good tip I can offer is to use online coupons when shopping. Always check sites like Retailmenot. Many times you can find coupons for free shipping or free extras with your purchase.

  62. I save money on my medicine by using a free discount drug card that I get from Medicationcoupons.com

    It really works and its free. It saves me almost $60 a month.

  63. Saving energy is my favorite in the list. It will not only save our money, but also save the planet and the next generation.

  64. QueenMommy12

    Go ahead and bring your own blankets/pillows/pj’s from home for your hospital stay, but just know that it’s not saving you anything. The hospital charges a room fee for each night that you are admitted, sort of like a hotel, and that includes the linens on the bed, toothbrush that the nurse brings, etc. In fact, I learned that some hospitals even rent their rooms out, EXACTLY like a hotel. I was discharged after having my babies but they were still admitted. I didn’t want to go home and have to travel to and from the hospital every day, so they let me rent the room for around $25 per day as long as there wasn’t a need for the room. Not that that was saving me any money either, but it’s useful information.

  65. Great tips! I spent my evening in Excell going crazy with color coding and pie charts to show hubby how much we spent on what. Like it was stated earlier, you have to be on the same page, and you will never change them. However sometimes showing them what a little work can do… will change lives.
    When he lost his job (and I’ve been out of work for a year) we had 0 income and tons of expenses. I started couponing, cutting back on everything, and tapping every resource I could find. I have no idea how (ok… a lot of prayer helped) but we made it through two months. Now we live in my mothers basement, rented out our 2,000 sqft house, and are starting to get back on our feet.
    I know it’s not fun to cut back, but having nothing really shows you where your spending money. I don’t buy a cup of coffee in the morning anymore. We both write down every dime we spend (cash or debit). We don’t take our credit cards out with us (that way we can’t use them). We keep our savings account at a different bank with no ATM card (harder to take money out, no splurging here). And we have learned that an evening at our friends house for game night means no babysitting, no charges, and more fun.

  66. We use the library for our DVD rentals for free, sure we wait a little sometimes but is saves us $7 per movie. We also started managing our phantom loads (energy sucked out of devices not even on) by using power strips.

  67. Thank you for the fabulous tips! I just signed up for Ebates!

    In regards to making working out less expensive, Time Warner offers “sports and fitness” on demand. It provides tons of fabulous and free workout videos (Jillian Michaels etc). New videos are added monthly so you won’t get bored.

    Also, adding a dry beach towel to your wet clothes in the dryer cuts down on drying time.

    Happy saving!

    Crys

  68. Sorry if someone else already said the following things. I didn’t have time to read through all the comments.

    First of all, great list. We prescribe to most of these but I’ve only house hunted once before in the middle of summer. Next time I’ll wait until winter, if possible.

    1) As for cell phones, instead of just buying your phones through Amazon, get away from contract deals all-together. Prepaid services like VirginMobile, Net10, and SimpleMobile offer great prepaid phones at low prices. My wife and I pay less than $50 a month for smartphone calling/data plans. We had to buy the phones ourselves, but we can leave the service any time we want! And, if you pair that with my next suggestion (VOIP) you won’t have to worry about burning a lot of prepaid minutes when you’re at home.

    2) Get an Obihai Obi100 or Obi110 for VOIP telephony. These devices use your regular old home phones and connect to the internet to give you free calling through Google’s services (Google has promised free through 2012, at least, maybe longer).

  69. Loved this article. These are great tips! Our local library allows us to download digital media (kindle books, and audio books for the ipod). This alone has saved me hundreds of dollars this year! We can also request DVD’s from other local libraries. I am thinking of canceling my Netlfix account.

    • I work at a Friends of the Library Bookstore and we sell nice hardcover novels for $1 and paperbacks for $.50. We also have digital media and children’s books and textbooks, reference books and magazines for $.25! Check with your local library first. Cookbooks are another great savings!

  70. Entertainment coupons – I trade with folks in my area and triple the power of my purchase. I buy 2 books when they go on sale and now have 6 of each coupon I love!

    My On Demand with Comcast has tons of free exercise routines. Nothing wrong with a gym membership if you use it. There is the problem – too many folks have the automatic payment and don’t use it.

    I found many of my magazines were posting their features online before the print edition arrived. I cancelled them and now have the articles coming to me automatically through my Google Reader.

    Freecycle is a great way to get almost anything for free! And to share your blessings with ours. Our latest finds are a 2010 Garmin GPS, IKEA bookcases, and clothing for a family member’s new baby.

  71. Rebecca K

    ShopAtHome.com is another website very similar to Ebates — I check them both first, and whichever has the best % back is what I use.

    Also someone mentioned buying exercise videos instead of a gym membership – If you have Netflix, there are fitness videos available there. I think they change every few months availability-wise, but it’s good to change it up. :)

    Thanks for all the tips everyone! :)

  72. James Corbin

    Should a person really be comfortable with Ebates gathering information about everything he/she buys online? I am sure that Ebates is gathering that information and plans to make even more money from it at some point.

  73. Use coupons on grocery! you can save a ton on your grocery bill each month

  74. If you have a Discover Card you can go through the ShopDiscover website and get cash back there also. (And some of the percentages are slightly higher than Ebates though not as many merchants to choose from)

  75. Hannah Collumns

    One thing I recently started doing that is not “normal”, but is actually really fun, cheap, good for you, and tasty is making my own food and cleaning supplies at home. You can look up plenty of “recipes” for things such as laundry detergent, all purpose cleaner,etc. There are also plenty of sites you can go to to learn how to make your own food and baking supplies, such as ranch dressing, baking powder, bread, etc. I live way out in the country, so making a trip into town is actually a huge pain in the butt for me, and it is a lot more convenient for myself and my husband to make these items at home. If you bake a lot, consider making your own vanilla, all you need it vanilla beans and vodka. Store bought vanilla is extremely expensive and you can even homeade vanilla away to your friends (as someone told me to do once.) Besides, that is pretty impressive!

    Making things at home is so much cheaper and better for you than buying them at the grocery store, plus it saves us plenty on gas. Just a thought that most “normal” people don’t do-but should!

  76. About the comment to save money with a free 800 directory service.
    That works if you have a land line.
    If you have a cell carrier like mine and no land line then watch out.
    My cell carrier charges $1.50 per call for a 800 number.
    They also charge $1.50 for directory service.
    My cell service charges $7.00 per month 10 cents per min. 15 cents for text messages.
    I spend $15 every 2 months on cell service.
    A land line would be more.

  77. Well I liked your budgeting site so much that I added it to my financial pearls.
    The budgeting templates for excell are great, I will remake to suit my simple needs. They will save me time figuring out formulas for excell. Maybe I’ll need a more complex budget in the future, but for now I only need to track food purchases from one account. L8trs

  78. I agree on using the local library. Ours has access to other public library collections statewide, and even allows you to pull college textbooks from numerous area universities through interlibrary loans. I can even check out hard-to-find videos and books because they are usually available somwhere in the system.

  79. In our India only Government run hospital allow us to take our own pillow, linen, etc. In private / specialised hospitals they don’t allow us to use our own goods. In some hospitals they do not allow us even to take food that we bring from home.

    • Why would they allow you bringing own bedding? All sorts of people stays in a hospital. you don’t want germs to come your home or pass your germs to the people who are sick and not very immune to bacteria..

      BTW..I spent 28 years in India and still an Indian citizen

  80. A good way to save money is to use local services for things such as repair jobs or yard maintenance. I found the website http://www.localworkforme.com a very useful way to save money while helping local people and businesses earn some money.

  81. Anonymous

    Many of the comments incorrectly refer to owning a vehicle as a “depreciating asset.” A car is not an asset, an asset appreciates. A vehicle is a depreciating entity.

    Also, if you buy used, make sure it’s still under the original factory warranty or it’s a Certified Pre-Owned. Otherwise, maintenance fees will begin to add up.

  82. Great article, I sold cars for a while and have to mention one thing I noticed in the business. These days with rebates from GM on new cars bring the price down to the same as a car which is one year older and has miles on it. This way you get a brand new car(depending on the model), no miles and new warranty for the price of a used car(1 or 2) years old

  83. I can really relate to number 5. For the past year, I’ve been going to estate sales and buying some very good used merchandise for a fraction of the price! It sure beats paying retail. (#20) There are also a number of places that offer a 2 for 20 deal, great way to save money. Very nice article. :)

  84. i'm nice 123

    i’m actully a kid with parents that are losing the house we live in i’m reading a great book that made my go on the computer and look this up.these r awesome tips and i’ll definetly tell my parents some of them/

  85. i buy books at the library booksales, college & local. Plus on the sale aisles of bookstores, if they are 2.99 or less. Bring my lunch 4x a week. go to matinee’s only, and watch old movies on PBS. I do splurge on gym, because I get to use pools, olympic, therapy, jacuzzi all year round, but I also walk a lot. I drink water or tea, don’t buy soda, or junk food. lots of veggies and fruit. I got rid of my toasters 2 years ago, and save lots of $$ (and calories) buy not eating bread & bread products I eat out 2x a month. oh yeah, I do go to consignment stores if I need clothes, and to some freight sale stores. For music, the college, or free concerts, and there are several casinos that have musical groups come in for free (we never gamble) I try as best to watch where my money is spent.

  86. shiphrah

    am glad to have come across this site….goodness me! i have been spending alot on things that i wanted but which i actually dint need. For example i have been buying shoes atleast once a month,eating out with friends and most of the time ordering for delivery at lunch yet the eating place isnt so far away from my office …i have also been making so many unnecessary calls all of which seemed “NORMAL” which turns out to have been careless spending. Starting today and right now am ABNORMAL and taking all the above tips seriously because i wan to be in control of my finances.Thank you all.

  87. shiphrah

    am glad to have come across this site….goodness me! i have been spending alot on things that i wanted but which i actually dint need. For example i have been buying shoes atleast once a month,eating out with friends and most of the time ordering for delivery at lunch yet the eating place isnt so far away from my office …i have also been making so many unnecessary calls all of which seemed “NORMAL” which turns out to have been careless spending. Starting today and right now am ABNORMAL and taking all the above tips seriously because i wan to be in control of my finances.Thank you all.

  88. Fantastic ideas everyone!
    Have you tried NOT using the cell/mobile phone quite so much – and do we really need all those apps?, etc.? Do we really need to know or share every bit of our day/lives with who ever will listen – time is money
    Share a pet – or just foster – lots of animal shelters/groups supply the food/vet care so cost is minimal to you.
    Turn the A/C, heat OFF – open those windows during the heat and use fans AND wear extra layers on colder days.
    Smaller is better – houses and appliances both – less cost to run and upkeep.
    Netflix rocks and beats out cable any day.
    Have a patch of yard or space for a few flower pots? – grow your own veggies/fruit.
    Put together a neighborhood food co-op – buy bulk, split it up – save $$$
    Keeping horses or other farm animals – a co-op is great for this too – animal food bought in bulk/truck loads is very cost effective –
    Hire grandparents instead of babysitters OR co-op the babysitting – neighbors take turns and everyone gets a night out!
    Swap books – don’t buy them
    Buy food in season and can or freeze it yourself

  89. Some of the best tips I’ve read. Here’s one I’ve shared with my readers – buy or barter coupons that you use.

  90. Jonathan K

    I) Christmas Gift Giving

    a) Assuming you celebrate this holiday save tissue paper & re-use gift bags. We stopped using wrapping paper a few years back. Tissue and bags are a lot easier (especially for us guys) to use. Plus they can be recycled/re-used as long as the bag is in good condition!

    b) Have a contest to see who can buy the nicest gifts (including brand name stuff) for the best (lowest) price. A friend of ours does this every year with his family. There is voting by each family member. The winner of the contest gets a great prize!

    II) Haircuts

    a) For guys a simple home hair cutting kit ($20-30 usually) can save a ton over time. I bought a kit last summer to buzz my hair and saved an average of $15 every two weeks for four months. We saved about $100 over the course of that time. Plus anytime I want an inexpensive haircut it can be convenient.

    b) For women try going to a cosmetology school (In the Dallas are there are several Ogle Beauty Schools). Instead of paying $30 you might pay $10 for a good (hopefully) haircut. Plan on spending double the time at the hair stylist as they are just learning! My wife did this our first year of marriage and we saved about $100 for the year.

  91. I wish you could add #21 from my experience. Take ten minutes of your day to pack enough food to last you a day and stop spending money on fast food or snacks. I don’t carry my check card with me anymore.

  92. I’d like to add a tip:
    Don’t spend money to relieve your stress. It’s often tempting to reduce stress by going out for meals, entertainment, and other activities. This is clearly counterproductive. Instead, use some free stress relievers such as a warm bath, a good book, go for a walk, or a social event with friends at home.
    Think before spending.

  93. About Jewelry:
    In less than 3 weeks from this post, I marry the-man-above-and-beyond-my-dreams. Here’s our ring story. Following a friend’s recommendation, we began at BlueNile.com. Though the prices were comparatively decent, I hesitated to buy a diamond I hadn’t seen. In addition, I wasn’t sure of my own preferences. Casing out about 8 or so “real” jewelry stores, I determined what I wanted: super-sparkly, round, .33-.5 carat, reasonable clarity, 4-prong tiffany-style, cathedral setting, 14 carat white gold. My eyes grew to saucer-size seeing some of those price tags, even up to $4000.
    We decided what we wanted, but where to buy it? BlueNile? A diamond wholesaler? The cheapest we could find was $1200. My thoughts wrestled within, my girly side vs. my practical/frugal side. I took the matter to the Lord several times during those few weeks: “Lord, if we could just find one under $1000 that would sure be great.” Finally, my fiance “stumbled” across some engagement ring article that mentioned PAWN SHOPS. I had never been in one and was hesitantly excited. 6 pawn shops later, my fiance and I walk in, haggle for $80 off the already low price, and walk away with 30 days (return policy) to figure out if this FOUR HUNDRED DOLLAR thing was even real. It was. And it was not white gold as the tag said, but PLATINUM which, for those like me who have no jewelry knowledge, is worth more than the gold. But here’s the Kicker: our $520 ring (taxes, appraisal, re-sizing) was worth…drumroll…$2237. My fiance and I walked out with our appraisal, literally kicking our heels in pure glee, tears of joy streaming down, raising our eyes to the heavens, and lifting unified voices in “THANK YOU, GOD!”

  94. Don’t forget shopping online and comparing prices before buying. Sites like http://www.nextag.com, http://www.pricesandcoupons.com, and pricegrabber.com are good for comparing prices and sites like Retailmenot help with finding coupon codes to lower the price even further. Don’t assume Amazon always has the lowest price, but definitely check to make sure.

  95. All of these are great tips. As for hospital stays, if you are planning on the stay, call ahead and request that they remove individual use items such as tissues, excessive toilet paper, personal hygiene products from the room prior to your arrival. As for hospital stays, ask for an itemized list of charges on your bill and DOUBLE CHECK you are not being charged excessive fees. There have been more-than-you-can-count cases of extreme over charging for these items, such as $10 for a single box of tissues, or “mistakes” charging you $30-$50 for single use items, etc.

  96. Sleepless Aquarius

    One way a person could also save money is by keeping the oil changed regularly in your car which just adds more life to your car so you can keep it longer & not have to end up getting another car & probably a car payment besides. But also to keep the air pressure in your tires checked, thus using less wear & tear on your tires also adding more life to them.

    I also dont throw anything away without first thinking of ANY possible re-use I could have for it. Simple things life re-suing can save so much money too. I see coworkers who throw away each days ziplock bag that only had a sandwich or such in it. Re-use it!!

    Every nickle adds up!

    I have no regrets about being that wierd kid on the school bus who picked up & kept every coin the other kids threw. I still keep every cent I find.

  97. Another place people spend a ton of money is babies. I Breastfeed instead of feeding formula, puree my own baby food, cloth diaper and help my little ones use the potty (called elimination communication). Most of the furniture the big box stores recommend are very optional, and too bulky if you live in a small space. Skip the changing table for instance. I find bouncing on an exercise ball works better than using a rocker.

  98. I work at a library and we have.. books, dvds, cds, magazines, audio books, local newspaper, reference materials and if we don’t have the item you want at my location we can try to get it from a different library in the system and if it is not available that way we can look outside of our system for it. Yes, you may have to wait a little while and not get that instant gratification, but it is free. If you still want to buy books, we have a book sale once a year: hard covers typically go for .50 and paper backs for .25 and movies (vhs typically) for $1… bag sales for anything you can get into a grocery bag for $3 on the last day.. good deals!

  99. June Jay

    So I hope I am not the ONLY one out there that recoginizes that companies and marketing, are doing so many things to make the consumers pay less as they give us LESS of a product.
    Example: Remember the OLD Slim Fast shake containers? They used to be in a can, and we paid way less then $6 for a six pack. Now, they are much smaller (shaped like a skinny girl for marketing aspects), and paying more then $1 per bottle.
    My point is, we need to pay attention to the scams and realize that it’s all about making money for THEM!
    I watched an Oprah show several years back and learned alot about saving money!
    So hear is MY advice!
    Marketer’s are now all about convincing us that it is better to buy things that are disposible, and then buy NEW things.
    Such as paper napkins, when you can have cloth napkins, that you wash and reuse like our grandparents and their grandparents did! It worked just fine for them! ALL PAPER GOODS.
    I am NOT including toilet paper of course! Remember mops? What in the world was wrong with using a good old fashion map that lasted you 5,10 or even 20 years? Now, they are selling the Swiffer, which, again, you have to repurchase over and over and over again. More $$ every single month or two! Mops have been around for 100′s of years, and they worked JUST FINE!
    So consider these aspects when trying to cut costs are saving money. Not everyone can go without papertowls. But consider using windex on glass with used newspapers, or purchase a HUGE restaurant papertowl roll that will last you for 4-5, if not a year! We CAN”T let these companies FOOL us into believing that DISPOSIBLE is this AMAZING thing!
    I , myself will be ordering reusable clothed napkins, a mop, NOT a SWIFFER!
    And cleaning just the way my ancestors did!

  100. Amanda

    What a great article! The comments had even more tips than the article did and I loved reading all the different ideas from everyone! I personally used BillCutterz recently because I thought my cable bill was too high. A friend told me about them and then after seeing that you recommend them as well, I felt much better about using them. My rep Katie was so nice and she was able to save me $40 a month on my cable and Internet combo. Who doesn’t like saving money!

  101. Nice article! Thrifting saves my family lots of money and was recently able to cut my home phone bill from $60 to $15 a month by switching to Straight Talk home phone.

  102. Michelle

    My not-so-normal habit is called “Mommy Surprise.” I am a wife and a mom of three boys who can seriously put away some food for such little people. I regularly prepare three meals a day at home, and could not seem to get a handle on all of the little bowls of food that ended up getting forgotten about and thrown away from the refrigerator when they were leftover from a meal. There was always too little leftover to do something with, yet seemed like a lot of waste when I would clean out the fridge and throw all of the items away. My mom made a suggestion (to which I’ll admit I turned my nose up at first) which was to keep a gallon-size plastic zippered bag in the freezer for these tidbits, and to turn it into a soup later. So now when I clear the table and there is a spoon of vegetables, a bit of chili, a scoop of rice and beans, noodles, a piece of chicken, etc. (just about anything, really), it immediately gets added to the bag in the freezer. Pieces of meat gets diced before being added. The bag gets filled about once every two weeks. I defrost it in a big bowl, add some chicken or vegetable broth and some seasoning (Adobo works well), heat it in the microwave, and we call it “Mommy Surprise.” Since you can actually fit a lot of food in a freezer bag, it really comes out a lot thicker than soup. Essentially it’s a free meal every two weeks, because it’s food that would have otherwise been thrown away. It’s not fine dining, but the kids love it and it’s generally healthy and hearty. Sometimes I’ll add some homemade bread or rolls on the side.

  103. Perkstreet has officially closed down and no longer operates. So sad. I would have loved to join this bank.

  104. Some great tips here. I especially like the notion of ditching my landline and cable provider.

  105. PerkStreet Financial ceased all business operations
    on September 26, 2013.

  106. SavingStar and Ebates are really awesome resources. This entire list is full of great information, but even if you don’t want to really “do” anything extra, signing up for sites like those is like automatic money saving.

  107. OK….. I used to subscribe to TIGHWAD GAZETTE and she published these as a book form years ago, available on used book sites–and many libraries! Ours had several copies.. I have given copies to my kids. Great frugal tips and encouragement to live a “fugal not cheap” lifestyle and what that means. Lots of posts here, I agree with the med nurses, my hubby had cancer, you don’t want the hassle of bringing linens, meds, etc and infectious diseases & contagion problems.

  108. I like your tip to regularly check insurance rates. It never occurred to me to switch away from GEICO and go with a smaller company to get cheaper premiums, which is why I was so surprised when NewYorkMotorInsurance quoted me at 3X less than what i was paying with GEICO. Great tips!

  109. This is great! I specially love #15. We live in a small house and we are very happy about it.

  110. Cass E

    I couldn’t be more happy that this ministry exists! I am so so thankful for Christian PF.

    I just add my 2 cents (haha): I found these awesome online communities or “groups” on facebook that host online garage sales. You can list anything on there with a price and description and use them promote side businesses too. Lots easy that having a garage sale if you have limited items. In a month using them my husband and I have made $600 selling old electronics, wedding decorations, household items and clothes. We are so thankful to have the extra cash to tithe.

    To find them: go to groups on facebook and search your city + online garage sale. Seems to be incredibly active in New Orleans.

    Again, super thankful for this site and all of the awesome ideas in the comments. God Bless y’all!

  111. Really good ideas that sharing me about how to save money. Thanks for this ideas i really happy to follow it!

  112. There are lots more ways to cut costs. These are just a few.
    1) drop the smart phone and get a “dumb” one. Save about $50 per month. Get a low-priced tablet (e.g., Kindle Fire) or use your old iPhone as a wi-fi only device. Wi-fi is available everywhere; you really don’t need to pay for cell-based data plans
    2) call your car and home insurance company and tell them you want to go through all your coverage because you found another carrier that is cheaper. They’ll probably help you “find” 10% off or more..

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