Wednesday, August 8, 2012

5 Money Saving Tips of the Week

The focus of this week's money saving tips are bills, and how to cut down on them.  My husband and I are trying to cut costs everywhere (who isn't?) and these are a few things we do to keep the bills from taking over our lives:

1. Use Skype
I think its safe to say the days of long distance calls being costly are over, but as with everything else, another expensive thing will take its place.  In most cases: cell phones.  Many people don't have landlines (I still do, however) but using all those cell phone minutes can be very expensive.  A wonderful and free solution (let's FACE it, its way more fun har har) is to video call using Skype.  As long as you have internet and a webcam (which most laptops and computers have built in these days) you can video call anyone with a Skype account for no money at all.  You're already paying for internet, so why not get more bang for your buck?  I use Skype all the time with my family who are 4 hours away.  Don't have it yet?  Get it here.

2. Use Pre-Paid Cell Phone Plans
Before I get into this, I will say, this isn't for everyone.  I am not attached to my phone (probably because no one calls me!) and I can go a day or so before I realize the battery died.  Lately, however, since I got my Android, I have fallen a little more in love with it.  Before I made the switch to Virgin Mobile, my monthly AT&T bill was about $65 and that didn't include internet and unlimited talk/text.  After what seemed like an eternity, my contract finally expired and I was able to free myself from the abusive boyfriend that was my cell phone bill.  It seemed like no matter how many times I tried to break up with AT&T or fight the hits my wallet was taking, I couldn't get out.  At last, my moment came to break free.  For a few months, I didn't have a cell phone at all.  That got old fast.  I started researching good phone packages that actually had good phones to go with them.  The best I could come up with is my current Virgin Mobile package for my Android.  I now pay $25 a month for unlimited internet, data and text and 300 minutes.  That's more than I need (a savings of $516/year, not including overage costs AT&T always charges you).  The best part is, if you forget to pay your bill you won't get charged.  You're phone won't work until you pay it, but you don't have to go through the headache of re-activating it.  Aside from sometimes having spotty service, I really can't say enough good things about it.  To find out more about the plan, go here.

3. Ditch Cable
I know, how could I ask you to part with such a thing?  But really, do you really need, or even use it?  We had cable, DVR and everything for a few months and just couldn't justify the bill we got each month.  Including internet we were paying well over $100 a month and usually just used instant Netflix anyway.  Now that we only have internet through the cable company we save about the cost of grocery shopping trip each month, and I'm way happier with that than I ever was with cable.  I should note: we are not the "We don't watch t.v." type of family.  We love our shows and probably watch too much of it.  We just like to use the money saving methods of watching them (see item 4).

4. Use Instant Netflix in Lieu of DVD Delivery
When Netflix first came out, it was a great deal.  You didn't have to go to the movie rental store where you always spent way to much money and racked up tons of late fees.  The movies came right to you and there was no rush to watch them.  But, like all things, they inflated the price so much, it wasn't worth it anymore.  They sort of shot themselves in the foot with the instant movies and shows, because we stopped getting the DVDs delivered and opted for only the streaming (about at $120 per year savings).  Also, there's other ways of renting movies now, with Redbox being only a $1 a day (or free for a day if you use promo code BREAKROOM) and of course, you can rent from your local library. 

5. Save Electricity!
You're heard this your entire life, I'm sure.  It's not that we go out of our to waste it, but shouldn't we go out of our way to save electricity?  It is, after all, one of the easiest ways to cut down your bill.  This summer has been terrible with heat, so I'm sure you can relate to stress we've been experiencing over the AC running so much. But summer also means you can cut down in other ways.  Our dryer has been broken for months, and I'm in no real hurry to get the repair man in here because I've hung every load since it broke.  It takes a little longer to get it done, but you'll be happy you did it.  Also, in the summer we certainly don't need as many lights on as the other months and as soon as the sun goes down, turn off the fans and AC and let the cool night's air in your windows.  Cooking on the grill, or eating fresh from your garden are some other examples.  I've even cut back on my toddler's bath times in the summer months since he's in his little pool so often anyway, I figure he's getting clean!

1 comment

  1. We got rid of "big" cable (we have the most basic you can get) about two months ago, I was freaked out that I wasn't going to be able to watch anything I liked - but I find that I don't have much time to watch tv and what I don't have on cable, I can easily find online. So far, I don't miss it - we'll see how I do when winter rolls around and there wont be much outside time...


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