Over the last few years, we’ve put some good saving tactics to work around our house. Mr F and I have had many conversations about our ideas and wanted to make sure we documented them so that others might benefit. None of these are really new ideas, but we’re pleased with the success we’ve had in employing them. If you’re reading this and have ideas of your own, we’d certainly love to hear about them!
We grow our own fruits and vegetables.
We are not gardening pros by any means, but we love trying. And we’ve produced some pretty amazing produce! Even in our last house which had a small yard and strict homeowner’s regulations, we had two small raised bed gardens and a couple of fruit trees. Plus we were able to keep things organic – and organic produce tends to be quite expensive.
We have chickens.
Backyard chickens are becoming more and more popular. We’re fortunate to have 7 who are all laying beautiful eggs!
We use coupons.
There is a ton of info online about coupons and we all know about the extreme couponers. We aren’t extreme, but we do save a considerable amount. I clip coupons for items we actually use and try to combine them with sales. We use competitors coupons at the store we shop in most often. We sign up for email coupons at the stores we like to shop most frequently. 10% and 15% off coupons for merchandise add up over time.
Ask for discounts.
Along the same line as coupons, we ask for discounts. Don’t worry, we aren’t those people… Here’s an example of how we make this work: We went to a store the other day, one that I usually get email coupons for. At the checkout I just asked the cashier, “Is there a coupon we should be using?” She promptly just took 10% off our order just for asking. Oh, and if you’re ordering something online, always always always look for a promo code. We find usable promo codes about 90% of the time. When dealing with service folks, Mr F will ask, “Is that your best price?” They almost always reduce their price when we ask. We’ve had success saving on cell phone packages, car insurance, homeowners insurance, etc. just by calling and asking for better rates at least once a year.
We do not use cable or satellite.
We cut the cable cord when we moved earlier this year. It seemed like a good time to make the transition since we’d talked about it for awhile. We were paying about $120/month to our satellite company for close to 600 channels that we NEVER watched. We purchased an antenna (about $200) and a Roku (about $70) and haven’t missed satellite or cable at all. Now we spend about $15/month paying for Hulu Plus and Netflix. If you are a TV addict there are some cons to this—we don’t have a DVR so we can’t rewind or record shows we’re watching via antenna. Also, you won’t always have immediate access to the shows you want to watch. (We’ve been avoiding any and all talk about the final season of Dexter so we can watch it when it’s available!)
We bought a smaller house.
Obviously, this isn’t something everyone has the luxury of doing, but downsizing has made a huge difference for us. We went from this…
…and haven’t looked back. Although the new house is about 1000 sq ft smaller and has required some updating, it’s on 5 acres! It’s also one story. Smaller house on one level = smaller power bill. Even though it’s on a huge lot, we actually are saving a considerable amount on our mortgage each month too! And we have a well, so we no longer have a $200+/month water bill.
We have several other money saving tips that really work for us. Stay tuned for Part 2.