2013 was our first year in over a decade without consumer debt. While we originally started saving money to try and pay off credit card bills, once we saw how awesome it was to have extra money, we just couldn’t stop. Here are some great, painless ways we saved money last year. Hopefully some of these might help you if you are looking to stash some cash.
Cut Cable or Satellite TV– I am so sad to say that we didn’t do this years ago. For the roughly $850 a year we were spending on Dish Network, we could have paid off our debt earlier, but hindsight is 20/20. Honestly, the only thing we missed that hurt just for a second was when Jim was unable to watch the BCS final that was on last week. We are not Auburn or Florida State fans, but it was kind of an annual tradition to watch the last game. I asked if it was worth getting satellite TV back for sporting events and he answered with a resounding NO. We have been able to watch more then we need on Netfilx, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Instant Video.
Sign Up for Store Coupons, Online Deals, and Use Ibotta- I really don’t clip coupons much anymore, but I do check store websites before shopping. I would say that I save an average of $7 for each shopping trip by using store coupons or online value card savings. I also signed up for a smart phone app called Ibotta, which pays cash directly into your Paypal account when you buy certain products. You can also use it for certain restaurants, movie theaters, and stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s. Since adding this app, I’ve saved almost $30 in the past three months. If I can continue these habits for 2014, I should save about $200.
Take A No Buy Challenge– I challenged myself to not buy clothes for 2013. I didn’t make it for the whole year, but did last for 11 months. If you need clothes, then buy some. If you have too many already, resolve to shop from your own closet this year. If you are spending $25 a month on clothes, you could save $300.
Call Your Insurance Company-By changing our auto and homeowner’s insurance to a different carrier, we saved almost $700!
Call Your Internet Provider– By calling our internet provider and asking for a better rate, I was able to get half price service for 12 months. When that expired at the end of last year, I called again and signed up for another 12 month promo that kept the price low. You never know until you ask. All they can say is no. Savings on internet, $240.
Pay Annually Instead of Monthly– This might require some planning and saving, but there are generally some bills that allow you to pay annually or semi-annually to save money. We pay our car insurance every 6 months, which saves $48 per year. Our garbage collection bill offers a free month if you pay annually, so that saves another $11. Our rec center membership is $100 cheaper if you pay for a year at a time. It all adds up. Savings for paying annually, $159
Get Lower Interest Rates-While we didn’t need to refinance our mortgage or transfer credit card balances in 2013, this might save thousands of dollars in interest if you have a high rate on any type or money you owe. Make it your goal to find a way to lower your interest rates. If it means improving your credit score, changing lenders, or finding a way to pay off a large chunk of your balance, do it. While you might get some tax savings on mortgage interest, there is nothing worse than interest on consumer debt, so try to reduce your rates to save money and sanity. I believe rates are only going to go up, so lock in a good one now if you need to.
Even if you are comfortable making monthly payments, it is worth the extra effort to get rid of high interest debts and look for cheaper alternatives for the services and products you use. One deal might not seem worth it, but when you look back at the year, you might find that you saved hundreds or thousands of dollars with very little effort.
What easy ways do you save money? Is there an app you’ve found that helps you save?