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Awesome, Easy Ways We Saved Over $2000 Last Year

Happy saving money2013 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?

Image: Freedigitalphotos.net.Miles

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.

43 comments

  1. Because we set up our insurance policies at different times I paid one annually and one quarterly, I plan to align them annually this year! We’ve also ditched pay TV and we’re paying $20 a month more for unlimited internet (as opposed to our previous limited package).
    eemusings recently posted..RTW budget: A six-month trip recapMy Profile

  2. Kim,
    2014 is my travel hacking year. My goal is to get $5000 in travel benefits for free or a few hundred bucks. My wife said we would save more money if I didn’t eat so much.
    Charles@gettingarichlife recently posted..I’ve Joined The Yakezie ChallengeMy Profile

    • I’ve been saying that if we only eat once a day, we’d have so much more time and money, but my stomach doesn’t agree. I have a really ambitious plan to get business class tickets to Europe in 2015 for almost nothing. They price out at $21,000, so we’ll see.

  3. Getting rid of cable is huge. HUGE! And you’ll appreciate the time you DIDN’T spend watching TV when you look back at it.
    FI Pilgrim recently posted..My Checklist For Making The Self Employment SwitchMy Profile

    • I spent lots of mindless time with the TV on. Now I pick and choose so the net result is much more productivity without getting sucked into Real Housewives or House Hunters.

  4. Great tips, Kim. We are saving the most money by continually refining our grocery spending. We did an average of $482 a month last year for our family of six, and this year our goal is to keep it under $400 a month.
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted..5 Things You Shouldn’t Do To Pay Off DebtMy Profile

  5. Coupons save us over $1,000 a year, so I would say going that route is a great way to save money on things you are going to purchase anyway. We don’t use an app for coupons. Instead we use old-fashioned newspaper coupons and online printable (and non-printable) coupons.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..4 Ways to Stop Wasting Money This YearMy Profile

    • I used to get the Sunday paper, but only looked at the coupons, so it seemed like a waste of resources. $1000 is awesome, though. Certainly worth the paper subscription!

  6. There is no way on Gods green earth my husband would let me cancel cable. It’s one of those compromises I’ve made in our marriage haha…I can dream though!
    Catherine recently posted..Oh How Things Have Changed…My Profile

    • Jim was like that in the beginning, but I worked on him for about 5 years by saying things like “Wow, we really didn’t watch much TV this week”. It finally had to be his idea, and after our neighbor cancelled and got great reception of network channels with an antenna, he actually asked me to cancel it.

  7. I’ve become a big fan of signing up for store email lists. I’ve gotten some really good offers. For example – we just signed up for Famous Dave’s emails and received a 25% off coupon on your order for take out food last weekend. It was a great find!
    Liz recently posted..Trading City Living for Simpler Suburb LifeMy Profile

    • That is a great one to add. We sign up for everywhere we like to eat and have gotten free birthday meals from Red Robin and Qdoba, plus coupons to many other places.

  8. We are saving money this year because we just refinanced our mortgage…signed the papers last Friday. Hurray for NO MORE adjustable rate mortgage and interest only second mortgage (YUK)!!!!
    Travis @debtchronicles recently posted..What We Learned About Finances Will Help us Lose WeightMy Profile

    • I’m sure it was an advantage to have an ARM with rates so low, but I do think it’s only going up from here, so that was a smart move.

  9. Being a good negotiator can sometimes lead to better rates for you that means more saved money. Those are great tips, by the way. Thanks!
    Mark Ross @moneysavingdude recently posted..What Is A Credit Score?My Profile

  10. We don’t have cable and we watched the BCS game over the air… Wasn’t that an option for you? Our antenna cost $15 and we wouldn’t have canceled cable without it because of sports coverage! http://www.evolvingpf.com/2013/09/how-we-watch-all-the-tv-we-want-for-free-including-sports/
    Emily @ evolvingPF recently posted..How Do You Decide If You Can Afford a Purchase?My Profile

  11. Great tips Kim! We’re still with cable (DirectTV) but are looking for a way to get out of that and get my sports and HBO without the monthly bill. We call providers regularly to get discounts and that has saved us a good bit of money. I figure they can give out all sorts of promotions to get new customers, then they can throw us that have been around awhile something too.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Frugal Rules Goals for 2014: Stop Living Like a College StudentMy Profile

  12. Great tips, Kim. I really like the Buy No Challenge. Even if it’s not for a whole year, it can still make a difference and help a person ease into saving money. Like you said, once you start – it’s easy to get hooked. But before you start, the idea seems painful. You list all the things you’ll miss but once you get a taste and start to really see the possibilities, it becomes so much easier.
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..Good Versus Entitled Life: The Unintended ConsequencesMy Profile

  13. Ibotta sounds like a cool app…I’ll have to download that on my phone. It’s been on my to-do list to call up my internet provider to lower my rate…I will absolutely do it this weekend. There have been commercials recently marketing a lower rate (though not as fast speeds I guess)…but since we mostly just surf the web, it will make no different. In anycase, I’m sure they’ll give us a promotional rate even if we stick with our current plan.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted..3 Must Do’s for the New YearMy Profile

  14. I never miss a chance to sign up for store coupons. I think that’s the best way to save money.
    romona@monasez recently posted..Real Estate Investing for Beginners: No Money StrategiesMy Profile

  15. With the exception of workout clothes a shoes I didn’t buy any clothes last year. I did, however, go to a ton of clothing exchanges with friends and got LOTS of cute stuff. I love being the little one who fits in everything that everyone else has grown out of.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted..Combating the Urge to SplurgeMy Profile

  16. Buy discounted gift cards. I save anywhere from 10-30% doing that and shopping online.
    Elroy recently posted..2014 [big] VacationMy Profile

  17. I’m not really into apps but all of these moves work, Kim! We saved on insurance by paying annually last year. We also didn’t have cable tv which was a huge savings!

  18. Thanks for the info on Ibotta. I didn’t know about that app and I like it. I can use it for the two stores we shop at most.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..Walmart Family Mobile Review – No Contract Wireless PlanMy Profile

  19. All of these are very good ideas. I think coupons are a great idea so long as you have a cutoff. I shake my head at the people who refuse to do it because they don’t feel the time spent clipping them is worth it. I think this can hold true if you spend hours and hours on it, but even if you spend 15 minutes a week and cut only 3-4 coupons, you can still add up some pretty nice savings and not take up too much precious time.
    Money Beagle recently posted..Could We Cut Cable TV This Year?My Profile

  20. Hey Kim, I love the ways you’ve saved. I’ve done a few myself. I’d have to say the change that saved me the most money is shopping in fresh produce and meats rather than buying prepackaged groceries. We’re talking about somewhere around $200 per month!
    Joshua @ CNAFinance.com recently posted..Are There Any Alternatives To Secured Credit Cards?My Profile

  21. I agree on the cable/satellite thing. I wish I would have done it long ago. Grocery seems to be the only area I’m really struggling with as I’m trying to eat healthier AND bring my monthly bill down at the same time, and failing miserably.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted..My Next Car Should Be Able to FlyMy Profile

  22. I called Time Warner a few months back and asked for a better rate and they actual gave me one. I trimmed it down to under $100 per month with phone, cable and internet included.
    zimmy recently posted..Freelance Writer? Earn Some Extra Money With DevtomeMy Profile

  23. Personally I’ve found a simple (free) iPhone app called My Weekly Budget (MyWB) very powerful indeed. The theory is simple: you set yourself a weekly spending budget and then whenever you spend any money you simply add the purchase to the app. Your available funds count down as you spend money, showing how much you have left and what your averages are.

    Personally I found this a great way to watch my spending. For example I found that if my average amount available for the rest of the week was dropping I would manage to stop or reduce my spending quite easily. And as the app is on my phone, it’s always to hand making it easy to track my budget.

    It’s also really satisfying to end the week with a “green” number having managed to keep within your self-imposed weekly budget :-)
    Richard @ Frugality Magazine recently posted..How To Become Debt Free: Getting Motivated To Pay Off DebtMy Profile

  24. I need to look into paying my car insurance every 6 months instead of every single month! Such an easy, painless way to save money.
    Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans recently posted..Links Lisa Likes – Warriors vs. NuggetsMy Profile

  25. Agree 110% on shopping for car insurance. Switched to GEICO a few months ago and saved $1200 for the year (looks like that gecko knows what he is talking about.) Am seriously contemplating cutting the cable in the next few weeks, but the NFL and NBA fan in me is resisting. It would save us about $100 a month, which is what those athletes make every time they blink.
    Syed recently posted..Turn Lifestyle Inflation into Savings InflationMy Profile

  26. I’m working on my Internet provider! Hoping they will give me a new promo costs. Calling Customer support next month (as my annual promo expires the end of July).
    Elizabeth @ Single Mom Debt recently posted..Debt Discussion: InternetMy Profile

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