Anyone can become a savings sleuth and cut, shave or slash their monthly expenses. All you need to do is look around, the savings are there. Are you interested in cutting your monthly expenses? Then put on your detective’s hat and do some super sleuthing. Searching for bargains can be really fun and satisfying when you know that you are going to cut costs and save some money. Together all those savings can really add up!
Find those hidden discounts
Always be friendly to clerks in the checkout line and ask if there is an unadvertised discount available. Often there are discounts that they can give you on your purchase that you might not have known about or weren’t advertised. I have successfully done this on more than one occasion. A few months back, I was at a craft store buying an set of artist’s colored pencils in a nice metal box. Anything with the word “artist” on it is way overpriced, and as I stood at the register cringing at the price I was about to pay, I asked, “Any coupons or discounts today?” The young woman at the register said, “Well, there is a 50% off the first item. Do you have an smart phone?” In all my excitement, I struggled to find the coupon online. After some time, she tired of watching me, opened the drawer below the register, pulled out a barcoded paper and wha-lah, the discount was applied to purchase. I saved a lot of money that day with just a smile and a question!
Cut the frequency of service
Depending on the amount of garbage you have every week, you may be able to get once a month service. I compost and recycle, and buy very little that is pre-packaged. The result is very little garbage. So, I called the waste management company and asked if they had less expensive options. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were other service options, and I was able to reduce my collection service from weekly to once a month, saving a considerable amount on my monthly bill.
Shave down some of your utility bills
Contact your water, sewage, electric and waste management companies to see what discounts they offer. Some utilities offer discounts based on age, income, or both. A friend of mine has reduced her city bill, for water and sewage, by a whopping 50%! You may also be able to pay reduced real estate taxes. Contact your county to find out what programs they have available. It may be as simple as filling out a form. There is something to be said for becoming a senior, discounts abound!
Think about your phone, cable and internet services. New promotions for these services are constant. I switched to a phone service provider that doesn’t require a contract. It is a monthly prepay option and costs about half of what I was paying before. Now, included in my service, I have unlimited data and texting included in the price that I didn’t have before. So not only am I saving on the monthly service fee, but I am getting more bang for my buck! Being without a phone service contract allows you to shift to another provider easily, when a better deal avails itself. Plus, if you are a part-time expat you can stop your service while you are out of the country and start it up again when you return.
Find the “code”
Do your research before buying something online. After you find the best price and before you click to complete the sale, if there is a place to put a promotion code, use it. Often times, there is a discount for the item you are purchasing, or free shipping, if you put in a promo code. Search online. Put in the store name, promo code, month, and year in the search engine. There will a number of sites to choose from. You may find a code, or you may not, but it is worth the savings to take a moment and try.
Slash your bill in half
Going out to eat? Check the restaurant’s website before you go to see if there is a coupon, or call around and find restaurants that offer a senior discount or early bird special. If you don’t ask, you will never know. A friend and I go to a favorite Mexican restaurant in town and the first thing we do before heading to the restaurant is go to the computer and download the restaurant’s coupon. Second entrée free! Can’t beat that!
Garage sales, thrift stores and community and church rummage sales are a perfect way to pick up something you really do need, at a great price. New items once purchased, become “used” once it comes through your door. Nothing is new forever. So, if you buy a gently used and in good condition item, then you are saving a lot of money compared to a new item that becomes “used” the first time you use it, sit on it, or wear it. When you are heading out the door, know exactly what you are looking for, otherwise you risk coming home with a carload of stuff that you don’t need and really don’t want. I like to keep a watchful eye for community garage sales in the higher end communities where you can find great bargains at a fraction of the cost. I found a great purple sofa – yes, purple – at a garage sale that was recently reupholstered. They even delivered it for me, brought it up the stairs and set it in place. My little dog, Maggie Mae, claimed it as her own immediately!
How have you cut your monthly expenses? Share your thoughts below.