Recently, I asked the fans of The Simple Dollar on Facebook what their favorite single money tip was. I got all kinds of responses from all kinds of angles.
I thought I’d share some of them with you. I went through the list and started just pulling out ones that made me smile and before I knew it, I had eighteen. Here they are!
(If you’re on Facebook, please become a fan of The Simple Dollar. I put up something about once a week, so it won’t be flooding your pages with updates.)
Lisa Hayes: My best tip? Stay home!
Absolutely. For the most part, activities in the home are much less expensive than activities out and about. Watching a movie at home? Much cheaper than a theater. Making a meal at home? Much cheaper than eating out. Having a few drinks with friends? Much cheaper at home than at a club.
Tammy Ackerson: Signed up for The Grocery Game. Routinely saves me (family of 3) over $100/week on things I’d have bought anyway, and takes less time than sorting through all the sale papers and coupons myself. Requires stockpiling non-perishable foods, paper goods, health and hygiene items to get the most out of it, but after a few months, I started having some weeks where I didn’t have to buy anything but milk and produce.
I used The Grocery Game for a time, but I never found that it saved me much more than simply knowing the best stores to shop at in the area and planning my meals well. It could be that it just doesn’t serve rural Iowa all that well. However, I do agree that sensible buying in bulk can save you quite a lot of money, as can putting some care into meal planning.
Kara Ryder-Overman: Just because it’s on sale, doesn’t mean you should buy it
For me, the most annoying thing in advertisements about sales is when companies talk about how much money you “save.” You don’t save anything by buying more stuff. You’re still throwing away the money you worked so hard for in exchange for some stuff that you probably don’t need.
Susan Vittitow Mark: One year, my New Year’s resolution was simply “If I can’t pay cash, I don’t need it.”
An all-cash personal economy works really well for keeping yourself out of debt. I still recommend keeping a credit card and using it for some essential purchases to keep your credit rating high (like owning a gas station card and using it only for gas, then paying off the balance each month), because a high credit rating can help with insurance rates.
Kristin Cribbs Dunlap: Make friends with compulsive upgraders – from “The Complete Tightwad Gazette”.
Compulsive upgraders always have stuff they’re giving away. Another tip along these lines: look for yard sales and garage sales in upscale neighborhoods. They’re often selling stuff for $0.50 that I’d love to have in my home.
Sue Peterson Blyth: Developing our single family home into an intentional community – now housing four families – pays for our mortgage payment and also adds neighbors committed to things like energy conservation, recycling and help with weeding in the garden.
This takes renting out an extra room in your home to a whole new level! I think this could work very well with the right people, but the wrong people could easily poison the pot.
leslie beslie: Ask! Ask for a lower insurance rate. Ask for a better cable/deal. Ask for reduced interest. Ask about current sales/promotions. Ask for a raincheck.
This works great if you’re an extrovert. I’ve been working on an article about this for a while, building on the idea of askers and guessers.
Daniel Aggeler: Separate your “want list” from your “need list”.
I think many people are poor at doing this on the fly. Marketing intensifies the urgency of various wants, to the point that they become all-encompassing to people. They think about the thing they want incessantly until the urgency of it becomes almost like a need, especially in some situations where it’s very convenient just to buy the item.
Sumitra Thomas: Dont spend on champagne when you only can afford beer!
Both literally and figuratively, of course.
Stephanie Pope Hedgepeth: Set up an automatic bank transfer from checking account to savings account each pay date.
Most of our personal finances run on automatic transfers. Our retirement savings is done by automatic transfer. Our long term goal saving is done by automatic transfer. Our emergency fund is built by automatic transfer. Many of our bills are paid automatically.
Sandra Clark: Don’t drive home past the liquor store when you work at a job that you really don’t like and consistently frustrates you!
This was perhaps the funniest one. Don’t turn to alcohol to solve your problems, folks!
Kymberlee Parker-Young: MOST people buy a new(er) car because they WANT one not because they NEED one.
Most people buy most things because they want them, not because they need them. A nice car doesn’t provide transportation, it provides a sense of owning a nice car.
Kyrie Moore: cloth diapers i sew myself, built our own diaper sprayer (from online tutorial), i clean everything with just vinegar and/or baking soda, rags instead of paper towels (with kids paper towels go SO fast), AND us and 3 family members go in a whole cow every year for meat… okay that’s a lot more than just 1….
Making things yourself almost always saves money. My family and I are ardent cloth diaperers. We have a nice garden. We make most of our meals at home, from scratch. Yet we eat really well and diaper rash isn’t a problem – and we don’t spend much, either.
Hannah Pitts: Don’t buy more house than you can afford!
I think if you’re more than doubling your combined salary in a mortgage, no matter what the interest rate, you’re setting yourself up for potential trouble down the road.
Candie Ackerman: Buy used before trying to buy anything new.
The easiest way to do this is to shop at the used store first. When you go clothes shopping, start at the consignment shop (we’ve been frequenting Duck Worth Wearing in Ames, Iowa for our children’s clothes needs lately, for example) or Goodwill. If you want a video game, hit a used video game shop. The list goes on and on.
Karen Eck: I shop with forethought and afterthought. Many, many times I pick up an item only to return it to the self .”Do I need it, do I already have one, can I do without, why do I need it, would something I have work just as well in its place. Doing this has saved us alot of money.
If you’re buying stuff without thinking, you’re not only paying too much for the stuff you’re getting, but you’re also likely picking up a lot of stuff you don’t need and barely want.
Jennifer Sheets: No recreational shopping!
To me, “recreational shopping” doesn’t sound like fun at all. Whenever I’m in a store, my mission is usually to get out of there as quickly as possible.
Susan Jensen: Live within your means. Iif you cannot afford it, do not buy it. Above all, choose to do what’s right, over what’s easy.
That’s pretty much the best single shot of advice in this whole article.