20 Ways We Saved Money This Year

habits Nov 08, 2023
20 Ways We Saved Money This Year

We are now officially in the fourth quarter of 2021! Last week, I shared 15 systems that are really helping to simplify things for me and you guys responded really well to that so I thought I would take you behind the scenes with me and show you ways we saved money this year.

I like to do monthly and quarterly financial planning and balancing. Here are some different considerations that I use for financial minimalism and to help me keep my finances in order. This time, we’re talking about things that are not related to shopping. In other words, these are ways we saved money without necessarily shopping less.

Now, if you want to get some information on shopping less, I do have this other video – three methods to help you curb your shopping.

I’m not giving you financial advice. We’ll just leave it at that. 🙂

Here Are Just 20 Ways We Saved Money This Year

#1. Automate And Pay Annually

One thing that has saved me quite a bit of money is that I automate and pay annually when it makes sense- and here’s why! — The ones in black are my regular family home bills that I’m getting a discount for. And the ones in blue are my business expenses that I’m getting a discount for.

You can see T-Mobile is regularly a hundred dollars, but I’m getting a discount of $10 for using the autopay. My Comcast is also getting a $10 discount and then my four biggest business expenses are Tailwind, Leadpages, Teachable, and Convertkit, all of which I’m paying annually to get a discount. It’s tallying up to $5,785 worth of annual savings, which is 19% of the total amount of all of those bills. 

#2. Take Advantage Of Credit Card Rewards

Another thing that I do is that I use a credit card for everything! That might sound counterintuitive but it’s not. The two credit cards that I use are my Alaska Airlines card and my Amazon card. (You probably see where I’m going with that). The Amazon card gives me 5% cash back to use at Amazon for every Amazon purchase, including Amazon Fresh.

If we spend roughly $200 per week on groceries that comes to $10,400 per year. 5% of that is $520!

My family lives in another state. By using our Alaska credit cards, we’re able to stack up the miles to ideally save money in the future to make one of those trips.

#3. Separate Recurring Bills From Irregular Purchases

We have a separate section in our spreadsheet for recurring bills. It helps us to easily see if anything is deviating from the usual.

This also helps us just to stay on top of what our expected finances are going to be. All of the other charges might change from month to month. We might be able to tighten them up if we need to, but these recurring bills are always going to be the same.

#4. Stay On Top Of Annual Contract Discounts

The fourth tip on ways we saved money is that I make a call whenever our contracts end. Guess who’s calling Comcast every year at about the same time?! 😆

I’m able to pick up on that so quickly because we have the bills separate. Don’t assume that just because your discount is up, you can’t get another one. Also, don’t assume that “grandfathered” always means better.

#5. Grocery Delivery

I’ve said in the past that we now use Amazon Fresh. Whether you’re using Amazon Fresh or another grocery service, having groceries delivered is going to save you money. Walking around the store past all of the cookies and the chips and the various sales for things that you weren’t even considering buying is going to save you money!

You’ll avoid impulse shopping.

We’re not looking through every item on their website. We’re usually just going to the things that we previously ordered and then clicking to reorder them. This saves time and money. 

#6. Use Staple Ingredients

We’re not changing up our ingredients frequently. We have plenty of recipes (it’s not like we’re eating the same thing every night), but we’re using largely the same ingredients. We’re ordering replacements as opposed to ordering completely new ingredients for each meal.

I recommend, even when using new recipes, to replace ingredients that don’t have with something similar that you do.

#7. Limit Eating Out To Once A Week

Number seven is short and sweet and that’s that we only eat out once a week! We have fast-food Fridays and we stick by that rule.

#8. We Batch Our Trips

Moving into transportation, we batch our trips. (You know, how much I love batching 😉).

I sometimes get in the mood to just get out of the house and go do something but for the most part, it’s kind of a chore. So, if there are things that we need to go get from different locations, we’ll do it all at once to minimize how much we’re having to drive around. That really helps to save money on gas. 

#9. Ditch The Gas Guzzler

I traded in my gas-guzzling Envoy for the Mini Cooper, which uses way less gas. The Envoy was getting 18 mpg, sometimes 16. In 2019, I spent $1,073 on gas.

Now, I was driving quite a bit more. Still, that 16-18 mpg was killing me. You can see here that the average cost to fill my tank up from empty was around $67. 

So again, there are various factors that are involved here, like the fact that we just aren’t driving as much and the tank on the mini is smaller than the tank was on the Envoy. However, if you look over the past 12 months, we’ve only spent $230 on gas, which is quite a big difference. 

And if you take a look at the average amount spent filling the tank up, it’s around $35-$38.

#10. Buy Used Cars

This next one is a personal preference of mine, but I don’t buy new cars. I’ve only ever bought used. The only situation where I would buy new would be for a Tesla or some new cutting-edge tech that hasn’t been around long.

The Mini that we bought was no exception. We bought it used for around $13,000. Looking at the website where we purchased, a new one is starting at $31,900.

We were able to save $18,900 by purchasing it is used instead of new. Honestly, I don’t experience anything differently in driving it used. It only had maybe 20,000 miles on it and I anticipate it will last us many years.

#11. Use An Online Travel Service

The last one in the transportation category is about flying. I told you that my family lives in another state and that we have been collecting Alaska airlines miles through our credit cards, but miles are really a long game. So if you don’t have enough miles to actually pay for any of your transportation currently, it’s going to be cheaper to look at other sources.

So for example, in planning a trip to Texas, I went through Alaska and double-checked with a couple of different airlines as well. It was going to cost $2,682 (and that was with multiple layovers!). 

I was able to find the same dates on Priceline for $1,675 nonstop. That saved us a thousand dollars right there! My go-to’s have always been Priceline, Expedia, and Cheapo Air.

#12. Thrift Shop

I thrift shop. It’s better for the environment and easier on the pocketbook. I talked about this a couple of weeks back in this video on the benefits of a capsule wardrobe. Fast fashion is so rampant and detrimental to the environment. Also, it of course saves money buying clothing at a fraction of the cost.

#13. Set Reminders For Trial Subscriptions

I shared last week how I set reminders for everything. It’s so easy because I can talk to the Echo Dot or to my phone and simply schedule reminders with my voice. It doesn’t really take me any extra effort to give a voice reminder the day before a trial subscription ends.

I might decide that I do want to purchase the subscription or I might not. Either way, I definitely want to participate in making that decision!

#14. Pay Attention To Credit Influencers

It’s important to pay attention, not only to your credit but to the factors that influence it. Credit is where you save the big bucks, right? So many people spend more money on interest rates than they do on the thing they’re buying.

Now I admit, I don’t know how this works in other countries. (I live in the US so I look at the factors that are applicable here). The longer that you have your accounts open, the better your credit! I’ve had some cards since I was 19 just for the longevity in my credit rating.

#15. Use Mint To Track

Data is key. You might think that you’re spending all of your money on coffee and you might be feeling really bad about that. (I’ve thought that too ✋).

But looking at the data, you may see that you’re actually spending significantly more money in an area that you hadn’t even considered. Mint is great about giving you really cool trending graphs. Having that knowledge is really important for being able to make financially savvy decisions. 

#16. Refinanced Our Home

You’ve probably heard the big three and finances: home, car, and food. Those are the three major categories we tend to spend the bulk of our income on. Many say not to worry about smaller purchases because the majority of your paycheck is going toward these larger categories (and there’s a lot of truth in that). However, you might now be able to (or want to) leave your home to get lower rates.

So, how can you save?

We recently refinanced our home and were able to save $500 a month! It didn’t take much effort or time. If you’re able to, getting a lower rate can save you so much money.

#17. Sell Unused Items

I know that I’ve talked in other videos about how selling unused items can really drag out the process of decluttering. In fact, I share in this video how to declutter faster that foregoing selling is obviously a way that you can declutter faster.

However, finding people who actually want the stuff that you’re getting rid of (and are willing to pay for it) is probably the most eco-friendly thing you can do with your unused belongings. Nowadays, even donation centers are having to contribute to the landfills.

I really enjoy using OfferUp. That’s always my first place to go.

And I’ve also slowly eased into Facebook Marketplace. (I was a little skeptical of Facebook Marketplace at first but it’s worked out so dar). Over the past 12 months, I’ve made $355! 

#18. Research Pet Meds

Charlie recently had an issue with her eye and needed eye drops. These drops were going to cost $70 at the vet! Within five minutes, Matt was able to find the same drops on chewy.com for $15.

Unfortunately, our vet wouldn’t work with Chewy. However, when chatting with a representative from Chewy, he said, “This is actually a human med too. You can order this at your local pharmacy.” So we picked it up literally right around the corner, 15 minutes later from Rite Aid for $13. $70…$13!

#19. Buy Glasses Online

Also in the health and wellness category – are eyeglasses. I buy ours from Zenni Optical and am astounded at the difference in cost from brick and mortar stores. Now, sure these are not name-brand glasses (I don’t really buy a name-brand anything), but I’ve had them for a couple of years and they cost $30.

#20. Try Youtube For Fitness

And lastly, I don’t pay for a gym. I have in the past but now I just use Yoga with Adriene. If you have not checked out or used Yoga with Adriene, which is right here on YouTube and is totally free, you should! It’s amazing.

Hopefully, you get some good ideas out of this. Let me know down in the comments things that are working for you! I would love to know your top 3 tips when it comes to finances.


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