and the Dollars will follow…
Now you’re probably asking just how saving a penny will make a difference. Well I’m here to tell you it does.
I’ll be honest, you’re not going to make thousands of dollars right away (or even at all) just saving pennies, but the way I see it, every dollar helps.
I’ve been trying for years to figure out ways to make extra money. That was part of the reason I’d started writing. Of course with writing, beyond the required good story, an author needs to be a marketing guru and then have a certain amount of luck on his/her side. I might have had the required good story, but I suck at marketing and luck…lol…yeah that kind of luck doesn’t exist in my house.
Anyway, after I realized I wasn’t going to making money hand over fist I started looking for ways to save/make extra money.
Today I’m going to give you some simple/logical tips on how doing little things can save money. Many of these you’ve heard before. Others might be new and all of it takes dedication, work and self-discipline.
Tip #1: Make your coffee at home.
Yes, Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks or (if you’re on the East coast) Wawa is easy and tastes great. However, even when Wawa is running a $1.00 coffee sale you’re still spending a minimum of $5.00 a week. Multiply that by 52 weeks and you’ve just spent a minimum of $260.00 for the year just on coffee. Now that’s a minimum. Buy Starbucks every day at $5.00 a day and you’ve just spent $1560.00 a year on coffee.
All of these companies sell ground coffee, either in k-cups or bags. Spend $7.00 for a bag that will last you 2 weeks instead of $5.00 a day and you’ve just dropped your coffee bill from $1,560.00 to $182.00 a year for coffee.
Now if you’re not a coffee snob and are just looking for a caffeine fix, switch to a brand like Folgers or Chock-full-o-nuts, buy the containers when they’re on sale and then apply a coupon and yeah…you’ve just cut that bill even more.
I’m partial to the chock-full-o-nuts brand and buy my coffee when it’s on sale for $2.99 a can. I’ll stock up until the next sale and I go through a can in a bout 2 weeks. So my coffee bill (if I never bought coffee out and made it at home every day) is about $80.00 a year. $80.00 is a lot more palatable to me than $1560.00.
Tip #2 – Invest in reward cards.
Okay, so I’ll be honest here. I do on occasion buy my coffee out and sometimes even get a breakfast sandwich or donuts. I mean really, if you can’t enjoy these wonderful items once in a while, what’s the point? However, I’m also going to make sure I get something in return for buying their product (I mean more than just the coffee or sandwich). Places like Dunkin Donuts and Wawa have what they call rewards cards. It’s no cost to sign up, but you do have to put money on the card to us. So they kinda work like a gift card.
In fact Wawa’s reward cards are gift cards that you register on Wawa’s website and then just reload as necessary. Use your reward cards when making purchases and these places will give you points or credits against your account. Earn so many points or credits and get a free coffee or some other item depending on the card and company.
Wawa’s rewards are a little steep. You have to buy $50.00 worth of stuff to get your free coffee. However, you can also buy more than just coffee at Wawa. Need a gallon of Milk but don’t want to go to the grocery store? Hit Wawa. Want newspaper? A soda? Need bread, something for lunch or a snack? You can get all of these at Wawa and use your reward card. I look at it like this. I’m going to buy the items anyway, I might as well get something more for the effort right?
Check around your area and see who offers reward cards and what you get for signing up and using it. Every little bit helps, right?
Tip #3 – Use rebate apps.
Now I’ve told you about how couponing can save you money, but in addition to coupons there are rebate apps out there that will give you money back on groceries. Now I’m talking ten cents here and twenty five cents there, but if you’re consistent and loyal that change adds up pretty quickly to turn into dollars.
I use an app called Ibotta. I find it works well for my needs, but there are dozens of rebate apps out there.
Check out 51
Find & Save
These are just a few rebate apps in addition to Ibotta. How they work are pretty simple. Before you go shopping (after you’ve made your list), go through the app and select everything you plan on purchasing. Go grocery shopping. When you get home and while you’re putting your groceries away, open the app, select the item you purchased and scan the bar code of the item. Put your item away and move on. When you’re done, you’ll need to take a picture of your receipt and submit it. The app will validate your purchase and place the appropriate amount of money in your account.
When you reach a certain dollar amount, and depending on what app you’re using, you can ‘cash out’ this money, by having it transferred to your papal or bank account or exchange it for a gift card that will be send to you.
Yes, its a bit extra work, but not so much that it’s not worth doing.
Tip #4 – Keep a change jar (or 2 or 3) around the house.
Rule of thumb in this house is if you forget to empty your pants pocket, whatever I find when I’m doing laundry then belongs to the house. Change is a big one. There seems to always be coins in pockets or worse, in the bottom of my washer. I put a change jar in the laundry room and place the loose change found there in the jar. It’s not much, but if left alone, it will accumulate.
Don’t forget when cleaning to check the couch cushions and toss that money into the jar.
Get into the habit of emptying your extra change out of your purse/pocket into a jar.
Make sure you periodically check your vehicle for loose change and add that to the jar.
Yes, it’s literally pennies you’re saving, but if you save enough you might have enough money to take the family out to dinner once in a while or to go buy ice cream or water ice during the summer.
Tip #5 – Save eating out for special occasions.
Again, this is something that is so simple and you’ve probably heard a thousand times before, but it’s true. The average meal from McDonalds (not buying off the dollar menu) for a family of four will run you between $25 and $30.
Go to a diner or someplace like Friendlies or TGI Fridays and that bill easily just jumped another $20.00 plus tip.
So let’s analyze this for just a moment. Let’s say you eat out just once a week and you keep it to fast food. McDonalds, Taco Bell, Burger King.
$25.00 x 52 = $1,300.00 per year in fast food.
Compared to eating out, cooking at home is pennies on the dollar and in the long run, quite a bit healthier because you control what ingredients you use. Plus, with the amount of recipe apps available, it would be easy to make Mexican or Chinese at home that tastes just as good or better than what you could buy. Plus, you can make extra, save and freeze for the next time you feel like eating out.
These are just a few tips, but there a ton more ways to save and make money and I’ll be back to share more ideas soon.