7 Creative Ways to Save Money Every Month

by Vincent King · 24 comments

Last we checked, money still hasn’t started growing on trees yet. Not in our yard, anyway. So we decided to experiment and see if we could find some new ways to save the same old money.

Our experiments were a success. We’ve saved on nearly every one, and I’m thrilled to show you how we did it.

1. Switching grocery stores. We used to shop at Walmart. Now we shop at a local ethnic market, buying all of our meat fresh from a butcher, along with our local produce. Ground beef is $2.99/lb compared to Walmart’s $3.99/lb. Their chicken is usually on sale at $0.99/lb and that’s boneless/skinless!

The best part is, my wife gets to have the chicken cut the way she wants and it’s ready to cook when she is!  The produce is local and cheap, too. Overall, we’ve saved $550 in groceries in the last three months and our family is buying fresher, healthier foods.

For cleaning supplies, we switched to Aldi, a smaller store. Now, we simply avoid the spending trap of Walmart altogether.

Takeaway: Find a local ethnic market for your meats and produce to save significantly on your weekly grocery bill.

2. Using Ebates for cosmetic goods and other household supplies that we can’t find at Aldi. By shopping Ebates, we get a reward for every purchase.

We switched to Target for our shopping needs. By using Target’s online Ebates link, we get 3.0% cash back instead of 1.0% from Walmart’s online store. We’ve earned nearly $150 back in just two months.

Takeaway: Take advantage on online rebate sites, as every % counts.

3. Making kids’ sporting events a picnic. Rather than buying hot dogs and drinks at the park, for no less than $8 per person, my wife makes our afternoons special by packing our food and calling it the picnic that it is.

The kids don’t get caught up in buying stuff just because we’re out. It also forms a deeper family bond by turning it into a family event. Even if we splurge and buy the Angus beef hot dogs and gourmet buns and take our own family tea or water, we save over $20 at every event.

Takeaway: Prepare your own food for special events. Do it well and you can get everyone excited while saving money.

4. Use a PerkStreet Cash Back Debit Card. I’ve only recently signed up for this, so there are technically no savings to report yet. That being said, there are LOADS of great reviews on the site and the card offers up to 2% cash back on certain purchases, or 1% cash back on every purchase. They card also offers free checking and bill pay.

So far, we’ve been pleased by FDIC insurance, and the ample offered rewards on almost every purchase. We’re excited to see exactly how much we’re going to save with this one.

Takeaway: Keep your eyes open for new trends to help you consistently save.

5. Reselling the kids clothes to consignment. Considering how fast kids go through clothes, this has helped tremendously. Taking one load to our local store reaped a nice $150 return. And sure, that money goes right back into their next wardrobe, but that’s still $150 that doesn’t come from my pocket (at least not directly!).

Takeaway: Use what you already have to get more of what you are going to need.

6. Stripping cable to the bare minimum. We save $18/month by not keeping the movie channels we once neglected. Those channels never seemed to show anything we genuinely wanted to watch, so we cut it from our lives. Now we enjoy the movies we’ve collected over time, yet never played, while watching movies online at Hulu.

We watch what we want when we want, and don’t pay for something isn’t performing to our family needs.

Takeaway: See what packages you can downgrade, if not cut completely. Here are some more ideas to trim your cable TV costs.

7. Opt for free entertainment. We used to go to the mall (a trip that never cost less than $50), shopping for toys ($50), or to Chuck E Cheese ($25) when we had time off with the kids. Now, we hit the park, the library, nature trails or to the lake. We go for family walks. We play games. All saving a minimum $25 – $50 a pop.

Takeaway: Choosing free entertainment can be more fulfilling and rewarding than paid entertainment, almost every time.

What are your favorite ways to save? Which one offers you the greatest return?

Money Saving Tip: An incredibly effective way to save more is to reduce your monthly Internet and TV costs. Click here for the current Verizon FiOS promotion codes and promos to see if you can save more money every month from now on.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Ginger June 18, 2012 at 7:44 am

Doesn’t target have a shipping cost if you order from their website?

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Kate June 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm

We don’t have Target in Canada yet, but it’s coming soon. The difficulty for them will be training the surly, unhelpful Canadian staff to work to American standards.

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Diane June 24, 2012 at 11:38 am

You are so right. Nothing for Canada to be proud of. I’m an American living in Canada. A favorite pastime for Canadians is to compare themselves to Americans with them always winning. I’ve lived here for over forty years and I still defend America, not that anyone will admit friendliness is not a high point in their lives.

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Laura July 4, 2012 at 9:45 am

I’ve lived in both America and Canada. Americans have it hands down on friendliness and helpfulness in stores. In Canada Customer Service agents make you feel like your inconveniencing them when you ask a question – isn’t that what they’re getting paid to do?

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Jules June 18, 2012 at 10:08 am

What did you spend $5000 on (3% = $150)?

I don’t really see cash back incentives as saving money. You’re still paying 99% of the price. It’s nice to get a nice little sum back at the end of the month (or year), but it shouldn’t dictate your spending habits.

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Kate June 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm

My bank offers one of these cash-back cards. I read the brochure and discovered that in order to save the substantial sums they claimed, it would be best to be a family of more than four with two cars and both parents working…and the account charged $14.00 a month in fees! I have a “Basic Banking” account that after you reach age 58 charges no fees at all, and I build up “Scene Points” every time I use my debit card, pay a bill at the bank or have a direct deposit made, and use those toward a movie (which saves me $18.00).

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Lance@MoneyLife&More June 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm

While canceling the extra channels ask your cable company if they can give you any other discounts. Normally they’ll give you more than just the money for cancelling extra channels.

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Mike June 19, 2012 at 2:17 am

We’re also thinking of switching to a cheaper cable plan since we don’t get to use/watch most of the channels in our current plan.

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TB at BlueCollarWorkman June 20, 2012 at 5:54 am

Right on! My wife and I always make meals/snacks for the kids’ games, for road trips, for everything! It’s so much cheaper and we all eat better too. Win win.

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Kate June 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Our prices in Canada are sometimes four to five times what you pay in America (e.g. Parmesian Cheese that costs $1.99 at the Walmart in Syracuse NY costs over $7 here in my grocery store). Socialism is costly! When I visit my brother or my Mom, I always come home with canned goods and laundry detergent and batteries — the latter two have a costly “eco tax” imposed on them in addition to their already high price and the 13% Goods and Services Tax). The Seven Last Words of Canada are “I will buy it in the States.” Even our federal government has got on this bandwagon; the duty free for a 24 hour stay is now $800! Takeaway Tip: Shop In The States.

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Mddwsjohnson June 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm

I do not believe this person is saving over $550 per month shopping at a local store. I believe in hometown stores but they are not going to be $550 cheaper per month. It doesn’t work that way. I know.

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MoneyNing June 22, 2012 at 9:35 am

Vincent mentioned that he saved $550 in the last three months, which is a huge sum no doubt but the savings is actually quite believable.

Instead of debating whether the exact number is realistic or not, why don’t we try some of his suggestions and see how we do? Even if we don’t save $180 or so a month, any savings we do get is great for our budget I’m sure.

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Laura July 4, 2012 at 9:49 am

Well the comment left did highlight the “we simply avoid the spending trap of Walmart altogether” – perhaps the actual cost of goods is not the only part of the savings, it may be that once you are stunned by the white overhead lights, everything you see becomes a must have, aka the “spending trap of Walmart”. Shop in a smaller store, and you’re in and out in 15-20 min. and less items to tempt you to buy. An overall savings in time and money.

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Steven June 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I have a PerkStreet Cash Back debit card and I am liking it. I haven’t cashed in my rewards yet, but I have earned $144 in less than a year. Part of the reason they can give the cash back on the debit card is that they don’t have physical banks. Everything is online, so the overhead savings of operating banking locations can be passed on to customers. They also have a huge range of free ATMs that can be used (most CVS stores and others). It has been the easiest banking I’ve ever done.

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Diane June 24, 2012 at 11:46 am

Recently I stopped in at a fruit stand in our town. What delicious local strawberries! Fresh beautiful broccoli, apples, and more. All local and fresh. I will go back to that fruit stand and others in town. No more produce from other countries. I have stopped grocery shopping in Walmart. I have begun purchasing my meat from local farmers. No hormones or chemicals. I know everyone cannot do this. Fortunately I am in a rural area.

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Grace June 25, 2012 at 8:45 am

This is a great post, thanks so much. I really like that these tips are so versatile that they can be used year round! One of my favorite ways to save is by planning out my groceries a week in advance so I can get everything from the store at one time, make a few good meals that last a week, and buy just a few snacks. I save a lot of money by making a list, going to the store just once per week, and eating leftovers!

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Frollo Moran July 4, 2012 at 2:08 am

One of the first places people should be looking to save money are on the big recurring expenses that we all have every month.

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Donny Bruce July 10, 2012 at 6:24 am

Start a network of bartering skills. Surround yourself with people who have diverse skills e.g electrician, plumber, garden service, hairdresser, etc etc. contract with them to trade skills without money changing hands. “You look after my garden twice monthly and i’ll cook dinner on a drop and collect basis once a week”. We all have something to bring to the table. if you make this work for you, you’ll save loads of money. Be creative!

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Jay July 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I buy all my fruit and vegatables at the local farmer’s market on Sunday mornings. This saves me over $60.00 a month. I buy all my meat and fish at the local butcher, it isn’t frozen and I save about $80.00 a month feeding three adults and one child. I cut my cable and watch just the three networks now (I was never a TV fan) Another $40.00 there. I changed to a pre-pay cell phone that has an unlimited internet connection that I tether through to my laptop and tablet which saves me another $50.00. I changed my auto insurance and deal with only one bank… But the best thing is, now I have no balance on my credit cards anymore, which saves me money in interest. I’d say I’m saving about $550.00 overall too of which I’m saving over $200.00… Though I really liked the park over pizza idea, think I’ll try that one…

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Skybart July 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Since when are there Aldi-markets in the U.S.? All over the country?

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Jim September 20, 2012 at 6:06 pm

If you are still using a land telephone line, you are probably paying $35-$40 per month. If you already have broadband internet service, there are several companies that can deliver equal quality for about $5/month.

I use Ooma, and I’m very satisfied. It saves about $35 per month. There’s other companies as well – do some reading before deciding – not all of them deliver good service.

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Kate February 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm

If your electricity goes out, so will your internet connected telephone. I had a land line put in because I have a heart condition, and I value my life more than I value the “savings” if any that I’d get from disconnecting my lifeline. Again, almost none of these telephone systems are available in Canada.

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Molly February 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Target has a 5% discount on every purchase using their credit or debit card. Costco offers 1-4% rebates depending on your membership and purchase. Rebate covers mbership and more

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John March 25, 2013 at 11:43 am

I am retired on limited income, so I could use a lot of this kind of advise. I am sure others seniors can use this kind of advise also.

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