How to Save Money Every Month

by David Ning · 125 comments

Save Money Every MonthIt’s easy to stop pulling out the wallet every once in a while and declare triumph, but don’t kid yourself – we know it’s the recurring expenses that really drown us into debt. The monthly expenses are what most people neglect because they are subconsciously trained to ignore it after seeing the same line item month after month after month. Let me tell you the truth. It’s the area that’s most beneficial to look into because you work on eliminating it once and you are saving money every month. Want to know where to start? Here’s the tip of the iceberg.

The Usual and Important Bills to Cut Every Month

  • Cell Phone – Remember me getting a few hundred dollars for switching cell phone carriers? What I didn’t mention is that many people are starting to look into prepaid plans as well. The per minute cost may be high but if you never experienced having your ears burn because you talk too much on the phone, you probably can save some money by paying as you go.
  • Home Phone – I don’t have a home phone and I have no idea why the business model still exists. Do you have one still? That’s so 1980s…
  • Internet – Have you looked into the different technology (and thus, options) available to you? Could you actually buy an Internet capable phone and hook it up to a PC (a feature known as tethering) to get essentially the same service for a fraction of the cost?
  • TV – The case is made countless times but I bet many of you still pay way too much for your favorite shows. There are many legal ways to watch TV online like hulu.com and if you are a movie buff, there’s always the idea of using a Netflix coupon to get some free service.
  • Gym Membership – Gym? Do you actually go? Most people are going after a healthy and fit body instead of becoming a muscle man (or lady). The fittest people are always the ones who go out to jog every day. They run on the road, on the beach and in the parks. You don’t need to smell other people’s sweat and pay a bunch of money just to stay fit right?
  • Clubs, Newsletters, Subscriptions – Enough said. Unless they provide real value, stop paying for it.
  • Electricity – Many tricks we know, but in order to save money every month, we have to change our habits. Turn off the lights and electronics whenever it’s not needed, dial down the water heater to 112 degrees, open the windows instead of using A/C are all simple ways to not only save but to put less strain on the overall environment.
  • Pills – It’s easy to switch your prescriptions to generic brands and best of all, it’s almost always cheaper. (Stole this tip from Frugal Dad. Check out his list at the bottom of the post)
  • Cars – Oil changes and regular maintenance may be out of your league but wash your own cars. Please.
  • Insurance Companies – Call the representatives regularly and see if there is a better deal (remember their competition as well). If everyone does this, it may even create more jobs.

Activities You Should Try

  • Stop Bringing Your Credit Card Out for a Month – At first, you will feel very restricted but you will slowly realize where you are spending money on. It’s amazing that we remember our purchases so much better when we pay in cash.
  • Try Paying All Your Bills by Check for 3 Months – Stop all the automation for 3 months and see what happens. When you have to spend time to handle payments, you will find a way to cut out the ones that aren’t absolutely necessary.
  • Pretend You are Broke for 2 Months – The ramen days are over but that doesn’t mean the hard earned money that we have should go to waste. Try it. It’s quite fun (I lived with $34.01 a week once and learned a few things)
  • Add Up All Your Monthly Recurring Subscription Cost for the Year – It’s amazing how pricing strategy works. $37 a month is actually closer to $450 a year. It’s not that cheap after all.
  • Check Your Credit Card Statements – One of the worst money suckers are the ones that automatically charge our credit cards. It’s no wonder why my credit card balance is 4 digits every month and I left the card in the freezer.

What Do You Do to Save Money Every Month?

I know you have some great tips and tricks. Share with others.

Further Savings Every Month:

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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{ 125 comments… read them below or add one }

Skip June 17, 2009 at 7:23 am

Regarding a home phone… my wife is home during the day with our 3 little kids. We maintain a corded, non-fancy telephone plugged into our landline for the sole purpose of being able to dial 911 in case of emergency and not having to worry about coverage/dropped calls/low battery/can’t find the cell phone/etc… Another nice benefit is that the 911 operator would be able to see our home address instantly, rather than having to rely on the GPS or whatever.

On the flip side, our landline plan includes unlimited long distance, and we don’t pay for a monthly cell plan either. I have a work-owned mobile phone, and she has a prepaid mobile for when she’s out and about. (So our monthly “mobile” bill is near nonexistent; we pay maybe $100/year for service that matches our usage pattern.)

911 service is the same reason we haven’t switched to a VOIP phone setup, either. Perhaps I’m over-cautious, but in case of emergency I would hate to think that there might be any sort of delay at all in communicating and getting help.

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CJ December 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I totally agree. I’m glad I now have a land line. I think wireless providers charge way too much for phone service today, especially if you get the “smart” phone package.

~ CJ, Low Insurance

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Aisha February 3, 2012 at 7:00 am

Yes I agree!! Having a landline these days is MUCH cheaper than the smart phone plans. Paying for the “smart” phone plan is paying double for the same features. Why am I paying for internet on a phone when I’m at a computer all day long at work? AND pay for internet at home.

I’m coming to the realization of how much I could be saving, but is it worth paying the termination fees? Its a good “long run” decision, but I dont have the “short term” cash…

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Debbie F. February 3, 2012 at 7:16 am

Aisha,

Termination fee vs. monthly cell phone charges?? Chica…it’s cheaper to terminate and get hit once vs. getting hit monthly!!

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Carrie June 17, 2009 at 9:20 am

it’s actually better for the environment for you to take your car to the car wash. it may cost $10 but they can recycle and reuse the water and waste water is treated before it flows into open water sources like rivers, lakes, and the ocean.

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Jackson December 29, 2010 at 12:37 pm

No that is not true, usually when you have an open source around you you get the water from it. It is treated and it goes back to you.

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Dani January 27, 2011 at 8:55 am

Carrie is right. Don’t wash your car at home – particularly if you live somewhere where you value fresh seafood.

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Wise One December 23, 2011 at 7:58 am

That is dumb. All water is recycled. It’s called evaporation and precipitation. The amount of water on earth never decreases. Wash your car at home, using a moderate amount of water and detergent. You will use much less of both than a carwash. And washing a car is good, free exercise.

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Ellsworth January 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Calling people’s comments dumb make you sound dumb and ignorant. I happen to agree that washing cars at home is way cheaper than going to a car wash and this board is about saving oney not spending it.

For those who say they save money, unless that money goes straight into the bank, you’re not saving. You are just spending on something else. Unless you put everything you haven’t spent on then you aren’t saving monies. I have a bank receipt that I’ve been doing for over a year now. Every penny sitting in my purse, every dollar that has been in my wallet for a month all goes in the bank. I’ve saved I mean saved 2,391.26 in one year. This is the 1st time I’ve ever done that it is because the masses always say save money, or you save money because you didn’t buy something when in reality they didn’t save, they just spent on something else. Unless you can show that you’ve saved like I can, anything you don’t spend your money on that goes into saving is called you saved. Deposit loose change in your account deposit dollars, everything adds up and then your interest will be more and more. I’m happy getting 15 cents a month in interest makes my savings grow and this is only my money, not family saving or family money. It is what I have saved!

In terms of wise, you are not wise if you are calling the things ppl say dumb. EVerybody has the right to give opinions and it isn’t for you to decide if they are smart or dumb. Only God has that right and HE most certainly would never call his creations dumb. For us Christians we were created in God’s perfect light.

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Arminius Aurelius July 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm

I feel it is better to worry about how you can save money for yourself which is an investment in your future . You would save at least $ 9.50 . If you are worried about the environment , talk to your Congressmen . Since 1950 , the U.S.A. has instigated well over 30 wars against poor 3 rd world countries who were no threat to us . We threatened , intimidated , bombed and invaded country after country and in the process our thousands of Jets spewing noxious fumes and dropping Blockbuster Bombs containing depleted uranium , napalm and in the process totally reducing cities to rubble and murdering MILLIONS of innocent men , women and children . Depleted uranium poisons the atmosphere for hundreds of years . That is the greatest threat to our environment , not washing your own car. The HOT AIR coming out of WASHINGTON is another threat to our environment . What EVIL lurks in the hearts of men .

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Ellsworth January 5, 2014 at 1:33 pm

This isn’t a political forum so I’d think it be best if you went to a political forum and stop trashing The USA. I’m a proud American and we live in the best country on earth so back off the hate comments and stick to the topic of saving money!

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marci June 17, 2009 at 1:24 pm

In our small rural area, we are ‘forced’ into having a land line phone if we want cheap internet. I cannot get the internet from my local provider without the landline (basic with no long distance)…. it’s a major pain, but that’s how it is. I could go to satellite internet, but it is more expensive than the phone and internet combined. My employer covers my cell phone, so I have no personal expense there. The business phone also hooks to the fax machine – not everyone wants to send via email or internet. (nor has the capability) Plus around here, during stormy times, the cell towers go out in windstorms – no cell service for a week last winter. It’s best to have a back up plan.

Basically, to save money, I stay out of the stores and off-line. No temptations allowed. ie, Don’t spend any money and you save a lot :)

Basically free food is available almost all over if one wants to put the time into finding and harvesting it. Fishing and clamming provide most of the meat – and the garden provides most of the veggies and fruits. Trading excesses with friends also helps fill in the gaps of what I don’t grow/harvest. I trade meat cutting and wrapping for free deer, elk, and beef. Freeze, can, dehydrate, and use up everything. For clothing, home decor, and gifts, go garage saling. All those things enable me to get by on very very little actual cash out of pocket, and still live great.

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Jewelsmom March 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I just love “free food” ideas. I purchase our small town newspaper (also available on-line for cost of subscription) and put on the family calendar all the local events. In our area [11,000 residents, 45 min north of Santa Fe NM] there are many book & poetry readings, local gov’t and social clubs, church speakers and fundraisers events, school plays, science bowls, and events, etc. that advertise free food with attendance. Our county has arts & crafts in the parks, family picnics, big band dances, etc. It’s a great way to get our family’s time together and enjoy excellent food for next to nothing.
We also love to go to Santa Fe on Saturdays and hit Whole Foods just before lunchtime. We cruise the isles, picking up complimentary samples of wine & cheese, chips & dips, itty-bitty finger sandwiches, soup tasters & 1 oz coffee samples. We never walk away hungry.

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Car Insurance Guy June 17, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Wow, great post. Two useful things I’ll do:

1. Cut my premium gym membership (used to be able to take my gf, but she never really goes)

2. Try not to pull out wallet for a month (this is going to be painful)

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Imee June 18, 2009 at 1:34 am

Thanks for these tips. I personally let go of credit cards–they’re just trouble. I find I save more by being frugal and by using pure cash rather than plastic.

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Kallin March 17, 2013 at 7:03 am

Credit cards earns points but make sure you pay off the balance every month. I received about $400-$550 every year.

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Charlie@PayLessForFood.com June 18, 2009 at 3:51 am

Hey David,

You are soooo right about the last statement “Check Your Credit Statements” as recurrent charges are extremely sneaking. I once signed up for Major League Baseball internet tv package that allowed me to watch all the games of my favorite baseball team online.

After the baseball season was over I assumed the monthly charges for the services would stop as well. Well 2 months later I realized that they were still charging my credit card the recurrent fee.

Some people have found that when they buy a product online or through infomercials that they may have unknowingly signed up for some sort of newsletter or internet subscription as part of the ordering process. They may not realize this until they see the recurrent charges on their credit card.

Finally checking your credit card statement allows you to quickly spot and report credit card fraud. This happens more frequently than you think. I recently checked my credit card statement and notice that it had been charged $300 for gas in Texas the day before even though I live in Illinois and the credit card was still in my wallet.

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How to get out of debt June 18, 2009 at 5:37 am

I’ve stopped watching television altogether – I just don’t have time anymore (too much time spent online). One thing I’ve noticed though – I’ve become calmer since I stopped watching TV news. Reading stuff online just doesn’t have the same emotional impact, so you can react to news more objectively.

The other recurring expense to watch is buying too much food and then throwing it out at the end of the week because it’s gone bad before you could eat it. This particularly applies to vegetables.

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Anna January 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm

I concur – I skipped the TV news during the 2008 elections and I have felt great ever since. We got rid of cable – now I watch either Netflix or online TV (you can get some great foreign stuff for free). Occasionally I stop by a friends for special events on TV. But I’m not a regular watcher.

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Arminius Aurelius October 22, 2012 at 11:24 am

Until recently I lived in a rental apartment in Newport , R.I. for 5 months of the year and then winters in N. Palm Beach, Fl. for 7 months . When I told the cable provider that I want to put my service on hold for the next 7months, they said that they would still charge me $ 7.00 a month . I told them to go to hell and cancelled my service. Considering that I refuse to pay $ XX.00 in order to watch a premium film , what they gave me was a lot of crap that they repeated , week after week , month after month , year after year. At a cost of about $ 50.00 or $ 60.00 a month so as to be able to watch repeats of Little House on the Prairies , Mash, Everybody Loves Raymond, Fraisier, I Love Lucy, The Golden Girls , etc. Same sit coms repeated year after year . Considering that there are thousands of old films going back 50 , 60 and 70 years , some real classics , why is the same old , same old repeately thrown in our face ? Could it be that when we finally get bored and disgusted , we will be willing to pay extra for some good films ? To add insult to injury considering that about 25 minutes out of every 60 [ hour ] minutes are commercials , we are getting RIPPED OFF . These people are GREEDY thugs and gangsters . They can burn in Hell . I would go to Flea Markets and Yard sales and bought used videos and DVD’s for $ 2.00 or $ 3.00 each . I have about 150 of them and swap them with friends and neighbors . Another cheap form of entertainment is Net Flix , a large assortment of films [ and NO commercials ] for about $ 8.50 a month . I refuse to do business with thugs who want to pick my pocket .

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Bonnie February 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Due to a financial crisis I had to let go of my cable provider. I was sad at first, but my daughter introduced me to youtube.com. Well, I have found thousands of movies FOR FREE on there!!! Also, they have a lot more than what is on tv. There are some movies you have to pay a fee to see, but since I do not have any money right now, I am watching only the free ones which will keep me entertained for what appears to be forever. They even have concerts, home improvement, I mean EVERYTHING you can think of on there.

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Best Savings Account Girl June 18, 2009 at 3:13 pm

i was about to get a gym membership at costco – but then i realized i’d never go – and the smell of a sweaty room with no ventilation is definitely disgusting.

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Bible Money Matters June 19, 2009 at 11:39 am

thanks for the link.

Great ideas for cutting your “normal” expenses – some people don’t even consider those things because they seem so normal, and something you just have to live with.

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Nse victor OKon June 28, 2009 at 4:55 am

Thanks for these tips. People must learn to let go of credit cards–they’re just trouble. I find I save more by being frugal and by using pure cash rather than plastic.

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Paul August 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Ha ha, I’m exactly the opposite. If there is cash in my wallet it’ll go faster than a streak of lightning. I make my credit card work for me. Anything I buy with it I transfer the money I would have used from my day to day account to a special savings account for that credit card. I then wait for statement and pay the total for the previous month. That way I’ve always got the money to pay for the items, and by extension the credit card, and I get points PLUS interest, small though it may be, on my savings. Plus I find I don’t tend to spend on frivolous stuff. Bizarre but true. : )

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Arminius Aurelius March 4, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Using a credit card (unless you can pay it off in full every month), you are foolish to pay the bank 18% on your balance. I have a credit card BUT I pay off my balance in full every month. If I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it until I have the cash. The only thing that you really need is FOOD, housing and transportation, and of course electric and heating. The rest of your so called needs are really non essential Luxuries. Nice to have but if you want to retire and live comfortably the last 20 years of your life considering that no more income is coming in each and every week, you better start saving NOW. After all, social Security is chump change.

A fool and his money are soon parted.

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Tena April 26, 2013 at 1:22 pm

No, a fool and his money are soon partying. (ha-ha)

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Ellsworth January 5, 2014 at 1:48 pm

He stated he has the money in a special saving to pay the card balance off. We do the same thing for Heavens sake. WHat is wrong w using a credit card and getting a free airline upgrade or ticket and paying off the balance after every month. That’s how it should be done when your balance gets paid off every month you don’t pay 18%. Some of us have 5% interest cards but we still don’t pay fees or interest because the card gets paid off monthly. Back off with the offending words. Learn from others and learn not to be critical of others. For all I know you come from a 3rd world country.

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Arminius Aurelius March 4, 2013 at 3:44 pm

You have $X cash in your wallet that is left after expenses. That is your “mad money” to spend as you see fit. When you run out, you stop spending. On the other hand, you can spend, spend, spend, spend up to the limit of your credit card. You will stop spending when your wallet is empty, but a fool will keep on spending with a credit card (and pay 18% interest) even though he cannot afford to pay off his debt in full at the end of the month. Credit cards are a MAJOR mistake for the average Joe unless he is prudent. The banks are willing to give credit cards to even irresponsible fools because they get rich and the fools will become impoverished.

Slavery was outlawed in 1865 but a new form of slavery is now legal. Millions have become “indentured servants” until the day they die.

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Kallin March 17, 2013 at 7:16 am

I purchase almost everything with my credit card and pay off the balance every month. My reward is that I received a few hundreds cash back. I know what I am getting out of it. Using Credit card is not a bad thing, you just have to know when to use it and when not to use it.

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jerry June 30, 2009 at 6:42 am

A great way to save money is by budgeting your wireless phone minutes through a prepaid wireless carrier. I use Tracfone as it is the best value prepaid service out there. Tracfone also has grerat reception which is important to me as i am a farmer. With my prepaid phone service i am not stuck paying for alot of minutes i really don’t need or even want.

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Abdi August 13, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Woow..these are very good tips, especially the no credit card at all. I mean why do i need a credit card? Are they giving me free money? No, instead they are lending you trouble. I have never used a credit card, but i have my debit car with me all the time… at least i don’t get crazy interest rates.

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Jewelsmom March 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Some credit cards have sweet deals on cash back. We have a Platinum Discover Card with very low interest, no annual fee, 1% cashback on all purchases with up to 5% cashback {a max. limit applies} on certain categories [e.g., Jan&Feb = groceries, March&Apr=gas & hotels, May= home improvement stores, etc.] and an additional 2% cashback on everything the birthday month of the card owner.

You can request the cash be deposited directly into your bank account, credited to our account, or buy a gift card [e.g., $30 gift card for $25 in cashback credits]. We use this card for a lot of our reoccurring bills. We capitalize on the monthly 5% cashback “special” categories by buying airline tickets & large ticket items during the optimal time to get the most cash back.

One summer/fall they had bookstores and schools as the cashback special. We paid both our kids’ university tuition & books on the card and got $160 cashback.

As long as we pay the balance in full every month, YES we are getting free money.

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Danz October 22, 2012 at 7:36 am

I love my credit card. Perfect way to track what I spend during any month. I get gas and food charges, as well as a view of whatever I used on extras, etc. Plus I don’t like to carry cash around where I go. Nice statements, good company, woot!

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Arminius Aurelius March 4, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Using a credit card [ unless you can pay it off in full every month ] , you are foolish to pay the Banksters 18 % on your balance . I have a credit card BUT
I pay off my balance in full every month , if I can’t afford it , I don’t buy it until I have the cash. The only thing that you really need is FOOD , housing and transportation [ and of course electric and heating .] The rest of your so called needs are really non essential Luxuries . Nice to have BUT if you want to retire and live comfortably the last 20 years of your life considering that no more income is coming in each and every week , you best start saving NOW . Social Security is chump change .
A FOOL and his MONEY are soon parted.

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Kallin March 17, 2013 at 7:21 am

Totally agree with you. I received a few hundred cash back every years. Way to go.

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Save Money Hound September 8, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Add another one to the list. Just don’t bring the wallet and see what happens. Those essential purchases may not be so essential after all.

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saving up September 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Bring lunch to work. It cost like $2 to make lunch. Buying lunch costs $7 easily. I save $25/wk. It adds up to $1000/yr. If I bring lunch 1/2 the time, I save $500/yr.

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Need a vacay March 2, 2010 at 9:38 am

I love that suggestion.. BRING LUNCH TO WORK… Also you can save money by planning for a “left over night”. Make extra every night for dinner and then one night a week eat some leftovers. This also helps when you are in a hurry for lunch options in the morning.

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Anna January 19, 2011 at 7:14 pm

we make 2-3 meals (there’s just two of us) on the weekends and it lasts most of the week (both lunch and dinner). We do supplement a little during the week, but those days I’m eating hot cereal (January in Minnesota and I work from home) or use canned tuna etc.

We have also started experimenting more with making other items at home, like bread. Our local co-op has a great bulk section to buy any kind of flour or grain you want. Healthier and cheaper than the $7 gourmet loaves at the store. Might cost a smidge more than the $1.50 cheap loaves at the gas station, but its definitely healthier.

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Jewelsmom March 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm

We cook dinner almost every night of the week, it’s cheaper and much healthier. I cook enough food for dinner that night and then pack up the leftovers into two lunches to be consumed two days away. If the recipe makes more than 4-5 servings, I freeze the excess for my visiting daughters to take back to college -for a home-cooked meal.

It works like this: Saturday night’s dinner leftovers are also Monday’s lunch. Sunday’s dinner is Tuesdays lunch, etc.

Thursday night’s dinner is usually a very light meal with no leftovers and Friday nights we tend to go out (using a buy 1, get 1 free coupon).

If we are home, Saturday and Sunday lunches are finishing off any leftovers of leftover during the week and our doggie-bags from our night out on Friday.

We use re usable plastic stack containers for the lunches, and on the outside of the container we label it with a removable post-it half-sticky tag, with the date written in a permanent marker.

My husband and I have been doing this for years and it’s a fantastic way to use up odds and ends. We have very little waste.

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Connie September 24, 2009 at 8:08 pm

I have learned that I can save money by not looking at all those Sunday ads…when I see things on sale, I think I NEED them. If I don’t see the ads, I don’t know what is on sale and then I only go to the store when I really NEED something.

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Jenny May 19, 2012 at 8:36 pm

That’s definitely an idea I need to do. When i see an ad on the paper, i feel like I need it, so now I don’t even bother looking at it.

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bhagyesh December 17, 2009 at 10:55 am

hello,
a simple tip (maybe time consuming if you consider 2 minutes as a lot of time) is logging into the credit card online account atleast once a day. By doing that, it is easier to ensure that there are no extra fees charged to your account. In addition to that, i use a excel sheet where i log all my expenses (by all i mean ALL even $0.44 for postage stamps). Compare it with a budget that is built beforehand at the end of the month. You will always see that the MISC is way above expected. These are all steps i follow. But, i need some help with the MISC expenses (how to reduce them). Thanks in advance.

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Tim August 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I do that too! Excel is awesome, I categorize everything so that I when I enter a transaction it is coded and placed in the pool I created for each category. At the end of each month I can always see that the regular bills were paid and can track all others, like gas and food and misc.

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Kiwikid August 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm

I would love to see this because I can’t visualize what you are doing. Is there any chance of providing a copy, empty of personal details and figures of course, so that others can learn from your strategy? I’m sure MoneyNing would be happy to make it available on site.

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Tim August 21, 2012 at 6:07 am

I’ll ask David about it, maybe he has a documents page.

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Kelly January 12, 2010 at 9:09 am

I have switched to a pay as you go cell phone plan. I don’t use the cell phone that much, mostly when traveling, so instead of $600 a year, I by $100 of minutes that last a year. I added minutes at the end of the year and carried over $30 dollars of minutes. The phone purchase was only $30 and came with $10 of minutes. So year one savings $560. I maintain a land line for something called ‘reverse 911′ because I’m in a fire area and it’s the most reliable way to get those calls.

I have also reduced spending in a significantly by having first cleaning out every cabinet, closet, drawer and storage bin. I realized how much stuff I accumulated and hadn’t or no longer use. Now, I really question whether I really actually need something or if it’s just a passing whim. Another benefit is I can find everything I have now and don’t buy duplicates. The house is much easier to clean, so that happens regularly without grumbling.

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jade May 4, 2010 at 9:15 pm

I would like to switch my cell ph too. I pay about 44$ a month but dont use 90% of the minutes. I like the idea of paying only 100$ a year. I want to ask Kelly, which cell phone prepaid carrier did you use that lets you buy 100$ worth of minutes that last a year for you. Thank you very much for your comment.

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MoneyNing May 4, 2010 at 9:20 pm

I’m not sure what Kelly uses, but I bought a prepaid plan from t-mobile for my mom and it’s 10 cents a minute. You need to refill at least every 90 days to keep your account, but if you refill $25 every 90 days (3 months), that’s about $100 a year.

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MJS June 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

I also have T-mobile, if you buy $100 minute, you do not have to buy again for another year. AT&T has the same deal but they can charge up to 35 cents a minute depending on the time you use it.

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Kimberly January 30, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I’ve been able to save $50 a month by switching cell phone carriers from a traditional to a prepaid company. I found the ultimate bargain at Walmart with Straight Talk and I never thought I would such a great experience with a prepaid company. I am currently on their unlimited plan ($45 a month) and I no longer worry about overage fees – I have totally unlimited calls, texting, and data. The phones are dependable and affordable – I was finally able to purchase a Smart phone at a fraction of the normal price and without the extra contract issues or monthly fees. Best of all, I am now on the Verizon network and I don’t worry about dropping calls.

I figured that over the next two years, Straight Talk will be saving me nearly $1,200 over my previous carrier. Without a contract or worries about overage fees, Straight Talk really is the best bang for the buck.

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Physcodog April 27, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Hey Kim, nice post. Most people get caught up in all the bells and whistles that these phone carriers provide even though they do not need all the features. Straight Talk is a excellent way to save money that you would normally spend on some cell phone plan through the major carriers.

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Julia January 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Hey Kimberly, I also use straight talk. It’s been a great way to help me cut back on my monthly bills, and I don’t at all have to cut back on how much I use my phone. I have the lg900g and it’s really nice. It has a full keyboard and fast web browsing. It was only $99 for the phone and a month of the “all you need” plan which is 1000 texts, minutes, and 30mb of data. Now I just pay $30 a month for the plan, I never knew I could have a smart phone for so cheap.

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Miss Kitty February 5, 2010 at 10:31 am

Great Article. Here’s some of my own:
You need credit.. duh.. BUT you don’t need to over use it.
Years ago I would purchase expensive thinge for my spouse as a “nice gesture” or to make him smile (and he would do the same for me).. we didn’t keep that smile when the card bill came in. Then I began some “rules for the household” and put all the cards in a bank safe deposit box. If we saw something we wanted on credit we had to go to the bank and get out the card, go to the store and purchase the item, then immediately go back to the bank and place the card back in the box. That “cooling off period” prevented us from purchasing a lot of things we really didn’t need. Now, we don’t use the safe deposit box anymore. I do put a piece of scotch tape around the cards I don’t usually use. If I need to use it I can remove the tape but just feeling that tape reminds me to consider if I really need the item. I put a rubber band around the ONE card I use the most (the one with the lowest rate and gives the best points I use to pay for my AAA dues). While shopping I keep that card on my hand. It gets a little annoying but it has really forced me to stay aware of everything going into that cart.
At retirement, we sold our properties back east and moved to the midwest. The cost of living is approx 1/2. Our propane, telephone, internet, auto insurance and electric are all co-ops. The propane (for our heat and cooking) can be pre paid giving yet another discount. They even track the usage. I budget the amount I will probably need so that in 6 months I have my yearly budget amount. Then I put that money into a 6 month CD that will mature about the time I need to pre-pay. So I have the money (which helps my credit and I can access it immediately in the event of an emergency), am not tempted to use it for something frivolous, is insured by FDIC and I get a little interest money to boot. (don’t forget that that interest has to have taxes paid on it at tax time). I also do that for my property taxes and my homeowners insurance. Those things that happen once or twice a year that you have to budget for but is kinda silly to just keep in a savings account (or your checking account) to get no interest.
I also review my coverages from my providers to be certain they are giving me the best deals and they often have promotions that are helpful. For instance, I contacted my telephone company to be certain my internet speed was up to snuff and the gal reminded me that if I committed to a year of service my rate would be arount $15/mo less. Well, I have no need to change from them so I said “yes” and when my husband got home I got a Great Big Kiss. It really pays to pinch pennies.

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Julio April 15, 2010 at 8:55 pm

I stopped buying pets and now I can use more of my money for essentials.

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orfan February 27, 2013 at 11:36 am

I’m in the opposite boat – I got all my pets for free and now they’re probably my biggest expense. :) I knew most of that going in, however. (The severe hip dysplasia, requiring about 7 grand of surgeries, no one had any way of knowing about.) But I save where I can – I don’t buy new toys, instead getting the 25-cent stuffed animals from the thrift store, use coupons, buy in bulk, etc. The dog food’s expensive but I’m not willing to feed them cheap junk (think, most of the dog food names you know) and I’m not yet willing to do raw for several reasons.

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Dawn April 19, 2010 at 1:41 pm

We all know we need to purchase things like shampoo, toilet paper, etc. We also know that when we buy in bulk or buy store brand, we can usually get a cheaper price. In addition to these savings, if you go to http://www.ShoppingPayday.com and download your FREE toolbar, you will get cashback points for all your online shopping. It’s FREE MONEY for your everyday purchases like the ones mentioned above (eg, get 3% cashback for buying a giftcard at Walmart.com then use the gift card next time you’re in the store; get 4% cashback at JCPenney when you go summer clothes shopping, etc). It’s simple and totally free and it saves a little bit more each time.

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Sam Soong April 29, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Great post.

I’ve been looking for ways to economize and when my cell contract was up, I got a Net10 phone. I pay 10¢ a minute and 3¢ for texts. It’s a terrific value and there’s no contract or overages.

Check it out. You can get ‘em online at net10.com or at Target, Walmart, Best Buy etc.

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Ellen S. May 9, 2010 at 6:15 am

The concept of “saving money” is easier said than done for most people. I understand that it is ‘easy and logical’ for some people, but I also understand it can be a difficult habit to break for others.

If you’re looking to save money or change your lifestyle, my advice is to take it in “baby-steps” because it won’t happen overnight. Here are some tips that helped me out.

1. Always pay more than the minimum on any credit card payments – if you don’t believe me you can calculate it for yourself
2. Use coupons when grocery shopping
3. Try online shopping – it’s saves on gas & they have bigger markdowns
4. Read a book – it’s cheaper than going to a movie
5. Know your budget.

Good luck and happy savings.

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Lovely May 20, 2010 at 6:17 am

I think most people would agree that saving money is something “easier said than done”. Personally, I believe it’s a mind-set that needs to be developed by creating good money-saving habits.

Here are some things I’ve done to help change my spending habits:

- Cooking more at home ? Eating out is very expensive especially if you do it a couple times a week
- Shopping online? You can find better deals than in the store and you save on gas
- Paying the full balance on credit cards each month ? Interest charge is like giving away free money
- Don’t forget to pay yourself ? Set up an online savings account (they pay higher interest than a normal savings account)
- Setting a budget and goals ? It’s good to have your goals written down so you see them everyday and don’t lose focus on your ultimate objectives

Again, saving money requires a lot of patience and hard work. However, you’ll thank yourself later on in life. Good luck everyone.. =)

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Cash Queen July 18, 2010 at 8:54 pm

I get paid monthly, and let me tell you, It makes living super hard. No matter how hard I try to budget, only getting funds once a month always seems to sting my wallet, bank account and health. I’m usually live freely (but still frugally) for the first two weeks, then I find the funds start to run a bit low. Usually by the last week I’m catching public transport because it’s cheaper than driving my car and eating only 2 meals a day because I just can’t afford 3.

Lets face it thing’s usually get really really tight towards the end of the month. Sometimes I just wish my pay would appear in my account a week earlier-but alas it never will. Often when I’ve really struggled I’ve resorted to payday loans, to get the cash I need to make it till my next payday. I’ve only used the services once or twice, but I don’t want to have to start relying on them.

Is there anything you can suggest for me to do…so that I wont have to continue with payday lending??? perhaps a cheaper alternative..?

Cash Queen

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Rachel July 27, 2010 at 4:44 pm

My husband gets paid monthly (I am a stay at home mom) so I understand the “too much month at the end of the money” problem. However, there are some advantages to getting paid monthly. Most budgets and billing cycles are monthly, so you receive all the money to pay your bills at one time. Here’s what I suggest:

- Pay every bill and mandatory expense for the month as soon as you are paid. Set up any automatic withdrawals for a day or two after payday.

-Buy the bulk of your food at payday as well. Food is a mandatory expense, and you can afford to let one splurge on the 15th leave you starving on the 29th. Freeze meat and buy frozen veggies. That way there is always food at the end of the month.

-Figure out how much money you have left after all the bills are paid. Divide this number by the number of weeks in the month and “pay yourself” one a week. You could do this by using only cash, or by moving money from a savings account each week. This method gives you the illusion of getting paid weekly.

If you do these things, you will avoid spending on your wants without planning for your needs, which is what seems to be happening now. Good luck.

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Rachel July 27, 2010 at 5:09 pm

*edit: of course, that should read, “you CAN’T afford to let one splurge…”

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Jewelsmom March 6, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Excellent advice Rachel.

I would like to add, that for those reoccurring bills, that are not the same each month (e.g., based on usage) put aside the amount of your previous bill amount as a gauge to make sure you have the funds when the bill arrives the next month. Better yet, get enrolled in every “budget payment plan” you can for your re0ccuring bills. Check with your utilities dept. and see if they can average your previous 12-month bills and give you a monthly budget amount so you pay the same amount each month. This makes budgeting so much easier when you can anticipate when and how much your bill is going to be.

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Jewelsmom March 6, 2011 at 3:12 pm

You probably already know this…

Payday loans will bury you.

The fees for payday loans are extremely high: up to $17.50 for every $100 borrowed , up to a maximum of $300. The interest rates for such transactions are staggering: 911% for a one-week loan; 456% for a two-week loan, 212% for a one-month loan.

With the fees & interest on these short- term loan, you are behind again the next month (because you didn’t have the extra $ to throw away on the fees/interest) and so you resort to taking out another loan. It is a vicious cycle and detrimental to healthy finances.

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Judith Burns October 6, 2011 at 8:34 am

One way to train yourself to live getting paid only once a month is to pay all your bills like mortgage/rent, utilities, car insurance, etc. and then put your left over money as cash in an envelope for each week and only use that that money during that week. Buying your food once each month can eliminate that out of your weekly envelopes as well. Use as many envelopes as there are weeks until the next pay. That way you have weekly control and if you are really good all week you can splurge on something special if there is money left over or save it. Each week you open a new envelope and you feel like you are getting paid again!

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LJ January 27, 2012 at 7:55 pm

If you get paid once a month, why not divide up your take-home pay and proceed as if you were being paid twice a month? (Be your own paymaster, in other words.) Divide your net pay in half. Put half into savings and LEAVE IT ALONE until the 2nd half of the month. Act as if it were not even there. Let me try to illustrate: Say you get paid on the 1st of the month and your take-home pay that month is $3,000. Put $1500 in checking, $1500 in savings. Pay half of your bills on the 1st out of the $1500 in checking. Whatever is left is spending money. On the 16th of the month, move the 2nd $1500 to checking, pay the other half of your bills, and whatever is left is spending money. I don’t know how tight your finances are right now, but you should be trying to put something — ANYTHING — into a 2nd savings account out of each paycheck, and this savings account you don’t touch. You might even consider using a different bank for it so you get used to it being inaccessible. It’s really savings! If you have to start out putting $10 out of each $1500 into this savings, OK, do it! But try to increase it as you can; they say “pay yourself first” which means savings. I hope this helps.

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David July 22, 2010 at 9:15 am

Credit cards should be paid off every month, and used for things like rewards points, purchase insurance etc. Credit cards have many perks if you know how to work them. Most people don’t and that’s where the companies make their money. You actually get out ahead if you use them properly, and make money off the companies. I personally have always paid off every month. The only time I didn’t was when I moved to NYC and went $10K in debt on cards, but that was out of necessity – and I paid them back in 9 months. But I have control over my spending from a young age, so unless you do it with great control, YOU WILL GET INTO TROUBLE.

Also if you are a small business owner like me, they are useful for things like odesk.com for outsourcing and to gain points by putting all your business expenses on them, again PAY THEM OFF every month. You’ll need two cards (no more) because if one somehow gets defrauded it will throw a wrench in the works of paying your vendors off.

I think credit cards are great if used properly, I’ve personally never had a problem, because my money habits are solid. Those are the only people who should use them. But then again, if we are the only people that use them, credit card companies wouldn’t be in business. Hmmm interesting to think about.

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Nick Johnson August 26, 2010 at 8:12 pm

I work in the Life Insurance industry and I can tell you that 90% of the time there is a much better deal out there with someone else. When you think you’re saving money by getting your life insurance through the same person as your auto and home, generally the cost is double a life insurance only company. There are a number of companies out there such as intelliquote and selectquote (and my own) that compare between a number of companies to find the best rates. Just don’t ask one company for life insurance, use a broker that can search dozens.

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Clioe September 29, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I cut out my TV subscription because the shows were repeated and watch the shows that I want to watch on Netflix and an online website. It cut my internet and TV bill by $25 and it helps. I don’t use the AC and chose to live on the second floor of my apartment complex so that I can open the windows and enjoy fresh air.

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Sean Browne October 8, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I try not to worry about money too much, but sometimes I find myself in a position where I’m asking myself what I can do to improve my life? Money always seems to be one of the top answers in my head, it creates stability, comfort, peace of mind. but the one thing that makes me worry is getting too comfortable with my expenses and my cash flow. Sometimes when I have enough money to survive for a while, I tend to get way too comfortable and I find myself months down the line worrying about making more money to get back into my comfort zone.

It’s good to stay on the ball, and I agree with putting the energy into making money instead of worrying about it.

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joe October 20, 2010 at 6:57 pm

GYM membership really waste money if you finally found out you don’t have that much of time.

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Saver October 27, 2010 at 9:21 am

The cell phone bill can be huge. Skype and Google chat are good options that can be cheaper.

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Kmarti December 22, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Regarding saving on a gym membership. Get a rebounder (mini trampoline). It is the best exercise and you can find quality ones where the legs fold for storage. There is much excellent research on the internet regarding the endless benefits & it’s fun.

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Myla Hardiman January 7, 2011 at 5:28 am

Thanks for the great advice. I got into the habit of leaving my credit cards at home a few years ago and it works wonders. Also if I am going out with friends or doing something close to home I will take the max amount of cash that I am willing to spend and leave my debit card at home too. It really helps me to pay attention to what I am buying BEFORE I make the purchase.

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Anna January 19, 2011 at 7:16 pm

My main vice is paperback books. When I am stressed, my husband would bring me a book home. I figured out I am spending $40-$50 or more on books. I’m trying to use the library more, but until then I have tons of paperbacks at my house that I have read. I use services like PaperBackSwap to trade what I have read for new books.

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orfan February 27, 2013 at 11:53 am

If you already have them, read them. I’m on a “book diet” myself, where I’m only allowed to buy one non-secondhand book a year. (I’ve already broken that rule, but that was because I bought books pertaining to my job.)

Once you read them, decide what to do. Used bookstores usually don’t give you a lot for paperbacks, especially older or well-loved ones, but if you can put together a stack, throw in some other things they accept (hardbacks, electronics, CDs, DVDs, etc.) it may be worth it. Also, I’ve received books and DVDs for free on Craisglist/Freecycle and traded them in. You can try selling them at a garage sale or online.

If you don’t want to sell, trade as you are doing. Arrange swaps, donate to libraries, etc. Or, keep them.

When you’re acquiring new ones, look for sales. It doesn’t need to be the latest published book, just one you haven’t read. I’ve gotten unique finds at garage sales, used book stores, thrift stores, and library sales (which can get dangerous in their own right). If you’re really into books, you may consider being on the lookout for old, unique, valuable books you could possibly resell for more money. When I do shop for used books, I try to stick to a list of authors and/or series which I know I’ll read quickly/need to fill in the gaps.

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Thrifty Gal January 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I have a land line only, no cell phone. I have my internet through the phone company. I opted for the slowest (cheapest) internet, which is $19.95 per month. If I don’t make any long distance calls (true over half the time), my phone/internet bill is about $45 per month.

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Dani January 27, 2011 at 9:13 am

Cash back credit card, and I pay it online constantly – probably 4 to 5 times a month, in small increments. That was I keep track of what I’m spending, and I routinely get 1-3% cash back (which you won’t get if you just use cash – gotta make rewards work for me). If I need something, I can use the card’s rewards shopping options online and save up to 10%. It takes some real self-control – but I earn back about $400/year. This is particularly useful during holiday shopping.

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Zack January 29, 2011 at 1:15 pm

A great way to save money is by using coupons. There are websites that help you match up coupons with sales to get rock bottom prices. Click my name or visit lookbeforepsending dot com to check out a site that will help you save money on just about anything you can buy.

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Jewelsmom March 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm

When our three girls were little, they would cut out coupons in the Sunday paper for the grocery store. Each girl would write their initials on the coupons they clipped. If we used their coupon, we would jot down the savings and give the child half the value of the coupon. It taught them the value of coupons at a very young age. Now all young adults, they don’t go shopping with0ut a sale flier and their coupons in hand.

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WayneCooper January 29, 2011 at 6:15 pm

These were some great ones. I always look for coupons before buying something, especially online. The way that I’ve saved the most money is switching to a prepaid phone plan. Apparently Net10 uses huge networks (AT&T and Verizon), so I decided to check them out. I pretty much switch my usage month to month and I’m saving a ton of money. Sometimes i get the unlimited (like during December) when I’m going to use it a bunch. It’s a pretty good deal, and It’s definitely been the easiest transition. However, I did have to wait until my regular cell phone contract ended, and that was a pain. Either way, great article.

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Anna February 12, 2011 at 4:16 pm

For folks who don’t get paper or don’t want to take time clipping coupons, I use a website called thecouponclippers

We don’t use a ton of coupons, because we usually buy store brand or other inexpensive products. But when there is a specific item we DO use, I like going to this website where I can get ten of the coupon I need versus just one out of the paper. Save 50 cents on that item you use all the time? Or save $5 because you have ten coupons and stocked up.

Again – these are for items I use ANYWAY. Coupons DO make it easy to get stuff you normally wouldn’t ;)

We also use a cool Reader’s Digest book with recipes like making our own laundry detergent.

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valleycat1 March 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Followed the link here from your latest newsletter. What’s going to save me a lot from here forward is my tally of last year’s interest paid on the credit cards. I’ve almost got them paid off, & didn’t have all that much on them compared to a lot of people, but seeing in black & white the total interest paid – as well as the grand total paid, was an eye opener. When I started feeling the glow from getting the balances down substantially, I quit carrying the CCs routinely & it has reined in the spending more. I want to flag my calendar about one or two subscription services that have several more months to go (billed annually) so I can cancel them just as they end.

We also are cancelling a hard copy subscription to a nationally recognized newspaper because almost all of the content we’re interested in is now available free online.

I’m starting to see a swing back to land lines from cell phones for personal use. Seriously – how many personal conversations & text messaging in a day are truly important stuff, or due to a lack of planning, or merely out of boredom? Disclaimer: We do have cells, but neither of us keep them on all the time. Our land line is for local calls only & bundled with our DSL service – we can make long distance calls if necessary but for a fairly steep per minute rate. Our cells are what we use for routine long distance calls & calling each other as well as for emergencies since we both travel solo.

We still have our 15-20 year old TV with no plans to replace it until it dies. No DVD player (or whatever the latest generation is called). Actually, that’s not true. A friend gave us one of his extra DVD players about 6 months ago when he heard we were without, but we haven’t connected it & will probably regift it or donate it sometime soon.

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Cashless June 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I seem to get paid feel rich for a minute before realizing I have to pay all my bills, once I’ve done that reality sets in and bingo I’m back to square one and wondering how I’m going to make it through the rest of the month!

Can you give me some advise? I have tried budgeting but my income never seems to be enough.

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percy January 1, 2012 at 10:07 am

You have an income problem not a budgeting problem my friend. You just need to make more money.

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Jewelsmom June 22, 2011 at 5:22 am

There are two ways to address Cashless’ problem:
1) either make more or
2) spend less.

Make more $: apply for jobs that will give you a promotion in take-home pay; If you get a big tax return annually, revise your W-4 with your employer to take out fewer taxes each month; have a garage sale, post old collections (e.g., movies, kid’s toys & outgrown clothes, etc.) on Craig’s List or online auction for expensive items; house sit/pet sit; do consulting; take on a part time job on weekends/nights. Charge your adult children living at home rent.

Spend less $: pay off your high interest credit cards/personal loans; avoid ATM fees by using your own bank’s ATM; look at your many service plans – cable, internet, cell phone, etc. and cut back on bells and whistles you don’t need (are you REALLY using 1400 minutes a month on your cell phone plan?). Cancel your home land line if you have a cell phone. Cook at home more & pack work lunches & snacks. Avoid using vending machines, coffee booth vendors, etc. When you do eat out, use coupons and/or split meals and order only water to drink; take advantage of frequent customer promos; use credit cards with cash-back potential and pay it off in full each month; buy used items (@Thrift Shops) such as clothing, toys, furnishings; give up gambling and other hobbies/entertainment that depletes your resources.

Bonus points: Read the weekly fliers and buy food when it goes on sale/use coupons; cancel all subscriptions to publications and read your newspaper on-line for free; rent movies instead of going to a theater; carpool to work. Pay your bills on time! (the late fees add up and ruin your credit rating so borrowing for large items will cost you even more); Pay your utilities on a monthly budget plan so you bill is the same each month (one huge bill can throw off a budget working with little wiggle room). Set up an emergency fund AND a “wiggle room” fund (to cover slight fluctuations in your monthly bills). Take your annual average car insurance premium and divide by 6 or 12 (months) and put that monthly amount aside each month until the bill arrives. For insurances -take advantage of good student discounts, multi-line discounts, & review your policies to make sure yor are rated correctly for how you use your car & eliminate extra coverage that you no longer need (e.g., we had our kids’ musical instruments & laptop computers insured on personal articles policies…needless to say, we no longer own these items). Borrow books from the library instead of buying them. Try using a student beauty school for haircuts, and stretch the time between haircuts by a week or so.

Read the book “Millionaire Next Door” and other like-minded books that motivate you.

All small ways to save a little, but over days, weeks, months and years the dollars add up.

Good luck!

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Australia July 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Love some of the useful hints on saving money, particularly the tip about not using the credit card for a month to see where you are spending all of your money.

Another great idea that people should stick to is “Only go grocery shopping after you have had lunch or dinner”. It is amazing how much extra junk you buy if you go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.

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Virginia July 28, 2011 at 11:38 am

I got rid of my home phone years ago, and I.use my cell for everything. Also got rid of the cable and went a “roku” and Netflix combination. I have more control of what I want to watch and my kids have better quality of selections.

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William Keeley July 30, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Rather than pay Bill Gates or some other giant software company in order to use programs, try using free equivalent programs instead. There are many free programs that come without ad-ware, spyware or any of the other annoyances associated with software not purchased. Instead of buying Microsoft Office, use OpenOffice. It is compatible with Microsoft Office, but it is free. Instead of shelling out money for Photoshop, try the free alternative, G.I.M.P. This provides many features for free. Instead of paying for precious phone minutes or using long distance, try using Skype instead. Get your friends on it and not only talk for free but see each other while you do so. Don’t pay for crappy antivirus when you can use Microsoft Security Essentials for free.

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Priswell September 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm

About 8 years ago, I set out to move entirely from Microsoft to Open Source software. I tested several distributions of Linux and settled on Ubuntu, and then began to test every type of software I use on a regular basis. I started out with Open Office, and later moved to Libre Office. I use Evolution for email, which is simlar to Outlook, complete with calander and other rich features. For my web designing, I use Bluefish instead of HomeSite, and so on. I took my time, and when I was ready, I made the final move. I’ve been linux user now for nearly 5 years.

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LAC August 24, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Home phone? Land line? YES…YES I DO at a cost of $29.00 per month! Nope it doesn’t have all them fancy APPS but do I REALLY need one in order to look up the local pizza joint? Yellow pages have always been FREE! I know it’s not as convenient as a cell phone like I can’t carry it around in my pocket or talk to people while I drive (GASP!) but at 52 it really aint that important to me! I know cell phones are great in an emergency which is why I carry a prepaid phone-for EMERGENCIES only! I’ve NEVER seen people so obsessed with telephones in my whole life like people are today! Necessity? Depends. I get coupons online I get fliers in the mail and online. For me my social life does not revolve around phone friends. I actually LIKE to go out with friends and have coffee sit down and have an actual conversation!

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lana June 22, 2012 at 9:34 pm

You can probably cut that fee in half if you get rid of all the bells and whistles and long distance.

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naydeen September 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Another way to save money every month is to use magic jack for your phone line instead of paying every month for your land line.

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Jewelsmom September 15, 2011 at 5:40 am

I like this post. I would add one more to compliment “Stop Bringing Your Credit Card Out for a Month”… I suggest taking the credit cards away from your young adult children.

Yes, we have a daughter who we made an authorized user on two of our credit cards for “emergencies” only. We asked her time and again not to use it unless we are consulted first. At first the emergencies were clothes and hair cuts, but moved into furnishing her apartment and full-on salon treatments. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she used it to go on vacation and charged groceries for her hosts for the week on our card. She was unemployed at the time and had no business going on vacation to begin with.

Needless to say, she no longer has Mom and Dad backing her extravagant lifestyle.

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Jones October 9, 2011 at 11:43 am

I sign up for all the free food I can get. Since my birthday is this month I have gotten a coupon for:

Free dessert City Barbecue, Free ice cream Coldstone Creamery, Free dessert Fazolis, Qdoba buy one get one free entree, TGIF free dessert (probably won’t use this one, have to buy food to use it), free Starbucks drink via postcard. I spend about 5 minutes a day signing up for free food deals, and using a junk email account because you’ll get lots of spam, and then I print only the coupons I use. Then I either eat the food myself or give it away. I didn’t even list the local free birthday hoagie (no purchase required), or all the rest of the coupons. Many of these places send great coupons at non-birthday times too. Last Friday City BBQ sent a free french fries with $5 purchase and I got free onion rings from Sonic in my local throw away paper. No, I don’t eat much of it, I give it away, yep, it was mostly desserts but Qdoba sent me a buy one get one free burrito or entree coupon end of September too!

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NM.Mom October 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm

We live in an area with many Indian casinos and they all have generous rewards programs for locals. Due to our age, we get additional discounts and promotions mailed to us (free entertainment, free hotel stays, free food). We certainly don’t go out of our way, but when passing by, we will stop in for the DAILY “$10 off a restaurant meal or free buffet” [with coupon printed at the kiosk]. No purchase require. We often take-out food from the deli home (ample portions that feed both of us) for lunch the next day then grab a few free bottled waters. They have so many cheap daily specials (e.g., Sunday & Monday night football appetizer specials; $9.99 prime rib dinners; M-F $3.00 breakfast buffets; $7.77 Monday night fancy buffet; etc. ) that we double up the savings even more.

The sister property 5 minutes away has the same promotion @ their kiosk too, so we grab additional take-out meals there. We don’t even park the car, just run in, print, purchase and leave.

We travel a great bit for business and pleasure. When we anticipate a vacation, we buy an Entertainment coupon book by mail beforehand. We track our purchases using the coupons and get a kick out of the total savings [after we recoup the book cost].

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lana June 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Cool! I’m going to check out our areas for such deals.

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I'mJustSayin' October 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm

My adult daughter was visiting and asked me what I was getting for my local cable bill monthly (cable and internet). Then she called the cable company and negotiated more stations (almost triple what I had) for less than I am paying now, including the converter box rental.

Seems my account was “grandfathered” and the prices dropped a lot since then due to local competition. New customers of today were getting a far better deal than the customers of yesterday.They weren’t going to call and inform me I as overpaying. When my daughter said I was willing to drop my service, they opened up all the lower priced tiers to me.

A word of caution, I had to pick up and install the converter box myself . They charged me on the next bill for self installation, than charged me when I couldn’t get all the stations and a tech had to come out (seems there was a default filter on the line I could not remove). I called the cable company and insisted they remove BOTH charges and they did. I also had them remove other junk charges and the erroneous extra converter box I was charged for in error on my bill.

After the aggravation and inconvenience, the monthly bill is actually $7 less than what I was paying before. My husband is delighted with the extra sports channels.

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SJChicky November 9, 2011 at 9:00 am

Ok…here’s the BIG question…

How do I switch cell phone carriers to eliminate the $110 monthly bill WITHOUT getting hit with a early termination fee??

I’m purchasing a home and I NEED to cut my cell phone down BUT I need internet access since I run an at-home business; I’m an Avon lady where I earn about $300+ a month. I already receive a discount with my cell phone carrier ’cause of my working with the local school district, but I still have $100+ bill.

H E L P.

Please advise.

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Nse victor November 11, 2011 at 9:11 am

I really need your advice please. I bought a car for $5,000 few months back and it has been giving me troubles and has cost me another $1200 for repairs. Now, i am tired of further spending and wants to put it for sale.
what would be the right price for this car? I need your advices please. thanks.

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lana June 22, 2012 at 9:31 pm

look on kbb.com

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Ron February 14, 2012 at 11:27 am

I suggest that you take another look at dialing down the water heater to 112 degrees.
Per energysavers.gov states, “While there is a very slight risk of promoting legionellae bacteria when hot water tanks are maintained at 120 degrees, this level is still considered safe for the majority of the population.”
http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13090
I opted for 120 degrees.

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Debbie F. February 14, 2012 at 11:39 am

I will be calling in an electrician to hook me up with a timer for my ELECTRIC hot water heater. I just bought a house and I’m not staying there…yet, so I shut off the hot water heater from the breaker while I am not there.

Have you thought of that?? I think that’s better than installing one of those tankless hot water heaters. When you use a tankless, you’re wasting water until the hot water FINALLY reaches your faucet.

=o)

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Kiwikid August 21, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Bwa ha ha, with a tank you’re wasting even more water until the water FINALLY reaches your faucet. Usually, tho’ I admit not always, tankless hot water heaters are located very close to the faucet. Like in the kitchen. If you are using tankless for your bath and/or shower then it may be some distance away. Usually no further than a tank would be tho.

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Debbie F. February 14, 2012 at 11:40 am
lana June 22, 2012 at 9:30 pm

good one! we need to do that!

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Lapointe Russell May 30, 2012 at 4:38 am

I’m starting to see a swing back to land lines from cell phones for personal use. Seriously – how many personal conversations & text messaging in a day are truly important stuff, or due to a lack of planning, or merely out of boredom? Disclaimer: We do have cells, but neither of us keep them on all the time. Our land line is for local calls only & bundled with our DSL service – we can make long distance calls if necessary but for a fairly steep per minute rate. Our cells are what we use for routine long distance calls & calling each other as well as for emergencies since we both travel solo.

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lana June 22, 2012 at 9:30 pm

We have saved money by cutting cable channels to smaller package, 40% savings, cutting my kids hair for 20 years and my bangs, using virgin mobile $25 a month cell phone. I shop all year for gifts, not just the day before birthdays and christmas.
I use vrbo.com to find a vacay rental. If we fly, sometimes it is to a secondary airfield. I try and find hotels with no charge for parking and a free breakfast. I use Hotwire. The kids and I enjoy going to resale shops and looking for bargains. I’ve found loads of educational books, dishes, blankets and artwork for next to nothing and doing good by spending money there.
We watch what we do so as not to incur service charges. I plan on driving routes that have less waste of gas and mileage. We have made our own laundry detergent, dish detergent and window cleaner. My husband fixes cars and things around the house and now my sons do it too. We keep the house warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter than most people. I close blinds when it is hot outside and open them when it’s cool. One of the biggest savings we had was when we got rid of our umbrella liability policy and put the million dollar policy into each car and our home. We will also be saving interest on our mortgage by paying off our home 26 years early. Eating out is our nemesis, so we are working on that. The more I save, the more we can give. That’s the way I roll.

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acs101 July 16, 2012 at 12:08 am

I am able to save money by commuting to work. I just bring my car about once or twice a week. I am able to save on gas, at the same time lessen the pollution on the environment and lessen the traffic.

I also do not buy things that are not worth their price or are too expensive. As much as possible I buy the ones that are averagely priced and are worth buying. To prove that, I don’t have an iPhone. Hehe.

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Kiwikid July 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Do I still have a land line? Most certainly do. Do I have a cell phone? Yep. Do I talk on the cell phone? Nope. Do I txt? Yep… so why do I have a land line that is so “1980′s”? Simple. Works for me. I have a hearing loss and a special amplified telephone. That is why I don’t use the cell phone for phone calls. Most times I can’t understand what the person is saying. So much for stuff that is so “1980′s” eh? Oh, and you don’t have to worry about charging your land line either… lqtm

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Joanne51-61 August 8, 2012 at 11:52 am

Great, terrific and helpful tips.
Any suggestions/support groups in tracking and encouraging ways of being frugal and making a difference each month. Having a support group and encouragement of succeeding as well as making a difference is so helpful.

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diane September 6, 2012 at 10:54 am

I agree that having a landline isn’t 1980s. I live in the country and have gone for 9 days straight without electricity before. A landline will work without electricity. No cell phone will last that long without electricity to charge it. I don’t have a generator.

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I'mJustSayin' September 7, 2012 at 5:50 am

Diane- I charge my phone while driving to work each day [with a charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter]. I hardly ever plug it into a wall socket. The exception is when I am traveling, so I have a charger in my suitcase. When I charge it at home I tend to forget my phone on the counter when I leave the house.

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joan September 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm

I consider myself a frugal person now. I didnt use to, but i guess my poor financial decisions in the past were my best lessons as far as money matters is concerned. i have just moved to another country and after about 18 months i decided to buy a car. A cheap second hand car. My friends were discouraging me, they said i have a good job and that i should have a better car, i told them i will only buy a better nicer car after i saved $100 thousand, and i aim to achieve that in the next 24 months.

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auto verzekering December 14, 2012 at 8:33 pm

In all honesty, there should be no excuse because of not having car insurance. Cover for car owner, car driver and fellow passenger.

At this time this has to be understood that the sum of insurance plan differ from time to time simply because insurance providers also have to abide by the state insurance plan legal guidelines.

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Arminius Aurelius December 16, 2012 at 10:39 am

Immediately the day after Christmas , I go to stores and buy Christmas cards ,Christmas decorations , lights , wreaths , etc. for next year at HALF price . You can also buy Christmas candy or cakes for half price. Buy winter clothing the end of February or March and summer clothing in August . Also buy LOTS of ” Forever Stamps ” in the post office .

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Lee Wai Kit December 27, 2012 at 1:15 am

One of my ways to save money is to use my credit cards more often.
Credit cards come with perk points which eventually can be exchanged for vouchers to be used at supermarkets. Simply try your best to make all your purchase or pay your bills every month with your credit card and in no time you would have accumulated sufficient points for free vouchers.
But bear in mind, do not wait for your credit card bills. make your payment as soon as you finished your purchases e.g.internet banking at the end of the day before you sleep. This way you can monitor your cash flow easily and unlikely to overspend.

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Jessica Wood April 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm

These are great tips and I have used all of them. Now I have one for you: BillCutterz. They saved me almost $130 on my electricity bill every month and they even saved me on my cell phone with Verizon when I already had a $15/mo discount.

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Kallin April 20, 2013 at 7:46 am

Every year I get some cash rebates from Costco and some other credit cards. I would say about $380 to $500. When I receive the rebate I just deposit to the bank. Of course, I am paying off the balance, otherwise there is no sense using credit cards. I hope to hear more from the reader on how they can get some extra money besides from the cash rebate I have said.

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Charlene July 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm

I live in the Caribbean. A landline has a flat rate and calls the entire island. That is the same for the other islands as well. It works out better to have a landline and get a low cost postpaid cell phone.

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Survive The Valley September 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm

There’s a great opportunity to save loads of money on grocery shopping… and the best part? There’s absolutely no thinking, pre-planning, or coupon clipping.

My tip is this: the next time you’re out for groceries visit a non-traditional market. If you live in a reasonably urban and diverse area then you should try shopping at these markets (like Asian grocery stores, which I think would also be applicable at Mexican, Indian, etc. markets too). For us – a real life family of three example in Silicon Valley – we’ve been able to save more than 50% on fresh produce (fruits, vegetables) vs. going to a Safeways.

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kitcat March 8, 2014 at 3:40 am

I live in a 3 story house with other people… so we do need a land line phone and use VOIP (voice-over-internet-protocol) and pay a flat fee of $129 for five years of telephone service – and we have 6 extensions in the house. It would be impossible to try to use a cell phone at home for all of us.

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kitcat March 8, 2014 at 3:46 am

I love your advice about saving on monthly bills!!! Via my internet connection and a few devices I’ve paid for ONE TIME ONLY… I only have a single bill for internet at home… (current rate in my area for new internet subscribers is $29.99 per month for 2 years if you sign up on line) and with other tools I pay ZERO per month additional for TV and land line phone…

One friend who is a medical doctor who earns three times as much money as me asked me once, how do I afford all the great and frequent travel. I told him he needed to cut off his cable TV. He explained how there was one show he really liked, and how he never wanted to miss it… his one guilty pleasure…. I told him not to answer my question and do the math in his own head….

Multiply his cable bill by 12… and that number by how many years it’s been since his last vacation. He looked sick, but by the next month he cancelled his cable and followed my advice and now streams programs to his TV using the methods I use also….

It’s your choice….

Do you want to watch TV or do you want to do real things in life?

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