25 Great Ways To Save Money

25 Great Ways To Save Money

25 Great Ways To Save Money

D. S. Mitchell

AARP Tips

For at least the last decade AARP Bulletin Magazine has been highlighting clever money saving ideas and sharing them with members once a year in their “99 Ways To Save” issue. Some of them are a bit over the top and others sensible and worth passing on. So here are a few tips they have offered over the last several years.

1.) Sell To Amazon: Amazon buys used items, including video games, books, Kindle e-readers for trade-in, in exchange for a gift card. Go to the Amazon Trade-in Store and if an item you have is listed there, print our a free shipping label and send it off.

2.) Pass On Dryer Sheets: Easy trick to save about $8 on 80 loads. Instead, cut a sponge in half and soak the pieces in a container with 1 cup fabric softener and two cups of water. Wring and toss one sponge into each dryer load. You will need to replace the liquid every 3 months.

3.) Get Free E-books: There are nearly 60,000 public domain e-books available on gutenberg.org. You will find favorites and classics and easily save $3 to $10.

4.) 401(k) Know How: Sadly 1/4 of American workers employed at companies offering 401 (k) plans fail to take advantage of the full company match, this means you are missing out on an average of $1,336 in free money each year.

5.) Free Streaming Movies: Check out kanopy.com. If you belong to one of the more than 4,000 participating public libraries or campus facilities, you can stream over 30,000 movies for free.

6.) Fancy Dancy Lunch: When you want to try out a glamorous restaurant, do it at lunch. The menu is usually similar to what you would have at dinner but is usually 25% cheaper and a more relaxed atmosphere.

7.) Individual Development Accounts: IDA’s are designed to help people of modest means buy a house or start a business. Go to ProsperityNow.org/map to find community organizations that administer the programs. There are some programs that provide up to $4 for every $1 you save.

8.) Car Rental Discounts: If you are an AARP member just show your card to lock in big savings. With Avis you could sew up a 30% savings. That would mean $90 off a $300 rental charge.

9.) Start Using Your Cruise Control: Studies confirm you can reduce fuel consumption by about 7% using your cruise control device. The average U.S. household spends about $2,000 annually on gasoline. I could suggest switching to an electric vehicle but, I will not. Use your cruise control and save about a $100 annually.

10.) Check Engine Belts: Broken belts are a major reason for automobile breakdowns. Be sure to have a tech check on yours before you head out on that next long trip. Avoiding a single breakdown could save you at least $100 in towing charges and keep your vacation frown free.

11.) Small Carts Win Out: When you go to the grocery store don’t grab the biggest cart, here’s where you are advised to go small. Research shows when the size of your grocery cart is doubled, you buy 40% more! Downsize your cart and save up to $230 per month for two people.

12.) Forget The Bark Dust: When you are ready to spread bark this spring call your local tree service and ask for a pile of their free wood chips. Depending on the size of your yard you could easily save several hundred dollars.

13.) Cross The Border For Gasoline: I live in Washington state, I buy my gas in Oregon. Two reasons; in Oregon they have attendants that pump the gas, which is great when I’m in my heels and mini, plus there is no sales tax in Oregon which means gas and other items are at least 6.5% cheaper. In Washington many localities add on their own tax, so you might save even more buying across the river.  You  can improve your chances of getting the best price on gas by using the GasGuru and GasBuddy apps which will show you prices at all area gas stations.

14.) Raising Your Deductible: Raising the deductible on a homeowner’s policy from $500 to $1000 will likely save you 25%, according to the Insurance Institute. That’s about a $300 savings on a $1200 policy.

15.) Fifteen Year Mortgage: In November 2021 the interest rate on a thirty year mortgage was 3.5%-3.7%. The rate on a 15 year mortgage was 2.6%-2.7%. On a $200,000 mortgage you will probably pay about $400 a month more for the fifteen year mortgage. Cutting that mortgage by fifteen years will save you over $100,000 in interest.

16.) Skip The Coffee Kiosk: Imagine you spend $4 at Starbucks on a couple tall coffees, that’s $1,000 a year, just on workdays. Most businesses have breakrooms with free coffee. A pound of $7.99 coffee from Kroger’s will make 25 (12 oz,) cups. Big savings.

17.) Donate Stock, Not Cash: You could save big by donating stock instead of cash. by donating the stock versus the cash you aren’t liable for capital gains tax. An example, say you give $5,000 worth shares of stock to your favorite charity. You originally paid $1,000 for the stock. If you sold the shares and then donated the cash you’d owe $1,000 in capital gains taxes if you’re in the 25% tax bracket. The choice is easy, give the charity the stock. They will be able to use their tax exempt status to sell the stock without tax consequences.

18.) Stop Smoking: There’s a million good reasons to quit smoking. One of them being non-smokers, exercisers and people who maintain a healthy weight can get as much as a 50 percent savings on life insurance.

19. Prescription Savings: You might find a prescription medicine is cheaper than one you commonly buy over the counter. The heartburn remedy Prilosec, as an example, costs about $10 for a dozen tabs. With a prescription for Omeprazole you can get 90 tabs with a $10 co-pay. That is about a $60 a month savings.

20.) Stop Rinsing The Dirty Dishes: It is no longer necessary to prewash dishes. Just scrape thoroughly and load. You can expect to save about 55,000 gallons of water over the lifetime of the dishwasher.  That is about a $280 in dollar savings, plus using less water is good for the environment, in addition you will spare yourself a lots of unnecessary work.

21.) Help For Veteran Caregivers: The Department of Veteran Affairs offers caregivers a temporary break by paying all or at least a large portion of  the costs of an in-home health aide or for the veteran to attend an adult day center. Find details about the program by going to caregiver.va.gov, or call 855-260-3274.

22.) Apply For Free Medicine: You may be able to find help to pay for your prescriptions from The Partnership for Prescription Assistance, pparx.org. If you qualify you could potentially save hundreds of dollars a year on needed medications.

23.) Unclaimed Property: If you haven’t done it recently, go to unclaimed.org, find your state (or any other states you may have lived in) and enter your name. You may find the state is holding money from a savings account you forgot about, or an undelivered refund check.  I recently found $79 at the State of Oregon unclaimed property site. When I was there I also found $219 for my son and another $110 for my daughter. Yipee skipee! It took a total of 15 minutes and three Forever stamps to recover over $400 of the big green ones.

24.) Property Tax Breaks: States across the country offer property tax breaks for homeowners over 65 years of age. Since losing federal write offs on property taxes many homeowners on fixed budgets are endangered of being taxed out of their homes. States offer many types of tax programs, depending on the homeowner circumstances. I am not talking about tax deferments that defer taxes until the homeowner dies or sells the property, but are rather exemptions. That means it will not be collected later. Huge difference. Exemptions include caps on assessed value, tax rates and assessment freezes.  Each state, and many counties in those different states, have various programs and requirements. Programs like these can save senior homeowners thousands and thousands of dollars.

25.) Upgrade your refrigerator: A new model fridge may reduce your electric bill by about $350 over the first five years of use. Before buying go to your electric provider and check on rebate offers that are offered for buying an energy efficient appliance.

I decided I wanted to give readers a bonus, so here are two more great money saving tips.

26.) Reduce Your Lawn: The grass in your yard is one of the most expensive and labor intensive parts of your property maintenance. Statistics indicate Americans spend over $30 billion each year keeping up their lawns. Think arid. Think creative. Patios, decks, plant native species. Grass is not environmentally friendly nor is it pocketbook friendly, go natural.

27.) Buy Wine By The Case: Check with the retailer, but stores usually discount cases of by anywhere from 10% to 25%. Watch for sales and pick up a case of (12) bottles of wine for a great price and you’ll always have a handy house warming gift right at your finger tips.

Again I want to thank several issues of the AARP Bulletin magazine for the various money saving tips. Hurry out there and start saving.

DON’T THROW AWAY THAT OLD CELL PHONE

DON’T THROW AWAY THAT OLD CELL PHONE

Protect Your Home And Other Cool Things

D. S. Mitchell

More Uses Than You imagined

Today home automation and security are of growing importance. But between high start up fees, monthly costs, and the constant speed at which technology outpaces itself such technological upgrades can be expensive. Instead of buying something you will need to upgrade in a couple years, look to your old smart phone. Recent developments enable your old device to do a myriad of tasks. I have discovered a way to automate and protect my home with my old cell phone, an app, and a bit of ingenuity.

Step One: Choose An App

Choose an app that’s features are most important to your homes safety and find an app that’s going to best suit your needs. Once chosen download the app onto your current phone and your new one. Walk through the setup on your new phone, then log into the app on the old phone. Be sure to select “camera” rather than “viewer,” if that is an option.

Step Two: Mount the phone

Point your old phone’s camera toward whatever you want to watch and protect. The device will have to be connected to a power source since the phone will always be on, and you may want to purchase a cheap wide-angle lens to provide a wider view. Then you simply check the app on your new phone to periodically check in on your home.

More Things To Do With Your Old Phone 

Home security isn’t the only thing your old smart phone can do. Create a baby monitor. Much like a security system, you can turn your old phone into an affordable baby monitor. Set up the old phone in the baby’s room and use your new phone to Skype into their room. You can find apps to make this process easier.

Add More Storage

Cloud platforms are not your only photo storage option. You can delete all the apps on your old phone and use it for photo storage, freeing up space on your new phone. This is a great option for anyone looking to limit their online presence.

Set Up A Universal Remote

Your old phone can serve as the universal remote for all your home’s smart devices, like a central hub that controls everything. Specialty apps like iRule an link all your platforms together. All you need is the app, Wi-Fi, and an old phone that can connect to the Wi-Fi.

 

Saving Money At The Supermarket

Saving Money At The Supermarket

By D. S. Mitchell

Old Magazines

I have a cabinet crammed full of old magazines. Every so often I pull out a handful of them and review them at my leisure. In a March 2018, “Reader’s Digest” I found an article entitled “40 Supermarket Secrets,” by Jody L.  Rohlena.  Jody offered some great advice to help get control of high grocery bills.

Facts And Figures

Over the last couple years my weekly grocery bills has skyrocketed.  Jody’s article reassured me I am not alone. According to the Reader’s Digest article, over the past 30 years grocery expenditures have risen more than any other cost in the American budget. 25% of the increased costs can be tied to easy prep items. But, it isn’t just quick and easy that is costing us big money, there are waste factors and other issues at play. In 2018, Americans spent over $700 billion dollars on groceries. Every thing from shopping the right aisles to shopping on specific days can help reduce grocery expenses. Hopefully the ideas I have included here will help your family reduce your grocery expenses.

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