Who doesn’t like to save money? Unless you’re independently wealthy, I’m sure there a lot of people out there who are looking for ways to start saving money in 2017.
12 Ways I’m Saving Money in 2017
It may be the middle of January, but since I am paid biweekly, my new budget for 2017 ironically started on Friday the 13th. I hope this isn’t a sign of what’s in store. Since I’m not particularly supersticous, I’m going to assume the fact that my first payday of the year fell on Friday the 13th was not bad luck, but mere coincidence. After all, the day before was Thursday the 12th so it would only be logical that Friday would be the 13th.
Being single, my budget is pretty tight. There isn’t a lot of room for surprises. So December is a good time to start looking at what you can do to make it stretch a little farther. With my youngest in college the last few years, any extra at the end of my budget has gone toward college expenses.
This year I need to refocus on my own future so some of these college expenses will now need to be redirected to my retirement and savings. Since the clock only ticks forward, I’m not getting any younger, and my children have not suggested the idea of adding a mother’s wing to their homes, I need to add more to retirement savings.
Unfortunately, the sun has not shown its overly bright face on my financial life, so I will never retire rich. I merely hope to retire with enough.
Of course the first day of my newly created budget, more college expenses happened. However, we have established that it will be my last planned contribution. Luckily it did not break the bank on the first day.
So in my quest to lower spending, I was able to eliminate or lower a few expenses.
1. The Landline
The first being my landline. I hate paying for a landline when I have a substantial cellphone bill every month. My plan was to eliminate it completely saving about $70.00 a month, but when I made that phone call they were able to lower it to $25.00 which is worth it to me to keep it at that price. If the power goes out for an extended period of time and you aren’t able to charge the cell phone, the landline will almost always work, barring downed phone lines. But it is still a savings at $25.00 per month.
2. Home Entertainment
I then turned to home entertainment to see where I could save. Netflix. We pay for 2 Netflix services. DVD and streaming. I canceled the DVD service. It’s been a long time since we have had a DVD sent to us. I rarely watch TV as it is and can stream most of what I want.
I also considered getting rid of the TV service altogether. However, it is bundled with my internet service and would only have saved about $10.00 and I’m still under a contract with my internet service for another year. I canceled cable last year so all I have are the basic channels now. But if I changed my service, I would need to extend my contract for another year. So I’m willing to stick it out till the contract ends.
3. Grocery Spending
I also took a closer look at my grocery spending. I preserve a lot of food from the garden every year and I need to be better about shopping in my pantry and freezer before buying. My goal is to keep my grocery spending to $150.00 per month. This week I tried out Aldi. I found that I spent about half of what I would normally have spent at the store I usually shop at. The selection isn’t as big so there were still just a few items on my list I needed to get elsewhere, but I feel it was definitely worth making the extra stop. My total spending was $110.24!
I also found a great deal on eggs. A carton of 18 large eggs for 79 cents! There was a limit of 2 per customer, so I bought the limit and was able to make breakfast burritos by making homemade flour tortillas and using frozen veggies from the garden to add to the eggs and freezing them. It took a little time up front but now there will be breakfast out of the microwave in a few seconds. These cost about a dollar per dozen to make.
I also did some delayed post Christmas shopping this month. By waiting about a week after Christmas, I was able to get 3 boxes of Christmas cards and 5 gift bags for next year at 90% off. And by using a coupon I had, the total was $1.84. Cha Ching!
5. Monitor Utility Usage
By watching my gas and electric usage very closely last year, this year my budget bill will be $18.00 lower per month for the next 12 months.
6. Dumpster Diving
I’m also planning to pay more attention to the trash. I’m not typically a dumpster diver, although, I can be be persuaded for the right item. Last year I pulled a guitar out of a dumpster, and $20.00 later, I had a perfect instrument!
7. Trash and Recycling
I recycle, but, even though I recycle a lot, I can do better. I take my recycling to a community receiving area in a town near where I live so I don’t have to pay my weekly trash service to take it away. But I recently discovered, after calling to complain about the constant rise in prices (which they lowered by about $20.00 just because I called to complain), that if there are weeks that I don’t need my trash taken away, and if I notify them in advance, the company will reimburse me for that week on my bill. Who knew? Probably not too many. So the more I recycle the less trash on the curb the more money in my pocket. I’m pretty sure I can get by with having my trash picked up once a month since there are weeks I don’t even have a full bag to put out. So, it’s on the calendar so I don’t forget to call them every week.
It’s also time to start planning my garden for the Spring. Even though my pantry, storeroom shelves, and freezers are still loaded with canned and frozen produce from last year, I will need to replace what I use this winter and spring. My garden is never the same. I take inventory of what I have, what I need to restock, what worked well last year and what didn’t to get the most out of my garden space.
9. Family Potluck Night
Last week my daughters and I had a family pizza night where everyone is supposed to contribute something. My contribution cost me nothing. Pesto from the freezer and canned jalapeno’s from the garden for toppings and an apple raspberry crisp using home canned apple pie filling and frozen raspberries from my garden for dessert.
10. Household Maintenance
I also pay for services to keep my household running smoothly. I still plan to keep these services for now because I think they are worth it. Things like having my furnace and air conditioner checked and maintained annually, maintenance for my drainage system and sump pump to keep my basement dry, and the services that maintain my septic and well (I don’t have city water and sewer where I live). I’d rather pay for maintenance than wait till a catastrophe happens and have to come up with an insane amount of money all at once. This is one instance where I spend money to save money.
Out of mere necessity, I will now be brown bagging my lunch everyday instead of just when the mood strikes. I switched my hours from working the day shift to the night shift which means no access to the hospital cafeteria or coffee shop which will definitely be a money saver for me.
12. Budget for Everything
Never underestimate the power of the smallest bill. I budget for everything! Even if it only amounts to $10.00 a month. If I know it has to be paid, it’s in the budget.
These are ways I was able to save in January. Staying committed is always the challenge. But the need to add to my emergency fund and retirement needs to be the priority.
So, if your budget is tight like mine, hopefully you’re finding ways to be motivated to save too!
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© 2017, Pamela Rinell @ MyTurkey Hollow Twilight Zone. All rights reserved. On republishing you must include the link to original post