Friday, August 8, 2008

A few things I do or have done to save money

I would like to share with you a few things that my wife and I do or have done to save money. You will notice, that this list is not called "things that you can do to save money." Because I don't know about your particular situation, I don't know if any of these will work for you. If they do, great. If not, I hope that they will at least be able to spark some ideas for things that you can do that will save you some cash.

  1. We did not own a car for four years. During these four years we lived in a highrise downtown in a major city. While there were times that we missed having a car, we never really needed one. We walked or biked to work, occasionally went on shopping trips or other driving excursions with friends, and took a lot of taxis.
  2. Currently, we only have one car. Now that we have a child and are no longer living downtown, we found that we needed a car. However, we only wanted one car, so we carefully chose a neighborhood that is on a major bus route and has a grocery store, butcher, and baker all within walking distance. I bike to work in the summer and take the bus in the winter.
  3. We canceled our cable. Because of, other sites that allow you to legally watch TV online, iTunes, and Netflix we just don't watch TV very much. We have been without cable for several months now, are saving almost $50/month, and don't miss it one bit.
  4. We rarely drink soda. Given that you can easily pay $3-4 for a soda at a restaurant, we usually stick to water. If we want a Coke (or beer, or glass of wine) we order it. But only if we actually want it.
  5. We consult each other before making any large purchases. My wife and I have a standing agreement that we will consult each other before purchasing an item with a value of $100 or more. This not only ensures that we are on the same page for major spending, it often helps to curb impulse buys. It still surprises me how often one of us will suggest purchasing something, the other will agree, only for the first person decide that they don't really want to spend the money after all.
  6. We don't have cell phones. Nor do we want them.
What is important about these decisions for us is that we have found ways to save money that don't make us feel that we are giving anything up. Is there anything in your life that you could cut back on or eliminate? You might be surprised at how little you miss it once it is gone.

Have you already found things that you can save money on? Leave a comment and share your experience.


Rachel said...

I really like #5, and we try to do this too. It is much easier to be in agreement about bigger purchases. I wish my friends knew this too.

Tara said...

These are such great common sense things - also good ways to stay healthy (biking, watching less tv, and consuming less sugar or artificial sugar)! It really is amazing how few things in life are truly "necessities." We have never had cable or satellite television, and have always been reminded when staying at hotels or with family how fine we are without it. Now if I could give up my cell phone ...