Search the Internet, read a book, brainstorm with a friend and you can easily come up with 100 new ways to save cash. Finding ways to save money is easy. The real challenge is taking all those great ideas and actually making them work for you.
New ways to save cash often require time and effort to implement. In order to achieve the results, you’re looking for. They require repetition and consistency. Otherwise, those new ideas eventually fizzle out – set aside and overrun by the hectic day to day routines of career, relationships, and family – i.e. life.
One thing I have learned is that sometimes when you’re looking for ways to save money, its best to start by evaluating your current lifestyle routines – habits. Rather than adding something new to your day to day practice, make minor adjustments to the things you’re already doing. Making changes to what you’re already doing can have as much of an impact on saving money as adding something new.
Here are five ways – adjustments that I have made to my lifestyle to save more money.
#1 Saving Spare Change
Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters – spare change. For most spare change is simply regarded as a fact of life. It’s what’s left over after you pay the cashier for your purchase.
As for me, I hate spare change, I consider it an inconvenience.
If I had my way I would recommend the US Treasury Department abolish all change and our economy would move to a system of rounding up or down to the nearest dollar. Call me impatient, but unless I have the exact change readily available I am most likely to just flip the cashier an additional one dollar bill. I view digging around in my pocket for change as a hassle.
Of course, this inevitably results in more spare change.
Years ago I decided to take a different approach to manage my spare change. An approach that focused less on it being an irritation and more about it being a savings opportunity.
I found an old plastic lemonade pitcher and put it on the floor in my closet in the bedroom. I found an old coffee cup and put it on the dryer. Then added a small plastic food container to the storage console in my truck. Now whenever I undress, do laundry or accumulate spare change at the drive-through, all that spare change goes into those containers.
Once a year, I take all the spare change to the bank and have it deposited in my savings account. (The tellers love me for doing this – NOT). Annually all that spare change allows me to deposit almost $500 in cash into my account.
You could argue that this method of saving cash isn’t really a savings plan at all. In fact, if your one of those individuals that actually likes managing spare change you might find it a bit ridiculous. However, it works for me, and it’s something I can do every day to save money.
I now view spare change as a good thing versus an inconvenience.
#2 Contact Lenses and Eye Exams
I have been wearing contacts for years. And my prescription for those contacts has rarely changed. So when my prescription expires and I need another eye exam to order more contacts, I view the eye exam as an unnecessary expense versus a necessity.
In the past, I never ordered my contacts online. If I had to have an eye exam to renew my prescription, I figured I might as well purchase the contacts from the provider that provided my exam. Recently, as I do each time I need to order new contact lenses, I comb the Internet for online providers to see if there is some way I can order new contacts without an up to date prescription.
Enter 1-800 Contacts. 1-800 Contacts now provides basic eye exams. That’s right the eye exam takes place online. The process renews your prescription and for a limited time, it’s free.
Here is how it works.
- You answer a few pre-qualifying questions regarding your past history with contacts.
- If you meet the requirements, you provide some basic personal information.
- You are sent a link to your smartphone. The link provides you with access to their online eye exam app. (Note: you need to be using both a desktop computer and your smartphone to complete the eye exam)
- They will ask you for your shoe size. Your shoe size is used to determine how many steps you need to take from your desktop computer before you start the exam.
- Viewing your desktop computer screen from a distance, and using your smartphone to register your responses the exam will take you through a step-by-step process for completing the exam.
- Once the exam is completed a registered ophthalmologist will review your results and provide you with a new prescription in about 24 hours. You can then order your contacts from 1-800 Contacts.
With healthcare costs rising year after year, it’s a bonus anytime you can find a way to save money. 1-800 Contact’s Express Exam is one of those ways.
This process for renewing your contact lens prescription isn’t for everyone. If you have astigmatisms, cataracts or any other eye related issues this method won’t work, and you should see an optometrist for your eye care needs.
However, if you’re like me and don’t have any eye related issues this is another option. 1-800 Contacts allows me to renew my prescription for free and save about 25% on my contacts. They also provide free shipping and great customer service.
If you’re still purchasing your contact lenses from a local optometrist, compare the pricing of your last contact lens order with the pricing at 1-800 Contacts. You might be surprised at what you can save.
You can learn more about 1-800 Contacts Express Exam and contact lens pricing here.
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#3 Pet Supplies
If you have pets as I do (one dog and five goats) you know that having a pet can be an expensive proposition. Especially when it comes to routine medical treatments and supplies.
Living on a farm has many rewards, however, one of them is NOT the annual flea and tick population. Where I live there is an overabundance of deer ticks. Deer ticks carry Lyme’s disease which can be debilitating for dogs and in extreme cases cause death. Annually, I treat my Golden Retriever Max with flea and tick treatment.
In the past, I used treatments from my local vet and then transitioned to Frontline. Frontline works great but is also expensive. Years ago I got tired of paying $70 for three months’ worth of product, so I started searching online for alternatives.
If you’re still buying dog or cat medication from your local pet store, I highly recommend shopping online at Chewy. Search for the generic versions of your name brand treatment. Just like the generic versions for humans their just as good and much more cost effective.
Amazon Pet Supplies are another alternative to purchasing online. Buy online and you can save yourself a whole bunch of money.
#4 Cut Cable
This one is on everyone’s list of ways to save money, and for good reason. If you can overcome your fear of eliminating cable or satellite services and start streaming, you can save a whole bunch of cash.
Saving money is often the main motivator for cutting premium TV services. It was for me when I cut the cord over a year ago. However, what I was not expecting, was how great the original content was from streaming providers.
Companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are all competing for new subscribers. The best way to add more subscribers and have them stay with their service is by offering their own original content.
These companies are hiring A-list actors and directors to create some amazing movies and TV series. If you’re not steaming then you’re missing out on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Emmy Award Winning), and Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime. The Last Kingdom, Longmire, Highway Men (Kevin Costner) and Narcos on Netflix.
I believe with Apple and Disney soon to be providing their own streaming services, the need to have premium cable or satellite TV will soon become a thing of the past.
I personally use Netflix, Amazon Prime, and VUDU for my streaming services. Even with all three of these, my entertainment bill was cut by 70%. Most providers provide a free trial period and you can cancel at any time. Your only risk is that you will find a series you enjoy and spend your evenings and weekends binge-watching.
Note: VUDU provides HD streaming of current box office best sellers. In addition, they provide a huge library of free movies, but best of all you can sign-up for free. You only pay if you rent one of their premium movie selections.
If you’re struggling to make the switch to streaming services because you can’t overcome the fear of losing 350 channels, be sure to read my previous article Cutting Cable Saving Money and Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable.
#5 Purchasing Items Online
It may seem a bit counter-intuitive. You’re looking for ways to save cash, and I am going to recommend you purchase items online through Ebates.
Ebates is a cash back program that allows you to save money when you make online purchases. Ebates receives a commission from online retailers when you purchase through them. They then return some of those commissions back to you in the form of a cash back check.
Ebates works as a cash-saving method when you purchase items you were going to purchase anyways. As discussed above you can save money on pet supplies and contacts by shopping online. Accessing those online providers via Ebates will help you save more.
When does Ebates not work? Ebates does not work as a cash-saving program if you end up making more purchases online for the sole purpose of receiving cash back.
Saving is a Lifestyle Habit
Saving money by drinking more water, shutting the lights off or repairing your old clothing are all ways to save cash. However, unless you can establish a habit around these types of ideas, I think you will find they will be short lived.
If you want to find ways to save money long-term start by focusing on your daily lifestyle habits and routines. Once you create a savings plan around your routines you’re more likely to stick with them long-term and create money-saving habits that last a lifetime.
- Cutting Cable – Insignia HD Antenna, Roku Streaming Media Device
- Streaming Services – Amazon Prime, HULU and VUDU
- Exams and Contact Lenses – 1-800 Contacts
- Pet Supplies – 1800-Pet-Meds, Chewy, Amazon Pet Supplies
How do you save cash on a daily basis? Comment below.