Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

12 Simple Things You Can Do This Weekend to Save Some Money

Guest post by Sam from Grad Money Matters

Here is a quick to-do list you can tackle this weekend to save some money:

1. Unscrew one (or two or five) light bulbs from your bathroom light fixture.

I have never understood what the fascination is with having so many light bulbs in the bathroom. Frankly, one CFL bulb on the sink is all I care about!

2. Freeze your credit cards – literally!

If you have credit cards, put them in a ziptop freezer bag, pour water until all the cards are submerged, squeeze the air out, seal, and shove it in the freezer.

3. Make some snacks (cookies, trail mix etc.) and package them into single-serving packs.

It is a lot cheaper (and healthier) to take your own snacks with you than buying pre-packaged stuff. And, if you have your children help, it’s a fun way to spend some quality time with them, too.

4. Look through your dresser for clothes that need quick mending.

A missing button can make a shirt completely useless, and it takes less than five minutes and minimal skills to stitch a button back on.

5. Ditch the phone landline.

If you tend to make a lot of calls during day time, check out cheaper options like Skype or Magic Jack. If you tend to call mostly on night/weekends, a cell phone might suffice.

6. Cook or prepare and refrigerate/freeze some food.

Having a part of the meal (or the entire meal) ready in the fridge/freezer can go a long way in cutting down the impulse to eat out.

7. Check the pressure of your tires and fill air if needed.

Keeping the tires properly inflated can result in better gas mileage.

8. Seal any leaky faucets, windows that let the draft out.

It’s time to take care of some of the items on your honey-do list that are costing you ka-ching!

9. Change the A/C duct filters, if you have not done so recently.

Clean filters not only improve the efficiency of the A/C but are better for your health, too!

10. Collect some coupons.

Sort through your Sunday newspaper and save the coupons. Don’t get the paper? Print some coupons online for things you are planning to buy on your next shopping trip.

11. Spend some time reading articles on how to save (a ton of) money at stores like CVS and Walgreens.

Be warned though, this could get pretty addictive. Don’t buy things you don’t need just because they are cheap!

12. Cancel unused subscriptions.

Have magazines that are hardly ever read or gym that is rarely used? Get rid of them and save yourself some cash!

See, its a simple list and its hardly any work at all. Even if you scratch off only a few of the items on the list, I bet you will still manage to save some money.

What are some of your quick tips for saving some money over a weekend?

Sam is as fanatical about making more money as she is about saving money. Check out the massive collection of money-making ideas she has put together on her site.

photo credit

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • Leighann says:

    Unplug your microwave if you aren’t using it! Install a timer on your home’s water heater so that it doesn’t heat water all night long. Unplug things when you’re sleeping – unplug your computer from the wall, your t.v. from the wall, your cell phone chargers from the wall. Pull back your curtains and use sunshine instead of lamps.

    I did all these things and dropped my power bill over $30 last month! Save money and save the environment, too 🙂

    • Bethany says:

      My husband calls me the ‘unplugger’. Everytime we leave a room for a fe whrs I unplug what I can…

      I realized we hardly use the microwave but leave it unplugged for the clock- there’s a clock near it so we just unplug the microwave!

      We turn off computers and unplug internet at night

      • Laura says:

        Unplugging causes a great deal of wear & tear to the appliance, which are usually expensive to replace. Compare the cost of replacement vs the cost of the tiny amount of energy used before unplugging.

        • Christine says:

          Power strips are the solution to both for us. No wear and tear on the plugs, one simple switch to flip, and energy saved. We have a toddler, so it’s not just about saving electricity but about keeping her from being able to turn things on with buttons.

          • Laura says:

            It would be helpful for all of us if a reputable group did a study on this. My engineer husband says wear & tear comes from powering on and off, not from use. That is why you sometimes see a lit light bulb that runs seemingly forever while one that is turned on and off constantly burns out faster. It is not the use that wears an appliance out. It is the powering on and off.

            We all want to save appliances from being dumped into landfills as well as save money. It would be helpful to have a definitive word on the subject because I am afraid ‘unplugging’ has become a counterproductive urban myth.

    • Sam Baker says:

      Wow, Leighann! You are way ahead of me!

      For everyone unplugging the microwave, how do you manage that? In our house, the microwave sits in a cabinet over the oven and it is hard to reach the plug (I am embarrassed that I don’t even know where the plug for it is!)

    • Elise says:

      I honestly never thought about unplugging the microwave, that’s a fantastic idea!

    • Jill says:

      I just used a Kill-a-Watt to calculate how much it costs me to leave my microwave plugged in all the time. I turns out I would only save a few dollars A YEAR by unplugging it. Honestly, that’s just not worth it to me. And as someone else mentioned, there is wear and tear on your appliance as well that you should consider. If you are going to keep it unplugged, definitely use a power strip.

  • Number 1 made me laugh! This is my husband’s reason for refusing the replace lightbulbs in our bathroom! When half of them were out, I said, no more! I need to be able to see to put on makeup! He agreed to replace the 2 that were out over my sink. He hasn’t replaced the 2 that went out over his.

    I would add, too, that not everyone needs a cell phone. I don’t have one. I pay $16.95 a month for a landline. I don’t have call waiting (that saved me $5 a month when I dumped it), long distance, or caller id. I rarely need to make long distance calls; I have a calling card that I bought with 2000 minutes for $20 on it about 7 years ago, and it still have several hundred minutes left.

    A lot of people think their landline rates have to include caller id, call waiting, etc., but are surprised to find out that they don’t have to pay for any of those.

    Another thing you can do–switch to a slower internet speed. We still have cable modem, but the slower speed isn’t that slow (as fast as I used to have when working an an internet company!)

    You can also stay home this weekend! If you don’t go anywhere, you won’t spend any money out, and you won’t spend any money on gas!

    • Jennifer says:

      I don’t have a cell phone either. Rather than saying “drop the land line” it should say evaluate your phone needs. Our land line is cheaper than any cell phone and is sufficient for us. It is somewhat inconvenient these days living without a cell phone since pay phones are nearly extinct and there is the occasional flat tire or other problem, but I dropped the cell phone six years ago when opting to stay home with my kids and have always managed to find a phone to borrow when needed.

      • I was robbed in broad daylight once while putting my children into the car on Black Friday. There were a couple of witnesses. Even if had had a cell phone, it would have just been stolen. One stranger offered me her cell phone, and I was able to call my husband (who was at home) and have him immediately cancel my debit card with the bank.

        When moving to Las Vegas from California, my husband and I got a flat in the middle of the night. We were used to the call boxes in California, and started walking for one, not knowing that there aren’t call boxes in Nevada. (At that point, most people didn’t own cell phones, either). We didn’t know that we would have been walking for hours! A couple who didn’t even speak English picked us up and drove us into town, where we were able to call to have our car towed.

        My mom balks at the idea of me driving with children without a cell phone. I reminded her that she did it the entire time I was a child! (and even survived an accident!)

        • Amber says:

          How awful! I’m glad you guys were okay! Were they just after your purse or did they take your black friday deals, too?!

          • Just my purse. It cost me more to replace my driver’s license and the other things in my purse than what I bought. (I was at the fabric store, buying thread and flannel!)

            I didn’t carry a purse for 5 years after that, though (just my diaper bag) and I stopped shopping Black Friday deals for a couple of years after that. I am still very cautious in that parking lot and in others since then.

        • Sam Baker says:

          Prudent Homemaker, That is scary! I am paranoid about heading out without a cell phone, especially if I am going some place that I am not very familiar with.

          When my parents were staying with us to help with my baby, I wanted to get a cell phone for them that they could carry with them, but did not want to pay a lot. I found a company called “platinumtel” that offers prepaid minutes for cell phones. It worked out fairly inexpensive, and offered me a lot of peace of mind that they always had a way to reach us no matter where they were.

      • Andrea says:

        I definitely agree with you, Jennifer.

        Ditching the landline is not an option for us, because we have almost no cell reception inside our home or even on the porch. I’m more worried about having to call 911 from home than from somewhere on the road.

        I do have a prepaid cell phone that costs about $12 per month.

        • shannon says:

          Andrea-would love to know what kind of prepaid cell you have that costs $12 a month…how many minutes does that cover? I so hesitate to cancel the landline, because after crunching numbers, it only saves me about $10 a month. (I would have to increase cell phone minutes plus go wireless). That $10 is worth the security of knowing I have a land line if one of my small kids gets a hold of the cell, the battery dies, it breaks, etc.

          • Andrea says:

            We have a very basic Tracfone.

            IIRC, the phone cost $20 and then the first year of service was $120, which included 800 minutes. If you sign up for their emails, they regularly send you codes for bonus minutes that you can add when you purchase more prepaid minutes.

            I’ve had it for several years now, so the cost per month is lower. Occasionally, Target has the prepaid minutes on sale for 10 percent off and I try to buy them then.

    • Tammy L says:

      LOL, Brandy! 🙂 I agree… I only spend 10-15 minutes using the bathroom lights each day but I do like to be able to SEE in there. Helps wake me up, too! 😉 (4:30 just comes to early…)

      And, we’re in the same boat with the phones (and we too just have the basic services, no call waiting, caller ID, etc…). 🙂 So many people DO have cell phones with free long distance, we hardly ever need to use our phone card to talk to family/friends long distance. However, I’m nervous about not having a phone (or just using Skype). I know people survived before there was emergency services like 911, but having a phone is just… handy. 🙂

  • Freezing the credit cards seems like a funny prank to play on someone!

  • Also, if it’s nice out, open the windows to cool the house for as many hours as you can. We’ll still need to run the a/c for a few more weeks here, but it’s cool enough to turn it off at night.

    If you haven’t changed your sprinkler clocks to water less, now is the time to do so as well.

    • Katie says:

      We haven’t had to run out ac/heat for almost a month now! For once, I’m actually looking forward to getting out electric bill!

      • How nice! We have 5-6 months of above 90º temperatures where we live. Winter is when we have lower electric bills.

      • Amber says:

        Me too, Katie! 🙂

      • Jessica says:

        I live in New England. We don’t even have AC! No filters to change. No bills to pay in the summer other than a few window fans. Interesting to see the different perspective. The guest poster worries about letting drafts out. We worry about letting drafts in the winter.

      • Amy says:

        We’ve had decent weather – finally out of the 108 degree days. So I am looking forward to lower electric bills now too. Until June. I think January shouldn’t be too bad either. I bought a bunch of LED Christmas lights on clearance so I am curious what those will do. Summer electric bills are the worst!

    • Ashley says:

      I love this idea, but it seems every time we finally get a nice day to open the windows our backyard neighbor decides to do extensive amounts of yard work. The allergies he stirs up makes it not worth the “fresh air” that we get by opening our windows. 🙁

    • lindsey says:

      Sprinkler clocks? Automated watering instead of saving grey water and rain water for the lawn and garden? That is like saying you can save money by buying a cheaper type of steak, instead of looking at why you are bying any steak at all.

      • Lindsey, where I live it only rains 2 inches a YEAR, and using grey water in your yard is illegal. It’s also illegal to water more than 3 days a week now, even though it’s 95º out.

        My garden is watered on a drip system. Almost everything in my garden is edible. All of my trees are fruit trees. I have an edible landscape.

        If I move somewhere where it actually rains, I fully plan on getting rain barrels and I look forward to having the rain water my garden. Where I live now, I can NEVER count on the rain watering my garden for a single day.

        • WilliamB says:

          “using grey water in your yard is illegal.”

          That’s terrible. Even sadder is that I’ve heard worse: some jurisdictions outlawing rain barrels on the theory that all water belongs to the water district, and so it should all go to them.

          • The water district here has also taken over wells. My sister-in-law is on a shared well, and has been forced to change over to city water.

            They also give tickets if your water ever hits the sidewalk, or if you water on the wrong day.

            I have read also about some areas outlawing rain barrels.

          • stephanie says:

            This is true for me! It is illegal in our city to collect water in rain barrels. I wish we could..

        • It may seem excessive but now I think if I lived in your area I would totally do it for everyone in our house. When I shower I put a bucket in the bottom of the shower to catch the cold water while I wait for it to heat up. Then I use the bucket for watering those plants that don’t get watered by our normal sprinklers. I don’t think they could make that illegal 🙂

    • Danielle B says:

      I usually look forward to opening our windows up for the fresh air during fall, but for some reason this year we’ve had horrible issues with spiders. Maintenance has already come and sprayed outside and inside all of the townhouses, like they normally do in the fall. It hasn’t seemed to effect the spider population though. It’s not just our townhouse, it’s all of the townhouses. Oh well. Maybe the cold snap coming this weekend will help things out!

      • Most people where I live spray for bugs every month. A friend of ours, who owns a pest control company, told us that the spray won’t kill spiders, because of the air sac that they have (that’s why the itsy bitsy spider CAN come back up the water spout 😉 ).

        We’ve had a problem with spiders as well. We also have scorpions here. The cold does help get rid of some of their food, though. It’s very hard to kill spiders. A shoe works best 😉

        • Julie says:

          Our experience has been that spraying for spiders definitely helps. When we don’t spray, the spiders stop coming in, big and small, at least here in Western Washington. And I kill any existing spiders in our garage with the spray. Finding spiders in bed with you is not too exciting…or is too exciting??? 🙂 If you can live with them…feel free to withhold the spray!

          • Julie says:

            I forgot to say that we just spray once in the fall and that takes care of it for the year. Monthly does seem very excessive.

          • Danielle B says:

            I’m thinking about getting an extra jug of spider spray from Wal-Mart tonight. They have them clearanced out for about $4 for a couple gallons, so I think that’s a pretty good price? I’m not sure. We’ve been living here almost our whole marriage and maintenance takes care of those things…..well…..usually! 😉

            I can deal with the little and even medium sized ones, but the big ones have pushed me over my edge. Last night we were watching tv after the children were in bed, and one as big as my hand crawled out from under the desk. YIKES!

            That led to a big chase scene between my husband, myself and the spider. It hid behind the tv stand where we couldn’t get it, which led to us realizing this: Forget the shoe, grab the vacuum cleaner!!!! Sucked him right up, let it run for a minute longer, then emptied out the container into the trash. (Our vacuum has that removable middle section instead of bags.) Much easier and faster! 😉

    • Beth says:

      Sadly, we just flipped on the furnace today here in Michigan….we were hoping to save a few more dollars with everything off, but it’s chilly!

      • Jill says:

        We are in Michigan too and just put our furnace on as well to make sure it works. It is supposed to get cold tonight and be cold tomorrow morning.

  • Elizabeth Rehn says:

    If you live in or near the Baltimore, MD area don’t forget that this Sat. starts the Free Fall Baltimore. It is a month full of free things to do in the Baltimore area everything from museums, plays, zoo, the ships in the harbor, and much more go to We always have a month full of field trips and fun family outings in the month of October and for a family of 9 that is a huge savings for us

  • Julie says:

    I just changed my air filter yesterday on my furnace.

  • ChristineM says:

    I appreciate the suggestions and I agree with most but I always cringe when I hear of people disconnecting their land line. Yes, our land line goes mostly unused most of the time, however, we have small children. If our small children ever need to call 911 I want them to have that land line. Why? Because it will go to our local EMS vs. whatever tower the call is sent from and it will display our physical address so that if they are panicked the EMS will still know where to send help. My husband is a paramedic and this has saved lives more times than he can count when he has been on duty. Please consider before removing your land line.

    • Having lived through a very large earthqauke, where people were without power for a week, it was wonderful to have a phone still, to check on people! We have cordless phones in the house, but we have a corded phone as well with our emergency supplies, so that if need be, we can also use that.

      Being able to call 911 is important to us, too–including when you’re without power, and when cell-phone towers are down. Children don’t have to look for a cell phone, or worry whether or not it’s charged, either. This is also one reason I wouldn’t switch a landline to a cable intenet provider. If your power is out, or the internet goes down, you can’t call for help.

    • Sandi says:

      I agree with your post. My husband and I just talked about getting our land line back the other day. Our son is 3, and trying to teach him what to do in case of an emergency was more complicated than it should have been.

    • Leighann says:

      When you get your cell phone, you can call your local 911 center and have them attach the phone number to your physical address. It was cheaper for us to get a cell phone that stays plugged in all the time than it was to get a landline, and if anyone needs to call emergency services, the number is attached to our address so they know how to help us. Our cell phone is a really basic little thing, too, and only $20 per month (the next cheapest was over $30 per month here!).

      • Michelle H. says:

        Be sure to check with your local police department to see if this is possible. I not sure where Leighann is located, but I’m a 911 operator in the Dallas area, and we don’t have that capability on our enhanced 911 system. If you have a VOIP (voice over internet phone, such as skype or ooma) you can program your address thru your provider to show up on 911, but not cell phones. And if you move be sure to update your address, otherwise you’re calling 911 in New York and it’s ringing thru to the city you used to live in.

        Speaking for 911 operators everywhere: know your address/location when calling 911, and please stay on the line if at all possible so we can help you. If I don’t know where you are I can’t send help.

    • Miranda says:

      Completely agree! We actually both have cell phones and 2 land lines – as one is for my husband’s home-office. We cancelled one of the land lines and were about to cancel the other when we realized – when we are gone and our older son baby-sat – there would be no means of communication…. :/ I am considering cancelling my cell phone… thinking it might actually provide a break mentally for me as well as save me $$$…

    • Denise says:

      As I understand it where I live, I can still dial 911 from my landline phone even though I disconnected my service. That’s the ONLY number I can call on the landline, however.

      • Kelly says:

        We don’t have a land line- just cell phones. Our internet is through a phone carrier, though. I think by law, they have to provide 911 service to their customers. So we still have that line for a true emergency, but we don’t have the added expense of another phone line!

      • Grace says:

        Because I no longer work from home we are unbundling and canceling tv and landline to save 50 dollars a month, we pay for a security system that has buttons for fire police and ambulance so we don’t really worry about 911 at this point

    • Laura says:

      I also agree! A friend fell in the shower the other day. Her son ran to her cell phone, but it had died. He had to run to two neighbors before finding one who could call for help. My friend was okay. I am thankful she didn’t have an injury where the minutes were crucial.

      We’ve decided the “house” should always have a phone. It isn’t even a matter of 911 information. I just don’t want to assume that everyone who comes into the house has a cell. Kids, sitters, friends, homeowners with a dead battery should all be able to dial out in an emergency. And yes, we still keep a corded phone in the garage for emergencies. We’ve had to use it!

    • Laura says:

      This past Dec. my Dad had a sudden heart attack. My Mom tried using her new cell phone to call 911 and had a hard time figuring it out (wasting minutes) she eventually gave up and went over to the land line and called 911!Of course, no one ever plans for their new phone not to work right and there could even be a problem with the land line. God knew and God knows~

      • Coby says:

        My friend is a dispatcher for the police department (we live in CA) and even if you don’t have a landline you can still plug in a phone to the wall and dial 911 out. Some of our friends without one just leave a phone in the wall for that purpose.

        That being said…we still kept our landline. Cell service is spotty at our house, if I stand in a certain spot on our loft I can get good reception!

  • Jen says:

    I agree to unplug everything you can when not using it: tvs, stereos, microwaves, chargers, etc.

    Turn down your water heater. Just a little change probably won’t make that much of a difference for you, but it will for your bill.

    Use cold water as much as possible on your washing machine. It seems silly, but it works. Air dry some clothes, then combine what’s left (towels, etc) so you do fewer dryer loads.

    Keep up on your car maintenance. It will reduce repair costs as well as make it run better. A clean, healthy car gets better gas mileage.

    Invest in good curtains. they insulate well and will last a long time.

    • Katie says:

      Ok, I HAVE to ask! When you say air dry your clothes, are you talking about outside on a clothes line? If yes, how do you protect your things from birds flying overhead? I would be terrified of coming out one day to find my clothes covered in bird potty! Gross, I know, but we just moved and we finally have a big enough yard to make clotheslines an option, but I’ve always wondered about this! Any readers have advice?

      • Bethany says:

        We just bought a drying rack and keep it in the laundry room… seems to help a little with costs! just fluff a few mins when dry

      • Karen says:

        We live in inland San Diego so we can hang clothes on the line outside almost all year round with this boring but sunny weather. We have NEVER had a bird potty accident!! How funny!

      • Leighann says:

        We had a clothesline outside when I was growing up and we never had a problem with that. The clothesline was attached to two big pine trees, too. We had to clear out the pine needles sometimes but never any bird business! It always saved us so much money, to line-dry the clothes instead of doing them in the dryer.

      • Lori says:

        I dry laundry outside on a line whenever I can, and I have never had any problems with the birds. The kids fooling with the laundry, on the other hand, can be an issue.

        • Carmen says:

          I taught our three sons who wear blue jeans everyday, to dry freshly washed blue jeans by threading a plastic hanger through a belt loop and hang them on the laundry room rack overnight. They soften them for three minutes in the clothes dryer in the morning and save money on electricity. We don’t have time to hang everything but jeans seem to be the most costly items to dry.

      • Andrea says:

        Never had a problem with birds.

        I have some inexpensive outside lines tied between trees (cost about $6 total and I have enough space to hang an XL load). Indoors, I have three drying racks (two metal and one Amish-made wood one that is very sturdy) and a rod above my dryer where I hang things on hangers. There’s enough space inside to hang another XL load. Saves about $200 per year, because I do use the dryer for some things.

      • Patti says:

        We have a retractable line on our screen porch and also use a drying rack. I am thinking of investing in more of both so we can dry more. In the winter, I use the drying rack in our upstairs bathroom because it is both sunny and warm from the heat rising so the clothes dry fairly quickly. I usually air dry my clothes (since they are mostly delicates) but I sure do love the smell of outside dried sheets. Nothing like it!

    • Sam Baker says:

      Jen, Really great tips!

      When we were growing up, all our clothes were sun dried. It sure is a great way to save money. And one tip if you do this often, is to turn the clothes inside out before putting them out to dry since some of the colors tend to fade during sun drying.

  • Jessica says:

    Great tips, although I disagree with the first one. One bulb is not enough light in the bathroom for me, for doing makeup and hair I need the full amount of bulbs.

    As for saving money over a weekend, I would recommend replacing ALL the bulbs in your house with CFLs, having a one day garage sale (did this last weekend and made $250!!!), and redoing a bathroom by yourself vs paying someone to do it!

    • Melissa says:

      I also disagree with the first one. One of my pet peeves is poorly lit bathrooms. It makes it hard to see for putting on makeup, etc.

    • Sandra says:

      I went to all CFL bulbs and my electric bill went down $30 a month! I also did a rummage sale at our local community center. It opened at 8:00 a.m. and closed at 2:00 p.m. I made $675 in 6 hours!

  • Corinne says:

    If you have children without cell phones, handicapped or elderly people, consider holding on to your land line so they (or you) have access to 911 easily. Recently we’ve seen several situations where elderly parents are left alone for a few hours or little children are with sitters who do not have cell phones. When there is no home phone/landline, they have no way to call for help or companionship if needed. Great suggestions overall, though!

    • I don’t know if this would help Corinne, but we always leave one of our cell phones behind. My husband and I each have a phone, but no landline. So if we go on a date night, we just leave one of our phones with the responsible party.

      • Sam Baker says:

        When my parents were staying with us to help with our daughter, initially we used skype and magicjack. But one day our router was acting up, and they could not get on the Internet. Both my husband and I were at work, and they had no way to reach us. That was kind of scary, so I got them a prepaid cell phone. It cost me around $20 for the unit + initial minutes that I loaded (with an online coupon). The minutes lasted through their entire trip (~6 months) since they mostly used the “landline” (magicjack/skype) to make the calls, and this was just a backup. My dad has had a heart attack before, and they were taking care of my baby, and they don’t drive. Also, while they traveled to meet my sister they carried the cell phone with them. I think $20 was well worth the peace of mind it provided.

    • Crystal says:

      Corrine – I agree. I will not get rid of my home phone because it is easy for my small children to use. Recently I bumped really bad my head while my husband was out of town and was so nervous that my daughter would have to call 911. I realized then that since I keep my cell phone on lock 99% of the time, there would be no way for her to make the emergency call.

  • I agree with the comment about using good curtains. I got my black out thermal curtains from Wal-Mart for around $10 each and they really help to keep out the cold in the winter and the warmth in the summer. This has definitely helped our energy bill!

  • Jenny says:

    Air conditioning? Move to the UK! Sprinklers? get a water butt or 3 to save your rainwater. Your comments make me think the whole of USA is so car dependent. Do you get your weekly shop delivered? Do you catch buses? As for low energy bulbs – I both love and hate them. By the time they’ve warmed up, I’ve left the room already. Love you all!

    • Leighann says:

      I would love to be able to use public transportation, but the county I live in doesn’t have any! We live in a more rural area. We really are car dependent; if we wanted to walk to the nearest grocery store, it’s 20 miles away, and *no* buses, no public transportation at all, and *no* sidewalks! Just a 2 lane road thickly lined with trees. We just combine as many trips as possible to save gas. And, nobody delivers out to our area, either; when I subscribed to the newspaper, the carrier didn’t deliver it to us half the time! Ah, to be able to live in a bigger city and walk places!! 🙂

    • Jenny, I live in the desert, where we get less than 2 inches of rain a year, and 5-6 months of over 90ºF temperatures (our average summer temperatures are around 116ºF here–upper 40ºC to even 50ºC for 2-3 months).

      When I lived in Europe (France and Switzerland) it was totally different. I lived in cities, so I understand bus transportation. But if you’ve ever taken the bus out of town, you know what the limited service is like. That’s what taking the bus is like in most of the U.S. in more populated areas, and in some places it’s non-existant. It wasn’t so hot that I needed air conditioning, and we had radiators for heat (here we have central heat).

      Where I live would be totally unihabitable if it weren’t for these things. The Mojave Desert is one of the hottest, driest places in the world.

      However, my husband and I have talked about how much we’d love to move to the UK for a year if we could!

      I don’t do a weekly shop. There are places that deliver, but it’s quite expensive. I only shop a few times a year, when we can. Fortunately I grow quite a bit in my garden–all year-round.

    • Our petrol is about 4-5 times less here than it is for you, also.

    • Sam Baker says:

      When we first moved to the US, we were in a small town. The nearest grocery store was several miles away. I would try to bum a ride with one of my friends, or my husband would ride the bicycle (and the entire time I would wait with my heart in my throat since the town was not very bicycle friendly). We couldn’t wait to buy our first car. It was an old second hand one, and set us on a tailspin of bad financial decisions. It is quite sad but in a lot of parts of US it is quite hard to get around without a car….

    • Mary S. says:

      The extra fee to have groceries delivered to my house would be about 20 times what I spend on gas to get to the store and back. And only one store even offers delivery service, so I wouldn’t be able to maximize the best deals. The two main grocery stores are across the street from one another so I can go to both quickly to save money.

      The bus system is very limited near me even though this is the closest I have ever lived to a bus stop. For example, to take the bus to the library would be about 30-40 minutes combined of walking and riding the bus but I could drive there in 10 minutes and there is a huge free parking lot. It would be great to be able to use public transit but it really just isn’t feasible outside of major cities.

      And I just checked the weather in London…the high temperatures there next week look to be 15 or 20 degrees lower than they will be here and I am completely jealous of the moderate temperatures!

    • Jessica says:

      However, I happen to know that the general cost of living is way higher in the UK than in most parts of the USA- even more than Australia, which I estimated to be about twice as much as living in the USA (I lived in Australia for 7 years). 😉

    • Kayla says:

      Buses? Deliveries? Sounds foreign to me! The closest city to me with public transporation is two hours away. I’m 30 miles from the closest store (besides a tiny convenience store about 5 miles away). My work, school, bank, etc is all about 25-30 miles away. I’m car dependent for sure! Just goes to show that everyone is different 🙂

  • Haha! I love it! “Freeze Your Credit Cards…Literally” made me laugh out loud!

    I already do a lot of these things, but thanks for the reminder! My grandmother lived through the depression, and she is fanatical too. She’s my role model! She unplugs everything in the house when it’s not in use. Though I’ve got to admit that it drives me a little crazy to be crawling around on the floor behind the TV set looking for the cord when I’m visiting her. 🙂

  • Another suggestion…plant shade trees around your home. Our new place is so shady and cool that despite temperatures in the 100’s here, we haven’t had to turn on the A/C at all.

    • Elizabeth says:

      When we bought our house that was the first thing that caught our eyes about our house was the huge maple trees in the front and large pine in the back. The way the house set up we have great shade in the summer to keep temperature down and in the winter when the leaves are gone it allows the sun shine in to help warm the house.

      • Stephanie says:

        So true, until the trees die. As we speak, the two very large maples in our front yard are being taken down (they were both severely damaged in hurricane Irene). That is a massive expense and we were not going to touch it ourselves since power lines, our roof and our neighbor’s driveway are involved if they come down the wrong way. I expect that our power bill will go up a great deal next summer since those trees shaded two bedrooms.
        Because it was not an emergency we were able to take our time and get six estimates and at least we know that we are paying the best price possible. We have a fireplace and by having them leave the wood behind we not only saved money but we have the better part of a full cord of wood for next year.
        Next year we will plant replacement trees.

        • I totally agree about trees being a double edge sword! We had a large cedar fall on house this year (an inch from where the power lines are attached to our house). Thank God we were all ok 7 the house didn’t burn down.

          Unfortunately, because of the precarious position in which our tree fell & the sheer size of it we ended up spending $800 to have it removed! I’m not sure our savings in air conditioning would ever make up for that!

    • And fall is a great time to plant trees! They get a chance to establish a good root system before spring. Fruit trees go on sale in the fall here at the local nursery.

      Mulberries and poplars are fast-growing shade trees, but they are illegal here. (allergies and too much water, respectively). However, fig trees are not, and they even like the desert! Our has tripled in size every year! Plus, it fruits TWICE a year (mission fig).

  • KATIE says:

    Great Post. But I have to say my landline is in expensive and I am not a big fans of cell phones. My land line only costs 19.99/mo and I dont have a cell phone so I save a lot more money by keeping the land line and ditching the cell phone. I liked the article though.

    • Sam Baker says:

      Thanks Katie!

      If I were to rewrite the article, I would take Jeniffer’s suggestion – “Rather than saying “drop the land line” it should say evaluate your phone needs”

      “Drop the land line” is the option that worked for us, so that’s what I ended up listing. But I think for others with different needs, keeping the land line and ditching the cell phone would probably make more sense both cost-wise and need-wise.

  • Dawn says:

    I agree with less lightbulbs in the bathroom, but a word of caution about replacing all your lightbulbs to CFL’s. They contain mercury and have been known to explode and leave mercury in your house. In fact, you may not dispose of them in the landfill. They also give off more EMF’s (radiation) than other lightbulbs.

    We had CFL’s, but are in the process of getting rid of them. LEDs are energy efficient and don’t have the EMF’s that CFL’s do, BUT they do cost more to purchase. Fortunately, some of the prices on them have come down recently.

    • WilliamB says:

      The CFLs explode extraordinarly rarely.

      As a bulb blows out, I decide whether to replace it with CFL. The default assumption is use a CFL … but not in my closet. While the risk of a broken bulb is quite low, the cost to replace all my clothes would be quite high.

    • Andrea says:

      My husband and I did some basic math for CFLs and LEDs based on what we pay for kwH. They really aren’t that good of an investment. Buying a $25 LED will save me money over the course of 10 years, but buying an incandescent today will save me money right now. A lot depends on your budget.

      In many areas of the US, energy comes from coal-fired plants that spew mercury (and other chemicals) into the air. Incandescent lightbulbs require more energy to run than CFLs and LEDs, so overall, they are “toxic” too.

  • We decided to go out as a family tonight and after dinner, get a few fall decorations for the house. I knew that my husband and kids would spend too much if I didn’t have a plan so I found a few really cute printables on Pinterest to make fall signs. There were a few things around the house that I knew I could repurpose for fall decor that will save us a little. I also made a “picture list” of the things I thought would look nice and a list of supplies to make them-cheaper than buying decorations already made. Sometimes it doesn’t occur to me to research and find out how to make things myself but I know I’ve already saved us some money!

  • I used most of these tips when I was single and stretching a buck was my absolute mantra. We still live pretty conservative, but when we got married it was actually cheaper to “levelize” our electricity.

    Another money saver, is to only run your dishwasher every other day or two. That probably doesn’t work with bigger families, but hey it works for us now!

    Now, I’m going to go unplug my microwave….

    • No, it sure doesn’t work for large families! We run ours every day–every 4 meals.

    • Courtney says:

      We are a family of 8 and we only run our dishwasher every other day, so yes, large families can make it work too! 🙂

      • Do your children eat lunch at school? Mine are home all day. They use the same cups all day and just drink water, but with 8 of us we fill the dishwasher (plates, bowls, and silverware. You must have a lot of silverware!) I wash a LOT of pots and pans by hand each day, too, since we make everything from scratch.

        • Courtney says:

          Mine are home all day too (ages 9, 8, 7, 6, 6, and 5) but we rinse off the plates and silverware after each meal, and then put everything in the dishwasher after dinner. I too, wash a lot of pots and pans by hand. I usually need them before we run the dishwasher! 😀

      • We also don’t go out to eat as a family, ever.

        • Courtney says:

          Us too, unless someone gives us gift cards. 😉 We are a single income family and just above the poverty line, so eating out is a really special treat!

    • Darcie says:

      We are going through a drought and have our own well so we stopped using our dishwasher months ago…of course, we are only a family of three! I was amazed at how much our electricty bill dropped!! I am glad someone eles feels the same way! Every time I make that suggestion to other people they tell me they “can’t live without their dishwasher”! Put It’s a personal preference just like all the other money saving tips!

      • Darcie says:

        Ooopss! I meant * But not put!

      • CarrieG says:

        You actually use LESS water by running your dishwasher, and most units don’t require extensive pre-rinsing. I keep a wash tub handy to rinse everything with the same water at the same time, run the machine once a day and then do my couple of pots by hand. Another thing is to make sure the unit is full but not overly so. Same goes for the washing machine. It needs to be full but not too full.

        • Andrea says:

          CarrieG, the water usage is true of new dishwashers, nut not necessarily older ones.

          My family of six fills the dishwasher about every 36 hours and I hand wash all plastic and pots/pans.

  • Susan says:

    In some instances, you can dial 911 from a phone without active service. It depends on where you are and what services are available. If this is a concern to you but you want to ditch your land line or cell phone otherwise, definately check into it with your service provider.

  • Sheila says:

    As soon as I read #1, I knew Sam must be a guy. 🙂 There is no way to see to put your makeup on in your forties with only one light bulb – at least for me!

    • Danielle B says:

      Sam is a she. 😉

      • Sheila says:

        Oh – well maybe younger than I am, then! I struggle to see with several lightbulbs, and I know other ladies at the gym getting ready at the same time I am, do, too! Maybe we are all just old, but I need that light. Of course, I am saving money by showering and getting ready at the gym most days, but not everyone has or wants that option. I really was just making a light-hearted comment. We all save money in different ways, and what works for me doesn’t work for others, but it’s always good just to listen for ideas. Some people find gym memberships to be a waste of money, but my husband and I find them quite a bargain as we are there a combined 11 times per week and shower there almost every one of those times. It’s all about what works for each person.

        • Danielle B says:

          Oh, no judgment here! Sorry if it seemed that way! 🙂

          It is all about what works for each of us. Plus, if having a gym membership means that you exercise on a regular basis and are a healthier person than without the membership, you’re more likely to save thousands over the long haul for staying healthy! Preventative measures in health more than pay for themselves over the years, compared to the cost of treatments down the road. Good for you and your husband taking care of yourselves! My husband and I are relatively young, but over these first six years of marriage we’ve let staying healthy and in shape slide. Now we’re working hard to get it back, and it is so HARD. Once I’m happy with my fitness I never want to lose it again!

        • Sam Baker says:

          Yes, I am most definitely a “she” 😉

          I just don’t use a lot of makeup though. And our bathroom is pretty well lit by natural sunlight during the day…

          I agree though, that we each have our own ways to save money and it really is all about what works for each person.

  • Crystal says:

    Don’t eat out! And better yet, don’t go to the grocery store. Look around and make something with what you have on hand.

  • Jessica says:

    Rather than draw a separate bath or shower for my little ones, the three of us shower together. It works for now- my kids are 4 and 1, but I know it won’t work forever!

    Also I do not launder clothes unless they are actually soiled. Yes I use the sniff test, unless there is a visible mess on it. So I will wear the same pjs all week- I don’t get dirty while sleeping so no need to change daily. The kids more than make up for it, especially my self-feeding toddler whose clothes wear more food than he eats at times!

  • Emily says:

    We would love to be without a landline, but unfortunately, our cell phones don’t work in our rental condo! It’s just my husband and me now, but I am nervous about not having a landline, especially in an emergency. And once we have kids – I want them to have a guaranteed way to call for help.

    And, my husband is a pastor, so we do not give out our cell phone numbers to the congregation to protect our privacy. They all have our home number and can leave a message. We check messages regularly.

    I think it’s best to make that phone decision based on your unique situation!

  • Susan says:

    I have a pre-paid cell phone with t-mobile. I got the phone cheap on black friday and it is 10 cents a minute. I have magic jack so I just use my cell when I’m not home and it works out to about $10 a month or less for me. I have to say I am envious of my sister’s i-phone that does so much, then I think of how much it costs and I appreciate my minimal service and cost.

    • I have a Tracfone that I bought for $20 and it came with double minutes for life so whenever I buy a 60 minute card it turns into 120 minutes. I reload every three months for about $30 so my cell phone costs me $120 a year which is about what a lot of people I know pay for one month of service! My husband’s phone is completely paid for through his employer, which is good because he is into all of the fancy bells and whistles.

      I don’t miss having a nicer phone because the only thing I need my phone for is to make calls- anything else to me is silly (I am a stay at home mom).

      We also have magic jack which we love.

  • WilliamB says:

    If you can find them inexpensively, use motion-triggered outdoor lights instead of turning on a light all night.

    Turn off the light when you leave the room.

    Dilute your shampoo by at least 25%.

    Make laundry detergent. The recipe I use make a gallon in less than 15 min (and I halved the recipe), cleans 64 loads, and passes muster even with my very picky roommate.

  • Diane says:

    I’m in the drought area and I’m using grey water to water my foundation. It has been really bad here. I decided to use it to offset my water bill since when we can water it is for the foundation, not the yard. My electric bill has skyrocketed, since the heat has been record breaking for so long. I haven’t thought about unplugging my microwave, but here are the adjustments we’ve made so far:

    1. Grey water for yard and foundation if possible in your area
    2. Wash and dry clothes (hang over night if possible) in the evening. And hang in garage (I have several hangers on the cable line in my garage.
    3. Hand wash dishes in a smaller wash basin in my sink
    4. Keep a fridge/freezer inventory sheet (I have a garage freezer) so that my teens don’t open it constantly, on on the door to the fridge.
    5. Don’t turn on the bathroom light. We don’t turn it on at night since we don’t want to disturb the other sleeper, so if we are only going to the restroom during the day, we can see well enough without turning on the light. I don’t need the light on to brush my teeth. I can do it with my eyes closed.
    7. If you have older kids, like I do, show them the bills so that should they need money for activities, they will do their part to help you lower your bills. It has been the best thing I’ve ever done since my daughter is the one that came up with the bathroom light idea.

    • Andrea says:

      I had never heard of anyone watering their foundation, so I Googled it. Very interesting! I hope you’re able to stave off any damage.

  • Jessica says:

    Interesting tips. The credit card one is quite humorous. 😉
    However, having light fixtures with some bulbs out is annoying to me. One of my pet peeves. ha I’d rather just make sure the lights are only on when needed, and pay a little extra for having them all working.

  • Andrea says:

    The easiest way to save money for us is to stay home.

    Lunch at Panera costs over $40 for my family of six. Going to the movies (without snacks) costs another $40.

    For less than $15 total, we can get a movie from Redbox for $1 or from the library for free, buy two frozen pizzas and pop some popcorn.

  • Meredith says:

    Two of them I just don’t do.

    The bathroom lights. It would drive me CRAZY to have a light bulb out. Of course I could save a few cents but every time I walked in it would bother me just knowing it was out. I think that’s just my personality.

    The landline. I think it should be opposite. I think more people should ditch the cell phone. We have VOIP land line and it’s 15 a month for unlimited long distance. We keep a pay as you go cell phone which we put maybe 10 dollars every three months and actually only use it for emergencies only. I know some people have to have a cell phone but I’m just suggesting because this works for us.

  • Denise says:

    During the warm weather months, I hang most of our clothes outside on a clothesline (no bird dropping problems here….but in fall, walnuts drop near and sometimes hit the clothes). During the winter months, I hang some things inside (on the doorway woodwork) but need to use my dryer. We vent it inside the house using a plastic device purchased at the hardware store (you put water into the plastic reseviour to “catch” the lint). The heat from the dryer and the humidity from the reseviour (SP?) do a nice job of heating the first floor of our house. Since I am the only one home during the day in the cooler weather and I stay mostly on the first floor, I can either lower the thermostate significantly or turn off the furnace all together (depending on how cold it is outside). This may not work well if your dryer is in the basement (I would worry about encourange mildew) but for a first floor laundry it works beautifully. Saves money on the utility bill and I feel less guilty about using the dryer….figure there is an environmental and $ trade off between dryer and furnace.

  • sherri says:

    A friend of mine has an “extra” cell phone on her plan. It costs $10 per month, but they use that one for their home phone. That is cheaper than any landline (in my area) and I thought that was smart thinking for when having sitters, emergencies, etc. I would recommend always keeping it in the same spot though.

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *