Tips On How To Save Money

By Rodney Parks | Finances

Oct 27

Living on a tight budget, and just not too sure where to cut corners? Learn these tips on how to save money and relieve the stress from paying bills.

Every Dime Counts

Basic Tips On How To Save Money

tips on how to save moneyWhen you think about saving money, your first thought might be, “that task is for those that don’t have money”. However, that is farthest from the truth. Did you know, the really “well-off“, uses coupons whenever they can? Some might think that is being greedy or “penny-pinching”, but it is really just good sense. However, tips on how to save money, is more than just about using coupons.

We will be going more in-depth on this, but for now, here are the bare basic tips.

  • Stop spending on non-essential things
  • Use coupons and discounts whenever possible
  • Cut the thermostat back to just what you can tolerate
  • Plan your trips to save gas
  • Turn off all lights and electrical items that are not being used
  • Take showers and not baths
  • Try and take less showers
  • Reduce shower times
  • Buy generic brands of commodities, such as foods and clothing
  • Get rid of cable TV and look into streaming apps
  • Cook your own meals and stop going out to eat
  • When cooking meals, make enough for leftovers for lunches and such to last the week

All of this makes perfect since, but it also sounds incredibly dull. Sadly, you will want to follow most of these in the above list. However, there are ways for it not to be so boring.

The Non-Essentials

stop smoking to save moneyI am sure I am going to offend some people with what I am about to say, but believe me, I say it because I am giving it to you straight. Plus I have a good amount of experience dealing with it.

Many people do not see smoking as a non-essential thing. My brother was a chain smoker, was to the day it killed him. He had no money, and I was always having to help pay his bills. But whenever he had a few bucks, it went towards cigarettes. All I can say for people that smoke, and yet having a hard time paying their bills. “Get your head out of your butt and stop smoking”. Food and water keep you alive, cigarettes kill.

Then there are those that really kill me, with even more ridiculous things like tattoos, piercings or alcohol. It is just common sense, when you start making money to burn, go blow it on stuff like that. However, if you have kids to feed and are barley making it, all that non-sense shouldn’t even be a consideration.

I have seen it too many times, where people I have known with families, actually find themselves in a dilemma on paying bills or to go get a tattoo. What the hell is wrong with someone like that? As a parent, and I speak from experience, you sacrifice most everything for your kids. Pay bills first, then “splurge money” goes towards your kids, not cigarettes, tattoos, beer, piercings, hair and nails.

More Non-Essentials

Mentioning kids got me to thinking about spending money on them. When you love your kids, you will spend money on them even when you don’t have it. However, there is nothing wrong with not spoiling them. And when you do buy them things, mostly games and toys, look at second hand purchasing.

Trinkets around the house can really look great but do you really need them? Same with cars and trucks. I see so many people in my area, that are having a hard time to make ends meat, go buy big trucks when a car would be better.

If your income depended on you needing a truck, then you should look for one that will be economical. However, I have seen people that just have to have a truck. One that gets 12 miles to the gallon, but just use it for transportation. If you are living tight, then be sensible and practical, wait till you make the big bucks to go splurge.

A List Of The Non-Essentials

  • Any type of smokes, like cigarettes, cigars, pipes or weed
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Soft drinks
  • Fast foods
  • Tanning beds
  • Tattoos
  • Body piercings
  • Home decorations
  • Name brand foods
  • Fancy hair salon appointments
  • Nails and manicures
  • Top brand apparels

How to Save Money In General

Depending on your situation, is going to determine what kind of savings you need to make. The above non-essentials are based on an extreme situation of having no money and trying to survive period. However, your situation may be that you have a decent income but just not putting back the savings you feel you should. Learning how to save money is about understanding waste.

Water Works

saving moneyNo matter the situation, let’s look at options that should fit anyone. As mentioned earlier about showers. Some people take 3 or 4 showers a day, this can be cut back to two showers max a day. Also the length of time you take showers could be trimmed. My ex could stay in the shower for 30 minutes or longer with the hot water almost on max. Needless to say, those became expensive showers.

Thinking of hot showers, the hot water heater comes to mind. Water Heaters have thermostats, ensure that it is set to, no higher than 125°F. Using hot water for other things, like washing dishes. If you have a dishwasher, avoid washing small loads. Ensure that the dishwasher is fully loaded before using it. This also applies to washing clothes in the washing machine.

Washing your vehicles, house or driveways is another expense that you can cut the cost on by a one time investment. You can buy an electric pressure washer, it doesn’t have to be super high powered. With a pressure washer, you get high pressure with low volume consumption. What that means, you can blast the dirt off things quick, but use a heck of a lot less water.

Water Savings List

  • Try not to extend beyond 2 showers a day
  • Try to cut your shower time to a minimum
  • Take showers, not baths, filling a bathtub uses high gallons of water
  • Run the dishwasher fully loaded instead of running multiple times on small l0ads
  • Run the washer and dryer on full loads, do not run multiple small loads
  • Use an electric pressure washer for automotive and outdoor cleanings
  • If you have a swimming pool, try to keep the water clean to avoid refilling it
  • For swimming pool owners, check with your water company to see if they offer discounts for pools
  • Ensure you have no water leaks in your water lines, water heater and indoor/outdoor faucets

Electrical Works

how to save money on electricalI covered the water heater above, but ensure it is set 125°F or less. Sometimes it cost a little money to save money. If you haven’t already, change all your light bulbs over to LED. They last far longer than an incandescent bulb, but more importantly, they use far less electricity.

If anything electrical is not in use, turn it off. Most electronics today, are designed to use less current. However, if everything is running at once, this is still a drain on the electric bill. Be sure to turn off lights when not in rooms. Be sure to keep your heating and air thermostat set to where the temperatures are tolerable. Constantly changing the settings or setting it too high or low will run your utility bill up.

Again, back to spending money to save money, there are your appliances. Check all your appliances to ensure that they are energy efficient. Washer and Dryers are two of the biggest energy hogs, switching them to the current styles can save you electricity and water.

If you run extra heaters around the house, try and use the energy efficient ceramic heaters. They produce a lot of heat but draw very little amps.

Electrical Savings List

  • Ensure your water heater thermostat is not higher than 125°F
  • Replace all light-bulbs with LED or energy efficient bulbs
  • Turn off all lights and electrical devices that are not in use, run them as you need them
  • Adjust your heating and air thermostat to tolerable temperatures
  • Avoid constant and erratic heat and air thermostat changes
  • Recommend using a programmable heat and air thermostat
  • Have your heat and air unit cleaned and serviced regularly so the unit runs more efficiently
  • Make sure all appliances are energy efficient, especially the washer, dryer and dishwasher
  • If running additional small heaters, use energy efficient ceramic heaters
  • Depending on the type of water heater you have, if older, wrap tank with a thermal blanket
  • Make sure your attic and floor spaces are properly insulated
  • Ensure that all windows and exterior doors properly seal and are energy efficient
  • Installing storm doors and windows will help keep the heat and air in
Do You Understand Budgeting?

Know Your Exact Income And Expenses

how to save moneyIt is kind of hard to learn how to save money, if you are not aware of how much you have to spend. Your income is the budget, it should be what determines how much you can spend. Sadly there are folks that don’t understand this concept.

The one thing you have to do before before doing anything else is to figure out how much money you have coming in and how much that has to go out. Usually you figure it monthly, even if your paycheck isn’t monthly, the majority of your bills will be.

You can use a calculator, pen and pencil or follow the trend and get an APP. There are three decent apps to use for tracking your expenses. EveryDollar, Mint and YNAB, although cost may incur to use these apps. Click HERE to see more apps. If you like using a spreadsheet, but don’t have Microsoft Excel. It is free to use on Google Sheets.

How To Save Money By Making Expenses Visible

No matter the app or tracking method used. Once you have your income identified, then a list of every expense you have, savings should become clear. You will want to categorize your expenses, “essential”, “non-essential” and modify. Many people, really don’t want to know how much they spend a month. However, it is necessary if you trying to figure out how to save money.

Your chart should show you things like utilities, rent/mortgage, and automotive expenditures like gas and maintenance. These type expenses are harder to trim down. You can reduce utilities, however, these still stay is a general range. You should average that range as a constant monthly expense.

Cable TV, entertainment, alcohol, nail salon, tanning bed visits and going out to eat are expenses that can be trimmed down or removed. As mentioned earlier, there are ways to reduce the cable TV bill, Learn More.

The Essential Items

Electric/Gas Bill

The only savings you can produce with this type of expense, is as mentioned earlier.


Again, the only savings you can produce with this type of expense, is as mentioned earlier.


It is possible to negotiate a new contract with a landlord or refinance your house. However, the chances of changing this expense are not that high. Consider this as static expense.

Automotive Fuel and Maintenance – (Can be modified)

As far as fuel, for gasoline engines, unless you are towing something, reduce your octane to save money at the pump. For maintenance, you should try doing some things like changing your oil yourself.


This is an expense, if needed, that there really is no reduction. However based on your income and situation, there are government and other organizations that can help.

Food – (Can be modified)

I know many people love the brand name foods. However, if you start trying generic brands, you should find some that can be replacements. Also plan your meals at least week by week. When cooking for dinner, make enough for leftovers for lunches through the week.

Apparels – (Can be modified)

We all have favorite brands of clothes and shoes, and some brands we have to buy just for the fit. Although, buying lower brands names to generic brands can be a big savings. However, buying too cheap of clothes and shoes can be expensive. If a generic brand shoe last you two months, whereas a named brand last up to a year, that is something to consider based on cost of shoes.

Trash pickup – (Can be modified)

Some subdivisions and communities like condo complexes require you to pay for garbage pickup. But for those that do not have that kind of obligation, consider taking off you own garbage, if city/county convenience centers are within a practical driving distance.

Communications – (Can be modified)

Telephony can be a big expense. Most people have dropped their landlines and went full on cellular. But if you haven’t, consider dropping the landline. Most landline services such as AT&T are way over priced for what they offer. On the average a landline cost $50/month, and what you get for the money is nothing. With a cell phone, you get unlimited everything, caller ID and long distance for under $50 a month. A landline with all of that would be around $100 or more.

As for cellular devices, such as you cell phone, you can reduce the bill for those as well. Cell phones have become more of a trend, than just for basic functions. Dial and Ring are the two most important factors. However, people seem to have the need to get into debt to get an iPhone that cost around $1000, when an Android that cost around $200 will do more than you really need.

Now comes the internet. If your plan is too live on your phone or tablet, then you can cut the internet service to your house. Why have WIFI, if you are always getting your internet through cellular. Most cell phones can be used as Hotspot’s, so you can always supply your router with internet from your phone. Tablets and iPads have the same capability.

For cable internet, check around for better rates. You can also negotiate better rates and or packages with you internet provider.



The Non-Essential Items

Smokes – Cigarettes, Cigars, Pipes, Other Stuff

I understand that it is hard to just up and kick a habit like smoking but lets do the shock value here. Just based on cigarettes, not anything else, lets take a look at what you are spending per year on something that is killing you.

If you are a 1 pack a day smoker, that averages just over $2000 per year. 2 packs put you over $4000 per year, and 3 packs a day puts you over $6000 a year. There are some states that this average will increase by a lot, as some states, the cigarettes are far more expensive.

The other smokes are far more than cigarettes, a lot of money to pay for something that kills you. What is spent on smokes, is far more than your utility bills combined per year. To me, it’s a no brainer. Spend $2000 to $6000 per year on smokes or around $1500 to $2500 on electric and water.

Alcoholic Beverages

Many claim they have to have a beer, wine or liquor to relax and unwind. So how much stress are you putting upon yourself to support this bad habit? The average spending on alcohol fluctuates, but you can say around $1200 to $1800 per year. Again, this is what the electric or water bill would run a year.

If you need to relax and unwind, have sex, go for hikes, go for runs, join a gym, watch TV or movies. Play games, take up a hobby, work around your house or yard. So many better ways to relax and unwind that doesn’t cost you a lot of money, and is better for your liver.

Even if you don’t cut alcohol out completely, get a handle on how much you are spending a month on it and try to regulate it to fit your budget.

Soft Drinks

Soft drinks taste good, especially with meals, but it is so bad for you. Al that sugar is bad on your teeth and causes weight gain. This is definitely a non-essential that can be cut back on or cut out completely. Water is far cheaper and is much better for you and your kidneys.

Some families spend up to $850 annually on soft drinks. This can be cut back if not eliminated all together.

Fast Foods

With how busy people’s lives are now, it seems it’s always go, go, go. So fast foods are almost a must, but really is something that should be cut out entirely. Fast food is not healthy, causes weight gain and makes you feel like crap. Not to mention the prices keep going up, that it is no longer a cheap fix to a quick meal.

Meal planning would be your best option to avoid eating out so much. When cooking meals, make enough for left overs for work lunches. Also buy what is needed to make lunches throughout the week. It cost around $10 to $15 a week for stuff to make lunches. Fast Food for lunch everyday will cost on the low average, $30.

Tanning Beds

If you are making good money, then this type of expense is trivial. However, if you are on a tight budget, this is something that isn’t necessary. Go outside and sit in the sun, it is free and there is no time limit.

It cost between $180 to $450 per year for tanning sessions. This isn’t a huge expense but if you are tying to get the most out of your budget and put money back for a nest-egg, this can be a cost to eliminate.


People spend anywhere from $100 to $2500 a year getting inked. A related cost goes towards tattoo removals, which ranges from $200 to $500 per session. This is a 100% non-essential, that the cost can be avoided completely. If you have money to burn, go for it, but living on a budget, this kind of money can pay bills and feed you.

Body Piercings

Body piercings run from $20 to well over $100, depending on the body location. That is just for the service, the jewelry for the piercings can be into the thousands if you are buying diamonds or expensive elements. On the average people spend $30 to $50 on jewelry for each piercing.

This type of luxury can add up quick. Again, if living on a tight budget, this shouldn’t even be a consideration. Getting inked is a trend, not a necessity, and the cost of this luxury can be the difference of clothing yourself or your kid, to wearing nothing at all.

Home Decorations

It seems like home, just isn’t a home without some trinkets to give the place accent and a personality. However, it can be very expensive, especially if you are one to change out decorations every quarter or more of the year.

This is a cost that can be cut back on or removed. While you don’t want to live in a box with 4 blank walls, you also don’t want to freeze in the winter because you spent the money for the electric bill on wall paintings.

If you are on a tight budget, use second hand decorations from thrift stores or flea markets. Reuse old decorations and just rearrange them. On average people spend anywhere from $400 to $2500 a year on some type of house decorations. This includes outside decorating as well.

Food Cost and Brands

It may scare you to know, but the average American spends more than 6% of their annual income on groceries. That is about $250 a month, per person. Food is one of the highest expenses a person has per year. We have to eat to survive, but these cost can be trimmed down.

You have to look at what kind of foods you buy and what brands. Season mixes are ridiculous in name brands, however you can get the same thing in a generic for 75% less in cost. How many things do you buy that you end up throwing away? I am really guilty of buying a bag of salad and never opening it.

You can save, by trying different generic brands and planning meals. Unfortunately this is one of the hardest task to accomplish, especially if you are trying to plan for a family. What we eat is mostly based off how we are feeling at the time. Same goes for buying groceries, never go to the store hungry.

Cut back or eliminate junk foods. Junk foods are expensive and bad for you, so it makes sense to attack that expense first.

Hair and Nail Salon Expenses

We all have to get hair cuts, and it is a hard skill to try and learn, just so you can cut your own hair. So it makes sense that you have to spend the money for a trim. However, the fancy hair styles, perms and coloring isn’t really a necessity. If your budget is tight, this can be an expense to cut back on.

Most people are capable of cutting their own nails, even painting them for that matter. Perms cost from $30 to $150. A coloring cost $60 to $150. Nails can cost from $30 to $60, depending on the colors and the salon.

I understand that women like to look their best, and we men appreciate it. But again, if living on a tight budget, that is good amount of money that can buy groceries.

Top Brand Apparels

Looking at statistics, it claims the average American spends about $160 a month on clothes and shoes. The average family spends around $1800 per year, close to $400 of that is on shoes. Unfortunately clothes wear out, so there isn’t much you can do to make them last any longer. However, washing them certain ways can extend the life a little.

Try to reduce how much you wash your clothes. It isn’t too uncommon for some people to wash their pants and shirts at the end of the day, everyday. Washing your clothes too much will wear them out. It is best practice to wash your clothes one time during the week.

Buying top brand apparel can be a waste of money. Some lower name and generic brands are just as good. Although, this is a trial and error type thing to find what does work and last.

Shoes are a good example, take name brands over generic. If you have to buy 10 pair of generic shoes throughout the year at $20 a pair. That isn’t saving money if you only had to buy 2 pairs of a name brand at $65 a pair. That would be $240 for generic and $130 for name brand per year.

The lesson is to buy smart, not necessarily cheap. Just like car tires, buying a cheap tire that last a year, where a name brand last you 3 years, where is the savings?

Expenses That You Can Modify

how to save money with a credit cardThese type of expenses would be credit cards, helping your credit score, insurance contracts and things like appliances that are consuming too much resources.

The concept is to save money, and in doing so, means stay out of debt. You would think a credit card would be the wrong thing to use. Well if you are getting cash back for using it, then you might change your mind.

The Power Of The Card

Paying cash for most things is a good way to save money and stay out of debt. If you do use credit cards, pay the balance off each month. Many credit cards offer cash back rewards, so purchasing everything with a cash back card, you will make money. Let’s say you spend $3000 a month with a cash back card, your annual earnings could be around $360, depending on the percentages.

If you have cards that offer 0% interest, many of these cards get you discounted prices on merchandise. So if you buy a sales item that is discounted 20% based on using the card. Then pay the balance off next billing statement, BAM!!!, you just saved some bucks.

If you travel frequently, you can build up points that will get you a free stay at certain hotels. This also applies to building up airline points. “Rewards” type credit cards can get you flyer miles, free checked bags, lounge access and other airline discounts.

For renting a car, you can save from purchasing the insurance that is offered by the car rental service. Many people are unaware of car rental insurance is provided by their credit cards. You would want to verify that your card offers this feature. Of course none of this is valuable if you don’t pay your balance off at the end of the month.

Other Card Benefits

​Another way to save money, find out if your card comes with the “Price Protection Benefit”. This means that if you buy an item and the next day the price drops, your card holder will adjust the price.

​It is also worth finding out if your card provides extended warranty coverage. Buying extended warranties can get expensive, but some cards offer that as a bonus. This will help with electronics and appliances greatly.

Retail cards are usually high interest, however, they also can be used to your advantage. Many store cards offer a 0% interest with a no tax or a discounted purchase price. Same as above, take advantage of these offers and then pay the card off. Many retail stores credit cards are also rewards cards. This means discounted prices and often cash back or points accumulate.

If you already have credit card debt, look for new cards that offer a 0% balance transfer. These often are for 6 months to a year introductory. As mentioned, credit cards are a powerful tool to save money and reduce debts. However, they are also very dangerous to use and can put you into bankruptcy.

By paying off your credit card balances monthly, this raises your credit scores. With higher credit, more options open up for you if you ever need a loan. A higher score really helps with purchasing a car or a house.

Insurances and Warranties

You can make a relevant savings by switching all types of your insurances to one company. Several insurance companies will give you huge discounts for signing up your home, auto, health and life, under one provider. Of course you should shop around and get quotes before deciding on any one company.

Home warranties can often be renegotiated, also when shopping for better pricing for insurances, see if any of the companies include or offer home or automotive warranties.

You should carefully look over any automotive type warranties. Many times the way they are written, they sound better than what they really are. Sometimes that high end warranty is covering stuff that doesn’t even apply to you or your vehicle. I have been in the automotive industry for over 40 years, and most of the time, the aftermarket or 3rd party warranties are completely useless. You could save money by dropping them all together.

Appliance warranties are often worth the purchases, depending if it is a manufacturer warranty. However, some 3rd party warranties are designed to take much of your money and give nothing in return. Many of the manufacturer extended warranties give you discounts on filters, maintenance items and repair parts. Usually they are very fair priced. My new GE Fridge is like $70 to extend it for another year. Considering my $50 water filter is only half that with with the warranty, it is well worth it.


how to save money on your phoneCommunication cost such as telephones, both cellular and landline, should be analyzed. Cell phones quite often start getting charges that you really don’t need. You should frequently look the bill over and make sure no new charges are showing up. Landlines are a waste of money for home use. I am old school and I love the idea of having a physical line run to the house for emergencies but they ask too much.

On the average, the cheapest you can get a landline for is around $45 a month. That is completely limited and no long distance. However, if you already have a telephone line run to your home. Some state laws, require that a line stay active so you can dial 911. You would have to check with your local phone companies.

Cellular companies offer a landline option that runs around $20 a month. With that, you get everything your cell phone service provides you, as far as phone features. I think this a great tip on how to save money. You are paying less than half for a landline with better features.

It is also worth getting a quote from your cable company about a VoIP phone. However, with cable companies, they will give you a great, 1 to 2 year low price contract, that will go up significantly after it runs out. The cellular companies are more consistent and do less of the marking scam deals like cable providers do.

You can do like most people do and just drop the landline and save $45 or more a month, and just use your cell phone.

Cable TV and Internet

Most people have cable for internet, with that said, you already have the means for streaming TV, rather than pay your cable provider for it. Cable companies are really bad about raping the consumer for TV channels. Their package line ups are designed to only give you about a third to half of what you want per package.

This means you have to end up getting close to the highest priced package to get just specific channels you really watch. They really get you if you have kids, you only get some of the kid’s channels on the lower priced packages. What these cable companies are not realizing, they are putting their TV service out of business with their high prices. Streaming apps are where everyone is going. Hulu offers most new episodes of TV shows the next day. They are also now offering Live TV. So if you have cable internet, drop the TV service and spend less money getting apps for the stuff you really want to watch.

Read More On Streaming Channels

Bill Pay Automation

One method talked about for saving money is to automate all your bills by setting up reoccurring payments. The theory is, your outgoing payments will be consistent, as far as managing a budget. You know a certain amount is already spoken for each month, and bill pay will always be on time.

It sounds great, and the younger generation loves the idea, but here is what happens. Your automatic payments increase without you knowing it. If you are on a tight budget, and a unexpected expense comes up, you just bounced a check.

For an example, you know that you bring home $2000 every month. You know that $1850 is automatically deducted each month to pay bills. That leaves you $150 in the bank. Boom, your car tears up and you need a repair that cost $140. You feel it is OK, because you will have $10 left in the bank. So now you try to pay for the repair with a card or check. Turns out you have insufficient funds. Because it is all automatic, you weren’t aware that your rent went up $20 and your cable bill went up another $10.

Best to not be lazy, and handle your bills manually each month. If you set it to automatic, then you need to monitor your bills every month to avoid this situation. However, if you are not on such a tight budget, automatic can be a good way to ensure the bills get paid. But sometimes that messes up, and then you just took a hit on your credit score. I highly recommend not setting up automation, and if you do, make auditing a monthly religion.


How To Save Money With Home Efficiency

When it comes to your home, no matter if it is a house or an apartment, heat or cold escaping out the door and windows is wasting money. If you live in an apartment, you are limited on what you can do to when it comes to insulating. However, you can do some simple things that will help save you money on your heating and air bills.

Blinds and Curtains

Not everyone is a big fan of blinds and or curtains, but they can be a big help on saving money. Blinds give any home an elegant look, if you get the right kind. You may be unaware that blinds can help control the temperature in your home. By adjusting how much light comes in, you are actually adjusting an exterior heat source. So if it is a hot summer, and you are blocking out the sun, it helps the AC keep the interior cooler. Visa Versa, in the winter, let more sun in to help heat a room.

Curtains are really a big help, especially if they have an insulated backing to them. They also work in both directions in summer and winter. The insulated backings, keep the cold out and keeps the heat in. Although, they also keep the heat out, and the cool in. Not to mention they actually help keep down moisture that seeps around windows and french or slider doors.

Windows and Doors

If your house has older windows, such as wooden or aluminum types, these are letting the heat and cold escape or enter. Even though it would be an expense to replace your windows, you will make it back up in the savings. Having a vinyl “thermal – double pane” window installed, would be your best option. Check with you local tax preparer office, or your utility company. Tax credits and sometimes electric company credits can be obtained from making your home more energy efficient.

The same applies for doors on credits. If your doors are older and wooden, they offer little insulation factors. Also the older door frames have poor sealing abilities around them. The newer insulation filled metal doors are the best. If your doors are newer, consider adding storm doors to them. Not only do they add an elegance to your home, it also provides an added insulation factor against temps and moisture.

Storm doors and storm windows can be added to any home. No matter if your doors and windows are old or not. If you want to add a bit more insulation to your house, consider storm doors and windows. There is also the “poor-man’s” way. That is taking plastic and covering your windows during the winter. It may look funny, and people may ridicule, but it does make a difference. Even placing towels at the bottom of your exterior doors during the winter can help on the electric bill.

The Thermostat

Most newer homes come with programmable thermostats. They are actually designed to be controlled remotely by apps now. Having an “all out” smart thermostat can be awesome, however, the really important feature is the programmable part. By using a programmable thermostat, it stops the constant adjustments many of us want to make throughout the day. It also can be set to run the heat and air unit less during the hours no one is at home.

Again this is spending money to save money, however the savings will pay for itself in the long run. The two thermostats I would recommend can be purchased through Amazon. The best one is a bit pricey, but you get some great features. Checkout the Honeywell TH9320WF5003. The other thermostat is about half the cost but performs well and gives you what you need to get your heat and air bills under control. Take a look at the Honeywell RTH8560D1002.

I am not trying to push a sale on you, I have done carpentry work for many years and the Honeywell’s have always been the best thermostats you can buy. You can get other brands even cheaper at Home Depot and Lowes. The main goal is to get your climate control regulated to cut your electric and gas bills down.

Your Central Heat and Air Unit

I wanted to talk about your HVAC unit for a moment. This will vary depending on the area you live in. A lot of areas use “Heat Pumps“, which are good and efficient when it comes to heating and cooling your house. However, for areas that have winter temps that stay below 28°F or colder, Heat Pumps suck.

Heat Pumps use the same compressor to heat and cool the house. However, when the temperatures drop below 28°F and stay there or keep dropping, the Freon can no longer compress properly to heat the house. When this happens, there are electric heating strips that kick in to heat the house. The issue with this process is, it shoots the electric bill sky high.

Not only are you running a compressor that isn’t providing heat, but now you are turning on heating elements that suck up electricity. The solution for people that live in areas with these type temperatures, is a “Dual Fuel Heat Pump“. This type system runs like a regular heat pump, however, when the temperatures get too low for the heat pump to work, the unit shuts off the compressor and turns on the gas furnace built inside.

Gas heat will quickly heat up any house. Gas cost less on heating than electricity does, where extreme lower temperatures occur. This is another investment but something you should look carefully at. Heating and cooling is your highest bill you will have outside your mortgage payments.

Saving Money With Insulation

A house will only keep the cool and warmth in as long as there is proper insulation. If you live in an older home, you may want to check how much insulation your floor joist and attic have. It is recommended to insulate to R-38 in attics, or 10 to 14 inches thick.

The quickest way to know if you have enough insulation in your attic is a visual check. If you look across the span of the attic, you should not be able to see the top of the horizontal part of the roof trusses. That would be the boards that run flat that you can step across. If you do see the top of the boards sticking through the insulation, you need more insulation. I have found 8 to 10 inches thick to work really well, of course the thicker the better.

A tip on attics; Depending on what type of entry door you have to your attic, ensure that there is insulation on the backside of your door. Also make sure it is enough to lap over the edges to help keep the air out. For pull down latter types, they do make a foam insulation you can incorporate into it.

Floors and Crawl Spaces

For floor joist, the most common way is to place R-19 insulation in between the joist. Always remember that the paper side, no matter if it is crawl space, walls or attic, faces towards the living area. This is a moisture barrier and must be in contact with the underside of the floors. Look for insulation that has fallen down or where it isn’t completely covering a section.

Here is another way to really help insulate and save money in a crawl space. Use foam insulation board against the inside crawl space walls. Unlike fiberglass, rigid foam insulation boards do not absorb water, support mold or allow air to pass through. Also ensure that your crawl space door is sealed and insulated.

While you are in your crawl space, inspect the moisture barrier plastic that should be laying on the ground. If there are any holes, rips or tears that are exposing raw earth, apply new plastic over those areas. Trapped moisture can cause the floor to seem excessively cold on your feet. Not to mention the moisture will cause mold and mildew and rot your floor joist.


In Conclusion

These tips on how to save money included knowing the essentials and non-essentials expenditures. Of course before you can really save money, you need to know exactly how much money you have coming in and what you are paying out. Using a spreadsheet like in Google Sheets is a great tool. They even provide an already made monthly budget template to use.

We went over many home money saving tips, such as utilities, rent, mortgage and insulation. Saving money by watching and adjusting your phone and cable bills.

Tips on how to save money are really common sense and most everyone knows the basics. The truth is, it is a matter of mindset and discipline. We are all spoiled to some degree, we live in a country that you can get what you want in some form or fashion. Credit is available for everything these days.

So when you’re making money, you want to buy things. Another issue is that life has sped-up and it is so fast paced now. So between your wants and the fast pace, keeping a budget can get hard.

Like anything, if you want it, you have to work at it. So if you want to manage and keep your spending in check, you have to train yourself.


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  • Fantastic read. So helpful and informative.

  • MakeThePenniesCount says:

    This a really in-depth and helpful post with lots of brilliant ideas. A fantastic read!

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