Posted by Madison on May 11, 2009
I decided at the beginning of May, that I wanted to look for ways to save money each day this month. Finding ways to save money is a fun game when you set your mind on it!
We often say to ourselves that we want to save money, but implementing is often the hard part. Turn it into a daily challenge and you’ll find it’s easier to tackle.
A third of the way through the month, and here’s a different savings idea from each day in May. We’ll see if I can keep it going all month!
Money Saving Ideas
- Switch Insurance Companies. We moved most of our insurance policies to Allstate to take advantage of cheaper rates.
- Use Redbox. We tried out Redbox for the first time, saving money over Blockbuster rentals.
- Cancel Services. I was using Credit Check Total for daily credit scores, but no longer need them, so we canceled the service saving the monthly fee.
- Reduce Christmas Budget. I put money in an ING account each month to save up for holiday gifts. Since we let go of our nanny, it’s one less gift we’ll have to buy and it frees up some extra money in our monthly budget.
- Free Magazines. One of my magazine subscriptions expired recently, so I’m shopping the list of free magazines to find a replacement.
- Appeal Property Taxes. After we bought our first rental property below the assessed value, our partner filed an appeal with the assessor. Hopefully, we’ll see a lower assessment and a lower tax bill.
- Lower Estimated Tax Payments. After the implementation of the Make Working Pay Tax Credit I lowered our projected estimated tax payments to save some money.
- Cheap Photos. I took my son to Portrait Innovations to take advantage of the $9.95 portrait special. It’s a much cheaper way to have kids and family pictures taken!
- State Tax Refund. Even though I Filed an Extension to Lower or Hedge our Tax Bill, I am getting a $28 state tax refund, so I want to file that one sooner to get my money. I’ll use a preliminary federal copy and amend if necessary.
- Bonus Funds for College. I signed up for a few more Ohio 529 plans to take advantage of the College Advantage $25 Sign Up Bonus.
- Lower Expense Ratios. I’m in the process of moving a portion of my Roth IRA from Vanguard to Schwab after Schwab announced lower expense ratios.
What are you doing to save money this month?
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You were talking about filing an appeal for property taxes. Can we do it even before we get the tax bill for this year? i know that they give us only 15 days or so to appeal after we get the bill in september. If you could give me some details of it, that would be great. Thanks.
@ SV: Check with your local municipality. The deadline to appeal assessments in our area is today. Our assessments came out two weeks ago, but we don’t get our tax bill until the end of the year. Each city is different, so check with them to be sure!
Unfortunately, May is an expensive month for us. Between Mother’s Day and our anniversary, we have already spent more in discretionary funds than we would in pretty much any other month. (Unless you added up Xmas presents to count for December, perhaps.)
But I am trying to lose some weight. (I also had to buy some new clothes until that happens. Another expense. Sigh.) To help in that regard, I stocked up on some frozen dinners for $1.88 a piece. That should save some moolah. And eating better will save on junk food buys, which make up a decent chunk of our grocery budget at times.
You know, it is tempting to spend a lot of money on those ‘holidays’ that occur throughout the year, but what is the purpose of giving ‘stuff’ or going out to an expensive meal? We will be married 35 yrs. this November. After about 5 yrs. of marriage we realized we were giving gifts on our anniversary just to give something. So, we decided that on our anniversary, we would exchange cards, but not just any card. We each write about the past year, and what it has meant to us to be together through all the ups and downs. It is the most wonderful gift imaginable. We set aside a quiet time for ‘cards’, read them silently, then spend some time talking. I have saved every one of them, now a history of our long marriage. The best gift ever! I would never cherish ‘stuff’ the way I do this annual celebration. Mothers Day? Just getting the family together, whether on that day, or, on a day near it, is all I need. For Christmas, my husband and I just fill stockings, sometimes setting a limit on how much we will spend. That’s a challenge. Our kids actually look forward to their stockings more than any other gift. Now with grandchildren, a deposit to a college savings plan and one gift to open.
I know you guys are US based but discount voucher codes are really big in the UK! Its a great way of picking up some real savings.
Nice list! I’ve never tried Red Box, but since we watch a lot of movies, Netflix was a great way for us to save over Blockbuster. This month, the main way I am saving money is by trying to do one less of everything. For example, eating out one less time, getting a Starbucks one less time, going to one less movie. It’s a lot easier than making a drastic change. I got the idea from a post I read on Gen X Finance by the authors of the Power of Small. If interested, here’s a link: http://genxfinance.com/2009/04.....his-month/
I would not switch from Vanguard to Schwab. You can get the 0.09% expense ratios at Vanguard with the Admiral Shares (have $100K in account or have $50K in account for past 10 years). Keep an eye on the actual returns for the two companies, Vanguard is the master of index funds and may still outperform Schwab!
A great 12th way to reduce expenses is to see if a pay-as-you-go phone is a good option for your situation. You could pay a lot less if you don’t use your phone every day, but use it heavily on the days you do use it. If you don’t use features like texting, don’t pay for them. Cricket Wireless offers no-surprise unlimited monthly plans, too…but no matter what company you look into, odds are, you could be doing better.