The Top 5 Ways I Save Money

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I am a saver at heart; always have been and always will be.  I have spent my life making tweaks to how I save money.  The top ways I save may be simple, but they ensure that I spend my money wisely.

5 of the top ways I save money include:

1. Shop secondhand.

Buy gently used items in place of new items when possible.  I have bought loads of clothes for myself and my family at thrift stores.  Some places that I shop include Deseret Industries (DI), Other Mothers, Savers, and Goodwill.

Conduct a little research of your own online to see if these businesses exist near you.  Then go out and take a look.  You never know what you’ll find!

This means scouring the clothing racks, especially for children’s clothes.  And just because the clothes are used, doesn’t mean they are not in good condition or fashionable.  Women and girls are especially lucky in this department, since ladies love changing up their wardrobe seasonally.

It also means wandering the furniture isles to see if there is anything that could work functionally in your living spaces.  Outdated furniture is just fine and actually perfect for the DIYer willing to update the piece for a modern, yet unique look.

I’ve found beautiful wood furniture, as well as laminate, that have turned out beautifully with the help of a little paint and elbow grease.

And don’t stop there, since the kids toy area is the perfect solution to buying a “new” toy for your child.  Look to see just how good of condition these toys are in before buying.  I’ve even been known to gift some of these used toys to my daughter and little nieces, because they look and work like new.

Miscellaneous items are not off limits either.  Sports equipment, small kitchen appliances, pots & pans, bake ware, bird feeders, picture frames, and all around home decor is plentiful among thrift stores.  Make sure you check it all out, especially when you are specifically looking for certain items.

While you’re out thrifting why not donate some of your unwanted or unused items while you’re there.  *My favorite place to donate is Deseret Industries, DI.*

Buy used and let someone else’s junk become your treasure!

2. Research online when buying items new.

My husband loves to preach this to me.  I’ve come to know that he is right and that researching is the key when you want to find the best deal.  There is so much out there and so many options to choose from, so why not invest a little time in finding what you really want and what fits your budget best.

I love going on Amazon to see what it brings up.  If I see a car seat I like at Target I check Amazon to see if it’s a good deal and then I can decide from there.

If it’s cheaper I can either price match the lower price from Amazon at Target or order the car seat directly from Amazon.  Any way you cut it doing this will save you money if there is money to be saved.  Finding and comparing prices has never been easier thanks to the internet.

Get online and do a bit of product research!

3. Eat at home to avoid eating out.

When you’re feeding a family it costs significantly less to eat in, not to mention it’s much healthier to make meals yourself.

Save money by buying ingredients at your grocers and then making meals from scratch or at least as homemade as possible.  I know it’s not always practical to make every part of a meal from scratch, but it sure doesn’t hurt.  Make it yourself and save big.

If you’re a good cook, then it’s going to taste better for sure.  If you’re not, remember practice makes perfect.  I know I wasn’t always a good cook.  I say “good” because even now I don’t consider myself great at cooking.  Though, I am a great baker and love to bake bread and desserts.

Compare the costs of eating in using some of your favorite recipes against the costs of eating out at some of your favorite restaurants and you will notice the difference firsthand.

I have to continually remind myself of the costs and savings, since no one is immune to the simplicity of eating out.  Trust me your time is well spent in the kitchen and your finances will thank you.

Get in the kitchen and start cooking!

4. Borrow books and movies from the library.

I would much rather borrow books than buy them.  I’ve never really felt the need to collect books that I’ve read.  I’ll probably never read them again, so it’s best if I just borrow them until I’m done reading them.

Another neat thing about the library beyond books is its movie section.  I love to frequent my local library to check out movies.  I’ll be honest most of the movies there are ones I have no interest in, but I do find newly released titles every now and then.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain, since I’m not paying anything (aside from taxes) to borrow these movies.

Now if you are terrible at returning your movies on time.  If you are, then borrow movies with caution.  I know that I’ve been burned before and had to pay over $6 for being a day late on returning my library movies.  Let’s just say I didn’t check out any more movies for about a year.
That doesn’t mean you have to repeat my mistake.  Just make sure you return your library movies on time.  Take a look at your library’s catalog or movie section to find out what movies yours offers.

Go checkout a movie for family movie night!

5. Buy used vehicles

The only reason you should ever walk into a car dealership is to test drive the vehicle(s) you are interested in buying.  You will experience the most savings on a car if you buy from a private seller.

Having said this, I do suggest you use the buddy system when meeting someone to buy a car.  Be cautious and safe about buying from someone you don’t know.  Stay away from deals that sound too good to be true and assume they’re scams.

Remember to do your research to see if you’re getting a good deal.  Make sure the title is transferred over properly and that the car is indeed yours after you hand over the money.  Remain smart about all your dealings, especially concerning used cars.

Paying in cash can suck, but in the long run it’s cheaper and feels oh so much more rewarding than getting ripped off at the dealership.  I know, because we recently bought a keeper, a crossover to be more specific, that my husband and I love.

Look on craigslist and find your own car deal!

There are plenty of other ways that I save, but these are the main ones.  Try them out for yourself and experience the money saving effects of doing so.

Leave a comment: Which from the list do you do to save money? What are some other ways that save you lots?

Tawnya is the founder of The Dancing Dollar, a blog about frugality & personal finance.  She writes about how frugal living can help other individuals & families live [happily] below their means.  She & her husband are on the path to pay off their home in less than half the time.  Click here to learn more.