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101 Ways to Put $101 in Your Pocket This Month

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A few people have been kind enough to help me out this week by guest posting. You know what they say…when it rains, it pours. When one thing goes wrong with our house, others go wrong as well. I think that is a rule of home ownership 😛 So while I take care of home items, I hope you enjoy these guest posts for a few days.

Today’s post comes from Mark Daoust.

101 Ways to Put $101 in Your Pocket This Month

Whatever your reasons may be, having an extra $101 in your pocket at the end of the month is something that most people would be very happy and excited about. Whether you are trying to pay down your debt faster or would like to save up for a big purchase, finding that extra money really isn’t all that hard if you are willing to do just a few things.

Below is a list of mostly ways to save money every month – and a few ways to make additional money as well. Using a few of these in combination (or even a few of them by themselves) is a very quick and easy way to put a little extra cash in your pocket this month.

Utilities

1. Buy energy efficient light bulbs – they will stretch your energy dollar further than you would expect.
2. Turn down your water heater. Even a few degrees can make a big difference in your monthly bill.
3. If you go on vacation, turn your water heater to “vacation mode”. Water heaters have a “vacation mode” where they will not work as hard to keep your water warm. Just be sure to turn it back on when you get home, otherwise you’ll have quite the surprise waiting for you at your morning shower.
4. Be sure to change your furnace filter regularly. Filters cost just a few dollars (you can get them very cheap at most big hardware stores), but the change in efficiency is noticeable.
5. Plug appliances into a power strip instead of the wall outlet. Power strips will only send power to an appliance when it is being used.
6. Turn off and unplug appliances. Toasters, toaster ovens, and simple household items such as hair driers should stay unplugged.
7. Turn off electronics. Don’t leave your stereo in an ‘idle’ position – the lights on a stereo use a surprisingly high amount of electricity.
8. Only run full loads of the dishwashwer. Save on water, and if you use a heated dry, save on the electricity that the heat will take.
9. Run your dishwasher on cold water. Your dishes will still be clean, but your bill will be lower.
10. Air dry laundry. Things like socks, t-shirts, underwear, etc. can be air dried within your own home.
11. Turn off A/C at night – use a fan. This may not be practical if you live in a hot location like Texas or Arizona, but try sleeping with a fan or simply no covers. Its not comfortable at first, but after a night or two you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to sleep.
12. Time your showers. Make it a goal to get in and out of the shower in 5 minutes and save on hot water.
13. Use a digital phone service like Vonage. There is really no reason to have an expensive long-distance bill anymore – use a digital phone service like Vonage or through your cable company.
14. Make sure your windows are well sealed. If they are not, apply caulking. During the winter, use plastic film to cover your windows (3M makes the most popular brand).
15. Share wireless internet access with a neighbor. Please note: you should consult your internet provider first for permission as most internet providers have rules against this. However, I was able to convince my cable company to allow us to share internet with our neighbor.
16. Grill during the summer and save on the cooling cost of having an oven. Besides, grilling tastes better.
17. If you have a deep freezer, make sure it is full of something. It costs more to keep an empty deep freezer cold than a full deep freezer. (use 2 liters of water if you have nothing else)
18. Buy a programmable thermostat – they are not that expensive and will save you money by automatically adjusting the temperature in your house for when you are away during the day.

Entertainment

19. Call your cable company and tell them that you want to cancel (they will probably try to negotiate a lower price for you) – or simply downgrade your service with them.
20. If going to the movies, go to a matinee. Same show…different time.
21. Don’t buy from the concessions at a movie theater.
22. Give up your local movie rental place and sign up with a service like Netflix. Most people save a considerable amount of money with Netflix.
23. If you have Cable internet, see what plan you are on. Most cable internet companies have large bandwidth and low bandwidth options. The difference between the two is not noticeable for most people, although the price difference is significant.
24. If you have Cable internet, consider moving to DSL. It is slightly slower, but most people won’t notice the difference.
25. If you get desert when going out to eat, share your desert with others
26. If drinking wine, buy a bottle rather than multiple glasses (a typical bottle of wine has 4 glasses in it). Be sure to consider first, however, how much wine everyone plans on drinking.
27. Go to restaurants during their happy hours or times when they have specials running.
28. Always check to see if an automatic gratuity is added. If it is not, be sure to tip at least 15% (this is just common courtesy). If it is included, be sure to not add an additional 15% (unless the service was particularly good)
29. Always bring unfinished food home and eat the leftovers the next day.
30. If ordering out for food, always use coupons. Pizza deliver, Chinese, etc always have coupons available.
31. If going to a sporting event, try to find tickets that people can’t use. Many times people will buy tickets in advance then have a conflict with their time – they’ll often be willing to sell their tickets for less than face value. Ebay would be a place to begin your search.
32. Avoid or limit any concession food at sporting events.
33. Take advantage of free festivals, fairs, and parades.
34. Plan a game night with friends instead of going out.

Groceries and food

35. Have a meal plan and grocery list before you shop. It will help avoid impulse buys and will allow you to plan your meals in a more cost-efficient manner.
36. Buy meat that’s on sale. Its usually older meat, so you will need to plan your meal around it.
37. Never go to the store hungry.
38. Plan your meals to be able to re-use your ingredients. For example, buy a whole chicken which can last you more than one meal.
39. Buy in-season fruits and vegetables
40. Buy frozen veggies.
41. Check bottom shelf for generic and lower priced items.
42. Take advantage of bulk saving buys (buy 3, get 1 free).
43. Do price comparison on price per ounce
44. Make your own bread. Its quite a bit of fun and there is nothing like having a fresh piece of bread with butter straight out of the oven.
45. Cut down (or cut out) on alcohol purchases.
46. Avoid buying snack foods like chips – these are generally very expensive. As an alternative, learn how to make your own potato chips (see http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Potato-Chips/Detail.aspx)
47. Shop at discount food stores such as Aldi.
48. When possible, shop for fresh vegetables at farmer’s markets
49. Save uneaten food and actually eat the leftovers.
50. Research organic cleansers. Vinegar is often a more effective cleaner than commercial (and expensive) cleaners
51. Research home remedies. Apple Cider vinegar is great for everything from sun burns to nasal infections.

Save on Gas

52. Keep your tires inflated to your manufacturer’s recommendation.
53. Keep your oil changes on schedule.
54. Have you mechanic check your air filter and be sure it is changed.
55. Drive the speed limit. For a sedan, 20 miles per hour can make a difference of 10 miles per gallon.
56. Carpool whenever possible.
57. Walk to stores that are close to your house.
58. Bike to work (if you live close enough).
59. Take your time accelerating.
60. Many grocery stores are now offering discounts on gas to shop at their stores.

General Shopping

61. Shop at garage sales.
62. Shop consignment shops.
63. For big appliance shopping, buy open stock and floor models. These are often highly discounted.
64. If possible, never use a store’s delivery service. Invoke the help of a friend to move your new purchase.
65. Don’t do your holiday shopping in December – do it throughout the year when deals present themselves to you
66. Avoid shopping for “fun”.
67. If you do shop for fun, have a preset amount of money you are willing to spend set aside in cash
68. Never use your credit cards to buy every day items.

Tips for Making Extra Money

69. Watch for banks that are offering deals to open a new account. A local bank to us is currently giving $75 to open an account with them.
70. Find items from your childhood and sell them on eBay – many of these items are worth a lot of money.
71. If you find great deals at a garage sale or consignment shop, sell the item on eBay
72. Write articles for AssociatedContent.com – they pay upfront for short articles
73. Submit simple videos to AssociatedContent.com – they pay even more for articles!
74. Join and participate in revenue sharing forums like DebtManagementTalk.com that pay you for participation
75. Take on a simple part time job on the weekends such as working at a movie theater or the local coffee shop
76. Start a blog on your favorite hobby – if you intend to make money from it, your hobby can be tax deductable! (always consult a professional accountant)
77. Frequently check your local classified ads for small contract jobs. Often you can get work as an extra in a movie or other short-term work that will pay.
78. Participate in research studies.
79. Look into becoming a secret shopper.

Day to Day Living

80. Make your own lunch instead of going out to lunch (its probably healthier for you).
81. Avoid premium coffee houses unless it’s a special occasion.
82. Try doing once a month cooking to save on time and money.
83. If you eat out, take advantage of buffets .
84. If ordering fast food, get just the sandwich and forgo the fries and water.
85. Save all of your change and keep a change jar.
86. Don’t buy bottled water.
87. Any work related expenses may be tax deductable – keep receipts and consult your tax professional.
88. Don’t use Coinstar for your change – price shop with your bank (banks are usually cheaper to count money).
89. Use public transportation if available.
90. Don’t go to the local car wash – wash your car on your own (you’ll do a better job).
91. Learn how to do your own repairs.
92. Keep a garden and grow your own food.
93. Re-use printer paper for note around the house.
94. Call your insurance company and see if it is worthwhile to drop an optional coverage. Alternatively, see if they offer any multi-line discounts. My overall insurance bill was less expensive when I added renters insurance to my coverage (back when I rented an apartment).

Children

95. Buy used clothes for most of young children’s wardrobes — they won’t be wearing the clothes for long, and they will make them dirty
96. Keep clothes that they grow out of and use them for any other kids you have
97. Buy toys at garage sales — some of the best toys are used
98. Make your own baby food — a lot of baby food is simply pureed vegetables and fruits
99. Plan family nights at home and avoid expensive nights out
100. For babies, invest in cloth diapers. Even using disposable diapers at night and cloth during the day will save a lot of money.
101. Buy baby wipes, diapers, creams, and baby shampoo in bulk


25 Comments

  • Reply Esther |

    You need never buy new books, CD’s, DVD’s, books on tape/CD again. Your local library often carries them, and, if not, more and more libraries are hooked into a much larger network of libraries so that you can request from the other libraries as well. Besides, borrowing means much less clutter in your life.

  • Reply The Baglady |

    Great list! Though I would say that it’s okay to use credit cards to buy everyday items if you can afford to pay it off at the end of the month and also get rewards.

  • Reply glblguy |

    Great tips, we do a lot of these, but a number of them we don’t…but will be soon! Thanks!

    @Baglady – While I agree with paying them off if you use them, there is an element of risk you have to throw in. For example, forgot to pay one month, boom your rate goes up or even worse I’ve read of situations where people payed on time, and the payment was posted late….boom, up the rate or charge a service fee. Regardless of whether they are payed off or not, when you use credit cards, you are using other people’s money to buy you items, whether it’s for 30 days or 2 years. Just pay cash or use a debit card, no late fees, no annual fees, no worry. Remember, credit card companies can and do change the rules constantly and don’t ever forget, they are in business to make money, but give free rewards and cash bonuses.

    Proverbs 22:7 – The rich rule over the poor,
    and the borrower is servant to the lender.

  • Reply arduous |

    The Baglady: Agreed!

    I put EVERYTHING on my credit card. EVERYTHING. Cable, phone, cell phone, tivo, groceries, etc. It makes it really easy to track where my money is going and as an added bonus, I end up getting $100 back from the cc company every few months or so.

    I like these ideas, but making my own potato chips sounded like it would be way more expensive than buying one bag!

  • Reply Mark - Debt Management Talk |

    @arduous – making your own chips is WAY cheaper. You can get a bag of potatoes for far less than a bag of chips, and it makes way more chips than a single bag will make.

    The only problem is the time it takes to make them. But if you have something else you can do while the potatoes are crisping, then its really not that bad.

    Glad people liked the article…keep the comments coming.

  • Reply Cheryl |

    In Australia, the banks count change for free. At least my bank does. It has a machine that you put the change in and then prints a ticket that you take to the teller and deposit in your account. All for free. I wonder how long before they impose a fee as seems to be the case in America?

  • Reply Matt |

    Great list – it surprising how much you can save by doing small common sense type changes to your daily routine.

  • Reply Cat |

    Ok – I like the list but I have to say I am weirded out by #9. Run your dishwasher on cold water. Your dishes will still be clean, but your bill will be lower.
    I really don’t think this is wise-hot water is needed to santize the dishes.

  • Reply Mark Daoust |

    Soap should sanitize the dishes…hot water will only sanitize when it is near boiling and if your dishes are exposed to that near boiling (or boiling temp) for an extended period of time.

    Dishwasher hot water (usually anywhere from 110 – 140 degrees) is useful in removing grime and food as it softens it up, but it does not aid in sanitizing your dishes.

  • Reply Jessie Harding |

    Washing your own car – bad idea for the environment.

    When you wash your car in your driveway, all the water (which you waste, compared to an efficient commercial wash) and the soap go into your storm sewer, which goes into your watershed. Soaps are TERRIBLE for the watershed. Most commercial carwashes, either do it yourself, sit in it, or get out and watch ones recycle or treat their water in a greywater system so it does not go into the storm sewers.

    Also, home dishwashers do not reach a high enough temperature to sanitize dishes – even the fancy Boschs. It’s against housing codes in most residential areas, you’d burn yourself and then sue the dishwasher manufacturer. You need a commercial high temp, non-chemical dishwasher to heat sanitize.

  • Reply Maria |

    I put 90% of my purchases & monthly bills on my credit card. I pay off the entire thing every month, and every month I am rewarded with dollar-for-dollar airline miles. Fly with those airline miles & all you pay are taxes & the various airport fees. Of course, sometimes, depending on the fare, it’s not worth using the miles.

    Only once did I forget to pay my bill early. I tried paying for it the day it was due. My luck, the system was down for some sort of upgrade. Made the payment via phone, which posted late, but the rep told me that if I was charged a late fee to call back & have it reversed. As soon as my bill came, I saw the late fee, called Customer Service, told them what happened & the fee was reversed.

    Granted many folks are not disciplined to pay off the card in full or on time, but often-times these rewards card are well worth it, and way better than using a Debit Card (bye-bye money if the card is stolen & pin number compromised).

    Oh, here’s the best – I recently read that people like me, who pay our credit card bill in full each month are called ‘deadbeat debtors’ because the companies make no money on interest from us. I never thought being a deadbeat would give me such a positive, warm & fuzzy feeling. Makes me laugh every time I think about it.

  • Reply Mark Daoust |

    @Maria,

    I’ve found that my debit card actually has rewards! This is fantastic for me as it is a business debit card, and a lot of purchases go through it. No need to worry about on-time payments or the like – I get the rewards for basically spending cash.

    What’s also cool about it is that it can be used for non-airline stuff as well – from kitchen gadgets to plasma TV’s. My favorite part, though? The fact that the purchases I am making are basically expenses, so my rewards are coming to me tax-free. 🙂

  • Reply Big Bob |

    Re #54 – I’d bet most of you own cars that you could do this one yourself. Not sure? Go to Advance Auto or similar and ask them to show you how to open the filter housing and check for a dirty filter. Or better yet, learn how to do it yourself and then change it per the owners manual. Yeah, that book in the bottom of the glove box. 🙂

  • Reply Bob |

    Regarding #5 (plug your stuff into power strips…)

    Plugging something into a power strip will not save power. If it’s got a surge protector built in, it might save your stuff from power spikes and surges (e.g. lightening strikes) but power strips don’t regulate whether or not appliances get power.

    Bob

  • Reply Chris Snow |

    Wonderful tips! Today’s economy has consumers looking for assistance in each and every direction. Your tips are wonderful, and easy to do! Additionally, I would recommend that you contact your creditors and request your interest rates be reduced. Than, if you can still apply the same amount of money to your payments each month, your balance will reduce far faster, or in a worst case scenario if you still could only afford an minimum payment, you would have extra funds for other needs.

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