6 Small Ways to Save Money (Frugal Friday)

Saving money is not a lost art. There are small things that you can do to save money without stressing yourself out.

Money is like water sometimes. It can slip right through your fingers. And if you’re not careful, it spills out the sides of the container and is wasted. This week I propose six small ways to save money. While they probably won’t send your kid to college, they will add up. And many drops do fill a bucket.

1. Borrow or sell your books.

Book junkie that I am, I realized not too far into my adult life that there just wasn’t space to store all the books that I bought. And many that I grabbed on a whim really weren’t worth the cash I spent. Every year I chip away at the bookshelves a little more, keeping only the books that we really and truly love and find useful.

The rest? I sell and make a few bucks.

And when we want a new one, I usually check out books from the library instead of, or before buying them.

2. Examine your receipt before you leave the store.

How many times have you noticed an overcharge after you leave the store? It’s happened to me way too often. I know it’s always better to check my receipt before I leave. It’s still a pain to get the money back from the cashier or customer service, but it is, after all, my money. And better to get the mistake rectified before I leave than to make a second trip.

3. Turn down the heat.

Winter heating bills can really drain your bank account. But, adjusting your furnace settings can save you money. Dress in layers so that you don’t need to turn up the heat as high or as often. Turn the thermostat down when you go to bed or leave the house for an extended period of time. Check with your utility company to see what other tips they have for energy conservation.

4. Audit your phone bill.

There may be extra services that you don’t need or want that could shave a few dollars from the bill each month. I called our phone company late last year and found out that there was a $6 charge for an “active living” package that we had never made use of. Since I didn’t need to use it, I could recoup another $72/year by canceling that service.

5. Drink water.

Water is often free or cheap. Instead of ordering drinks when dining out, ask for water. Offer water more often at home as well. We live in a land where clean water is a blessing, so let’s enjoy it. Save the money you might have spent on pop, juice, or other beverages for other things.

6. Eat at home.

I love to eat out. I really do. And we’ve got it down to a science now. We can take the 8 of us out to eat or bring takeout home from between $10 and $30, depending on where we go. And while that is really inexpensive restaurant fare for 8 people, it’s still a significantly higher expense than cooking and eating at home.

While it takes some work and advance planning, eating at home can be just as tasty (if not moreso!) and save us money a the same time.

How do YOU save money?



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Comments

  1. Great tips! Those small savings add up fast.

  2. I’m really impressed with #6 – often we spend $50 on just the two of us!

  3. Yeah, tips on feeding 8 at a restaurant for $30!!!

  4. Thank you so much for hosting this delightful linky! Some great posts..:-)
    I have entered a post close to my heart this week # 17 “There’s more to frugal living than living on a budget, or living on less. Frugality is about choosing an alternative, simple and more mindful way of being.”
    I am starting a linky myself each week called Seasonal Celebration Sunday, it would be great if you’d link up? Hope to see you there!

  5. I used to check my receipts, but I no longer do. Often the mistakes were in the store’s favor, and going back to spend more money is so discouraging!
    On the other hand, it is a good life-lesson for the kids, and it shocks the cashiers. LOL

    I now figure that the mistakes for and against me will balance out in the long run.

    Another tip to keep warm: drink green tea. It’s healthy as well as warm.

    And yes, water is good in so many ways. This is a great post! Thanks.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Yes, it is a bummer to go correct the undercharging. I do that, too. They always look at me like I’m nuts.

  6. I’d love to hear your tips for dining out. I know it will vary by area or restaurant, but it sounds like you have lots to offer on the topic.

  7. Now Jessica, I’m no math wiz, but you said 10 tips and I’m only seeing 6…just saying… ;-)

    I’ve been making a big effort in the water-only department (and encouraging the hubby to do the same), and it does save money. He has a harder time with water-only, so he’ll add a tea bag (I found a box of 100 at our local DollarTree story) and that makes him happier. We also keep our house at a rather chilly 60-degrees during the day and we turn it down to 55-58 at night. The only time we change that is when we have people over, because just because we choose to be cold all the time doesn’t mean our company should be shivering, right?! :-)

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Ha! I started out with ten and decided that would be overwhelming.

    • I have to say we turn our heat down during the day when the kids are at school and hubs is at work and it is set to go back on in the afternoon after I pick up from school. Last week we have temps of -15 to -20 and wind chills of around -40 when we keep the heat at 61 daytime it feels mighty toasty when we are looking at a 100 degree difference. Funny how much more the heat runs with just a few degrees up.

  8. When I lived in my house went without a cell phone for 2 years and saved a bunch of money! Because I recently moved into an RV and I wasn’t going to have a land line, I had to get a cell phone. I went with a prepaid phone and it’s great! I’m still saving money.

  9. I have saved a lot of money when I remember to check my receipt before leaving the store. My grocery store will give you the item for free when it scans at a higher price than the promo price.

    Thanks for the linkup.

  10. Yes, water! I can’t imagine how much we save by drinking water almost exclusively, even using a filter.

  11. I’m so bad about checking the store receipt. I realized after the fact this week that I was overcharged by $2 on a package of meat I bought — and I only bought it because they were offering it two bucks off because it needed to be frozen the next day! The discount didn’t come off but I didn’t notice. Grrrr.

  12. Won’t save millions but every little bit counts… Instead of using liquid hand soap full strength, I have those foam soap pumps. When they are finished, I refill myself with about one part liquid soap, 7 parts water. Makes the liquid soap last a long time! Or I get out an “old-fashioned” bar of soap if the liquid soap runs out!

  13. Love these suggestions. We do a lot of these too. It just takes a little to save a lot over time with certain things. Thanks for this post!

  14. Love the suggestions! I need to call our phone provider and see if we can switch to a cheaper phone plan without compromising our bundle. I’m tired of paying for long distance on our landline when we don’t use it.

    • I switched to a LD plan that I pay when I use it. It’s a bit higher priced, but since I don’t use it much at all, it’s cheaper in the long run. You can Skype without video for free. I do it a couple times a month with a friend.

  15. I’m a huge reader, so #1 is really important to me. We got a great deal when we bought our first home years ago….you know what they say about “location, location, location” being the 3 most important things in real estate? Sometimes I wonder just how much money we’ve saved because we bought a house next-door to the library!

  16. I’m always looking for ways to save money – one of the ways that I have found is I dropped my land line – I found out that I didn’t need it to have the internet connection at our home. Plus we don’t have a fancy phone – we don’t text or have an android phone – just a “phone” – it is amazing how much money we save by not having all those extras (and we don’t miss them). The next thing we are looking at cutting is the satellite TV – we shall see how that goes (but it will HAVE to be AFTER the Super Bowl! LOL!) I would love for you to check out my blog for other ways that we have cut our budget to save money – including cutting our monthly grocery bill from $800 a month to less than $350!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      We cut cable which means no hockey. It’s been fairly sad around here. But, we compensated by sending a cpl guys to a Kings game.

  17. I always check my receipts now. There are two stores that almost always have mistakes. Here in Canada we have a scanning code of practise. If there is a mistake on your receipt, you get the item free (up to $10). If the item is more than that they take the $10 off of the correct price. Many people are unaware of this code and just take the refund without knowing they could be getting the item free. I have told two people in front of me who had mistakes on their receipts. They were so grateful. The cashiers…..not so much!

  18. I would also like to know your tips on how a family of eight can go out to eat and only spend $10-$30. Your family must eat light and my family must be pigs.

  19. I would like to hear your tips on eating out. $10 for a family of 8? Gotta know where you do it!

    • I’m guessing that she does that at Del Taco–we recently moved to SoCal, and our family of 4 can get a meal at Del Taco for $2, if we get it to go, without drinks, and eat our own chips and salsa at (or from) home. And we like our chips and salsa better than the fries that come in a Del Taco value meal anyway.:)

      Needless to say, after less than 4 months in SoCal, our family is already loyal Del Taco customers.:) And we probably wouldn’t have known to try it out without having seen the posts about it here!

  20. I love these tips–we have done all of these! Number 1 is somewhat new to us, though. We sold some books through fulfillment by Amazon recently and were very pleased with the ease of the process and the profit!

    Does anyone have any other recommendations for places to sell books online?

    We also unloaded a bunch of now out-of-date engineering and nursing texts off our shelves (though none were more than 10 years old) and ended up sending a lot of those to an online charity that collects textbooks for third-world countries. All we had to do was pay the shipping costs to the charity. The textbooks weren’t obsolete, but most schools here in the US would require newer editions.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Love CKY books. Always have better rates than cash4books and great customer service. I reviewed it a couple times, I think. Can’t even remember how I heard about it.

  21. Wow – $10 for 8 eating out?? Well done.

    I also find lots of mistakes at the grocery store. I try to watch as they ring everything in, but it doesn’t always work out with kids running around etc. I once was charged $38 for a gallon of milk! And then I ended up getting it for free because of cashier error.

  22. Thanks for the encouragement to “keep on keeping on!”
    I had to laugh at #2 Checking Your Receipts. How many times have gotten out of the store only to find, I did not get the sale price. I think I have about gotten it.
    Now, to train my children to check as each item is rung up. :)

  23. Those are great tips for saving money. My father and I make all of our meals at home. It’s cheap and the food tastes so much better than anything that is processed. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  24. I no longer buy greeting cards (with rare exception). I bought a large package of colorful card stock cards and envelopes and will either decorate or not but the handwritten, thoughtful note to the recipient always is well received. It takes a little more time than just signing a card but then I don’t have to look through cards at the store or even go to the store. Those cards can get really pricey and how many people really hold onto a greeting card for very long.

  25. Thanks for making this list! I thoroughly agree with all of your tips! Excellent! As far #2 I think this one is really good. In the last few months by looking over our receipts before leaving the store (or watching the cashier’s screen as they rang up our purchases) we have come across a few discrepancies that in one case would have cost us eight extra dollars had we not had the error corrected. It does add up! #6 Is great too! Not only is your food tastier when you eat at home, but it is most generally (for us!) healthier. Plus you know what you are actually eating. Thanks again! Enjoy your blogs. : )

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      It’s good to check receipts at restaurants, too. We used to go to a restaurant that consistently added bar drinks to our tab that we had not ordered. We stopped going there.

  26. I was in a hurry at Kroger recently and bought a bunch of stuff totalling around $100. It seemed like a lot, but not the first time I’ve spent more than I intended! It wasn’t until I got to the car that I realized I had been overcharged by $40.66 (the code for green beans if 4066) due to the cashier voiding and re-ringing some veggies. That was a big oops, I’m glad I caught it and didn’t chalk it up to impulse shopping on my part!

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  1. [...] few weeks ago I shared a few small ways our family uses to save money. One of those ways was to eat at home, of which we do a fair amount. However, while we love to eat [...]

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