Here were the 5 tips I shared in Part 1 of this post. Below are five more!
6. Defer any large purchases this month
Deferring a purchase might not feel like saving, but it definitely helps your cashflow. If it forces you to get more life out of something you’re replacing, or perhaps realizing you didn’t need that thing after all, then it really helps you save.
7. Sell something online
Make a few bucks selling an object that’s been taking up space in your house. You know the one. That ice cream maker that you used once and never again, the stainless steel pots and pans set that’s collecting dust, or that old Kindle Fire tablet.
There are many social media-type apps that have made community buying & selling a breeze. Pick one or two and post something to clear some space in your house while picking up extra cash: ebay, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, NextDoor (which I especially like), or even Craiglist.
Savings: $10 – $100 per item
8. Get something for free/cheap instead of full-price
With those same sites that you are going to sell something on, use one of them to get something for free, or at a discount. My wife is an expert at this, and has furnished an entire baby’s room full of things like a crib, changing table, stroller, carseat, baby bibs and more for probably less than $100.
It takes a little more legwork to hunt down what you want for the right price. Patience is a virtue here: monitoring these sites when you would otherwise be wasting time on your phone, setting up alerts for certain searches, and being ready to hop into the car and pick something up, definitely pays off in the form of cheap stuff. Heavy, bulky things like furniture or large tools are constantly on-sale at deep discounts, or completely free, on neighborhood sites like Craiglist, Nextdoor, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace.
Even with a small car like mine, I’ve picked up bookshelves, a chest freezer, even a couple of ladders and a free wheelbarrow. Bungee cords, a pair of racheting tiedowns, and some ingenuity (roof racks make for a great surface to strap things down on) can expand the range of what you can pick up in your own vehicle. Be safe & careful though…
If you have a truck, or even better, a strong-backed friend with a truck, the used stuff world is your oyster. For things that are too large for you to transport, you can use a third-party delivery service like Dolly (‘Uber for delivery’.) My wife used Dolly to get a used washer & dryer set she found on NextDoor delivered straight into our basement when we moved into our new home. Sure it cost ~$100 – $150 for the delivery, but combining that with the savings from getting the W&D set used made the whole thing a great deal, and it meant we didn’t have to find a way to lug the set down three flights of apartment stairs like the Dolly guys did!
Savings: $50 – $100s per item
9. Switch to generic brands for things you don’t care about, or are willing to experiment on, and go to Costco
Store-brand generics or often way cheaper, and practically identical, than name-brand items. Certain things are even chemically identical (think ibuprofen vs Advil.) In the grocery store, my default setting is to buy the cheaper, generic version until either my wife complains or I notice a negative difference. Eggs, cheese, cereal, milk, toilet paper, all are fair game. Online retailers have their own private-label brands too (‘Amazon Basics’, for example.)
Costco is almost always cheaper for identical items elsewhere, just don’t get suckered into buying nicer stuff because the deals are so good!
Savings: $20 – $40 per month
10. Do something yourself that you would’ve paid someone to do
With instructional videos on YouTube and other online resources, it’s a golden age for easily learning how to do things.
As I mentioned in an earlier post on saving big bucks, cooking is probably the most important DIY skill you can practice.
Routine car maintenance is another good one: replacing an air filter is as easy as pumping your own gas. Changing your own oil and oil filter isn’t hard if you have a floor jack, a pair of jack stands, and the space to do it (although getting an oil change is pretty cheap…) Even something that sounds complicated like replacing your brakes, or fixing a broken automatic window isn’t too tough and can save you hundreds. Mostly it’s the time commitment and the willingness to learn from videos online.
Other things around your home are ripe for DIY skills. Replacing our home’s furnace filter and cleaning & inspecting it required no special skills. I just watched this YouTube video and ordered a new filter that matched mine on Amazon, saving a couple hundred bucks vs paying a guy.
Cleaning your own house, unclogging bathrooms drains with a drain auger, cleaning your gutters (use your ladder safely), pruning your trees & shrubs, mowing your lawn, all are simple home tasks that anyone can learn. Combine DIY with getting used or borrowed tools to do the job, and you’ll really save. (If your neighborhood has a ‘tool library’, definitely check that out. I am replacing my fence and was able to borrow a post hole digger that made the work much easier than using a normal shovel.)
Professional services can also be reduced/eliminated if you do some reading on your own. Tap friends & family in the business if you want to double-check something. For example, my aunt is an accountant and is always willing to answer an ad hoc tax question (just not in the weeks leading up to April 15th.) Using this blog hopefully can help you avoid paying too much (or anything!) for a financial advisor. Legal sites like NOLO provide DIY legal forms and guidance.
Lastly, reading a book, physical or electronic, from your local library is often the best way to learn a new skill.
Savings: $50 – $100s per month
Post in the comments if you have money-saving tips or experiences of your own to share!