6 Unexpected Ways to Save - picture of piggy bank next to stacks of coins
Frugal Living

6 Unexpected Ways to Save

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These days, everyone is looking for a way to cut back on the purchases they make every day. It seems like every thing costs more and delivers less. So, how do you stretch your dollars in a world that wants to stretch your budget?  Check out this list of unexpected ways to save:

Buy Refurbished Stuff

You want that fancy new cell phone? Try a refurbished version of last year’s model. Let’s be real about the iPhone and the Galaxy – they really haven’t changed much between the past few years. The latest model will always run smoothly, but for anything less than a power-user, a refurbished device will do the job. A refurbished computer will go for a lot less too.

Use Coupons

Coupons aren’t just for groceries. You can find coupons for services you purchase on the Web (like printing business cards or buying tea). You might also be surprised to find coupons for services in the home. Before you cancel your broadband service for cost reasons, look for coupons. It’s not like there are a lack of AT&T discounts out there.

Honey is a browser extension for Chrome that searches the Web for coupons that you can use when you make purchases online. When you run the extension, Honey automatically checks for and displays the best discounts it could find from around the Web, testing them for validity. No one likes an outdated coupon code.

Negotiate

There is nothing wrong with courteously asking someone for a discount. Try buying the floor model or just asking haggling for the price. Many stores will price match, even though they don’t advertise it, so try asking the manager for a price match from an e-tailer. Paying cash for big ticket items can also help bring down the sticker price.

Be Crafty

The five to seven dollar hummus you buy at the market costs $2.50 to make at home. Toss some garbanzo beans in a blender with a clove or two of garlic and some tahini paste. Blend it and you’ve got quality hummus. Ketchup with a teaspoon of garlic powder, a teaspoon of soy sauce, and a dash black pepper makes a mean barbecue sauce substitute.

Gordon Ramsey has an excellent video somewhere on the web that teaches you how to cook a steak the way a professional steakhouse would. Grab some candles, put on some Schubert and create your own amazing restaurant atmosphere.

Renovate Before you Buy

If you’re relocating because you need more space, consider the cost of adding a room versus moving to a new property. In some cases it might be more cost-effective to rent a bigger home while you save for something you really want. When your car is breaking down, always replace the cheapest parts first. Know when you’ve hit the limit of your investment. A car like a Hyundai has a 5-year warranty. Any major work after that may be cheaper than buying a new car because most of the early issues of ownership were already covered.

Maintain What you Own

Regular tune-ups are the key to keeping your car running into the hundreds of thousands of miles, but maintenance helps other appliances too. Run a five dollar can of air through your old desktop computer and you’ll see a slight bump in speed because the fans will be clear of dust and properly ventilated. If you don’t believe in the power of maintenance, here are 2000+ ways you can use a can of WD-40 to maintain something.

These are just six unexpected places to find new savings in your quest for financial freedom. Where else can you save in your financial life?

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12 Comments

  1. I recommend refurbished computers and Apple products to anyone who asks (I’m an IT Manager), I’ve never yet has a problem caused by a product being a refurb. Cell phone are a little different I think, because to buy a phone off-contract can be REALLY expensive. But I agree that the technology hasn’t changed all that much in the last 18 months.

  2. Yup. And even if not refurbished, the older model might be cheaper just because they want to get rid of them. Still, if a refurb is cheaper, I mind mind getting that. They often have the same warranty too.

    Also, even if the older model *is* significantly different from the current one, I’d still go with the cheaper, older one if the new features are things I don’t really need.

  3. Regular car engine tuneups may not provide much savings. My six year old Altima only requires that the spark plugs be changed every 110,000 miles. Somewhere along the way they began building engines differently.

    I bought a lifetime wheel alignment instead. It improves tire and brake life, the items that seem to cost the most for me over time.

  4. When I bought an iPad a few months ago, I bought the earlier version. I saved hundreds of dollars and still got the same warranty.

  5. It is really hard for us to find spares for anything that breaks, so we really try to maintain everything. It makes people around here more resourceful too, they can fix anything.

  6. I’m a huge fan of refurbished models for any electronics. They come with the exact same manufacture’s warrenty that you would receive if you bought the device brand new. This lets you get the same quality device but for a lower cost.

  7. It’s definitely important to maintain what you own. I try to keep on top of everything so it will last longer.

  8. My strategy is to save a little bit in a lot of areas. A few examples are as follows: Pay your insurance bill for the entire 6 month term, drop off mail where you can to save on stamps, do not buy drinks from the gas station, take a lunch from home every day, use discount gift card websites like giftcardgranny.com. If you do all of these little things, they add up to big savings over the course of a year.

  9. These are great tips. I recently made BBQ sauce at home when I was out and loved it…definitely a great way to use what you have and save money!

  10. That is a great point about buying refurbished phones. You can get great deals for used phones on eBay and Craigslist. Just make sure to do your due diligence on the phone and the seller first.

  11. In the same line with refurbished phone, purchase phones unlocked. While the upfront cost is large, unlocked phones means you have the flexibility of not going on a contract, which can save lots of money in the long run. DIY is a great way to save too; youtube videos and other technologies make it so easier to DIY!

  12. The cheapest way to own a new car says:

    It does have a really amazing service and product. Good job!

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