Ways To Save Money That Actually Move The Needle
When my wife and I found out we will be having our first child in May, we decided to identify ways to save more money.
Below are three expense adjustments, and one easy way to make a little extra side income, that will actually make a difference to your personal bottom line!
The networks are the same
Our cellphone service had been through Verizon since 2012. When we signed on with them, Verizon provided far and away the most reliable network. Verizon leveraged this reliability and made sure we all paid a premium for the privilege of not having our calls drop every time we used our cellphones. That premium price to the other carriers persisted ever since.
But we’re approaching 2020, and I’m sure you’ve seen Sprint’s commercials suggesting all networks are just about the same these days. After hearing the reliability has in fact been the same from a number of people that converted, and looking at reviews (Sprint review: are the savings worth it), it appeared that for many of us, a change could be very beneficial.
We decided to make the move and went from an unlimited plan bill of ~$160/month with Verizon to ~$110/month with Sprint.
So far we haven’t noticed any difference with our calls or data speeds, but our bank account certainly has changed.
Total savings = $50/month
A few changes to the receipt
I like to think my wife and I are already fairly healthy eaters. We don’t count calories but we try to pay attention to what we put in our bodies. Her pregnancy made us even more aware of the grocery bill and of opportunities to cut back.
Trader Joe’s became our go-to grocery store. Solid prices and plenty of unique options keep us coming back.
But TJ’s also has lots of delicious, not so healthy, options. Our sweet tooth has been a larger, unnecessary expense. Whether it’s the delicious chocolate covered almonds or sea salt brownies; one, or both, usually found their way into our grocery bag.
We still treat ourselves from time to time, but shaving off a few of these snacks from our usual grocery run has amounted to at least $20/month in savings.
Total savings ~ $20/month
Taking some time off
Like most people, my wife and I love trying the amazing restaurants San Diego has to offer.
Usually, Friday is our date night and Saturday we get together with friends. Typically, I’d have a cocktail at dinner and likely a couple of drinks when out with friends. Obviously, with my wife abstaining from alcohol for the baby, joining her, and cutting out alcohol becomes that much easier.
I’ve never done a “dry January“, but look forward to participating in 2020. Whether I continue to abstain or not beyond January, I will definitely be significantly cutting back on my alcohol consumption.
Estimating a drink with dinner and nights out with friends, that’s at a minimum saving around $20/weekend.
Total savings ~ $80/month
An easy way to make more money – add some company for the weekend
While the three ways to save money above are applicable to most of us, this easy way to make extra money really only applies to the pet lovers still reading.
We have a French bulldog, Copper, who enjoys some company every now and then. As such, we signed up for Rover, which allows us to babysit other dogs. With Rover, you can mark the days you are available, set your own prices, and conduct a “meet and greet” to ensure the dogs get along. The meet and greet also provides a general sense of the dog’s training.
Note – always do the meet and greet. The only time we skipped a meet and greet came after a request to watch another Frenchie – we impulse agreed out of excitement. Total disaster.
Especially if you already have a dog, there is little to no extra work involved. We already have to feed and take Copper out for walks, so it’s just putting out another bowl and bringing another dog along for the walk. Essentially, you’re getting paid for doing what you would already be doing anyway. Plus, Copper loves the company and we’ve now gotten a number of repeat dogs we look forward to having over.
We probably average a dog every other month for a single weekend @ $40/night. Rover takes a cut so assume our take is around $70.
Total addition ~ $35/month
Three ways to save money and one easy way to earn more – what would this dollar swing do for you?
Now we have a game plan to add $50+$20+$80+$35=$185/month back into our pockets.
That’s $2,220 over the course of 2020.
Granted, I suspect the baby will be tapping into most of that savings…