So, the US credit rating has been downgraded. The world is reacting and in a bad way. People are more worried about money than ever. If you’re an aspiring blogger trying to earn extra money online, then chances are you’re thoughts are also about how you can save money in your every day living.
When I started blogging, I fell into blogging by following some basic advice to pick up a hobby that pays money. I thought it would be a fun and exciting journey and it has been. But what led me to that tip was my basic quest to save and earn money.
I say save and earn because making money also starts with being a little bit smarter about how I spend money as well.
And so, at the time that I started blogging, I had made some changes in my lifestyle that helped me save more money. This extra money could then be used to help fund my online endeavors, it can be invested, or it can simply be put into my savings for a rainy day.
With the recent news about the word economy, I have that feeling that the rainy day could be just around the corner. I’m sure many of you may feel the same.
Here are a couple of tips that I followed to save money:
1. Cut out the cable/satellite
Notice I didn’t say cut out TV. I think in this day and age, that’d be hard for most people. However, if you enjoy your television programs, but not the high bill of cable or satellite TV, you can save a lot of money by canceling those services. I was paying about $72 a month for satellite. I did an assessment about what I was really watching on TV and realized I could get just about everything I wanted over the air or on netflix.
Netflix streaming costs just under $8 a month for the unlimited streaming plan by itself. I did make one other purchase, which was to buy a roku device to stream my netflix directly to my TV. That costed me about $100, but it was a one ime expense that’s more than paid for itself.
I would say that one of the best purchases that I made is my roku device as I can get virtually all my entertainment as well as news and business streamed directly to my TV in high definition with that little box.
Total Savings: $72 – $8 = $64 per month
2. Cut your phone bill
I’ve found that traditional phone services are just too costly. I was use a force of habit when I first got my house to call up the local phone company and install a basic phone line. The basic service at the time was $24 a month, but that was really basic. No caller ID, no call waiting, extra costs on long distance. All these “extra” services costs more. When all was said and done, to have a phone line with all of these services added up to roughly $40 a month. So, I did some investigating
I already had internet, so I looked into phone services that can use my existing internet line, Voice Over IP. These kinds of services such as voyage and ooma are significantly less costly than the traditional phone line. In many case, they have many more features as well.
I decided to go with Ooma. This is a service that provides free basic VOIP telephone. They subsidize this fermium service by requiring that you purchase the equipment to operate your phones. The internet to elephant adapter costed $180 at the time from my local where house store. I figured that I would make back the cost of this one time purchase in about 5 months with my savings. After that the service is free.
Ooma’s basic service included voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, free long distance throughout the continental US, and a host of other features I haven’t even tried yet. It was a simple matter to portly existing phone number over to the new service so there was no break in my phone service and I got to keep the same number. I’ve had the service for more than a year now. The clarity is superb. I don’t notice any difference between this service and my old phone service. And it’s more than paid for itself.
Total Savings: $40/month
3. Cut Down on Eating Out
Being in an office environment, it’s very easy to accept invitations from your friends and co-workers to eat out for lunch. I got caught up in this tendency and found myself spending way more money than necessary in a month. I made it a discipline for myself to pack lunch and eat out to a minimum. I try to eat out no more than once a week for lunch with my co-workers.
I also get a bit of help with this because I have a few coworkers that are also feeling the pinch and are eating in as well. This way we have a bit of peer pressure to nudge ourselves into saving some money.
Eating out can be costly. I can make the same meal at home for pennies on the dollar. Plus, I can have a bit of fun with it by learning and trying out new recipes. I made it a Sunday ritual to try out a new recipe. It’s fun. I can chat with my son while I make stuff and it gives my wife a bit of a laugh at me.
Overall, home made food is healthier and more cost effective than eating out.
4. Don’t Use Credit Cards
I have credit cards and I use them as necessary, but I find the best way to keep track of my expenditures is to stick to cash.
Using credit cards makes it really easy to loose track of how much money I’m spending. I find that I’m often over spending when I am too free with my credit card. However, if I budget myself with cash, I’m much more careful about spending money.
Now my wife and I simply withdraw our monthly cash allowance and whenever possible try to use cash to make purchases.
There are only a few purchases where we stick to credit cards. I get 3% rewards for gas, so I will use my credit card on that, but otherwise, I stick to cash.
Oh, a final word about credit cards. Make sure you pay them all off at the end of the month. The interest is just brutal on those things.
5. Go to the Library
I remember as a young child going to the library with my parents and checking out books to read. Gradually as I grew older, I fell out of that habit. It was like a cool fad to buy books at the bookstore and build my own personal library at home. Eventually, I was in the habit of buying all my books and foregoing the library altogether.
I love to read and I love to learn. So those couple of traits combined add up to an expensive habit if you are constantly buying books. Bookstores are aware of this. They make their stores like lounges. They invite people in to sit on their soft couches and read or hours knowing that if they get you started, you’re more likely to buy a book. They give you their content for free at the store, but you have to buy to walk out with the book. It’s practically a freemium business model.
Well, why go freemium if you can go free?
I recently rediscovered the library after my son was born. I fondly remembered those times that my parents took me to the library and in the spirit of building those same memories with my son, I went and got a library card.
Guess what? It’s still there and better than ever.
At least at my local library, I’ve found out that hey’ve modernized. I can log into m library online and browse through their collection of ebooks and audiobooks. I can check out their ebooks and audiobooks from the comfort of my own home and download them to my devices or listening on the go.
And it’s all free!
Whether you’re blogging for money or just surfing the net looking for ways to save, we can all use some tips to make our money stretch a little bit farther. There are a lot of ways that we can all cut back. I’ve listed a few that worked for me and I thought were the most effective ways that I was able to save money.
If you have an money saving tips that you use, please leave a tip for the readers below.