Now that the New Year is here, I wanted to share a few tips on ways I've found to save and make a little money. I'm working on getting my financial house in order and these are some of the ways that have helped me along the way.
Save Money on Cable
I don't pay for Premium Channels. The cable companies typically offer promotions for free HBO/Showtime/Starz for 6 Months or will give you $10 off your month bill, you just have to ask. These offers are often valid for everyone, even existing customers. Just call your provider and ask, "What are your current promotions?" Say it's a 6 month promo, put it in your calendar to call them in exactly 6 months to remove the promotion, before they have a chance to start charging you. At that time, ask again if there are any current specials. There's no limit to how many promotions you can have, you just have to ask.
Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill
Take advantage of discounts through your job. Most companies have business contracts with the major providers. As part of the contract they typically extend discounted service to personal contracts. You can easily save 10-30% off of your personal phone bill each month. Ask someone in your IT or Procurement department or contact your provider, they will have a listing of which companies offer promotions to their employees.
Look on the Back of Your Receipts
At my local gas station there are always coupons for discounts on snacks and items sold inside of the store. Wendy's and Burger King will give you a free sandwich just for completing a 2 minute phone survey. I take the survey and leave the receipt with the redemption code in the car just in case I'm short on cash. Don't forget about grocery stores. The back of my most recent receipt includes offers for an oil change at NTB for $16.99, $25 off tax preparation fees at Jackson Hewitt, 15% off of dry cleaner service at a local cleaners.
Some banks charge what is called a "monthly maintenance fee." These fees can range from $7.95 and up, that's $95 of your money gone down the drain each year. Ask your bank about free checking, if they don't offer it switch to another bank that does. Credit Unions are also a good bet. They don't have hidden fees on account and you rarely have to pay ATM fees when you take out money at other banks. Rates on savings products (i.e. CDs, Money Market) are higher and their interest rates on loans and credit cards are much lower. I switched my car loan to my Credit Union last year and it reduced my payment by $200/month.
For the last few years, I've faithfully had a standing appointment with my hairdresser. I recently started skipping one appointment each month, that saves me $55/month which adds up to $660 a year. I know it's a sacrifice but if you can shampoo your own hair once in a while you can use that money towards something else like a mini-vacation. As far as nails are concerned, I get pedicures but I usually do my own manicures. I've been doing my own french manicure for about a year now and I always get compliments, thanks to Sally Hansen's french tip pen. I've had the same pen since the beginning of the year (it cost maybe $6) and do my nails once a week. No one will ever know the difference.
Sell Your Old Phone
If you're like me, you buy a new cell phone every 18-24 months and you have old phones lying around. There are a number of websites that will purchase your old phone (even if it's not fully functional but not water damaged) and will give you cash for it or even donate the money to charity. A website I found is called Flip Swap they will give you a postage-paid label, you send them your old phone(s), and they send you the money for your used phone. It's quick and easy.
I'm an eBay-a-holic. I will sell anything and everything on eBay. I've sold everything from shoes to a wedding dress to a hotel stay in Cannes, France for the film festival. If you have a talent for sales, offer to sell things for friends and family members for a commission. I also like designer pieces, clothing, handbags and shoes. Some items can only be worn or carried a few times before they're played out so once they've worn out their welcome in my closet, I'll sell them on eBay to make room for new additions.
Hope these have been helpful. Please share any tips you may have to offer.