Wednesday, May 27, 2009

make a change and save some change

I'm sure by now you've figured out that Brad and I are all about saving some moola. I've told you how we saved a few bucks and maybe a little bit of the earth by switching to natural cleaning products, and I've also showed you how we save dough when we shop. Today I'm back with a few more ways we've cut some costs around the roost.

1. Name drop
If you grew up in the south you were probably taught how tacky it is to name drop. It's right up there with chewing gum in public, calling your elders by their first names, and neglecting to wear a slip. But trust me, name dropping can save you a ton of money on your car insurance, phone bill and more. When I happened to mention to our cell phone company that I'm a teacher, we started earning a deep discount on our monthly bill because of a deal they have for school employees. We also save money on other bills because they offer deals to customer who bank with a credit union or are members of a rural electric co-operative. So go ahead and brag about where you work, organizations you belong to, and honors you've received.

2. You have not because you ask not
This is one of my mother's favorite sayings and it's also very true. We have reduced some bills just by asking if they can give us a better deal. Our car insurance company was happy to lower our rates when we called and asked - it didn't hurt that we mentioned the rates we were being offered by other companies. This weekend Brad and I both got 100% free new cell phones just by walking in the store and asking. We knew we were up for an upgrade, so we asked if we could switch to some cool new phones that we saw offered for free on the company's website (the site claimed it was a web only offer). They had no problem giving us the same phones in-store, plus they waived the activation fee when we asked.

3. Cut the cord
This might not be possible for everyone, but we saved a ton of money by nixing a land line and cable/satellite TV. We might consider a land line when we have kids, but when we realized that we literally never used the house phone, it seemed like a no brainer to stop paying for one. And we don't have a super expensive cell bill either. Most of our family is on the same network so those calls are free and with free nights starting at 7 and free weekends, we don't even come close to using all of our 500 shared minutes. We used to pay for satellite TV so that we could get the regular network channels to come in clear out here in the boonies. With the advent of digital TV, we discovered we can get about 10 free network channels with just a converter box and an antenna. RCA makes really cool flat antennas, so we don't even have to have the dreaded bunny ears. Between the free network channels, hulu, and netflix, we don't miss paying for TV one little bit.

4. Go local
When it comes to entertainment, most cities have many cheap hidden gems. We consider Richmond, VA to be our city, even though we live in the surrounding boonies. Our town has some great deals like $1.99 movies at our second run theater, The Byrd. Friday Cheers, a free weekly concert series during the summer, countless free festivals and markets, and lots of parks. It's also a great idea to search local blogs and papers for discounts, freebies, and promotions. For instance, our local paper alerted us to the $1.00 movie and popcorn being offered as a grand opening promotion by a new movie house.

Hope these tips help you save a few more pennies, or at least reassure you that you aren't the only cheapskate on the block!

Let me know if you have any other great ideas for cutting the fat!


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