Monday, August 5, 2019

Ways to Save This Month

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Here are a few ways to save in August:

Buy school supplies, even if you're out of school.  We still need things like pens and planners even after the school years, but this is the time of year they go on sale.  Buying now gives you a lot of options at a discount, particularly paired with coupons, although the prices drop further in September, but without the wide selection.  A lot of states have tax free weekends leading up to the start of school, so use that time to stock up on office supplies like pens, pencils, tape, paper, etc.

Invite people to you.  If there's still a few people you want to see before fall arrives, try inviting them to you instead of meeting them for an expensive activity.  Set up some chairs outside and get some wine and appetizers.  Even if you provide everything to eat and drink, it will still be cheaper than going out to a fancy dinner with martinis.  Plus it'll motivate you to clean your house.

Negotiate doctor's bills.  A lot of people schedule doctor's visit in August so they can get it done before going back to school.  It's a good time to try to negotiate on the bill, at least any portion not covered by insurance.  Paying up front in cash can often get you a discount, since they don't need to run a credit card and incur that usage charge, or have to track you down to bill you later.  Always ask.

Take on a 'eat for as little as possible' challenge.  I love pantry challenges just to encourage me to eat what I have and not be wasteful, but I also love challenges where I'm mindful of cheap but healthy ingredients and making new recipes to see just how cheaply I can keep myself fed, even for just a week.  A Dave Ramsey inspired 'rice and beans' diet, so to speak.  I love using Budget Bytes for this.

Sew and repair things, and work on your other 'vintage' skills.  Modern conveniences are great but we've lost a lot of so-called vintage skills.  Sewing, home repairs, growing food, etc.  Fast fashion and fast food and fast shopping have made it so that we don't actually need to know these things because we can essentially hire out for cheap.  Instead of getting rid of clothing with minor holes, take the time to sew it up.  Fix the leaky pipe yourself.  It's easier than you think, especially for a simple stitch on a hole or tighten a sink.  There are YouTube videos now to teach you everything, for free!

Go to discount movies.  Movies are popular in August because the theater is air conditioned.  And just because kids are out of school and have more time.  But movies are expensive.  Personally, I skip them altogether, but if you do want to go, make sure it's a discount one.  Mid-week movies and movies earlier in the day (as in, the first one when the theater opens, around 1 in the afternoon) are the cheapest.  There are also theaters that specialize in showings of movies that are a few weeks or months old at a steep discount, so if you can wait on that new release, you'll save a lot.

Do laundry and dishes during off peak hours.  There are peak hours for electricity usage and the price goes up during those hours accordingly.  Usually, it's 1 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.  You can save if you avoiding running the laundry or dishes during this time.  We run our dishwasher overnight, and generally do laundry on the weekends, if I don't throw a load in the morning.  But we avoid those peak 'business hours' in the afternoons.

Do your own spa day at home.  I like a good end of summer spa day.  My feet can look rough after 3 months in sandals, that's for sure.  But it's just sort of nice to pamper yourself before heading into the fall season, which can be really busy.  Instead of shelling out for this at an actual spa though, just do it at home and save so much - get a nice pumice stone and pretty nail polish, take a bath with a Lush bath bomb, apply a face mask.  Even if you needed to buy a few supplies, it'll still be cheaper and then you have the supplies to re-use.

How are you planning on saving money this month?

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