Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How do you afford your rock 'n roll lifestyle?

Now that I'm a lady of leisure, there is the pesky inconvenience of my missing paycheck.  Not that I was pulling down six figures or anything, but my five figures were significant to our family.  And by significant, I mean, necessary for shopping biweekly at Target with wild abandon and buying $4 cups of delicious coffee.

I've already got the big stuff down - no credit card debt, no car payments - so I don't need some serious financial plan.  I've Dave Ramseyed my way into a pretty  nice financial position but I'm wondering what the little things are that people do to trim the budget.

(And don't say cancel HBO/Showtime because that, kind sirs, I simply cannot do.)

The reason I ask is because I've recently discovered the beauty of Aldi.  I would've never stepped foot in Aldi because I was a giant giant brand snob.  But then a bunch of people told me how fantastic and cheap everything was and now I am obsessed.  Everything I've had from there has been good and about half the price of what I would pay at the regular grocery store.

So...what else?  What little money-saving secrets do you have for me? 

46 comments:

Jennifer said...

I often credit our switch to Aldi with being responsible for balancing our household budget after I went part time so I could be a SAHM - their regular prices are better than sale prices in the regular stores, and with about 90% of things I've tried, I've found that I actually prefer Aldi's products to the old name brand stuff I used to buy.

And I know you said don't say it, but we quit cable and we don't even have Netflix either. We just borrow shit from the library for free - including full seasons of those shows you watch on HBO/Showtime/etc. And it's free. I just request the stuff I want online, and when it comes in a few days later we pop in and grab it - we're in & out in seconds so my rugrats don't have time to completely terrorize the library. Did I mention - FREE?

Also, we only go out to eat in an actual restaurant like once a quarter. It sounds kind of sad, but we're both introverted homebodies so it's cool.

Oh yeah, and once my kids were born, I started showering every other day instead of every day (because when I get a few moments of "me" time I don't want to waste it with something boring like a shower), effectively making all hair products last twice as long.

There - all of my frugal secrets.

HereWeGoAJen said...

Stay home. I basically spend all the money randomly when I leave the house. So if I am trying not to do that, I stay home.

Rebecca said...

We have found that Aldi produce is cheap 80% of the time. If you watch the sale ads in the newspaper you can sometimes save on produce. When you're at the regular grocery store stack coupons with whatever it is they have on sale. That often is cheaper than nonbrand sale items.

Could you hulu or whatever it's called through the internet for free and get rid of cable? That is such a HUGE money saver. We also have just a very basic ($10 add a friend/family from ATT) cell phone service. It's rough living without the perks of cool gadgets on cell phones but it's way cheap.

The local library to rent DVD's for the kids and books and listening cd's is free!


april said...

this isn't really a big deal, and probably won't save you much, but it might help a little. I started making most of my household cleaning products which cost me almost nothing and last forever. I also try to stay home since I cannot seem to leave Target without at least spending 50 bucks. Pure evil that place.

Rebecca said...

..oh and I've heard, though I have no idea if it's true or not, that Aldi is owned by the same people who own Trader Joe's. Both are owned by British companies?

And the brownies at Aldi are actually the same thing as Gharidalli (spelling impaired), just in a different package...or so I've heard. I know of no actual proof of that statement.

Lisa said...

I have a Target habit too. My hubby sent me this since I am now a SAHM and LOVE my Target shopping>

http://shine.yahoo.com/work-money/save-money-target-210300584.html

Walmart is really cheap too. I don't shop there much but when I do I am really surprised at the prices.

Sara said...

Find as many free entertainment events for the kids as possible (like story time at the library or kids events at the metro parks), visit parks weekly, and pack snacks/lunches/drinks everywhere we go.

Pick one day a week, at least, to stay home. It really makes a difference in gas and general spending.

Air dry your laundry!

Melissa said...

You can call up your cable company and tell them you're paying too much. See what kind of deal they may offer you (worked for us!) Same goes for garbage pick-up if you pay for that.

You can reshop for car insurance -- if it's been a while you might be able to save with another company.

I know those things might not seem like savers for "everyday" but they add up!

And don't forget Pinterest! I haven't tried it but people are making their own cleaners and detergents for a fraction of the price. I know your little ones probably make a lot of laundry!

Carrie said...

Yard sales for the kids' clothes.

I keep a list in my purse of what clothes I have/need for them in sizes up to 10/12 so when I come across a great sale, I know exactly what to look for. The other day, I scored two pair of like-new jeans and 5 shirts for my son for $4! Retail would probably have been $100+. You won't find those kind of prices in any store.

Anne said...

Meal plan. For the first time in my life, we are actually coming in within our budget lately, and I don't have to ask hubby to free up some of his secret stash of money to buy diapers, all because I plan our meals now. Freezer cooking ahead of time saves money and helps the planning process as well. Versus the "what should we have, hmmm, I know, Jimmy Johns for $20!", when it turns out I can make 15 meals for under $100. And hubby brings the leftovers to work for lunch the next day, lookie there, no $10 to Subway either (we like sandwiches I guess). And yes, shower twice a week, your hair care products last a year. OH, and shop the end of the year sales for next year's kid clothing. Especially since you have 2 girls, getting good quality stuff at reduced prices totally saves money. Not if you buy 10x more than necessary like I do though. But seriously, Gap t-shirts for $4 and shit.

stephanie said...

I love Aldi with the fire of a thousand burning suns.

That is all.

Whitney said...

I agree, Aldi plays a huge role in helping our budget balance out. I also RARELY go to Target anymore because I can't walk out without spending less than $60. Dollar General gets my impulse buys these days! Nowadays, I laugh at prices in Target (which is outrageous because I was the biggest brand snob ever). But that was when I was contributing to that 401k, baby!

Inara Jones said...

Something I've found that helps is packing lunches for my son when we go out in the morning. If we stay out a little long, I'm good, but my kid is starving, and I have a tendency to swing through McD's just to get him to stop screaming. I've started packing a peanut butter sandwich, or cheese and crackers or something. That way, even if we're out too long, I can avoid the screaming tantrum. :)

areyoukiddingme said...

I love Aldi! We're super cheap, so I can't give you advice, because you probably like to live like a normal person. For instance, every time I suggest going out to eat, my husband says "What do we have coupons for?" We don't have cable (although we do have cable internet). We borrow all the movies from the library - and our library is a fantastic system that has everything you've ever wanted somewhere - you just have to request it and wait. Craigslist, ebay, and garage sales for clothes for the little one - she doesn't care yet, and I make sure she has a few things that are new. I guess it also helps that we don't drink coffee. My husband also lives in hotels a lot and loots every personal care item they leave laying around.

But with all your copious spare time, what you want to do is investigate banks for the best accounts that actually pay interest. I have one such account - it used to pay 5%, but it's now down to 3.5%...which is better than the 0.075% that our money markets are making. I must jump through hoops, but it's worth it!

happilyhomespun said...

I LOVE Aldi's!

Some other things I do is to:

- buy produce during the summer from local markets and freeze it in serving sizes to use all winter (corn, beans, broccoli, berries, etc).

- get a Target card! The 5% doesn't seem like much, but it really adds up. Plus you get free shipping on anything on the website and you can find some GREAT clearance items on-line.

- I make all of our household cleaning products using various recipes and also use old cut up tee-shirts instead of paper towels. I use old fabric squares for napkins too.

Amanda said...

Plan your meals, make a list, stick to it. Set your budget and pay in cash. Slowly, over time you'll have left over money at the end of the week. Stash it away somewhere and admire it as the pile gets larger. It will keep you motivated to stay on budget.

A great source of entertainment for us is the radio. Woohoo for the 1940's! But really, it's great for having some entertainment with the TV off (listen to Rihanna, less the video). I'd highly recommend the nationally syndicated morning radio show, Kidd Kraddick in the Morning. You can listen to it online on your own schedule (kiddnation.com). It's great for keeping the TV off but still having a bit of entertainment. It's mostly toddler safe while being entertaining.

And we did cancel the cable... sorry. But we love our Hulu and Netflix. We don't have enough time for TV anyhow.

Anonymous said...

Aldi is a great place! Love the bargains there. Also go through the sales papers and plan that way. It may take a little extra time to go to different stores for different things but it can save money in the long run. Dollar Tree where everything is a dollar has some surprises there as well. Name brand things, and I recommend all the LA AWESOME products, they get everything out...everything. The dollar store is awesome as well. And, as much as it sucks to say...sometimes coupons can actually be cool to have around.

Raina said...

This is a small thing, but I've found the price of soft drinks (we're Coke product addicts) has a huge swing. One day it's 5.79 for a 12 pack, then suddenly they'll run some awesome sale that works out to 2.75/12 pack. I stock up when it's $3 or under so I never have to buy it full price. I also think Walmart brand diapers work just as well as name brand for about half the price.

Kristen said...

We switched cell phone providers. I pay $28 a month with Virgin Mobile. Unlimited text and data. We save at least $100 a month.
I also shop around for insurance once a year. We really did save $400 a year.
And I cloth diaper. Not because I'm into attachment parenting, but because I am that cheap.

Cindy said...

I love Aldi too. We just moved to a really small town and there is no Aldi nearby and grocery prices are ridic. So I am totally missing Aldi.

If you love Target, get the 5% off debit card. You also get free shipping when you use it which is awesome. I've been pretty good about only going to Target with a list or very specific needs in mind which is 100% necessary.

Buy used toys for the kids on Craigslist. They don't care about the original packaging and you can get some great deals. And sell your old stuff on Craigslist or eBay. Might as well try to get some cash for crap you would throw away or donate anyway and it's way better than doing a freaking garage sale.

Meal planning is pretty kick-a$$ as a money saver. I was doing weekly meal plans and making my grocery list based on that. Then I got brave and went for a month (had to buy some produce and milk and bread in between). You will be amazed at how much that saves you in groceries if you stick to it.

I really want to start using homemade cleaning products, particularly laundry detergent. I am trying to deplete my stock of all the random bottles of cleaner and have started using good ol' vinegar a lot more.

Anonymous said...

I make our laundry soap. It's one tiny thing that saves me a TON of money. I also use those mommy swapping groups on Facebook. You can sell or trade your stuff or your kid's stuff.

hausmilleradventure said...

Is Aldi like the Aldi Sud we have here in Germany?

We meal plan to save money. If I had a freezer here in Germany I would make 2 meals and freeze one (like casseroles), like I used to back in the States. You can get really into meal planning and save lots of money, planning out each meal for every day and snacks and freezer meals, but even basic planning for supper each night will save you money.

Make a list and buy off the list at the store.

Take stock of what you have at home and buy the 1 or 2 things you are low on (oatmeal, goldfish, handsoap, etc).

When I was unemployed for 14 months (not by choice) I got really good at window shopping. It's amazing how much you DON'T have to buy when you simply don't have the money.

Also, we used an insurance broker for home and auto insurance and got the SAME EXACT plans but for WAAAAYYYY less. I'd look into a broker and see what they can do for you.

Amy said...

Making my own cleaning products. Seriously, for the price of 1 container of laundry detergant, I have made at least 6 months worth of laundry detergant if not more.

Meal plan your ass off.

No random trips to Target.

We rarely eat out.

Enjoy free activities. Library, local parks, etc. Our local park system has a ton of free activities.

Date night has become a homemade steak dinner after the kids lay down for bed.

We don't have smartphones.

Mostly it's finding the stuff that you can live without to justify the cost of something you want to keep. We cut cable because it wasn't important to us but we're still paying board for the horses.

Beth said...

We like our auto/home insurance companies, so in order to keep them, I asked them about any kinds of discounts available. (paperless billing, paid-off vehicles, bumping up the deductibles, paying every 6 months instead of monthly, etc)

We haven't had cable in 10 years of marriage, and I honestly haven't missed it (much). We had Netflix, but we are back and forth with it. We manage to watch a lot of stuff online, and also rent movies here and there from Redbox.

We love Aldi too - and I agree about their saving us money! I sometimes miss going to other stores, but Aldi also has the best customer service and they treat my kids with respect too!

We have meatless meals. Or use 1/2 of the amount of meat that the recipe calls for. Or find super great deals on meat at Aldi.

We don't have smartphones, but should shop around...our text and calling plan for 2 phones is a little high!

We recently dropped our landline and have just internet at home.

DH and I give ourselves "allowance" (AKA 'blow money', Love DR!) and that helps with our impulse buying -- his was buying books, and mine was trips to Target, now it's a rare treat to go there!

Meal plan. Make lunches. Homebrewed coffee. Boring, but it saves in calories and cash!

Make your own laundry soap. But also watch for good sales & coupon in order to buy premade things, in order to give yourself a break from feeling the pressure of having to pinch pennies all of the time.

Buy clothes from Goodwill. I'm picky with stuff, and have found some amazing deals. Worth the extra time and laundry soap!

Do you know about moneysavingmom.com? GREAT website!

Overall though, we figured out what was worth paying extra for (my "hair-apy" - haircuts and highlights) and what was worth skipping or saving on or simply saving up for.

Shawn and Aimee said...

Consignment sales for kids' clothes. Although i do buy some things new throughout the season, I can outfit both kids for the entire season for about $50 each. And Caden is incredibly rough with his clothes, so used is fine for me.

I've even got some things with labels still on them for about $3.

AWESOME!!

Rebecca said...

Get rid of cable or satellite (whichever you are using) and switch to streaming. Netflix has everything your kids will every need or want plus you have the benefit of no commercials. HuluPlus has a lot of the current TV shows and HBO Go will give you your HBO fix. You can stream through a Wii, Blu Ray or a Roku (I'm sure there are other devices too). It will save a ton of money!!!

Heather said...

I'm sorry to beat your dead horse but honestly, no cable TV, no Netflix, and we scraped our cell phone plans down to BASIC service - no data, no texting, just, a phone! Ya know, for calling people and actually talking! Our parents have a Costco membership and we shop with them on things when it's a true deal. We love the library for books, movies, music. Online shopping for kids clothes is awesome - watching for sales and free shipping online. We've become "do it at home" parents where pizza, ice cream, and other stupidly pricey things are concerned. It has become a family fun activity to get everyone kneading pizza dough once a week or so. LOVE shopping farmers markets for produce, MUCH cheaper. It is a formidable lifestyle change, but we're not trying to live like rock stars either. Quality of life can actually increase without all the "stuff" we surrounded ourselves with BDIWK (before dual income with kids). We don't have credit debt or car payments either and we're still enjoying life!

Soxy Girl said...

We dumped Netflix and joined Amazon prime. Rather than $26/mo we pay $79/year and stream better content and get free 2 day shipping with no purchase minimum. I've also started baking my own whole wheat bread in a bread machine that I bought brand new in a sealed box for $10 at a yard sale, and I've started making my own laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent. Stacking coupons with sales and hitting aldi for the rest of my shopping are some ways we trim our budget. But there is no way we are getting rid of cable. If we are going to save money by not going out, then I need something to watch on TV.

kate said...

Consignment sales for clothes. Here in my town, there are two big ones. One in the Spring, where I shop for Summer stuff and one in the Fall where I shop for Winter stuff. It's been a HUGE money saver for us. Plus, I usually find some great toys that I can save for birthday and Christmas.
Also, as much as it pained me and caused gigantic arguments between myself and my husband, we got rid of cable. We now have Netflix streaming which keeps us with plenty of mindless things to watch.
Let's see, what else...Meal planning for sure. I use the site www.grocerysmarts.com to find out what really is a good deal. Plus, then I don't have to keep track of what coupons to use either.
Library for sure. We go once a week for story time and pick up books, movies, and music.

ErinEvelyn said...

All good tips. (Especially like the meatless meals tip, cuz it not only saves $$$ but has nice effect on farming/environment too. But I digress...)
Tiny idea: I ALWAYS have a box of flavored water pouches in the car for my 7yo boys. It saves me a TON from having to buy drinks when we're out & about.
Shopping "sprees": staying home to prevent spending money is something I simply cannot do. Solution? Browse second-hand furniture stores (leave with nothing unless you find a perfect item), and thrift stores (again, do not buy - no matter how cheap - unless you find something you NEED). If you feel the overwhelming urge to "go shopping", put 5 or 10 in your pocket and head to the dollar store.
Also: buy from craigslist. Liquidate too, on Craigslist! (Use a photo-sharing site and use HTML in your craislist post/description. Good pics are key to selling an item quicker and for more $.)

thelambentlife said...

We make as much as possible. Cleaning products (general purpose, disinfectant spray) and personal products (deodorant, toothpaste) are really, really easy and cheap to make and are just as effective as store bought.

Our biggest expense has always been food. I'm a firm believer in investing in our health by eating right and unfortunately, that's expensive. It's the very rare occasion that we go out to eat and when we do, it's always for lunch. I make as much food as possible (baking bread, granola, baby food) and don't buy anything pre-made like frozen pancakes. When fruits and veggies are in season, I buy locally in bulk and freeze or can them. It seems like a lot of work, but it really isn't.

Ginger said...

Man. I cannot imagine no car payment/credit card debt. We don't have cc debt but we have one car payment and $200k in school loans (+ mortgage). Literally. It's a nightmare :(

We're about to get rid of the home phone and downgrade cable. We're eating out less, though I don't want to change the quality of the food we eat at home (lots of fresh stuff, organic milk, etc). I get all of Clara's clothes from Carters online, which has great sales and I get coupons in the mail that can be used even on sale stuff. I don't even let myself look at Baby Gap!

Melissa G said...

Shop with a list and stick to it. Don't by anything you can't live without for another week. (Obviously if you forget to write Milk to the list. But seriously, it's helped me with impulse buys BIG TIME.

I shop at big box stores for perishables (that can't freeze) with a friend, so that we can split them. Less waste, and half the cost.

I feel you on the cable.

Make stuff from scratch. Simple things like pancakes, cornbread, banana bread, Spaghetti Sauce, Soups. It can be quite time consuming, but overall cheaper per serving. And often better for you - not as much salt or processed ingredients.

Good Luck, mama!

Maggie said...

Check out new credit cards. We have an American Express card that gives us 6% back on groceries, 3% back on gas and at department stores, and 1% back on everything else. We charge everything but then pay it off every month. This card has an annual fee but our grocery and gas savings pays for the fee many times over!

AndreaW said...

Big things for us…always checking expiration dates on grocery items that spoil or go bad. Milk, eggs, bread, etc. The “fresher” they are…the longer they last. This way, you aren’t wasting these grocery goods and less waste = dolla dolla bills, ya’ll.

I’m terrible at organizing grocery coupons, but I clip almost ALL the restaurant coupons and carry them WITH ME (this key…to have them on you at all times…like in your wallet that you carry in your purse or in your diaper bag). This way, we decide where we are eating out based on what BOGO’s we have. We also NEVER order soda when eating out. What a freakin rip off. 2-3 soft drinks would have paid the tip for your server.

Consignment Sales. Not only can you shop for girls at a fraction of the cost for retail, you can make money as well. Depending on the sale, consigners can earn up to 70% AND consigners often get to shop the presale before the public…so you get first dibs on all the good stuff. If you became extreme-ish about it…you could clothe your children for free. Buy consignment, and then turn around and make money off of previously worn clothing.

Buy annual membership for family outings, like the zoo or the local theme park and go A LOT. Saves you big money and you don’t feel like the walls are closing in on you at home all the time. We always pack a picnic lunch when visiting the zoo and that saves us about $20-$30.

Last, haggle our cable company once every 6 months. Call them up and tell them my douchey husband (he isn’t really a douche…I just like to use him as a scapegoat) hates cable and wants to go to DISH or whatever satellite company and they always give me a screaming deal for the next 6 months. Can’t live without my vampire porn on HBO.

Jennjilla said...

What has been nice for my family is that I've joined a freezer co-op. 5 ladies and I all mass-cook our favorite meals and freeze them and get together and trade meals. I can't tell you how many times that has SAVED MY ASS when it got to dinner time and I was like..uhhhhh.

I also try to meal plan, shop at Aldi and Trader Joe's and do my best to stay away from the Death Star (aka Target). I did just come back from a vacation where we blew more money than we should've, though, so you can take my advice with a grain of salt. :)

sarahw said...

Sign up for automatic shipments (aka "subscribe and save") from Amazon for things you use alot of. Diapers and wipes are SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than anywhere else if you buy them this way, as you get free shipping and a 30% discount for doing the automatic shipments. You can get cleaning supplies and toiletries this way also. Other stores have similar deals for arranging automatic regular shipments, I get our dogfood this way from Petco at a significant discount. You can cancel the auto-shipments anytime without penalty.

Birgit said...

Here are some of the things we do: meal planning, go meatless as much as possible, buy children's clothes at consignment stores or organize a swap with other parents, don't buy or order alcohol, invite friends over rather than going out, cloth diaper, and Netflix instead of cable.

Aldi and Trader Joe's are owned by the same company (know that from a person who did research on it). Aldi was founded in Germany and has been around for decades. Aldi is a combo of the two first letters of the first names of the two founders, Albert and Dieter (I'm not kidding). Try the Moser Roth chocolate, it's from Germany and delicious.

Jaci said...

I'm a lazy ass and blow money on takeout, especially on weekends when Kevin is home and I think "Great! I have help!" Yeah--no.

Crock pot. Hands down best budget tool EVER. I even make lasagna in it on Sunday mornings during church, because I come out of there all hungry and raging and GIVE ME FRY-FRIES!!!

Homemade soap, coupons, line drying clothes, etc. never equaled huge savings for me. Sitting at home trying to save on gas only made me depressed. There's a point where being Thrifty! crosses the line into Miserable!

I hit that line when I was jealous of moms who showed up at story time with Sheetz coffee and name brand Goldfish (not Aldi's Golden Whales). THOSE BITCHES.

Losh said...

Shop around for all insurances, utilities etc. We made hundreds of pounds of savings just by switching providers. Same goes for your mobile phone - I changed my OH's tariff and he saved around £80 per month.

Batch cook - it takes very little extra time to make lots of extra chilli, soup, stew etc and if you have good dinners in the freezer all ready to go it makes you less likely to order a takeaway.

Don't be a brand snob! I used to be too but since my Maternity Leave ended I only went back to work 2 days per week, so my salary has also taken quite a hit and I have discovered that some shops own brands are just as good as the big brands. Same with clothes for my baby - I don't buy him stuff from the 'posh' shops. He grows out of things so quickly and you can get some lovely clothes at cheaper shops and he looks just as cute!

Leave your credit card at home and only take a small amount of cash out with you. If you haven't got it - you can't spend it!

Nelly said...

When it comes to eating out, we always use restaurant.com or groupon deals. We rarely go to a restaurant without a deal.

Kasey said...

Meal planning. When I do this my grocery bill is significantly reduced.
Also, buy expensive coffee beans of your preferred brand so you can make nice coffee at home.

loxadaisy.com said...

We have a couple of local 'swap & buy' sites on Facebook that have made a pretty big impression on the community. There's literally thousands of members and more stuff than you could imagine going up every day. When I can be bothered to sift through the pics of everything it's a great place to buy clothes and toys for the kids. It's also a great place to sell a bunch of the stuff we're not using so I'm kind of breaking even!

mommacommaphd said...

Once Upon a Child. If you haven't found the one nearest you, find it! It's second hand kids stuff- everything from clothes and shoes to bikes and strollers. I always go there first before buying something new. Also, many have end of season clearance sales where they discount their already majorly discounted prices.

Anonymous said...

hip2save.com

This is the best national deal site that I've come across. She not only lists coupon deals for many of the national stores, but also lists random internet deals. For example, we recently got this year's entertainment book for 0.99 shipped. Now, I'm clear that you need to spend money to use the coupons in this book, but if you're going to be going out anyway, it saves money.

B's Mom said...

We live a fairly frugal lifestyle so that we can spend money on vacations and other crap we don't need. :D

- Shop at Goodwill. I was disgusted at first, but let me tell you that place is awesome. I rarely buy used things there, but did you know that TARGET donates all their open box returns to Goodwill? They do. I buy more Target crap from Goodwill than I do from Target.

- Never buy something unless it's on sale. I mean that. If it's not on sale I won't buy it. (This goes for clothes, furniture, home furnishing, etc).

- Stock up when it's on sale. I buy in bulk if something is one sale.

- Get a chest freezer so you have some place to store frozen foods. You will be surprised at how much you can save by stocking up. We actually buy a half of a cow from a local farmer and have it processed. It ends up being less than $2 a pound for everything from hamburger to porterhouse steaks. The meat it better, too.

- Shop around for car insurance. You can get a better deal. Espeically online. We save over $100 a month by switching to 21st Century Insurance.

- You have two shih tzus, learn to groom them yourself. It's not hard, and there are videos on You Tube. I groom my myself and take them in every third month just to make sure they are cleaned up. It was hard at first but now it's a piece of cake.

- Speaking of dogs, did you know you can give them their shots yourself? Tractor Supply sells them for less than $6 (total) and that is all they need besides rabies (which has to be done by a vet). Depending on what your vet charges you can save yourself $100's a year.

- We switched to T Mobile prepaid. I bought my own smartphone (which was $100 refurbished and I've had it for more than a year) and it costs $50/month for unlimited everything. Coverage has been great, even when we travel.

- Cut out cable. It's such a waste. Especially since you can watch almost anything online these days. We have Netflix and Hulu and don't miss it. Use Redbox, too.