Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Penny Saved

Lately I have been thinking about all the things I do to save our family money.  As a stay at home mom I don't bring home a paycheck but I like to contribute to our family's financial well being whenever possible.  I manage our finances and get such a kick out of saving here and there. Here are some of the ways we save each month- it really adds up to huge annual savings with very little effort.
  • I pay all our bills online.  This saves the cost of a stamp- $0.44 which really adds up! I also use less checks and rarely use envelops.  Estimated savings: $3 per month/ $36 per year
  • We have two credit cards (one Visa and one American Express) that have no annual fees and are cash rewards cards.  We never carry a balance so there is no catch.  We charge 99% of all our purchases so as to earn the maximum rewards. Our American Express pays 5% on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases (after meeting a certain amount per calendar year) and 1.5% on everything else.  I can't remember the exact percent for the Visa, but since not all businesses accept American Express we use it occasionally.  We spend a LOT on organic groceries and enjoy that 5% back!  Last year between the two cards we earned almost $1500 back!  It didn't cost us a thing and we were spending money on things we would be purchasing anyway. Credit cards used responsibly can be wonderful things!
  • We print and clip coupons and take bags to stores that offer bag credits.  There is usually a coupon for Organic Valley products (things we buy every week) and other national organic brands.  I always try to grab a few copies of the Whole Foods coupon book at the start of each month (available at the door or at checkout).  I also try to always bring my grocery bags to Whole Foods to get their $0.10 bag credit.  If I average 3 bags per week that is a savings of $15.60 per year.  So easy!
  • We opened a high yield online saving account to keep our savings in.  It is certainly not an investment that will make you rich, but it is a great way to earn a little on money that you want to have available.  Ours is with HSBC and it takes about 3 business days for money to transfer back to our checking account. There are no fees and no minimum balance.  What you will earn depends on what your balance is, but for example if you even earn $10 interest each month that is an annual earning of $120 without much effort at all.
  • We make our own coffee!  See ya starbucks!  I used to enjoy a $4 coffee and now I make my own for less than $0.40 and it is organic. Between my husband and I we are saving about $1200 per year as well as using less gasoline and producing less waste from disposable cups, sleeves, napkins, stir sticks, etc. We use a french press and I like our coffee better than what we were paying so much for.
Total earnings/ savings for one year with these simple tips is roughly $2870!  Yeah!

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