Here are ten suggestions for places to find hidden money in your home, and no, one of them is not to look behind your couch cushions.
These tips will help you free up extra money each month while you stick to a budget and expand your lifestyle.
#1 – Kill Your Landline Phone
Not too many people I know still have a landline phone and a cellphone, but if you’re still holding on to last century’s technology, now would be a good time to make a choice. There is absolutely no reason at all to have two separate phone services. You’re just throwing away money!
While a landline is often cheaper, a cellphone is more versatile and portable. If you don’t have cell reception in your home, a cheaper option than keeping a landline hooked up is to use a VoIP service like Skype. With Skype, you can “call” or video chat with anybody on any computer anywhere in the world. For only $2.99 per month (as of this posting), you can make unlimited calls to any landline in the USA from your computer.
#2 – Ditch Cable TV
There’s a major money drain! Do you really, truly need to pay up to $100 per month or more for 200+ channels of cable TV? Could you spend your time doing something more fulfilling with your life than watching TV?
I ditched my cable TV more than 10 years ago and I don’t miss it one bit. Instead of paying a large monthly bill that gave me an excuse to be a couch potato, I use cheaper services like Hulu (free!), Netflix and Amazon.com Prime. Chances are, you can watch most of your favorite shows online, legally, for free.
The benefits of watching TV online is that I am more conscious about what I watch. Instead of plopping down on the couch and watching whatever comes on, I have to make a conscious decision about what to watch. When my show is over, I can move on and do something else without getting sucked into whats coming on next. I used to spend hours watching TV, but now I only watch a few hours per week.
Another benefit with online movie and TV services is that there are a lot of educational documentaries available for free streaming that provide opportunities to learn, grow and discover.
#3 – Put Your Closet On Ebay
Tracy and I made almost $4,000 selling stuff from around our house that we no longer use on eBay and craigslist. Your closets, basement, attic or storage locker could be a gold mine of things that you don’t use or want anymore. Take some time to clean out and declutter and turn it into cash.
Don’t feel like you have to do it all at once. Post 3 to 4 things at a time if you have a lot of stuff.
#4 – Stop Putting Junk Food In Your Cupboards/Fridge
A great money saving tip is to stop buying junk foods that are unhealthy and harm your body. Things like soda/pop, ice cream, candy, chips, frozen dinners, cases of beer – all that stuff adds up over a month and it doesn’t do anything for your energy levels, health and fitness.
You don’t have to completely do without these things, but stop making them a regular part of your life. Because Tracy and I don’t keep that stuff in the house anymore, our grocery bill has gotten much smaller.
#5 – Brown Bag Your Lunch
When I worked a day job, I used to buy my lunch every day. On average, lunch would cost me about $8 per day, five days per week. That’s $168 in an average month! Imagine what you could do with an extra $168 per month ($2,016 per year!).
Brown bagging your lunch might not be glamorous, but it’s certainly less expensive and much healthier for you. Consider treating yourself to lunch out on occasion, but don’t make it a daily habit if you want to free up some extra cash.
#6 – Check Your Subscriptions/Services To Ensure You Are Getting The Best Deal, If Not, Switch Providers
How long has it been since you’ve checked up on how much you are paying for your subscription services. Cable TV (if you keep it), gym memberships, book clubs, movie rental services, cellphone plans – whatever it is, periodically check current rates advertised on these company’s websites and look up how much their competitors charge. You can often save a lot of money by lowering your bills simply by upgrading or changing plans, or switching to a new service.
Be sure to do this at least once every six months. Existing customers almost never get offered new, promotional rates so if you’re not on top of things, you could be paying more money than you need to.
#7 – Become Sales Resistant and Make Conscious Purchasing Decisions
This takes a little practice and a lot of willpower, but developing some sales resistance can help curb your spending habits and open up some extra cash each month.
Before I purchase something I want (or think I need), I ask myself the following questions:
– Will this purchase help me grow and develop as a person?
– Will this purchase improve my health?
– Can I use this purchase to increase my income, improve my relationships or enhance my productivity?
– Will this purchase contribute to my happiness? (Or, will this purchase increase my happiness over my lifetime?)
– Am I purchasing this item because it provides real value to my life? (Or am I just purchasing because I’ve been socially conditioned to own the item?)
If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, I think twice about purchasing the item. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in things that make you happy or that you just want, but don’t need. I bought a video-enabled DSLR camera for no other reason than the fact that I wanted it. (Now we regularly use this camera for our online business so I found a way to get what I wanted and have it benefit me in return.)
Asking these questions frequently helps me prioritize my purchases and helps me become aware of what I spend my money on, and what type of personal development return I am getting from it.
#8 – Practice Energy Efficiency
Being a good eco citizen not only improves the health of the environment around you, it can save you money too. One of the easiest ways I saved money on my electric bill was to switch every light bulb in my home to daylight-balanced CFL’s as they provide a clean, white light and helps fight seasonal affective disorder during the long winters.
Other things you can do to lower your energy consumption (and electric bill) is to insulate your windows in cold weather, unplug electronics from outlets when not in use and turn lights off when you are not in the room.
#9 – Exercise Outside & Ditch The Gym Membership
When warm weather hits, Tracy and I save a ton of money by dropping our gym memberships and using the outdoors as our gym. Instead of a treadmill, we go for a run and we trade in the spin bike for our real bikes. You can also practice Tai Chi, do push ups or find a tree to do pull ups on.
Exercising outside provides several benefits that the gym cannot. You’ll soak up sunshine and vitamin D, you’ll breath fresh air with each breath and your mind and senses will be engaged as you are out in nature.
#10 – Go Carless
Kicking your car to the curb might seem drastic. It might feel like a serious lifestyle downgrade, but think about it in terms of financial benefit. If you could get by without a car, you’d save a ton of money on car insurance, gas, maintenance and parking.
If you can, take public transportation instead of driving. If you are in a big city, this is easy as public transit is cheap and will get you just about anywhere. If you’re not in a big city, look into a ride share program or carpool.
If you are a two-car household, see if it is feasible to become a one-car household. Is carpooling an option? Can you invest in a bike (which is also an investment in your health)?
These are just ten ways you can free up extra money. There are many more. All you have to do is to look at your budget and find expenses that you can live without. It doesn’t have to be forever, either.
About Davy & Tracy
Davy and Tracy Russell are the creators of Stop Dreading Mondays and the How To Make A Six-Figure Income From A Website or Blog program.