After some serious soul searching, my husband and I realized that we were spending money on so many things that we didn't actually need. I recommend sitting down in front of a computer or your bank statements with a pen and paper. Write down all of your reoccurring subscriptions and things that you frequently spend money on. Next, make column for wants and needs. Start discussing what should go in each column. After you have everything listed, start deciding if there is a free (or cheaper) version of what you already have.
A few months ago I outlined all of the simple ways that we save money.
Amazon Prime is probably the best $99 I spend a year, there is so much added value than just the free second day shipping. If you haven't used Prime yet, click HERE for a free 30-day free trial.
This was a big one for us. We were spending SO much on cable every month and rarely watched anything “live”. Which also lead to a DVR rental charge. We cancelled our cable completely after purchasing a Roku and subscriptions to Netflix and Amazon Video (included with Amazon Prime memberships). We have discovered tons of new shows, movies and documentaries and my kids have a lot less screen time than when we had cable.
A couple of years ago I signed up to Mystery Shop for a few companies that I had researched and found to be legit. Every couple of months there are “shops” to go to a car dealership and get an oil change. They reimburse you for the oil change if you answer some questions about the location. Two of my favorite mystery shop companies are Beyond Hello and Ritter Associates .
I switched to an internet bank about 3 years ago and haven’t looked back. Even though they don’t have their own ATMs, I am reimbursed for any ATM charges I incur— no matter who’s ATM it is. Gone are the days of having to pay a $5 ATM fee if you forget to get cash out at your bank before going to a fair or another place with hiked up ATM fees.
Computer Virus Protection
I haven’t spent a penny on virus protection on my home computers in 10 years. With programs like AVG and Avast, it just isn’t necessary. I use a combination of AVG Anti-Virus and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and haven’t had a virus since.
Again, Prime saves the day. With my Prime membership I get full, free access to Amazon Prime Music. They have thousands of songs that you can stream ad-free. You can also even download many of the songs via the smartphone app so you can take your songs with you without having to use data.
I do occasionally have to buy books, but it is becoming less and less frequent. I am a huge supporter of the local library. I got a Kindle about 4 years ago and everyday there are more free books available on Amazon.com. Prime members get one free book a month from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. Once you are done and a month has passed, you are entitled to another book. Many local libraries offer an eBook lending program. You don’t need a Kindle either: you can use your computer, smartphone or a tablet as well.