2018 is off to a rocky start for us, and it’s only been a couple of weeks. We went on our first cruise – a much anticipated (and saved for) week in the Caribbean – and it was a complete disaster. Then we’ve returned to home to bitter cold weather. Every project I’ve worked on has taken three times as long… and lets just say spring can’t get here soon enough!
After lamenting for the past couple of days, I decided to find a way to pick myself up and dust myself off. Clearly we need vacation do-over, and that means building up our holiday cash again. My clients have been sending me very little work the last few weeks, which also means saving money is key! There had to be at least a handful of things I could start doing differently start saving us money – immediately! Because I need that vacation… NOW. So here’s seven things that I’m doing differently to save us money… and make my life a little easier.
1. Filter Easy
We always forget to change our filters out. I even started writing the date on the filter when we put it in, but failed to set reminders on my phone – so now I just know how long it’s been in there. The answer is too long and this is not helpful.
Now I don’t even have to think about it – every 2 months I’ll have a new filter delivered to my door. Filter Easy is just that – EASY! It’s a filter delivery service that comes as much or as little as you want, free shipping, and they have several types of filters!
How I Save Money: Changing filters regularly will actually help the HVAC work more efficiently, which saves us money! I also have severe allergies, and their Super Allergen filter is only $19.95, which is about $5 less than I pay at Lowe’s or Home Depot – when I remember to even get one!
OMG!!!! I LOVE Dropps. I cannot sing their praises enough! All natural, inexpensive, high-efficiency, eco-friendly, and completely kick-ass, laundry and dish detergent pods that are delivered to my door every four months! Not to mention, it’s really great detergent that is completely green!
The laundry detergent lifts stains from our clothes and smells fresh. They have detergents for sensitive skin, babies, stain makers (that would be us), and more. The dish detergent knocks off all our stuck on food and never leaves residue on our plates. They have several other products as well. In my next order, I’m signing up for their fabric softner! So excited!
How I Save Money : It costs me about $.06 a pod, and just a few dollars a month. It’s a huge savings – I figured out that I’m saving about 60% on both detergents – and again, I don’t have to think about it ever. Plus it’s a lot tidier than liquid or dry detergents… that doesn’t save me money, but it does make me happier.
I don’t know what rock I’ve been hiding under, but I just discovered eSalon! It’s AMAZING custom salon quality hair color that is a quarter of the price at the salon. I started going gray when I was 21. Yeah, that’s not a typo… I was 21! And now, at 39 years old, the gray is my “natural color.” To make matters worse, my hair grows at a rapid rate. So within 4 weeks, my roots are awful and I’m dropping more money at my salon.
How I Save Money : Before eSalon, I was spending nearly $1000/year just having my roots done. Not with hair cuts, or highlights, or any of that fun stuff. Just my roots! That’s crazy!! eSalon sends my custom color on a subscription for $20 per delivery… that’s a $45 savings every time I need to touch up my roots and I also save on a tip (and I’m a good tipper)! Even if you buy as you need it, it’s only $25! Hello?!?!?! Also, the color is incredible! Sooo much better than a box dye; my hair stays soft and healthy. Even my stylist didn’t realize, she thought I was cheating on her – which I would never do because she’s amazing.
I finally broke down and started using Amazon Subscribe & Save program on items that we buy regularly and I cannot get over the savings. At the moment, I have Viva paper towels (thank goodness because it’s an emergency when we run out), dog food, ziplock baggies (which are waaaay cheaper on Amazon), some spices that I use regularly, and my facial toner. It is my goal to add more and more to this over the year. One aspect that I like about it is that I can change the frequency to which I get delivery and skip deliveries, so I’m not getting more than I need.
How I Save Money : Let me count the ways!! Way #1 – I save 5 – 15% just by using Subscribe & Save. Way #2 -They usually offer coupons, especially if you Subscribe & Save to a few items from the same manufacturer. Way #3 – Amazon just has unbeatable prices – even without the Subscribe & Save savings, I’m already saving 10 – 50% on these products. Way #4 – And of course… I’m an Amazon Prime Member, so it’s free shipping! Um, done and done!
Ibotta is just stupid easy! It’s a free app that saves you money at the grocery store, drugstores, on websites, pretty much anywhere you spend money – it’s an impressive amount of stores. It has a great selection of manufacturer’s coupons, but here’s the best part… you don’t have to remember them at the store!
I will use coupons, but 9 times out of 10 I forget I have them, or I forget to ask the checker to scan my phone, or I forget to even go through them before I go to the store – and then they expire. This you can do after the fact… way after the fact! You pick out what you bought on the app, then within a week of purchase, you scan in your receipt. Voila! Money in your pocket. I just found a Publix receipt in my wallet from 5 days ago, where I just picked up a handful of items. I picked out what discounts applied on Ibotta, and took a picture of my receipt. Boom, I saved an extra $2.50!
How I Save Money : Duh… how doesn’t it save me money?!? I am definitely a sale shopper at grocery stores, and Ibotta usually saves me an additional $2 – 10 a grocery trip. It adds up really fast too. Once I hit $20, it’s deposited into my Paypal account or checking account. Oh and they give you $10 when you sign up! What the what?
I’ve sung my CSA’s praises before, but I just need to sing it again! A CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a weekly collection of locally grown, organic produce. Our winter share finally started back up after the holidays, and today I picked up the most gorgeous kale, lettuces, collards, potatoes, radishes, and carrots. Not only am I supporting local family farms, but I’m eating the freshest vegetables that I can buy! Plus it’s fun to try new vegetables and get creative with our weekly menu. Curious to see if you have CSA near you, click here. I promise, you will LOVE IT and you’re giving back to your community. Win-win!
How I Save Money : The produce lasts far longer than anything I buy at the store because it’s not traveling hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of miles to get to me. This reduces the amount of produce I’m throwing out week to week because we didn’t eat it fast enough. For instance, a bag or container of organic lettuce from the store will stay fresh for 4 -5 days. The lettuce I get from my CSA will stay fresh for 7 – 10 days! That’s nuts!!
It also takes the guess work out of grocery shopping – I don’t have to worry about picking up weekly produce! And for what we spend, it’s far better quality and cheaper than the organic produce I can buy at the grocery store. It’s also cheaper than shopping at our local farmer’s market.
7. Meal Delivery Subscriptions
I’ve decided this year that I’m going to rotate some of these Meal Delivery services. Some weeks we’re slammed busy, or I’m just lazy, and it’s nice not to have to think about what I’m going to make for dinner. I used to subscribe to Blue Apron, and absolutely LOVED IT! However, now there’s a ton of them out there to choose from. Since I can turn them on and off as much as I’d like, I think I’m going to spread the love around and try some different ones. Here are the three that I’m signed up to receive over the next couple of months.
- Martha & Marley Spoon – This one is first on my list, it’s run by Martha Stewart so how bad can it be?? I’ve already been cooking her recipes for 20+ years!
- Sun Basket – I’m really excited to try Sun Basket. It’s all organic and sustainable foods, plus their menus looks fantastic! They seem to have more options for special diets than the other Meal Delivery Services I’ve looked into.
- Blue Apron – Tried and true! I really enjoyed Blue Apron when I subscribed years ago. Now they have a better selection and offer Whole 30 options!! Which will help us stick to our New Year’s Resolutions.
How I Save Money : For two people, it’s actually cheaper for us to get a meal delivery service than it is for me buy the ingredients myself at the store. Plus, it’s less time spent at the grocery store (which always saves me money). They all offer a deep discount (usually 40 – 50% off) for your first shipment, so why not give them a try??
How do you plan to save money in 2018?? What money saving programs have you discovered?
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