Save It, Part 3: Nine More Ways We’re Saving Money

We’re back with our third installment of cash conscious ideas, so lets-save-some-moolah-people! For our first post about all the ways we keep our wallets in check, check out Save It: Part 1. And for a slew of other money saving suggestions, see our more recent post Save It: Part 2. Who would’ve thought after 21 tips we’d be back with more… but desperate times call for even more penny pinching, so we’re here to spill the beans (and hopefully save some too).

Cheapola Tip #1- Point Taken. In tight times like these, it’s nice to use our extra credit card “points” strategically. So instead of cashing them in for something that’s not entirely necessary (like a Bose stereo or a hotel reservation), we like to put them towards something we ordinarily would have spent our hard earned money on anyway (like a gift card to Home Depot to cover a year’s worth of air filters for our HVAC or even a grocery store gift card for food and other monthly expenses). There’s nothing like an indulgence in good times, but it’s super fun to think that Visa is paying for garbage bags and other household staples so we can bank a bit more dough these days.

Cheapola Tip #2-  Waste Not, Pay Not. We realized that thanks to composting and recycling, our garbage bin only fills up every two weeks instead of having to be dragged to the curb every 7 days. Thankfully there are trash services that offer bi-monthly pick-ups (for less!) which work perfectly for our reduced trash load, so we’re planning to switch over and save some green.


Cheapola Tip #3- Second Chance. Purely on a whim, I decided to take a big bag of old clothes destined for Goodwill to a local consignment shop- just to see what would happen. The verdict? I’m a consignment convert. I walked in with a bulging bag of clothes and walked out with $44 in my pocket (and still had a few things in the bag for Goodwill!). They certainly won’t take everything (color and season along with size and the trends come into play) but for two pair of jeans, some red flats that never fit right, and an old dress that I’ll never wear again, I made close to $50. Not bad for offering up closet castoffs and twenty minutes of my time.

Cheapola Tip #4- Seize The Birthday. Much like tip number one, resisting the urge to ask for off the wall “would be nice” gifts and instead requesting something you would actually spend money on might feel a tad less exciting but your wallet will thank you. And it doesn’t always have to be something boring like razors and toilet paper. I had been eying some candle sconces from ZGallerie for a while, so adding them to my birthday list ensured that I’d get them without having to enter my credit card number. Happy birthday to me!


Cheapola Tip #5- Go The Long Haul. We actually went all of March without “major food shopping” at all. Not once! Other than stopping in two times pick up some eggs, milk and produce (which came in under $25 each time), we didn’t do any grocery shopping for the entire 31 days of March! And no we didn’t stock up on $300 worth of food on February 28th or go on vacation for three weeks of the month. We just set one goal: no food shopping until we eat everything that we already have. Like most people we had random cans of beans, forgotten boxes of brown rice, and tons of frozen salmon that we avoided since frozen pizza is easier (so off to the store we went to buy more instead of eating what we had). By vowing to finish the rest of our oatmeal and veggie burgers, we thought we’d save a bit, but we had no idea we’d save hundreds of dollars that we usually spend on food for the month. Bonus: now our cabinets are cleared out and we know what we never really ate (so we can avoid it and save even more loot).

Cheapola Tip #6- Work The Land. Thanks to a super simple compost bin and an inexpensive rain barrel, Mother Nature’s doing the work for us and we’re getting free organic soil and water- just in time for planting season. And thanks to a fruit and vegetable garden that we’re in the process of establishing, we’re looking forward to gaining even more good stuff without spending much green.


Cheapola Tip #7- Order In. John’s a big runner, and he’s had knee problems in the past, so shoes with adequate support are imperative. That means he can’t exactly wear his Asics into the ground (since they’re only good for about 6 months and then they start compromising his knee-health). But all that shoe-replacing can get expensive. Of course he would never blindly order a running shoe online (he likes to try them on and trot around in them) but he knows that there are online retailers who sell the very same shoes he could buy at a big chain nearby for $20-$30 cheaper (with free shipping). So he has taken to trying shoes on in the store and memorizing the name and model number so he can find the exact same sneakers online for a lot less. He even researches coupon codes for additional savings. Gotta love shoes that go the distance and come right to your door.

Cheapola Tip #8- Take The Subway. Now that every single Subway footlong is $5, we can easily have lunch or dinner on the go for $2.50 a person. By splitting a sub (they’re happy to put different toppings on each half) we feel better than noshing on artery clogging Big Macs, and it’s a lot easier to save cash (and avoid a side of fries). Although we still prefer to eat at home, for those long afternoons of running errands on the weekends, Subway is often a much needed pick-me-up along the way.

Cheapola Tip #9- Refinance, Baby. We already did a post about this (and how it’s saving us some serious bank) but it’s worth mentioning in this round-up of ideas for anyone looking to own their home for a bit less in the long-term. It’s a great time to drop your interest rate substantially.

Now it’s your turn! Tell us all of you penny pinching tips and tricks. Share and share alike!

For more great money saving strategies check out this post over at My Sweet Savannah.


  1. says

    I know it’s unrelated but I just checked my work mailbox and in it was “The Nest” and on the cover was you guys! How wonderful. COngratulations!

    I guess someone gave the magazine to me as a gift since I just got married.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Cindy,

      The ironic thing is that we’ve heard from tons of people over the last few days that The Nest magazine has hit mailboxes everywhere… but it has yet to hit ours! We’re so glad you were able to check it out though! As for your subscription as a gift theory, we actually learned that they randomly send it to newlyweds (they must have had you in their database for using and apparently other people randomly get it too (my mom’s married-for-ten-years secretary got one in her mailbox and thought it was an April fool’s joke since she instantly recognized me on the cover- she thought my mom made a fake magazine to “get” her). Too funny! Fingers crossed that ours arrives today…


  2. says

    A big money-saving tip my husband is a huge proponent of is having the PMI (private mortgage insurance) taken off your mortgage payment once eligible. To be eligible you have to have paid down 20% of the value of your home – but it won’t automatically be taken off. You have to take a few steps (house appraisal and paperwork) to have it removed but it’s worth it – we’re saving about $150 a month by having our PMI taken off.

  3. says


    Ah, well that makes sense then! I did use The Knot’s planning checklist.

    You guys look great and your house looks great in glossy print. I hope it comes today!

  4. Nikki says

    At the beginning of this year I made a decision to cut costs and save money, so I can save up enough for a down payment on my first home. I’m constantly looking for ways to save some dough, so thank you for all of the wonderful ideas. It’s so easy to pay full price or forget about coupons when I’m out with friends who aren’t worried about their budget.

    So thank you for reminding me that saving money is easy and fun…just the jolt I needed as the long weekend approaches!

  5. says

    I always struggle with Tip 5, though I might give it a go again soon. My problem is that when thinking about planning out meals for the week, I tend to think in terms of recipes that I know how to cook rather than how to take the things I have, and create a recipe WITH them.

  6. says

    FAB tips! I totally need to get on top of using up the random bags of pasta and tried beans that are floating around in my cabinets (you’d think that after moving house twice in the last 6 months I would have done something about them, but nope! they’re still hanging around!). And great tip on credit card points too—we were saving ours for something fun, but then when the car needed repairs there was no question about how we would spend them. It was a bummer at first but it was nice not to see the bank account take a hit from the mechanics bill!

    Loved seeing your purse over at Layers of Meaning :)

  7. Claudia Bravo says

    Great suggestions! I’ve also really enjoyed saving big bucks! I been able to do so through craigslist and thrift stores. I scored big when I purchased a Macys 8 piece dining set (this also includes the leaf), large oval mirror, coffee table, and large side table for under $900 dollars! Of course I spent time looking but just goes to show you that time is money!

    One of my favorite new accessories is a 99 cent votive holder from a thrift store!
    Again, thanks for sharing how you are able to save here and there!

  8. says

    Love these tips and love you even more now for helping me save moolah. I need new shoes so I might be trying out John’s method…would it be too obvious if I took a photo as I try on the shoes? :)

  9. jana says

    Love all the money saving tips, but felt compelled to comment on Tip #7 – in trying to save a buck, don’t forget to support your local businesses. If EVERYONE orders online, then there will be no place to go TRY on the shoes. Sometimes saving 10 or 15 bucks isn’t as important as supporting local specialized businesses… just my two sense :)

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Jana,

      We totally agree with you! In fact, we love getting Burger’s organic dog food at a local pet store (we’ve gone there for two years and they’re practically family now)! It’s all about balance these days, so saving money and supporting local businesses are both on our to-do list! Plus John tries on running shoes at a huge national chain so we don’t feel that bad… hehe).


  10. says

    Great tips, as usual. I just recently had my cable and landline services disconnected–I watch so little tv and rely almost entirely on my cell phone, so it really just made sense from both economical and energy standpoints. After crunching the numbers, I’ll be saving about a hundred dollars a month. The thought of being without a tv was a little scary at first, but it’s been really liberating.

  11. Laura says

    My husband and I both run too, and I have found a running shoe brand/style that I like and when a pair wears out, I don’t even have to go to the store to try on another pair – I just order the same model/size online (free shipping!). I don’t know if John likes to try different kinds, I know people who do, but it saves me a lot of time trying on shoes when I just know what works for me and get it on zappos or

  12. Sammy Jenkins says

    In my town they charge to pick up recycling — or you can bring it to the ‘dump’ yourself (no charge).

    Additionally, most towns around me offer mulch for free to residents.

  13. says

    Y’all need to write a book on living on the cheap — seriously. You’d make a ton of dough (especially in this economy).

    A few tips from my in-laws (who are super thrifty as well): reuse your kitchen basics like alumium foil; recycle bread bags, yogurt cups, etc. by using them to store food in lieu of buying sandwich bags, tupperware, etc. Small things DO add up and my in-laws managed to retire in their 40s (on a teacher and engineer salary!) with how much they saved.

  14. Sara says

    My trick:
    1. I bought 2 green bags for my grocery and make sure I don’t buy more stuff that exceeds the bag
    2. I used to buy in larger sizes thinking its cheaper but eventually ended up throwing most of the time. So even if the difference is .50 cents, I don’t pick the bigger pack
    3. I always set a limit on credit card. If I exceed one month, I balance off the next month with lesser spending
    4. I am a shopaholic and used to buy things on sale even if its not required. Now,I do that online. I browse different things put in my shopping bag and then close the browser after a while. Just a small pleasure to solve my addiction :)

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