February 21, 2012

A Little More Jingle in Your Pocket

Credit: Grant Cochrane
I had just gotten home, taken off the jacket, loosened the tie, and taken the puppy out. I walked to the mailbox not having any idea what awaited me. I was about to quickly thumb through the mail and begin my nightly routine, but something stopped me dead in my tracks: my cable bill. It had jumped almost $60 since last month! I didn’t recall ordering anything dicey or some exclusive European soccer channel, so I had either been cheated or was about to pay too much for something I didn’t need. It was this unpleasant experience that gave me the idea to do a post on six, very simple things you can do to save yourself money.

• First and foremost, your cable bill. What had happened to my cable bill was that my first-year rates had reverted to their normal rates and some movie package that I hadn’t formally rejected had been added to my services. I suggest you do exactly what my wife and I did and make a list of the channels you actually watch. We then compared that to the service offerings and were actually able to go down a package. After calling the cable company to remove the unwanted movie offering and go down a cable package, we were able to save an additional $30 a month on top of getting rid of that unpleasant $60 increase!

• Second, I also suggest you take a look at your Internet fees. Everyone loves fast Internet, but you might not actually need the latest, greatest, and most expensive “lightspeed” if you’re not into online-gaming or day trading. It’s just a suggestion, but there could be cost savings there.

• Third, think about your phones. Many people don’t use their landlines anymore, as the only people who call are telemarketers. Consider ditching the landline and enjoying the savings. Also, smartphones are amazing, but they can be expensive. Do you really need an app for taxis, an electronic candle flickering, or a productivity calculator? Cell phones are much better now than they were three years ago, but what were you paying for your cell back then? Just saying…

• My fourth idea is simply list shopping. Making a list before shopping helps you not forget what you came to purchase and helps you resist the temptation to impulse buy something you do not need. 

• If you enjoy bottled water over tap water, my fifth suggestion is to buy a filter. Bottled water is good for you and helps prevent open-cup spills, but the cost of one bottle at a time can get more expensive than you might think. Sure a filter is a little pricey upfront once every six months or so, but in the long run, it will save you money versus the daily bottle(s) of water.

• Finally, my wildcard sixth suggestion: razors. Razors are a fairly expensive, periodic purchase for both men and women alike. While I can’t postpone or slow my beard growth, I can tell you to dry your razor after each use. According to an article I read in my dentist's office several weeks ago, the leftover water and the absorption that follows is what speeds up the damage to and dulling of razors. If you take the extra five seconds to dry your razor after each use, it evidently can last three times as long. That would mean you would have to purchase razors a third as often as you currently do, and you would also save some cash!

Hope this helps. Feel free to share more simple cost saving strategies that have worked for you.



  1. I fully agree on list shopping. But to expand that even further, meal planning and packing!

    Each week, my husband and I plan out each meal plus snacks and make one trip to the store. This helps ensure the veggies we buy actually get eaten. It also means we're less likely to spend money on eating out.

  2. Another idea for not overspending at the grocery store is to make sure you don't shop hungry! I always make sure I've eaten or at least had a snack before I head to the store. Otherwise, I end up throwing in all kinds of extra snacks that sound appetizing at the moment but really aren't needed and add up at the register.