Save $2,000 or more this year. Maybe.

By Stew


I do not normally like to steal other people’s ideas, but I thought I would offer some responses to a recent article that I saw in a magazine. No, not online, an actually paper-and-ink glossy magazine that someone gave my wife and she had it sitting around the house. I do a lot of personal finance reading and naturally a title like “Save $2,010 in 2010!” would catch my eye. The article appeared in the January 2010 issue of Woman’s Day.

Here are the suggestions from the article and my peanut-gallery comments:

  1. Reduce kitchen paper. WD suggests using fewer paper towels and switching to cloth napkins. Spending money on disposable paper is a major annoyance of mine, but I have not found too many ways to reduce kitchen paper usage other than trying to use half of a paper towel when possible. Cloth napkins? That might be a good idea. Following WD’s instruction will save you $83 over the course of a year.
  2. Unhook the cable. If you currently subscribe to cable, this could be a huge savings – $600 +
  3. Use rechargeable batteries. We do not use a ton of batteries, our digital camera is pretty much the only place where we use rechargeable batteries. You could save up to $24 this way, but I am not sure if that savings will come in the first year, unless you use a lot of batteries.
  4. Cut childcare costs. WD suggests opening a dependent-care flexible spending account. Not every company offers such an account and you would need to be in at least the 28% tax bracket in order to realize much savings. Should you qualify on all accounts, you can save as much as $900. We save childcare costs by having a stay at home mom and “trading” babysitting whenever possible.
  5. Drop the landline. Many families are moving to all mobile phones or online services such as Skype in order to save the expense of a landline. WD puts the savings at $300. We have not had a landline since 2001.
  6. Sell the gold. My kids see the “sell old gold” commercials on television all the time. They are convinced that we are going to get rich this way. The problem is that we do not have any old gold. WD suggests that if you do have gold to sell, take it to a jeweler, do not mail it in. I think this is sound advice. At the same time, I doubt that I will be making $200 anytime soon. Have any of you sold scrap gold for money?
  7. Chop and grate. Stop purchasing vegetables, fruit and cheese that is already sliced, diced, pealed or grated. I do not know a whole lot about grocery prices, but WD estimates yearly savings of $260 using this technique. Is that accurate? It is worth it, if that is an accurate number.
  8. Cancel the gym. Gyms can be one of the biggest money pits around. Some gym membership contracts are harder to get out of than an arms treaty. Cancel it and find a way to work out for free and you could save as much as $420 a year.
  9. Reduce dry cleaning. We have little need for dry cleaning. I used to have to wear a suit and tie to work every day, so this cost was high. My current job . . . well, let’s just say that I wore a polo shirt and shorts recently and one of my coworkers asked why I was dressed up. No more drycleaning, annual savings: $120.
  10. Think before you print. Ink cartridges are a killer on the wallet. Do everything you can to reduce the amount of printing – both black and white and color – that you can. We usually only have to replace our cartridges once a year, but it still costs close to $75. WD estimates that you could save $120 annually.

This list did not save me $2,010 this year, but if you are new to frugal living, you might find lots of areas on this list to reduce your spending. You and I can always make do with less. Believe me, we can.

Article by Stew

Photo by Seth Tisue

7 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Save $2,000 or more this year. Maybe.”

  1. Christine Says:

    I stopped buying napkins about a year and a half ago. We use cloth or paper that is leftover from when we eat out. I asked around my circle of friends, and was given a bunch for free, and I bought a 6 pack with a table cloth for $3 at a yard sale. I don’t anticipate needing more cloth napkins for many years.
    As far as paper towels, I keep a stack of old hand towels and use them most of the time. I do still buy paper ones because the rest of my family complained, but a pack of 8 (for about $8) will last us the year at least.
    I did the math and $2000 in 2010 is about $5.50 a day. You could save at least that much brown bagging instead of eating out for lunch (although I know you’re trying to do that as well.)

  2. Financial Samurai Says:

    Cancel the gym membership is a good one. Too bad i’m addicted to tennis, and it’s winter time and I MUST play indoors! :)

  3. frugalscholar Says:

    AS you suggest, the problem with lists like this is that they overstate the savings. The only thing relevant to me would be dropping my land line. However, we use pay-as-you go cell phones and so have extremely low cell expenses. So I could save maybe $300.00, but then would need a more expensive cell plan!

  4. Nicole Says:

    We use cloth napkins and towels for all of our clean up needs. You can even purchase a bunch of like 4 towels at the dollar tree so if you need to throw them away it’s not the end of the world. We also got rid of our throw away mop heads/pads and use only homemade chemicals (except for detergents for clothing and dishes) and we save A BUNDLE. It takes some getting used to, but after all the money we’ve saved it’s worth every step. I only buy one roll of papertowels about every other month for those ewwww messes. :)

    One other way that saves us money every year is I knit new hats and scarves for the kids so then that way we always have sets that fit and usually I can make a couple sets for less than one set would cost us at a big store.

  5. FinanciallySmart Says:

    Using cloth napkins is much cheaper and more economical but most persons who doesn’t have a washing machine etc stay away from them because of the washing. Thank you for your article another way to encourage others to save more. Season Greetings to you and your family.