Tuesday, January 23, 2018

10 Things That Have Saved Us Money Over the Past Year

I am always looking for ways to save money.  Here are ten ways we have saved money over the past year:

  1. I have a visa card at one of my banks (I have three banks total) that I have used and paid off several time.  They must have missed me because about six months ago I got a letter in the mail from the bank asking if I wanted to do a balance transfer of other credit cards at 0% interest for one year.  I jumped on the offer and transferred balances from three credit cards to this credit card.  I am now paying off this card as quickly as possible and will have it paid off before the year of 0% interest is over.
  2. An InstaPot.  I might be the last person on the planet to buy one of these electric pressure cookers/slow cookers but I absolutely love it.  I got it on sale for half off ($50 my cost) and we have used it many times.  As a pressure cooker it rocks!  The old fashioned pressure cookers that you use on the stove are pretty scary as there is always the possibility of the seal failing and the pot exploding, but these new pressure cookers are very secure.  Now we can pull something out of the freezer like a roast, throw it in the pot, and it will be fully cooked within the hour.
  3. When T Mobile had an offer to add a third line for free, we immediately changed our plan.  The offer was only available for a short time and I've never seen the offer again but it is "forever" so now we have three lines of unlimited service for a flat $100 a month.  We gave the third line to one of the kids which helps him out financially and while there isn't a real financial benefit for us (since we were previously paying $100 for two lines), we still feel like we got a great deal on this.
  4. When the hubby needed new tires for his van we shopped around.  We like Discount Tires since they always provide good deals and great service but the price for four tires was higher than Costco and Walmart so I asked the manager if he could beat the lower sale price I found at Costco.  Not only did they match the Costco price but they gave me a rebate form for an additional $100 visa gift card.  Score!
  5. I've used H & R Block online to do my taxes for years.  Each year in December they send an email that says something like "if you start doing your taxes now we will give you an additional $10 off your tax filing".  So I always start my taxes early (you can complete them and file them any time) and get this discount.  This year, after starting my taxes, it said that due to our financial circumstances (we don't itemize as the standard deduction works for us) filing this year will be free instead of $24.95!
  6. Nearly a year ago I got an application in the mail for an AmEx card.  The deal was that if we spent something like $1000 within three months we would get 60,000 air miles on Delta and the card's fee for the first year was waived.  I took advantage of this deal, used the card to buy groceries and necessities for a few months, paid it off, then used the miles for free airline tickets when we needed to take an emergency trip.  As the annual fee is $95 and we didn't really use the card, I cancelled it before the annual fee came due.
  7. Early last spring we decided to take a cruise.  As usually I searched for last minute cruises and found one for $495 per person for a 15 day cruise (this was more than $2000 off its usual price per person!).  The price was so cheap because it was bought last minute (they want to fill ALL of their cabins) and because it was off-season (between the popular Christmas holidays and spring break vacations).
  8. When I heard last summer that the lifetime National Parks Pass for seniors was going from $10 to $80, I immediately told everyone it that age group that I knew to get a pass.  It pays you back after one use and it is good for the rest of your life!  Hubby already had one of these passes but we had several relatives jump on this offer so again, while we didn't see an actual savings from this, it was good karma for helping out other people.
  9. Samsung recently had a rebate program where if you trade in an older phone you could get a new S8+ phone for $400 off.  I really wanted a new phone as I had a Galaxy S7 phone which worked fine but was really small (my old eye need a bigger screen!).  After checking out what used S7 phones sell for online (around $300 and less) I figured this was a great deal.  I am now the happy owner of a S8+ phone for what I feel was a reasonable price.
  10. Any time I want to get something new, I usually opt for trying to find it at the Goodwill first mostly because I don't know if I will actually use the item much or want to keep it for very long and it would be a waste of money to pay full price then decide I won't use it.  Case in point--cases actually--over the past year I really wanted an air popcorn popper, a waffle maker, and several home decor items.  We found all of these items in great shape and for a fraction of the price of new, at the Goodwill.  As I kind of though, we rarely use the popcorn popper or the waffle maker but at least we didn't spend much for these items.   

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