Ellie Kay is a best-selling author, a frequent media guest on Fox News, CNN, and CNBC and a commentator for “Money Matters” radio show.
For her free newsletter and money savings links, go to www.elliekay.com
Room by Room Savings
By Ellie Kay
Financial Columnist and Book Author
CBNMoney.com By wisdom a house is built and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. Proverbs 24:3
When Bob and I first married, we had a cross-stitch plaque on our wall that read: “Blessed are the poor, for they be us.” I remember how we prayed our way through each room in our house, asked God for the items we needed and couldn’t really afford. We stood back and watched how He provided in amazing ways. We’ve come a long way since our modest beginnings, but still love the thrill of saving money and being a good steward of our resources.
One of the reasons the average American family has consumer debt problems is because they live a consumptive lifestyle and this is particularly true at home. Here are some ways to experience the thrill of saving money room by room:
- Coverings – If you still have young children at home, you may want to wait to have your furniture recovered. By purchasing a quality slipcover for $65 instead of buying a new sofa for $850, you save $785. By placing a crocheted doily for $15 on the coffee table to cover scratches made by a speeding Corvette (Hot Wheels size!) you save $115 over buying a new table for $130.
- Quick Cleaning – Spills on carpeting and furniture are best attacked as soon as they happen. It’s a wise idea to keep carpet and upholstery cleaner nearby and be sure your babysitter knows how to use it, too. If the carpet must be professionally cleaned, it will cost about $95 more than using a $10 can of cleaner.
- Consolidate – Magazines that are taking up space could possibly be consolidated or even canceled. Consider sharing a subscription with a friend or relative; the average American subscribes to two to three magazines that they never read. This can save $90 per year.
- Gas Mileage – take out the excess weight in your trunk and have your tire pressure checked on a regular basis to save approximately .05 a gallon in better gas mileage. This saves about $75 per year per car.
- Gas Prices – Go to www.gaspricewatch.com to find the least expensive gas in your neighborhood---or on the route you are taking for a longer trip.
- Insurance – Call your agent and ask for any of the following discounts your state may allow: good driver, drivers ed course, non-smoker, non-drinker, between the ages of 30 and 60, military discounts, car alarms, multiple car discounts, for pleasure only vehicle, or enclosed garage storage. If you took a driver safety course to avoid having a ticket on your record, turn in this certificate and get a discount, too! These additional discounts could save as much as 30% on a typical $1,000 per year annual premium for a total of $300. For competitive prices on healthcare insurance go to www.eHealthinsurance.com
- Young Drivers – Put your old jalopy in your child’s name and make them the principle driver on a vehicle that does not carry full coverage. This could save $400 on a premium that might run as much as $1400 per year. It also gives you a good excuse to not let them drive the BMW!
- Saving Water – don’t put bricks in your toilet tanks to displace water—they could decompose and clog up your pipes. Instead, use a one quart plastic container that will not interfere with the plunger and save as much as $150 per year.
- Linens – Buy the same color towels and linens to save big bucks every year. If you choose white towels, then you won’t have to buy a new set if one is stained or mildewed. The same goes for sheets—choose all white and you will only have to buy a top sheet or a fitted sheet if they are torn or damaged. This can save $55 a year on towels and $85 a year on sheets.
- Repair now, save later – Broken tiles and chipped grout in the bathroom should be fixed immediately in order to minimize water damage to tiles and the wallboard. The average repair of this kind costs $350 compared to a $30 repair for a savings of $320.
- Baby Showers – If you haven’t had your baby shower yet, then take inventory of what you really need for baby—including the sizes of clothing you still need. When the hostess asks you for a list of items you’d like, be sure to include larger sizes in appropriate seasons. I outfitted our daughter for the first two years of life by doing this for a total savings of $800!
- Baby Wipes - Consider making your own to save $140 per year per baby. I did this for all five of our children until they were well into their toddler years. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the recipe!
- Combine Oven Dishes – Select menu items that will cook at the same temperature, rather than heating the oven twice at two different tips. This could save $125 in energy costs.
- Combine Grocery Savings – Use double coupons, in-store coupons, valupage Internet savings (see elliekay.com for more links), clipless store coupons (a store card) and sales to save anywhere from $20 to 60% on your food budget. I saved over $8,000 last year, paying only $250 per month to feed our family of seven !
- Cloth napkins and real plates – It’s cheaper to wash than to buy paper—although it’s less convenient. This tip saves almost $95 per year.
- Check seals on your refrigerator and clean the coils to save $50 per year on energy costs.
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