How Do You Save Money When There Is No Money to Save?

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

How Do You Save Money When There is No Money to Save?

That is the question for most Americans.  We stretch ourselves as far as possible and oftentimes it is amazing we don’t break.  Here are a few tips to consider:

Take a good look at your bills.  Is there anything that can be eliminated?  For example, do you have a land line and a cell phone but you only use one?  How about cable television premier channels? Are paying a fair amount for the quality and quantity of what you are viewing?  If not, consider the channels you truly watch and call your provider.  Notice the price differential to switch to a lesser package and see if they have any “bundling” specials. Some providers have a variety of services you could consider thereby giving you a greater discount on the entire package.  For example, your cable provider may also provide internet access.  If your household can afford both, they may give you a greater discount for utilizing one vendor. We recently called a vendor to drop their services and they gave us a huge discount just to remain a customer.  It was a win/win for both our family’s budget and the provider.

How would you like to save money on your power bill?  Many of us do not realize how just a few dollars and a little elbow grease will result in lower bills and more money in your pocket.  Have you considered planting trees around the sunnier side of your home?  The shade trees keep your home cooler in the summer and add protection from the elements in the winter.  Baseboards, windows, doors, electrical outlets and light switches can allow air to escape thereby causing higher energy bills.  Older wooden windows are especially prone to leakage. Sealing and insulating your home can save you 20% or more, depending on the severity of the leakage. There are many internet sites that can provide instructions on how to seal leaks yourself or you can attend a Warren County Cooperative Extension Energy Conservation class this summer.  Call our office for details.

Have you noticed packages of food getting smaller and smaller?  Food manufacturers have become creative in saving dollars this year.  Cereal that formerly came in 20 ounce boxes are now packaged in 16.7 ounce boxes. To avoid the higher costs and smaller packages, one option for consumers is to buy in bulk or larger quantities.  Many Wal-marts have larger quantity options or you could consider joining a Costco or Sam’s Club.  The annual fee may be worth the price if you have a large family.  If this fee for the warehouse club isn’t for you, the next time you go to the grocery store pay special attention to the price per ounce details.  My twelve year old was amazed at the difference in price per ounce in olives and quickly recognized it was 25% more cost effective to purchase the larger option.  Also recognize the amount of food your family is eating at home versus the amount eaten at restaurants or fast food establishments.  The bottom line is that eating out typically costs more if you are not eating from the “value menu”. Our family orders exclusively from the value menu or we consider ordering an entrée and sharing.  For beverages, water is our favorite free option.  ###

Rachel Harris Monteverdi is a Family & Consumer Sciences Agent for North Carolina Cooperative Extension, a division of North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University.  The Family & Consumer Sciences department incorporates prenatal to end-of-life programs.  Priorities for North Carolina citizens include:  Family & Parenting Education; Balancing Work & Family Workshops; Academic Success; Elder Care; Active Aging; Planning for the Future; Home Ownership & Housing Issues; Conservation & Environmental Issues; Leadership; Emergency Management and more.  Call 252-257-3640, email or visit for more information.