Painless Ways to Save


I'm in my 60s and have always done little things that add to our savings. Neither hubby nor I were ever promoted at work, so our paychecks were on the smaller side. Even so, we paid off the mortgage on our home, paid cash for our car, have no debt, and look forward to retirement next year.


  • Don't consider the dollar amount when making a purchase. Instead, calculate how many hours you will have to work to pay for it.

    For example, when I wanted to wallpaper the house, the estimate PER ROOM was $300 plus the cost of the wallpaper. I get sick when I'm around some adhesives and other chemicals so I thought I couldn't do it myself. Then a friend suggested nailing it to the wall with gold nails that blended with the scrolling around the floral design. The $300 cost was reduced to $10 for nails. Since I earned $10 an hour at that time, my cost was reduced from 30 hours of my paycheck to just 1 hour of my pay.

  • I use coupons when I shop but I take it a little further. Your receipt will tell you how much you saved in coupons. I take that amount and put it in an old popcorn tin. The last time the tin was filled, it was enough to carry us through several months when hubby lost his job. The current tin is earmarked for a retirement cruise.

  • I file the receipts and save the box tops from food and appliances for rebates. Rebates range from $5 to $50 or more, although the largest I've ever collected was $30. Over the course of a year, you can easily collect $150 or more in rebates. Again, if you earn $10 per hour, that money represents at least 15 hours that you didn't have to work.

  • I was raised in an Irish-American working-class family, which means never spending too much on food but serving nourishing meals. Instead of buying ground beef that has ground bone and fat, I buy whatever chuck roast or bottom round roast is on sale. I cube part of it for stew and grind part of it in my food processor. The ground beef tastes much better because no junk has been added to it.

    I do the same with chicken. If whole chicken is on sale, I'll buy several and freeze them. The other day, however, I found 10-pound bags of leg quarters on sale at Save A Lot for 59 cents per pound. Three bags, 30 pounds of chicken, cost less than $18, or less than 2 hours pay for 15 meals.

I'd love to hear what you do to save money.

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March 19, 20150 found this helpful
Top Comment

I love when it's easy to save money. I save every $5 bill I get. Sometimes I receive 3 in one day - I have not missed this money at all. It is in a safe place and I use it to take grandkids to exciting places like Wolf Lodge. I am now saving for Disney World. It is so easy... and I can barely spend a $5 now-days - gotta save it!

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March 19, 20151 found this helpful
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When I was working, I always figured out how long did I have to work (counting taxes, etc.) to pay for something. I was always at the lower end of the salary range so it wasn't hard to figure out what was really important to me and what wasn't.

As an example, Starbucks never really did anything for me, but friends liked to "treat" themselves. When I figured out how long I had to work (at a hard job) to pay for one of those drinks, it really moved it out of my radar, especially when they "had" to make a side trip to pick it up... gas too?

Nothing was that good as far as I could see and for that I could save time and make my own at home just as easily, relax while drinking it, and spend my hard earned money on something I really enjoyed. Manicures and pedicures, came under the same criteria and I enjoy doing my own nails more than having someone do them for me.

I have never felt deprived and enjoy a rich, full life. Now my husband I, as retirees follow the same pattern, and everyone thinks we are rich (not by a long shot) but see us enjoying what is really meaningful to us and having a wonderful time.

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November 2, 20163 found this helpful

I am recovering from being homeless for over 2 years. (real estate scam took my home- lost a lot). I now live in a 29' fifth wheel, a 1988 Fireball that was given to me for the cost of storage. Needs lots of work, but so do I (hee hee). When finished, it'll be MINE inside and out. I save money by scouring the sales since my brother (I live on his mobile home lot) and I receive less than $200/month in food stamps. I watch for case lot sales in stores, and get what I need. I shop at the Salvation Army "bag sales" (whatever you can fit in a plastic grocery bag, the whole thing is $5) for clothes. I give my cats general vaccinations for $5.99 each from the feed store, and get them to rabies clinics for $18/3yr. I've signed up to get my intact cats spayed/neutered at low-cost clinics and buy them the food they need. Twice a month, I go to a local food bank to help stretch the food dollars a little further. By the end of next year, I hope to have this trailer redone and road-worthy, (registered and insured, too) as well as fix up a one-ton truck given to me by my brother to tow it. It's tough getting back on your feet, but by stretching every penny, I'm confident I can pay off my debts and be independent in as little as two to three years.

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November 7, 20180 found this helpful

Good for you I also was homeless for a year lost everything so I know what you are though.Good luck

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March 20, 20151 found this helpful
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At the end of each day, I remove every $1.00 bill from my wallet and put it away. I bundle them into piles of $10 each and it's amounted to several hundred dollars over a couple of years now.

It adds up pretty quickly because every day I have to break at least a $5 bill, and automatically have at least $4 to add to my stash. It really seems painless to me, and way easier than saving bunches of coins and having to roll them up.

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March 22, 20150 found this helpful
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My husband and I are also on the lower end of the income totem pole, and are now nearing retirement age. Add to that the fact that for about the last 1 1/2 years I have been battling some health issues, and we had to make some drastic changes to stay afloat financially. Our money saving issues mostly revolve around spending less.

We don't have a home phone anymore and don't miss it. We'd had the same number for 40 years and it took me a while to realize that the only reasons I wasn't cancelling the home number were that I didn't want to let go of my number and also that I had a habit of finding my cell phone by calling it with the house phone. Silly - let go. It saved me at least $40 per month.

We don't have cable TV. We now have a roku that our kids gave us for Christmas, and it kind of piggy backs one of their Netflix accounts, so we pay nothing.

We are on our son's cell phone account, and only use phone, not internet, so we don't have smart phones, costing much less per month than expensive phones and paying for internet for the phones. Only $60/month, saving me at least $100.

I now have internet at home as I needed it for some business transactions, but until recently I just went to the library and used their computers. More savings.

I had my insurance policies reviewed and consolidated. My home owners and my car insurance are with the same company now and saves me a bundle, although I am not really sure how much off hand. It is the only bill I have taken from my bank account automatically each month because I receive another discount for doing this.

We eat at home as much as possible, and we cook together more than we ever did before. Of course, we no longer have any children at home, so I realize this is easier for us than the young "on the go" family.

This may seem kind of extreme, but I hate paying for cat litter. (Did you know they mine for that stuff?) I tear up sales papers (not the glossy kind) and even envelopes and have an ongoing stash that I change often. I pocket $6-$12 a month and keep that much more stuff from going to the landfill.

I have 3 daughters and a daughter-in-law, and they all know I will take their old purses. Why do I care if its last years style? Most of us get tired of purses, and get rid of them for that reason, not because they are really not usable anymore. I get a lot more use from them after the girls are done with them, and its actually fun to see how I can match them to the season, etc.

I love to reduce, reuse and recycle. I get as much enjoyment from others benefiting from something I can give or do for them as I do from benefiting from them. I have had to go on disability, but I try to help others as much as I possibly can, as this always helps me as much as it does the recipient.

There are so many ways to be happy and content that we have forgotten in our fast paced world. My husband and I are actually happier and closer as we work together and have remembered what is necessary and what is not.

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March 19, 20150 found this helpful

You are in an inspiration, Diane. Thanks most kindly for your insights and advice!

You asked readers to share money saving ideas? Buying a deep freeze is one such and allows me to take advantage of things on sale as well as good prices on produce / vegetables when they're in season (as opposed to paying higher prices in the cold months). Double bagging and using freezer paper minimize freezer burn.

Several of my credit cards proffer 'points' and even cash rebates for purchases made. For instance, if I use my MBNA card, they'll send me a cheque for $50 about every three months. I also use a President's Choice Mastercard and at the end of the year the accumulated points / dollars pay for our Christmas feast. Naturally, paying off the credit cards each month is crucial!

Kudos to the fine folk at Thrifty Fun for enabling this forum and allowing us to share money-saving ideas.

Rose Anne

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March 23, 20151 found this helpful

My husband and I do not eat out very often but when we do, we will sometimes share a meal. This not only saves us money but it also saves us calories. We drink water with our meal, it is MUCH healthier and saves us a minimum of $1.50 each.

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April 11, 20151 found this helpful

When ever food is low and I am on a broke income. I will shop the dollar tree or deals freezer section. $70 will feed me over a month. I cut my cable for 6 months and bought a net gear box for netflix. The cable is on now for Tyler Perry shows to come on. When they end I will go back to just netflix.

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August 15, 20151 found this helpful

I also do the save-the-5s thing. It stacks up faster than saving the ones anyway. I paid for a shower door with 5 dollar bills and a couch. Lol, I'm sure the people at the store don't like it, but hey! I'm currently saving for a new dehumidifier, but that shouldn't take lone

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November 8, 20160 found this helpful

I save by not spending certain one dollar bills. Single dollars have a letter on them A through M. Choose a letter or two and don't spend them when you receive them for change. When we get a B or C they are put away for our seasonal fee for our trailer at the lake, Bunganut Camping. My husband caught on and saves them too.

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