That all changed when I discovered Kindle. Not only is the device itself great to read on, but the sheer selection of free – that’s right, free – books available has turned me into a bookworm again. You don’t need to spend $100 on a piece of plastic for reading when you can read all the Kindle books on your PC, Android, iPhone and others.
Do It Myself Beauty I had already made small changes in this area. Started browsing the cosmetic aisles at the pharmacy and shopping online instead of going to the big make up counters. For some reason that made me kind of depressed though. It wasn't until I started coloring my own hair that I noticed the big savings and felt in control. $70 every 6 weeks for color is a lot of money. I decided to try it myself and really enjoyed the freedom of being able to browse and choose different colors every time, and the creativity of plotting out my highlights. Since I was having fun with it, I didn't feel as much like i HAD to do it, but that I WANTED to. Although I can no longer relate to the negative feelings I had early on when I had to go on a budget, I do remember them and think that getting in the right mind set is helpful in moving toward a more financially responsible lifestyle.
Store Brand Experimentation Even in my spendy days I never really was a brand snob or terribly materialistic. My boyfriend turned fiance turned husband was (kinda still is!) caught up in all that. So although it's been a slow, creative process to get him to admit that Kroger "Cheerios" are as good in taste and quality as the real Cheerios, this was actually an easy one for me. I mentioned Kroger because of all the grocery stores I have shopped, Kroger consistently has the best tasting generics. My one exception is Miracle Whip. There is no substitution.
Switch to a Credit Union Chase Bank was charging me a small fortune in fees every month. They also had too many rules that made life difficult for me at times when my balance was low. My credit union charges no fees. It reimburses me for the ATM charges I accrue at any bank. And my money is available immediately upon deposit, whereas Chase made me wait for it if I didn't have enough money in my account to cover it. The switch from big bank to credit union saved me money and made my life easier.
With the recent Netflix hike coupled with my husband’s job loss, we haven’t had Netflix in a long, long time—which equates to months in my home. In order to watch movies super cheaply (or even freely), we have devised a few strategies that I think might be helpful to other families trying to save money, such as…
Blockbuster. We used to use Blockbuster by mail before (during our really good financial times a couple of years ago, we used both Blockbuster and Netflix, believe it or not! It sounds stupid now, when you think about it), and you might be familiar with Netflix’s free two-week trial already. Blockbuster, however, gives a full month’s trial, and we have rented over a dozen movies for free this month via my husband’s brand-new account.