Saving on Necessities

Some of these ideas are rather extreme and will not be necessary for most people... but in extreme debt, give consideration to all suggestions.

Ways to Save on Housing:
1.Move to a smaller house or apartment.
2.Refinance your mortgage.
3.Shop around for the best rate on homeowners or renters (contents) insurance. Make sure you are getting any discounts you may qualify for. (If possible, get auto insurance with the same carrier and get a multi-policy discount.)
4.If you have cable or satellite TV, cancel them. You can do Hulu for free on your computer, or you can do Netflix for considerably less than cable or satellite.
5.If you have both a cell phone and a landline, consider lowering your minute plan on one of them. Consider getting a prepaid cell phone (for as little as $20 every 3 months), and using your landline for all calls and use the prepaid phone only for emergencies.
6.If you are not already getting a bundled deal on your Internet service and phone service (and cable or satellite if it applies), shop around for a bundle package deal.

Auto:

1.Shop around for the best auto insurance rates. If possible, get insurance with the same company as your homeowners or renters (contents) policy.
2.Raise your auto deductible for comprehensive and collision.
3.Run all of your errands in one trip to save on gas.
4.Walk, bike, or ride a bus locally if possible.
5.Sell your car if you owe a lot on it and pay for a car with cash!
6.Get a more fuel efficient car.

Clothing:

1.Shop at thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army)
2.Shop at consignment stores
3.Shop the clearance racks
4.Shop yard sales!

Utilities:

1.Invest in CFL Light Bulbs - they last 10 times longer and use significantly less electricity (estimated savings of up to $60 in electricity per light over their lifetime)
2.Unplug electronics when they are not in use or use a Smart Power Strip
3.Only run full loads of dishes and air dry the dishes
4.Only run full loads of laundry and wash in cold water
5.Wear clothing more than once before washing it!
6.Hang dry clothing (even hang indoors on a Clothes Drying Rack or an Indoor Clotheslineif you can't hang dry outdoors)
7.Set the thermostat lower in the winter and layer clothing (invest in thermal underwear if needed.) Turn down your thermostat when you are away from home, and/or invest in a Programmable Thermostat.
8.Set the thermostat higher in the summer. Open windows or use fans and use the A/C as little as possible.
9.Put a brick in the toilet tanks to use less water when you flush.
10.Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater
11.Bathe or shower less often (yourself or your children or both)
12.Buy a Low Flow Showerhead

Groceries:

1.Make some meals without meat and use beans or nuts for protein.
2.Buy less packaged foods (more expensive and less healthy) and make more from scratch.
3.Buy items in bulk.
4.Buy store brand items (many stores even have a taste guarantee - if you don't like it, you can take it back!)
5.Combine store sales with coupons when you can (see my "Coupon Resources" tab)

Misc.:
1.Make your own household cleaners (see my "Frugal Living Resources" tab)
2.Sell items that you can live without.
3.Buy used items instead of new – shop thrift stores, shop Half.com for used books and video games, Amazon Zshops for used items, eBay (check the seller's feedback), etc.
4. Recycle! It is better for the environment, and can also lower your trash bill! Or if you have the option to, take your trash to the dump instead of paying for your trash to be picked up. (I realize this is not available or cost effective to everyone, but look into it if it is an option and would be feasible for you.)
5. Think about things that you buy that are disposable. Are there reusable alternatives? Can you buy a few cloth napkins instead of buying paper napkins?
Can you use old towels or cheap towels (look in the automotive department at Walmart) instead of paper towels? Can you invest in an electric razor instead of using disposable razors (and you could stop buying shaving cream too!)? Can you use cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers? Could you use cloth wipes instead of disposable baby wipes (you can make your own with cheap flannel or receiving blankets)? Not only are these things that can save you money over time, they are also better for the environment.
6. Learn how to cut your own hair or your spouse's and/or children's hair. Buy some hair shears or a set of hair clippers. You can find tutorials online for learning how to cut hair.