Home & Leisure

Everyday Cheapskate: Little Ways to Save Big!

Mary Hunt on

The secret to starting a serious savings program is to look for small, painless ways to save, and then repeat them consistently over and over again. Look for hidden savings every place that you spend. It all adds up quickly when you are consistent -- even the nickels and dimes.


Here's a challenge: Get a big jar and set it somewhere in the house where everyone can see it every day.

Now as you save a bit here and a little more there, put that money into the change jar. When you save 15 cents for each gallon of gas you pumped into the car this morning, take the time and effort to really pub those coins or bills into the jar. You "saved" it, so now it's time to really save it.

If everyone participates, you'll be on your way to big savings and money-saving attitudes. Even little ones get excited when they see a big jar begin to fill.

Come up with a plan for how you use the jar of savings. The possibilities are endless, and that's what makes saving so rewarding.


Haircuts ($75) and color ($150) every six weeks were killing Sue Miller, a reader from Texas. Then she approached a woman in line at the store to find out where she got that great haircut. Now Sue goes to the same local beauty college where senior students (under close supervision) give her the latest style and color techniques for a fraction of the cost: $18 for cut, $60 for color. "It's like putting $147 back into my pocket every six weeks," she told me. Interested? Do a quick online search to find a school of cosmetology in your area.



Whether you buy them by the case or by the glass in a restaurant, sodas are becoming outrageously expensive! The change is simple: Convert to water. Think it out for 21 days in a row and you'll have it licked. The money you don't spend on fountain and other sugary drinks will add up big in a year's time. Bonus: Improved health. Sugar and artificial sweeteners are at the least unhealthy and, at the most, toxic.


Life insurance rates have dropped dramatically in the past years. That means you could be overpaying. Ditto for your auto insurance if you are not getting all the discounts to which you are entitled. Spend an hour on the phone getting several quotes on this same coverage you have presently. If you get a lower price, don't cancel what you have. Instead call your current company's agent and present the facts. Ask them to match the lower premiums quote to keep your business. Chances are very good that they'll jump at the chance to keep you as a happy customer.


Every grocery store/supermarket has weekly sales in every department from produce to meat, dairy, bakery and pantry staples, too. And every week, the sales change. So, instead of creating your grocery list out of thin air, plan all your meals (kids' school lunches, too) around what's on sale in the store's current weekly flyer. If you are diligent to stick to sale items only and don't overbuy, you can easily cut your grocery bill by a significant amount.


Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate Inc.




Scott Stantis Daddy's Home Adam Zyglis Barney & Clyde Daddy Daze Arctic Circle