One of the first things you'll find on almost every list of ways to save money is to make your own coffee instead of swinging by the coffee shop. It's good advice. A pound of good coffee beans can cost $10 and can make dozens of cups of coffee. Two or three take-out cups of coffee can also cost $10.
But once you've started making your own coffee and put in place many common money saving tips, how can you save even more money? Here's some ways you may not have thought of.
1. Porch or deck sit with friends. Instead of heading out to the bar for happy hour, have friends bring an inexpensive bottle of wine or some beer, raid your pantry to put together snacks, and have happy hour on your porch or deck.
2. Re-evaluate your insurance twice a year. Call several agencies for estimates on home and auto insurance every half year or so. It will cost you nothing to change insurance companies if you find a better rate.
3. Get rid of our own recyclables. Instead of putting your recyclables out at the curb if their collection is included with your property taxes, take them to a recycling center. In some cities, you can get paid for them.
4. Don't take a cart at the store. If you're only going in for an item or two, skip the shopping cart. You won't be tempted to pick up unplanned items because you won't be able to carry them.
5. Ignore food expiration dates. Even the USDA encourages ignoring the use-by dates on some foods. If you do, you won't throw away food you paid for. Use-by, sell-by and best-by dates are arbitrary, and most shelf stable foods are good long past those dates. Even fresh foods often last a few days past the dates stamped on them. Your eyes and nose will tell you if fresh food has spoiled.
6. Give your lawn service every other week off — even if you are the lawn-mowing service. Mow your lawn twice a month instead of weekly. Not only will you save money, but you'll also help honeybees because flowers that are beneficial to pollinators like clover or dandelions will have a chance to grow.
7. Groupon a dentist. If you don't have dental insurance, getting a full cleaning and a checkup with a dentist can be expensive. Find a deal on Groupon or another group discount site, but be ready for the up-sell. As the technician is cleaning your teeth, you may be asked if you want something like whitening services while your'e there. Be firm and stick to your original plan.
8. Learn how to program your thermostat. You turn off lights and run around the house like your father yelling, "Who left his door open? I'm not heating the whole neighborhood!" But, if your heat or air run constantly because you haven't figured out how to program your thermostat, you're not doing your utility bill any favors. Pull out the manual (or find it online) and program that thing — finally.
9. Start a Friends Savings Club. Choose friends who you trust and who are dependable. Together, decide how the equal amount you'll each contribute every week, and how much you need to save before everyone gets a payout. If you have six people in your savings club, you'll meet weekly and each contribute an equal amount. When you've reached the goal, each person gets an equal share of the money (which is the same amount they put it). Sure, you could save that money all by yourself, but this type of club makes you accountable to others, and that helps ensure you really do save the money.
10. Save your coupon money. If you use coupons for groceries, instead of simply looking at your cash register receipt and being pleased with the amount you saved, take that same amount of money and put it away to save for vacation or holidays or some other goal.
11. Always, always, always search for a coupon code when ordering something online, whether it's a pizza or furniture. From a simple flat percentage off to free shipping, you can often find coupon codes that will save you a lot of money.
12. Join the club of your favorite movie theaters. Some are free and you'll get discounts on snacks or avoid the service charge when ordering tickets online. Others cost a little money, but they can save you much more than the fee. Cinemark's Movie Club is $8.99, and for that fee you get one 2D ticket plus you can add on additional tickets for $8.99, 20 percent off all concessions, no online service fees when buying tickets, and accumulate points that can be redeemed for money off or free concession items.
13. Check the PSI on your tires every few weeks. Keeping your tires properly inflated will make your gas go further because you aren't creating drag that makes your car work harder. It will also prolong the life of the tires, and you won't need to change them as often. Many gas stations now have digital tire pumps that you can program to stop when you've inflated your tires to a certain PSI.
14. Cancel all your catalogs and unsubscribe to all your retail emails. Get rid of the temptation to buy something by getting rid of the catalogs and emails that let you know there's something you might want.
15. Finally ditch your landline. You may have already thought of this one, but have you actually done it? If not, now's the time. If everyone in your home has a mobile phone, who's really calling your landline? Marketers? Political poll takers? Cancel your landline and stop paying that bill every month.