My Money Saving Tips

Last Updated: March 2019

I thought it would be helpful to show a list of ideas that I have found that I use to save money. Some of these things are simple, and some are more complicated. Everything I post is something I have done, or am currently doing, so please feel free to ask me any questions.  I am an engineer, so everything I do is fairly heavily researched.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions you think I should add to the list.  If I try them, or at least research them, I will add them to the list.  We are all in this together!

When I do update these suggestions, it’s updating the costs as I know them.  In March of this year, I noticed how much cable costs in my area, and I was stunned at what the local monopoly charges.  I hear that 5G modems for the home will be the first 5G devices sold, and they will compete with the local ISP for Internet service.  I hope that is true, and that the competition benefits us consumers.

  • Cable / Internet
    • Cutting the Cable Cord
      • ~ $150 / month
    • Purchased my own internet modem
      • $15 / month
    • Free anti-virus from your ISP
      • All of the ISPs in the US that I have checked, all in the NY area at least do offer this.  Check yours with a simple search for “free antivirus <and your ISP name>”
      • Varies but $25 a year
  • Home Related
    • Choosing my own Electric supplier
      • Varies by deal but usually 1-4 cents per KWH below local utility standard rates
      • I have done this in NY and Connecticut for a combined 15 years.
    • Not paying for services I can do myself
      • mowing, snow removal, electrical outlet repair, basic car maintenance
      • Varies, but significant for some of them. Labor costs are crazy in my area!
    • Adding Air Source heat pumps to my home
      • This was not cheap.  We plan on staying in our home for at least 10 years if all goes well, hopefully longer. We have oil to heat our home as natural gas is not available in our area.  Air source heat pumps were a better deal for us over ground source heat pumps to supply heating and cooling.  We have saved 300 to 600 gallons of oil per year for the last 3 years, so at $2.50 to $4 per gallon for oil these past few winters, we can expect them to pay for themselves in oil savings in spite of our added electric costs in about 10 years. They supply heat best above 40F, so when it’s close to or above that, we use the heat pumps.  The higher the cost of oil that year, the lower the cost effective point for the heat pumps. This is something I monitor closely. The warmer your climate, the better the idea of a heat pump, air source or ground source.
      • > than $750 a year
    • Warehouse Club – CostCo Membership
      • Diapers, wow have we saved a ton buying diapers from them.  They are the only wearhouse club in our area, so we picked them.  I had good luck with others when I lived in other places.
      • a lot…
    • Second freezer
      • If you are able to buy one, then the savings in buying in bulk does pay for the extra electricity and cost of the unit. Be careful of lost food due to freezer burn.  We have had to learn to be careful about that the hard way.
      • Varies but > $10 – $20 a month
    • Add insulation and seal leaks in your home
      • This government site has a ton of suggestions, and they are tuned for your area.  I added fiberglass insulation to my attic, since my home is more than 30 years old, and the recommendations have increased in that time.  The insulation is cheap, and it’s easy to install yourself.  I do recommend breathing and skin protection.  It’s hot, unpleasant work, but you only have to do it once.  Sealing leaks and air gaps while I did it was also easy as there are many products.  I should add that there are many options other than the old standard fiberglass, but regardless you will notice the savings in hot or cold environments as heating and cooling costs go down when you add insulation. It made the house feel warmer.
      • Varies year to year but my payback was likely the first year as I only spent like $200 for the insulation, gap filler spray, and protective gear.