One of the fastest and most effective ways to make extra money is by simply selling your old possessions that you don’t need or use anymore. If you have extra space in your home, yard, storage area, parking lot, or any other space you own you could easily rent the extra room to others in need.
After my post a couple weeks ago about how we paid off our house, I got lots of questions about how we budgeted and what we did to stretttttch a dolla, so I came up with this little list of a few ways we’ve found to save. Just a warning: I was browsing our old family photos today and getting sentimental and weepy, soooo this post gets lots of pictures of my kiddos.
Andy was a teacher during the time we were intensely paying down debt, and on the first day of his summer vacation one year, he managed to save us $500 per year just by making a few phone calls. He used the Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) program through Dave Ramsey (which is free!) to compare our car and home insurance rates, and found that in just the couple of years it had been since we bought that insurance, rates had changed and by comparing rates with different companies through our ELP, we saved several hundred dollars per year. We paid cash with our change jar: We saved in advance for our vacations so the expenses never followed us home and lingered long after our tan lines faded. We buy in bulk: If the economy crashes and food is scarce, my family could probably live for months on just the food I have in my chest freezer. Coupon databases: For those grocery or food items that we eat regularly, I search coupon databases like this one. Solar panels: I need to do a post on this, but we actually have solar panels on our roof which supplement our energy usage. Don’t forget to get in touch with your local ELP to see if you can knock some costs off your insurance! This post was sponsored by Dave Ramsey’s ELP program, but all opinions are my own, as always! Agree with Dave’s ELP program, we called about our insurance and knocked $400 off our homeowners per year for the same coverage! I just made my first batch last month using this recipe (it’s more trial size), and so far I love it! But I might be in the minority as I’m in a SINK household (as opposed to DINK) and couponing never worked for me. I usually try to look at our reoccurring expenses and see how to streamline them the most to keep things enjoyable but save money when we can. Some of your tips don’t apply here (health insurance, for instance) but a lot of them do ! I plan my menus a week in advance, make a list of what I need according to my menus and STICK TO THE LIST ! Also I cook most of what we eat : it is cheaper AND safer (no palm oil, no food preservatives, less fat, salt or sugar in home made food).
Yep, we hired a company, and then as part of the price negotiations, we did some of the install part ourselves.
Easy Ways to Live Greener An eco-friendly lifestyle doesn t need be difficult or expensive food granola ever. Easy Ways To Make Money OnlineFreelance writing: Freelance writing is something that many people who know how to write a proper sentence have turned to. He threw away or donated all of his mismatched, holey, stretched-out socks and bought a new set of socks that were all the same brand and style so the sock-matching process is quick and easy. Ever since I wrote the post about how we paid off our mortgage, I’ve gotten lots of questions about the nitty-gritty of budgeting.
My geeky little husband made an elaborate spreadsheet that showed our mortgage amount month-to-month, and you could play with it by seeing how quickly you paid it off if you added an extra $100 to the payment each month, or an extra $200 once… it was totally motivating! Maybe you need to stick a paper thermometer to your fridge like the old telethons used to see how far you’ve gone, or some other visual way to track your progress. Did you still get each other birthday and Christmas gifts or was it more like…happy birthday, here’s your new couch, rug, amazing entry table, etc? Yes, a little bit, but both of us are more into the idea of doing things together than getting gifts. If you ended up with an extra $15 (or any dollar amount) at the end of the month did you automatically agree to throw it at the mortgage or did you pick and choose when?
Every dollar was attached to a category, so if there was extra money, we knew we’d underspent on groceries or entertainment, so we rewarded ourselves by just spending it!
I’m a big fan of the debt snowball method, where you pay off all your debts from smallest to largest. Thank you ever so much for sharing these wonderful tips and pointing the lost (me) in the right direction. I always love reading about how other people manage budgets (particularly when they do them well) but then you go and throw in a giveaway to win money and I’m a goner! We are not doing the Dave Ramsey class but have followed him a little while paying off our debt.
First off, thank you so much for inspiring others by just being real: about yourself, your faith, your values, and your awesome sense of decor & creating beautiful things! We used the miscellaneous category for gifts, and we actually never spent anything on toiletries because we were doing some extreme couponing at the drug stores and you can get all that stuff for free.
Oh, also, since I currently work as a sub for the school district, I don’t get paid a regular amount.
I was so excited when I opened up your blog this morning and I saw that you were talking about Dave Ramsey!! Even those lucky enough to have some sort of employment, however, may not be earning enough to follow through on their goals or sometimes even get by comfortably. You can clean out your attic or garage and organize a yard sale or, if you find several more valuable pieces, you can even sell them online. This is one of the best ways of making continuous money without having to input much labor or time – you simply work to find someone to rent from you and then sit back and watch the rent payments roll in, doing maintenance work every now and then when needed.
We were living on an all-cash budget, and when we paid for anything anywhere, we paid in dollar bills – never change. We like to eat the local food when we’re on vacation, but in airports and on road trips, we dined in style ala Jiffy and strawberry jam. We bought the freezer from a yard sale for about $50, and it has more than paid for itself by allowing me to buy in bulk when food is on sale. When a deal comes up, I can tell immediately whether it’s worth buying in large quantities or not. You can search for a certain brand or product and often just print the coupons directly from your computer. This is a hard one for me because I LOVE a good deal, but I try to ask myself: would I buy this if it was full price? For impulse or unplanned purchases, we like to wait a while to see if we still want the thing, like a month or so. We estimate it’ll take us about five years to recoup that initial investment, and as an added bonus, if the power ever goes out, the solar panels provide enough energy to power our refrigerator and outdoor chest freezer and a few other essentials. BONUS: If your spouse is really into the idea of weather-proofing, it’s the perfect way to convince him you need to make new lined curtains!
When I first started feeding Weston solid foods, I spent HOURS in the kitchen pureeing all my own baby food. It’s pretty easy to find gift cards to restaurants on ebay, so we like to stock up on our favorites.
We drink water one hundred percent of the time, unless we’re on a date and ordering drinks.
Andy is basically a genius-of-all-trades and he can figure out just about anything, but even before I knew him, I learned how to change my own oil and brake pads so I wouldn’t have to pay someone else.


I would say 2x a year you can call companies you regularly make payments to, and ask for a lower rate.
It is amazing how little money you spend when you decide to never have fun or do anything, ever. I always try to love every new idea for at least 15 minutes and decided I was going to love couponing a couple of years ago.
I have researched that to death and I was excited to get them to also have extra power for things in case the grid goes down, but what I discovered is that to get all the incentive programs here in CA you have to be hooked up to the power grid to sell back your solar in a give and take system. I get basically how people do it, it just seems like so much work with collecting all the same coupons and planning the whole shopping trip out based on what’s on sale. For a long time my hubby and I thought we were the only people in the world who knew who Dave Ramsey was and what a financial makeover is. Unless we get soap for free with purchase of the toilet paper we were gonna buy anyways (not sure why HEB pairs those but the frequently do), I make ours. I’m relatively new to couponing and we almost always save at least as much as we pay but getting things for pennies or free is the part that Im struggling to figure out how to do and I just KNOW if it were explained in the VATW way, i’d totally get it!
You inspired me to get our finances in order and I thoroughly enjoy poking around your site and following you on Instagram. You say a lot that you went to a cash policy, but how do you reconcile online purchases (like your Ebay post) and spending cash? I try it and always forget or get really annoyed and tell myself my time is worth more than those few $. Yeah it sounds like forever-breastfeeding, but it’s really just about how you introduce solids. We just recently started using them because Kroger sends us awesome ones in the mail, but other than that I have 0% of an idea how to use coupons.
Officially addicted now just wanted to say I would definitely read a couponing tips article if you wrote one!
I am a French reader who just discovered your blog (via Pinterest), and I looooooooove it !! The company we used ended up being pretty awful, but we’re really happy with our panels. I always think I’m a frugal person, and then I read a list like this and it gives me so many more ideas for saving! Most of the times you can find jobs at content mills that do not require you to be and English major or anything.
We basically paid ourselves first, and used what was left after that for the other categories. It took us about 3 months of trial and error to settle on the right amounts for each category. But if you keep getting back up, you’ll be spending $20 to replace all your socks before you know it.
When it came to Christmas, we each had a small budget to spend on the other one, and it was a challenge to see who could stretch their budget the furthest.
I had a smart phone through my job, but Andy didn’t get one until very recently when he started needing it for his job.
We had some student loans that we paid off before we bought our house, so we knocked those out first. Dave Ramsey has trusted professionals to help you start planning for retirement, maximizing your savings for the kids’ college fund, and buying a home you love and can afford.
I too, purchased a blue leather purse (great minds think alike) two years ago and still love, love, love it! It’s so fun to be able to go out to eat much more often now, and not have things be SO DANG TIGHT all the time. We try not to eat all the processed stuff and we buy all the dirty dozen fruits & veggies organic. I always love the behind-the-scenes type posts about your real (non-blog) life:) My husband also just splurged on new socks and undershirts (but only when he saw 40% off)!
We are currently on baby step 5, however…we have no kids yet to save up for college for, so we are thinking of doing a switcharoo and working on the house until we have a future college kid to start saving for! Your splurge is so precious (hehe!) You always inspire me to do a little extra thinking about our budget and how we can be a little better with our $$! We will pay $300 on one last medical bill this month and $138.17 next month and then we will be debt free except our student loans!
Does the grocery shopper get the grocery money, the mortgage payer get the mortgage money, etc.
Look at the clutter throughout your home and seriously think about what you need and actually use versus what you’ve kept out of laziness or obligation.
You can also rent out open spaces on your home, on your car, or on your clothes to companies looking to advertise their company or products.
This required no lifestyle change at all, just a couple hours to make a phone call and get in touch with an ELP.
I am not exaggerating when I tell you that we went for several years in a row without spending a single red cent on toothpaste, shampoo, etc., because we got it all for free with coupons. Right now I have about 10 whole organic chickens in my freezer because there was a special at the store… and no good ideas for what to do with them.
Last week I bought a large enough supply of toilet paper to last us through the entire apocalypse, or to completely toilet paper our whole neighborhood, which would be an inappropriate use of those resources. I feel like all the starving children of the world are shaking their fingers at us, and rightly so. When we have a big purchase coming up, like an appliance goes bad or something, we basically read the entire internet. Often we find it was just a temporary want and not a need, and we end up being glad we didn’t buy. I wrote a whole post on everything you need to know about how to cloth diaper, how much it costs, how to wash them, etc. Then I learned about baby-led weaning and realized I could (mostly) just feed him whatever we were eating. I’ve gotten so used to drinking water with all my meals that it feels odd now to drink something with flavor.
Now that I have Andy, I’ve forgotten how to do anything and am basically a helpless damsel in distress who depends on him, but you know. Ok, exaggerating, but you get the idea We already do a lot of these, and I’m excited to add a few more to our money-saving ways. I tried it for a little while (managed to get about 20 cans of diced tomatoes for 13 cents each, then donated most of them to the food pantry), but I still don’t know how anyone gets things for free! Dishwasher detergent, on the other hand, well, it could be our hard, hard water, but I failed miserably multiple times and we are back to buying-name brand no less because it’s all we can seem to get to work! A little expensive to get started (we spent $175 to jump-start a 8’x4′) but SOOOOO worth it! I had to smile because I totally felt intimidated by the thought of making homemade laundry soap. By making that adjustment alone I figure I am saving roughly $200 a year and it is way less crowded than all of our super cute coffee shops.
I know where to get and print the coupons from but I don’t know much about stacking them or scoring items for free with them.
I feel like everything changed between when I had my two kids (2 years apart) so I know that 10 year gap must’ve been crazy!


I want to buy half a grass-fed cow and have someone else butcher it for me and then never buy beef again. Since 99% of the shows we watch are available online we decided to save that $80+ each month. Content mills are not somewhere where you will want to work at forever but they are a place to build your internet resume.
Since we’d already defined our goals, we knew what was not important to us and we allocated less money to those categories. If I had $100 to spend on him, I would go to ebay and spend it all on a gift card for somewhere like sears or home depot and get a gift card to those stores for ~$115, then combine that with a coupon and a really good sale to buy him a tool or electronics item that originally cost around $175.
One year we watched cruise prices for six months in advance and got a four-night cruise for about $300 total. We’d split an entree at a restaurant (and still always feel full!) and drink water when we were out. We used a digital antenna and online streaming for tv shows and movies, and never had a gym membership.
It makes the whole process seem more attainable because you just go one step at a time, and eventually you’ll eat the whole elephant.
We have had our house paid off for 8 years now but yet we changed our lifestyle so much to get out of debt that it still shocks me that I can pay cash for a splurge.
We were couponing really hard during that time, like extreme couponing, and it was very, very tight. I think my boyfriend would do the same thing haha If I won the $30,000, I’d pay off my car and credit cards and put the remainder of the money towards our mortgage! This may not work for some but it gives me peace of mind that I’m not carrying so much cash around and I can still use an envelope system. There was no extra room in that budget at all, and we did it with a lot of extreme couponing. We split all our extra money between paying off the mortgage and fixing up the house, but I know that might not work for some people. We are taking a nice vacation (already saved and paid for except for gas), getting our dog fixed, saving to replace my husband’s truck with one that has a backseat (in the final stages now to foster-to-adopt), re budgeting a few things, and then we will get back to those pesky student loans! Usually I was the grocery shopper, so I took the majority of the grocery money and left Andy a little bit just in case he had to eat out without me or something, but that’s the general idea.
If you have updated any of your electronics lately, why not sell your older version to get back some of your investment? Some people have even gone as far as to rent the space on their foreheads or abdomens for temporary tattoos from companies looking to make bold advertising statements.
We like to calculate how much energy each thing will save and how long it will take to break even on the intial expense, and of course what I mean by that is that Andy likes to calculate it and I am happy to have no part in that process.
To be honest I’m hoping to sell our house, pay it all off [and then not buy another house]. And thank you for this post in particular… there are some tips on here that we are not already using! Why, in my day (as in a decade ago when I was having round one of kids) child led weaning just meant you nursed your seven year old if wanted you to. It’s kind of pathetic, and Don’t ever let your kids see you do this cause they just laugh and tease you about it for the rest of your life! But we kept with it and corrected as we went, and eventually we got the categories and the amounts right.
Other times we’d save up my hotel points from work and drive to Savannah, Georgia, or go visit friends in another state. I lived on nothing, had several side jobs tutoring and doing freelance web work — I was able to pay my debts off in about 3 years (ended up paying something like $15k total back omg), and the snowball was definitely the answer — we always need small wins, fast Thank you for spreading the word!! It’s crazy to think that we’ll have everything paid off (except the house) before 30! We went several years in a row without spending a single cent on toiletries like shampoo, toothpaste, etc, because of couponing.
Look into how you can take advantage of all your available spaces to grab a few quick bucks.
I did used to try to coupon too, but it was entirely too frustrating trying to fit in expiration dates, sales, multiple stores, etc. Google them, hardly ANY water needed (didn’t even notice spikes in my water bill during the hot months).
But, the truth of the matter is surveys are something that can be legit if you go through the right companies. We found ways to go out to eat for about $15, and went to the dollar movie theater or came up with creative date nights to make the $70 budget last all month. It would never work for a regular monthly budget, but doing the percentages is awesome for extra income like this! Know of any places where you can load up online coupons besides your local grocer’s website? You can get free magazines, coupons, b1g1 to local attractions like a zoo or bowling, etc by redeeming points. You will find that many survey companies will award you with points that can be cashed out for gifts, gift cards or even money which is usually awarded by PayPal or check. This avoids printing out a bunch of coupons that you never use, which wastes paper and toner. But that in its self saves because we never spend more than $290 ($270 is our budget but we will steal up to $20 from eat out or gas when need be) and we don’t let ourselves go back until the next month. I was able to get some free mags for xmas gifts, and indulge myself and then share with coworkers and friends when I’m done skimming them. If we eat pancakes and eggs 3 nights in a row at the end of the month (hypothetical-can’t remember this happening), we do. Usually, you will just have to watch ads, play games, or check out offers you are interested in and you will be paid. However, just like surveys this is not something that is going to make you rich but it is a great way for you to have some extra money. This does mean we eat a lot more produce at the beginning of the month (we tried and failed to garden-we live in the desert) but we are just used to it now.
This means that every time you make a purchase that you need and at a store that you normally shop at you will receive cash back. Not to mention the fact that there are so many businesses – you’d be surprised – that do not have websites.Overall, making money online is something that can be done and can even pay more than a nine to five job most of the time. Some people have now turned to the task of finding work online yet this can sometimes be a tough task if you do not know where to look. Once you get your name out on the web you will find that you will never long for work and you will also be getting paid to do something that is not only easy but something that you actually enjoy.
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