Manage Your Debt - Let's Explore Your Options


Creative Ways to Save

In today’s economy it is important to find new ways to save. Being in the Credit Counseling Industry, we decided to ask our staff some of the creative ways they are saving their money;

“My wife and I have gotten great bargains by shopping at thrift stores like Good Will . For example, we bought an item my wife has seen for $75 for less than $10.” –Rick, Certified Credit Counselor

“One thing we did to lower our spending was to stop our monthly subscription to Netflix and Blockbuster. We now rent one or two movies a week from Redbox or Moviecube. We may spend up to $9 a month as apposed to $30 a month. –Mistie, Document Processing

“We recently had new windows installed which are saving us a bundle. A lot of people, however, cannot afford to do that but, several things that we also did are:

  • Close your fireplace damper if not in use.
  • Caulk around all windows and doors. If the garage is connected to the home, don’t forget that door.
  • Check for insulation around all electrical receptacles. You would be surprised how many are not insulated and are on outside walls.
    Check level of insulation in attics. It does settle and can be added to with little cost and can be easily done by the homeowner. ” - Bob, Certified Credit Counselor

“I stay away from the mall if at all possible. If I even need to run in for one thing, I come out with just the item that I just HAVE to have.” -Marie, Certified Credit Counselor

Grow your own fruit and veggies, by seed if possible. If you have Internet access, pay your bills online (no stamps!). Clip coupons and take a list to the store. Go through your utilities bills line by line and eliminate things you don’t use (long distance, call waiting, channels). If you bundle your cell, phone, DTV, etc through certain companies, they will give you a discount. –Shanna, Certified Credit Counselor and Coach

“Buy bulk items. Container gardening. Cook and bake from scratch. Walk to work. Combine errands to use as little gas as possible. Use lined drapes and shrink plastic for windows in the winter. Don’t purchase unnecessary items. No cable. Use the library for books and movies. Basic local only phone service and internet. Use or long distance. Shop at thrift stores or buy clearance only. Accept and give away hand-me-downs. Make handmade gifts” -Angela, Certified Credit Counselor

“My husband is unemployed right now so even though I used to think we were frugal, we’ve had to bump it up a notch these days!

Some things we have never paid for, like cell phones and TV, but we have started unplugging anything electrical that is not in use. I run the drier the bare minimum it takes to dry clothes and I stop the dishwasher when it gets to the “Dry” cycle. The temperature in our house never gets above 65 degrees.

My husband and I shop mostly at the discount grocery store and Costco, since their prices do not seem to be going up much; we cook from scratch and IF we go out to eat it’s with a “buy one, get one free” coupon. I filled my freezer with as much produce as I could out of my garden (I used to give most of it away) and thankfully over the years my husband has learned to eat leftovers!

I cut my husband’s hair and my own. I do not get manicures or pedicures. I’ve convinced my family to forgo sending boxes of Christmas presents halfway across the country and my husband and I have a strict $20 limit for each other; any other presents I’m making.

We get together with friends and play cards instead of seeing a show or heading out of town. Clothes shopping doesn’t exist—we have plenty anyway—and we try to simply stay out of stores so we’re not tempted to buy.

Even with being frugal, we understand that we have so much more than many people throughout the world and remain thankful for that. We try to approach saving money not as a punishment, but as a game and we remind ourselves that what we spend today is robbed from our tomorrow.” –Laurel, Certified Credit Counselor and Coach

Cell phones are expensive even with an “affordable” plan. A good way to control cell phone costs is to use a prepaid service like, Tracfone that has lots of good deals. -Jessica, Certified Credit Counselor

It is a great idea to take time and really think about the things you need – food, water, shelter and your means to make that happen like transportation, work required attire or union dues.

When living on a tight budget, all those wants or as I like to call them, money gobblers can wait; cell phones, cable, dining out, smoking, drinking, random excursions, the soda and hotdog from the convenient store, etcetera, etcetera. Every time you are out and about always keep the question “Do I need this?” in the front of your mind.

For more money saving tips visit our website.

Published Nov 3, 2008.