A few things we do around our home
First and foremost- PYF!!!!!! (Pay Yourself First) best piece of advice i've ever learned! With each paycheck you get- set a little aside and pay yourself first by putting it into your savings account. Even if you have more bills than you know what to do with -you have to start saving a little at a time so that you will have financial stability down the road.
We use energy efficient light bulbs in all of our lamps and fixtures around the house- it dramatically cuts down on the energy bills!
We do not leave lights on in rooms we aren't in.
We only run the dishwasher when it's absolutely full
We do laundry once a week. A lot of times if it's nice outside i'll line dry my clothes or put them on the line in my laundry room rather than running the dryer. Also when i wash my clothes on the energy setting (cooler water and i do a low heat tumble dry when i use the dryer) (excpet my work clothes- working for Animal Control i have to be careful how i clean my work laundry). Also- if you get one of those blue dryer balls it will last you a lot longer than having to go out and buy dryer sheets over and over again. As far as laundry detergent goes- i have to be careful what i use on my skin as i have psorasis so i use All Free and Clear (about the only thing that doesn't break me out!) instead of the off brand detergent- but i buy it in bulk at places like Costco and Sams Club so that i wind up getting a better price for the money.
I buy things like Sugar, Dry Goods, Tomato Paste, etc in bulk to save money and have a little area in the pantry set aside to store extras in. (but if you buy in bulk- be sure to compare the regular prices vs. bulk- sometimes it's cheaper to buy individual items just depending!)
We get the Sunday paper for the cupons. Sure it costs you a few bucks a year to get the paper- BUT you will more than make up for it in savings if you use the coupons in the paper to do your grocery shopping with. Making a grocery list and using your coupons will really help you save vs. just buying impulsively.
I come home for lunch every day rather than going out to eat. That was i'm not tempted to eat out and spend extra $ or eat a lot of fast food. It works out better for my health and my wallet that way!
We do not have a home phone- we use our cell phones instead as our plan is less expensive that way.
If it's clean/in good shape i will sometimes reuse aluminum foil, gift bags, gift boxes, tissue paper, and things like that.
If i want to buy something at a dpt. store like Bed Bath & Beyond or Macys that i need as far as clothes/house go- i will wait until i recieve a coupon from them (usually they send them out every week and they're for at least 20% off). That way if it's something i need i am at least going to save a little in the process.
If you call your local energy dpt, they will usually come out to your home for free or of little charge and do an energy analysis - they'll check your home and tell you what areas you're wasting your money in (did you know wrapping your water heater can help reduce your energy bill?!) and give you lots of tips on how to cut down on your energy bill/etc!)
If you ever find yourself in the market for new windows or a new roof- consider the material- you want to look for a good energy efficient material that will keep heat in during the winter and heat out during the summer/etc.
Look for discounted gym memberships in your area. For us- since both my husband and I work for the city- we get a huge discount at our city's rec. center.
Consider where you buy your groceries and other things from from. There are some stores like Aldi that cut prices by encouraging people to reuse bags and bring their own, cutting down on fancy packaging, etc- as a result you save! Big Lots- if you have one is a store that gets everything from electronics to household goods and offers them at low prices because of things like packaging changes, overproduction/etc...all you're getting is a good product at a cheaper price!
If you have a nice resturant that you enjoy going to but can not afford to go often- see if they have a website where you can register for coupons /special offers /etc! I adore Texas de Brazil but i certainly could not afford to eat there often! But lucky for me they send out coupons and free offers all of the time- so when you sign up for certain things like your anniversary/b-day/etc - they give out really good discounts. That way you can treat yourself to a nice place a few times a year but still not go overboard on your wallet.
I don't drink soft drinks at all- i have not had one in over 10 years. That definitely cuts down on my grocery bill and also helps keep me in better shape.
Consider drinking more water in place of soft drinks/etc.
Instead of trips to coffee houses and places like Starbucks- learn how to make your own yummy coffee concoctions at home! It will save you $ and you can take a little pride in yummy new recipes you might come up with
I LOVE to cook- so i like to experiment with different recipes/etc during the week- if i have left overs- they are lunch the next day. This saves us money and helps stretch our dollar. Also- getting creative in the kitchen makes cooking fun and will give you something to look foward to vs. eating out frequently.
In the area that we live in we do not have city transportation that will get us to and from work so for us- our driving is a must, we can not avoid it. We have however found a few ways to try and keep our costs as low as we can : we keep our cars in good shape with routine maintinance such as oil changes, checking the tire pressure. We observe the speed limits to help with fuel economy (especially on the interstate). I carpool several times a week with my coworkers to cut down not only on gas $ but to also help the environment a bit. / Since my sister kimmy and her family live sooo close to us- we all alternate carpooling as well for things like going to get groceries/etc / Colin and I recently purchased a more fuel efficient SUV (Ford Escape) and the savings in gas on that baby is just as good as it is on my car! Even though gas is expensive, it does help to keep our cars in good condition and try to carpool. Another thing we try to do is plan our errands out ahead of time- so that way we try to do everything as efficiently as possible so we're not running back and forth all over town.
Look at your local grocery stores and see if they have store cards that give you credit with each purchase for discounts at their gas stations. In our area, Kroger, Schuncks, Walmart, Costco, and Sams Club all have certain deals/offer that wind up giving you discounted gas when you shop in those stores.
Consider a trip to Goodwill every now and then. They have a lot of good items and you can't beat the prices! I've found brand new (really cute!) pants there for work before that still had the tags on them and had never been worn. We also got a really nice suite case there once too for dirt cheap! (and remember, if you haven't worn it or used it in a year- consider donating items you don't need to Goodwill as well!)
Consider getting a Progressive Lettice Keeper if you eat a lot of fruits/veggies- this little gem keeps our produce fresher for longer periods of time and has saved us a lot of $ by keeping our food from spoiling easily! http://www.target.com/Progressive-Le.../dp/B000OUY2QO
I buy most of my shampoos/etc from www.lush.com
Their solid shampoos are amazing. They are also WAY more inexpensive than regular bottled shampoo too!!! One solid shampoo bar lasts me about 3 months easily while a bottle of shampoo only lasts me a much shorter period of time. Also- because they are not packaged and all the way bottled products are- the savings go directly to you and they are also much much more environmentally friendly. Not to mention- ALL of their products are fresh and handmade so you don't have to worry about it irritating your skin in most cases. They also do not test on animals. They're great all the way around! I get tons of uses out of all of their products! (is you read their fourms they have even more tips/ideas on how to stretch out the live of their products.
We do not rent movies around here. If we do go to see a movie- we go during the week and during the afternoon specials. Since my husband is a police officer- we get in free when we go to our local theatre certain days/times so we only go then. (if you shop around- you might be able to find discounted movies/coupons and entertainment!)
Probably the most helpful thing to me has been my online banking account. I keep an itemized list of EVERYTHING (even little tiny purchases) that i spend. It helps me to see what areas i need to work on and if i'm staying on track or not. For me, it's not the big purchase but instead, the little things that i like to buy here or there that add up- so keeping a list helps keep me on track!
Good luck hon! Hope some of that helps