One call saved me $50 -- and other tips
When my airline-affiliated credit card statement arrived yesterday I was aghast to see my annual membership fee was $125! I called the company and got another card that suits my needs equally well for $50 a year. I still get one mile for every dollar spent, although the new card has a $25K/25K mile limit. I don't put that much on my card anyway. I could have had a no-fee card, but they do not offer the same miles. (We actually use the miles, by making plans six months ahead to get seats!)
I clip coupons only for things I'd buy without the coupons, then wait to use the coupons when those items are on special. Ever notice how many coupons are for *stuff* (cosmetics, dog toys)? If I buy something that offers a rebate, that rebate request goes into the mail the same day I buy the item. (Companies bank on people not getting around to asking for the rebate.)
We've saved by almost never entering the grocery store aisle that offers the soda (and other flavored waters) and junk food.
We do use Costco, but seldom buy any of the "lures". If we are in there to get prime beef and Kleenex, that's all we come out with.
My son and DIL were happy to add Mom to their cell phone plan -- for $8 a month (plus taxes) and free calls between the three phones.
We use our library a lot. There are mighty few books I've ever read twice, and our library will order almost any book we've expressed an interest in. We also get DVDs from the library. I don't understand why would anyone *buy* more than a few DVDs for the kids? We also record from TV programs we want to see at our convenience -- like Mystery Theater and other PBS offerings. We seldom go to a movie theater -- there are few new movies that are not just as interesting on the small HDTV screen.
We keep our cars longer than some people. For example, we just bought a 2005 demo with a 6-year warranty. We'll probably keep it eight years, adding a warranty for the last two years if necessary. The car we sold was nine years old and had 50K miles on it. We are retired, and don't put many miles on a car. We also went from two cars to one when DH retired. I think there have been three times that a conflict in our schedules required me to rent a car -- sure cheaper than buying and insuring a second car.
None of these life-styles are "hardships". We like nice things and spend on those instead of these. We contribute to charities.
It took a while for me to wake up to the fact that The American Way is very consumer-spending driven. We are told over and over that we NEED a lot of stuff we don't need at all, and are likely better off without!