How I Saved / Earned $654 in One Week

Saved and Relaxed

As many of you know, I (David) recently accepted a position with a new firm and have transitioned from one company to another. My head is about to explode, as I have been thrown onto four projects with multiple systems for each. We, also, had a team member retire this week and I will take on some of her responsibilities until a replacement for her is found.

I was fortunate enough, though, to have a week off between both jobs. What did I do? I spent most of my time working on our blog and forthcoming books, but I also focused on ways John and I can be better with saving money. As you’ll see below, saving money isn’t always about cutting back on what you spend; it is also about finding ways to “earn” more.

7 Steps I Took and Saved Big Time

  1. 1. I bought a Groupon for a $21 oil change. The normal cost of an oil change and 14-point service check is $42. Savings = $21. If you can’t get the Groupon in your area here is a $10 off coupon.
    2. I cooked a huge pot of homemade chicken soup. I spent $7 on the chicken (all natural), $1 on organic rice, and $7 on organic carrots, turnips, rutabagas, onion and celery. Healthy and tasty! The pot made 16 lumberjack-size servings, which we’ll eat for four dinners and four lunches each at a cost of $0.94 a serving. This is cheaper and tastier than a can of Campbell’s Soup. There’s no need to spend money eating lunch and dinner out when we can have this. Estimated savings vs. dining out = $81.
    3. I spent $16 to self-wash, vacuum and clean both of our cars. The cost of having our cars cleaned to the same level in Denver would’ve been at least $68. Savings = $52.
    4. I cleaned my clothes closet for donations to Goodwill. I got rid of a number of articles of clothes that were either too old, no longer fit (I don’t have a 20 year old body anymore) or are so out of style they may be back in style soon. Tax write off = $100.
    5. I, also, “shopped” my closest when I cleaned it. I found two pairs of pants and a shirt I haven’t worn in over a year, reducing the need to buy new clothes for my new job. Estimated savings = $100. I have to give props to The Shop My Closet Project for this great suggestion.
    6. I cleaned out other closets and found more things to donate to Goodwill, including tools, books, towels and gadgets. Tax write-off of $250.
    7. I power washed our balcony to clean off the dust and pollution from the last two years, instead of hiring a handyman to do it. Estimated savings = $50.

Also Read: Visualize and Socialize Your Debt Free Commitment

As you can see, I was able to manage my spending by cutting back with coupons and discounts, which was a big contributor with saving money. I, also, took on projects rather than hiring them out. This is what I would have done had I been working and didn’t have the time. See this article about the balance of time and money. Additionally, I “earned” about $350 by reducing my 2014 taxes by donating things that are no longer of value to me, but may be to someone else.

Lessons Learned

The lesson that I relearned during my week off is that with a little effort there are plenty of ways to cut back on expenses, thereby saving money to put towards savings and investments. Every day we are bombarded with marketing that tells us to spend, acquire more debt and consume. We can counterbalance that with simple steps to keep our spending in check and reduce the noise and clutter in our lives that keep us tied to the consumption machine.

How have you saved, reduced and earned more?

David Auten and John Schneider are The Debt Free Guys. After paying off over $51,000 in credit card debt, they have dedicated themselves to helping people live debt free, have fun and be Money Conscious. They are the authors of four books including 4: The Four Principles of a Debt Free Life available on Amazon now.

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Comment List

  • Jen Spends 04 / 07 / 2014 Reply

    I’m lucky because there are a few good online consignment shops (liketwice.com is my favorite) that will buy women’s clothing, and it’s really simple to do. I’ve been cleaning out my closet so I can send in another box. Last time I made around $50.

    That chicken soup sounds so good!

    • John Schneider 06 / 07 / 2014 Reply

      That’s a pretty sweet deal. We’ll have to check out the site. Thanks!

  • Anne 04 / 07 / 2014 Reply

    Wow, nicely done. I deep cleaned one of our vehicles this past weekend, for the first time in literally years. My Mom was going to get my spouse a vehicle detailing for a birthday present, but it is $350 here!!!

    • John Schneider 06 / 07 / 2014 Reply

      Tell her to still give that money to him, only invest it in a retirement account. 😉

  • Michelle 23 / 07 / 2014 Reply

    I have had not so good luck using groupon. The places that I have tried using them at were always hesitant to take them even though I showed them that it was offered and purchased.

    • John Schneider 24 / 07 / 2014 Reply

      Michelle, thanks for the comment. I haven’t heard or experienced that before. We have had great luck using it. Although, one drawback, most places try to up-sell you on alcohol or other food, so buyer beware.

      As for other options, you might try Amazon Local or Living Social. Both offer similar services to Groupon.

      You can always ask Groupon for a refund, telling them that the establishment is rejecting the offer. Might be good if they got some feedback from Groupon. 😉

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