How We Have Saved Money

February 18, 2011

The other night, Craig and I met with a Thrivent representative to discuss options on where we could invest our money.

Since Craig and I are DINKS (Double Income, No Kids), we have been able to sock a fair amount of change away into savings, retirement, IRAs, and money for a potential house one day. (We would love to be able to put down 25-30% of the cost!)

We have been very careful with how we spend our money. For instance, we have chose to stay in our old, cheap apartment rather than move to something nicer but more expensive. At the same time, we also have been able to take trips, go on adventures, have date nights, and splurge a little here and there.

Here are some of the ways we have been able to save a lot of money.


– We do not have cable. . . simple as that! We also do not have Netflix, Apple TV, or anything like that.

– We rarely go to the movies.

– I will go to the library (or the Redbox since it is only $1) to rent movies.


– We intentionally bought cars we could get 0% financing on. (We were able to to this because of our good credit.)

– We chose cars that would get good gas mileage.

– In the summer, we bike a lot. Craig bikes to work, and I will use my bike for errands. And since I am not working, we hardly have to fill up our gas tanks. (We would love to be able to do this year-round, but it just isn’t feasible with snow being on the ground 6+ months of the year.)

Cell Phone

Craig’s cell phone is free through his work, and my cell phone is $20/month through my parent’s family plan. Plus, anytime we upgrade our phones, I always choose the free phone. I even decided to forgo the extra fee it would have cost to have all my contacts automatically transferred to the new phone. I instead recopied them myself.


– If we do a road trip, we bring food from home instead of stopping at the convenience store or gas station. If we need food, we will go to the grocery store instead.

– I, of course, use as many coupons as I can at the grocery store. And almost everything else is on sale.

– I grocery shop at the “cheap” grocery store over the “expensive” grocery store in town. One summer, I would carry a pad of paper around with me and write down the price of various items at the different grocery stores in town. Yes, it took some time, but it was crazy how one store would sell a box of cereal for $3, while the grocery store down the street had it on “sale” for $5!

– I will not drive to the grocery store for one item.

– We make a lot of things from scratch: muffins, breads, granola, salad dressing, bagels, jam, and pesto.

– I rarely throw food out.

The Coffee Shop

– Whenever I go to the coffee shop for coffee, which is maybe once a week, I will bring my own mug (and save $0.25) and buy drip coffee or an Americano–and not some specialty beverage that costs $4+. I drink coffee for the flavor, and I don’t want the coffee flavor covered up by some artificial sweetener.

The Gym

– Our gym membership is $20/month–for the both of us. The membership is under my name, but Craig can come along as my free guest. It’s like a date night at the gym. 🙂

Eating Out

– We only go out-to-eat about 2-3 times per month.

– When we do, we usually split an appetizer, salad, and entree.

– Also, I never order a beverage when we eat out.



– I take good care of my things so they last a long time!



What are some ways you save money?

    1. Those are some great tips! The only other thing I would add is that John and I do Netflix now for 8 bucks a month instead of renting from Red Box. We are probably saving about 15 bucks a month from that switch since we watch movies several times a week.

      Great post!

    1. I save money by being married to you. You are the greatest.

    1. Great tips! I love saving money!
      We eat most of our meals at home, we brew our coffee at home, use coupons, and menu plan.
      Our bank, PNC, has a great account called the virtual wallet.
      We have two checking accounts, a spend and a reserve, and a savings account all connected.
      I calculated our monthly bills, and how much to take out of our checks each pay period to cover it. As soon as we get paid, I switch it over to the reserve, it gains interest. Then I transfer a most of what is leftover to our savings. What is left in the spend account is our disposable income until we get paid again.
      I have done the envelope system before with a lot of success as well.

    1. I am a terrrrrrible saver so this is a great post. I guess I save money by not caring what car I drive! I have the same car I had years ago so with out a car payment I’m able to save a bit more than normal. Now the day it breaks down, we are going to have a problem!

    1. great tips! we have saved money by having 1 car most of our marriage. last month we were able to pay cash for a used 2nd car. we went to the dealership with cash during a special promotion and got a good deal… i also do coupons & CVS ECBs (but I don’t know if you have CVS in alaska…).

    1. We are DINKS too! These are great tips that are easy to implement. Thank you for sharing!!

      I read Dave Ramsey’s first book and am interested in his second “Financial Peace”. We pay of our credit card entirely each month and used the points to pay for a vacation.

      I shop at the cheap grocery store 8 miles away in Idaho, rather than the one up the street in WA. 🙂

    1. We put 10% down when we bought our house 4 years ago. Back then, 80-10-10 loans were really common. We put so much money against the smaller 10% loan in extra payments that we were able to refinance with only an 80% loan two years ago when that combined with our housing market actually improving, unlike the rest of the country. Refinancing also gave us an even better rate than we’d had before, so even with closing costs, we saved a lot of money over the lifetime of our mortgage.

      When you guys do go about buying a home, think about running the numbers regarding how much you put down. Sometimes the interest rate won’t be much better when you put down any more than 20%, so it might be worth it to only put down 20% but then frontload your payments with extra payments. That’s the game we played- we “beat” a 15-year mortgage rate we were offered by taking a slightly higher 30-year rate simply because we can make a higher extra payment on the 30-year vs. the 15-year minimum due, and that more than makes up for the difference in interest rates, plus will still get our loan paid off in 15 years. There are online calculators to play with this stuff, or let us know if you want some of our spreadsheets… we are dorky like that. 🙂

      1. Thanks, Kim!! That was very helpful!! I don’t know the first thing about buying a home (except that it takes a lot of money), so I’ll probably be contacting you with more questions when the time comes!

    1. We are proud of you for saving your money and being wise about how you spend your money.

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