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Money Saving Tips

Posted in Life in Chicago by Erik Nelson on 17 Dec 2012

SOLEX ESL teacher Erik and his students came up with some great money saving tips. If you are an international student in the US, you definitely will want to read these suggestions! They’re useful for your life in Chicago…and many other major cities.

  • Use a PURE filter to make your own drinkable water, instead of buying bottled water (+$40/month)
  • Don’t use gas dryer to dry clothes, but hang your clothes inside to dry (+$50/month)
  • In the winter, the air is very dry. Hang up wet clothes instead of using a humidifier (+$30/month)
  • Keep the temperature at 62° F when sleeping or away from home (+$50/month or more)
  • Use energy efficient light bulbs in all your rooms (+$5/month)
  • Use an energy efficient toilet that uses only a half-gallon of water instead of 3 gallons (+$5/month)
  • Take 5-minute showers. Use water only for getting wet and rinse. Save 1 gallon of water per minute.
  • Use energy efficient faucets and save as much as 50% on your water bill.
  • Use rechargeable batteries and never buy batteries again. Big savings!
  • Check with insurance companies before your policy ends for best rates to save money.
  • Buying in bulk (when on sale) things that don’t spoil, like dry goods such as mayonnaise, soup, etc.
  • Rent a deep cleaner vacuum instead of hiring a professional to clean (+$100-$300)
  • Be a Comparison Shopper, there can be cheaper alternatives
  • Look for seasonal/holiday discounts (Before/After Christmas sales, Black Friday, etc.)
  • Leave your credit cards at home and use cash. This will help you avoid the temptation of buying stuff
  • Avoid eating junk food and snacks, drink water not soda, etc. This is healthier and will save you $!
  • Don’t drink alcohol (or drink less). Don’t smoke (or smoke less). This will save you big money!
  • Always pay your credit card statements and bills on time to avoid late fees
  • Avoid credit cards with annual fees (+$25-$100/year)
  • If you rent a lot of DVDs, get movies subscription for $8 a month or better yet, borrow from your local library
  • Lease a car (no $ down) instead of buying. Only needs oil changes.
  • Drink water at home and at restaurants instead of coffee, soda, juice, etc. and save a lot of money
  • No smoking, no drinking, no drugs, no gambling will save you big money
  • Take vacations during the offseason and not during peak season and save 25-75%.
  • Use Skype to call long distance, computer to computer, because it’s free
  • Use a bicycle or go by foot to places that are close by
  • Check coupons online and in the mail for discounts on food and other products
  • Make a grocery checklist before going shopping for food and only buy what you need
  • Watch less TV: save energy, but more importantly, stop seeing TV ads that make you want to buy
  • Collecting things can be expensive. Sell collections, stop collecting, or don’t collect as much
  • Don’t buy things on impulse. Sometimes you get the buying fever, resist this urge and wait a week
  • Spend less money on children. Young children want your time, not your money. Play with them
  • Sell things you no longer need in a garage sale and buy things used instead of new when possible
  • Eat at home instead of eating out. Invite friends to dinner instead of going to a restaurant
  • When cooking, making extra (like casseroles and soup) and freeze them for meals later
  • Trade old books, DVDs, CD with others online instead of buying new ones (
  • Try Generic brands of items you buy often. They are cheaper and usually the same as known brands
  • If you buy a car, buy a fuel-efficient car. A car running at 30 mpg instead of 20 saves you thousands!
  • Look for a cheaper place to live through research or if you own a home, try to refinance
  • Carpool. Share a car or take turns sharing a car will save lots of money on gas