- Take it down a notch – Americans love their space. However, have you notice that the rest of the world is not so space obsessed. I am always humbled when I see images of other countries where entire families live in 1 and 2 bedroom houses. I am also reminded of how our grandparents and great grandparents used to live… 10-15 kids in a 2 or 3 bedroom house. However, many of us are now accustomed to having our own rooms… Well… maybe that needs to change. In fact, Just a Gal and I are pretty sure that in our new house Littleman and Sweetpea will be sharing a room. It feels odd since they have had their own rooms for a while now… but the rest of the world does it… so, lets save some money and downsize our space requirements.
- Live near school – Gas is EXPENSIVE. If you’re going to be traveling back and forth every day, it only makes sense to cut down on the commute. Living near the school could save up as much as $200 a month!
- Two words “Brown Bag” – That’s right. PB&J for lunch again. I know the chinese place across the street from campus has the best sesame chicken… but fight the urge. Packing a lunch could save you $300 or more a month!
- Go shopping – I know, sounds oxymoronic… but, it’ll help. Every year you need to shop your car insurance rates. Call your current provider and see if they’ll give you a better rate (I just called and save $8 a year – HA!). Then, don’t be afraid to hit up a couple of the online retailer. It really is true that 15 minutes could actually save you money. Last year I changed insurance and saved $200 a year.
- Lets make a deal – If you’re renting, homes have a slight advantage over apartments. Since most homes are rented out by individuals, you can typically negotiate your rental rate. If you’re married, always mention that. And also, mention that you are renting the house so that you can attend seminary. Sometimes people will hear those things and feel like you are going to be a better tenant who will take care of their property… which I hope is true. So, don’t be afraid to ask for a couple hundred dollars off their asking price. Asking never hurt! (quick story, shortly after Just a Gal and I got married, we asked a landlord if he’d rent us a $900 house for $550. It was typically rented to college kids. We mentioned that I worked at a church and that we wanted to plant flowers and clean it up a little. He agreed. We also painted the house and re-did the kitchen… we asked him to pay for the supplies and we’d do the work. We were both happy in the end… lesson… always ask!)
- Read the books – No, not your class books. Read your budget. Make sure that you review your spending habits and compare them to your budget. Make adjustments as needed.
Well, there are my six ideas… anyone else got some good ways to save money in seminary? Let’s hear ’em…