25 Ways To Improve Your Financial Situation In Under 10 Minutes

I know from personal experience that when it comes to getting your personal finances in order, taking those first steps is one of the most difficult parts. There is so much information and it seems like it will take forever before you can ever reach your financial goals. It makes a person want to give up even before they start, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated. The main thing is to start, do a little bit each day and in doing so the savings will begin to pile up. Don’t have much time? It’s not a problem. Here are 25 ways I have improved my financial situation that each should take 10 minutes or less to complete…you can do the same:

Embrace the cold

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42 Responses to 25 Ways To Improve Your Financial Situation In Under 10 Minutes

  1. Peter black says:

    Decide how much electricity you really need by locating and turning of the main breaker in your house. Do you need a micro wave, an a/c, hair dryer, coffee pot…

  2. toopoor says:

    I can’t do half of these because they don’t apply to me. It would be nice if people would learn to write for those that are poor instead of those that have some money.

  3. senelt says:

    I love the towel idea. I had never heard of that. Most of the time I hang dry our clothes, but there are times when I need to use the dryer. I cna’t wait to try it out the next time and see how it works.

  4. gloria says:

    I have a hard time calling companies to try and get a better deal. I always feel that I’m imposing on them. Is there any way to get over that? I don’t get how people can just ask for a better deal. That would make me so uncomfortable because they have already set the price.

  5. pfadvice says:

    There are a lot of people that seem to have trouble calling companies. I’m not sure there is an easy answer that will help anyone, but the way I approach it is they will not give me a better deal than they are willing to give. The worst they can say is “no” and if they say “yes” that means more money to do things I want. It does take some practice, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

  6. Nic says:

    RE: The filters….we purchased a permanant filter which we hose down to clean every month. It will save us $30.00 p/year.
    EVERYTHING (appliances,computer,tv,dvd player etc.) not in use gets turned off. It’s easier to flip a switch than watch your money slowly drain away.
    We compost our egg shells,coffee grounds, veggies and fruits and use it in our veggie garden and ornamental plants. It helps condition the soil,the plants love it and we’ve never paid for fertilizer.
    We round Up our spending. Ex: If we spend $4.53, we deduct $5.00 in the register.
    Also,when we deposit checks,we don’t include the cents. Ex: If I deposit a check for $175.58, I’ll only add $175.00 to my balance. It creates a “cushion” for a “just in case” moment. At the end of the year,it all gets moved into our savings. The most I’ve ever saved was $17.00 in a year. Not a fortune, but is was a nice addition.

  7. Joe Bob says:

    I really loved “putting the credit cards on ice”. What a great trick!

    Good list.

  8. A Marino says:

    I loved the towel idea. I will try it when I use the dryer. It makes perfect sense.

    Another poster also suggested buying a pemanent filter. I have one for my AC that came with it when we bought the house. I can’t tell you how much money we have saved. You can also buy them from our home improvement stores.

    When it comes to switching from satelite to satelite, I don’t see much difference. The newer company wants you to have a 2 year contract. I have called my satellite company and they have either given me extra services or lowered it for about 3 months.

    I think the better is to switch from satellite to cable or vise versa. Those two are real competitors. We’re going to consider switching from satelite to Comcast for a while.

    As for books, I now get them from the library and if I think they are a keeper – I buy them used from an on-line company. I like Abe Books.

    Thank you for your tips. It reenergizes us to get new ideas.

    I also believe that the current market is not on a possitive note and it’s easy not to feel motivated.

    I have tried to look at my situation and not that of the markets. I try to find a way everyday that can either lower my standard of living or money to my bottom line. It might mean what I can do today that will save me money or add money to my bank account. It might mean moving money externally to another account that is earning more interest. This might not seem like much but if practiced over many years would add up to a lot.

  9. Melissa says:

    A caution on the cold water washer use. I have had two washer machine repair men tell me that you need to use a hot water wash once in a while so that the detergent and gunk doesn’t start building up in the interior mechanisms of the washing machine. They say they have a lot of repair calls that are in connection with someone never using a hot water wash. With the cost of repair, I think a hot water wash is worth the money to do every now and then. I try to do it every other time I wash my whites.

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  11. billspaced says:

    Great collection of money-saving tips! One of the best lists I’ve come across.

  12. Sashka says:

    I think these are all great ideas even if I cant or dont implement all of them at one time. It does make me think of everything I do and how I can reduce my expenses. I dont think of it as ‘reducing standard of living’ as another poster stated. I think of it more as living consiously.

  13. Gail says:

    Very good ideas. Making simple concious choices can go a long way. I have one of those machines that washes and dries clothes in the same machine. It uses very little water, but I have found that since I line dry some of the clothes the machine gets a musty smell if it doesn’t have a load go through that dries it out. Simple to take care of, I just run the hang up load through first then run a load that dries and every couple of weeks run a load on the sanitray cycle that boosts the water to extra hot and really dries the clothes. We have a well here, but when we got the washer/dryer when we were on metered water, our water bill went down something like $20 a quarter. Using less water on a well means less electric used to pump it.

    Just spent some time sitting and discussing power uses with hubby and we figured out what we could unplug and what we need to leave on stand-by. Unplug microwave and stereo but leave the house intercom on (I have chronic health problems and need to be able to summon hubby if needed).

    I’m not sure why ‘toopoor’ feels that most these suggestions aren’t for them. These are ideas that should generate MORE ideas. Every little bit counts. I have gone through many years of being poor and it was ideas like these that helped me dig out. Some of these ideas also don’t work for me because I refuse to spend money on things like cable TV or cell phones but the thought behind negotiating prices is a good one.

  14. Judy C says:

    Just wanted to say that I found your article one of the best in ages. I learned several new saving tips! Much thanks!

  15. GrimJack says:

    I have a carbonation fixation – I used to go through a case of Talking Rain sparkling water each week. So when you add in all the hidden costs (energy, petroleum for plastics, fuel to move it, recycling costs, etc.), it was eating me up. I tried cutting back but I needed it. So I invested $200 and now carbonate my tap water (20lb CO2 tank, regulator, tubing, and fittings).

  16. GrimJack says:

    Err, oops! I forgot the savings part, refilling the CO2 tank is $20.00 and a 20lb tank will carbonate about 500 gallons of water which is about 125 cases of talking rain at about $15 @ at Costco. Off the cuff – I have not actually used up an entire tank.

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  18. Andy says:

    The shower timer – I need that to! With kids in the house the bathroom is my last refuge….

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  21. Mylissa Mullis says:

    I’ve lowered my electric bill over $25 a month during the summer by tinting all my windows with the stick on kind, so in winter, I just pull it off and let the sun shine in to help heat the house!!
    We also have an attic fan, after 11pm, almost 5 nights a week, I open the house and let the air keep us cool while we sleep, the next day I watch the thermostat and cut the a/c back on when the temp hits 80 in the house! I save lots this way.

  22. Shanna says:

    I think what toopoor is referring to is the fact that he may already be doing some of these things – or they are not even remotely applicable.

    You have to understand that most of us don’t own our own homes so the energy audit and putting money into insulation is rediculous, or perhaps don’t own a washer/dryer and have to go to the laundry mat so the towel thing works if you struggle to get a load dry in one cycle (might save you $0.75? running a 2nd time?) and I would love to increase my deductible to $1000, but I would lose my car if I did that since it’s a financed vehicle.

    Does that help everyone sort of see what toopoor is referring to?

    I have come up with my own ways to help myself – which I think may help people like toopoor. I’m still putting my ideas together but they will be posted on my blog at some point.

  23. justafriend says:

    I make a habit of chaning the filter for my ac/furnace unit every month when I get the electric bill and found this is a great reminder.
    This also allows me to use the less expensive filters since they are beign replaced more often, and even added up over the year, they are cheaper.
    Also, on car insurance, when financed or leased, most finance companies do require that you maintain a certain level of coverage, but they don’t demand what deductable you carry, so Shana may want to double check on that.

  24. Lissa says:

    Am I the only that sees a huge problem with tossing in a “fluffy” towel in with my clothes? You’re asking for towel lint on your clothes. This may be fine with whites and some denims, but I certainly don’t want all that towel lint on my good clothes! That’s one of the reasons why you wash towels separately in the first place!

  25. savy shopper says:

    I called Direct TV to tell them about an offer from another company. My contract was up and they gave me a DVR, six months of HBO/Showtime, DVR service free for a year and a reduction in my monthly payment by $10 a year. All I had to do was mention the other offer and commit to 2 more years of service, which was no problem. Well worth the 15 minutes it took me.

  26. Roger says:

    I have another idea for Shanna. When I financed my car, I bought GAP insurance, which provides up to 1,000 for the deductible on my car. The GAP cost me $400, but I was able to raise my car deductible to $1,000, which paid for the GAP in one year. I love the towel idea.

  27. T. Barnes says:

    I don’t get the towel idea.
    Since most dryers have moisture sensors, this makes no sense.
    Sure the towel soaks up moisture from the clothes, but the dryer is going to continue to dry the now moist towel.
    How does this really make the dry time shorter?

  28. Deborah says:

    In response to Gloria… Businesses are in business to make money ~ off you. Keep in mind – YOU are in business to live your life comfortably. Look at this as a business decision, not taking anything personal and taking all emotion out of it. You have a responsibility to yourself (and your family) to get the best deal out there. I look at it as another way to care for myself and my family. And the money I save goes for treats, fun stuff, or to simply pay an unexpected bill. So, make that call, get those deals, and pat yourself on the back! And ask, nicely of course, to speak with the manager if you need to. Big business only cares about the bottom line… not you, personally.

  29. Tami says:

    I just got off the phone with my cable company that supplies my phone service, Cable TV and hi speed internet service in a bundle mode. They were happy to lower my monthly bill by over $40.00!!! Wow!!

  30. Bob says:

    …..all great ideas….just keep it in balance with your wife or the eventual divorce will eat up all these money-saving ideas

  31. mshannon cpa says:

    The problem I have with comments that someone is “too poor” to save money is that it shows that their mind is closed to the idea that they can find any way at all to save money. I, as a CPA, used to speak to a business group about saving money. A member who was a stockbroker also used to speak to the same group about saving money. You could look around the room and pick out the people who were thinking “I can’t possibly save money, I’m too poor”. Most of those people could probably cut back a little on an occasional meal out, a magazine purchase, etc. If you are that poor, you really, really need to build up some emergency savings. That is how people become homeless, by not having any savings. There was a news story about a poor uneducated washerwoman who never made more than $20,000 per year, and when she died she left $200,000 to a college for scholarships for poor children. If she can do it, anyone can.

  32. Monica Clark says:

    These are great tips, especially unplugging appliances like the coffee machine, even though the blinking drives me nuts when it’s back on! My only thought is that sheets need to be washed in hot water to get ride of dust mites and bed bugs. So, it’s not really a “myth”, hot water really does kills stuff!

  33. Monica Clark says:

    Taking inventory of food in the fridge, freezer and pantry can help from overbuying or wasting. Also, buying razors, shampoo, etc on sale even if you don’t need it right away.

  34. Lynne Fitzpatrick says:

    Many of the ideas that you suggested are things that I already do. I have my remote control t.v. on a power strip and my cable box and flip off the switches each night before turning in. I also have a solar dryer (clothesline) strung across my back yard and dry sheets and towels in the fresh air and sunshine. That is a natural germ killer on a summer day and it takes less time on a hot summer day than it takes in the dryer. Another little hint is to cut your dryer sheets in half and it does just as good a job at reducing static and adding a fresh smell as a whole sheet and I get twice as many for the same amount of money. This way I can buy the ones that are a little more expensive and I don’t feel guilty. Thanks for all the great money saving hints and keep them coming. A word to “toopoor” – You are too poor because you don’t find a creative way to save systematically. I can’t believe that you can’t find $5 a week to tuck away and not touch. I did it and have saved $8,000 in as many years and then opened a CD and keep rolling the interest in and my little savings is making “Free” money for me. You will never save it if you don’t start somewhere….Try!!!!

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  37. Dave says:

    I’ve done almost everything possible to stretch the almighty dollar and since they are eliminating my possition at work I’ve called Directv they discounted my bill by $10 per month, changed my cell phone plan to save $10 a month, my internet providor lowered my rate by $10 a month, newspaper went from $43 for 13 weeks to $26 for 26 weeks so making a few calls and a little time can save you a few bucks. I’ve had a programable thermostat now for over 15 years and it does save you money, along with using CFL bulbs, all bulbs in my house are CFL. Try drying your cloths in the dryer for 10 minutes and then hang them to dry and forget the towel idea, oh yea and when cooking try to cook as often as possible on the grill and make enough to have leftovers on another day, saves alot of gas and excess heat in the house in the summer months.

  38. Denise says:

    I’ve been running my washer on all cold for several years and have had no problems. I suspect the detergent build-up the washer repairman is talking about is also related to people using too much detergent in the first place. I’ve found I can cut my detergent use in half and my clothes still get plenty clean.

  39. sabine strohem says:

    Re: Soap buildup in washer. Run a short cycle with just vinegar (no clothes, soap, etc.). This will remove buildup.

    Re: Hot water for linens. Sorry, still a myth. If you really want to sanatize linens, add 1/4 cup bleach to the wash. Will sanitize w/o affecting the color. I work in a daycare and it’s part of the health code.

  40. Mizz says:

    A note about cold water wash: everything can be done in cold water EXCEPT sheets — only hot water will kill dust mites and bed bugs.

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