1. Turn off the thermostat. California is pretty temperate--and we pay for that in cost of living. So we might as well save where we can: b...

10 Ways We Save Money Everyday

1. Turn off the thermostat. California is pretty temperate--and we pay for that in cost of living. So we might as well save where we can: by turning off the thermostat as much as possible (especially when we aren't home). As long as the temperature falls between 55 and 80 degrees, we can stay comfortable by layering up or layering down. Our windows are also fairly well-sealed, but strategic opening and closing of blinds makes a huge difference.

2. Sign up for email lists. I'm on the emails lists for companies that I shop at on a regular basis: Peet's Coffee, GNC and Walgreens to name a few. Peet's offers cheap or dramatically reduced in-store beverages on a fairly regular basis; I use these when I need to go get work done in a cafe. (See #3)

3. Take full advantage of what you're paying for. When you buy a coffee at Peet's for $1.80, you are paying for the cup and the service (although most stores will give you 10 cents off if you bring your own mug!). But you're also paying for the space, the WiFi, the marketing, the promotions, and even the electricity charging some other dude's laptop. So take advantage! If you're going to buy a coffee for $1.80, charge your computer, sit in the cafe and use the internet. (You might as well hit the restroom, too.)

4. Eat at home. We menu plan and purchase all of our own food. When you eat at a restaurant, you are paying for the ingredients, the water, the gas for the stove, the heating, use of the linens, the labor, etc. For us, we can save a significant amount of money by doing it all home. If you get paid a high hourly rate, though, and you could be working instead of washing dishes, it might be to your advantage to buy pre-made food. Dan also takes advantage of free lunch at work usually once a week.

5. Demand quality customer service. Our french press broke, due to faulty construction; so we contacted the company and they replaced the faulty piece for free. The same thing has happened with Dan's kick scooter. I've purchased clothing and had it wear out sooner than I had anticipated or was reasonable--I returned it and got a full refund. Again, that's part of what you are paying for.

6. Shop sales. This one requires some patience, and willingness to get by in the meantime. Some of my favorite clothing I've gotten at 10% of the original price because of sales. Awesome! We also got the aforementioned french press on sale. Obviously, don't buy anything you don't need or wouldn't have been willing to pay full price for.

7. Telecommute. I know this isn't an option for everybody, but at the very least look into all of your commuting options. When I coached in SF, I carpooled with one of my co-workers. Dan takes advantage of pre-tax commute dollars to save some money on his BART ride. We use autoload high value tickets to get a 6% discount on every trip. I also work from home most days.

8. Find free or low-cost entertainment. There are tons of ideas out there. I like to garden and read blogs. Dan likes to take photos and read about scuba diving. These are things that I always wish I had more time to do, and not paying to see concerts and movies or go out to bars gives me that time. (You can also invite friends to join you!!)

9. Speaking of gardening, grow your own food! This probably isn't cheaper if you don't have a yard. If you do have a yard and some spare time, I'm a big fan of cucumbers, radishes and carrots. Fruit trees are also really easy--our orange tree suffered some serious neglect and still produced hundreds of oranges.

10. Stay as healthy as possible. Washing your hands more means getting sick less; fewer illnesses mean fewer cold medicines and tissues consumed. Obviously not everything is preventable, but medicine is expensive and the more you can do to prevent illness before it happens the better. I'm a big believe in fruits and vegetables, plenty of sleep and regular exercise.

Any other suggestions? We've saved a lot of money with each of these items and many have improved our quality of life rather than detracting from it. We're always looking for similar ideas!

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