I thought it would be fun to share my recent money saving finds and hopefully help you out if you need to make a similar purchase. I plan on making this a recurring column.
I needed to buy a ticket from Denver to Des Moines so I could attend my nephew’s high school graduation. I checked all the airlines and aggregator sites, but the tickets were around $600. So I started by offering around $150-200 on Priceline, but my offers were rejected. The price dropped to $500, but I wanted to pay less than that. Finally, on the third day, I made an offer of $227 (including tax) and it was accepted.
Amount Saved: ~$300 compared with regularly available fares
Prescription medications for my dog
My dog’s heart condition has recently worsened and she began retaining too much fluid in her abdomen (she had three litres removed and she only weighs 55lbs). She was already on Atenolol but the vet also put her on Furosemide (Lasix), Benazepril, and Pimobendan. Needless to say the pills from the vet were expensive and to save money we had the prescriptions filled elsewhere (Costco and Walgreens).
Amount Saved: $82 compared with filling prescriptions at the vet
Amex Fidelity Card
I recently applied for a new credit card, an Amex cash rewards card from Fidelity. This new card provides a 2% reward (no limit) whereas my previous card was only 1%. I now put everything I can charge on this card. You need to transfer your rewards into a Fidelity brokerage account. However, since Fidelity’s fees are generally higher than Vanguard’s, I decided to leave the rewards as cash in the Fidelity brokerage account, then I take an equal amount from my savings and invest it using my Vanguard brokerage account. That way I can still invest the money and not reduce my cash on hand.
Amount Saved: ~$100 compared to my prior cash back card, for the past 2-3 months of spending
I needed a new three season sleeping bag because we are planning on camping in a number of national parks over the next few months (this is one thing I won’t buy used). We waited and eventually REI had a member sale coupon for 20% off one item and we used it to purchase the bag. They actually messed up our order and when they corrected it they gave us an additional 10% off (total of 30%).
Amount Saved: $69
Pill Boxes from eBay
Since our dog is now on multiple medications, it can be hard to keep them all straight. One pill needs to be split in half, another is only in the mornings, etc. To keep things organized and to reduce errors we ordered a few AM/PM pill boxes from ebay. These were $8 each at our local walgreens but only $3.25 on ebay and we needed multiple boxes for when we travel and someone else has to care for our dog. We ordered four boxes, which is probably overkill, but buying the boxes in two-packs gave us a much better deal overall. In general, ebay is great for cheap plastic items. There are many sellers who buy in bulk from China and resell on ebay. In addition to pill boxes, we have also gotten things like disposable bags for dog poop.
Amount Saved: $19
I was really drooling over the new Passion Planners when they had a Kickstarter campaign, so when I saw a giveaway on Instagram I decided to go for it and actually won one.
Amount Saved: $25
I’d been wanting to order some planner stickers on Etsy, but didn’t really want to pay $3-8 per sheet. But then Nikki Michelle Designs briefly offered a 75% off code on Instagram, so I took her up on it. My $18.20 purchase turned into a $5.06 purchase (including shipping). Then, she shipped slightly late, so she decided to include two more sheets worth $4.25. I ended up paying $5.06 for $22.45 worth of stickers.
Amount Saved: $17.39
We found a stainless steel garbage can that had been left by our apartment’s dumpster. We were looking for one that had a sealed lid to keep the dog out and the smells in, and this fit our needs nicely.
Amount Saved: Compared with a new garbage can we probably saved $50 but we likely would have bought one used on Craigslist. I’m putting this down at $20.
Do you have any ideas for how we could have saved more money? If you have any of your own tips for saving money, please share them.