Page I added for Student Discount
Page for Low Income Resources
***Buy less things then you will save money :)
Things that pay for themselves & Money Saving things
A lot of the items below will save you green and are also green for the earth... A friend and I have been working on this list for a while and I am putting this on its own page now it use to be part of the Shopping page for years but I felt that I had so many differnet things to cover that this would be the best way to go about it.
Get it FREE
Mostly Free software Media but also Air condoms etc... check the page out.
Lowering Food & Health cost free food etc...
If its at a restaurant or grocery store etc. I did a page on getting food and getting health.
1# one cost
Housing is the largest cost for 90% of people This is why I put these in this order starts with Health then home and then transportation etc....
Owner Occupied Duplex
This is my personal favorite as it is something that I have done since I have owned my 1st and so far only home. I like the tax breaks and the income. Page about Duplex
Small apartment unit in town
This is another thing I did I lived in a small one bed room apartment I was able to get a great location at a low rate because it had a bad view and was small. I would not have wanted to own this as a condo because then I would have had too much money vested in that place. It was nice to be able to walk away. If you want to live downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa I would recommend the place I stayed at http://riverviewcr.com/ I think the rents have gone up a lot since I was there. Its a good location and good place. I did not have a car when I lived and worked down there.
House in rural area
With taxes and values being lower this could be another option especially if you can work fully remotely and just want a cheap low cost quiet area to live in then check it out. I am not going to list places but Iowa has many. If you have to drive in town or go to one of the big cities in Iowa then this may not be worth it at all.
Bus Services & non-car ownership
Pick the right time and the right place to fill up I know some independent gas stations have a day a week where gas is 7 cents off a gallon. Gas Buddy can be your Gas shopping Bud too to help lower gas cost too. Sam's Club is also an option if you are not too far away from one they are discounted rates and if you are already there picking stuff save on gas too.
Groups and activities
Mindbridge Game Library & Events
a nonprofit group that promotes gaming website They also have some convention that are local to eastern Iowa you can pre-order a membership at a much lower rate than at the door and a lot of times they do a black Friday online sale. They do gaming Sci-Fi and Anime one in the fall spring and summer.
Most Masonic stated meetings have a meal before the meeting you can Donte a few bucks to the meal and get a good meal and fellowship and the meeting. I tend to go to the lodge I am a member of and a few other lodges a year as well. The member dues are around $120 a year or so so about $10 a month and the brotherhood has been very good to me over the last 15 years. For more info you can go to their website or reach out to me or check out my page on Freemasons.
Friends of the Library
I have been a member of a number of Friends of the Library groups its one of my favorite groups that I have been a member of I have a life membership for the one in town because I have been a member over 15 years and have done so much with that group you can get free and discounted books media and more that the group wants to discard. Here is my page on Libraries.
Church's and other groups could also offer things like the above these are just the groups that I have done the most with.
Home Gym or Membership etc.
I bought a bowling ball & shoes some years ago from a Bowling Shop in the area the shoes have paid for themselves with not having to pay shoe rental fees. I have page all about the ROI of my shoes.
other low cost sports to play. http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2013/01/9-cheap-sports-of-the-un-rich/
Optimizing Sam's Club membership
I am not a big fan of how Walmart/ Sam's Club treats the people who work for them.... But I like the price and if I was closer to Costco I would have a membership there just my disclaimer before I get started...
Saving on Membership
I did this with memberships before COVID you could get a free membership if you buy $50 on your 1st trip there then you can get the membership free since COVID they have not done that. What I have done since then is wait for the best deal which was a $45 membership for the price of $10 keep that for one year then drop for 6 months. Then if you have domain names you could create a forwarded email address example email@example.com or Sam@example.com since each time you sign up you can use a different email address. I would also recommend getting a physical card for Free since the App for me has been kind of hit or miss. What I did for a number of years I had a friend who had a menbership from his work and we would go together and split things so it was cheaper for both of us.
Now that your in...
The best hot food deals
The hot dog soda combo is only $1.38 The whole Pizza 16" is $8.98 The Member's Mark Seasoned Rotisserie Chicken for $4.98
Cost per unit is lower than else where since you buy in bulk
Getting Paper towels TP drinks and other things like oatmeal etc here have the lowest cost per unit I am kind of a Prepper and like to have things on hand and this allows me to stock up every time I go so I only go about once a month or so I would recommend Nature's Twist Sugar Free Lemonade its $8.98 or about 37 cents per bottle... I could list off a lot more things but I think this is a good baseline
Small Business Services
What I may do going forward is get a Sam's Club membership that is the $100 a year plan and with being a small business owner with my rental properties and other business stuff that I do just write it off on my taxes but would really want to do a ROI calculation as you can get a discount with just the base membership and cashback without having to upgrade to the higher end membership
Dollar Tree $1.25
Thrift Stores & 2nd hand shops
I like chargeable batteries you buy them once recharge with time of day billing at night so that you can use the lower cost charging time. Then you don't have to throw them out after one use they can keep going and going :)
Panasonic K-KJ17MCC82A 4-Position Charger with 2 AAA & 8 AA eneloop Batteries & 2 C & 2 D Spacers link
Solar on the roof
This is something that has interested me for a long time I don't mind paying the 15k up front to then have free power for the next 30 year I know the tax breaks and other factors are helping with this product but I feel ike its empowering even if its not the best return on investment ROI.
Utilities & Things around the house that save...
Roof insulation upgrades
I This can be a fair amount of money upfront but over the long hall has a goo ROI. my Roof went from R11 to R49 I had an energy audit done after the insulation was added and each unit only loess less than $40 a year in energy cost. But it was still 4K or so upfront to make this happen.
Opening Windows VS AC VS Window Fan
a comprise could be a window fan
Comfort Zone CZ319WT 9" Twin Window Fan with Reversible Airflow Control, Auto-Locking Expanders and 2-Speed Fan Switch Its around $35 or so for this link to it.
If the humidity level outside is much above 65%, you are usually much better off keeping your windows closed at night and using your AC instead.
A Green Lawn solution Lawn Mower Fiskars reel mower Link to Review.
Bathroom & water use
TP in bulk at Sam's club
LUXE Bidet NEO 120 - Self-Cleaning Nozzle, Fresh Water Non-Electric Bidet Attachment for Toilet Seat, Adjustable Water Pressure, Rear Wash Link
LOKiVE Toothpaste Tube Squeezer Dispenser, 9 Pcs Plastic Tube Squeezer Holder Toothpaste Clips for Saving Toothpaste etc Link
Outdoor clothes line
I use this every so often its nice to be able to dry clothes at the cost of FREE and this came with my duplex.
Can burn stuff cook for Free just need a lighter and stuff to burn tree scarps paper etc... All you need is a lighter and you are good to go to get started
Furniture & Appliances
Iowa City futon
Full size house special
Toaster ovens & microwaves can save you more money than just using a standard oven.
24 Pieces Charger Cable Saver, Silicone Flexible Cable Wire Protector, Mouse Cable Protector, Suit for All Cellphone Data Lines Link
Flip It Bottle Emptying Kit, Single Pack-Kitchen/All-Purpose Link
Spatty Daddy Kitchen Spatula Set (6 and 12 Inch Blue) Link
TV Movies & News
Over the Air TV is a great way to get free content after a cheap setup. If you can get a roof antenna get one your picture quality will greatly improve I was able to get one and have it installed for $200 or so.
If you are looking for a basic OTA antenna this one cost me $20 once and is a really good one.
Getting some sort of DVR would be good.
Simple and cheap offline DVR setup that can be setup for under $100
WH 150 Homeworx DVR Works nice no internet needed link
I only watch PBS and weather otherwise I don't watch TV much.
lots of free movies DVD's that you can checkout for free.
Little free libraries is another project that I have done a lot of work on.
Iowa Public Radio nonprofit noncommercial radio iowapublicradio.org
YouTube has some of the best music and its free and easy to download the videos as MP3 files to listen anywhere. I have mostly old Motorola phones you can download the Motorola's radio app and listen to FM radio service from your phone without paying fees or seeing ads you still hear ads on commercial radio though.
Most phones either had this app on them or I was able to get it added to them and then I could record the radio. I could get the data that the radio would send through and it turned the old phone into an FM radio. It would even work on some stations without the headphones plugged in, but it's a pretty cool application with that
Media Free Online
Project Gutenberg - Free books https://www.gutenberg.org/
Internet Archive Music Books website way back machine https://archive.org/
LibriVox - Free audio books https://librivox.org/
Computers Tech & Telecom
Cell Phone Service
is one of the cheapest phone providers out there. I have them along with a Free Google Voice number I mostly use Google Voice because it integrates with Google hangouts so I can use it cross platform.
If you don't talk much Redpocket could be a good pick for phone service at $30 a year I use it as my backup phone line.
I am looking at options for phone service where it cost $100 a year and you get unlimited talk and text with some data
The best deal out there spend $750 get Join the Calyx Institute after the 1st year its $500 each additional year for unlimited 5G internet. On the back end it runs on T-Mobile network
Midwest Computer Brokers Link http://mcbia.com/
for used computer & accessories you can get a good used laptop for $100 I like the $300 range right now and can get something almost as good as a brand new $3K+ PC.
Kirkwood Eagle Tech http://bookstore.kirkwood.edu/eagletech
a great place to buy a New Apple product or other new tech thing with a warranty & discounts
"You'll get them tax-free and at the same academic pricing we offer our full-time staff, faculty and credit students."
I like buying Android phones new because of the software updates security and just overall performance I use my cellphone way more than I use my PC most days and it seems that the tech for Cellphones is moving at a much faster rate. A functional phone can be had for under $100 but an Ideal phone would be around $300 or so
Overall I avoid magazine or many other types of monthly Subscriptions. I use Free email subscriptions.
Bankruptcy Planning & Advanced buys
Most people do not plan to go bankrupt but millions do each year and its good to have an understanding and basic plan in place should something like that happen to you health care cost are the number 1 reason this happens to people. Chapter 7 tends to be the best way to go that just gives you a clean slate. If you shop till you drop you may need this :) This was growing with so much info that I created a whole page about it.
I have a number of pages that can help with this
When money is tight checkout my Free page and my Low Income page
I am working on a Cremation and Celebration of life page on the site for setting something like that up.
Death and celebration of life of life planning page
Donate your body to U of Iowa
prepaid burial plan from Iowa cremation
for under $2,500 you can get this paid off and taken care of.
that may or may not work they are older and its kind of hit or miss..
Above images of clothes line that is retractable. Below images of OTA rooftop antenna and Fire pit in action