Saving Money

Page I setup for where to Donate Things but also could be a good place to get things Free or cheap :)  

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 was  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.  A page so you can print your list for Free 


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 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.


Day Job

 See what you can find for work try to find something local. its better to be fully remote and free or at least within walking or 1 bus route (don't try to play transfer the bus ) I have more Career info on this page

 Places you work for can offer some good deals, I have gotten:

 Free gym memberships, Free Health Care, Free internet, Dollar for Dollar Matching on 401K with immediate vesting some additional corporate deals and discounts.   

 Looking for work at or  could be good to get an idea of the jobs that are out there. 

Lots of Free sites and places that you can build your resume on here is one site  

side hustle / small business 

Door Dashing, restaurant work, house cleaning and so many other things fall under this group. I think its better to have a self-employed 2nd job than trying to work a 2nd job for someone else. the tax breaks and options for making money are endless then you have control over your schedule and are able to keep the profits you would have to pay sales and self-employment tax etc but this buys you freedom and a way out.  


Bus Services & non-car ownership

 I cover this a lot more in the Student Discounts page.  On the living without a car page. low income page I talk about the City bus and how you can get free fare with disability or low income.

Car Owners 

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 and Costco 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.


Volunteering Groups and activities


Mindbridge Game Library & Events 

MindBridge is 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. Anime Iowa  do a black Friday online sale They do Gaming Sci-Fi and Anime one in the fall spring and summer. 

I go to ICON Iowa every year its in Cedar Rapids and its easy to get to I like to help with it.

Volunteering for 20 hours during the convention will get you a free membership to the next convention. 

There are a few areas where you can earn double hours, including setup, teardown and Friday registration desk. 

Note that if you expect to get to 20 hours after teardown,

 you should let the registration head and/or the volunteer coordinator know before clean-up begins, and remind them afterward to make sure you get credit for clean-up.

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 Hiawatha Library 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. I help with the book sale days as well as the donation days. We will have lunch after the event. 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. 

Free Theaters & Musical Shows 

USHERS at Theatre Cedar Rapids 

Our largest single group of active volunteers (more than 250) are TCR ushers. They take tickets, hand out programs, and/or assist our patrons to their seats. It’s a great way to see TCR shows at no cost!  You may also call the box office at 319-366-8591 or email

Work at VenuWorks 

So  I will have this listed as a way to make money too. 

You can get paid with this option. I've done this work volunteering with the Jaycees and with some other groups.  It doesn't pay the best at $9.50 an hour but I thought it would be something to at least interview for and look at and see how flexible they are because you get paid to go to events basically. The minimum events they want you to go to each month is 2 but then that can get you out of the house and paid to do something 

This has been something that I have wanted to do for a while I think the social aspect of it would be fun the fact that the event is free then and it really makes it more of a community Theatre vibe.  

Cedar Rapids Opera 

 Meals on Wheels  I have done volunteer work here off and on for years I had an internship in high school with Horizons credit counseling and then worked an hour in the kiten to get a free meal at a phone company I worked at once a month they would delivery meals to people in the area with their trucks


Most Masonic stated meetings have a meal before the meeting you can donate a few bucks to the meal and get a good meal and fellowship. 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 $130 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


Home Gym or Membership etc.


the MAC the best gym in the CR area.

You should also  check  this plan with the Iowa Farm Bureau for the discount plan You have to join the Bureau but it only cost $40 per year.  Its $28 a month with that discount 

 Sporting Equipment

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.


I have a page all about shopping on less Link 

I also have a general shopping list page too link 

Thrift Stores & 2nd hand shops 

I have a whole page on places to donate too and that also make a good place to shop at as well. If you can get it for less go there. I think the price and the deals used to be lower cost and better deals but it just depands on the place what you have and price etc... 

Get Power 

Rechargeable Batteries

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

check your power levels

emporia vue gen 2 

Kill A watt 

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 like its empowering even if its not the best return on investment ROI. 

Utilities & Things around the house that save...

Roof insulation upgrades 

 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 compromise 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

Dollar Tree has 2 piece  Mesh Strainers Kitchen Sink that work great for the bathroom sink and show/tub to keep things from going down em and its only $1.25 

 Navy Showers can lower how much time water etc is used to wash. 

Misc. Water

I don't have a dishwasher nor an Ice maker just use I trays. but I only drink water so I don't use Ice that much.

Use cold water to wash most of your regular clothes, only use one rinse cycle.


Calendars on your phone are the idea option but having an Needlepoint Hand Crafted Perpetual Calendar is a nice one to have all the wall its a green option so you never need to buy one or use one the Free ones that come in the mail it only takes a few minutes to switch over each month and then it lets think out the month.  

This site has Free printable calendars 

Outdoor clothes line & non-electric washing machine 

I use both of these  every so often its nice to be able to dry clothes at the cost of FREE and this came with my duplex. No power needed just let it all air dry. 

Wonder Wash I got it for under $70 

I use it for small batch of clothes' to clean and 

Cleans laundry in 1 to 2 minutes

Pays for itself within 60 days.

Fully portable, no hookup required 

Fire Pit

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. 

Do  free word search with  



Iowa Public Radio nonprofit noncommercial radio 

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 

Internet Archive Music Books website way back machine  

LibriVox - Free audio books 

 Educational sites and tools online as

YouTube is a great site to start at

 Printable things 

 If you have a printer here is some cool things to pritnt off 

don't pay for the Hallmark moment print your own :) dollar tree could be a good backup option too tho. 

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 Red Pocket 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

Used Tech

Midwest Computer Brokers Link

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. 


New Tech

Kirkwood Eagle Tech

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. 

more info


that may or may not work they are older and its kind of hit or miss.. 

Tech and saving $$$ /  

life on 25K a year 

Gordon Reeder has lots of good info here 

Low over head

Above images of clothes line that is retractable. Below images of OTA rooftop antenna and Fire pit in action

Needlepoint Hand Crafted Perpetual Calendar

Needlepoint Hand Crafted Perpetual Calendar 

Samsung 5003 Series UN22D5003 22" 1080p HD LED LCD Television


I was able to get this Bidet for under $17 on black Friday from Walmart 

merkur razor 

This is a Buy It For Life Razer it cost under $50 for it but then you just replace the blades