Stuff You Can Do To Save Money Today

If you find yourself in tight financial times, your instinct will probably be to hunt around for ways to cut spending. While it’s tough to make sweeping changes that will result in major savings, you can feel better about yourself by culling together little ways to save here and there.

Bible Money Matters has several tips about how to start saving money right away, making small changes that can add up to significant savings in the long term. Among the recommendations are to save rather than trash leftovers, unplug electronic devices you aren’t using, call your cell phone service provider to negotiate a lower payment and downgrade your internet speed.

It’s easy to fall into money-wasting traps in your daily routines, so the writer also recommends you seek a fresh set of eyes to spot ways in which you can save.

10 Ways To Save Money Right This Second! [Bible Money Matters]

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  1. Power Imbalance says:

    “unplug electronic devices you aren’t using”

    This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard (MTV had a big push on this issue back when people still thought global warming was real/man made). The EMF from the hot wire leaches such a small amount of energy that it would take years to waste a pennies worth of energy.

    • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

      Many of today’s electronics continue to function while they are turned off, but plugged in. If you have a TV, DVD/Blu-Ray player, console gaming system, or computer at your home, then you’re not just wrong, but idiotic.

      • chefboyardee says:

        my computer does not draw power when it is turned off and plugged in. my kill-a-watt agrees. you’re nuts.

        what cj is saying is true. very few of these devices draw significant amounts of phantom power. some? yes. significant? no. if you were to unplug every tv, microwave, etc in your house for a year, you might save a dollar or two. not worth it for the hassle.

        note, i didn’t say unplug your dvr (because you need it to record shows) or my computer (because i need to remotely access my files from work). i’m talking about the devices they’re talking about, televisions and such which draw phantom power. unplugging every device you own when you’re not using it is not realistic. hell, most of my wires are behind entertainment centers and such. i’m not killing myself day in and day out for a dollar or two a year, sorry. and i normally LOVE me some frugality.

        • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

          I, and the too-numerous-studies-to-count proving you wrong, beg to differ.

          While you’re at it, you can have a look at this:
          http://standby.lbl.gov/summary-table.html

          Thanks for playing.

        • Cat says:

          Some computers do, some don’t. Depends on the switch.

          Now, it may be inconvenient to unplug all those things, and they don’t draw a lot of power individually, but it is the fact that they are on 24/7 and there are so many of them that causes them all to add up.

          I think manufacturers need to step up to the plate here. What is stopping them from supplying the power for the remote sensor from an easily replaced rechargeable battery?

          But, hey what do I know. I’m just an old electronics technician.

          • The Twilight Clone says:

            It “adds up” — to what? Do you know how to calculate energy use based on power draw (watts) and your cost per kWh?

            It adds up to pennies. If you want to run around unplugging then replugging all your devices every single day to save a few pennies, go for it. My time is more valuable.

            • Cat says:

              Okay, lets say that all your devices add up to 100 watts. (NOT an unreasonable assumption)

              They’re on 24/7, so At 12¢/KWH x 873.6KWH of usage, that 100 watts costs about $104.84 per year to operate.

              I may not be able to unplug every one of those energy vampires, but if I can put them on a power strip so I can flip off a single switch when not in use, yeah, why not?

              I need that $100 more than the power company.

            • Sian says:

              I’ve used a single RF switched multitap for the big draw items in the entertainment center.

              Phased out though because it’s a pain when the power gets unreliable. Everything is on UPS now, which is a bit more of a pain to switch off, especially while keeping the DVR running.

          • shepd says:

            It would (should–I suppose a poorly designed power supply might actually make this incorrect) be more inefficient to charge up the battery than to power the circuit directly.

            Also, the battery will cost more to replace than the electricity consumed by charging them over the life of the battery if the battery method were more efficient than the direct plug in power method. Which it *shouldn’t* be.

        • shepd says:

          Your computer, unless it is in an AT case (and has an AT motherboard, which would limit it to something ’round 100 Mhz–I think that’s the fastest I recall an AT motherboard supporting) has a +5 volt standby power supply that’s on as long as the power switch on the PSU is flipped to on (which I assume you’re not actually switching, since it’s a pain in the ass). As long as that’s on, it is very likely drawing at least SOME power by just existing. Most of that power is going towards detecting if you pushed the power button. ;-)

    • Cat says:

      Perhaps if you bought a Kill-A-Watt meter (About$20 at Amazon) and plugged it in to your “un-powered” electronics, you would change your mind.

      Your TV consumes power even when it’s off, where do you think the power comes from to turn on the TV with your remote, magic?

      Your TV is not at all like your toaster.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        I thought when you clicked the clicker, a unicorn pressed the power button with its horn.

      • Sian says:

        surprising nobody’s come up with a TV that has a rechargeable standby battery built-in, that exists solely to watch for the on signal via IR and trip a switch.

        • winnabago says:

          Um, so how does it charge the battery? Most batteries charge at 500 mw or 1w anyway, which would be added to whatever the tv uses while on.

          • Nyall says:

            That 500mw or 1w wouldn’t be continuous. Sort of like how my cell phone is in my pocket as I write this and isn’t continuously charging at 700mw.

            • winnabago says:

              My point is that whatever current is saved by not drawing a trickle to monitor the IR port would be offset by having to charge the battery when the unit is on, so the net savings is exactly zero. i.e. 1W/hr from the battery when the unit is off = 1W/hr to charge the battery back to 100% when the unit is on.

              • Nyall says:

                I really doubt it would have to draw 1 watt to watch the IR port from a battery.

                Drawing 1 watt when plugged in is probably a result of having to do an AC->DC conversion and lazy hardware design.

      • hoop123 says:

        I have a killowatt and a 2009 model TV. It consumes 1W when off. Not really worth unplugging

    • DoodlestheGreat says:

      No, if your device has a remote control to turn it on, a clock, or some sort of programming it has to hold to operate, it’s drawing about 10 W an hour, which adds up damned fast.

      • Cat says:
        • sth9669 says:

          True, but unplugging your DVR while you’re not home or not using it does seem to sort of ruin the point of having said DVR. . .

          Good call on pointing out that it’s an energy hog, but not quite what I would imagine people would think of as the type of electronic device to unplug when you’re not using. I’m guessing they mean more like small kitchen appliances or computers and accessories. When I turn my home office desktop pc off, I make sure to just flip the switch on the surge protector and shut down all the peripherals too. . .

          • Buckus says:

            Some surge protectors/backup units have a few “Hot” plugs and a “Master” plug. The Hot plugs are on all the time. The other plugs are controlled by the master plug. I have this on my computer to turn off my monitor and speakers whenever the computer is off, but leaves the cable modem and router on (for my other devices).

    • El_Cheapocabra says:

      Don’t feed the trolls.

    • HaveSomeCheese says:

      What difference does it make how long it takes or how much is wasted, it’s still a waste of energy. Eventhough its insignificant to you, we all should know that little stuff adds up and eventually, someone has to pay.

      Get over the mentality that if it doesn’t affect you today, it’s not an issue.

      • shepd says:

        If we’re just talking about the EMF leakage, the majority of it is completely unavoidable unless you want to go back to knob and tube wiring (Still legal in Canada, keeps the crazies happy I suppose!). Most all of your home wiring runs the hot and neutral parallel to each other already.

    • bsh0544 says:

      I don’t think they’re talking about EMF leeching from the wires, that would be insane. This is a concern about “phantom power” which is the power the device draws while in standby, looking like it’s off but waiting for a button press to turn it on.

    • Leksi Wit says:

      These “save money” articles are mind-numbing. They shit that consumerist thinks is helpful is an intellectual insult considering the level of quality of other articles, that merit being published on this site. Really, I can downgrade my internet speed AND Netflix plans to save money? Can I also eat leftovers and take shorter showers? Wow, gee thanks.

      Here’s some more tips: You can eat less and shit less (lower grocery bills and toilet water saved!). Ohmygawd, I should totally blog about saving money. Did you know you can reuse paper towels AND toilet paper? I just place drying lines all over your house…

  2. pop top says:

    Shouldn’t Bible Money Matters help us learn how to become a church so we don’t have to pay taxes? Or ways you can stretch your food dollar by turning a few piece of fish and loaves of bread into an amount great enough to feed a large group? Or ways we can avoid having to buy medical insurance by curing our own blindness and leprosy? Or what about just basic carpentry skills?

  3. George4478 says:

    I always cook more food than we need for dinner and those leftovers become lunches. I learned that from my frugal mother when I was a kid in the 60s.

    My in-laws have a policy of saving every scrap of leftover food, never eating it, and throwing it all in the trash the following week. Their fridge is always packed with little foil pouches and tupperware. They’re doing it wrong.

    • VintageLydia says:

      Same here! I have at LEAST two “leftover dinners” a week. We used to just have it for lunch the next day but sometimes it can get boring eating the same meal two days in a row.

      • bsh0544 says:

        I disagree. I find a lunch comprised of whatever I had for dinner the night before to be considerably better than whatever crap I would have packed while stumbling around my kitchen that morning (PB&J or tuna sandwiches are frequent items).

        • Jules Noctambule says:

          Considering my usual state of morning alertness I’d probably end up making PB&Tuna by accident, so yay for already-packed leftovers!

      • Cat says:

        I save it for lunch the NEXT day after that. Then it’s not quite so boring.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      I love leftovers; I eat them for breakfast and sometimes bring some for lunch. I have leftovers in my lunchbox right now. :D

      But leftovers for dinner + breakfast/lunch the next day + the day after? Not so much. It’s a rare dish that I’ll eat three days in a row.

      • failurate says:

        I’m on my 4th day of a chili marathon.

        It is easy to scale soups and stews up, hard to scale them down.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        Me too. I usually make enough for two servings and then have it for lunch the next day. Any more than that and I’m sick of it and it goes to waste. There’s typically only me in the household so it’s no big to make a smaller amount.

        The “freeze it in lunch portions” bit doesn’t work for me because I either don’t want it or forget about it. Then it gets shoved in the back of the freezer and forgotten anyway.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      If I come up with something that I absolutely can’t stand to eat another bite of, and it doesn’t freeze well, I will at least give it to the dog (if it’s dog friendly) and failing that, I put it past my grape arbor for the squirrels or whatever critter will eat it. I’d rather have one of God’s creatures have a snack than send it to the landfill.

    • Sian says:

      It lets you feel good about yourself twice!

      first, when you put it away as leftovers “I’m saving food!”

      2 months later when you throw it out. “I’m saving my life!”

      RIP Carlin

  4. Aking0667 says:

    Can we get an article like “How to save money after you have already cut everything to the bare minimum.” The standard, cut your phone bill, change to a bank without fees, downsize this, downsize that etc. is getting pretty old/has been regurgitated too many times.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Well the issue there becomes one of defining what “bare minimum” is, as well as the reality that most people would claim to be at a bare minimum long before they truely are.

      • Aking0667 says:

        I’d say a safe bet is to define bare minimum as in money is only spent on utilities, upkeep (car fuel/property maint.), and food. I think it’d make a nice article to find inventive ways to save money given the above situation while not regurgitating the standard infoormation.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      At that point, if there is nothing left to cut, it’s time to start making arts and crafts to sell on the internet. With free things, like fallen leaves and twigs and office supplies. (seriously, I’m kidding about that last one!)

      The best hobbies are ones that do not cost money, but instead, make money.

      • Jules Noctambule says:

        ‘fallen leaves and twigs and office supplies’

        I see you’re familiar with the popular hipster goods on Etsy.

    • Mudilo says:

      Oh come on- this one doesn’t tell you to brew your own coffee at home- it’s very different from all the other ones. At least in that way lol

  5. SpendorTheCheap says:

    Hey Phil — I just read this great article called, “ways to cut monthly budget”.

    It’s totally awesome. It says stuff like, “reduce your cable package” and “cut your internet” and “eat out less often”. Did you know that you can save money by drinking coffee AT HOME instead of at Starbucks?

    The link is right here in my butt.

  6. Cat says:

    Unplug your toaster

    Really, I have never seen a toaster that requires standby power.
    Well, maybe just one…

    Would you like some toast?

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      We watched that episode Saturday night. Still as funny as ever!

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I unplug the stupid thing because it has a cord that’s about 10″ long, and there’s really one plug in the kitchen where I can use it, and it’s in the way any other time. I just know at one time toasters had normal cords, but someone stretched it from the outlet to the table, and it got knocked off by a runamuk child…burns ensued…so now everything has an extremely short cord.

      • shepd says:

        Cheaper too. Longer cords not only use more material due to their length, but the shorter it is, the thinner you are permitted to make the wiring (since it’s a fixed load) and pass CSA/UL. I assume a 6 foot long cord would require full 14 AWG wire.

  7. Gally says:

    Ok, a test without reading:

    -Make lots of little cuts that will save more in the long run: and don’t spend what you save.
    -Spend less on luxury items: Reduce cable bill, eat out less.
    -Look for good deals on things you normally buy: Coupons for nessesities
    -Have a budget

    Did I win?

    • The Nax says:

      #10 is “Think Differently.” I think (cha-ching!) every time you think a thought that you wouldn’t have thought before, you get 25 cents.

  8. dolemite says:

    I think my entertainment center was using around 25W while powered off. That’s TV, Stereo, Xbox, Wii, Blu Ray player, CD changer, battery charger, cable box (not DVR). I bought a remote control device that I plug 1 surge protector into, and click “off” when we aren’t watching tv.

    I’d do the same for the bedroom, but that one has alarm clocks and dvr and modem connected, and those need power all the time.

  9. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    OK, I’m not dropping Netflix or downgrading my internet speed. Not happening, especially since there’s no more restaurant meals, movies, shopping at the mall, or anything else. Already sitting in the dark all winter bundled up in my 62 degree house. At least I can watch Netflix on my broadband while freezing.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      You can also get movies and video games (if you have a console to play them on) from the library here, perhaps a library in your area would have the same. You would just need transportation to and from the library and keep up with the due dates.

      But otherwise I have to agree, internet and netflix are probably the 2 cheapest forms of entertainment. For the money that some people spend on one night out you could probably pay for both for a year!

  10. Mudilo says:

    It says to drop Netflix. I dropped cable in favor of just Netflix streaming. So $7 vs. $50+…Good advice, though.

  11. ChuckECheese says:

    My kill-a-watt shows that notebook computer #1 draws 2 W when switched off, and 5 when on sleep mode. Computer #2 draws 5 and 8 W. The TV, 12 W when switched off. A friend’s computer tower, 40 W when on sleep mode. I have a coffee maker with a clock, appliances with silly electronic pads and clocks that can’t be switched off, chargers, yeah, even at a couple watts each, it adds up. And I pay, with taxes and fees, about 24¢ / kWh.

  12. unpolloloco says:

    A toaster? How exactly does a toaster draw phantom power? (maybe with the exception of this one: http://www.ohgizmo.com/2008/09/19/scan-toaster-brings-you-internet-on-toast/)

  13. ArcanaJ says:

    Who the hell throws out leftovers?

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      My former neighbors did. Once my husband was over helping the husband with something, and they had pizza. There were a few slices left over. They asked my husband if he wanted any, he said no…and they promptly threw it in the garbage. He was amazed that someone would throw away perfectly good food.

  14. junip says:

    This is a sad list. #1 and #4 are basically the same thing: use less electricity.
    #2: review your cell phone plan isn’t all that helpful because you’re likely to have to extend or sign a new contract, or change hardware to get out of something like a smartphone plan that requires addons like a data plan.
    #3 is kind of obvious if you cook too much food at once, but how about better meal planning? You can plan ahead to transform the extra food you cook into something different for the next night, and you can plan your meals for the week according to what’s on sale at the supermarket.
    #5 is a good start, but I’d go with reviewing your last 3 months of expenses. Mint is a handy tool for that. You can look at trends and see exactly what you’re spending in each category.
    #6 moot if you don’t use Netflix
    #8 you probably don’t have to downgrade anything. Just call up your cable company and see if they can give you a better price for what you already have. I just cut my bill by $50/mo with one ten minute call.
    #9 moot if you live in an apartment and don’t pay for your water. OR if you have a well.

  15. ducktownhusker says:

    Cue the atheist haters who bash practical tips simply because they come from a place with “Bible” in the name.

    Also, cue the religious zealots who will tell you you’re going to hell if you don’t downgrade your internet bandwidth.

  16. Buckus says:

    Step 1: Spend less money.
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Profit!!

  17. lettucefactory says:

    I really hate it when crappy “we need to fill this space over the weekend” articles bleed into Monday mornings.

  18. Outrun1986 says:

    For some people their cell phone is their only phone so they can’t exactly get rid of it.

    Also might not be such a good idea to cut the phone plan because if you go over your minutes because you are used to having more you could be hit with huge charges which might even be more than the cost of keeping your old plan for a while.

  19. ironflange says:

    I don’t see any suggestion that you can reduce your tithing. Strange.

  20. This Dude Abides says:

    Raid the trash cans of the fat cats that didn’t finish their 33-cent plankton. Now it’s yours!