21 Common Sense Hacks To Save Flint and Mid-Michigan Money, Right Now
Every season in Mid-Michigan presents money saving opportunities from heating & cooling your home, car maintenance, groceries and more. I'm not a professional financial advisor and am not selling you anything. These are common sense tips that can help you stretch a buck without making life difficult.
How can I save money heating and cooling my home in Mid-Michigan?
Winter or Summer it gets windy, cold, humid and hot (sometimes within 24 hours). Check these things around your home to make sure you're getting the most out of your HVAC system & Mother Nature.
- Check your vents. Is furniture sitting on top of them, curtains blocking? Move stuff to unblock.
- Change your furnace filter every three months. Doesn't have to be the expensive kind--improves airflow for efficiency. Have your furnace inspected if it's been a while.
- Make sure ceiling fans are switched to the correct position for pushing heat down in the winter, pulling cool air upward to circulate in the warmer months. It takes two minutes. (Clockwise on low for the winter, counterclockwise for summer.)
- Have drafts? Plastic seal over windows in the cold season. Roll up a towel to keep drafts from the bottom of doors. Or replace the weather stripping around entry doors--it's inexpensive and easy--let's your HVAC work less.
- If you're sleeping with the thermostat at 72 year-round... grab an extra blanket in the winter or sleep naked in the summer. Knock the temp back a couple of degrees. Use the ceiling fan, too.
- AC working too hard in summer? Time for a tune-up and check your blinds too see if sun is beating into your house during the day. The opposite for winter, if it's sunny and your blinds are closed.. open them. Knock the thermostat back a degree or two. (A programmable thermostat, doesn't have to be wi-fi, can be set & forget to save time, too.)
- Save on electric bills. If you're still using regular light bulbs, it's time to convert your most-used rooms to LED. You'll save a bunch, quickly. Worried your home will look like a gas station at night? Go for the "soft white" LEDs. They've come a long way: dimmable without humming, 3-way bulbs and Edison style, too. You won't have to change them for 10-plus years.
How can I save money on my car maintenance in Mid-Michigan?
No matter the age of your car, many of these tips are universal for car care and efficiency.
- Save money on Gas.
- Fuel stations in Mid-Michigan are charging higher prices than most other states in the country. Look for lower prices along your route to work. Notice a better price at certain shops, make that your go-to.
- Use apps like "Gas Buddy" to help find lower prices
- Drive near a Costco or Sam's Club? A membership could save you money on gas and other stuff you regularly buy, but in bulk (paper products, cleaning supplies, meats and other groceries). If someone in your family drives by a Costco, Sam's, etc. Talk to them about contributing to the membership price (It's about $60 annually). Surely a relative will run errands to save the whole family money. Venmo or Cash App make paying back easy, too.
- Check your tire pressure. Winter months means tires deflate (science). Summer months they deflate more slowly. The impact on gas mileage is noticeable. Haven't done that before? it's easy. Here's how.
- Have your gas filter checked/replaced. This is important, especially for older models and higher mileage vehicles no matter the age.
- Regularly change your oil. Our bones crack and pop as we age... they need exercise & maintenance. Auto engines are no different if they're not maintained.
Read More: How Much Is Bronner's Light Bill?
How can I save money on groceries in Mid-Michigan?
Whether you're single or a family of seven, these tips go beyond coupons and will help save money instantly.
- What foods are you wasting most? In my house, we buy produce with the best of intentions, but never use all of it. Stop buying until you're ready for it. Bread is one of the most wasted foods around the USA. Buy freezer bags and split the loaf in half or thirds. Take it out to thaw the night before you'll need it. Milk is the next most wasted food in America - only buy what you need now for certain products.
- Cleaning and paper products are expensive. The grocery store might not be your best bet for pricing. Think about membership clubs like Costco or Sam's Club. It pays for itself, quickly, on those products alone. Great quality, softness, strength, etc. with the store brand, but great prices on name brands you like, too. Bonus, their gas prices are cheaper.
- Too many leftovers? No problem. Here's an opportunity for time-saving convenience, too. Invest in reusable (glass) storage containers. Make soup and store it in serving dishes. Make whole dinners and freeze in servings. Think about the holidays -- most family toss a lot of turkey or ham leftovers, buy smaller sizes. It's estimated 35% of edible turkey is wasted at the holidays.
- Cook at home one more day per week. If you dine out often, choose a night to cook at home. Learn a new reciper. Teach kids (or your spouse) your favorite recipe. Leftovers afterward? See just above. (Bonus: your kids might enjoy cooking and could help out the family in a new way.)
- Do a meal prep day. This will sound strange to some, but cooking can be intimidating or time consuming. Or, if you're single, why make all that food "for it to go to waste?" Take a couple of hours to cook ahead for the week. Freeze or refrigerate to save time later. Bonus, you dine out less.
- Stop buying food on Door Dash or Uber Eats. The fees and mark-ups are sometimes 50% more than a pick-up order.
How can I save money on my pets in Mid-Michigan?
Our fur babies are expensive at times. See if any of these might help you.
- Pet Insurance. If you have a costly history with your pet, do your research or ask your employer if it's a benefit they do, or could, offer. Reimbursements are usually substantial.
- Pet Food. Grocery stores are expensive with pet food & supplies. Look at farm & agriculture stores in your area. Or check out pet supply apps. Subscription prices can save money. It's not a monthly fee type of service. You set your order cadence for when you need it. Don't need it for a month, cancel that shipment.
Feel free to share your favorite money-saving ideas we missed. Use the app chat feature in our free app.