… find money and save time.
Here are my ground rules:
I don’t recommend ANYTHING unless I use it myself, on a regular basis, and I see a huge time-and-money benefit from its use.
That’s why this list is so short. A lot of products are crap. Here is a very short list of things that are genuinely awesome.
I’ve divided these into categories:
- The BEST Time-and-Money-Saving Tip
- Travel the World
- Start Your Own Blog
- Self-Employed? How to Buy Health Insurance
- Save an Instant 8 Percent on Everything
- Feed a Malnourished Child: Coupons for a Cause
The BEST Time-and-Money-Saving Tip
Shop Online: Online merchants don’t have the overhead of a brick-and-mortar store, so they offer substantial discounts. (They don’t have to pay rent, electricity, a cash register, and a zillion other costs.) They pass the savings onto you. You sometimes also avoid sales tax.
I buy EVERYTHING online, even toothpaste, moisturizer, my blender. It gets delivered straight to my doorstep, which is awesome. It’s like having a personal assistant who runs all your errands.
One Tool to Help You Travel the World
When you travel internationally you need guidebooks, maps and language guides. These thick volumes will consume a huge chunk of your bag.
Between my guidebooks and reading-for-fun books, I hauled about 10 pounds of reading material in my backpack. I’d rip the covers off to reduce the weight.
I highly recommend a Kindle if you’re going on a multi-week trip. Travel is easier when your maps, directions, language guide and “fun reading” fit compactly in one lightweight digital format. (The Kindle is also cheaper and more durable than the iPad.)
Start Your Own Blog
Interested in launching your own blog?
You’ll need to buy a domain name and hosting. This will cost between $50 – $150 per year, depending on what type of hosting package you get.
You CAN get a free domain name and hosting, but it will be on the annoying “example.wordpress.com” or “example.blogspot.com” domain. This looks unprofessional and likely will result in your blog never getting many readers. (Think about it: How many “major” or “mid-size” blogs have an “example.wordpress.com” or “example.blogspot.com” address?)
I’ve used three blog hosting sites: Netfirms, Bluehost and Hostgator. Of the three, I’ve had the best experience (fastest upload speeds, best customer service) with HostGator.
If you’d like to use HostGator, enter the coupon code “AFFORDANYTHING” for a 25% discount on any web hosting package 12 months or more.
Buy Health Insurance if You’re Self-Employed
This is a huge topic, so I recommend you read my article for complete coverage about how to buy health insurance if you’re self-employed.
Long story short, I compare prices on eHealthInsurance, which consolidates tons of choices.
Save an Instant 8 Percent on Everything
Use Discount Gift Cards: I’m not a fan of pinching pennies if it hogs your time and energy.
That’s why I always buy discount gift cards for the stores where I do my regular shopping (like Target or Home Depot). I save 5 to 30 percent off everything I buy, and it requires almost zero time and energy.
Here’s How It Works: John Doe gets a gift card for a store or restaurant he doesn’t like. He knows he’ll never use the gift card, and he’d rather have a fraction of that card’s value in cash.
So he sells the card — at a reduced rate — to a website like Plastic Jungle. That website re-sells the card to you.
You buy a $20 gift card for only $15. Or you buy a $100 gift card for only $70.
Deals are available for a zillion stores and restaurants, including Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Applebees, etc. There are even cards for “special occasion” places like Massage Envy or Melting Pot.
Get a card for the places you normally shop and eat. You’ll save 8 percent to 20 percent on everything you buy.
Feed a Malnourished Child: Coupons with a Cause
You know that I’m normally not a fan of savings-and-deals sites. Frugality is part of a consumer mindset: it keeps you focused on buying stuff. And I encourage my readers to focus on creating something amazing for the world, rather than consumption and consumerism.
So I never thought I’d recommend a coupon-and-deal site. But Save1 changed that. When someone shops from Save1, the company provides a healthy meal to a malnourished child. Since October 2012, Save1 has provided more than 95,000 meals to malnourished children, both in the U.S. and around the world.
It partners with non-profit aid organizations such as Action Against Hunger, Feeding America and Feed My Starving Children, all of which have a 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator. The partner that really caught my eye, though, is Project Peanut Butter, a nonprofit that focuses on feeding severely starving children in Sub-Saharan Africa. The inexpensive and high-calorie paste that Project Peanut Butter delivers is recognized by both UNICEF and the World Health Organization as “the most effective method to treat severely malnourished children.”
If you’re going to use a coupon website, I recommend Save1.com. You’ll be supporting nonprofits that feed malnourished children at the same time that you shop.