My wife and I have moved around a lot since graduating college, and we keep coming back to the same suburb in the Chicagoland area. It’s not really our type of location per se, (a little more upscale than we’re used to), but it has a lot of charm, it’s close to the commuter train system, has fantastic schools, has low crime, and is a walker’s paradise.
As I said though, we don’t really fit in with many of the other residents, and it’s our money-saving ways that really set us apart from a large portion of the rest of the community. However, we’re willing to be a little different and sacrifice conforming to the norm if it means we find the savings adding up.
The average home value according to Zillow.com is about $340,000. Property taxes on such a home (without senior or similar exemptions) tend to fall right around the $8,000 to $10,000 range.
Our home value and our property tax rate fall nowhere close to these ranges. In fact, our condo value falls right around $130,000 (even though we bought for about $140,000) and our property taxes are closer to $3,000. While I don’t tend to look at our lower home value compared to others’ as a savings, I do consider our lower property tax rate as such.
Savings: Around $5,000 to $7,000 a year on property taxes
After dropping off our son off at school each morning, I watch the procession of parents flock to the local Starbucks. I’m not one of those parents. Instead, I make a pot of coffee at home each morning — which costs me about 15 cents — and I’m content with that.
Even just avoiding such treats a couple times a week at $5 per coffee can have the savings adding up.
Savings: Twice weekly gourmet coffee — $500
The North Face® Jacket from the Resale Shop
I’m amazed at the number of The North Face® jackets I see in our area. And while I fit right in with mine, I’m not letting on that it was purchased (like new) at a resale shop for about $5. This same jacket retails for around $150.
At area resale shops, we find work clothing for my wife, jeans and shorts for me, and particular valuable clothes for our baby and five-year-old who tend to outgrow them about as fast as we can buy them.
Savings: I’d say we probably pick up $1,000 retail value worth of often name brand clothing for less than $50 each year just by hitting our local resale shops.
They Drop Change…We Pick it Up
I know it might sound somewhat silly to some or they might feel it’s beneath them, but we stop for dropped change. Our five-year-old and I like to make it a game as we walk around town, seeing who can collect the most dropped change.
So while others in our community drop it, we stop for it, not only adding to our savings, but teaching our kids some valuable money lessons (like there is still value in pennies, especially when you have enough of them) in the process.
Savings: About 25 cents a week or $13 a year.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.