My Bill is What ?? 5 Real Ways to Save that Buffers the"Illusion of a Deal"

Real Estate Agent with The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access


My Bill is What?

  My Bill is What?

As mortgage interest rates go down to historical lows, it sure seems like the price of everything else is going up. Am I wrong? With Halloween behind us and The Season of Gift Giving moving in fast, is the only way to save by buying a home? How's a person suppose to save any money these days? Whether you are buying a home, just bought a home or you are just trying to keep a roof over your head, saving money in this economy is a huge priority and we are always looking for ways to save.

I recently realized that saving money ain't what it used to be. Let's take, for example, our bi-weekly excursion to the Supermarket, the store we've shopped at for several years now.  Last week Chris and I grabbed the same darn cart (the one with the broken wheel), chose the same old staples, and maneuvered into the same long checkout line. As usual, I glanced at the tabloids with my Super Savings Card in hand while Chris unloaded the groceries onto the conveyor belt and bagged all of our stuff. Get the picture? Domestic bliss. The cashier swiped my Super Savings Card and excitedly exclaimed "You've saved thirteen dollars with your Super Savings Card!"  Wow. Thirteen bucks. Not a bad savings. Not bad at all... until I looked at the bill.



Were the grapes dipped in gold? Did they charge me 12 times for the cat litter? Should I have chosen the cheaper non-organic eggs? I remember a few years ago I spent a whole lot less for the very same groceries. Plus, I NEVER saved 13 dollars using a so called "Super Savings Card" or coupon.  

What a clever strategy to make the consumer get the impression of saving when we are not really saving at all! In Real Estate we call this "the illusion of a deal" and it is a sales technique that really works even with the most experienced investors. Blast those supermarket mental geniuses!

Chris and I thought we'd offer some "REAL" money saving tips to our readers that will prove to provide you with a money saving return on your efforts almost immediately.     

  1. Ask and you shall receive. Ask for that discount. Ask your credit card company to lower your interest My Bill is What? ~ Illusion of a deal...rate. Ask your homeowner’s insurance company to see if you are eligible for a discount. If you ask and do not receive a discount, there is always another vendor who will be happy to provide you a savings.
  2. Out with the old and in with the new. Did you know that refrigerators older than 1990 use up three times as much energy as new ones? Did you know that shower head fixtures and faucets older that 1994 use up more than 4 gallons of water per minute? Compared to the new ones that use up about 2.2 gallons per minute. That is an update that equates to savings for you! Go with the low flow aerators found at any local Home Depot or Lowes where Energy Star appliances are considered highly rated.
  3. Put a candle to it. Some experts say that drafts waste so much heat that it is like keeping a window open all winter! Light a candle or incense to identify where drafts are around windows, doors, under cabinets, around outlets & fixtures and then seal, caulk, insulate, and sit back to enjoy a lower heating bill this winter.
  4. Bulk up this winter. No, I do not mean join a gym but with this advice it may help offset that gym membership you may be considering. I mean buy things in bulk to glean the cost savings. Paper goods and dry goods are perfect to buy in bulk since they have a long shelf life. Buying in bulk will cut down on the time you spend driving to the store several times and time is a priceless commodity. Fewer trips to the store means using less gas, too.
  5. Be nice and share. Combine your bulk shopping with a friend, neighbor, or family member. You may not have storage for bulk items but between 2-3 people, you can split up the bulk and the cost savings can be had by all. The same goes for sharing big household jobs such as repaving a driveway, re-coating a roof, servicing the HVAC, landscaping, brick pointing etc... A contractor that you hire to do 3 jobs at once will be much more negotiable on their price. And if they do not offer a discount, go back to tip number 1.


It does not matter whether you are a home owner or a renter or whether you live in a small condo or a castle. If you pay bills, you want to find ways to save, not just get the impression that you are saving. Implementing some money saving strategies now can help ease the pinch of the economy. We hope one of these tips will help lower a bill or reserve a little extra cash to buffer "the illusion of a deal" you may be taking advantage of this Holiday Season.  

The Somers Team of Philadelphia






Re-Blogged 13 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Ken's Home Team LLC. | 360.609.0226 | Portland, OR & Vancouver, WA Real Estate Team 10/31/2010 04:52 AM
  2. Susan Morrison 10/31/2010 06:15 AM
  3. Dub Walters 11/01/2010 03:22 AM
  4. Trish Sarfert 11/01/2010 03:24 AM
  5. Lisa Kanter Giloti 11/01/2010 04:48 AM
  6. Michael Johnson 11/01/2010 05:08 AM
  7. Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers 11/01/2010 06:07 AM
  8. Nicole Donaghy 11/01/2010 07:54 AM
  9. Hannah Williams 11/01/2010 09:20 AM
  10. Jeremy St. Louis 11/01/2010 10:22 AM
  11. DeAndrea "Dee Dee" Jones 11/01/2010 10:41 AM
  12. Debbe Perry 11/01/2010 12:50 PM
  13. Thom Abbott 11/02/2010 03:27 AM
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Peter Michelbach

Shopping? That's a mine field, it's dangerous and scary!....been a long, long time since I have been shopping....because, my wife comments I can't  shop! I always buy the most expensive items, and the cashier's not passing always on the 'special ' price on to me! So what can I do?  Thanks for sharing, thanks for the great tips, will pass them on to my wife, she'll love it! Happy shopping!

Nov 01, 2010 12:43 PM #89
Debbe Perry
Real Living Carolina Property - Morganton, NC
828.439.3084 Morganton/Lake James NC

Forgot to mention that I love Joetta's list (#34), too!

Nov 01, 2010 12:43 PM #90
Debbe Perry
Real Living Carolina Property - Morganton, NC
828.439.3084 Morganton/Lake James NC

Forgot to mention that I love Joetta's list (#34), too!

Nov 01, 2010 12:43 PM #91
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

You are correct that "super-savers" actually only save you as much money as they let you save. The front -end "sticker price" is far more important.  I live alone - in a fairly cramped space- so cost-co etc. just isn't practical.  Been there, done that.  I might be able to join with a family and share.  But I have a small space, three dogs and very few closets.  The result is the home looks like a store and climbing over all the "stuff."

Nov 01, 2010 01:02 PM #92
George P. Cruz Sr.
DR Horton - Port St Lucie, FL

it seems that every day we need to keep looking for sales specially in grocery stores have we realized the price of bread?


Nov 01, 2010 02:06 PM #93
Joy Carter & Jeff Booker Brother and Sister Team
Keller Williams Parkland/Coral Springs Realty-GreatFloridaHomes Team - Coral Springs, FL
Trust Your Family's Move To Our Expertise!

Do you not just want to choke when you go to the grocery store???  (I think I found a better way.)

Lunch out for the Team is $10 a person!  At some point I decided I had had it with the expense, so I went back to cooking after 22 years of not having too. (Mom lives with me).

I now spend $75 - $100 and cook enough food to feed 7 of us for a week to 10 days.  Anything that heats up well.

Stuffed ravioli with pesto sauce or a balsamic and honey dressing with walnut drizzle, Meatloaf with salsa, Corkscrew pasta with Turkey Feta Meatballs, Cashew Chicken and Noodles, Vegetable Pasta and or add a protein....well you get the idea.  It takes me 6-8 hours every two weeks, but I think it is my de-stress therapy too!  Joy

Nov 01, 2010 02:40 PM #94
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Love Joetta's response! These are all great tips. One more that I intend to implement is cutting back on eating dinner out. That will definitely translate into savings.

Nov 02, 2010 01:18 AM #95
Tanya Nouwens
RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

Costco for me is false savings.  I go in there for toilet paper and come out with lawn furniture.

Nov 02, 2010 01:43 AM #96
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Saving money is a mantra with most and your tips help.


Nov 02, 2010 03:11 AM #97
Deb Harshman
Long and Foster - Christie's International Real Estate & Owner of Staged Home Decor - Potomac, MD
REALTOR & ASPMaster Stager, The Selling Advantage

How thoughtful of you to post your suggestions!  I love shopping in bulk and the saved trips to the store are an added benefit to the cash saved at the register.  I feel like I don't need to dress up to go to Costco either! Another benefit!



Nov 02, 2010 04:55 AM #98
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Christopher and Stephanie,

Three more:

1. BGE gives out programmable thermostats under their PeakRewards program.

2. Those foamy things for your outside wall outlets & switches save some draft.

3. Buy seasonal & unrefined. Pumpkins are good in many recipes (soup -- pumpkin, pear, celery, onion some spices in a blender, pumpkin mashed potatos, bread, noodles, covered dishes with a good cheese, etc.).

Nov 02, 2010 05:31 AM #99
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Ruthmarie- our place in not small (for a Philly condo) but we have limited storage so warehouse shopping only works if we share the goods. I get what you are saying.

Tanya- you know you have a problem when you walk out with the lawn furniture and have no lawn.

Dee Dee - go on and link away!

Thanks for the continued comments all!!!

Nov 02, 2010 05:39 AM #100
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Dorte- great tips thanks! I love pumpkin and squash. Chris hates it !

Nov 02, 2010 05:41 AM #101
Liane Thomas -Top Listing Agent
BROKER Allison James Estates & Homes BRE 01885684 - Corona, CA
Bringing you Home!

We love saving money and we love blogs about how to save money. Thanks for the tips, seems like I now have a NEED for a new fridge!

Nov 02, 2010 02:02 PM #102
Margaret C. Taylor
Century 21 New Millennium MD - Mechanicsville, MD
St Marys/Calvert/Charles MD Real Estate Agent

Saving money is always a good thing.  Great tips, thank you, now for the will power to follow through.

Margaret C

Nov 03, 2010 02:47 PM #103
Mike Giles

Stephanie & Chris,  Terrific Blog page and Great post!   I just experienced my most recent grocery-checkout "Quadruple Look Moment", with grapes, about 18 hours ago. Dipped in Gold they should be!

Thanks for all the thoughtful Savings tips! It's also great that your topic and post has elicited so many other wonderful comments and useful tips!

Nov 08, 2010 03:35 AM #104
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Saving is more important that ever. I really have to stretch my checks no days.

Nov 09, 2010 02:10 PM #105

I'm going to try the candle trick, it's never occured to me before! Besides, I like candles anyway and if they're saving me a bit on the bills, so much the better.

And bulk buying can definitely save you quite a bit. Obviously, it varies from household to household but there are usually things that make sense to buy in bulk. For us, it's eggs, toilet paper, kitchen roll and pet food, plus a few other things.

One thing I would say is that if you're going to buy meat in bulk, for goodness sake make sure you separate it into portions. It sounds obvious but it's easy enough to forget (like I did the first time....) and every time we got to the cash and carry now, my oh-so-charming partner asks if we need to buy a hammer and chisel too.

Nov 11, 2010 10:09 PM #106
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Great tips, Stephanie!  I love bulk-buying--I don't have time to go to the grocer that often so, bulk-buying is what we do best in our household!  Now that the boys are both gone, the food sure does last longer too!!

Nov 14, 2010 06:25 AM #107
Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches

I'm all for saving the elusive $$$$!  I stock-pile food & drug store items on a regular basis. I've insulated wallswitches & checked around doors & windows.  I've PURCHASED (but not installed yet!) a wrap for the hotwater tank!  The twisted lightbulbs replaced the incandesent old ones!

I prefer to keep the money IN MY POCKET for things I CHOOSE!

Thanks for these great reminders!

Dec 01, 2010 06:35 AM #108
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