Time is running low for thoughtful gift purchases. With shipping windows winding down, you have just a few days left to make some wise gift purchases this holiday season. But don’t fret!
Saving money is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself. You know what’s even more rewarding? Saving money for others. This post isn’t about money saving gift ideas so that you can come out looking like a scrooge by saving a few bucks. No – this post is about gift ideas that save money for others.
By definition, these are truly gifts that keep on giving. Even more than the jelly of the month club, Clark. And if you haven’t already done these things for yourself, what are you waiting for?!
1. No More Phone Bills via the Ooma
If your loved one has a land-line and pays roughly $30 per month, or a high minute cell plan, an Ooma can save them a ton of money. Ooma is a VOIP device with no monthly bills (you do have to pay around $3/month for regulatory taxes on the newer model). Ooma allowed me to save approximately $360 a year by ditching my plan with Verizon and adding a lower-minute prepaid cell plan (more on that in a bit). And the clarity? Crystal clear. Just hook in your regular phone to the Ooma, your Ooma to a modem, and you’re all set.
- Cost: $129 for Ooma w/free shipping at Amazon
- Cost Savings: ~$360/year
- More Info? Check out my Ooma Review
2. Prepaid Cell Plan
Staying in theme with telecom expenses, prepaid cell plans can save a loved one as much as $50/month versus their overpriced contractual competitors. I went with Net10, which I pay $15/month for 300 minutes on. Minutes roll-over from month to month, and it runs on Verizon’s network so clarity and coverage are great. A cheaper alternative, with less minutes, is Tracfone at as low as $6.67 per month. I have recently switched from Net10 to Tracfone.
The drawback to Tracfone and Net10 are their limited smartphone offerings. If you want a cheap prepaid cell plan with a smartphone, Republic Wireless is a great option. You get unlimited data, text, and voice minutes for $25 per month ($10 if you’re happy with wifi-only data). Republic can do this because they’ve optimized their phones to connect to wi-fi networks, when available, and Sprint’s network when not.
Prepaid plans are also great for your technologically inept parents or grandparents whose safety you might be worried about.
- Cost: as low as $15/month on Net10, $6.67/month on Tracfone, $25/month on Republic Wireless
- Cost Savings: up to $600/year
- More Info? Net10 Review, Tracfone Review
3. Filtered Water
Do you know someone with poor tasting tap water that forces them to rely heavily on purchased bottled water? The true cost of bottled water vs. tap water can be over $1,000/year more for bottled for someone who goes through 3 bottles per day. Since tap water is as pure (and often times more so) than bottled water, the only thing you need to overcome is taste/smell at times.
A good under-counter water filtration system can be the solution. I’ve installed one of these before and it’s kind of fun (and something you could do as part of your gift). Looking for a cheaper alternative? Try a water pitcher with filter.
- Cost: $146 for a water filtration system with faucet w/free shipping at Amazon, $26 for water pitcher with filter w/free shipping at Amazon
- Cost Savings: $hundreds
4. Low Flow Showerhead
The single best return on investment you can get from any item you purchase will be through a low-flow showerhead. I highlighted how a 2.5 gallon-per-minute (gpm) unit can literally save a family of four$260 per year in heating costs alone vs. an older 5.5 gallon unit. That’s a whopping 640% ROI in one year! Not to mention the positive environmental impact.
- Cost: $25.99 for a Delta low flow showerhead w/free shipping at Amazon
- Cost Savings: $260/year in heating water costs + water + environment
5. Programmable Thermostat
A digital programmable thermostat can cut your heating and cooling costs by 20%. They also provide a huge convenience factor in that you don’t have to mess with the thermostat every time you go to bed, wake up, go to work, or get back from work. And they are good for the environment.
- Cost: $63 for an Lux digital thermostat w/free shipping at Amazon
- Cost Savings: $150/year
6. New Car Air Filter
A clean air filter in a car can save up to 10% in fuel costs. Over a year, that can really add up. The filter itself is cheap (usually around $10), but if you propose to change the filter yourself, you can save someone the typical $35-40 that mechanics charge for the part and labor. Not sure if you can do it? It’s easy. Simple instructions are included below.
- Cost: ~$10 for air filters at an auto supply store
- Cost Savings: ~$250/year (Assumptions: Average miles driven/year by Americans is 15,000, average mpg is 20 mpg, $3 per gallon cost, $2,250/year in total fuel costs).
- More Info? How to change a car air filter
Money Saving Gift Discussion:
- What gifts have you purchased for others that have saved them significant money?
- What gifts are you treating yourself too that will save you money?