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Money Saving Tips for Tight Budgets

Everyone feels the pressure from increased costs on everything from building materials to gasoline to food and medicine. Regardless of your income or financial status, saving money in every way possible is wise. Here in Northeast Tennessee, we enjoy several economic benefits that make it a great place to live, work and raise a family. Use the following money saving tips for tight budgets and use those extra dollars you save for great outdoor adventures or enjoying your favorite local food truck. 

Combat High Gas Prices 

Gasoline is at an all-time high and doesn’t show many signs of declining any time soon. Combat high gas prices with these money saving tips: 

Fill Up – Fill your tank all the way to the top. A full tank lasts longer, so you can travel farther. And, if gas prices rise again, you may have to pay even more on your next filling. Only putting a smaller amount into your vehicle at a time causes you to spend more money and time.

Discount Plans – Take advantage of the perks offered by many discount stores and chain grocery stores. Sam’s Club, Costco, BJ’s and many Tri-cities Walmarts offer discounts on gas. Your yearly membership fee is small and is more than compensated by the larger savings on gasoline. Look for major grocery store chains like Food City and Kroger that offer fuel reward programs, where you earn points as you spend. The points are redeemed at the pump; some days you can redeem them for double value. This can go a long way toward filling your tank for less.

Gas-Saver Apps – Prices for gas and diesel can vary as much as 10 to 25 cents per gallon across the Tri-cities. Make good use of smartphone apps like AAA, Gas Buddy, Gas Guru and Waze to help you locate the lowest gas prices around town or on your normal route. You can also use them while traveling, thanks to your smartphone’s GPS.

Save Money on Food

We all have to eat, and food prices are higher due to greater demand and fuel costs that affect shipping. Save money all you can on food to stretch your budget while still keeping something great to eat on the table. 

Farmers Markets – This is the best time of year to save money by shopping local Tri-cities Farmers Markets. Johnson City, Jonesborough, Kingsport, Elizabethton and Erwin are just a few local towns that have regular Farmers Markets to share local farmers’ harvests. Often, customers can buy in bulk for a significant savings, which makes old-fashioned canning or even freezing food a good practice. Also, check out local farms and produce stores that carry local fare for great prices on everything from hot peppers to fresh meat to deli sandwiches. 

Home Meal Delivery Services – These new options became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic and now offer great convenience and savings. Companies like Hello Fresh, Every Plate, Freshly and Home Chef provide top-quality ingredients and simple recipes for quick and fresh meal preparation in your own kitchen. You cannot buy all the ingredients in the local store for the same price, plus everything you need is dropped right at your door on a schedule you choose. Most of these services also offer beginning discounts that drop the price to as low as $5 per meal! 

Discount Stores – One hidden perk in the Tri-cities of Northeast Tennessee is our several discount grocery outlet stores. These offer hugely discounted prices for scratched, dented or almost out-of-date canned goods, boxed meals and other grocery items. Plus, fresh meats and vegetables are also much less than branded grocery store chains. Some time shopping and reviewing labels can net a substantial savings. 

Affordable DIY Home Care 

While professional home care specialists for many needs are available throughout the Tri-cities, you can often save money by performing minor home care tasks yourself. If there is any doubt, don’t risk your home or your health – call a professional. But if you are confident in your own abilities, most of these tips you can do on your own. 

Unclog Drains – Clogged drains are a fact of life in most homes. Hair, soap, oil and other debris makes its way into our sink and tub drains and cause clogs. Most home clogs (even for slow drains) can be unstopped by pouring in a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, then following with a long flush using hot water. It may take two or three tries, but this is still cheaper than calling in a plumber. And, this method will not harm your pipes like some chemical solutions.  

Change Filters – This is simple routine maintenance for any HVAC system. There is often a single filter that is easily changed out. Use the cheapest filter available, and change it out every month. A good reminder is to change the filter on the day your rent or mortgage payment is due each month. This simple action is vital to keep your HVAC operating smoothly and not overworking it. 

Clean Around Vents – You may not think about it, but most machinery requires a free flow of fresh air to remain cool for peak operation. Your kitchen refrigerator has condenser coils that can accumulate dust and debris. Pull it away from the wall and vacuum this area yearly. You should also vacuum off your outdoor HVAC unit and keep it clear of grass, leaves, shrubbery and other debris. The clothes dryer vent is the cause of many home fires. Clear out your dryer vent between each load of laundry and disconnect the vent hose for cleaning and vacuuming at least twice each year. 

Fix Leaky Faucets & Toilets – These simple leaks can be repaired quickly with affordable components found at your local hardware or big box home care store. Most leaky faucets only require new washers inside the faucet handle. If your toilet runs continuously, a new flapper inside the tank can stop the flow of water (and the flow of money on higher water bills). 

Hang Shades, Blinds or Drapes – This investment will pay off over time by keeping your home cooler, requiring less work by your HVAC system and lowering energy costs. Use shades, blinds or drapes in the rooms that get direct morning or afternoon sunlight to shut out most of the light and resulting heat. This keeps rooms cooler and works your HVAC less. You can always open them later for more light, after the hottest part of the day is past. 

Shop for Professional Services 

A professional is needed from time to time when you have problems you cannot handle for yourself. is your source to locate Tri-cities plumbers, electricians, roofers, mechanics, HVAC services, yard care services, driveway paving and sealing, remodeling, medical specialists, legal services and much more. Search for what you need on and compare prices, testimonials and other information from each professional’s website to make a short list of those you wish to contact. This time invested early on can result in considerable savings and a better experience overall. 1-FIND is your one place to find everything in the Tri-cities of Northeast Tennessee.

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