You have so many different options for ways to save money. Of course, there are huge things that you can do – such as go car-free. But there are also loads of tiny money-saving tips that add up over time. There’s no excuse not to start saving money today when there are so many little ways to get started. Pick at least one thing off of this list of 250 money-saving tips and start right now!
How to Save Money on Food
If you’re anything like me then food takes up a huge portion of your budget. Here are some of the best money-saving tips when it comes to grocery shopping as well as dining out.
- Always use coupons.
- Combine coupons with sales; learn some tips from extreme couponers.
- Shop in season.
- Buy “ugly produce” and other discounted items that are perfectly good even though they don’t look perfect.
- Buy fresh food, mostly plants. Prepared and packaged foods cost more (and are often less healthy.) Eat meat in moderation, if at all, to save money.
- Shop around. Check the cost of your most common purchases at several local grocery stores and shop at the one that is least expensive.
- Buy in bulk only if you’ll use food in bulk.
- Learn to use every part of what you buy. (For example, carrot greens are great in soup stocks.) Never waste food.
- Set and stick to a budget for both groceries and dining out.
- Don’t shop when you’re hungry.
- Make a shopping list, stick to it, and don’t take anyone else with you to the store.
- Learn to make a meal plan. Make a meal last for two or three days. Freeze what you don’t use right away.
- When dining out, limit your purchases. Get an appetizer instead of an entree. Skip dessert. Savor each bite but don’t go overboard.
- When inviting people to dinner, consider a potluck.
- Drink water more than anything else. Juices, sodas, coffees, and alcohol all cost more money.
- Grow some of your own food. Gardening or even just growing some basic herbs on your kitchen counter can save grocery costs.
How to Save Money on Insurance
Insurance is one of those things that is almost always worth the cost. I have pets and would never consider skipping pet insurance, even though the monthly fee feels like a lot. Likewise, it’s generally smart to have renter’s insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, house insurance, and auto insurance. Here are some money-saving tips for insurance purchases:
- Shop around. Look for discounts. This goes for any type of insurance. If you already have insurance, speak with a representative to see about negotiating for a lower price.
- Combine policies to get a discount. Often bundling several types of insurance with the same company will save you the most money.
- Get enough coverage but not too much. Do your research to figure out exactly what’s right for you. For example, you may only need liability on your car.
- Likewise, carefully consider your deductible. It’s often better to get the higher deductible on the insurance that you may or may not need.
- Bonus: Put the amount of each deductible into a special savings account in advance. That way, if you need to use it, it’s there.
- In addition to changing the deductible, you can also decrease policy limits on some types of insurance such as renters’ insurance.
- Choose a replacement cost renters’ insurance policy instead of an actual value one if you’re insuring items that lose value quickly (such as computers).
- When it comes to car insurance, think about the car you have; a cheaper car will also likely cost less in insurance.
- Ask your insurance provider about ways to lower costs. For example, with car insurance, you can often get a lower price if you install anti-theft gadgets. Likewise, home insurance may be cheaper if you have a security system.
- Check if your credit card covers insurance. For example, you can skip travel insurance if your card covers it.
- Pay the annual cost in full if it’s discounted as compared to paying monthly.
- Review insurance after marriage life events such as getting married. Discounts are often available.
- Invest more in your health so you can invest less in your health insurance.
- Better health can mean cheaper life insurance too; for example, quit smoking to save significantly.
- When it comes to life insurance, the sooner the better because younger, healthier people pay less.
- Opt for term life insurance not permanent life insurance. However, make sure it comes with renewal guarantees.
- See if you qualify for group insurance. For example, freelance writers might join a writing organization to get a group discount on long-term disability insurance.
How to Save Money on Subscriptions
- Make sure you know what all of your subscriptions are. Cancel the ones that you aren’t using. Ask yourself these five questions.
- Reduce each subscription to the minimum you need. For example, an unlimited cell phone plan may or may not be worth the cost. Likewise, if you can tolerate ads while watching streaming TV then why pay for a no-ads experience?
- Check each subscription for a lower price. They often offer new deals. Review subscriptions at least once per year if not more frequently.
- Alternatively, shop around. You don’t need both Netflix and Hulu at the same time; which one is cheaper for you right now?
- More importantly, look for free alternatives. LoCast and Tubi are great for watching shows and don’t cost a thing.
- Learn the perks of your existing subscriptions and memberships. For example, as an AT&T customer, I got a free HBO Max subscription for awhile. I did a bundle of Spotify and Hulu to lower the combined price of both.
- Likewise, check your credit cards for perks. Sometimes they offer discounts on various subscriptions.
- Share subscriptions with others. I pay for Netflix, you pay for Hulu, and we share login information.]
- Check for digital alternatives. I use my library to get free access to many magazines instead of paying for print versions to come to my mailbox.
- Look at value, not cost. For example, I pay $19.99 per month for Lyft Pink, but I do that because I save more than that each month using the discounts that are part of the membership. I would use Lyft either way, so I am saving money.
- Skip deliveries when you don’t need them. I have subscriptions to Nom Nom Now for my dogs’ food and Farm Fresh for my own food. Approximately once every month or two, I have enough and don’t need the delivery right away. Therefore, I skip it.
- Gift what you don’t use. For example, if you subscribe to “subscription boxes” (beauty, clothes, pet toys) then chances are that you get things in there that you don’t want. If you decide to keep those subscriptions (which might not be worth it) then gift those items.
Save Money on Medication Prescriptions
- Check the drug manufacturer’s website for coupons, savings plans, etc.
- Before checkout, ask the pharmacist if they know of any coupons or rebates. They might also offer a pharmacy club membership; review the terms to see if this will save you money.
- Get the generic brand of a prescription if it’s available and is right for you.
- Use a tool like GoodRx which will help you find the lowest drug price in your area. You might need to use more than one pharmacy to get the best price on different medications.
- You might get the best price if you order through the mail. Shop around.
- Get 90-day instead of 30-day prescriptions refills from your doctor.
- Get a higher dosage and use a pill-cutter to take the right dose. Sometimes this is cheaper.
- Review alternatives to your medication. For example, you may opt for a different birth control method to save money on prescription birth control pills.
- Ask your doctor about free samples.
- In some cases, emphasizing improvements to your overall health is the best way to save money. After all, if you no longer need the medication, then it doesn’t cost you anything at all.
How to Save Money on Your Car
- Get rid of your car if you can. Bike, walk, use rideshare.
- Limit the use of your car if you have to have one.
- Consider a carshare with a family member, friend, or neighbor to split all costs.
- Consider trading in for better value – an older car without payments, a car that will have lower insurance rates, a hybrid to save money on gas.
- If you have a car loan, see about refinancing.
- Know your car’s optimal speed and travel at that speed, not faster, to reduce gas waste.
- Carpool with others and ask them to pitch in for gas money.
- Open the windows instead of using the air conditioner. It saves on gas costs.
- Keep your tires properly inflated to further save on gas costs.
- Use your car to make money. For example, get paid to advertise on the side of your car.
- Learn how to do basic maintenance and repairs yourself. It’s far cheaper.
- Do not skip basic maintenance. Do not ignore warning lights. Keep your car in good condition.
- That said, don’t overdo maintenance. For example, the recommended 3000-mile oil change is generally unnecessary; cars can easily go 5000-10000 miles without an oil change.
Energy-Saving Tips for Your Home
- Use timers to turn off WiFi, lights, and heating/cooling units at strategic times throughout the day.
- Implement screen-free time in the home. Do not use or charge devices during that time.
- Always use low-energy settings on devices, gadgets, and appliances. For example, turn the brightness down on your device screens.
- When you need to replace appliances, always choose an energy-saving alternative.
- Wash dishes, clothing, and yourself in cold water to avoid hot water bills. Washing your hands with cold water is perfectly healthy.
- If you need to take hot showers (because most of us don’t like cold ones) then keep them as short as possible.
- Dry dishes by hand and dry clothing on the line.
- Choose the “air dry” over “heat dry” setting whenever you must use the dryer or dishwasher.
- Use the shortest possible cycle on all appliances.
- Don’t use the dishwasher or washing machine until you have a full load ready to go.
- Eat some meals raw or lightly cooked. Reduce stove/oven use time.
- Use salt to speed up cooking time and reduce energy waste.
- Take advantage of the natural light in your house so that you don’t have to use lamps and overhead lights in the home.
- Utilize natural airflow to enhance heating and cooling so that you minimize the need to adjust the thermostat.
- Make sure all of your home’s air vents are working properly.
- Reduce your water heater’s temperature. Even a few degrees difference will save money on your bill.
- Also, warp that water heater so it works more efficiently.
- Install a smart meter so you fully understand how much energy you’re using. This will help you find further ways to reduce use.
- Seal the leaks around windows and doors.
- Make sure that your insulation is all properly working.
- Use plants inside and outside the home to improve heating/cooling efficiency.
- Check for discounts if you use less energy during peak hours. You can ask your utility company or use a service like OhmConnect.
- Go solar. There might be an upfront cost (look for discounts and tax breaks) but you’ll save money over time.
- Get an energy audit. This will tell you exactly where you’re losing money due to energy waste.
Additional Money-Saving Tips for Your Home
Home energy costs aren’t the only ways that our homes pick at our pockets. Here are some additional money-saving tips for the home:
Ways to Save Money Cleaning the Home
- Use DIY cleaners instead of store-bought ones. For example, a vinegar-water solution works to clean carpets along with many other things in the home.
- Use rags, not paper towels.
- Likewise, use washable, re-usable mops instead of throwaway Swiffer pads.
- Get freebies and samples of household cleaning supplies.
- If you do buy cleaning supplies, always shop with coupons.
- Swap house cleaning services with a friend. Sometimes it feels more fun and easy to clean someone else’s house.
- Barter house cleaning services for something else you’d rather do.
- If you do hire a house cleaning service, reduce the frequency and spot clean in between services.
- Share cleaning tools with others. For example, vacuums and steam cleaners can be shared among multiple households of families and friends.
- Reduce the need to clean however you can. For example, a one-pot recipe requires far less cleaning than a complicated meal.
- When washing dishes by hand, fill the sink then turn off the water. Running water is a waste.
Ways to Save Money Repairing Your Home
When you need to remodel the home or make repairs to items in the home follow these tips:
- Don’t replace items that don’t need replacing. If it’s broken, can you repair it? If you can’t, do you really need a new one? Be thoughtful.
- Do repairs yourself if you can. Plan ahead. Learn everything you need to in advance. Be smart about buying the right tools and supplies. Here are some more tips for DIY construction.
- Fix leaking faucets and toilets. Those water bills add up.
- Barter for services. Know an electrician? What can you trade them for that service?
- Learn to upholster and make other small upgrades to the items in your home.
- Do regular maintenance on the home to keep everything in good working order. That way, you shouldn’t have any big surprise expenses.
- For example, caulk the tub and shower to prevent long-term damage.
- If you do need to do big repairs, look into the best loan options. For example, a home equity loan might be better than using a credit card.
- Balance high-end materials with low-end ones. Put your money where it really matters and skimp on the rest.
- When you do your annual financial review, make sure that it includes a home repair budget.
Ways to Save Money Decorating Your Home
- When putting in curtains, think about how to use them to save energy waste in the home.
- Create your own DIY art for free or low-cost. Here are seven frugal art ideas.
- Furnish and decorate using donated, thrifted, and gifted items.
- Think minimal, eclectic, and durable as you create the design of your home.
- Make strategic use of mirrors. Pick them up cheap at thrift stores and estate sales. Use them to improve lighting, make rooms look larger, and create statement displays.
- Check Pinterest for ways to decorate on a budget.
- Beautiful fruits and vegetables in a bowl on the counter can be a functional form of kitchen decor.
- Make use of decor that does double duty: a bench that’s also storage, for example. That way, you pay once for an item instead of twice.
- Rearrange furniture for a fresh look without any cost.
- Replace door handles and drawer pulls rather than entire cabinets.
- A fresh coat of beautiful paint can make a room look terrific without a huge expense.
- Have a housewarming party and ask each guest to bring one small thing for you to decorate with.
Ways to Save Money When Moving to a New Home
- Sell everything that you don’t need. This is a great time to do a deep assessment and declutter all unnecessary items.
- In particular, don’t move any heavy things that you don’t need to move. Appliances and furniture cost a lot to move.
- Use the boxes that you already have to pack up the house. If you have totes, garbage bins, or other extra storage supplies, then use those. Ask friends and family to borrow their extra boxes. You shouldn’t have to pay for boxes when you move.
- Use towels and rags and clothes to pack fragile items rather than paying for bubble wrap or packing peanuts.
- Pack yourself, don’t pay someone to do it for you. Have a packing party to get some help from friends and family.
- Move it yourself if you can. That said, if you need to hire movers then shop around and look for discounts.
- If you have flexibility about when you move, try to move in your area’s off-season. Don’t move when everyone’s moving (such as the start and end of the school year.) This is one of the best money-saving tips if you’re going to pay moving expenses.
- Similarly, move on a weekday, not a weekend.
- Take advantage of relocation reimbursement if the company that you work for offers it.
- Remember to shut down utilities at the old home for a pro-rated rate as soon as you’re done there.
- If you are buying a home, look for an area with good schools as property values are likely to always rise. Here are some more home buying money saving tips.
Extra Ways to Save Money at Home
- Reuse absolutely everything. There are so many things that you throw away that could get more use. Even if you use something just one more time in an innovative way, you’re saving yourself some money. Here are 50 ways to reuse plastic bags and 50 uses for old towels.
- Switch to LED lights. You’ll replace them less often than other bulbs, saving money over time.
- If you’re a renter, negotiate the rent. See if there are things that you can do around the property in exchange for a rent reduction. Pay attention to the market and discuss it with your landlord when rent values go down.
- Use the space you have to make some extra money. Rent out that spare bedroom. Do an AirBnB room share. Offer to store a friend’s items in your garage for a tiny fee.
- Consider a bidet instead of constantly buying more toilet paper.
- Cancel your landline, if you haven’t already. Alternatively, cancel your cell phone and just have a landline.
How to Save Money on Travel
- Skip travel and enjoy a staycation.
- Go on a short road trip instead of a long flight.
- Plan ahead and shop around.
- Work to earn your keep, for example, try WOOFing.
- Consider camping and hostels, not five-star hotels.
- Combine travel with a family reunion and split the costs.
- Do a house swap with a friend in another location.
- Enjoy free activities instead of paying for pricy tourist attractions.
- Shop at the grocery store instead of eating out during every meal when you travel.
- Go to low-cost destinations where your currency will go a long way.
- Use your frequent flier miles and/or credit card miles but only if that’s the best deal.
- Always comparison shop for every part of the trip – especially lodging and airfare/ car rental.
- Convert currency at your destination but not at the airport because rates are usually highest there.
- Travel in the offseason.
- Skip souvenirs/ gifts except for postcards and pictures.
- Check the terms of your credit cards and cell phone to make sure you aren’t paying huge travel fees.
How to Save Money at the Holidays
Many people spend a lot of money during the end-of-year winter holidays. Here are some money-saving tips:
- Give handcrafted gifts instead of buying gifts.
- Give “coupons” for services that you can offer (babysitting, editing, whatever you’re good at) rather than financial gifts.
- If giving gifts, try a White Elephant or other simple cost-effective gift exchange.
- If buying gifts, create a budget and a shopping list and stick to it no matter what.
- Have potlucks for Thanksgiving and other holiday dinners.
- Alternatively, have one special entree or dessert. Spend less on the rest of the meal.
- Stay home instead of traveling. Visit family in January instead when travel is cheaper and stress is lower.
- Focus on your family’s values, not on the trappings of the holidays.
- Enjoy all of the free activities, such as walking around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights.
- Say no to some of the invitations. You don’t have to do everything.
- Decorate for free with nature; collect pine cones for displays, for example.
- Create your own holiday decor; paper snowflakes are an annual favorite.
- Encourage the whole family to be of service to others instead of promoting consumerism.
- Be wary of post-holiday sales. They are so tempting but you probably don’t need those items.
- Similarly, be wary of the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales. Limit purchases.
How to Save Money on Entertainment
The COVID-19 pandemic shut down a lot of outside entertainment, requiring many of us to get creative. That also means that we’ve brushed up on our money-saving tips for entertainment!
- Keep a calendar of all of the free events available in your city. You’d be surprised by how much activity that offers.
- Invite friends for walks, park time, and other free activities rather than dining out or going to movies together.
- Support local artists by attending low-budget performance events rather than big productions.
- Similarly, attend amateur sports events instead of paying for arena tickets.
- Host a potluck party in which everyone brings a dish as well as a creative activity (an instrument, a poem to read, etc.)
- Take advantage of the swell of creative entertainment available for free online through innovative creators on Twitch, Facebook Live, Zoom, etc.
- Each week, have one family member teach or entertain the rest of the family with a free/cheap activity. Rotate weekly.
- Look for entertainment discounts in the form of coupons, membership perks, etc.
- Become a volunteer. This is a great way to use your time. Plus you ca often volunteer at events that you want to attend and thus attend them for free.
- Meditate. This will help reduce the need for so much outside stimulation.
Money-Saving Tips for Education
School is expensive, especially at the college level. Here are some money-saving tips:
- Start at a community college.
- Continue at a school with in-state tuition.
- Look for free ways to learn skills, such as through apprenticeships, mentorships, and hacking your education online.
- Apply for as many grants and scholarships as possible.
- Work while going to school and pay as you go.
- Get a job at a company that will help pay for the costs of education.
- If taking out loans, take out as little as possible.
- Understand the terms of your loans including how the interest works and what your deferment/forbearance/repayment options are.
- Rent textbooks or buy them used and sell them back at semester’s end.
- Live as cheaply as you can with roommates or family. Now is the time to save on housing.
- Take advantage of all available student discounts when making purchases.
- Enjoy free campus and local activities instead of spending money going out.
- Buckle down and get through college quickly. The four-year plan (or even an accelerated three-year plan) is far cheaper than spending five or six years in college. Alternatively, look into a guarantee program that will cover the costs of those extra semesters.
Psychological/Relational Money-Saving Tips
What we think about money, and how we talk about money, impacts our ability to save money. Therefore, working on ourselves and our relationships can provide a boost to money-saving.
- Educate yourself about money. Budgeting, saving, earning, and investing are all key skills that you’ll need if you want to maximize your money.
- Work through money issues in therapy. Most of us have underlying beliefs and challenges that hinder us when it comes to money. It’s worth the investment in yourself to work through those things.
- Learn how to communicate about money. If you and your partner can’t talk about money then how will you implement money-saving tips in the most effective manner?
- Talk to your kids about money. Teaching them about saving money will help you come up with new creative ways to save as well.
- Talk to your parents about money. If you don’t know where things stand with them, then there may come a day when you’re caught up in a familial money mess that you never anticipated. Save yourself trouble and money by having those conversations now.
- Prepare now for the cost of funerals. That way you won’t make poor financial decisions due to grief.
- Review your money regularly. Alone and with your partner, roommates, and anyone else involved in your money life. Keep yourself and each other on track.
- Are you keeping up with the Joneses? These days, the Joneses are often on social media. Unfollow people who make you feel envious if that causes you to shop to keep up with them.
- In fact, reduce social media use. Those ads encourage impulsive shopping. Media addiction can impact the brain and lead to poor financial decision-making. Get off the computer and phone and tablet and get active in your life.
- Quit your vices. Smoking, gambling … what’s the vice that costs you too much money?
- Brainstorm a list of free and cheap activities that you love to do alone, with your partner, with your family, and with your friends. Keep the list handy and utilize it whenever you’re talking about going out.
- Ask everyone in your family to suggest some money-saving tips that everyone takes on board.
- Assess your deepest values. Align your savings goals with your values.
- Learn the SMART method for goal-setting. Apply that to your financial goals.
- Visualize the financial life that you want to have.
- Use The Stranger Test before making any purchase.
- Find money-saving mentors. Learn from them.
- Get free debt counseling. Look for your local Consumer Credit Counseling Service to get objective advice about your debt.
- Practice mindfulness. The more aware you are of what you’re spending, when, and why, the easier it will be to implement your own money saving tips.
And Other Miscellaneous Money-Saving Tips
- Take advantage of discounts that apply specifically to you. Senior discounts, military discounts, and AAA membership discounts are just a few examples.
- Use apps that help you to save money every time that you shop. For example, check out Honey.
- Use apps and platforms to get free items when you need something. Craigslist and NextDoor are just two options to check.
- Save your loose change. Roll it yourself instead of using a coin counter at the store.
- When you get extra money, such as a winter bonus at work, immediately use it to either pay off debt or invest in savings.
- Try a money-savings challenge.
- Track expenses. You can’t save if you don’t know what you’re spending.
- Pay all bills on time so that you never incur a late fee.
- Pay off credit cards in a timely manner so you don’t waste money on interest.
- Make loan payments twice per month instead of once to pay debt down faster.
- Refinance your mortgage and consolidate your loans when better interest rates are available.
- Buy everything on a credit card that offers rewards. Pay it off each month. Use those rewards to get cashback or to purchase gifts/gift cards.
- Always check your receipt. Don’t pay for things you didn’t get. Here are some additional money-saving tips using receipts.
- Brand names are rarely worth it. Buy the store brand.
- Make beauty products at home. For example, use lemons and olive oil for a moisturizing sleep mask.
- It’s okay to ask for refunds when you get bad service.
- Go paperless at home and if you own a business. Paying printing costs makes no sense these days.
- Look for fee-free options on all accounts. For example, choose a bank account without ATM or overdraft fees.
- Maintain good credit. Then you’ll get the best rates when you do need to borrow money, get insurance, or rent a property.
- Choose free/cheap entertainment, exercise, and hobbies. This includes when you travel.
- Use the free things that your community offers: parks, libraries, outdoor movie nights.
- Use the perks your company offers: health insurance, 401(k) matching, gym memberships, etc.
- Don’t pay for private school if your public schools are good enough.
- Take advantage of all possible income tax credits.
- Automate your savings.
- Ask about discounts for auto-pay and paperless billing from utility companies, telecoms, and others.
- Use a tool that rounds up your purchases and invests the extra money. Acorn app is one example.
- DIY all that you can. For example, you can cut your own hair. You and your partner can trade massages instead of paying for one.
- If you enjoy gardening, consider planting food so you can use it. Alternatively, plant perennials so you only need to plant once. Moreover, plant native plants to reduce the costs of care.
- Rent what you don’t need to buy. There are so many “sharing” apps these days that you can easily rent tools, cars, books, and more just for the limited time that you need them.
- If you need something, see if you can swap for it. Trading clothes, books, and even pet toys are common practices among my group of acquaintances.
- Reduce consumption. It’s the number one way to save money every single time. Don’t buy what you don’t need. Don’t buy on impulse. Hold off on purchases and try to find a way to satisfy your need without spending money.
- When you do make purchases, buy things that are designed to last. Buy secondhand if you can, but most importantly look for durability.
- If you bought something and then don’t want it, return it for a refund. Yes, it’s inconvenient. But it’s worth it. And the inconvenience might remind you to think twice about a purchase next time.
- Consistently educate yourself about new ways to save money. Keep it a prioritized focus.
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