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50 Quick & Easy Ways to Save Money

50 Quick & Easy Ways to Save Money

If you think that budgeting and saving money is hard, think again! These days, there are so many easy ways to save a buck or two. Whether you’re using the best websites to score great deals or simply being more money-conscious, you can easily slash hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars from your yearly expenses by learning a few of the tricks and tips we’ve listed below.

1. Start a piggy bank. Emptying your pockets into a piggy bank every day is a great habit to get into to save money. Sure it may seem childish, but storing your change away can really add up.

2. Get savvy with coupons. Coupons are a great way to save money on grocery and everyday items. Start clipping them from the insert in your Sunday paper or go to a website like www.Coupons.com and print them out.

3. Carpool to work with a friend. Carpooling saves tons of money in gas, and it’s also good for the environment.

4. Eat a few vegetarian meals every week. Chicken and ground beef are expensive to buy. Try cooking spaghetti without the meat, or make a vegetarian lasagna, and save a few bucks along the way.

5. Call your car insurance agent. It only takes a few minutes to give your car insurance company a call. When you do, you can ask them about any current sales or deals. Many of them have discounts for seemingly small reasons that you can take advantage of.

6. Turn off your lights. We as a society have become much better at conserving energy, but it’s always helpful to have a reminder to turn off the kitchen lights when you’re in your bedroom and vice versa.

7. Shop at thrift stores. Thrift stores are great places to purchase clothing, luggage, and even furniture for less. You’d be surprised at the high quality of items that people donate.

8. Learn how to refinish furniture. If you learn how to refinish furniture, then you’ll be able to give all of your pieces a fresh, new look without spending a fortune decorating.

9. Buy designer clothes on Ebay. If you love designer clothes but still want to save some money, start searching for them on Ebay. There are tons of auctions on there every day, and you can get great deals on very nice clothing.

10. Get a roommate. It doesn’t matter how old you are, getting a roommate is a great way to save significant money on your expenses. If you’re worried about sharing your space, be sure to rent to someone who is mature and will respect your belongings.

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11. Grow a vegetable garden. Growing your own vegetables means less money spent at the grocery!

12. Avoid going out to eat. This might be hard to avoid altogether, but it’s been proven time and time again that cooking at home saves you significant money in the long run.

13. Buy used cars. Buying a car that’s only one or two years old is a much better investment than a brand new one. They don’t depreciate as quickly.

14. Use your own herbs. Small herb gardens are easy to grow, and you can keep them inside you home or in a windowsill. This can save you several dollars throughout the year, and fresh herbs taste better too!

15. Shop Etsy.com for handmade gifts. Etsy is a great online marketplace where crafters go to sell their goods. You can find beautiful pieces of jewelry and accessories for affordable prices.

16. Give up alcohol. A glass of wine can definitely be nice at the end of a long workday, but alcohol is quite expensive, and going without it can save some people thousands throughout the year.

17. Sign up for a gas rewards card. Many grocery stores partner with gas stations to get you discounts on gas for every hundred dollars you spend at the grocery. Be sure to research the stores in your area so you don’t miss out on these great opportunities.

18. Try having a “no spend” day. You’d be surprised how hard it is to go an entire day without spending money. Give it a shot and see how well you do!

19. Dye your hair back to your natural color. If you spend a considerable amount of money dyeing your hair or getting highlights every few weeks, try going back to your natural color to save significant bucks.

20. Check out Groupon. Groupon.com and other deal sites are a great way to save money in your area whether your find a restaurant coupon or a free movie pass.

21. Order water at a restaurant. Some restaurants charge exorbitant amounts for cokes, let alone mixed drinks. By just ordering tap water and making it a habit, you can save a lot of money throughout the year.

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22. Learn how to sew curtains. If you learn how to sew curtains, you can save hundred of dollars furnishing your home.

23. Buy in bulk. Buying your canned goods in bulk is a great way to save money over the long term.

24. Print pictures at home. Instead of using gas to drive to a print shop, print your pictures at home using your own ink cartridges. The cartridges are expensive, but you can get a lot of use out of them.

25. Borrow from the library. Why buy books when you can borrow them from your local library for free?

26. Consume all of your milk. There’s nothing worse than wasting food, especially milk. Make sure to only buy a half-gallon if you don’t use it frequently or use a lot of recipes that require it that week.

27. Use generic prescriptions. So many prescriptions come in generic form now. You can save a bundle by using them—just check with your doctor first.

28. Try e-books. You don’t have to have an e-reader to benefit from e-books; you can download the programs onto your computer for free and read them right there. They are significantly cheaper than paper books if you are buying, and you can still get them for free from the library at most locations.

29. Upgrade to first class if you have a lot of luggage. Luggage and overweight fees on airlines these days can cost even more than a first class upgrade. When you ride first class, you often get to take 70lbs of luggage and 3+ bags free of charge, so it’s a better deal.

30. Repair versus buying new. Sometimes it’s less expensive to replace a part on an item instead of buying a new one. For example, buying a new watch battery is much cheaper than buying a new watch.

31. Buy a water filter. Filtering your own water is so much more cost effective and eco-friendly than buying water bottles.

32. Get the flu shot. Getting the flu shot is very inexpensive, and preventing the illness can save you from taking too many days off work.

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33. Train your dog. Training your dog is relatively simple and just takes a little bit of time every day. A trained dog won’t ruin furniture, shoes, or your floor, thus saving you money.

34. Buy quality not quantity. A nice, quality pair of shoes can last you 10 years whereas a cheap pair will break easily and cost you more in the long run.

35. Learn to say “no.” Telling yourself no regularly is the best way to save money. Simply passing on the candy bar you want in the checkout line at the store can save you a few dollars, and doing this regularly can save you hundreds over the course of a year.

36. Use a clothesline. Drying your clothes on a clothesline instead of your dryer is a great way to save money on electricity.

37. Protect your assets. It’s easy and cheap to buy a surge protector and a bike lock. These inexpensive items protect more costly items and can save you significant dollars in the long run.

38. Use a pre-paid phone. There are many pre-paid phone plans that are significantly less expensive that the contract plans. Plus, they don’t come with all the strings attached. For example, Wal-Mart just announced they will be selling the iPhone pre-paid plans for half the price of regular stores.

39. Buy refurbished products. Many refurbished products, like computers, come with warranties so they are less expensive and safe to buy.

40. Learn how to hem pants. Hemming pants doesn’t require a sewing machine. You can actually do it by hand, and save a lot of money that you would have spent at the tailor.

41. Hand deliver notes. If you know you’re going to see your mom or best friend, hand them a thank-you note in person instead of purchasing a stamp.

42. Use hand-me-downs. Hand-me-downs aren’t just for kids: get a group of your friends together to trade clothes and accessories they don’t want anymore, so everyone can exchange them to get new things for free.

43. Make homemade pizza. For the cost of one delivered pizza, you can make several homemade pizzas and use them for a few meals.

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44. Get a cash-back credit card. This type of credit card will give you a percentage of your purchases back in cash.

45. Buy neutral clothing. Wearing black, white, and gray clothes means that you can mix and match easier without having too many different outfits. (Hint: Make them stand out with fun, bright accessories, which are more affordable than a bunch of new clothes.)

46. Exercise regularly. Staying healthy means fewer doctor’s bills.

47. Go on a picnic. Or, take a walk on the beach. There are likely dozens of free activities you can do in your city that don’t cost a dime.

48. Buy Forever Stamps. Buying Forever Stamps means that you can use those stamps without having to pay extra when the price of stamps goes up.

49. Use frequent flier miles. If you save up enough frequent flier miles, you can get flights for free.

50. Read several personal finance blogs. Google “personal finance blogs” to find a list of great bloggers who share their thoughts on a variety of different financial topics, including even more tips on saving money!

I hope this list helps you save a significant amount of cash this year. Please let us know in the comment section if there’s anything we missed!

 

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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