This is it. Your ultimate guide, jam-packed with saving money ideas. We’ve gathered these 250 money saving tips and ideas from all over the internet to make sure you can get all the tips and tricks to save money you could possibly need – in one place!
These money saving tricks and tips are divided into a range of different topics so that you can choose to focus on saving money in one specific area of your life.
Or you can choose to implement as many of them as you want, of course!
And with 250 money saving tips in this ultimate guide, you’re bound to find some that you can start to use straight away.
This is especially for those of you who are struggling to save money and really aren’t sure where to start.
So these ideas on how to save money will hopefully show you that’s it’s not that hard at all to start making spending cuts.
And even if you consider yourself pretty good with money, it’s always helpful to get some new tips to save money as a way to check on how you’re going – and where you could possibly improve.
So let’s get started with seeing just how to save!
250 money saving tips
General money saving tips and ideas
1. Make a budget
One of the best things you can do for your money management is to make a budget (and stick to it!)
While it can seem daunting at first to work out how to put all of your finances into a budget, it’s actually super straightforward.
This step-by-step guide to creating a budget will walk you through just what you need to do.
As an extra push to help you get started, here’s a free downloadable budget template – just fill it in and you’re on your way!
2. Keep a close eye on your overall financial situation
Most people have an overall picture of where they are financially, but probably can’t tell you how they’re improving (or, ahem, not) from month-to-month.
But it’s super important to know your overall financial situation so that you can identify and fix any issues as early as possible.
This is why I thoroughly recommend Personal Capital.
It’s a great, FREE tool that lets you connect all of your bank accounts and cards to its system to show you your exact financial picture, including where your spending is going each month.
This makes it excellent for helping you to save money as you’ll immediately see where you may have spent more than you realised.
3. Do a quick check on your 401(k)
It’s great if you have a 401(k) that you’re contributing to regularly.
But did you know that high fees, an incorrect mix of investments and poor management of your 401(k) can quickly eat into your gains?
The problem is that it can be tricky to actually know if there’s a problem or not, let alone how to fix it.
Luckily, there’s a FREE tool that can do a check-up on your 401(k) for you.
Blooom will run an analysis of your 401(k) against 25,000 other funds and will let you know just how yours is going.
This includes telling you about any hidden investment fees, whether you have the right amount of stocks and bonds and how to reduce any potential risks to your 401(k).
And, of course, it will suggest just how you can fix these things to make sure that you’re earning as much as possible for your retirement!
So click here to get your free analysis of your 401(k) to make sure that you’re on the right track to retirement.
MORE INFORMATION: HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR 401(K) BY TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS
4. Cut your subscriptions
If you’re not sure whether you’re paying too much for things like your cable, internet or car insurance, then you probably are.
So Trim is a great app to help you out with this.
It looks at your recurring subscriptions to find out just how you can cut back on them to save money.
Better yet, it’s apparently saving customers an average of $180 per year and is totally free to try!
It can also negotiate your internet and cable bills, find you better car insurance and more – all automatically.
Find out more information here.
5. Have an app on your phone that lets you check how your finances are going at all times
If you’d like to get a full picture of how your budget’s going that’s completely up to date at any time, then there’s a fantastic, FREE app to help you out with that.
After you – completely securely – connect your accounts to the app, it automatically organises your expenses, analyses your spending habits and shows you how you’ve been using your money.
This is enormously helpful when trying to figure out where your money has gone, while also showing you where you can make some changes to save more.
However, the app then adds some icing on the cake by providing cash back whenever one of your accounts shows a purchase at one of the thousands of shops and restaurants in the Spent Money system.
This includes companies like Amazon, Uber, Netflix, Starbucks, Spotify and Grubhub.
So given that 99.9% of you are definitely shopping at one of these stores, you’ll be easily able to start getting cash back without changing your spending habits.
(And by the way – you get a bonus $10 cash back after your first eligible purchase.)
6. Automate your finances
This has been a game changer for me in making sure that I’m meeting my saving goals.
Essentially, every month, my salary hits my account and then is automatically split up and sent off to pay off my credit card in full, pay for any recurring expenses like my cell phone and to make sure that a certain percentage is put towards my investments.
That way, there’s no temptation to spend more than I have – as I simply don’t have access to any more money!
7. Try a money saving challenge
If you find you need a bit of a competitive push to help you to stop spending money, why not try a money saving challenge.
There are tons of them out there but, essentially, they’re ways for you to save extra money that you probably would have otherwise spent.
Meaning that challenging yourself to save with one of these challenges will also help you to stop spending money.
So take a look at these 19 simple money saving challenges and grab a free printable worksheet to help you get started with cutting your spending.
8. Save all your fives
This works best if you tend to pay for things with cash rather than card.
It’s simple: every time you get a $5 note, such as when you’re given change, you save it.
Keep it in a jar or in a box at the back of your cupboard – it doesn’t matter. Just don’t spend it.
So every little bit really does count!
RELATED ARTICLE: 27 WAYS TO TRICK YOURSELF TO SAVE MONEY
9. Set short term financial goals
A goal like getting out of debt is fantastic, but it can take a while to do. And if you’re just starting out, it can seem like an impossibly far away thing to achieve.
So instead, break it down into more manageable steps. Like the process in the guide to get out of debt explains, you should focus on each individual debt rather than your total overall debt, which may seem insurmountable.
But chipping away at each individual debt is much more achievable – and will give you more wins on your path to being debt free.
10. Have quantifiable financial goals
It’s all well and good to say that you want to spend less on food, but it may not be specific enough for you to actually achieve it.
Instead, try to instead think of something like: “I’m going to only spend $250 instead of $500 on food this month”.
Having an actual, quantifiable goal will show you immediately how not spending $20 on whatever has caught your eye can help you reach your objective.
And, importantly, it can be great motivation for you to keep working on your finances when you see yourself reaching (or almost reaching!) your goals each month.
11. Schedule a financial date night every month
This is a great way to really get your finances under control – and make sure that they stay that way throughout the year.
If you live with a partner, then it’s great if you can do this with him or her so that you’re both on the same page.
But you can also have this date night with yourself. Simply grab a glass of wine, put on some music and settle down with…your financial documents.
Who said love is dead?
12. Work on your financial education
While we often talk about investing your money around here, it can also be just as valuable to invest in your own education.
In particular, gaining an understanding of financial concepts will help you enormously going forward.
I’d personally recommend that you start with the ones below
- The Simple Path to Wealth (my absolutely favourite that I always recommend to friends)
- The Millionaire Next Door
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich
You can even get two of these as audiobooks for free!
Just sign up here for a free 30-day trial with Audible and you’ll get two free audiobooks to keep – even if you choose not to sign up for Audible at the end of the trial.
13. Check you’re not paying too much for your health insurance
Whether you currently have health insurance or you’re thinking of taking it out, it’s always a great idea to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
This is where eHealth Insurance comes in. They allow you to search for health insurance policies in its database of over 10,000 plans from over 180 health companies in the US.
Meaning that it’s highly likely that you’ll be able to find an amazing deal for your circumstances.
14. Check that you’re not paying too much for your prescription medication
If you’re buying generic prescription medicine, the costs of this can really add up over time.
So check out the tool on eHealth Insurance which lets you compare plans for prescription medication.
They state that they allow people to save from $1,616 per year. Which isn’t too bad at all!
15. Buy generic medicine
In addition to the point above, you should almost always buy the generic brand of medicine instead of the brand name as they’re identical, just much cheaper.
Check with your pharmacist the next time you need to pick up some medication.
16. Use Airbnb when you travel
This is hardly a secret, but Airbnb is often far cheaper than a hotel.
And given they come with a kitchen, you’ll be able to buy food at the supermarket during your stay instead of overpriced take out or hotel food.
If you haven’t used Airbnb before, click here for $25 of credit for free.
17. Pretend you didn’t get a raise
If you get a pay rise, one of the best things you can do for your savings rate is to pretend that you didn’t get it.
That is, continue spending like you used to do on your previous salary. That way, you’ll be able to use all of the extra money to accelerate your financial goals.
18. Immediately save any tax refunds
Receiving a tax refund can be like winning the lottery, but it’s best if you pretend that you never received it instead of running out for a new pair of shoes.
Immediately put it towards your credit card or straight into your emergency fund. Future you will thank you.
19. Start investing
One of the most valuable tools that an investor has is time.
That is, by starting to invest as early as possible and letting your money grow for as long as you can, it can literally earn you hundreds of thousands of dollars more than if you started years later.
FIND OUT MORE: THE ONE PRINCIPLE THAT WILL GUARANTEE YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE
If you haven’t started yet, it’s absolutely not too late! Start looking into it ASAP and add this to your financial goals, as it truly is the way to set up your financial future for success.
And as to how this relates to saving, I find this to be a great motivator to help me to not spend money on unnecessary things.
That is, ask yourself if you need to buy a new phone – or do you want to save that money and add a bit more towards your retirement?
20. Invest in low-cost, effective options
…and there are even ways to implement money-saving strategies when you actually do start investing!
After all, one of the biggest money wasters when investing is the fees that are often charged to manage your money. These can really eat into your returns over time to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.
Fortunately, there’s a way to invest that’s low-cost with steady returns that even high profile investors like Warren Buffett say is the best way to invest your money. And it’s incredibly easy for you to do as well.
Find out more by downloading this free e-book to see how easy it is to get started on your investing journey (even if – or especially if – you’re a total beginner)!
21. Track where all your spending is going
Creating a budget is a great place to start when getting all your finances under control but if you’re really serious about limiting your spending, then tracking where all your money is going is imperative.
While I agree that it can be annoying to write down where every cent is going, doing this for at least one month will give you an idea on where your problem areas may be.
And if you really can’t be bothered doing this (which is totally understandable) try using a free app like Personal Capital which will do it for you.
Simply connect your cards and accounts to it (completely securely!) and it will show you exactly where all your money is going in and out, ready for you to fix any issues.
22. Try the cash envelope system
If you prefer to spend using cash instead of cards, then the cash envelope system may be what you need to control your spending and save more.
Find out exactly what it is and how it works here.
23. Don’t keep up with the Joneses
Dave Ramsey once said: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”
Keep that in mind the next time you’re thinking of making a big purchase.
24. Keep your cash in large bills
It’s easy to spend that $5 bill in your wallet. But if you go to break a $50 or $100 bill, you tend to pause for a moment.
After all, do you REALLY want to spend that much?
So if you do need to carry cash, try to keep it in large bills. It might give you the psychological push to keep it in your wallet rather than spending it.
25. Save all your spare change
At the end of every day (you could even set an alarm on your phone at a set time each day to remind you), check your wallet for any coins.
Then put all that spare change into a piggy bank or a jar, where it will build up during the year.
You won’t become a millionaire from this, but you’ll find yourself saving money you won’t even notice is missing which can definitely add up.
This woman saves around $350 per year using this money saving challenge – and one year, she even saved $1,000!
Not bad for just a bit of spare change!
26. Keep your money in a bottle
The aim here is to fill a plastic bottle with coins. You could make it any change or only a certain type of coin.
For example, if you do it just with dimes, it’s estimated that you’ll end up with around $700!
27. Save your savings
Most store receipts will tell you how much you’ve saved from things like coupons or in-store sales. So it’s time to use this to your advantage!
Simply keep all your receipts safe from each week. Then, at the end of the week, add up the total amount it says you’ve saved on all of them then transfer that amount to your savings account.
Depending on how much you shop, this could add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars!
28. Save your debt repayments
So you’ve been focusing all your efforts on paying off your debt.
Firstly, you’re amazing, as that’s absolutely what you should be focusing on if you’re striving to reach financial freedom.
RELATED ARTICLE: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO GETTING OUT OF DEBT
But maybe you’ve been so amazing at this that you’ll soon have paid everything off.
(Except your mortgage. It’s fine to start this challenge if that’s still ongoing and if your interest rate is low enough to make it better to put your extra money into savings or investments)
Not only does this make you a financial powerhouse, but you’ve just unlocked a cool new money saving challenge: saving your repayments!
That is, all that money you were previously putting towards your credit card or car loan repayments each month? You’re now going to redirect that towards your savings.
This is a great challenge as you’ve clearly been surviving off a certain amount of money each month while making your debt repayments. So you can continue to live off that, be debt free AND start to maximize your savings.
Double financial win!
29. Compete with someone else to save more
Money saving challenges are great because they challenge you to get your finances in gear.
But how about kicking it up a notch by competing against someone else?
Whether it’s a friend, your partner or a family member, it’s a great way to keep you accountable AND to try to ‘beat’ the other person.
It doesn’t even have to be one of the challenges in this list! Instead, it could be who can save the most in a week or a goal for you both to save a certain amount of money in a month.
The person who loses (although are you really losing if you’re both saving money?) then has to do something for the other one, like bring lunch to work for them for a week or pay for a breakfast date at the end of the challenge period.
30. Trade services with friends and family
If you have some sort of specialized training in a certain field, see if you can trade that for someone else’s skills or training. This saves you having to pay for their area of expertise – and vice-versa.
31. Do a home exchange to get free accommodation when travelling
Home exchanges are growing massively in popularity.
And it’s hardly surprising when it involves you getting free accommodation for your vacations.
If that sounds interesting to you, take a look at Home Exchange.
It’s the biggest site in the world offering this service with tens of thousands of homes on offer.
Just pick where you want to go, put your own house on there for someone to look after while you’re away – and before you know it, you’ll have saved a ton on your next holiday!
32. Check that you have all the insurance policies you need
Insurance is one of those things that we may not give much thought to – until we really, really need it, by which time it may be too late.
So check that you have all the policies that you need and that your coverage is good enough based on your circumstances.
It could save you literally hundreds of thousands of dollars if something happens one day.
33. Pay your insurance upfront
Some insurance policies – but particularly car insurance – charge you a fee if you pay month-to-month.
So save your money and pay every six or twelve months instead, depending on what your policy allows.
34. Empty out and get rid of your storage unit
If you’ve got a storage unit, I bet you’d struggle to name the last time that you got something out of it.
So instead of spending around $100 per month on keeping your junk, clean it out, sell the stuff you don’t want (extra money!) and stop paying more than $1,000 per year on things you don’t need.
35. Round up your spending
Some banks, such as Bank of America, have a program that rounds your expenses up to the nearest dollar and then transfers the difference to your savings account.
For example, if you buy something for $8.73, $0.27 will be transferred into your savings.
It’s such a small amount each time that you won’t even notice, but it quickly adds up to make a real difference to your savings rate!
But if you don’t have an account with a bank that offers this, you can always do it yourself.
Just log in to your account, check how much you’ve spent that day then transfer the difference to the nearest $1 to your savings account.
(Make sure that your checking and savings accounts are either with the same bank or don’t incur any fees for transfers between them.)
And want to really accelerate your savings? Try rounding up to the nearest $10 and saving the difference!
This sounds like a pain but it easily takes less than one minute. Log in, check your transactions for the day, calculate the difference, transfer.
Boom, make it rain.
36. Use your imagination
Considering buying a new TV – for “only” $1,000?
Instead of whipping out your card, imagine someone holding $1,000 in cash – perhaps waving it like a fan towards you.
It looks like a lot of money, right? Well, that’s because it is!
Now ask yourself if you actually need the TV – or is your current one perfectly fine as you’d rather have all that money?
37. Make a list of “almost boughts”
Say that you find yourself in a store about to buy a new jacket that you want…but don’t actually need.
Instead of trying to talk yourself out of buying it, add it to a list that you should carry at all times (Google Keep is a great, free option).
This list will set out all the things that you thought of buying at one point. You could even add the price of each item if you want.
You’ll soon see how much stuff you almost bought – and how much it almost cost you – as well as how quickly it can all add up.
It will also show you just how much you don’t need this stuff, given that you’ve survived perfectly well without it before then.
38. Play hard to get with your money
For this trick to work, you have to keep as little money as possible in your everyday checking account, with the rest to be kept in a harder-to-reach savings account.
This means that when you go to buy something, make yourself check your everyday account first. Now tell yourself that’s all the money you have to spend before the end of the month.
Essentially, you’re imagining yourself as being as broke as possible. And when you’re in such a dire situation, do you really need those brand new shoes?
39. Get great deals from people who are training
Getting things like haircuts or other beauty treatments from students is a great way to get professional services for far cheaper.
They’re closely supervised so the outcome is always going to be good. And saving money is always good too!
40. Use the future value of your savings as motivation to save more now
Sure, it can seem tough to start saving when you decide to save, say, $500 per month.
So one way to motivate you to keep going is to check out what this could be worth to you in future.
Money Chimp’s Compound Interest Calculator is simple: you enter how much money you currently have, how much you plan to save each year, the interest rate on these savings and how long you plan to continue to do this.
You can then see exactly how much money you’ll have after that time!
So say you’re 30 and have saved nothing. But you want to start saving $500 per month until you retire at age 65. You plan to put this money into S&P 500 index funds, which have an average rate of return of around 7%.
By the time you retire, you’ll have just under $890,000. Not bad for only having invested $210,000 overall!
FIND OUT MORE: THE ONE PRINCIPLE THAT WILL GUARANTEE YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE
Money saving tips for your accounts
41. Keep your money in a high-interest bank account
If your money isn’t earning interest, then you’re simply throwing away cash. While it’s true that it’s not a huge amount of money, it’s absolutely better than nothing.
So this is why I definitely recommend the Premier High Yield Savings Account from CIT Bank. It has an annual interest rate of 1.55%, which is 22 times higher than the US average.
All you need is a $100 minimum deposit and you’re good to go.
42. Change to a no-fee bank account
There’s really no reason to pay fees on your bank accounts anymore when there are so many great fee-free options.
The CIT Bank account mentioned above is completely free. Alternatively, if you’d prefer not to bank online, check out whether your local credit unions can offer a similar service.
43. Pay all your bills first each month
One of the worst things you can do is to get to the due date of each your bills and realise that you don’t have enough to make the minimum payments.
Not only is it terrible for your credit score but it can cost you literally tens of thousands of dollars in extra interest and late fees.
So make sure that you pay at least the minimum payments of each bill before you spend money on anything else.
That way, not only will you be avoiding costly late fees, but you’ll know exactly how much you have left over for the rest of the pay cycle.
44. Open a retirement account
If you don’t have a retirement account open yet, like a 401(k), this should be your next priority.
After all, by opening this account now, you’re setting yourself up for retirement by letting your money grow without you having to do anything.
Also known as: the magic of compound interest.
Of course, this only works if you’re making regular contributions, so you should definitely consider making that a focus once your account is set up.
45. Max out any matched contributions your employer offers
One of the great parts of investing through a 401(k) is that the money you put in there isn’t taxed until you withdraw it, which should be when you retire.
At that point, it’s likely that you’ll be in a lower tax bracket because your income will be less than it was when you earned the money originally.
This means that you’ll pay less tax on the money that you allocate to your 401(k) than you would if you simply put it into a normal account – which means more money for you at the end of the day.
However, one of the best perks of a 401(k) is that your employer may offer to match a portion of your 401(k) contributions.
Let’s be clear: this is free money and you’d be crazy not to take advantage of this as much as possible.
So you should do everything you can to max out your 401(k) to get all of your employer’s matched contributions.
46. Check your credit score
Making sure you regularly check your credit score is super important as it lets you know immediately if things are where they should be – or if you need to start working on improving it.
This can save you a ton of money if you’re considering taking on some debt soon, like a mortgage, as a better credit score generally means better lending terms, like lower interest rates.
This means that a good credit score can literally save you tens of thousands of dollars.
Luckily, it’s super easy to check this – just check your credit score for free here.
47. Check your credit report
You should regularly keep an eye on your credit report, especially if you think you’ll need to take on debt, such as a mortgage, in future.
By doing this, you’ll quickly see if there’s anything that shouldn’t be on there, like mistakes or fraud, which can have a massive effect on bringing your credit score down.
Again, this is easy to do – simply get your free credit report here.
I’d recommend that you set a reminder to yourself to check this every three months. Checking more frequently than that won’t really achieve much but checking less frequently might allow a problem to slip through the cracks, which could create bigger issues for you in future.
48. Build an emergency fund
It’s always good to have three to six months of living expenses on hand, just in case something happens and you need to access that money quickly.
After all, nasty financial surprises are often expensive and so it’s always good to be prepared to save yourself money in the long run, like having to take on debt to pay for the “surprise”.
It means that this is a great goal to have to save money.
And the best thing you can do is to keep this money in a high-interest savings account like this one so you can earn interest on it.
49. Negotiate to have account fees removed
If you don’t already have a fee-free account, you can still talk to your bank to have your account fees waived.
I did this on my credit card and haven’t paid fees in years!
The important thing to remember? It costs a bank about $1,000 in marketing costs to replace you as a customer. So they really really want to keep you.
Which, in turn, gives you more negotiating power.
50. Have overdraft fees waived
While overdraft fees suck, if it’s because of a one-off mistake on your part and not something you do regularly, you can definitely have these waived.
Especially as they can really add up!
51. Refinance your student loans
Refinancing your student loans can save you literally thousands of dollars each year.
In particular, a website like Credible can do all the hard work for you.
Especially when it saves applicants an average of $18,668 each.
Click here to find out more about Credible and see – for free! – what offers may be available to you.
52. Don’t pay ATM fees
ATM fees may only seem like a few dollars each time, but it’s such a waste.
So make sure you only ever withdraw cash at the cash register (if available in your country) or at your own bank’s ATMs.
Also, some banks offer reimbursement of ATM fees up to a certain amount. Check with your bank if they offer that (or see if you can negotiate it as an added perk for your account).
53. Use a rewards card (…carefully)
If you’re sure you can trust yourself with a credit card that you can absolutely pay off in full each month, then consider getting a rewards card that gives you cash back or travel points whenever you use it.
That way, you won’t even realise you’re saving while you spend!
54. Take advantage of your card’s added benefits
Did you know that in many cases, if you buy plane tickets with your credit card then you get automatic travel insurance?
Many people don’t know this and end up buying a separate insurance policy – which is money that could be spent on your actual holiday!
Other cards provide free extended warranties on items that you purchase with them or insurance for rental cars that are paid for with the card.
So give your bank a call or read the fine print to see what your card may give you.
55. Create a plan to get out of debt
If you have any debt, it should absolutely be your main financial priority to pay it off as quickly as possible.
This can seem easier said than done, but it’s actually far more straightforward than you think.
This step-by-step guide to pay off debt shows you exactly how to do it.
By following this process, you’ll be out of debt before you know it.
56. Negotiate better interest rates on your credit card
If your credit score (which you can check for free here) has improved since you got your credit card, then you’re well-placed to negotiate your interest rates.
Follow these tips on how to negotiate with your bank and see how you can start to save money on your credit card repayments straight away.
57. Look into credit card debt consolidation
Consolidation of your credit card debt isn’t a Get Out of Jail Free card on your debt and sometimes it’s more worthwhile to focus on just paying it off instead of trying to consolidate it.
But if you’re interested in consolidating your credit card debt, make sure you read the fine print before signing on to anything. In particular, make sure you’re aware of what happens after any special offers during the introductory period are over, to make sure that you don’t end up paying more than you are now.
This article sets out some additional things to consider. Spoiler alert: the first point on the list is to check your credit score and your credit report.
Again, this is easy to do – simply get your free credit report here.
58. See if there are discounts for automating bill payments
Some providers or lenders (like those providing student loans) offer a small discount if you automate your payments. While it may only be 0.5%, every little bit counts!
59. Don’t pay your bills late
Late payments on bills are such a waste of money. Mainly because they’re completely avoidable.
While you could make a calendar reminder on your phone two days before a bill is due, I prefer to automate my finances so all of my bills are paid automatically.
It means far less work for me as I don’t have to do anything each month and no possible way of getting slugged with late fees!
60. Review every bill for mistakes
Mistakes happen. Unfortunately, they’re rarely the “Bank error in your favour” type of mistake and are more likely to involve you paying a few dollars more without realising.
So take a few moments to check all of your bills when they come in. Most mistakes are usually innocent and are easy to fix – as long as you take the time to contact the company involved.
61. Get free debt counselling
If you feel like your debt is getting too much to handle, don’t be afraid to seek outside help.
In particular, Consumer Credit Counseling Services offers free counseling sessions of up to 90 minutes.
Their debt counselors will work with you completely confidentially to help you to make a budget based on your circumstances and to work out options on how to tackle your debt, including negotiating with your creditors.
How to save money on food
62. Make a meal plan
Meal planning is one of the best ways for you to save a ton of money on your food.
After all, you’ll know exactly what you and your family will eat for the entire week so you’ll only buy exactly what you need.
That said, I fully acknowledge that it can be hard to figure out what to eat for an entire week in advance.
So what I do to make this easier for me is to use $5 Meal Plan.
It costs just $5 a month and sends you meal plans each week, including recipes and shopping lists.
The amount of money AND time I’ve saved is worth way more than $1.25 per week. And better yet, the recipes only cost about $2 per person to make, so my wallet’s even happier about it.
63. Bring lunch to work every day
Buying lunch at work every day can quickly add up. In my case, I almost died of shock when I realised that my daily $7.40 sandwich at the cafe downstairs from my office cost me $1,800 over an entire year.
So with just a tiny bit of extra effort to include lunch in my meal planning (which usually simply involves making a bit more food and taking leftovers), I’m saving a ton of money.
64. Don’t go grocery shopping when hungry
It’s been shown time and time again that people who buy groceries when hungry spend more.
So eat before you leave the house or bring a snack to save those dollars.
65. Make food in advance
If you’re keen to save both time and money, making your food in advance – or meal prepping – is a lifesaver.
For me, I spend about one hour every Sunday afternoon making 10 to 12 meals. They all then go into the freezer, ready to simply be pulled out in the morning to take lunch to work or to grab after work to heat up for dinner.
Which makes it equivalent to one hour of work producing enough meals for every weeknight dinner for the next two weeks!
If you’re keen to find out how to get started doing it yourself, I really recommend this FREE Freezer Cooking Workshop.
66. Only buy fresh produce that’s in season
It may be obvious, but you’ll pay far less for fruit and vegetables when they’re in season.
However, you may not know that it’s not only about the upfront cost of these items.
Produce in your supermarket that’s out of season will also go off much quicker than when it’s in season due to what needs to be done to keep it fresh in the off-months.
Luckily, we’re here to help! Grab your list of seasonal produce below and start shopping smarter.
67. BYO coffee
You don’t have to give up your latte habit to get rich but moderation is key.
In particular, giving up your daily Starbucks purchase can save you a ton of money over time.
Instead, bringing your own coffee can save you literally thousands of dollars each year.
This is the travel mug that I use and I really recommend it – the auto-seal makes it great for not spilling coffee all over my shirt each day!
And when a latte at the cafe around the corner from my office building costs $6, the fact that I’m saving over $1,500 a year is pretty good too!
68. Become an at-home barista
…and following on from the previous point, the potential coffee savings continue!
I’ve taught myself to enjoy instant coffee, but if you can’t lower yourself to my level, then you don’t have to make a choice between saving money and your caffeine addiction.
The Aicook Espresso Machine costs less than $40, which is significantly less than the Nespresso equivalents. And the coffee it produces is just as good!
Add in the cost of a bag of beans every few weeks and some milk and you’ll easily be saving more than $1,000 each year compared to if you bought the same thing every day at Starbucks.
69. Drink water from the tap
The cost of bottled water can really add up over time – not to mention the fact that it’s terrible for the environment.
So consider carrying a water bottle like the one I use which you can then simply re-fill during the day.
I also use this water pitcher with a filter at home. It’s kept in the fridge so I always know I have cold, fresh, FREE water ready and waiting!
MORE INFORMATION: 11 INCREDIBLE IDEAS TO SAVE MONEY AND SAVE THE PLANET
70. Buy your groceries online
By buying your groceries online, you’ll not only make sure that you’re sticking to your list, but you’ll be able to see straight away how much your total spending is.
I love this trick as I’m usually way too embarrassed to remove things once I get to the cash register and realise that the total is more than I wanted to spend.
But online grocery shopping lets me do that in just one click!
To see if this helps you save, click here for a free 30-day trial of AmazonFresh.
71. Don’t always buy things in bulk just because they’re available
A lot of people buy in bulk because they think they’re saving money. But how much mayonnaise do you really need?
Not only could you get sick of having THAT much of it, but it could expire by the time you get through a few bottles.
If it’s something like toilet paper, then buying in bulk is fine. But for things that can go off, just buy standard amounts to save money.
72. Try eating meat-free for at least a few days per week
It’s been recommended that humans seriously cut back on beef consumption to help reduce the effects of climate change.
But in addition to this, switching to some vegetarian meals is also far better for your wallet!
Search for anything with lentils and beans – they’re super cheap to buy in bulk and you can make some amazingly delicious and filling meals with them.
73. Grow your own herbs
A small bunch of fresh basil costs a few dollars, which is more than the cost of plant seeds. So why not just grow the herbs yourself and have a never-ending supply!
If you want the full set-up done for you, take a look at this herb growing kit.
74. If you can’t grow your own fresh herbs, only use dried herbs in recipes
That said, fresh herbs only last a few days so if you can’t grow your own and simply cut off what you need from the plant, it’s far cheaper to just buy dried herbs.
They last forever, taste exactly the same in the final result and your money will go a lot further!
75. Only cook using what you already have in the pantry
If you haven’t jumped on the meal planning train, another option is to use a free website like SuperCook to figure out what to have for dinner tonight.
Just tell it what ingredients you already have and it will tell you some recipes you can follow.
Perfect for not having to spend anything extra at the supermarket!
76. Check the per unit price when grocery shopping
When one packet of something appears to cost less than another packet of the same thing, take another look to check what you’re paying per unit.
It often turns out that the item that’s cheaper on the price tag actually has less product than the more expensive one, meaning that you’re paying more overall.
Just taking a minute then to check the unit price can save you thousands on your grocery shopping over the course of a year.
77. Only shop on the edge of supermarkets
Supermarkets almost always keep fresh food (which is generally cheaper overall) around the perimeter with the packaged food further in the store.
This means that sticking to the edge of your supermarket can not only save you money, but your food will be healthier too!
78. Shredded food is shredding your money
If I could survive solely off cheese, I would. So I always like to have some cheese in the fridge to add to whichever meal needs it.
And it’s super easy to just have a packet of shredded cheese on hand at all times. Except did you ever stop and think what you’re paying for the convenience of it already being shredded?
You pay far less for a block of cheese and get far more in total. And when it only takes a few minutes to grate the entire block, it’s well worth the savings.
The same applies for things like grated carrot. Sure, it’s easier to just buy it in a packet.
But it’s not that much harder to buy actual carrots and spend a few minutes grating them when you get home.
So despite the slight amount of inconvenience, stopping myself from buying pre-shredded food was an easy decision.
79. Buy generic brands
I mentioned above that part of the problem with spending too much money on household goods is that we get into a habit.
After all, if you’ve always bought a certain brand, it’s easier to just keep doing so.
But a very slight shift can have a real impact on your savings. Especially if you switch from name brand to a generic one.
After all, you don’t need a specific brand of dishwashing liquid when the one that’s less than $2 will do the same job.
So I’d recommend taking a few moments to think about the things that you buy regularly and consider just why you keep buying them.
If it’s because of “brand loyalty” or “I can’t be bothered finding another one” then taking another look at the cheaper things that are on offer next time you’re at the supermarket.
RELATED ARTICLE: 17 THINGS TO STOP BUYING TO SAVE MONEY
80. Get an instant pot for instant savings
This is one of those things that you’ve heard people rave about but you’re slightly suspicious that they’re only saying it because they may have joined a cult (see also: CrossFit).
But the Instant Pot can absolutely save you money.
For example, according to this article, it reduces the temptation to eat out, uses very little energy, reduces your household’s overall energy consumption by not overheating your kitchen like an oven or stove and cuts back on your grocery bill.
So while it may seem like a lot to spend around $100 on a kitchen appliance, the potential cost savings far outweigh the purchase price!
81. Make sure your freezer is big enough for your household
Meal planning and cooking in bulk ahead of time can be a godsend if you’re trying to save both time and money. After all, if your food is already prepared, you’re far more likely to bring your lunch to work or eat at home instead of paying to go out.
However, to do this properly, you often need to freeze your food so it stays edible for the week. If you only have a tiny freezer, this may not be possible.
Having a proper freezer can also be great if you’re buying in bulk at the supermarket.
So if you’re really trying to save money on your food costs, consider investing in the biggest freezer you can afford and that can fit in your home.
No, it’s not the sexiest purchase on this list. But given that a good freezer should last a decade at least, you’re looking at saving tens of thousands of dollars on food costs over that time.
82. Make sure you have enough food storage containers (that don’t leak)
Following on from the previous point, it’s definitely easier to save money by bringing lunch to work if you have something to bring it in that actually works.
I use these Lock & Lock storage containers. Having six of them means that I can get my whole week’s worth of lunch ready at once (with one spare for when I inevitably leave one at the office on the weekend) and they stack neatly in the fridge or freezer, ready to be used.
And at the end of each day, they just go straight into the dishwasher.
I’m usually in a rush in the morning, so being able to grab one of these as I run out the door has saved me thousands of dollars in lunch costs compared to if I bought an $8 sandwich at the cafe downstairs every day.
83. Frozen vegetables are just as good as fresh ones
Frozen vegetables have just as many – if not more! – nutrients than fresh ones. They’re also a lot cheaper and won’t go off if you don’t use them in a few days.
Ways to save money when shopping
84. Always go shopping with a list
Whatever you do, don’t go shopping without a list.
Either you’ll buy too much and waste money (especially if it’s food that goes off) or you’ll forget to get something and have to go back to the shop, which increases your chance of spending more money the next time you go.
85. Get cash back on your online shopping
When shopping online, a super easy way to save money with zero effort is to always make sure you’re doing it through Swagbucks.
It gives you cash back on all your purchases at literally tens of thousands of online stores through gift cards for places like Starbucks, Walmart, Amazon and even PayPal – which is essentially like getting cash.
Better yet, if you sign up for free through this link (which takes about 10 seconds), you’ll get a $10 welcome bonus.
86. Get cash back on your in-store shopping
If you’re shopping in-store, join Ibotta to get cash back on your purchases by scanning your receipt when you’re done. The video below will show you how easy it is.
And if you sign up for free here you’ll get a $10 welcome bonus if you redeem your first offer within two weeks.
87. Clip digital coupons
If you’d rather save money by using coupons, then you’ll love the convenience of Coupons.com.
It lets you search and print off coupons in seconds rather than having to buy and go through a newspaper. Way faster and cheaper!
88. Before buying anything, work out how long it will take you to earn what you’re about to spend
An easy way to deter yourself from buying something is to figure out how long it will take you to earn the money you’re about to spend.
All you need to know is your (after tax!) hourly income.
Say you’re thinking of buying a new $700 TV and you earn $15 per hour.
Is that phone worth 47 hours – or almost six days – of work?
89. Only take cash when shopping
When used properly, credit cards can be a great tool in your financial arsenal.
But that’s only if you have the self-discipline to pay them off in full each month.
If, however, you find that having plastic in your wallet is too much of a temptation, then simply leave it at home!
This will force you to stop spending money by only letting you spend what you’re carrying rather than tapping into your credit or debit cards.
90. Remove your credit card details from online shopping sites
It can be super convenient to have your credit card information saved on your favourite sites.
But that convenience can come at a (literal) cost.
So by removing these details, you’ll be forced to take a bit of extra effort before making that purchase.
And that extra effort may just be the push you need to not spend money on whatever it is you were considering buying.
91. Take advantage of Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime is one of those things that I always recommend for saving a ton of money over time, making it more than worth the price.
Some of the things you get are:
- Free two-day shipping (and free same-day delivery if it’s available in your area)
- Access to streaming of thousands of TV shows and movies
- Bonus deals for students
- Unlimited photo storage
- Unlimited access to over one thousand e-books, audiobooks and magazines
And of course, you can cancel at any time before paying!
92. Take a moment to think of your financial goals before buying something
If you’re thinking of buying something because “It’s only 50!” or “It’s on sale!”, then this can be a great deterrent.
Let’s say that you’re trying desperately to get rid of your credit card debt.
If your minimum payment is $200 per month, that $50 purchase could go a long way towards your next monthly payment.
Or, even better, you could put it towards paying even more than the minimum payment!
As this article shows, paying an extra $100 per month from your credit card debt can save you almost $8,000 in interest and more than ten years of repayments.
So those few extra seconds of imagining a magical dreamworld of having no debt (TEN YEARS in advance) may be just what you need to walk away from your potential purchase.
93. Stay away from stores unless absolutely necessary
If you find yourself wandering around the mall to kill time, it’s time to find another hobby.
After all, the temptation can be too much for many of us and we may find ourselves spending money just cause we’re bored.
94. Impose your own cooling off period
Online shopping makes it dangerously easy to spend money with only a few clicks.
Even just popping into the mall “for one thing” can quickly cause your spending to spiral out of control.
So place your own rules on your spending habits to trick yourself into saving money.
For example, for any purchases under $100, force yourself to wait at least two days before buying it.
You’ll likely find that you don’t need the item – or, if you’re anything like me, that you’re too lazy to go back to the shop to get it.
For anything over $100, consider implementing a rule that says that you can only buy the item if you wait two days per $100.
Thinking of buying the new iPhone with that $1000 you’ve wisely saved up? Wait just under three weeks before going ahead to see if you really, truly need it.
95. Don’t think that you “deserve” to buy something as a reward
If you’ve been sticking to your budget and saving money diligently, that’s amazing! Seriously!
But don’t blow it all by “rewarding” yourself with something that will undo all your hard work.
At the same time, it’s fine to give yourself something small to motivate you to keep going.
For example, if you save $1,000 in one month, you could say that you’re allowed to treat yourself to a beauty treatment of under $50.
Figure out what works for you (without it eating into your savings too much) and that small bit of spending may help you save a lot more in the long term.
96. …And don’t feel like you need a “reward” if things haven’t gone so well
One of the worst things you can do when you’re trying to stop spending money is to go over budget for whatever reason and then tell yourself “oh well, I’m already over, let’s go shopping”.
S**t happens. But if you fall off the non-spending wagon, dust yourself off and get back on it.
Buying yourself something extra because “the damage is done” does nothing but hurt your finances more.
If you’re feeling a bit down after a spending failure, you could take inspiration from some of the 50 ideas for a no-spend weekend article.
Take a look at the list and find a few free things to do to make yourself feel better.
That way, you’re immediately going back in the right, non-spending direction!
97. Rent or buy used textbooks
If you’re a college student, you’re probably well aware that textbooks can easily cost more than one thousand dollars every single year.
So instead, look into buying used textbooks or even renting them just for the semester.
Amazon Textbook Rentals is a great place for this and can save you serious money.
And if you do choose to buy your textbooks, even if you buy them used, you can use that site to sell them on to someone else at the end of the semester to get your money back.
98. Don’t buy things just because they’re on sale
This is something that’s sucked all of us in at one stage or another.
“Oh, but it’s reduced to $40, what a steal!”
Except that that’s $40 that you wouldn’t have otherwise spent.
So resist the temptation to walk into a store because a sale is on. Unless you really, truly need the item, the best way to save money in a sale is to not spend any money at all.
99. Don’t buy something that you “might need one day”
If you do end up needing that thing, buy it then. Until then, don’t buy something that you “might need”.
Because if you don’t end up needing it? You’ve just spent money unnecessarily – AND you have to find somewhere to put this useless thing.
100. Save money on a new laptop
A computer is a necessary expense these days, but there’s no question that they can be super expensive.
So if you need a new one, consider buying a refurbished laptop.
These are pre-owned products that are fully cleaned out and returned to almost brand-new status.
They also often come with a similar warranty to the new version, so you’re covered if there are problems.
And, most importantly, you can save hundreds of dollars.
For example, a brand new MacBook Air starts at $999.
However, this refurbished MacBook Air on Amazon only costs $474, including a one year-warranty.
That’s more than 50% off the original price – and it works just the same!
One tip is to make sure you only look at computers that are listed as being “certified refurbished” so you know they work.
But other than that, this is a great way to get an (almost) brand new laptop for way less than you’d otherwise pay!
101. Buy second hand clothes
Shopping at thrift stores can reveal some amazing gems. So instead of buying brand new clothes, check your local thrift store for some second hands ones which are just as good – and often 90% off the new price!
102. Put things you want to buy online in the shopping cart and then wait one to two days to buy it
Companies will often send you a reminder email 24 hours after you show interest in an item, “reminding” you to buy it – and this is often accompanied by a discount code to encourage you to seal the deal.
And waiting may help you realise that you don’t even need the thing at all, saving you even more money!
103. Have a clothes swap
We all have clothes that we bought that are sitting unused in our cupboards. So instead of just throwing them away and buying new clothes, host some friends and do a clothes swap,
You never know what treasures your friends could have waiting for you to take!
104. Research every large purchase
Never assume that the advertisement telling you that something is the BEST PRICE EVER is telling you the truth.
Similarly, a lot of stores pretend to “add a discount” to items to get you to buy them – when really the discounted price is the actual starting price.
So make sure you do your research, both online and in-store, before any big purchase.
Also, if you want to buy something from one specific store, bring proof of better prices in other shops (including online). They may just match or beat the better price.
105. Look for hidden fees
You may appear to be getting a good deal on something, but check that there aren’t any hidden fees.
Things like excess usage, maintenance fees or early termination fees can really add up. So know what you’re agreeing to.
106. Consider if you really need that extended warranty
Extended warranties are rarely a good deal and are renowned for existing simply to make more money for the seller.
Look into what you already are getting in terms of the warranty, especially when buying bigger items which are probably covered by consumer protection regulations as well as the basic warranty offered by the manufacturer. You may find that extending this isn’t worth it.
107. Stock up on non-perishables if they’re on sale
There are some things that we need all year round, not only when they’re on sale.
So if you see a great deal, stock up! Even if you get a year’s worth of supplies, that’s a ton of stuff that you won’t have to buy at full price for a long time.
108. Consider buying floor stock/open box appliances
Open box appliances are usually items returned by a customer that are then re-sold at a discount. They’re perfectly fine (sometimes with a scratch), except for that they didn’t meet someone else’s needs.
Similarly, floor stock is also often almost as good as new. As long as you can live with some small scratches, you’re likely to get a massive discount on the item.
109. Don’t pay for AA batteries, paper or pens
Stores like Staples often have specials where if you mail in a rebate form, you’ll get these items for free. So keep an eye out for offers like that and stock up when you can.
110. Get permission before any big purchases
This works best if you share your finances with someone, such as your husband or wife, but it could also be done with a partner with whom you have separate accounts or even a good friend who is also trying to save money.
It works like this: for any non-necessary purchases (so things like groceries are fine), make a rule that you each have to seek permission from the other before buying anything over, say, $40.
You could either call or send a message, but having to take those extra few moments to justify your spending can act as an excellent deterrent.
It can also serve as a reality check as to whether you actually need the item when your partner or friend sends back a “…really?” message after you explain why you truly need that box set of Buffy DVDs.
(I mean, obviously you do. It’s Buffy, after all.)
111. Save your non-spending
This is similar to the idea of “saving your savings” and works if you’ve successfully talked yourself out of buying something unnecessarily.
Say you’re tempted by a new piece of tech but you manage to walk away. Great job!
Why not give yourself an even bigger gold star by transferring the cost of the item to your savings account?
This is doubly tricky as it can even serve as a great deterrent from buying the item in the first place if you know you’ll be using the money this way instead!
112. Turn saving into a competition
Find a friend who’s also keen to get their spending under control then set a challenge for both of you.
This could be who can save the most in a week or a goal for you both to save a certain amount of money in a month.
The person who loses (although are you really losing if you’re both saving money?) then has to do something for the other one, like bring lunch to work for them.
113. Freeze your accounts…literally
This one’s an easy trick. Simply take your bank cards and freeze them in a block of ice.
They’ll still be completely usable – unless you try to microwave the ice to make the cards defrost faster, in which case they’ll be destroyed.
Instead, you’ll have to wait for the ice to melt if you want to use them – and do you really think you can bother waiting that long to buy something you probably don’t need?
114. Use your PIN to help you save
Saving for a holiday in August 2019? Make the PIN on your bank card 0819.
That way, whenever you go to use your card, you’re reminded of just how that money could be used instead.
You could do the same for your passwords on online shopping website. Say you’re aiming to retire by the end of 2025. Your password could be “Dec2025”, reminding you that each thing you buy online is one little step further away from your goal.
This trick can also be used with your regular savings. To use the holiday example, you could transfer $19.08 (i.e. 2019 + August) to your savings account each week or, with the retirement example, $122.50 (i.e. December (12) + 2025 (25)) each month.
And if you’re ever tempted to stop the transfers, just think about what those numbers represent!
115. Picture your savings – on your bank cards
Did you know that some banks allow you to set your own picture on your bank cards? Use this to remind yourself of good savings habits by putting, say, a photo of your kids on your card if you’re trying to get out of debt.
Or, if you’re saving for a holiday, make the card a picture of your destination. If your bank doesn’t do this, you could always just wrap a photo around the card.
This is doubly effective at tricking yourself as it requires a tiny bit of extra effort in order to use the card.
Tips and tricks to save money on entertainment
116. Meet for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner
If you’re overdue for a catch-up with friends or you’re looking for a more budget-friendly date with your other half, consider going out for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner.
It’s often much cheaper – and you may even have more time to get up to date on what’s going on without bedtime looming!
117. Have a meal at home instead of going out
An even cheaper option is to host dinner at home rather than going out.
You could even make it a potluck so all of your guests contribute a dish to share the expenses around – or you make the food and they bring the drinks.
118. Look for good deals before you go out
If you really want to go out for a meal, make sure you’ve signed up for a website like Groupon to get email alerts about great deals on restaurants in your area.
They always have hundreds of restaurants in major cities offering two-for-one vouchers on meals, meaning a quick check on there could immediately save you 50% of your meal!
119. Cut the cable
Not only is cable expensive, but it’s completely unnecessary these days.
Especially, ahem, when you’re supposed to be studying.
But if you do really need your TV fix, then instead of getting cable, look into one of the streaming services.
As mentioned above, Amazon Prime lets you stream thousands of TV shows and movies, so you won’t need anything else to keep up to date with your favourite show.
And when you get a free trial, you’ve got nothing to lose (and a lot of money to gain!) by checking out the shows and movies that it has on offer.
120. Drink alcohol before going out
Something to take you back to your college days…but if you plan to drink while you’re out, having a few drinks before you go out can save you a ton at bars and restaurants.
And for some extra cash, you can also follow this strategy to get money back for buying alcohol.
121. Only order water if you go out for a meal
Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are insanely marked up at restaurants. So try to limit yourself to only water when you’re out.
After all, you’re there to enjoy the food, right?
122. Cancel your gym membership
Studies have shown that the vast majority of people with gym memberships don’t go enough to get their money’s worth.
So consider cancelling your gym membership – especially when there are so many ways to get fit for free.
123. Have a no-spend weekend
What’s a no-spend weekend? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a weekend where you don’t spend a cent.
Of course, this can be a challenge! So much of our social lives revolves around spending money that it can seem impossible to have a life while sticking to a budget.
Fortunately, there are a ton of ways for you to have a good time for free.
For some great ideas, see: 50 FREE THINGS TO DO ON A NO-SPEND WEEKEND
124. Sign up for any community newsletters or Facebook groups to hear of free local events
You’ll be amazed to see what many local communities have on every weekend – and often they cost nothing to go to!
125. Cancel magazine subscriptions
There’s no need to pay for magazines anymore as the same information can be found online.
And if you need to get your magazine fix, you can read them for free at the library.
126. Join your local library
If you haven’t been to the library lately, be prepared to be amazed at all of the free stuff on offer – books (including audiobooks), magazines, movies, music and…electricity home monitoring kits?
Take a look at this post to see just what your local library may have on offer.
127. Have a movie night at home instead of going to the cinema
Instead of going to the cinema, which can easily cost $50+ for a family of four, you could watch one of those movies that you picked up for free at the library in the previous section.
Or did you know that you can watch thousands of movies for free on Amazon?
128. Allocate a certain amount to “fun stuff” each month and once it’s gone, it’s gone
This is part of the strategy you’ll follow if you create a budget using the 50/30/20 rule but as a first step, try establishing a set amount for any “fun stuff” next month and don’t go over it.
It’s good practice for budgeting and will make sure that the rest of your money is being put to good use by paying off your debt or going towards your savings.
It also means that you get to have SOME fun, which is a key part of any financial overhaul – as if you don’t, you probably won’t stick to the budget for the longterm.
129. Make a list of free things to see in your hometown (and actually go to them)
Put your hand up if there’s a museum or art gallery or something similar in your hometown that you’re “definitely going to go to one day” but haven’t.
All of you? Well, it’s time to make time for them – especially if they have certain days where there’s free entry!
130. Change to ebooks from paperbacks
While we’ve mentioned before how the cheapest way to get books is for free from your library, that’s not always an option for everyone.
While this may not be the most inexpensive thing on this list, it can save you a ton of money if you love reading.
I’ve owned a Kindle for seven years and it’s still going strong. And with hundreds of books on it, I’ve easily saved thousands of dollars compared to if I bought them all as hard copies – not to mention saving my back from carrying them around while travelling.
For example, as touched upon earlier in this list, one of my favourite personal finances books is The Millionaire Next Door. At the moment, the hardcopy costs $13.88 while the Kindle version costs $8.53.
That’s a $5 saving – and many other Kindle books cost less than half of that.
And given that a Kindle Paperwhite can hold around 1,100 books, you’re potentially saving more than $5,000.
131. Volunteer at local events
Many local events, like concerts and festivals, have free admission for volunteers.
How to save money on kids
132. Buy only what babies actually need
Stores and parenting blogs are full of recommendations of what you should buy for your newborn.
Before buying everything on their lists, consider going shopping with a friend who’s already a parent.
They’ll be able to tell you what you’ll actually need to keep your newborn alive – not what the stores want to sell you.
133. Check Facebook groups and other community pages for baby clothes and equipment
Babies grow fast, meaning that any new clothes bought for them really aren’t worn for that long.
This means that you’ll often find parents selling cheaply or even giving away baby clothes and equipment when their own children get too big.
Take advantage of this and get some near-new clothes and equipment far cheaper than you would from a store.
134. Trade babysitting nights with friends
Sometimes you just NEED a kid-free night. Unfortunately, if you’re on a budget, that can really be problem.
So ask a friend who has kids if they’ll watch yours as well for a night – and then offer to swap them on another night, so your friend also gets a night off!
135. Buy second hand toys for your kids
In most cases, your kids won’t know or care that something’s not brand new – they’ll just be thrilled to have something new to play with.
Although make sure you give the toy a good clean, just to get rid of anything lingering from the last owners.
136. Get free books from Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a fantastic program where free books are mailed to children from birth to age five every month. If you have a young child, it’s an incredible idea!
137. Keep kids’ birthday parties simple
Instagram really has a lot to answer for in terms of our budgets. And that includes kids’ birthday parties.
You absolutely don’t need the over-the-top circus that we often see online.
Have a crafts table, some simple games and a cake – that’s pretty much all you need.
Pass the Parcel is still just as fun when the prize comes from Dollar Store, after all!
138. Have a simple schedule for your kids
While there’s a lot of pressure for your child to be in every team and play every instrument on the planet, both you and your child will enjoy a more simple schedule.
And it will save you a lot of money too.
So let them sign up for one thing at a time. If they end up not liking it, they can change at the end of the semester.
Money saving tips at home and for living expenses
139. Only live in as much house as you need
It can be tempting to feel like we should buy or rent the biggest home we can afford, but if you’re looking to save money, downsizing to only what you need can really help.
Not only will you save on rent or mortgage repayments, but you won’t have to pay to furnish a bigger home. You’ll also save on heating and cooling costs.
140. Move closer to school or work
This can be a tricky one to balance as often moving closer can result in higher housing costs.
But consider the amount of money spent on transport costs, not to mention the reduced commuting time which can do wonders for your wellbeing.
Ideally, you’d be able to live close enough to walk, ride or take public transport to work or school, allowing you to get rid of your car(s).
So do the maths and see what works best for you financially.
141. Turn the heater down a couple of degrees
Heating costs can be a huge part of your budget each winter.
So try turning down the heater a couple of degrees and put on a sweater instead.
You won’t notice the difference, but your bills will
142. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth
Not only does this save money on water, but it’s great for the environment too!
143. Avoid long showers by not washing your hair every day
It’s been shown that washing your hair every day actually encourages oil production, making your hair greasier more quickly…and making you need more showers.
To break the cycle and to save time and money (and the planet!), train your hair to last longer between washes.
144. Switch off the lights when you’re not in the room
This is another simple money saving tip that’s also great for the planet.
145. Turn off the TV when you leave the room
This is especially the case if you only keep it on as “background noise”.
146. Use a clothesline or drying rack for your laundry
Dryers are one of the biggest energy users in your house, which costs you a ton of money.
They also wear your clothes down more quickly than day-to-day wear, meaning you have to replace them sooner than otherwise.
Instead, I either use an outside clothesline or an indoor drying rack (I’m currently using this one).
There is no noticeable difference in how my clothes feel. I certainly feel the difference in my bank account though.
147. Try to fix things yourself before hiring someone to do it for you
Jobs that seem difficult to do may not actually be that hard in practice. Of course, this isn’t referring to things like electrical wiring.
But if something in your home isn’t quite working like it used to, check YouTube for how to fix it instead of hiring someone.
You may find that you’re more capable than you thought!
148. Check your air filters
Air conditioning can easily be the most expensive part of summer, so making sure yours is working as efficiently as possible is great for saving you money.
So before summer comes around again, check your air conditioning ducts and change your filters.
They’re not the cheapest things around but dirty filters mean that your air conditioner has to work harder. Meaning more money for you.
If you find yourself forgetting, you can use Amazon’s “subscribe and save” option for filters, where they’ll send you new filters at a reduced price as frequently as you tell them to. Find out more here.
149. Always do full loads of washing
Making sure that you always wait until you have a full load of laundry to wash can save you a ton of money in the long run compared to multiple smaller loads.
150. Do laundry in cold water
Most detergent these days works just as well in cold water as in hot. And by not heating the water, you’re saving money!
151. Check your refrigerator seal
As your fridge is on all the time, it’s important to make sure that it’s running as efficiently as possible. And if it’s leaking cold air because of an old seal, then it’s also leaking money.
So as a quick and easy way to save some money, you can get a new refrigerator seal and then easily install it yourself.
152. Seal your windows
Like with the fridge, having cold air getting in (or warm air getting out) of weak window seals can cost you a lot of money in wasted heating costs.
So before winter rolls around, consider checking your windows and resealing those where even a little bit of air is getting through.
This weatherseal self-stick tape is cheap and super easy to install.
153. Use fans
Did you know that a central AC unit has an average cost of $129.60 per month while a fan only costs an average of $1.20 per month?
So to save yourself over $128 per month, consider using fans next summer instead of air conditioning.
This one is cheap and portable, so it can follow you around your house if you don’t want to buy one for each room.
154. Dye your hair at home
Home hair dye has come a long way in the last decade. If you’re worried, watch some YouTube videos to show you how to do it.
When you could easily save more than $100, it’s worth learning how to do it.
155. Do home spa treatments
Going to a spa for even just a manicure or pedicure can really start to add up. And a facial can easily cost more than $50.
So why not simply do it yourself at home! There are plenty of ‘recipes’ online for at-home face masks and with a bit of practice, an at-home manicure can look just as good as one that you get at a spa.
156. Don’t get sucked in to marketing hype for your skincare
I’m all for looking after yourself but it has to be budget-friendly. I also don’t want to waste my time.
And this is why I’ve cut my skincare routine down to what works and what won’t cost me the earth.
We get bombarded with ads about “this new cream” and “that miracle cure” when science has shown that there are only a few key ingredients needed to do the heavy lifting.
So why not consider cutting your skincare routine down to an affordable level that actually works?
FIND OUT MORE: THE BEST BUDGET SKINCARE PRODUCTS (THAT ACTUALLY WORK)
157. Get a roommate
Living costs are often the biggest expense in any budget. So consider getting a roommate if you have a spare room to offset some of your own costs, whether it be to cover some of your rent or your mortgage payments.
158. Put a room on Airbnb
Airbnb is a great way to earn some extra cash to help cover your rent or your mortgage payments, especially if you live in an area that’s popular with tourists.
159. Rent out your car park
If you have a spare parking space or an empty driveway, you can rent it for free on sites like JustPark.
You can even choose to make your spare space available only during certain times, like during the day when you and your car are at work.
160. Pay your rent in advance
If you’re renting, ask your landlord if it’s possible to get a discount by paying some or all of your rent in advance. Whether it’s three months, six months or an entire year, they may be willing to negotiate the total amount if they’re getting some or all of it upfront.
161. Ask for an energy audit from your electricity provider
Did you know that many electricity companies provide an “energy audit”? It’s free for them to do and can save you thousands of dollars.
It involves the company checking for “energy leaks” and providing recommendations how to stop them, like resealing your windows, replacing old and inefficient heaters/air conditioners and more.
Check if your company offers this as it’s a great way to easily save some serious cash.
162. Open your windows if the weather is good
So many of us are in the habit of simply turning on the air conditioner that we forget about how good a bit of natural cooling can be!
Instead, try simply opening all of the windows. Not only is it nice to air the house out every once in a while but it’s completely free!
163. Don’t waste money on cleaning supplies
It’s a not-so-well kept secret that white vinegar can replace pretty much all of your cleaning supplies. Here’s how (along with a bunch of other things it can do).
And when you can buy half a gallon of vinegar for $4, you’d be crazy not to keep a bottle of this on hand at all times.
Similarly, baking soda is another quiet overachiever to always make sure you have in your pantry.
And when this pack costs less than $4 for 5 lbs. of baking soda, it’s the best money you’ll ever spend – particularly as it will last you forever!
164. Toss the paper towels
I, personally, prefer not to buy paper towels.
Instead, these reusable sheets can each be washed and reused 100 times with one roll replacing 429 paper towel rolls.
That’s crazy good value, much easier for you to store around the house – and unbelievably better for the environment.
165. Consider alternative feminine hygiene products
Ladies, let’s give a special thanks to our bodies for forcing us to spend money each month.
Luckily, there’s a cheaper, more environmentally friendly and WAY more convenient option.
You’ve probably heard about menstrual cups before but they may seem a bit strange or scary.
Trust me, while the first time can take a few attempts to figure out how it works, once you’ve got it, it will be the best decision you’ve ever made.
You can’t feel a thing, it can be ignored for longer than disposable options and they can last up to 10 years!
This is the one that I’ve used for years now, which I picked because the reviews said that it’s softer and more flexible. And I agree with both those points
I’d really recommend it, but there are a ton of other options available out there which are all just as good depending on what you’re looking for
166. Ditch expensive cosmetics
It can be really easy to get sucked in to the marketing hype that you absolutely must pay a lot of money for good cosmetics.
Not true. For example, out of the top 20 best-selling mascaras on Amazon, 13 of them are under $10. So clearly the cheap drugstore options are doing something right.
And having tried some of the more expensive options in my time, I honestly can’t tell the difference between them and my personal choice: this $5.64 Maybelline mascara.
167. Don’t overpay for lip balm
I get super dry lips so always have to have some lip balm on hand to make sure my mouth doesn’t peel off.
Lanolin is the gold standard in keeping your lips protected. Unfortunately, popular options like Lanolips charge way too much compared to how much product you actually get.
So instead of paying $20 for 0.8 ounces of Lanolips, I pay $8.79 for 1.4 ounces of lanolin nipple cream!
It’s exactly the same product for 1/4 of the price per ounce! And it’s not like anyone will know – or care – that you’re rubbing nipple cream on your face.
168. Don’t spend good money on shaving gel
No need to spend your hard earned money on shower gel – conditioner does the job even better!
Just buy the cheapest conditioner you can find and lather it on. It lasts for ages and is great for moisturising your legs.
And I suppose it goes without saying that you’ll save even more money if you use it on your hair as well!
169. Switch your showerhead for a more efficient one
Showering is one of the main ways that households use water, making up around 17% of residential water use (source).
But that much water obviously costs money, so any savings you can make on such a big chunk of your household’s spending is going to have a real effect on your finances.
So to save as much as you can on your shower costs, consider getting a High Sierra High Efficiency Showerhead. At just under $40, you’ll easily make that money back in a few months.
(Don’t believe me? This person did the math on this exact showerhead and determined that this will help you save between $50 to $150 in water costs each year plus around $67 PER PERSON annually in water heating costs.)
170. Use LED bulbs in your home
While LED light bulbs cost more to buy upfront than regular bulbs, the cost savings over time can be substantial.
For example, this article states that a LED bulb that replaces a 60-watt incandescent (i.e. “regular”) bulb will save $132 in electricity over the life of the bulb, assuming power costs of $0.10 per kilowatt per hour. The articles notes that that’s equivalent to more than 25,000 hours or 17 years of using a bulb four hours a day.
Fortunately, LED bulbs are also coming down in price. This 12-pack of LED bulbs costs only $3.23 per bulb.
Considering the potential savings, you’d be crazy not to try them.
171. Use solar powered lights for any outdoor lighting
There are other great ways to save money on lighting. If you have an outdoor area in your home with decorative or security lighting, consider using solar powered lights instead of paying for electricity to keep them on all night.
It means that once you’ve bought them, they’re free to use forever! Well, or until your dog chews them…or maybe that’s just our family.
172. Get a hair clipper/trimmer and cut your partner’s (or your own!) hair
If you don’t have to go to a hairdresser, than why would you?
That’s why buying a hair clipper/trimmer can save you a fortune. This one costs less than $20, for example, which is less than it costs my partner to go and have his hair cut at the “cheap” hairdresser down the road.
There are some great YouTube videos to teach you how to cut your partner’s hair – or even how to do it to yourself! And when you’re making your money back in only one cut, why not give it a go?
173. Turn off your electronics on the wall
Have you heard of “vampire power”? While it sounds cool, it’s actually referring to the power that your electronics are sucking up even when not in use or when turned off. Which, of course, equals wasted money.
So save a few dollars (and help the environment!) by unplugging appliances instead of leaving them in standby.
174. … or buy a smart power strip to save you the hassle
Of course, you may think that you won’t actually be able to commit to turning everything off on the wall all the time.
Instead, you can get a smart power strip like this one which doubles as both a surge protector and a nifty little thing that shuts down electronics when it detects that they’ve gone into standby mode.
And this can save you a ton of cash. For example, this articlestates that experts believe that standby power consumption in an average home ranges from 5% to 10% of your household energy consumption.
Depending on how much your house spends on energy, that can be a significant amount of money – ready for you to save!
175. Reflect the sun and attract the savings
This is an interesting one if you’re looking to save on cooling costs in your home.
Solar cling wrap can be cut to fit your door or window and reflects the sun so your home stays as cool as possible. This means less spent on air conditioning and, as an added bonus, the frosted look gives you more privacy. There are also other versions that are tinted like sunglasses, if you’d prefer that look
As it clings using static, you can even peel it off in the winter when you want more natural heat and it won’t damage the windows.
This is a super cheap and easy way to save on energy costs, especially if you have a window or glass door where you can’t put up thermal curtains.
176. Get a programmable thermostat
Heating costs can become astronomical in winter, so anything you can buy to save money in this area can have a huge effect on your finances.
In particular, programmable thermostats can save you hundreds of dollars each winter. They let you set it up so that the heater shuts on and off automatically.
This can be great for having it turn off during the day when you’re out and in the middle of the night when you’re asleep.
(I also read a tip that it’s great to have for family members or roommates who are prone to turning the heat up too much and costing everyone too much money, as some of them are password protected meaning the person in question will be locked out from changing the temperature.)
This Honeywell programmable thermostat is one of the cheaper ones on the market and has great reviews. And considering how much money it can save you, you should really look into getting one.
After all, winter is coming…
177. Fix your clothes instead of throwing them away
Got a small hole in your shirt or the hem on your pants has dropped? Rather than giving up (or paying good money to a tailor), YouTube can show you just how to fix these things yourself!
Here’s a cheat way if you’re a bit out of practice at sewing: fabric glue can be just as good at mending things!
178. Use less product than what’s recommended on the packet
Modern dishwashers and washing machines use much less water and detergent than before. At the same time, detergents have become far more concentrated.
This means that most people use 10 to 15 times the amount of soap they need – which is just pouring money down the drain!
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that companies still recommend that the “old amounts” of detergent and other things be used. Probably because it means that you’ll use more of their product and have to buy it more frequently…
So save some money and reduce the amount of product you use. Chances are you won’t even notice the difference.
179. Lower the temperature on your water heater
Did you know that having your water heater set at 140F/60C instead of at 120F/49C, your water heater can be wasting more than $460 annually?
So consider lowering your water heater’s temperature to 120F/49C. It can save you a ton of money while still being considered safe for the majority of the population (source).
Ways to save money on car expenses
180. Get rid of (at least one of) your cars
Cutting down to one car in your household can clearly save you a lot of money.
And an even better money-saver is to have no cars at all!
I haven’t owned a car in seven years, which has saved me thousands of dollars in insurance costs, maintenance, registration and gas…not to mention the actual price of the car.
While this may not be possible for you depending on where you live, it’s definitely something to consider if you’re watching your budget.
181. Downsize your car
In The Millionaire Next Door, it was found that most millionaires in the US drive used, late-model vehicles. Similarly, according to this article, Warren Buffett drives a $45,000 Cadillac DTS and Mark Zuckerberg has a $30,000 Acura TSX.
It’ll be news to no one to hear that new cars lose value the moment you drive them out of the show room. But there’s also no reason to have a big, fancy car that will simply cost you more over time.
So consider downsizing your car to a size and model that fits your budget. Then drive it for as long as you can – not until a new, flashy car catches your eye.
182. Check gas prices before filling up
GasBuddy lets you search for gas prices in cities throughout the US and Canada.
So when your gas light comes on, jump on there to find the cheapest prices in your area to make sure you’re not over-spending.
183. Plan your day to save on transportation costs
Does this sound familiar: you drive home from work, forget you needed milk so you drive to the shop, come home and then go an hour later to pick your daughter up from soccer practice…
Over time, all of those extra miles on your car can add up to cost you a lot more in maintenance.
And that’s not even mentioning the cost of gas.
So keep lists for what you need to do, what you need to buy and where you need to go. It will save you not only money, but a ton of time.
184. Unload what you don’t need from your car
If you’re like me, you’ve definitely left things in the trunk of your car for too long.
Whether you’ve forgotten about them or you’ll “get them next time”, you may not have thought about the fact that all that extra weight is also costing you extra money in gas to haul around.
That means that it can save you money by simply removing everything that doesn’t need to stay in there.
(Leave your spare tyre and repair kit though!)
185. Check the air in your tyres
Inflating your tyres properly is much better for your gas usage than if you haven’t checked them in a while.
It also means that they’ll last as long as possible – and given that tyres can be really expensive to change, this is an easy money saving trick.
186. Follow your car’s maintenance schedule
Keeping your car regularly maintained helps to avoid costly emergency repairs in future. It’s also far better for the resale value and can be a requirement for the warranty to stay valid.
187. Check you’re not paying too much for your car insurance
It can be easy to simply renew your current car insurance policy because it’s “too much work” to shop around.
Luckily, it’s actually no work at all!
The Zebra allows you to compare over 200 different car insurance companies at once for free.
Simply enter in your details and see in just a few seconds whether you can get a better deal than your current policy.
188. Don’t buy a new car as soon as you’ve paid off your car loan on the old one
A lot of people see paying off their car loan as an achievement (which it is!) that deserves a reward – of a new, bigger car with a new, bigger loan.
Instead, think about whether you really need a new car of if your existing one does the job perfectly well.
After all, there’s a reason that, as mentioned above, it was found in The Millionaire Next Door, hat most millionaires in the US drive used cars.
189. Get back on the bike
This is one of those tips that you see on personal finance blogs all the time – and for good reason.
Riding a bike instead of driving a car saves you not only the cost of the car itself, but also expenses such as gas, parking, insurance, registration, maintenance…not to mention the health benefits which can also save you money in the long run!
A standard road bike may be a fairly substantial upfront investment for some people. But it’s absolutely money well-spent when those several hundred dollars can immediately save you thousands on car costs.
190. Drive slower
Did you know that it’s been found that driving at an average of 70 MPH compared to 65 MPH will save you only four minutes for every hour on the road but will cost you an extra $46 in gas costs?
So slow down and save more!
191. Save money on your commuting costs by driving for Uber or Lyft during your commute
A great way to save money on your commuting costs is to use that time to earn some extra cash!
It’s essentially getting paid to carpool!
(And if you’re not currently an Uber user, click here to get $20 credit towards your first trips.)
192. If you’re selling your car, do it privately
While it can be more hassle, selling a car privately can often get you thousands of dollars more compared to if you go through a dealer.
So if you’re willing to put in a bit of extra effort to get some extra money, take a look at these tips for selling your car privately.
Tips and tricks to save money on your phone
193. Get a better deal on your cell phone
Are you one of the almost half of all cell phone users in the US who spend $100 per month or more on their phones? Or maybe you’re part of the 13% of cell phone users who pay at least $200 per month (source).
That’s between $1,200 to $2,400 per year on your phone.
And besides the fact that this is damn expensive, it’s also a problem as most of us are paying for way more than we actually use.
That’s why I recommend Republic Wireless.
They start at $15 per month for unlimited talk and text and then cost only $5 per month for each GB of 4G data you chew through.
So you literally only pay for what you use – and save a ton in the process.
FIND OUT MORE: HOW TO EASILY SAVE MONEY ON YOUR CELL PHONE
194. Don’t upgrade your cellphone in a two year cycle
A lot of phone companies lock you into a two-year contract with a new phone. What this often ends up meaning is that at the end of the contract, you’ll upgrade to a new phone.
And even if you buy your phone outright instead of on a plan, it’s “accepted” for some reason that at the two year mark, it’s time for a new phone.
But this isn’t the case at all. The vast majority of cellphones will still work perfectly well after two years of use.
There’s also absolutely no reason why you need to pay what is often a TON of money for a new one when it’s not much of an upgrade from your existing one.
I’ve had my current Samsung for 3.5 years and only now is it starting to slow down a bit. But with a hard reset, it was almost good as new and I’m counting on it having at least another year in it before thinking about a replacement.
See how long yours can last too!
195. If you need a new phone, buy it one model down
At the time of writing this, the second most recent model of the iPhone is over $250 cheaper on Amazon than the current version.
This is despite the fact that there’s not a huge difference between the two.
So if you’re in the market for a new phone, try saving some money by going at least one model down.
The phone will still work perfectly well and you’ll be able to save hundreds of dollars in the process.
196. Check the actual cost before upgrading your phone contract
It’s not really a surprise to hear that one of the most expensive parts of using a cell phone is actually buying it in the first place.
I always prefer to buy mine outright as it’s consistently cheaper than doing it through a contract.
Firstly, it means that I’m not locked in to one provider, so I can shop around for the best deals for my actual phone service.
Secondly, phone providers are sneaky when offering you an upgrade.
After all, they may say that they’re willing to extend the “great deal” that you’re getting on your phone plan – and will even throw in a brand new phone for only $20 extra per month! What a deal!
Eh, probably not. $20 extra per month equals $480 per year.
Over a two year plan, that’s almost $1,000 – which is likely to be more than the cost of buying it outright.
So see if it’s cheaper to buy the phone outright then go on a less expensive plan or even prepaid, like the service mentioned above from Republic Wireless.
197. Get rid of your landline phone
If you have a landline that you’re paying for, you should really consider getting rid of it. Chances are you’re also paying for a cellphone that you use way more.
Instead, cut the landline to cut your phone costs
(This will also let you avoid paying phone taxes in some areas!)
198. Protect your phone
While phones are now made to survive more drops than they used to, there’s no question that smashing your screen is an annoying and expensive event.
In fact, it’s often the case that replacing the screen can cost more than the value of the phone.
So save yourself some heartache by making sure your phone is protected if you drop it. Something like this phone case is cheap, slim enough to look and feel good, but sturdy enough to provide some protection.
Money saving tips and ideas over the holidays
199. Don’t blow your budget for Christmas, Thanksgiving etc. – as it’s only one day
We all understand the pressure to make the holidays the best, most festive time ever.
You begin to feel that if you don’t meet the standards set by every holiday movie ever, then you are an absolute failure as a human being.
Unfortunately, those standards cost money. A lot of money.
Money that would be far better spent on paying off your credit card debt or adding to your investments.
While creating memories with your loved ones is clearly something to treasure, you should always keep in mind the following:
It is just one day.
And there’s no point bankrupting yourself for “good memories”.
Your kids will survive if they only get one gift – or none at all.
And your family will be fine with whatever they get to eat at Thanksgiving.
What’s important is being with your loved ones, whether they be friends or family.
And even if you find that you can only be there by Skype, because being there in person during the holiday season is outside of your budget, then that’s perfectly fine as well.
As long as people know that you’re thinking of them, then that’s more than enough.
RELATED ARTICLE: 4 RULES TO FOLLOW FOR A CHEAP AND CHEERFUL CHRISTMAS
200. Buy an artificial Christmas tree instead of a new, fresh one each year
Real Christmas trees may seem beautiful – until you see piles of them dumped after the holidays.
Which is essentially the same as dumping piles of money too.
At the same time, here are some absolutely beautiful artificial Christmas trees and an almost unlimited range of sizes. While some of the larger ones can get above the $100 mark, the mid-sized ones at around $40 (or less!) are just as good.
And they last (practically) forever! The one my family owns has lasted 20 years and will most certainly be brought out again this year.
Also, not only does an artificial tree work out as being significantly cheaper over time, but they’re far cleaner (no dropped pine needles!)
201. Expensive decorations are unnecessary
When you’re holding one sparkly Christmas decoration in your left hand and a slightly sparklier one in your right hand, it can be very tempting to go as bright as possible.
After all, your house will look so much better, won’t it? So…it’s fine that the sparklier option is four times the price, right?
What could possibly justify this $15 difference? Yes, there is a slight difference in their patterns, but who will remember that when they’re simply a bunch of red balls on your (artificial!) Christmas tree?
Instead, go for the cheaper option – or make them yourself!
Here are some super simple and super CHEAP tips to help you get your home looking festive this holiday season:
- 4 SUPER SIMPLE IDEAS FOR BEAUTIFUL AND BUDGET-CONSCIOUS CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
- 25 CHEAP THANKSGIVING HOME DECORATIONS FOR YOU TO DIY FROM DOLLAR TREE
202. Give an experience as a gift
There’s so much pressure to make sure that there’s a pile of gifts under the tree each year that everyone seems to ignore the huge cost involved.
Despite the fact that people often forget exactly what they received!
People do remember, however, that time they went abseiling. Or did an art class together. Or went bike riding in a nearby national park. Or spent a weekend in a lakeside cabin.
So why not consider giving an experience as a gift instead.
Groupon offers a nearly unlimited number of options for experiences that you can do with your family, a friend or a significant other, including a range of things that you’ve never even considered.
Not only are they super well-priced, but it’s often cheaper to buy vouchers for multiple people at once – meaning that you get to join in the fun as well!
(That could also mean that you can buy the same experience for the entire family to do together. Not only are you making memories, but you’ve just avoided having to think of a present for each person – bonus!)
As an added bonus, if you’re not already a member, sign-up for Airbnb here to receive $25 credit!
203. Give your own self-made experiences
This is a little bit different to the previous point in that it may take a bit more effort but will be appreciated even more (and may be even cheaper…).
It can be really easy to get wrapped up in the hectic nature of our day to day lives. So people will truly appreciate it if you give them something that allows them to step away from that, if only for a day.
So, as a Christmas present, offer to babysit someone’s kids while they have a day to themselves. You could even get them something like a massage voucher from Groupon for them to spend their spare time.
Offer to take your parents out on a dinner date. You could save money by making it a picnic (possibly taking a rain check until the warmer months) or even just serving them dinner at your place.
For your kids, let them have a sleepover party with their friends. You could pretend they’re going camping and string up some sheets for the tents and make a ‘campfire’ through putting a torch under cellophane. Cheap yet effective.
If you just use your imagination, you can think of any number of experiences that you can create yourself. Not only do these often not cost much (if anything), but they’re always memorable for the recipients.
RELATED ARTICLE: 10 HACKS FOR AMAZING CHRISTMAS PRESENTS THAT WON’T BLOW YOUR BUDGET
204. Ask for cash/gift cards for gifts
While the thought is lovely, we’ve all received gifts where we just have no idea what to do with them. What a waste.
Instead, consider asking people either for cash.
You may be worried that it sounds a bit tacky, but try telling them about your financial goals as a great way to keep yourself accountable, show that their gift would truly be appreciated and put to good use AND to perhaps get them on board the money train too!
Alternatively, ask for gift cards to stores where you shop regularly for necessary things. That way, they’re helping you meet your budget goals, which is one of the best gifts you could get!
205. Have a sibling gift exchange if you have a few kids
Not only is this a great way to save some money, but it can also help teach children that much of the joy from Christmas comes from giving, not receiving.
This may be easier with another parent or guardian, who can stay outside a Dollar Tree with the other siblings.
While they’re doing that, you can go inside with one child for them to choose a $1 gift (or slightly higher if you really want to ‘splurge’) for each of their siblings. Then simply repeat with each child.
If you have three kids, you’ll have change from $10!
You could even just do it online. Simply let each kid come into the room individually, select the items on the Dollar Tree website – and then close the tab before the next child arrives!
206. Give secondhand gifts
As a kid, I loved reading. My rebellious stage as a six year old was sneaking my favourite books to school. Yep, pretty hard core, I know.
So when my parents bought the first 100 Babysitters Club books for me at a yard sale, I couldn’t have been happier. Sure, some of the corners were turning over and the pages were yellowing a bit, but I didn’t care.
And I’m sure they were thrilled that someone sold them all to us for about $0.50 per book or less than 10% of the price if we’d bought them new. As far as I was concerned, it was the best $50 that anyone had ever spent.
So instead of buying everything brand new, check eBay first to see if someone has what you’re looking for.
Local second-hand shops are also a great source of gifts, particularly for things like board games. Which, coincidentally, are also a great way to spend Christmas Day afternoon!
207. Set a strict spending limit
This can apply both in your own family and if you’re sharing Christmas with others. If everyone’s on the same page about only spending a certain amount per person – or even per family – there will be no issues about “someone getting more than someone else”.
And I’m sure that those who you suggest this to will be grateful that you raised this as an idea. As with most financial matters, people are generally hesitant to discuss in depth the financial pressure at Christmas.
So anything you can do to relieve that will be well received by all!
208. Set a gift limit
My partner’s first nephew was born a couple of years ago and, with two sets of grandparents as well as several enthusiastic first-time aunties and uncles, this kid’s first Christmas was going to be massive.
So his parents wisely told everyone that they only wanted one present per “house”. That is, one from the maternal grandparents, one from the paternal grandparents, one from her brother and his partner… etc.
It was the smartest thing they’ve ever done – and we were all secretly appreciative of the amount of money this saved us.
You can apply this logic to your Christmas celebrations as well. Tell your kids (and partner) that they will each be only getting one present.
If you really want to splash out for the younger family members, perhaps say that Santa will give them one and they will get one more from their family.
This is also a good idea for you to suggest if you will be spending the holidays with extended family. Simply agree in advance that each branch of the family will give the other branch a strict limit of one present per person each.
You could even extend this to say that each branch will only give presents to the family members in its own branch. For example, you will give a gift to your kids but not to your nieces and nephews.
In that case, it’s best to set a present limit that applies family-wide so that one person’s children aren’t suddenly receiving a lot more gifts than another person’s.
And you could even take any of these one step further and suggest a price limit on everyone’s presents!
You’ll be amazed to see what you can find within a limited budget!
209. Do a Secret Santa
This can be tricky to organise if you’re just spending Christmas with your immediate family as it can be hard to do with only a few people.
However, if you’ll be celebrating with a larger group of friends or some extended family, then this is a great way to tackle the issue of just who you have to get presents for.
To make things easier when trying to sort this out, try using this free Secret Santa organiser.
All you have to do is enter the participants’ names and email addresses (or their parents’ email address for the younger participants) and the website will randomly assign each person a Secret Santa and then email everyone with their allocated recipient. You can even set a maximum amount to spend!
210. Pick your present from the pile
A few years ago, we had a large Christmas gathering, so the cost of getting presents for everyone would have been huge.
Fortunately, the host had a great idea – everyone would buy one present for less than $15 and wrap it, without telling anyone else what it was.
All of the presents would then be piled up in the middle of the room and people’s names would be drawn out of a hat one by one.
When your name was called, you’d go to the pile and pick one. Bonus points if you could guess who it was from!
Just make sure that you contribute a present that would be appropriate for both the younger and older participants!
211. Give a homemade present
This is an oldie but a goodie.
There are thousands of DIY instructions online for a range of different items that can be created for very little and given as presents.
For example, check out this article for ideas for homemade food gifts and a simple Google search will pull up hundreds of ways to make things like body scrubs, bath bombs, glitter bubble bath or soap.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, why not also have a look at some of the amazing (and amazingly cheap!) things that can be made in this article.
212. Buy the cheapest card you can (or none at all)
People love to “ooh” and “aah” over the Christmas card attached to their present…for about five seconds, until they throw it to the side and focus on the gift itself.
Some may even say that you don’t even need a card – the most fiscally (and environmentally) responsible card choice of all!
But for those of you on the card + present train, don’t waste too much money on that little piece of cardboard. Those fancy pants cards are pretty, but for $7 or more each, I’d rather put that money towards the gift itself.
Instead, save yourself the time of selecting individual cards as well as the exorbitant cost involved and simply buy in bulk.
213. Make as much food for your holiday dinner in advance as you can
No one wants to be slaving in the kitchen half an hour before your guests arrive.
So take away some of that stress by including things like soups, stews, casseroles and even certain desserts in your meal plan that you can make then freeze in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Not only will this avoid a lot of the stress involved in having to prepare food on Christmas Day itself, but it can stretch out the costs of your groceries over several weeks.
For example, you can make half of the Christmas dinner in November and then buy the rest of what you need in the days before Christmas.
This can definitely help with balancing your budget a bit more easily.
Soups and casseroles also have the added bonus of being able to be easily made with a range of different vegetables that are both cheap and filling.
So are you worried about how you are going to feed your army of brothers or your kids who are never not hungry? Bulk up the stew with vegetables (potatoes are a cheap and yummy option) or even some pasta for an inexpensive way to ensure that they won’t go hungry.
RELATED ARTICLE: 7 EASY WAYS TO GUARANTEE A FESTIVE YET FRUGAL CHRISTMAS FEAST
214. Plan to include food on your holiday menu that can be made in bulk
Those soups, stews, casseroles etc. that you made based on the last point?
It’s also really easy to make double the amount in almost the same amount of time it takes to only prepare one serving.
You can then use the extra food as work lunches or, if you have people staying with you over the Christmas period, you can use it to help feed them during the days before or after your main meal.
This is not only much easier logistically, but can help save a ton more money through buying ingredients in bulk!
215. Meal plan your holiday menu well in advance
We’ve already mentioned how meal planning can save you a lot of money and around the holidays, that’s more true than ever.
It lets you buy food in advance on sale, make things in advance, figure out if others can help out by bringing something…essentially, planning is saving!
If you need some help with this, a great place to start is with this Thanksgiving meal plan costs less than $10 per person.
These 21 cheap keto Thanksgiving recipes may also be the inspiration you need!
216. Consider replacing some “traditional” food options with cheaper alternatives
While there are certain types of food that we are “supposed” to serve at Thanksgiving or Christmas, these are often also the more expensive options.
So rather than stressing over the added cost that serving (and the time to be spent preparing) a full turkey would involve, for example, keep in mind the most important part: that you will be sitting down with your loved ones, perhaps for the first time in a long time.
And if they happen to be served chicken instead of turkey or pork chops instead of a full ham, then the only Christmas miracle will be if they notice.
RELATED ARTICLE: 17 SIMPLE IDEAS TO DO THANKSGIVING ON A BUDGET AND SAVE MONEY
217. Only cook what you actually need
We’re often encouraged to have five types of side dishes, six different desserts and the world’s biggest turkey just for it to be a “real” holiday meal.
In fact, having a mountain of leftovers after Thanksgiving and Christmas has almost become a part of the holiday itself!
While leftovers can be good to save you money on office lunches for the next few weeks, it’s pretty rare for every single piece of leftover food to be eaten.
And all of that food that’s not eaten is money that you’re throwing away.
So instead, only make what you actually need.
Don’t feel pressured to serve eight different types of each dish, as people don’t care.
Seriously, as long as they’re in good company and feel full at the end of the meal, they couldn’t care less if there’s only one type of side dish.
218. Have a plan for any leftovers
Despite the above point, it’s probably inevitable that you’ll have some leftovers.
So have a plan ahead of time on what you’ll do with any remaining food.
For example, any leftover turkey meat can be used in a casserole. And the remains of the turkey carcass can be used to make stock.
Got some leftover vegetables? Add them to the casserole too or throw them into a soup.
(And all of those things can be frozen after they’ve been cooked, so are perfect for you to make ahead of time and then pull out of the freezer when they’re needed!)
219. Don’t waste money on expensive name brand food
No one remembers if you choose to serve something that has been made using a cheaper brand. In fact, most of the time, they won’t even realise!
(I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember a dinner that I’ve attended where the jars and packets that were used to prepare the meal were lined up to impress the guests…)
In some cases, it may not even make the meal any better. A few years ago, a blind taste test was conducted in the UK of eleven different Christmas puddings at various price points.
The cheapest one at £3.99 ($5.23) was found to be the clear winner, beating puddings that were more than double its price.
So if you’re tossing up between imported pasta sauce and one made closer to home at half the price, go for the cheaper option. Your guests will absolutely not even know.
220. Make your menu from scratch (…within reason)
When a crusty baguette that can be frozen and then whipped out to make stuffing costs around $1 and a bag of “stuffing mix” that is mainly made of bread costs three to four times as much for less product, there’s a problem.
In many cases, with barely any more effort, the time spent making your own food from scratch can save you some serious cash.
Stuffing is a great example. In our Thanksgiving on a budget meal plan, we have a super simple recipe for stuffing that only costs $0.36 per person! That’s WAY less than if you were to buy it ready-made.
So there really is money to be saved by doing it yourself.
That said, there are some cases where you should consider whether it’s actually worth it, especially when there’s not a huge price difference.
One example used in that meal plan is the pie shell for the dessert. If you love baking and would rather make it all yourself, then great!
But the cost of buying all the ingredients for the pastry and then the time spent to make it can be close or even equal to just buying a pre-made shell.
So take a good look at your menu and the cost of the ingredients to make it. Then you can make the final decision on just how much is worth making from scratch.
221. Don’t be afraid to make frugal changes to a recipe
(…I don’t mean halving the time for cooking the turkey, unless food poisoning is a Thanksgiving tradition in your family.)
But some recipes ask for four different herbs to be used when just using the one that you already have in your cupboard (or even just salt and pepper) would taste just as good.
Or the recipe may call for a specific type of potato, while you already have another type in your fridge or that particular type of potato is three times the cost of the others.
It’s perfectly fine to make changes like this as your guests won’t know and the taste of the dish won’t be affected.
For example, you probably don’t have turkey stock in your cupboard for making gravy but you probably have chicken stock, which is absolutely ok to use instead.
And if you have neither, just add flour and water to the pan with the turkey in it to make some simple yet delicious gravy.
As long as people have a full plate at the end of it, they’ll have no idea that you added your own flourishes to the recipes!
222. Use smaller plates
This is a nifty little trick that’s healthier for both your body and your wallet!
It’s been shown that using smaller plates encourages people to eat smaller portions. This is because they’re less inclined to fill their plate with a towering pile of food that they probably won’t eat all of.
So if you provide your guests with slightly smaller plates, they’re more likely to eat less but still be satisfied – saving you money in the process.
223. Keep the drink options simple
There’s no reason to feel like you have to serve every type of drink ever invented to your guests. Just having some wine (preferably supplied by your guests!) is more than enough.
And you could stretch it even further by making a signature drink to serve on the day.
For example, our Thanksgiving dinner on a budget meal plan has a delicious recipe of sangria.
This is a great way to stretch your wine to last longer. And the best part about it is you can use a super cheap wine (seriously, boxed wine is the way to go here) and your guests won’t even be able to tell!
RELATED ARTICLE: HOW TO GET MONEY FOR BUYING ALCOHOL
224. Less can be more when it comes to decorations
Over Thanksgiving, for example, it can be tempting to cover every inch of your home with turkey and pumpkin decorations.
But less can absolutely be more. As you’ll see in this article, the combination of some apples, candles and branches can make a lovely table arrangement.
Or with some twine and pine leaves, you’ll instantly have a simple yet elegant napkin ring.
Not only will this save you money, but your home will look beautiful as well!
225. Decorate only with what you have on hand
There’s no need to go crazy buying decorative items when what you already have may be enough.
For example, do you have a vase? Go find some branches and pine cones and with a bit of arranging, you’ll have your table centerpiece.
Or put the kids to work cutting out paper in the shape of their hands to become a turkey. They color it in, you add each guest’s name and voila, you have place cards that your guests will love (and that will keep your kids out of your hair for a few hours while you cook).
226. Buy holiday-related items just after the holiday
The cheapest time to stock up on Christmas things is in the days after Christmas. Same with Halloween, Easter and more!
So if you have the storage space, stock up on things like decorations and holiday-themed wrapping paper in the days after the holiday ready for next year.
You’ll often pay 90% less than if you’d bought it a few days earlier!
227. Be flexible with your travel days over the holiday
It’s no surprise that travelling over the holidays is an expensive experience.
But one way to try to save some money is to travel on the day of the holiday itself.
For example, this article found that travellers can save up to 33% if they fly on Christmas Day.
If that won’t work for you, that same article found that flying on the 23rd or 24th will also work well, with tickets being 15% lower on average.
The absolute worst day to fly in terms of cost is the Friday before Christmas, as everyone tries to maximise their vacation time over the weekend before the big day.
And for your return trip, the afternoon or evening of New Year’s Eve or the morning of New Year’s Day tend to be the cheapest times, for the same reasons as outlined above.
If you choose the latter option, just be careful not to over-celebrate the night before to ensure a safe drive or a pain-free flight.
MORE INFORMATION: 5 TRICKS FOR FINANCE-FRIENDLY CHRISTMAS TRAVEL
Ways to earn extra money to save more money
One of the best ways to save more money if your budget’s already tight is to make more money!
- HOW TO MAKE $100 A DAY – 30 CREATIVE WAYS TO MAKE MONEY FAST
- 11 WORK FROM HOME JOBS TO MAKE MONEY ONLINE
228. Make money while you’re killing time
Ever find yourself sitting on your couch aimlessly scrolling through Facebook while the TV is on and realise that you’re not paying much attention to either?
Maybe you have to spend time waiting in the car for the kids to finish soccer practice? Or perhaps you spend your commute to work wandering virtually around Pinterest?
(Hopefully, if you’re doing that last one, you’re taking the bus rather than driving yourself…)
Instead of spending your time in that way, why not use the time to make some money?
For example, check out 9 Survey Sites to Make Money Online.
These are some amazing survey sites that, for simply answering a few questions or watching a video, allow you to earn anything from a couple of bucks to $50 per survey.
It’s super easy to earn some spare cash from each one, just for spending half an hour or so every few days answering some questions.
And as you’re going to spend the time sitting around, you may as well use it productively!
I’d recommend starting with Swagbucks. It’s easily the most well known of all of the survey sites with a TON of ways to make some extra cash.
And, if you sign up through this link, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus. Not a terrible way to waste some time!
229. Use your hobbies to make some extra cash
If you’re trying to find a way to earn extra money, why not do something that you’re going to enjoy at the same time!
Luckily, there a bunch of fun and creative hobbies that make money, all of which are great ways to earn some extra cash doing something you love.
For some ideas on what you could do, check out this article: 24 FUN AND CREATIVE HOBBIES THAT MAKE
230. Start a blog
If you feel you have something to say that people want to hear, why not consider starting a blog!
It’s incredibly easy to start blogging, you don’t have to be tech-oriented at all – and it only costs $3.95 per month!
To see just how simple it is, check out this article: HOW TO START A BLOG IN LESS THAN 15 MINUTES
And while it can take some time to build up your blog’s earning capacity, it’s certainly possible to make good money.
The best way to do this is definitely through affiliate marketing. To find out more, check out the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing from a blogger earning six figures per month (seriously, that’s not a typo).
231. Sell anything you don’t use or don’t need
Not only does spring cleaning make you feel good, it can be great for your wallet.
For example, got any old electronics lying around, like unused phones or an old computer you’re looking to replace? Try Gazelle to trade it in for cash or an Amazon gift card.
Or what about things like CDs or DVDs? DeCluttr will pay you for them and will even pay for the postage of the item.
And, of course, there are sites like eBay for selling literally anything.
MORE INFORMATION: HOW TO MAKE SERIOUS CASH CLEANING OUT YOUR OLD STUFF
232. Teach English online for a few hours each week
Do you have a Bachelor’s degree (in any field)? Have you had one year of formal or informal training experience?
(This can include anything from tutoring or coaching to mentoring or running a group like a Scout pack or church group)
And are you willing to earn up to $22 per hour with all the materials and other preparations done for you?
If so, consider signing up for VIPKID. You’ll be teaching English to students in China from the comfort of your own home, similar to a Skype call.
There’s a reason why Forbes named VIPKID as the number 1 company for people who want to work from home. And they’re hiring more teachers right now!
FIND OUT MORE (including a review from an actual VIPKID teacher): HOW TO GET PAID TO TEACH ENGLISH ONLINE
233. Get paid to listen to music
If you’re a music lover, then this one’s for you.
Slice the Pie is the biggest paid review site on the internet. You get to review songs and other things from unsigned artists, with your comments then being passed on to the artists themselves or record companies.
So, really, you’re getting paid to shape the future of music. Not bad!
This is an especially great way to make some extra money if, for example, you like to spend time listening to music during your commute to or from work.
Not only will you get paid, but you might discover the next big thing! (Or at least a new favourite band)
Sign up here for free to find out more.
234. Get things for free by signing up to be a product tester
How do you feel about getting to test the newest tech releases – and getting to keep the product that you review?
With ProductTestingUSA, you can do exactly that. For example, here are some of the products that were available to test at the time that I was writing this:
As you can see, these items are worth way more than $100.
You can also take advantage of a number of mystery shopping opportunities through this company. Right now, for example, they’ll send you a $200 gift card to buy whatever you want at TJ Maxx and provide a review of your experience.
Click here to find out more information on how you can get a range of free stuff.
235. Make money just from using your computer
You may have heard of Nielsen from their reporting on TV ratings, but did you know that they do other things too – like pay you to use the internet?
Simply sign up here to install the app on your computer or phone and Nielsen will pay you $50 per year to track your internet usage for data collection purposes.
Information is collected anonymously, so they can’t link it to you, and the app is super small so won’t slow your device down.
Better yet, simply by signing up and installing the app, you’ll be entered into a draw to win $10,000 each month.
Not bad for doing something that you’d be doing anyway!
236. Become a virtual assistant
A virtual assistant, or VA, does all the tasks that site owners – including bloggers – don’t have time to do.
So if you think that you’d be good at writing articles, looking after emails or running a site’s social media page, this could be something for you.
Don’t get me wrong – there are way more things that a VA can do! If you’d like to see a more complete list of the services you can offer, check out this amazing free resource: 150+ Services You Can Offer as a Virtual Assistant (And Get Paid For!).
You can even develop your VA skills in a niche area. Pinterest, in particular, is a VA goldmine.
One great example is Kristin who, within her first six months and in addition to her full time job, averaged $3,600 a month from her role as a Pinterest manager and blogger – just as a side hustle!
If you’re interested in doing the same, take a look at her FREE Pinterest VA Workbook. It has tips and tutorials on just how you can begin working as a successful Pinterest VA – just make sure you do the homework that she sets for you!
(P.S. Speaking of Pinterest, why not follow me here!)
FOR MORE INFORMATION: HOW TO BE A BECOME A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT (AND MAKE $50,000+ WORKING FROM HOME)
237. Become a dog walker
It’s estimated that pet owners in the US spent $6.11 billion on services for their pets in 2017. So there’s plenty of room in there for you to make $100 a day at least.
Rover.com is one of the largest sites on the internet for linking up pet owners with people who are willing to do pet-related tasks.
For example, the company advises that a booking for dog walking or dog sitting is made every four seconds through their website – so there’s clearly demand for these services!
This is especially good if you already have your own pets that you need to take for walks, as many owners will be fine with you taking their dog with your own pup.
Essentially, you’re being paid for something that you’d be doing anyway!
And if you really want to increase your earnings, consider dog sitting. Rover.com states (source) sitters that take two or three dogs for two weeks each month earn about $1,000 per month.
Check out Rover.com to find out more.
RELATED ARTICLE: HOW TO MAKE GREAT MONEY FROM YOUR LOVE OF ANIMALS
238. Test websites and get paid
Website developers always need people to check that their site works well and is user friendly.
And there’s now a company that will pay you to do just that!
TestingTime will pay you $10 for each 20 minute test, making it super easy to make $100 a day. Better yet, they’ll send you the money by PayPal within 48 hours of you earning it.
All you need is a computer with a webcam and a microphone.
(The webcam is because some tests will want to film your initial thoughts as you first start to use a website. Don’t worry though, you won’t need to be filmed for all tests, just in case that’s not your thing.)
So if you like giving your opinion and randomly clicking around the internet (come on, I’m definitely not the only one who’s ended up down a Wikipedia black hole), this may be some easy cash for you!
239. Keep an eye out for things that could be flipped when thrift shopping
While we strongly recommend going shopping at thrift stores to save money, you can also use this time to keep an eye out for things that would be good to resell (or “flip”) to get some extra cash.
In fact, flipping is a super easy side hustle with great earning potential. For example, Melissa, in her first year of flipping, made $42,000 based on 5 to 15 hours of work per week.
And in her second year, working 20 to 30 hours per week, she made $133,000.
Flipping simply involves buying something and then re-selling it at a higher price. Some of the amazing “flips” that Melissa has done include a door handle she bought for $8 then sold for $200 and an exercise bike she bought for $100 then sold for $2,000.
Clearly there’s really good money to be made here.
Find out more from Melissa, including exactly how to get started flipping, right here.
240. Sell unwanted gift cards
If you’ve gotten a gift card for a store that you never go to and where you’d rather have the cash, you can sell them online.
Simply go to Gift Card Granny, enter the details and see just how much you can get for the card.
241. Sell your used clothes on ThredUp
Decluttering is a great way to make some extra cash. So if you find yourself with clothes where you don’t remember the last time you wore them, consider selling them on ThredUp.
And if you sign-up here, you’ll get a bonus $10 gift card!
Mindsets to use as money saving tips
242. Keep in mind why saving is important to you
Or it may be something more simple like saving $100 extra every week.
Whatever it is, it’s important to keep it in mind whenever you encounter any sort of financial decision in your life.
This will help you when you’re tempted to grab lunch with your colleague instead of eating the one you brought that day. Or when you see a jacket on sale that you’re dying to have.
By shifting your mindset like this, you’ll stop thinking about what you have to give up in order to save money. Instead, you’ll be able to focus on what you’re going to get out of your new spending habits.
243. Keep yourself accountable for your progress
We’ve talked earlier on in this list about maintaining a budget or using a budgeting app but it’s worth reiterating just how important it is to be able to see your progress over the long term.
Sticking to your budgets or using an app to keep track of where your money’s coming in and out are great, but only if they work for you.
So make sure you’re checking your progress regularly so you can see problem areas as soon as they start to form.
And if the graphs and things all get a bit much for you, find your own way to track your progress.
Bullet journals are huge right now, for example, so if you prefer to visualise things, that may be a better way to go.
For some inspiration, check out 15 Incredible Bullet Journal Ideas To Manage Your Money.
244. Focus on needs not wants
One of the best ways to destroy good money habits is to spend too much on “wants” instead of “needs”.
While this list of 250 money saving tips gives you a ton of ideas on how to address some specific wants v needs battles, it’s important to always be checking with yourself before you buy something:
Is it a need or a want?
If it’s a want, consider putting some of the strategies in this list into play. The cooling off period is a great one, for example.
245. Recognise your own poor financial habits (and start to work on them)
It’s excellent if you want to improve your financial situation but sometimes spending too much at the supermarket may be a symptom of a broader problem.
For example, perhaps you grew up on quite a tight budget and you’re not sure how to manage your money without spending it all now that you’re getting paid more.
Or maybe it’s the opposite: you used to have more money but finances are more tight now and you’re still living like you’re on your old budget.
Whatever it is, it’s important to truly assess what the issue is with your finances – and you may even want to speak with a financial counsellor to help you on your way.
Tips and tricks to save money that go too far
Let’s end this list of 250 money saving tips on a lighter note!
Here are a few ways to save money that you’re more than welcome to try…but, uh, I might pass, if that’s ok
246. Save money on snacks by catching and eating insects
This isn’t a question of eating (delicious!) grasshopper tacos when you visit Mexico or (more questionable) friend crickets when you go to Southeast Asia.
Instead, this Reddit post asked the following:
“I’ve] been spending way too much money on snacks and decided a neat way to cut down will be to find some nice enough insects and maybe set a few traps. It’s basically free food if done right and I can’t imagine it would taste too bad.
Has anyone had any experience of doing this before? Whats the most calorie dense insect to try and eat? Is it better to set traps or maybe potentially buy them in bulk (maggots from fishing shops maybe)”
Just buy them in bulk as maggots?
Someone actually responded in the comments section asking why they don’t just buy a pack of carrot sticks for less than $1 which will last all week.
To which the original poster responds:
“Yeah a pack of carrot sticks is only a dollar, but a spider from the back garden (for example) is $0. I normally just grab an apple or a banana for a snack, but why should I pay when theres potentially the option of not paying anything? Seems senseless.”
Yes. Completely senseless.
247. Why buy toilet paper when you can use reusable cloths?
When wandering the internet, I found an article with the title: “Stop Using Toilet Paper: Strange Ways to Save Money“. So at first I assumed that it would embrace the strange-ness of this suggestion.
Not quite. Once you read the article, you’ll see that it’s written as completely legitimate advice on how to save money.
Toilet paper makes up a decent sized chunk of many people’s household budgets. It’s not cheap. When you have a big family or people who just reel it off the roll, the costs go even higher. If you want to cut some money from your budget, there are ways to do without traditional toilet paper.
The first way is to use reusable cloths. You can use old washcloths, cut up some cloth diapers, or even buy special cloth toilet wipes. […] You keep a container next to the toilet and the used wipes are tossed in there and then washed just like cloth diapers. […] Not only is this cheaper than buying toilet paper all the time, it’s more environmentally friendly.
Now, don’t get me wrong; I am always in favour of being environmentally friendly, especially when it also saves some money.
But you can get six rolls of toilet paper for $3.99.
I’d also question the environmental friendliness (and energy and water costs) of having to do so many extra loads of washing for these cloths.
Ultimately, however…would you really want a container of used wipes sitting in your bathroom? And which lucky soul in your household gets to do the laundry for those?
I’ll leave you with the “bonus” piece of advice from further down in the article mentioned above:
You can [also] try old newspaper or phone book pages.
248. Crash events for free meals
This is less gross than the other ones but far, far more tacky. As per this article:
I put on a suit and crashed a wedding for free food. My cousins and I had just finished a long game of football at the local park when a delicious aroma wafting over from and nearby wedding hall. We turned to face each other, gave a small nod for affirmation, then ran home to clean up and put on our best suits. Once we got into the wedding, we headed straight for the food, stuffed our faces, then got our asses the hell out of there.
I guess you could argue that at least they were remorseful or else they wouldn’t have run. But if you’re going to crash a wedding – which you absolutely shouldn’t do – at least bring a present, like these crashers who gave a “buck for luck”.
Every dollar counts, I guess?
At least those guys were not as bad as the lady in this article:
This woman dressed in blue had apparently entered the banquet hall without […] acknowledging anyone.
[…] Another guest went up to her to confirm her identity, seeing as not a single soul knows [sic] her.
[…] That was when things took a weird twist as the woman, who probably knew that the game was up, started to lose her temper and throw a tantrum. She started hitting the table and screaming really loudly at the guest saying, “Do not touch me!”
[…] When the staff tried to restrain her, she fought back and grabbed her coat to walk off. However, she also grabbed a bag of what looks [sic] like wedding biscuits and balloons before stalking off.
Just in case it needs to be said, here’s a key piece of money-saving advice:
If you need to sneak in to someone’s wedding, steal some food and make a scene when you’re called out on your bad behaviour, perhaps you need to find some other ways to save money in your life.
But at least she got some biscuits and balloons, I guess?
249. Sharing is caring
This article describes a couple who do the following to save money:
- The husband uses the suds from his wife’s hair to wash his own so they only need to buy one shampoo bottle for both of them every eight months.
- They share one razor in the shower. She shaves under her arms and then he shaves his face.
- They share one Q-tip. She will clean her ears with one end and then he cleans his ears with the other end of the same one.
- They share deodorant, with each person only allowed to do one ‘swipe’ per armpit.
- They share the same toothbrush to save money on having to buy two.
- (This is the one that got an audible ‘ew’ from me) They share the same piece of dental floss each day.
These. Are. Gross. I’m all for limiting the amount of time taken to shower and I’m not even completely against their idea for saving money on shampoo.
But the Q-tip? And the toothbrush and dental floss? Not to mention that one swipe of deodorant can hardly be enough, meaning that not only are they unhygienic, but they smell as well.
What’s worse is that they’re only saving about $50 per person over an entire year!
If you have to work this hard (and be this unhygienic) to save less than $1.00 a week, I’d strongly recommend finding other ways to save money.
250. Only flush once a week
This guy has Sunday Flush Day – that is, once every Sunday he’ll flush the toilet. The rest of the week, he leaves it sitting there to save on water costs.
And he saves a grand total of $6 per month.
Maybe consider some other ideas from this list to save more effectively…
Which of these 250 money saving tips and ideas are you going to implement in your life?
As you can see, if you’re looking for ideas on how to save money, there are literally hundreds of money saving tips that you could try to implement in your life.
Whether you want to focus on just one area of your life or work your way down the entire list, you’ll quickly see that there are so many ways to save money on things that you may not have even thought of before.
Do you have any other money saving tricks and tips that aren’t on this list of 250 money saving tips? Let us know your favorite money saving trick!