While most advice says you should cut back all your spending if you’re trying to get your finances under control, there are some things that can actually save you a ton in the long run. So if you’re not sure what to buy to save money, check out this list of tips for some inspiration.
Save extra money when deciding what to buy
All of the things on this list will easily let you earn back the money you spent on them, sometimes in a matter of days.
But it’s always good to save even more money on them!
That’s why I never shop online without using Ebates.
It’s super simple to use – you just go to their website, search for the store from which you want to buy something and then it will automatically apply a range of discounts.
In fact, Ebates has more than 2,000 stores in its system (including Amazon) that offer up to 25% cash back, although the majority are around the 2% to 6% mark.
Which is pretty good considering that you earned that discount from doing almost nothing extra!
And for an added bonus: sign up with Ebates here for a free $10 welcome bonus!
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.)
2. LED bulbs
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.
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.
While this may not be the cheapest 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. With hundred 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.
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.
5. Water bottle
Did you know that if you drink your recommended eight glasses of water a day from disposable water bottles, this will cost you around $1,400 annually?
Whereas if you just carry a reusable water bottle like this one from Nalgene with you, as I now do, you’ll spend only about $0.49 per year on tap water.
This is such an easy way to save money – and the environment will be pretty happy with you too!
MORE INFORMATION: 11 INCREDIBLE IDEAS FOR YOU TO SAVE MONEY AND SAVE THE PLANET
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?
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 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.
8. Instant Pot
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, especially if you find yourself too short on time to cook “properly” without.
For example, according to this article, it:
- Reduces the temptation to eat out
- Uses very little energy to operate
- Reduces your household’s overall energy consumption by not overheating your kitchen like the oven or stove can
- Helps you cook from scratch, meaning that you’re not spending money on pre-packaged food (and eating healthier which saves you even more money in the long run)
- Reduces your grocery bill by letting you buy things like cheaper cuts of meat in bulk
- Reduces the time spent cooking – which is time you can spend doing other things that save or make money like working on your side hustle!
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.
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.
RELATED ARTICLE: HOW I SAVED $300 ON MY GROCERY BILL IN ONE MONTH
Following on from the previous point, it’s definitely easier to save money by bringing lunch to work if you have something easy to bring it in.
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.
There’s really no reason to pay for cable any more, especially when there are such great (and cheap!) streaming options available.
Instead, you should look into buying a Roku or similar device. At less than $30, this may in fact be less than your cable bill this month.
It’s super easy to use with more than 500,000 movies and TV shows available. And did we mention that it’s cheap?
Especially if you completely cut your cable – you’ll be saving hundreds of dollars each year!
12. Travel mug
This is a money saving tip that you hear all the time, but it’s true that it actually works.
On this site, we’re all for becoming financially free without giving up your coffee addiction – at least not completely.
But if you’re buying a takeaway coffee every day, then you really need to look into some alternatives.
For me, I like to make coffee at home then take it with me for my commute.
This is the travel mug that I use and I really recommend it. I especially love the auto-seal, which has saved me from so many spills on my bus commute to work!
And when a latte at the cafe around the corner from my building costs $6, the fact that I’m saving over $1,500 a year is pretty good too!
13. Espresso machine
…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.
14. Drying rack
While you may be used to the convenience of having a clothes dryer, have you ever stopped and thought about how much it’s costing you?
Many dryers are notoriously energy inefficient, costing you hundreds of extra dollars in electricity charges.
They also wear your clothes down more quickly, meaning that you have to replace them sooner than you would otherwise.
All of that equals extra money leaving your pocket.
Instead, why not try using a simple drying rack? Sure, it takes a little bit longer for your clothes to dry. But just set it up in a corner for a day and you won’t even notice it.
Better yet, once you’ve bought it, it obviously costs nothing to run. Far better than your money-sucking clothes dryer, right?
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.
You could unplug all of your appliances when not in use, but I’m going to take a pretty good guess that you won’t bother doing that.
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 article states 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!
16. Menstrual cup
Ahh the financial joys of being female.
Fortunately, instead of buying disposable items that have ongoing costs like tampons or pads, there’s a cheaper, more environmentally friendly and WAY more convenient option.
Getting a menstrual cup (I use this one) is one of the best things I’ve ever bought.
It can be a bit weird at first to figure out how it works but once you’ve got it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it earlier.
You can’t feel a thing, it can be left in for up to 12 hours (which is longer than any of the disposable options) and they last up to 10 years!
Think of the hundreds of dollars you could save over that time – far better to keep it in your bank account than to throw it away every month.
RELATED ARTICLE: 17 THINGS TO STOP BUYING TO SAVE MONEY
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.
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 housemates 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…
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.
And when you can easily get a good case for less than $20, which is often a tiny percentage of the cost of repairing a dropped phone, it’s definitely a good financial investment for you.
RELATED ARTICLE: HOW TO EASILY SAVE ALMOST $1,000 ON YOUR CELL PHONE CONTRACT
20. Amazon Fresh
One of the best things I’ve done to help me save money at the supermarket is to have my groceries delivered.
It means that I can select only those things that I need and avoid the temptation of “getting one more thing just in case”.
I can also immediately see how much it will cost in total, so I can easily budget for my food costs that week.
It’s also way more convenient, especially if I’m too tired after work to drag myself to the supermarket.
So if it’s available where you live, I’d really recommend signing up for Amazon Fresh.
Click here for a free 30-day trial to see if it works for you and to see just how much money you can save.
I saw this on another site and found it so hilarious that I had to end this list with this.
It’s pretty accurate if you think about it! It’s been estimated by the US Department of Agriculture that the average cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610.
So this is one purchase that can literally save you hundreds of thousands of dollars!
What’s something that you’ve bought that’s saved you money? Share your wisdom with us in the comments!