Saving money is a great first step to turning your finances around. This resource shows you 123 ways to accomplish that goal. For this resource, saving money is considered putting more money in the bank or investment accounts, spending less money on things you already pay for, increasing efficiency to spend less money later and other tricks to either spend less money and/or put more money in the bank over the long run.
Let’s get started and dive right in to the 123 money saving tips. Make sure you stick around until the end. I’ve saved one of the most important money saving tips for last!
One of the keys to saving money is knowing what is going on in your financial life and how to manage your finances. Use these tips to get a grip on managing your money.
1. Switch to a No Fee Bank Account – I don’t know why anyone uses bank accounts that charge them outrageous fees when there are great alternatives for fee free bank accounts if you’ll simply take some time to look around. My favorites are local credit unions (some of which still have some fees) and online bank accounts such as Capital One 360, Ally Bank and USAA Bank.
2. Open A Targeted Savings Account – Open up a savings account for your saved money to go to. This sounds simple, but many people who claim to be saving are just spending less. Your money needs a home! Open the home (a
simple online savings account will do) and the void will be filled with saved money. To take it to the next level, open an account for each major savings goal. This tip was courtesy of Philip Taylor from PT Money.
3. Use A Bank That Offers Free Checks – Why pay for checks when there are banks that will give you free basic checks? Two of my bank accounts, Ally Bank and USAA Bank, both give me free basic checks whenever I ask for them. I rarely need a new book of checks, but when I do I don’t pay a dime.
4. Save Automatically – Setting up automatic contributions is the best way, in my opinion, to save money. It is simply harder to spend money that you can’t see. I’d suggest starting by contributing the minimum to your 401(k) to get the maximum company match. Then take a look at Roth IRA’s. If you don’t qualify, think about saving automatically to an account that you can use to invest in whatever you wish. This tip was courtesy of Crystal Stemberger of Budgeting in the Fun Stuff.
5. Quit Paying ATM Fees – Just like with checks, why pay ATM fees when there are banks that will automatically reimburse most of your ATM fees for you? Again, both USAA Bank and Ally Bank reimburse my ATM fees up to a certain limit in most cases. There are exclusions, but why pay to access your cash when you don’t have to? If you don’t have Ally Bank or USAA Bank accounts, at least use ATMs in your network so you don’t get charged to take money out of the bank.
6. Invest As Inexpensively As Possible – Always be sure to invest in low cost mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs). Use inexpensive index funds when you can. When you use actively managed funds be sure that the fund expenses are reasonable. In some cases you may have options as to which share class of a particular fund you invest in, be sure to invest in the lowest cost share class available to you.
If you invest via a financial advisor be sure that you understand all expenses and fees associated with this relationship. How is your advisor compensated? Does he/she make money via the financial products that you invest in? While saving on investing costs may not show up in your monthly budget, the long-term impact on the amount of money you will accumulate for retirement or other financial goals can be staggering. This tip was courtesy of Roger Wohlner of The Chicago Financial Planner.
7. Stop Incurring Overdraft Fees – Overdraft fees are a stupid tax for you not being able to manage your money. These fees can be very expensive and normally are between $20 to $40 each time you spend more money than you have in your bank account. If you go on a spending spree one day and make 5 transaction with no money in your account you could be out $200 just for not keeping track of your money. Stop this stupidity and know how much money you have in your bank. Quit overdrafting and you could be rich in no time flat.
8. Pay Yourself First – Most people wait until the end of the month, after they’ve spent a ton of money, to determine how much is leftover to transfer to savings. Normally this results in transferring little or no money into savings. Instead of waiting until the end of the money, transfer money into your savings as soon as you get paid. Pay yourself first.
9. Track Every Penny of Your Spending – If you want to save money you need to know where your money is going. You’ll get an idea of what spending is important to you and then you can “trim the fat,” so to speak. There are even tools such as Quicken or Mint that can assist with tracking your non-cash spending. This tip was courtesy of Glen Craig from Free From Broke.
10. Set Up A Fun Money Budget And Quit Spending When It Is Gone – At the beginning of the month, decide as a family how much money will be set aside for fun and entertainment. When that money is gone, quit spending. You’ll be surprised how much more thoughtfully you spend your fun money and you might even have some left over by the end of the month!
11. Use The Cash Envelope Spending System – Always use cash, however use it correctly. You need to make yourself accountable. Divide your spending into envelopes and then mark each accordingly. As you spend, write it down. When the cash is gone, you are done spending.
This helps you stay within your budget and ensure that you are buying the things you really need. This works so well at the grocery store as you know you need to eat, and so you think twice about splurging on things you don’t need to ensure you buy the things you really do need. If you use cash and don’t force yourself to be accountable for your spending, it will be gone before you know it and you’ll have no idea what you’ve purchased. This tip was courtesy of Tracie Fobes from Penny Pinchin Mom.
12. Set Up A Charity Budget And Don’t Exceed It – There is always someone who needs help and you should help out as much as you are able to. The problem for some people is they can’t say no to anyone that asks for money. Instead, set up a yearly budget for charities and quit giving when the money is gone. This will allow you to support the charities you feel need the most help while keeping your finances in good shape without feeling bad for not being able to contribute more than you’ve set aside.
13. Prioritize Your Spending – It’s much easier to say no to a fancy new car if you know that you rather fully fund your Roth IRA. If you know you absolutely adore your smart phone, maybe it will be easier to save elsewhere, like a magazine subscription you barely have time for. Prioritization is key. This tip was courtesy of Crystal Stemberger of Budgeting in the Fun Stuff.
14. Hate Tracking Your Spending? – If you hate the process of tracking your spending, but love every other concept of budgeting, then you should try out websites like Mint or software programs like Quicken. Mint is free and Quicken does cost money, but you’ll save in the long run by being able to know whether or not you’re close to your total budgeted spending for a given month.
15. Review Your Expenses Regularly – If you run a business of any kind, set a date on your calendar every 3-4 months to review your expenses and prune if necessary. I’ve been guilty of signing up for subscriptions or services that I didn’t use enough to justify the cost, and my periodic reviews allow me to cancel them before I waste a lot of money.
Business needs morph and change constantly, especially if you’re self-employed or run a small business, so it’s important to keep tabs on what you’re spending and how it contributes to your overall strategy. This tip was courtesy of Andrea Whitmer from Nuts and Bolts Media.
16. Automatically Save Half Of Every Raise – Instead of letting your expenses grow whenever you get a raise, save at least half of every raise. I personally increase my retirement contributions whenever I get a raise but saving the money anywhere is better than inflating your lifestyle mindlessly.
Mental Money Tricks
Sometimes the biggest breakthroughs in managing your money can be from simple mental money tricks. Try out these ways to save money and see if they work for you.
17. Pretend Gas Is Expense and Save The Rest – Try pretending that gas is $5 a gallon and put the difference in savings. Not only will your savings add up quickly, it’ll also help you drive less, and make the price fluctuations a little less emotionally taxing! This tip was courtesy of David Ning from Money Ning.
18. Ignore The Joneses’ – The Joneses’ are your neighbors that seem to have everything. What you don’t see if they either work really, really hard for what they have, they have massive amounts of debt, or they don’t have a penny in savings for their future. Don’t focus on keeping up with everyone else. Instead, live your own life financially and do what is best for you.
19. Use the $2.00 Bill Trick – One of my favorite ways to save money is the $2.00 Bill Trick. Every time you go to the bank, ask the tellers how many $2.00 bills they have. Then, no matter what their answer is, “buy” them all up and throw ’em in a shoebox or your other favorite hiding place!
You’ll never want to spend them because a) They’re so cool looking! and b) You’ll probably feel funny handing them over to people.this They also make great stocking stuffer gifts, as well as presents to children like from the Tooth Fairy. But more importantly, it’s FUN to save these up. This tip was courtesy of J Money from Rockstar Finance.
20. Only Get Cash In Large Bills – Studies have shown that using large bills will cause you to spend less because people don’t like breaking big bills. If you spend cash, try only getting $100 or $50 bills and see if it works for you, too!
21. Start A Change Or Small Bills Jar – Spending cash results in getting change, both in coin and bill form. Simply put all of your change in a jar and deposit it into your savings account once a month or year, depending on how quickly it fills up. If you want to save even more money, put all $1 or $5 bills you get into the jar as well.
22. Start Paying Attention, You’ll Automatically Do Better Financially – One of the biggest revelations I had when I first realized I was headed for financial disaster was that I needed to stop ignoring my problems. I pushed anything bad under the rug to avoid feeling bad about my situation.
Once I started acknowledging the truth and started paying attention to my finances, it was so much easier to begin to move forward. Paying attention can be the first step towards a better financial life. This tip was courtesy of Luke Landes from Consumerism Commentary.
There are certain skills you can learn that will help you for the rest of your life both financially and just in general. These tips will help you save money while improving and enriching your life at the same time.
23. Research Large Purchases For The Best Price – If you’re buying a large dollar item, make sure you perform enough research to make sure you’re getting the best deal on the product. Check local stores as well as online merchants to see if you can get a better price somewhere else. Make sure to take into account any coupons you may be able to use at different stores as they can make a big difference on larger purchases.
24. Read Everything You Sign To Look For Hidden Fees – The small print is the place where many companies will hide tons of hidden fees, such as maintenance fees, early termination fees or excessive usage fees. Make sure you’re aware of what you’re agreeing to before you sign on the dotted line.
25. Learn How To Do Simple Maintenance Tasks On YouTube – YouTube is a great resource for learning simple and even complicated tasks. Next time you’re considering paying someone else do to a task for you that you don’t think you know how to do, search for a video describing how to perform the task on YouTube. You could be surprised how simple some tasks are that professional will charge you an arm and a leg for. I personally have learned how to completely replace a toilet, change my wife’s motorcycle oil and change the air filters in my car.
26. Trade Specialized Services With Friends, Family and The Community – Are you great at a specialized service that most people don’t know how to do such as completing tax returns? If so, you might be able to barter what you’re good at to get help from people who offer a specialized service you need, such as car repair. It never hurts to ask and you could potentially save yourself some big bucks.
People spend money most frequently when they’re just out shopping and buying things around town. Use these tips to cut down on those purchases, or at least how much each purchase costs. Small amounts saved multiple times can really add up over the long run if you make yourself learn good habits.
27. Always Search For Promo Codes Before You Check Out – One of the easiest ways to save money on a purchase you’re going to make is searching for promo or coupon codes. Before you checkout, simply Google search for the company name and promo codes or coupon codes. Try a few codes out and see how much money you can save! This tip was courtesy of Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income.
28. Switch to Generic Medications If Ingredients Are The Same – You should talk to your doctor before changing any of your medications. Next time you’re at your doctor’s office ask him or her if switching to a generic version of your medication would be acceptable and if it could save you some money. You may be surprised how much you can save if your doctor approves of the switch. We save a ton of money by buying non-branded acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
29. Buy Quality Products – Have you ever bought the cheapest version of something thinking you’re being frugal and saving money? You might be throwing money away. We bought a cheap ice cream scoop once, thinking that all ice cream scoops are the same. Less than a year later the ice cream scoop literally snapped in half. We now make sure we buy quality items that will last instead of the cheapest item on the shelf.
30. Buy Only The Necessities For Newborns – Expectant moms are constantly told by retailers what they must have for their newborns. The checklists given to you when you create a registry oftentimes contain unnecessary items. I recommend taking an experienced mommy with you when you create your registry. Someone who can tell you that soft wipes are a necessity, but a wipes warmer truly is not. This tip was courtesy of Lena Gott from What Mommy Does.
31. Stock Up On Items That Don’t Expire When They’re On Sale – If you see an item that doesn’t expire on sale at an amazing price, then you might want to stock up and buy enough of that product to last you a while. Why pay higher prices when you need another of the same item in just one month when you can lock in the savings for an entire year!
Be careful with this tip, though. It can get out of hand and you can find yourself with so many razors that you’ll never need one again. Also, make sure you’re really going to use the product in the future. You don’t need a year’s worth of razors if you’re going to grow a beard out next month.
32. Buy Holiday Items For Next Year Right After The Holiday – It is a funny phenomenon, but it happens after every holiday every year. The day after the holiday, all items for that holiday go on sale at a major discount! Use this to your advantage and stock up for next year’s holiday this year! Don’t buy items that will go bad, like Halloween candy, but feel free to get a new artificial Christmas tree at half off!
33. Don’t Buy Extended Warranties If They Don’t Make Sense – There are some rare cases where extended warranties make sense. Unless you’re in one of those situations, never buy the extended warranty. A cool tip is that some credit cards will add an additional year to the manufacturers warranty if you buy a product with that credit card.
34. Buy an At Home Manicure Set Instead of Paying The Nail Salon – For the ladies, instead of getting a gel manicure at the salon and paying $50 – $60 each time, buy one of the at home sets. The sets run about $60 at Target for the initial set up, but you actually get 10+ manicures from that. Not only does it save money, but it saves time. I can do my nails any hour of the day, and if one chips I can simply redo just the one nail! Worth the investment! This tip was courtesy of Andrea Travillian from Take A Smart Step.
35. Buy Baby Clothes and Equipment At Consignment Sales – When I became a mom, I found out about these wonderful sales events called kids consignment sales. They are where hundreds of moms pool their entire baby and kid items together and sell them in one location. These events last anywhere from a few days to a week, and the last day of every sale is usually a discount day.
As a general rule of thumb, you can get baby clothes and other items like bouncy seats and pack n’ plays at 50%-75% off retail price at these sales. If you are willing to shop the discount days, your savings could be closer to 80-90%! Just be sure that safety is your number 1 priority with used goods. This tip was from Lena Gott from What Mommy Does.
36. Quit Paying The Stupid Tax (Buying Lottery Tickets) – Lottery tickets have horrible odds and over the long run you’re essentially lighting your money on fire. I’ll admit that I have bought lottery tickets at times and I even won $100 on a $1 scratch off ticket once. Regardless of my past results, the only reason to ever buy a lottery ticket is for entertainment value. Never buy one expecting to come out ahead.
37. Cut Out Convenience Store Purchases – Whenever you’re buying something in a more convenient fashion, there is a great chance you’re paying more for an item than you could if you bought it elsewhere. Don’t pay extra money for lack of forethought. Make sure you buy items at their best prices and don’t pay a premium for convenience.
38. Be Willing To Shop At Thrift Stores – When I was growing up I don’t think I ever shopped at a thrift store. However, when I went to college I discovered they were a great place to pick up quality items at discount prices. You might be surprised what you can find at your local thrift store! I’ve found some great dress shirts and household items that were easily 90% off what I’d pay for them new and they were in great shape.
39. Explore Free Options First – Any time you need something, see if you can source it for free first. This goes for food as well, look around for wild produce growing, barter with friends and family. For other things enter competitions and giveaways, check sites like freecycle, let family and friends know you are looking for something.
If you can’t get it for free, see what is the most frugal way to obtain an item, it might be second hand, it might be in a sale. Don’t go for the cheapest, go for the frugal option. It might mean you spend a little more on a better quality item, but it lasts longer than the cheapest option. Always think frugal, not cheap. This tip was courtesy of Kylie Ofiu.
40. Don’t Go Window Shopping – People seem to want to get out of the house when they’re bored and their first thought is to go to the local mall or outdoor shopping center, just to look. Well, that’s how stores make money. People go just to look and say they won’t buy anything but they normally end up buying at least something most of the time. Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to this practice! Don’t go window shopping and you won’t accidentally buy things that you never would have seen otherwise!
41. Buy Open Box Appliances and Electronics – If you’re not scared by a scratch on a dryer or no box with your new laptop, you might want to consider buying open box merchandise that was likely customer returned merchandise. Some people don’t measure their laundry rooms before they buy a dryer then figure out they can’t get in through the door and it ends up with a scratch. Now you can take advantage and buy that same dryer at a discount. It still dries clothes just the same!
42. Never Pay for AA Batteries, Printer Paper, or Pens – Instead, snag them for free at Staples or another big office supply store — they frequently run specials where you can get these items, and more, for free if you mail in a rebate. This tip was courtesy of Rebecca at Stapler Confessions.
Managing and Destroying Your Debt
Debt is the result of spending more money than you had at a point in the past. It is painful because you must use the money you earn now to pay for the past. On top of that, you have to pay even more because of interest! Use these tips to help you get rid of your debt and move on with your financial life.
43. Negotiate Better Credit Card Interest Rates – If you’re in the unfortunately position of being in credit card debt you know the high interest rates can make it difficult to pay your credit cards off quickly. One way to save some money and pay them off faster is to give your credit card company a call and simply ask them to reduce your interest rate.
If the first representative can’t help you, ask to speak to their supervisor and ask again. Don’t get mad, you can’t expect them to lower your interest rate just because you ask, but you might be surprised by the fact that some credit card companies will lower your interest rate simply by asking.
44. Take Advantage of Interest Rate Discounts For Setting Up Automatic Payments – Certain types of debt, such as some student loans or mortgages, will give you a discount on your interest rate if you set up automatic payments. It might only be a .25% or 1% interest rate reduction, but every reduction in interest paid is more money in your pocket!
45. Quit Paying Late Fees – Late fees are a complete waste of money. They are a penalty for your lack of attention to when your bills are due. Instead of paying late fees, make a system so that you never make a late payment again. Whether it is putting monthly reminders in your calendar or writing a list of due dates on your white board, find a system that works for you!
46. Pay Down Highest Interest Rate Debt First – If you really want to save money while paying off your debt, you need to pay off the highest interest rate debt first. This will reduce the amount of interest you pay faster than other debt payoff methods. However, saving money quickly isn’t always the best way to pay off debt. If you’re more emotional with your money, it could make sense to try the debt snowball method (paying off the loan with the smallest balance first) even thought it results in paying more interest.
47. Use 0% Promotional Offer Balance Transfer Credit Cards – Don’t use this tip unless you have successfully sworn off incurring any more credit card debt forever. By transferring your higher interest rate debt to a 0% promo rate balance transfer credit card you’ll likely save a ton of money in interest, but ONLY if you pay it off before the promotional rate expires. Beware, most cards charge a 3-5% balance transfer fee, but if you pay the debt off before the promo rate expires, then chances are you’ll save money vs a 19.99% or higher interest rate on your other credit card.
Housing is generally the biggest line item in almost everyone’s budget. You can get some big wins in this category. Even though some of these tips seem like big changes, seriously consider them due to the large potential savings.
48. Learn How To Repair Your Home – When it comes to home repairs, don’t be afraid to try and fix things yourself. Even if you aren’t the handy type, small jobs like fixing running toilets and patching drywall will cost you over a hundred dollars to hire a professional. You owe it to yourself and your wallet to try and find a step-by-step guide online, and at least give it a good try to do the work yourself.
If things don’t turn out as planned, you can always hire a professional later. Just make sure you don’t take on anything above your skill level. Some jobs that involve electricity, plumbing or HVAC systems might be better left to the professionals. This tip is courtesy of Jefferson from See Debt Run.
49. Refinance Your Mortgage – You could be missing out on some huge savings if you currently have a mortgage and haven’t refinanced in the last couple of years. Interest rates have come up a little bit in the last year, but they’re still at near all time lows when you consider the big picture. Just a 1% difference in the interest rate (from 6% to 5%) on a $200,000 mortgage will save you $125 a month or $1,500 a year on your mortgage payment. Just make sure you don’t cash out or extend the term of your mortgage.
50. Downsize Your Housing and Your Housing Costs – Do you live in a house, apartment, condo or townhome that has empty space in it? Is there a room or multiple rooms that you haven’t set foot in for months? If so, you may want to consider downsizing your housing situation. Whether you have to sell your house or move at the end of your lease, downsizing to a smaller housing situation could save you a ton of money on your mortgage, rent and utility bills! There is room for some serious savings here.
51. Get a Roommate – Don’t want to downsize but still have an empty room problem? A great way to save some money on your rent or mortgage payment is to get a roommate that’ll help pay the bills for you! You could charge a flat fee for everything or charge rent plus a portion of the utilities. Either way you’re taking advantage of extra space you aren’t using and getting paid for it!
52. Rent Out A Room on airbnb.com – Don’t want a year round roommate? Try renting out a room of your house on airbnb.com for short periods of time. If you live in a vacation spot, you could earn quite a bit of money to stuff into savings without incurring a ton of extra costs.
53. Pay Your Rent In Advance – Ask your landlord if you can pay 3, 6 or 12 months of rent in advance for a discount. Landlords love knowing that the rental income will come in, so paying in advance might get you a pretty sweet discount if you have the cash on hand.
54. Have Proper Insurance For Your Property (Renter’s Insurance, Homeowner’s Insurance, Flood Insurance, Etc) – Being properly insured may cost you a bit of money up front, but it can save you a ton of money should something horrible happen. Make sure that your deductibles and coverage limits are proper for your situation, because if you’re over insured you’re losing money. By correcting your insurance coverage amounts to the right amount for your situation, you could save some serious dough.
55. Consider Relocating To A Lower Cost Area – If you live in an expensive part of the country, or even an expensive part of town, consider relocating to a lower cost area. You might be stuck in the area of the country you currently live in, but you aren’t stuck in the neighborhood you live in. Moving across town could save you hundreds a month for the same quality of housing.
Transportation is often the second largest line item in any budget so you need to take these ways how to save money seriously too. These tips might not be the most popular suggestions, but they do have the opportunity to save you a lot of money over the long run. Just think how quickly these savings could add up over a year or a decade.
56. Move Closer To Work – If you decide to downsize you might want to move closer to work at the same time. You’ll waste less time commuting to and from the place you likely visit 5 days per week.
If you move close enough you might be able to walk, bike or take public transportation to work and ditch that car that costs you thousands of dollars per year, even if you don’t have a car payment. If you still drive to work after you move, at least you’ll save wear and tear on your car over time which adds up to big money. You’ll be saving money on gas as well.
57. Get New Auto Insurance Quotes – Have you been with the best insurance company for many years? I thought I was, too. However, when I got married I decided to get quotes from the big insurance companies, including USAA, Geico, Progressive, State Farm and many more. I was shocked to see that my insurance company no longer had the best rate by hundreds of dollars a year and I decided to switch. The same could happen to you.
58. Don’t Pay Fees For Monthly Auto Insurance Payments – Some insurance companies charge you for the convenience of paying for your car insurance in monthly installments rather than in once every six month payments. Quit paying fees. Save up for you six month renewal in advance and you won’t have to pay these fees anymore.
59. Cut Down On Unnecessary Car Trips By Planning Trips – Cutting out unnecessary car trips will save you money both in gas money and car maintenance. Instead of coming home from work and then going out to the store that was on your way home, just stop at the store on your way home. Instead of making 4 trips to 4 different stores each weekend, consolidate them into one trip. Each time you cut down the amount of miles you put on your car, you save money.
60. Bike Or Walk For Trips Close To Home – Instead of driving a mile down the road to pick up a Redbox movie for the night, ride your bike or walk. You’ll benefit from the exercise and your car will thank you for putting less stress on it. Short trips are the most stressful on your car.
61. Seriously Consider Public Transportation – If you live in a decent sized city with good public transportation, then you should definitely consider taking public transportation instead of constantly using your expensive cars.
In fact, if you live in a two car household and you find you can rely on just one car and using public transportation you could save thousands of dollars a year in car payments, auto insurance, gas and maintenance! Better yet, ditch all of the cars and solely rely on public transportation. It’ll even get you some exercise. This tip is courtesy of Amanda Abella.
62. Follow Your Car Maintenance Schedule – Following your car maintenance schedule will ensure that you’re keeping your car in tip top shape. Your car will last longer if you perform regular maintenance rather than just fixing things when they break. Not following you car maintenance schedule can be a costly mistake, especially if you never change your oil. The better shape you keep your car in will result in a higher sales price when you sell it, or a longer life if you plan on driving it until it dies.
63. Unload Your Car Trunk – This is an easy trick to increase your gas mileage. Remove all unnecessary items from your car trunk and the passenger area. Don’t leave your bowling ball or other heavy item in your car just because you might need it once or twice a year. Less weight in your car means your car doesn’t have to work as hard to get up to speed. Don’t remove necessary items such as a spare tires, jacks or jumper cables.
64. Properly Inflate Your Tires – This is another easy gas saving trick. Make sure to keep your car tires inflated to the proper tire pressure for optimal performance. In addition, this should extend the life of your tires over improperly inflated tires. Tires are expensive and making sure the tire pressure is correct is easy.
65. Don’t Speed On The Highway – Speeding can be a triple whammy to your wallet. You’ll get worse gas mileage as you go faster on the interstate and you can get tickets from the police. On top of that, when you get a speeding ticket you’re insurance rates will go up! Yuck! Just don’t speed, it likely isn’t worth the time you might save by getting to your destination faster.
66. Drive Your Car After Your Car Loan Is Paid Off – Continue to drive your car after your loan is paid off. People are tempted to jump into a new car loan as soon as their car is paid off, but you can save a ton by avoiding that urge.
If your car payment is $250, after just one year of sticking with your current set of wheels, you would have an extra $3000. Your car will also cost less to insure over time, so you’ll enjoy some savings there too. This tip was courtesy of Andrew Schrage at Money Crashers.
67. Review Your Auto Insurance Coverage – When was the last time you paid attention to what type of coverage you have for your automobile insurance? If it has been many years and your car is now an old clunker, you might not need collision or comprehensive insurance any more.
These are some of the more expensive parts of your insurance policy. If you have recently bought umbrella insurance, you might be able to lower your liability limits, too. Make sure you keep at least the minimum limit allowable by your umbrella insurance policy.
Subscription services can be dangerous because we pay for them every month and often get desensitized to the cost. We feel like these services are necessary due to living with them for so long. As you read through these tips, don’t just blow them off because the ideas make you uncomfortable. Think if these changes would really be as bad as you think they’d be.
68. Negotiate For Everything – Negotiate everything as if you were a bootstrapping entrepreneur. What if you had no budget and were trying to get a business off the ground, would you just pay whatever the cable company told you? No – you’d shop around and try to get a cutthroat rate so you could keep your business operating another day. Why aren’t you doing that in your personal life? Negotiate everything. This tip was courtesy of Jim Wang from Microblogger.
This tip was so important is was mentioned by two bloggers. Here is what the second has to say: Don’t be afraid to negotiate, especially when it comes to services like cable, internet, and phone service. Most of these companies have incentive pricing plans that they can offer you, but you have to ask for a lower price. Even if you already use these services, simply call and say you need a better rate – it’s normal to get 20% discounts or more! This tip was courtesy of Robert Farrington from The College Investor.
69. Downsize Your Cell Phone Plan (texting, minutes, data) – Do you have a $100 or $200 a month cell phone plan but never use all of your minutes, data or text messages that your plan allows? An easy way to save would be to downgrade your plan to a more reasonable amount of minutes, data or text messages. Make sure you don’t cut back too much because overage charges can be outrageous.
70. Cut The Contract Cell Phone and Get a Prepaid Phone – If you rarely use your phone for anything but the occasional phone call, you might be better off getting a prepaid cell phone. These only charge you for the minutes or texts that you use so you could save a ton. Make sure you are aware of whether or not your minutes expire.
71. Switch To a Non-Traditional Cell Phone Company – Another cell phone option is to switch to a non-traditional cell phone company such as Republic Wireless. Their plans are much cheaper, as low as $5 per month, because they try to direct all of your calls, text and data over wifi rather than over their cell towers.
72. Don’t Want To Negotiate? Have Someone Else Negotiate For You – I recently found out about a helpful service called BillCutterz. Basically they are a bill discount service. All you do is send them your bills and they call your providers and negotiate better rates on your behalf.
You then split the savings with them. From their website, “We split any savings we obtain with you. This means if we save you $100, you get $50 and we get $50. If we don’t save you any money, there is no charge to you – ever.” This tip was courtesy of Bob Lotich from ChristianPF.
73. Cut The Landline Phone – Do you still have a landline telephone? If so, how often do you really use it? Could you instead use your cell phone, Skype, or another option for your phone call needs? If you can you’ll save not just on the phone portion of your bill, but you’ll also save money in multiple phone taxes.
74. Challenge Yourself To Live Without Cable For 30 Days – I tried this successfully for 30 days, using Apple TV and Netflix instead. Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime are great options too. There is a ton of awesome programming on Netflix, and it’s only $8 (and $99 for Apple TV).
I continued the challenge for 2 years and haven’t looked back. This alone saved me over $100 a month. It also gave me more time for hobbies, family, and hanging out with friends — which I believe is important for a really happy life. This tip is courtesy of Matt Giovanisci from Listen, Money Matters.
75. Consider Bundling If You Must Have Cable – If you must have cable, consider bundling services with your internet and potentially your land line telephone, if you have to have that too. You might be surprised how adding a very basic version of another service could save you money versus just having one service from the company. Just watch out and cancel the extra services when the promotional rates expire.
76. Don’t Pay Cable Modem Fees – Buy Your Own – I have cable internet, but my internet company wanted to rent me a modem for $6 per month. Instead, I bought a cable modem myself that only cost $50! It paid for itself in less than a year and I’m still saving money today!
77. Cancel Unused Subscriptions – Gym, Magazines, etc – Take a look at your credit card bills and bank statements. Do you see any recurring charges that hit your statement once a month, quarter or year? Are you acually using these services or products that these charges represent? If you haven’t been to the gym in months but are still paying a monthly fee, cancel it. Same thing with that magazine that you never read. Don’t renew the subscription! Cancelling subscriptions is an easy way to save money in your monthly budget.
78. Get Rid Of Your Storage Unit – When is the last time you went and got something out of your storage unit? Never? Exactly. Why waste $50 to $100+ a month storing stuff you’ll never ever use again? Get rid of it and quit paying rent for crap you’ll never use again!
79. Review Every Bill For Billing Errors – The companies you do business with might not always have your best interests in mind. They do their best to send you accurate bills, but everyone makes mistakes. Make sure you aren’t one of those mistakes!
Check your bills every month to see if they billed you according to what you had agreed upon. Sometimes companies will raise rates or forget to honor an agreement they made with you in the past. When you find out that has happened, give them a call before you pay your bill to get it straightened out.
Energy costs are often seen as a necessity in our current lifestyles. The amount of your energy bill doesn’t have to be as high as it likely is though. Use these tips to make your energy use much more efficient to save some money over the long run.
80. Use Level Billing Arrangements – For me, the key to a successful budget has always been about knowing how much money I can save. If I have to leave extra money in the checkbook for “just in case” items, less gets saved. So, any time I can level expenses for the month, I’ll do it.
Signing up for the utility even payment program is a no-brainer, as is a weekly budget for groceries and allowances for “extras.” Less surprises in my weekly budget means I can safely dedicate more toward the savings account. This tip was courtesy of Joe Saul-Sehy from The Free Financial Advisor.
81. Turn The Thermostat Up Or Down Depending On The Season – According to my local power company, each degree you set your thermostat below 78 degrees in the summer will cost you 10% more electricity! That’s a lot of power you can save which can turn into big money on your utility bill. Similarly, during the winter you can save money by setting your thermostat at a lower temperature and wearing warmer clothing around the house. The savings can add up quickly.
82. Get A Programmable Thermostat – If you have a predictable schedule, a programmable thermostat can probably save you a decent amount of money. Simply program your thermostat to be a couple degrees cooler at night or while you’re at work during the winter or warmer while you’re away in the summer and your expensive air conditioning system won’t run as often!
83. Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs – If you’re still using the old incandescent light bulbs then you’re burning up cash every time your light bulbs are on. Consider this:
- A 60 watt incandescent light bulb will cost about $6.60 in energy per 1,000 hours.
- A 60 watt equivalent CFL light bulb will cost about $1.43 in energy per 1,000 hours.
- A 60 watt equivalent LED light bulb will likely cost less than $1.00 in energy per 1,000 hours.
The savings in energy alone is clear. When you add the savings from not having to replace your light bulbs as often, you might be shocked by just how much you can save simply from light bulbs. It might be a different story when it comes to Christmas lights though.
84. Get An Energy Audit From Your Electric Company – Most electric companies offer an amazing service for free that can save you thousands of dollars on your energy bills. This service is an energy audit, where an electric company representative will come out to your home and inspect it for energy leaks.
They’ll write up a report to tell you their findings and make suggestions like increasing the insulation in your attic, re-caulk your windows, replace your ancient air conditioner or add weather stripping to your doors. Following just a few of the cheaper items on their list has the potential to save you a lot of money on your utility bills.
85. Change Or Clean Your Air Filters Regularly – Air conditioning is one of the biggest uses of electricity in your house. If your air filter is dirty, chances are your system is not getting the air flow it needs to cool your home as quickly as it otherwise could. By simply cleaning a reusable air filter or replacing a disposable filter, you can get your air conditioner the air it needs and your system won’t run quite as long!
86. Open Your Windows – When it is nice outside, quit running your air conditioner. Instead, open up the windows and let the fresh air and gentle breeze cool your home. Just make sure it is cooler outside than it is inside. Sometimes, feelings can be deceiving so make sure to use a thermometer.
Between buying groceries, dining out and special occasions with big meals, food costs can really add up if you aren’t paying close attention to your budget. Use these tips and tricks to cut down on your food costs.
87. Drink Water At Restaurants – Beverages are an expensive item when eating out, especially if you have children. You can even incentivize you kids and still save money! Offer your kids $1 to drink water. This saves you $2 or more per paid drink. It also saves from having to tip on the beverages. Finally, the money you pay your kids turns into their spending money! This tip was courtesy of Steve Stewart from Money Plan SOS.
88. Use Coupons But Don’t Extreme Coupon – I believe you can save a ton of money by using coupons without extreme couponing. Simply flip through the paper and cut out whatever you think you might need to buy in the next few weeks.
If you don’t use the coupon it isn’t a big deal, but if you do you just saved a couple bucks. You can look for coupons in stores and online, too. I always use coupons when I’m buying allergy medication because it saves me at least $2 to $6 each time and it takes only about a minute of effort at most.
89. Switch to Store Brand Foods – One of my favorite tips is to switch from national brand food items to store or non-branded food items. If you end up not liking the generic, you can switch back to the brand name. If you do like the generic just as much as you liked the name brand then you just saved a ton of money going forward!
90. Shop By Price Per Unit – Next time you’re at the store, look for pricing by unit rather than price for the item as a whole. You may be shocked to learn that buying a smaller size of something might be cheaper than buying the large version. It differs based on what you’re buying, but this can save you quite a bit over the long haul. You can also calculate price per item or price by ounce easily on your smartphone. You’re paying a lot for that phone so you might as well use it to save money!
91. Quit Throwing Away Food – Eat Your Leftovers – Do you throw away food on a regular basis? You might as well be burning dollar bills for fun! Quit throwing away leftovers and make a plan to eat them. Whether you eat the same meal two nights in a row at home or you take leftovers from last night’s dinner for lunch, eating leftovers has the potential to save you big bucks on your grocery bill.
92. Put Your Grocery Receipts On The Fridge – People waste a ton of money throwing out food. You can avoid this by simply cutting back on the amount of food you forget about in the fridge. Use your receipts as a reminder to eat what you bought before it goes bad. When you finish a food item, simply cross it off of your receipt. This tip is courtesy of Karen Cordaway from Money Saving Enthusiast.
93. Quit Buying In Bulk – Do you buy ketchup at Costco? They only sell giant three bottle packages! Chances are, unless you eat ketchup on everything, one or two of those bottles won’t be any good by the time you get around to using them. Only buy in bulk when it makes sense, not just because you think you’re getting a great deal.
94. Drink Sodas or Alcohol Before Going Out – Everything is insanely marked up at restaurants, but the one thing that always gets to me is soda and alcohol prices. I don’t want to pay $2.50 for a glass of soda that I could buy for a quarter at the grocery store. Same thing with the weak drinks you get at many restaurants. I drink my soda and alcohol at home and save a ton of money by doing so. I’m dining out for the meal, not for the drinks! Just make sure to have a designated driver if you’re drinking before you go out. Don’t drink and drive!
95. Reduce How Often You Eat At Restaurants or Quit Completely – Dining out is a major money suck for the majority of Americans. A great way to save in this category is to reduce how many times a month you dine out at restaurants. Another option is to eat at less expensive restaurants. As you ween yourself off of dining out, slowly continue to reduce your dining out budget until you can get rid of it altogether, if that’s what you want.
96. Bring Your Lunch To Work – Want to save a massive amount of money this year? Instead of eating lunch out at work 5 days a week, bring your lunch! You can easily save $5 a day or over $1,000 a year with this one tip alone! You can take last night’s leftovers, make special meals for your lunches or pack a sandwich and bag of chips. Whatever you bring, make sure it is something you want to eat so you don’t find yourself leaving your bag lunch at work and going out to eat anyway.
97. Quit Drinking Bottled Water – Bottled water is extremely expensive considering you can get water at a fraction of the cost out of your tap. If you’re worried about your tap water, you can buy a water filter system and still save money compared to only drinking bottled water. Give it a shot, best case you save some money. Worst case, you go back to buying bottled water by the case… *shivers*.
98. Make Your Own Coffee (Quit Buying Lattes) – Speaking of convenience, quit buying those lattes on the way to work every morning. Instead, drink the free coffee from work or make a cup of coffee before you leave in the morning. If the quality isn’t quite the same, buy better coffee. It’ll still be cheaper than having someone else make your cup of joe for you every morning.
99. Only Shop On The Perimeter of Grocery Stores – Have you ever noticed that all of the fresh food is on the outside of the grocery store and all of the processed food is in the middle? By simply sticking to the outside of the grocery store, rather than the aisles, you’ll save a ton of money and eat a lot healthier!
100. Shop With A List To Avoid Impulse Purchases – Making a grocery list and sticking to it can save you a ton of money on impulse food purchases. Planning what you need ahead of time will reduce the amount of food you throw out. You’ll end up saving money in two ways by shopping with a list.
People love spending money on fun, but sometimes it can get a bit out of hand. Use these tips to rein in your entertainment spending if you think your entertainment budget is a bit higher than it should be.
101. Take a Staycation Instead of a Vacation – Instead of heading out of town and spending thousands of dollars on your next vacation, stick around your hometown and save money on travel and lodging! You can still dine out for every meal and check out the fun things to do around your town, but you’ll be able to take your vacation at a much reduced cost.
102. Quit Buying Books – Use The Library Instead – Reading is a great hobby and an awesome way to learn. A cheaper way to take part in this hobby, instead of buying every book you want to read, is to borrow books from your local library.
It is almost always free if you’re a resident of the area and you don’t have to buy books just to read them once and have them sit on a shelf for years. Save yourself some money and just borrow the book instead of buying it. If it is a must have, multiple read book, then go ahead and buy it after you found out you loved it. You can still save some money by picking up a used copy on Amazon.
103. Invite Your Friends Over For a BYOB Night Instead of Going Out On The Town – If you enjoy partying but don’t enjoy the expensive alcohol at the clubs and bars, why not turn your house into the party spot for the weekend? Have your friends bring their own booze and turn the music up at home!
104. Explore Free Entertainment In Your Town – Museums, Beaches, Local Parks – Instead of spending money entertaining yourself on the weekends you should try looking into the free activities around your community. Locally I have a ton of free options including beaches, parks and even some festivals depending on the weekend.
There is likely a local schedule of events that you can find in a newspaper or on your local news station’s website. Check it out and see what you might be interested in doing for free.
105. Wait For Movies To Go To The Dollar Theater – Rather than going to see a movie as soon as it comes out at the regular theater, wait until it comes to your local cheap or dollar theater! We have a theater that only costs $2 per ticket and we save a ton of money by simply waiting a couple of months to go see a movie.
Raise Some Quick Cash
Need to add some money to your savings account quickly? You probably aren’t alone. Try these quick tips to raise some quick cash.
106. Sell Items For Maximum Value – It’s definitely easier to go donate items to goodwill, but if you’re looking to save (or in this case earn) a little more money, try to sell the item! Do some research to find the true value of your item and do your best to sell it for as close to the true value as possible.
107. Sell The Contents Of Your Storage Unit – Instead of just giving away everything in your storage unit, sell the stuff in your unit or find a place for it in your house by selling something else. This will give you some income up front and you’ll still save money every month from now on by ditching the unit, too!
108. Have A Garage Or Yard Sale – Take some of the junk filling up your house and sell it at a garage or yard sale. If you haven’t touched it in months and you can’t think of a reason why you need something, it might just be a treasure to someone else and make you some money to put into savings!
Technology has become a part of our lives over the last couple of decades. These are costs that our parents didn’t have to worry about as much as we have to today. Use these tips to save money on your technology wants.
109. Get 90% Off A New Computer – Before buying a new computer, consider upgrading the RAM instead. Upgrading RAM will give you most the speed benefits of a new computer at 10 percent of the cost. It is easy–if you can snap two pieces of LEGO together, you can upgrade your RAM. Use this simple scanning tool to figure out what RAM you need. This tip is courtesy of Greg Go and Will Chen of Wisebread.
110. Don’t Upgrade to The Newest iPhone – I’ve never had the latest and greatest cell phone. Instead I stay one generation behind the newest generation of cell phones. This keeps my device cost low and I still get a huge upgrade over my last phone. There isn’t a huge difference between the latest phone and the one just one generation behind it so why would you pay $200 just to be a cool kid?
111. Buy Technology That Is One Cycle Out Of Date – Just like with iPhones, you can save a ton of money on other technology purchases. Whether you’re buying an iPad, a MacBook or a simple PC Laptop, staying one generation behind will save you hundreds and you won’t miss what you haven’t experienced.
112. Your Kids Don’t Need a Cell Phone – Get a WiFi Device – Every day I hear about kids getting cell phones, some as early as elementary school! This is absurd to me, but I know the times have changed. Instead of giving your child an expensive cell phone with a hefty phone contract, trying buying a WiFi device that will still allow texting, but doesn’t come with an expensive contract with minutes, texting and data.
Credit and Credit Cards
Credit cards offer a lot more than meets the eye, but they can also be a very dangerous tool. As long as you never carry a balance on your credit card, use these tips to get the most out of your credit card.
113.Put Your Credit/Debit Card In Ice… Literally – If you have trouble with impulse purchases this tip is for you. Go grab your credit card and a large plastic cup. Insert your card in the bottom of the cup and then fill it with water and stick it in your freezer.
In order use your credit card for an impulse purchase you now have to wait for the ice to thaw. That should give you enough time to let the impulse disappear so that you can evaluate whether the purchase is really a need or just a want that can wait. This tip was courtesy of Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income.
114. Use And Be Aware Of Your Credit Card Benefits – Credit cards offer more than just rewards or cash back. Take a look at the services your credit card offers. You might be surprised! Some offer rental car insurance, price protection, replacement of items that break shortly after you buy them or extended warranties.
115. Use A Rewards Credit Card (Only If You Don’t Have Credit Card Debt) – First off, never carry a balance on your credit card, ever. That said, using rewards credit cards are an easy way to earn cash back on your everyday purchases. Some rewards credit cards pay as much as a flat 1.5% to 2% on all purchases. Other credit cards offer 5% or 6% cash back in particular categories. Either way, you’re getting at least a small discount just by changing your payment method.
116. Never Pay For A Credit Report or Credit Score – Instead, check out annualcreditreport.com to get your free credit reports (1 from each reporting bureau each year). You can also get free credit score alternatives from sites like CreditKarma.com that are very close approximations of FICO scores, but they aren’t the exact same thing.
117. Ditch The Fee Laden Prepaid Debit Card – Prepaid debit cards are notorious for the insane fees they charge you. They charge you to load your debit card with money, they charge you to check your balance, they charge you to withdraw money from and ATM and they even charge you for transactions! Ditch the prepaid debit card and pay cash, get a bank account or, if you can handle it, get a credit card and never carry a balance.
Pets bring great joy to the lives of many, but they can be expensive! Use these tips to save money on your pets.
118. Don’t Have Pets – I might catch some flack for this but it is a HUGE money saver. Simply don’t have pets. We have a dog and a bird and we’re definitely not going to get rid of them to save money. However, if money is tight, definitely don’t go out and get any more pets!
119. Don’t Overfeed Your Pets – This tip is a two for one tip. By feeding your pets the correct amount of food, you’ll save a ton of money on pet food. You’ll benefit in other ways too. Your pets probably won’t be overweight if you feed them the correct amount, so you can potentially save money from vet visits due to injuries from your pet being overweight.
120. Feed Your Pet Quality Food – Quality food may be more expensive up front, but if it helps to keep your pet healthier then you won’t have to make some potentially more expensive vet visits down the road.
121. Pet Proof Your Home – Pets are a joy to have around the house, but if they find things they shouldn’t have you’ll have an expensive vet bill to fix the problem. My parents found this out when their dog almost died by ingesting a sago palm tree seed. They’re lucky she didn’t die like most dogs do, but it cost them several hundred dollars. Remove items that are poisonous to animals from your home and make sure they can’t get into things they shouldn’t consume.
Taxes… I don’t know many people that like paying them. However, these tips can help reduce your tax liability fairly easily and help you in the long run.
122. Properly Adjust Your Tax Withholding To Quit Getting Tax Refunds – This doesn’t technically save you any money, but it can increase your cash flow. If you get a large tax refund every year you might want to change your withholding from your paychecks so that your large tax refunds turn into larger paychecks each week. The extra cash flow could help you when you’re running on a tight budget.
123. Contribute More To Your 401(k) to Reduce Your Tax Liability – A great way to reduce your expenses is to reduce your tax bill. Money you contribute to your 401(k) reduces your taxable income which will also reduce the amount of tax you either have to have withheld from your paychecks or pay in estimated tax payments. Of course, you will have to pay taxes on this money when you withdraw it from your 401(k), but hopefully that’s a long time down the road!
124. Use A Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account – If you pay federal taxes, have qualified healthcare costs and an eligible health insurance plan, then you might want to take advantage of these tax free accounts. There are rules and regulations on what you can spend money on, but you can save a decent amount of money in taxes by doing some pretty easy tax planning.
125. Keep An Eye Out For Tax Credits In Your State – For instance, in Arizona we have a Private School Tuition program that is a dollar-for-dollar tax credit. How it works is that you write a check to a private school and the state government gives you the entire amount back at tax time (assuming you owe state taxes). One of the coolest benefits to this is that you can also claim it as a tax deduction on your federal income tax as well. This means that you can reduce your federal income tax liability and get your money back. Not too shabby, right? This tip was courtesy of Deacon from Well Kept Wallet.
The Final Money Saving Tip
126. Making The Mental Shift From Spender To Saver – Finally, the very last, but most important tip in my mind is from Todd Tresidder from Financial Mentor. (This is tip #126, in case you weren’t counting.)
The absolute key to saving more has nothing to do with the “to-do” items in this article because becoming a saver is an internal shift: you must make saving a higher priority in your life than current consumption. Your savings goals need to become more important to you than your lifestyle goals.
When you shift your internal priorities then your external actions (to-do items) naturally follow. All the other points in this article such as paying yourself first, eliminating or reducing periodic payments like your gym membership or cable bill, and maximizing your 401(k) contributions all happen as the result of this internal shift about what your true priorities are.
When you make the internal shift first it makes saving money as easy as swimming downstream or riding a bike with the wind at your back. When you try to implement all the savings tips without making the internal shift first you are setting yourself up for failure.
I hope the 126 money saving tips above have helped you come up with some ways you can save money. I even threw a couple more than promised in for you! Pick a few that work best for you and enact them in your every day life. Then, once you have mastered those tips, come back to this post and pick a couple more. Make sure to bookmark this post for future reference!
One last thing. If you find this resource insanely useful, which I hope you did, please share it with your friends and family or anyone else you can think of that would use it. Pin the picture at the top of the post to Pinterest. Share this post on Facebook or tweet it on Twitter. Bookmark this post to come back to later. I’d really appreciate it!
Did I miss your favorite money saving tip (or any money saving tip for that matter)? Let me know in the comments below so everyone else can see too!
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Photo by: Flickr User Text added by: Lance Cothern