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Learning how to save money isn’t exactly rocket science. In fact, it’s pretty easy—mathematically, at least.
So why do more than half of Americans have less than $1,000 saved in their bank accounts?
It comes down to three simple things: knowing where to start, making a plan, and taking massive action.
That’s why we put together this definitive list of money saving tips to help you start saving more money right away.
They’re real ways to save money that you can actually put into practice.
When it comes to saving money, we think you should work smarter, not harder. Keep reading and we’ll share our favorite ways to save money on just about everything.
SMART MONEY SAVING HABITS
Saving money starts with good habits.
1. Save Money Early and Often
Oh, let us count the reasons why you should save money as early as you can:
- Saving money prevents unnecessary spending and borrowing
- An emergency fund will take away the stress of unexpected bills and expenses
- Money invested will have more time to grow
- You’ll earn more money on investments thanks to compound interest
- You’ll be able to pursue your dreams and take smart risks from time to time
Financial experts unanimously agree – save money as early and as often as you possibly can, even if you can only manage a few dollars per month.
2. Improve Your Credit Score
One of the biggest things holding people back from saving money is the high amount of money they’re required to pay out to banks each month. For example, a homeowner with a 30-year, $200,000 mortgage loan and a 4.5% interest rate will end up paying over $164,000 in interest costs.
Add in student loan interest, car loans and credit cards, and we’ve found another reason why many people don’t save money.
One of the best ways you can save yourself thousands of dollars over your lifetime is incredibly simple: don’t neglect your credit score.
I keep an eye on my credit score and credit report for free using Credit Sesame. It helps me keep track of changes to my score, alerts me when my credit history changes, and makes smart customized suggestions based on my specific financial situation.
Since I signed-up and downloaded the app, I’ve implemented Credit Sesame’s suggestions and raised my credit score (which was already in the Excellent category) by another 15 points.
Your credit score isn’t the most important factor when it comes to saving money, but we believe it’s very significant. For example, if we change the interest rate in the scenario above to 5.5%, our poor homeowner will end up paying over $208,000 in interest.
Recommended: Sign-up for Credit Sesame and start improving your credit for free.
3. Set-up Automatic Savings
Let’s be honest: saving money isn’t necessarily fun. Like paying bills and doing dishes, it’s something most people naturally prefer to put off.
There are several problems with this approach:
- When you delay saving money, it sits in your account and tempts you to spend it
- A high bank balance tricks you into thinking you have more money available than you really have
- Sometimes you forget to save money entirely
The simplest way I’ve found to make sure I save at least some money every month is by using Digit. Digit is a savings assistant that automatically analyzes your monthly spending and saves only what you can afford each day, so you don’t even have to think about it.
Since signing-up for Digit two years ago, I’ve saved almost $5,000 without so much as lifting my finger. Here are a few of the ways Digit can help you save more money:
- Help you set savings goals and put a plan in place to achieve them
- Monitor the balance in your checking account at all times
- Provide alerts when you spend money or get paid
- Transfer money from your Digit account to your checking account when your balance reaches a certain threshold so you never have overdraft fees
- Stop automatically saving money when your checking account reaches a low balance threshold of your choice
- Access savings to pay for emergencies, car repairs, vacations, etc
Bonus Alert: Digit will pay you $5 when you sign-up and fund your account with a minimum balance of $5.
4. Make a Budget and Stick to It
It’s no secret that a vast majority of financial experts believe everyone should have a budget. It is one of the safest ways to make sure your spending is in line with your goals and dreams.
The sad truth is it’s very difficult to save money when you don’t have a budget. You’ll always be surprised by expenses you didn’t see coming, you won’t have a clear idea of where your money is being spent, and saving money will be nearly impossible.
If you’ve budgeted in the past and given up, check out our guide to creating a zero-based budget. It is an action-oriented post designed to help you make sure every dollar you earn is completely accounted for every month.
If you’re completely new to budgeting, use the form below to sign-up for our free course, The 3 Day Budget Breakthrough. It will walk you the step-by-step process of sorting your income, analyzing your expenses and developing a realistic budget that you can stick to in 2019.
5. Save Money for Specific Goals
It’s been said countless times that a dream is simply a goal without a deadline. And while dreams are great, your odds of them coming true increase exponentially when you get specific about how you’re going to make them happen.
Crazy things happen when you set specific money saving goals:
- You stay motivated because the reason WHY you’re saving money is clear.
- You can see the progress you make toward your goal — and it becomes addicting.
- You usually achieve your goals faster than you planned in the first place.
Recommended Action: Jot down your specific money saving goals on a piece of paper and tape them to your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or other prominent place in your home.
6. Break Down Savings Goals into Small, Manageable Chunks
While we’re on the subject of setting money saving goals, research shows that breaking goals down into smaller sub-goals is incredibly effective. Instead of aiming to save $1,000 in 2019, for example, aim to save $85 per month.
Better yet, shoot for $20 per week.
The more frequently you think about your goal and take committed action to achieve it, the better.
7. Save Unexpected Bonuses or Inheritance Money
Surprise bonuses or inheritances can be a blessing — but only if you put them to work to achieve your goals. It’s OK to spend a small portion of these kind of windfalls (think 10% or less), but trust us — you won’t regret saving the money.
8. Celebrate When You Accomplish Savings Goals
Remember when your elementary school teacher kept a marble jar in the classroom? It was dun to see the jar fill up little by little, but it was the best day ever when the jar was full and the class earned a pizza party, ice cream, or an extra recess.
You’re grown up now, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate a little when you accomplish your savings goals. And the positive association your brain forms in that moment will be addicting.
9. Save Your Spare Change
One of our favorite ways to save money is using an app to collect our spare change. It’s called Acorns, and it has helped us save hundreds of dollars without lifting a finger.
The best part? Our savings get invested and earn more money than they would sitting in a coin jar in our bedroom.
Recommended: Get an Acorns account here.
10. Wait 24 Hours or 30 Days Before Purchases
Did you know the average family spends $400 or more per month on impulse buys? Ouch.
That’s why our family discusses big purchases (more than $50 for us, but your number might be different) and waits a minimum of 24 hours, sometimes up to 30 days, before we pull the trigger.
The act of waiting takes emotion out of the equation and helps us save a ton of money each year.
11. Don’t Let Others Make your Decisions
While impulse is one of the biggest deterrents from saving money, we think there’s a bigger threat: FOMO.
If Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are inciting the fear of missing out and making you feel like it’s a good time to abandon all of your goals, don’t give in! If you play the comparison game, you’re going to lose every time.
SAVE MONEY ON BANKING
We get it: Thinking about banking is something the average person only does when they set-up their accounts.
But in 2019, it pays (literally) to think about your relationships with banks to make sure you’re not leaving money on the table.
12. Get a Savings Account That Pays You Well
Most banks offer laughably low interest rates on savings accounts these days. Your average brick and mortar bank probably offers somewhere between 0.05-0.25%.
That is no more than one-fourth of one percent.
If you saved $1,000 it would earn no more than $2.50.
That’s just not right.
The good news is you can get nearly 20X that rate with one of several different accounts through CIT Bank.
More good news: CIT has all of the features most people are looking for in a bank.
- $100 minimum opening account balance
- No opening or maintenance fees of any kind
- FDIC insured up to $250,000 per depositor
- A slick, user-friendly online account portal
If you’re tired of letting the banks make major profit at your expense, you can learn more about CIT Bank's offerings here.
13. Don’t Use ATMs Unless You’re at Your Bank or a Free ATM
In 2019 cash has almost become a thing of the past. That said, you still need it from time to time, whether it’s to pay for parking, buy Girl Scout cookies, or make on the spot donations.
Just be sure you’re not absorbing costly ATM fees to get access to your own money. It’s always better to get cash back or wait until a no-fee ATM is nearby.
14. Set-up Automatic Bill Pay
If you’re not taking advantage of your bank’s automatic bill pay feature, you’re missing out on significant savings. We use it to pay virtually all of our monthly bills, including our mortgage, utilities, and insurance plans — which saves us upwards of $50 per year on stamps, checks, and envelopes.
Automatic bill pay will also prevent any late fees or penalties from missed payments.
15. Pay Off Credit Card Balances Every Month
Unless you have a 0% interest credit card or other active special promotion, paying off your balance in full each month is an easy way to save money. We have automatic payments set-up on one of our cards to make sure the payment is processed.
16. Don’t Use Your Entire Credit Limit
We hope you’ll forgive us for being blunt here: If you’re using close to all of your credit limit each month, you’re playing with fire. Don’t do it, as it’s almost impossible to save money this way.
17. Transfer High Interest Credit Card Debt
Another warning: If you’re constantly trying to game the credit card industry, you’re going to lose.
That said, there is nothing wrong with strategic use of a balance transfer credit card if it helps you minimize interest paid or get out of debt fast.
SAVE MONEY ON UTILITIES
Small changes can help you save money on your utility bills.
18. Unplug Chargers and other Phantom Power Drains
One of the smartest ways to save money on your electricity bills is unplugging any AC adaptors and chargers when they’re not in use.
Pro tip: Simply plug these devices into a power strip and turn it off with a single click when not in use.
19. Get a Smart Thermostat
I’m writing this article from the warmth of the Whole Foods cafe area. Meanwhile, my home is already starting to warm-up for my arrival thanks to my smart thermostat.
If you’re ready to trade in your old thermostat, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
20. Set Lights on Timers
This is the same concept as our smart thermostat recommendation. A few well-placed light timers are cheap, can be picked up at your local hardware store, and will cut down on the number of lights constantly left on in your home.
21. Turn Up (or Down) Your Thermostat 5 Degrees
If you’re pretty fired up about saving money, know this: It literally pays to put up with a little bit of discomfort.
Raising your AC temperature settings by 5 degrees or reducing your target heating temperature can help you save up to 10% annually on your heating and cooling bills.
22. Leave Ceiling Fans On
This isn’t just a smart move in the summer. Running your ceiling fans all year can drastically increase the efficiency of both your central air condition and furnace system. Just make sure you change the direction of your ceiling fan blades from season to season according to manufacturers’ directions.
23. Run Your Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer at Night
Electricity costs go down significantly during off-peak hours, so schedule your dishwasher to run during the overnight hours. And if you can handle staying up a bit later than normal to run your laundry during these hours, even better!
24. Turn Off TVs and Computers When Not In Use
It may be easier to leave your devices plugged-in on a day-to-day basis, but many of them are phantom power hogs.
The worst offenders: Phone chargers and blu-ray players.
SAVE MONEY ON ENTERTAINMENT
Entertainment doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. These tips will help you save money and have fun, too.
25. Search for Free Events in Your Area
Thank God and Mark Zuckerberg for the power of Facebook, as it’s one of the easiest ways to find free local events.
For example, my wife and I are planning to take our son to see the Easter bunny at a local event next weekend.
We found this event and several others like it using the Facebook search function.
26. Visit the Library
Your local library is a free resource with enormous untapped potential. Other than free food and childcare, you’ll stand a good chance of finding just about anything you could want there!
Here is just a small list of what you may expect to find:
- DVDs and Blu-ray discs
- Free children’s reading events
- Free and inexpensive community events and classes
- Clubs for a variety of recreational activities
27. Watch Over the Air HDTV
28. Choose a Streaming Video Service That Meets Your Needs
Along the lines of thought above, an online streaming service provider can help you save a boatload of money vs. cable, as long as you stick to just one or two.
Hulu: When it comes to live streaming and pre-recorded options, Hulu has something for just about everyone, from current shows and old favorites to kids shows and movies.
Netflix: This service probably needs no introduction for most families, but if you haven’t jumped aboard the bandwagon, you can always check out a free trial.
Amazon Prime Video: If you want access to many movies and shows you can’t find anywhere else, Amazon Prime Video is another excellent, affordable option.
Related Reading: Hulu vs. Netflix? Which is Better?
29. Plan a Family Game Night
My wife and I frequently play simple games we already own on our “date nights,” i.e. when our son has gone to bed and we have a couple hours to spare. One of our favorites is Skip-Bo.
When our son gets older, we will plan weekly family game nights. They’re free, fun, and lead to great family conversation.
30. Take Surveys in Your Spare Time
We know this might sound like work, but in our experience, taking surveys while binge-watching Friends is pretty entertaining.
Here are a few survey companies that we find ask the most interesting questions:
Survey Junkie – This is consistently one of the the highest-rated survey companies year in and year out.
Inbox Dollars – An easy way to get rewarded for watching TV and answering simple questions.
Swagbucks – Our family’s favorite way to get free gift cards just for taking surveys, watching videos, and shopping online (all stuff we normally do anyway).
HOW TO SAVE MONEY AT RESTAURANTS
Sometimes you just have to get out of the house. And when you do, it pays to save money at restaurants whenever possible.
31. Check Out early Early Bird Specials
Heading out for dinner at 4:00 may not be the most ideal time, but it can often help you save money by taking advance of specials. For example, my wife and I used to visit a few local restaurants and order several half-off appetizers in lieu of dinner. Most of the time, we saved upwards of 50% off the cost of what we would have otherwise ordered for dinner.
32. Look for Coupons
Check the Ibotta app, as they often feature coupons and drink deals for local restaurants.
33. Use Groupon
For those times when early bird specials aren’t calling your name, we recommend checking out local restaurant deals on Groupon.
Over the past several years, we’ve found many deals that keep pulling us back in each time the offer becomes available.
34. Use Restaurant.com
Like Groupon, Restaurant.com is another restaurant deal opportunity you should use to save money in your food budget. Simply search here for local restaurant deals, select the discounted offer of your choice, and then redeem it at the restaurant.
Note: We have found that it’s wise to read the fine print on Restaurant.com offers, as some exclusions may apply at select restaurants. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
35. Skip Appetizers
Unless you’re ordering half-off apps at happy hour, skip the appetizers if you’re serious about saving money. They can quickly double the cost of your total bill if you’re not careful.
36. Stick to Water
Like appetizers, beverages are one of the largest profit drivers for restaurants. When you order pop or soda, for example, it costs the restaurant a few cents in water and syrup, and then they charge you several dollars.
37. Earn Free Gift Cards
One of the biggest side benefits of being a teacher is receiving several gift cards from students around the holidays and at the end of the year. My wife and I never expect these gifts, but we never fail to appreciate them!
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a teacher to get free gift cards.
38. Buy Discounted Gift Cards
Believe it or not, not everyone loves gift cards. Some people actually sell them for cash at a discount.
You can take advantage and often score great deals on perfectly good gift cards.
39. Get Carryout
When you just can’t fight the urge to order take out, here’s a helpful money saving trick:
Skip delivery, don’t order any beverages from the restaurant, and go pick up the meal yourself.
If you skip even one delivery meal every month, you could save $50 or more in one year.
40. Set a Monthly Budget and Stick to It
Can I make a confession? My wife and I still routinely struggle to stick to our monthly food budget.
Ultimately, creating a budget is easy, but sticking to it requires discipline. For those times you just can’t seem to muster up the energy to tell yourself “no,” here are a few helpful tricks to stay on budget:
- Use a cash envelope for your restaurant spending. When the money is gone, it’s gone.
- Avoid going out to restaurants early in the month. That way you won’t use up your entire budget allotment early in the month.
- If you value dining out or ordering take out frequently, break down your monthly restaurant budget on a dollars per week basis.
SAVE MONEY ON GROCERIES
Next to your mortgage or rent, food and grocery expenses tend to be the biggest obstacles to saving money. These 28 tips will help you get your food spending under control and start saving money fast.
41. Make a Shopping List and Stick to It
If you’re in the habit of shopping without a list, it’s probably costing you hundreds of dollars each month. Without a list,
- you’re prone to impulse purchases that catch your eye.
- you’re likely to forget items you really need, causing expensive return trips to the store.
- you will almost always buy too much food.
Trust us: Make a list, check it twice, and you’ll start saving money fast.
42. Create a Weekly Menu for all Meals
When you sit down to create your grocery list, we also recommend creating a simple weekly menu for all of your meals. It only takes a few minutes to do this, but it will ensure that you’re buying exactly what you need.
43. Keep an Inventory of the Food You Have
Keeping track of the food and other ingredients you have at home is an easy way to save money each month simply because it will prevent you from buying items you don’t need.
It may sound complicated, but keeping an inventory is pretty simple. We recommend keeping short lists on sticky notes on your refrigerator, inside your pantry, and in your cupboards. When you run out of an item, simply cross it out on your list and then add it to your shopping list!
44. Set a Grocery Budget
We probably should have placed this tip higher on the list within this saving category. But in many ways, making grocery lists and inventories go hand in hand with setting a grocery budget. After all, your needs can change significantly based on the food you already have on hand.
Many experts recommend spending no more than 5-15% of your monthly net income on groceries. We believe this is solid advice, but we recommend keeping it under 10% if at all possible. If you have a large family, it’s still possible to keep it under 10%, if you’re careful and deliberate with meal planning.
45. Use Apps to Save on Groceries
If you’re not already using the Ibotta app to save money on your regular grocery trips, you’re missing out. Here’s some proof of how much money I’ve saved since I started using the free app:
46. Cook in Batches
One way we’ve been able to save money on food consistently is by batch cooking meals on Sundays. Then we simply reheat dinners and lunches throughout the week.
47. Make Freezer Meals
Likewise, meal prepping in large batches and freezing ready-to-go meals has helped our family eliminate last minute fast food runs when hectic days strike.
If freezing several meals all at once sounds overwhelming, MyFreezEasy makes it both affordable and easy.
48. Use a Crock Pot or Slow Cooker
Shopping with a carefully planned list will ensure that you always have food for meals on hand, but it won’t cook the meals for you, unfortunately.
That’s why we recommend Crock Pot or Slow Cooker meals, especially in the middle of a busy work week.
We have a list of go-to meals that take only minutes of prep work. I estimate that these meals probably save us upwards of $200 per year by helping us avoid ordering take out on extremely busy days when my wife and I don’t have time to cook.
Check out our go-to list of cheap Crock Pot or Slow Cooker meals.
49. Shop 1x Per Week
Have you ever ran to Target “just to pick up a few things”? I have, and almost every time I end up spending $50 or more.
When you take lots of little trips to the store each week, you’re going to mess up your grocery budget. It’s a fact.
If you limit shopping trips to once per week with a carefully planned list, you’ll save tons of money and avoid impulse buys.
50. Use Walmart Grocery Pickup
Along those lines, staying out of the store will help you avoid buying things you don’t really need.
The best way to do that and still feed your family is Walmart Grocery pickup. Here’s why we love it:
- You can place an order directly in the app.
- The minimum order for delivery has consistently remained quite low.
- They deliver your groceries to your car and load them for you. (This is really nice on a cold, wet day.)
Check it out and see for yourself!
51. Buy in Bulk at Costco or Sam’s Club
If you routinely find yourself buying the same items a few times each week, it’s time to consider buying in bulk to save money.
While you’re at it, check out our list of the best items to buy in bulk to save money.
52. Cook in Bulk, too
This will help you maximize all of the ingredients you buy each week and reduce your food waste.
53. Buy Frozen Vegetables
Fresh vegetables almost always taste better, but buying frozen will preserve them longer and save money.
54. Buy Generic
Buying generic is recommended for serious savers who have done everything else they can think of to reduce their grocery budget.
It’s a simple step that doesn’t come without a bit of sacrifice, but it’s worth a try when you consider that many generic items are priced 50% or more under their name brand competitors.
Over time, you’ll create a mental list of which products you’re willing to buy generic and which you won’t. After all, it’s only worth saving the money if you’re not experiencing a significant drop-off in quality!
55. Study Unit Prices
If you really want to take your savings game to the next level, we recommend keeping a small notebook of typical unit prices on products you buy regularly. This is one of the best ways to evaluate the quality of sales and potential bulk purchases.
56. Eat Less
It sounds simple because it is! If you can challenge yourself to reduce your normal food intake by as little as 10%, it will help you save money in a hurry.
57. Plan Emergency Meals
We always have two or three emergency meals ready to go in the freezer at any given time. It saves us money because we avoid ordering takeout when life gets crazy.
58. Eliminate Food Waste
The average American family wastes food at alarming rates. Take these steps to reduce the food you throw away.
59. Pack Leftovers for Lunch
I love leftovers for lunch! They’re healthier than pre-packed options, taste great, and help us save money.
60. Clean Out Your Pantry
If you’re loading up your new groceries in the pantry before checking for expired or aging items, you’re potentially wasting a ton of money each year.
It only takes a few minutes to check for items that are about to expire so you can use them up first.
61. Set Your Refrigerator and Freezer Temperatures Appropriately
Did you know it is recommended to keep your refrigerator below 38 degrees F and your freezer below 0 degrees F? These temperatures will preserve your food longer and help your appliances run efficieintly.
62. Shop the Perimeter of the Store
The perimeter of your average grocery store typically contains the best deals on the items you really need.
63. Cut Down on Sugary Drinks
Eliminating just one or two sugary drinks per week can help you save a ton of money.
64. Buy Frozen Fruit
Like frozen vegetables, frozen fruit will last longer and may even taste better, depending upon what is in season in your area.
65. Carry a Water Bottle With You
The average price of a bottle of water contains huge profit margins for retailers. Carry your own bottle and save big money.
66. Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach
This is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you don’t buy up the entire store because your eyes are bigger than your stomach!
67. Shop Sales
This seems pretty obvious, but getting to know the sale trends at your favorite grocery stores can be a game changer for your grocery budget.
68. Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods are almost always more expensive than real food. Sure, they’re convenient, but they’ll cost you.
GET FREE STUFF
What better way to save money than to get free stuff?
69. Earn Free Gift Cards
There are dozens of ways to earn free gift cards in 2019, but we like to keep things simple. Here are a few of our favorite ways to get free gift cards.
Shopkick isn’t just another “buy stuff and get rewards points and turn them into gift cards” kind of app. In fact, there are six ways to earn rewards (called “kicks”):
- Earn kicks at the entrance of stores just for walking in
- Scan barcodes of products while you’re shopping, even if you’re not buying them
- Complete a purchase and submit your receipt
- Complete a purchase using a linked credit or debit card
- Make purchases online
- Watch videos
Some actions may only earn a few kicks, while others could earn you hundreds of kicks
When you have earned enough kicks, you may redeem them for gift cards (like most apps, there are several options, including Starbucks and Amazon).
70. Get Free Samples
Remember going to the grocery store as a kid and snagging free cheese samples?
It’s a little different today, but you can still get plenty of free samples online.
Here is a collection of the best free sample offers we’ve found:
Sample Hawk offers a variety of free samples.
The Everyday Moms Sampling Club is a treasure trove of free sample opportunities.
71. Earn Bonus Cash
By now, you’ve probably seen a few bonus cash apps in this list.
There are so many apps to choose from today, and it seems like the list keeps getting longer and longer.
72. Get Over $100 Per Year Free for Nothing
Sounds too good to be true, right?
But once you sign-up for Smart Panel and download it onto your phone or computer, you’ll start earning free money every month.
Basically, the app/program monitors your web use and shares data with research companies for them to review to inform their marketing. It might sound sketchy, but the service is overseen by Verto Analytics, a trusted analytics firm.
If you’re willing to share this basic info about your web searches, Twitter activity, and how often you check e-mail, you can earn $5 per month per device. If you have even two devices, that’s an easy way to snag over $100 per year for doing nothing.
SAVE MONEY IN COLLEGE
Confession time: We wasted a lot of money in college. In our defense, we didn’t really know any better.
These tips will help college students save money this year.
73. Learn to Say No
When you say “yes” to something, you’re always saying “no” to something else. Learn to say “no” sometimes.
74. Sell Your Books
Wondering what to do with textbooks after the semester ends?
Unless the book is for a class within your major, you’re probably never going to need it again.
Sell those books!
75. Buy Used Books
Likewise, buying used books from another students is a way to save major cash. Every penny counts!
76. Use Groupon and Restaurant.com
When you’re a college student, sometimes you need to get out and enjoy a good meal. Just don’t spend a fortune!
77. Use Cash
Instead of swiping your debit or credit card, use cash. It will make you think twice before you spend it.
78. Stock up on Healthy and Filling Snacks
In college, I survived on beef jerkey, all natural fruit strips, and healthy roasted nuts.
Keeping a stash of healthy snacks around will help you avoid stopping for expensive snacks before class.
79. Get a Job
If you can work even a few hours per week, it will add up to huge money savings over the course of the year.
80. Get Free Coffee
Yes, you can get free coffee with very little effort.
81. Choose a Meal Plan Carefully
It might be tempting to choose that expensive unlimited meal plan, but if you’re like most college students, it won’t be worth it. Unless you eat three square meals per day and also stop for snacks, you can save money with a smaller meal plan.
82. Take Advantage of the Library
The library offers more than books. You can read newspapers, check out magazines, and even borrow DVDs, Blurays, and CDs.
SAVE MONEY ON TRANSPORTATION AND TRAVEL
83. Watch Gas Prices
Before you stop to fill-up your gas tank, here are a few tips:
- Don’t get gas on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
- Find a few gas stations on your usual route and monitor their price trends.
84. Record Your Business Mileage
If you are on the road for business, it pays to keep careful mileage records at tax time. We recommend using the Mile IQ app.
85. Keep Up With Regular Maintenance
It might be tempting to stretch maintenance intervals, but this will catch up with you over time. Set regular calendar reminders so you don’t forget important vehicle maintenance.
86. Do Some Repairs Yourself
It’s getting harder and harder to do many car repairs yourself, but some things are still easy. When it comes to changing your cabin air filter, windshield wipers, and filling your tires with air, do it yourself.
87. Check Your Fluids
It might be tempting to trust your car’s gauges, but this is a potentially costly mistake. Check your oil, coolant, and transmission fluid levels at least once per month, just to be safe.
88. Rotate Your Tires
Rotating your tires when you get your oil changed is a smart way to maximize the tread life on your tires.
89. Avoid Dealerships Unless You Have a Warranty
If your vehicle isn’t under warranty, find a local mechanic who has stellar reviews to handle your maintenance and repairs. Dealerships are almost always going to charge more for the exact same services.
90. Find a Mechanic You Trust
Along the same lines, research carefully before choosing a mechanic. Ask around with friends and family to find a mechanic with a long track record of honesty, ethical business practices, and great reviews.
91. Get Online Coupons
Many mechanics and dealers have coupons for services on their websites, but they won’t give them to you unless you ask. Even if your coupon is expired, it’s worth a try!
SAVE MONEY ON HEALTHCARE AND PRESCRIPTIONS
Healthcare costs seem to increase every year. These tips will help you save money on healthcare and prescriptions this year.
92. Check out SingleCare
Medical expenses are usually unavoidable and expensive.
But there is a way to save money on prescription costs, dental and vision, and video doctor visits.
Check out our comprehensive review of SingleCare, a free platform that can save you a ton of money.
93. Watch Your Deductibles
If your insurance plans have deductibles, it’s very important to know how they work.
Simply put, when you have a deductible, you’re responsible for paying for medical expenses until you reach the amount of your deductible. Once you’ve spent beyond your deductible, your insurance kicks in and you’ll usually only pay a copay or coinsurance.
This is important to track, as once you meet your deductible, the cost of medical services is greatly reduced. If you’re planning elective surgeries or procedures, for example, timing them well can be a great way to save money.
94. Open an HSA
An HSA, or Health Savings Account, is a great way to save money because it offers triple tax savings.
To see if you’re eligble, check out this HSA guide.
95. Use a FSA
If an HSA isn’t an option for you, a FSA, or Flexible Spending Account, can be another great money saving option.
Unlike an HSA, you do not need to be a member of a high deductible health plan (HDHP) insurance plan to open an FSA.
You can learn more about opening an FSA here.
96. Negotiate With Providers
Believe it or not, your healthcare providers may be willing to negotiate prices with you in some instances.
Whether it’s making payment arrangements, arranging for low interest or no interest payment plans, or even offering in-house discounts, your doctors may be willing to work with you if you ask.
97. Ask For a Payment Plan Before You Swipe Your Credit Card
That said, asking for a payment plan after you’ve already paid using a credit card isn’t likely to get results.
Instead, be sure to ask for a payment plan option right away if you anticipate that you’ll need one.
98. Exercise to Maintain Your Health
It’s no secret that a healthy diet and regular exercise are two of the best ways to stay healthy.
It can also save you a ton of money. Your insurance provider and employer may even work together to offer you incentives for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.
99. Buy Generic Over the Counter Medication
When it comes to medications that have been around a while, you can easily save money without sacrificing quality by buying generic over the counter medicine. Just be sure to read the labels to be sure you’re getting the exact same formula as the more expensive name brands.
100. Focus on Preventative Health Care (Physicals, Dental cleanings, and Vision Screenings)
Going in for a check-up isn’t fun, but it’s definitely a responsible thing to do.
And it’s a great way to save money, as your doctor may catch concerns before they become far more serious and expensive.
SAVE MONEY AROUND THE HOUSE
For most families, housing and related costs will always be the largest budgeted expenses. Keep these items in check to the best of your ability by using these tips to save money around the house.
101. Consider Refinancing Your Mortgage
If you haven’t checked out mortgage interest rates in several years, now is a great time. Rates remain historically low, which means you could potentially save hundreds of dollars per month by refinancing.
We recommend checking out your options with LendingTree, as they can survey the best possible rates from multiple lenders and allow you to compare your options in just a few minutes.
102. Keep Up With Routine Maintenance
Most major home problems start out as small problems that don’t get addressed in a timely manner.
It only takes a few minutes per week to make sure you’re keeping up with regular home maintenance, such as changing furnace filters, checking downspouts, and cleaning your gutters.
103. Get an HVAC Tune-Up Once Per Year
As a veteran real estate agent, one of the major problems I see on a regular basis is a poorly-maintained heating, ventillation, and cooling system.
Many people neglect the simple things like changing furnace filters and humidifier pads, but even worse, I see furnaces and air conditioning units that have never been serviced by a professional.
For less than the cost of dinner and a movie, you can save yourself a ton of money and make sure your HVAC system is inspected by a professional technician at least once per year.
They will diagnose potential problems and even help correct them before your furnace fails in the middle of winter.
104. Invest in Home Security
A home security system might seem like a costly expense on the surface, but the trust is it can help you save money in the long run.
A security system can help you lower your homeowners insurance rates, first and foremost. But most importantly, it ensures that your home is protected from would-be thieves who may steal both your valuables and irreplaceable items.
105. Contest Your Property Taxes
In the US, property taxes are calculated based upon a percentage of the established value of your home. Every few years, you should take the time to contest those figures to make sure you’re not overpaying.
To do so, follow this simple six step guide to contesting your property taxes.
106. Stop Paying for TV
Want a simple way to save $100 or more each month? Cut the cord. There are plenty of alternatives to cable TV these days.
107. Buy a Water Filter
Using a home water filter instead of buying bottled water will help you save an enormous amount of money over the lifetime of your filter.
108. Exercise at Home
A gym membership is one of the most commonly reported wastes of money in national surveys. Unless you’re hitting the gym at least 4-5 times per week, you’re most likely better off committing to an in-home exercise routine or purchasing a simple set of free weights on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.
109. Take a Staycation
According to CreditDonkey.com, the average cost of a vacation for a family of four is $4,580.
The average cost of a staycation, or vacation at home? A lot less.
Here are some staycation ideas to get you started.
EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY FOR RETIREMENT
Retirement is something you can’t afford to ignore. If your plan needs a boost, check out these simple ways to save money for retirement.
110. Live On a Fixed Portion of Your Income
In 2016, the average savings rate in the US was a low 5.7%, compared to the recommended savings percentage of 10-15%.
If you’re in the habit of spending more than 90% of your after-tax income, you should consider setting up an automatic payroll deduction to prevent yourself from overspending.
By living on a fixed portion of less than 90% of your income, you’ll protect yourself from lifestyle inflation and be sure that you’ll have money saved for retirement.
111. Switch to Term Life Insurance
If you’re still paying for whole life insurance, you’re wasting a lot of money. Before you cancel it, however, you need to get a term life insurance policy in place.
112. Open an IRA
If you don’t have the option to contribute to a 401k at your current place of employment, your next best bet may be to open an IRA, or Individual Retirement Arrangement.
You can contribute up to $6,000 per year in an IRA, unless you are over 50. Then you can contribute up to $7,000.
Some restrictions do apply when it comes to IRA contributions, so be sure to speak to an accountant or financial advisor.
113. Save Whatever You Can Afford
If you’re living on less than 90 percent of your after-tax income and find yourself able to save more money, do it!
You’ll never regret saving a bit more than the recommended percentages, especially when retirement comes.
114. Pay Yourself First
There’s a reason many financial experts, myself included, recommended paying yourself first: You’re making sure that you never borrow from your future to pay for today’s decisions.
EXTREME WAYS TO SAVE MONEY
If you’ve tried just about everything to save money and crave more, these extreme money saving tips might be your jam.
115. Cut Your Own Hair
This isn’t for the faint of heart, but cutting your own hair can be a simple way to save a few hundred dollars each year.
116. Move in With Family
If you’re struggling to pay your bills or desperate to save money for a house downpayment, moving in with family for a short time could help you save money fast.
117. Make Your Own Baby Wipes
This is an ultra-frugal tip for the most savvy moms and dads: You can make your own baby wipes with just a few simple items.
118. Take Advantage of Birthday Freebies
One of my college friends hits up every single restaurant, coffee shop, and business that offers birthday freebies every year on his birthday. It’s not a bad way to save money, but it might not be the best idea if you’re looking to lose weight.
119. Cut Back on Showers
For the truly committed extreme money savers, consider skipping your daily shower every once in a while. If you’re not working out or otherwise breaking a sweat every day, chances are nobody will even notice!
SAVE MONEY ON INSURANCE
Insurance is a necessary expense and gives you peace of mind, but that’s no reason to overspend. Check out these ways to save money on insurance!
120. Negotiate Your Current Auto Insurance Rates
There are two simple ways to negotiate your auto insurance rates:
- Pick up the phone and call your insurance agent, OR
- Let Trim find you the best rates available from several different providers.
Pro Tip: Trim is free to use, and Trim only gets a small portion of the money you save if they can actually help you save money. If you’re looking to save time and money, this is a smart move. But if you have the time, shopping rates on your own will put the most money back in your pocket.
121. Choose Plans Carefully
The average person selects insurance plans and rarely reviews or changes them. And they’re missing out on a great opportunity to save money as their lives and needs change over time.
We recommend reviewing insurance plan options carefully to make sure that you have a plan in place that provides the coverage you need at the lowest prices possible.
122. Review Your Plans Annually
Life changes in a hurry, which is why we recommend reviewing all of your insurance plans at least once per year. You may discover that your needs have changed, which may present an opportunity to save serious cash.
123. Seek Multi-line Discounts
One of the easiest ways to save money on insurance is to take out multiple policies with a single insurance provider. You may qualify for mutli-line discounts, which add up very quickly.
124. Get an Umbrella Policy
If you have significant wealth or atypical risk exposure (i.e. you own a pool or trampoline), taking out an umbrella insurance policy is a great way to save yourself money in the long run.
Spending a few hundred dollars per year is much less expensive than potentially facing a costly lawsuit.
125. Reduce Your Deductibles
Once you have saved a large emergency fund, you may be able to reduce your annual insurance premiums by raising your deductibles.
Word of Warning: Do not raise your deductibles without a sizable emergency fund in place!
126. Drive Safely
One of the easiest ways to save money on car insurance is adopting safe driving habits. Your driving record absolutely affects your car insurance rates, so driving safely over a long time period will help you reduce your rates.
127. Eliminate Distractions While Driving
One of the safest driving habits you can adopt is driving without distractions. We recommend turning down your music, placing your cell phone in the backseat of your car, and keeping both of your hands on the wheel while your vehicle is in motion.
128. Cash Out Whole Life Insurance Policies
If you have been contributing to a whole life insurance policy and it has built cash value, you could potentially save a ton of money in just two steps:
- Replace your whole life insurance policy with a less expensive term life insurance policy, and
- Once you have term life insurance in place, cash out your whole life insurance policy and save that lump sum.
Caution: Do NOT cancel any whole life insurance policies prior to getting a term life insurance policy in place, or you could end up losing all of your life insurance coverage if it is found that you are not insurable for any reason.
We recommend checking out your term life insurance policies today, as it’s probably more affordable than you may think.
MAKE MORE MONEY TO SAVE MONEY
One of the best ways to save money is to make more money and not allow yourself to spend more than a small percentage of that additional income.
Here are some of our favorite ways to make more money and save more money at the same time.
129. Get Paid to Use Phone Apps
It won’t be life changing money, but you a small selection of the best paying phone apps can help you save a lot of money every year.
130. Sell Unwanted Clutter
If you’re willing to take time this weekend to comb through the clutter in your basement or gararge, it could be an easy way to make $100 or more.
You can sell unwanted items on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or unload them using Decluttr.
131. Drive With Doordash
If you have a reliable vehicle, like working flexible hours to make a little extra cash, and love interacting with people, delivering with Doordash can be a great money saving side hustle.
132. Start a Blog
Let me be blunt for a moment: Starting a blog is hard work, and you won’t make a ton of money overnight.
It takes most bloggers months or even years to make even a few dollars.
A vast majority of them quit before they ever make meaningful money.
But if you’re willing to put in the time, learn how to make money blogging, and stick with it, you could build a nice nest egg if you saved your blogging income.
Curious about how to start and how to actually make money blogging? Check out this post.
133. Drive With Uber
If you like driving and like other people, a ridesharing service like Uber could be a great side hustle for you.
Several of my close friends have been Uber drivers for a few years, and they enjoy meeting interesting people and making money at the same time.
134. Start a Dog Sitting Business
If you love dogs and would like to get paid for hosting them in your home on your own schedule, consider starting your own dog sitting business.
135. Rent Out Your Home
Not long ago, Super Bowl fans flocked to Airbnbs in Minnestota—and Airbnb hosts made a lot of money!
If you’re curious about how much you could earn renting your home or even a room or two, start here.
136. Earn Free Gift Cards
Want to earn points which you can redeem for gift cards (which spend just as easily as money)?
The Drop app awards points to users when they shop like normal, and those points can be redeemed for gift cards for Amazon, Starbucks, and more.
137. Get Paid to Watch Videos
Would you be willing to watch TV and short videos to make money?
Check out InboxDollars and you could earn your first $5 today.
138. Sell Your Photos
If you’re interested in making some easy money selling your photos, you could earn up to $5 per picture selling them using the Foap app.
139. Take Short Surveys While Watching TV
Want to make some easy money while watching Netflix?
Here are a two survey companies that we find offer great opportunities to make extra cash:
Survey Junkie – This is consistently one of the the highest-rated survey companies year in and year out. They have responsive customer service and great reviews on TrustPilot.
Swagbucks – Our family’s favorite way to get free gift cards just for taking surveys, watching videos, and shopping online (all stuff we normally do anyway).
UNUSUAL WAYS TO SAVE MONEY
If you’ve made it this far and are still looking for even more ways to save money, we’ve saved the weirdest tips for last!
140. Rent Out a Room in Your Home
If you’ve tried renting rooms or even your entire home on AirBNB and didn’t mind the company, you could consider offer long-term rentals in your home via a traditional lease.
141. Move Closer to Your Job
If your daily commute is costing you hours of time and hundreds of dollars in gas each month, it might be time to consider moving closer to your job.
142. Get a Job Closer to Work
On the flip side, if you love your home and are willing to part with your job, finding a new job could be a great way to save money and make more money, too.
143. Ride Your Bike to Work
It could be a little rough to fight the elements, especially during the rainy spring season and the winter freeze. But riding your bike to work is an easy way to save money on gas each month.
144. Turn Off Your AC
You know what they say. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
If you can stand the heat, turn off your air conditioning and save a ton of money on your electric bill.
145. Bathe Pets Yourself
We can’t take our two dogs to the groomer for less than $120. If you can bathe and cut your pets yourself, you could save over $500 each year.
146. Make Your Own Soap
This is pretty extreme, but you could save over $100 per year by making your own soap.
This video will walk you through the lengthy process:
147. Workout With Free YouTube Videos and Ditch the Gym
We know that you probably go to the gym for motivational reasons more than anything, but that’s a pretty expensive dose of daily motivation.
You can find a huge variety of home workout routines, yoga classes, and much more on YouTube.
And they’re free.
148. Eat Dinner at Home and Go Out for Dessert
Sometimes you just need to get out of the house. We have two dogs and a todller, so we get it.
If you skip a weekly dinner out and just go out for dessert after eating at home instead, you could easily save more than $1,000 per year.
149. Travel With a Carry-on Bag Only
Drum roll, please. . . Our final money saving tip isn’t entirely unusual in 2019, but it’s a good one: Leave your suitcase behind when flying and use a carry-on bag instead.
Whew! This wraps up our exhaustive list of ways to save money.
We hope you’ll take many of these tips and put them into practice. We’ve vetted each and every frugal tip on the list, and we’re confident they can work for you!
Remember, you need to take massive action and put what you’ve learned into practice if you’re serious about saving money.
You can do this!