Most people know the “boring” ways to save money. Things like make a budget, use cash, don’t spend too much. YAWN.
What about the unique ideas?
I’ve put together this list of more than 60 ways you can easily save money! On their own, they don’t save much. However, when you do several of them, they really can make a difference.
You will also want to make sure to read these posts too:
You might find that you already do some of them, but others may be new to you. Even if you do many of these already, hopefully you find something new you can do, too!
1. Follow the 30-day rule. If you want to make a big purchase, don’t do it right away. Think about it for 30 days. Many times, your urge to buy will pass. However, if you are still unsure, 30 days time will allow you to consider if it is worth spending money on it or not.
2. Don’t use the ATM. It is too easy to stop by the ATM and get $20 here and $20 there. Before you know it, you’ve taken out more than $100 you didn’t plan on spending. Not only that, but if you stop by an ATM which is not part of your bank’s network, you can also get hit with those annoying ATM fees.
Instead, visit the bank (not even the ATM at your bank) one time after each pay day and get the cash you need. This is where your cash budget really makes a difference.
3. Get haircuts at a beauty school. If you live near a beauty school, then you should visit them for your hair cuts. You can get deeply discounted cuts while helping a student learn. (And there is always an expert cosmetologist right there to help the student).
4. Take shorter showers. I know that a nice long, hot shower can wake you up in the morning. However, if you jump in and get hit with the cold blast first you’ll be awake more quickly. Then, hurry and shower and you’ll save money both on water, but also the energy to heat the water.
Bonus tip: Make sure your water heater is set at 120 and you can save an additional amount on those energy costs.
5. Skip the shaving cream. Don’t buy shaving cream. Pick up a bottle of cheap conditioner (often even less than $1 a bottle) and use it instead.
6. Layers in the winter months. Keep the thermostat set at 68 – 70 during the winter. If you are cold, just grab a sweater or a blanket. You can even use a hot water bottle under your sheets to make them nice and toasty before you climb into bed at night.
7. Turn off the lights. This sounds just too simple, but it does make a difference. While it is not a huge savings, all of those pennies can add up!
8. Cut the cable cord. This is one that can save you a LOT of money! If you still want to catch your favorite shows, you can get a Chromecast or Amazon Fire Stick (which turn your TV into a SmartTV). Then, add in a few subscription services such as HuluPlus, Netflix or even use your Amazon Prime membership. Just make sure you do your homework before you ditch cable completely.
9. Make your own greeting cards. Our family has a total of 5 birthdays within about 7 weeks every year. When picking up greeting cards, we can easily spend more than $20 — just on cards! Instead of doing that, we actually make them. Not only do we save money, they are much more personalized and mean more to each of us.
Bonus tip: If you don’t want to make your cards, then stop by your local dollar store and find them for $1 each instead!
10. Potluck party. Instead of throwing a huge spread for your next party, go potluck instead! This way, everyone brings a dish to help create a meal. You could even set a theme and have each person bring one item to pull it together. For instance, you could have at taco party and have each guest bring one item to help build the tacos.
Not only is this more fun, it keeps your costs lower when having a get together with your family and friends.
11. Share accounts. Rather than get your own Netflix account, split it with a family member or friend. You each pay 50 percent of the monthly fee but both get full access to the account. You can even do this with your Amazon Prime account (just add a family member).
12. Forget the bottled water. While it is convenient, it is an expense you just don’t need. Invest in a good water bottle and fill it at home before you leave. (Truth be told, most bottled water is just tap water and there is nothing extra special about it).
13. Visit your library. Your library card gives you more than a way to check out books. Most libraries offer magazines, newspapers and even movies! Best of all, this is all completely free.
14. Cancel subscriptions. If you are paying for a magazine you never have a chance to read, then that is money wasted. Drop the subscription and use that money for something else instead.
15. Limit the gifts. When the holidays roll around, it can be simple to overspend. Set a limit as to not only those you will buy for, but even the number you will give to your kids. You can go with the a simple idea such as: 1 thing to read, 1 thing to wear, 1 thing they want and 1 thing special.
16. Do a clothing swap. This is a simple way to get new clothes and accessories at absolutely not cost to you! Have a party with your friends and have everyone bring 3-4 articles of clothing and/or accessories they no longer wear. At the end of the evening, you’ll have gotten rid of things you don’t want and have new items to wear.
Bonus tip: You can do this with your friends with kids’ clothes as well!
17. Don’t wash your towels every day. Hang your towel up each day and allow it to dry. Launder it only every 4-6 days instead of every day. This saves money on laundry soap and energy costs. As a an added bonus, it also means less laundry for you! If they get musty, you can easily strip them to make them smell fresh again.
18. Switch to cold water. While this is not huge savings, you can save as much as $0.50 per load of laundry washed with cold rather than hot. Of course, hot water cleans better, so use it more sparingly on those items which really need a good deep clean.
19. Stay home. Instead of spending money to go to the movies or even walking around the store because you are bored, find something to do at home. Play games with your kids. Find a new hobby. Spend time with your family and friends.
20. Get rewards cards. It seems every store has a rewards card or app these days. If you aren’t signed up for them, you are missing out on savings. Some of them offer bonuses at the register and others after a certain number of trips or even a spending amount.
Bonus tip: Use an app such as KeyRing instead of carrying every single keyfob on your ring.
21. Be patient when shopping. Wait for a sale before you pick up that new pair of shoes. If you time it right, you can always score great deals on the items you want.
22. Use your coupons. Most people know to clip grocery coupons, but you can also find coupons to use at restaurants and other retailers. My go to app is CouponSherpa! I never shop anywhere without checking it for a great coupon.
24. Don’t autosave credit card numbers. When you make a purchase, most sites will allow you to have your credit card information retained for a future purchase. Don’t do this. If you have to type in your credit card information, you will think twice before you buy.
25. Stick with generics. Believe it or not, generic products are often the name brands in disguise. This is true with most store brands. The stores pay a fee to the big producers to have their products packaged with the store branding on them. This means instant savings for you – without sacrificing quality.
26. Get a raincheck. When you find that on-sale item it out of stock, ask for a raincheck. This is a voucher which will allow you to buy the item at a later date, once it is back in the store. Just watch the expiration date on the raincheck as most are valid only for a certain period of time. In addition, not all items qualify for a raincheck, so you will need to check the sales ad to know for sure.
27. Skip the morning coffee run. While convenient, it can really hit the wallet hard. Make your coffee at home before you leave in the morning. An added bonus is not taking longer to make your morning commute (or getting to sleep in a few more minutes longer). Using a well insulated cup to ensure you coffee stays hot longer, so you don’t end up throwing it out.
28. Carpool. Taking turns driving to work saves you a money not only on fuel costs, but keeps the wear and tear down on your vehicle.
29. Plan your outings wisely. When you get ready to run errands, plan your trip before you leave. You will use less fuel running around and even save time.
30. Use public transportation. This is a big one if you have to pay for parking. Pay for public transportation rather than parking spots. The bonus of this option is you get to relax and read the paper on your way to work, instead of stressing over traffic jams.
31. Coupon wisely. When you get a coupon, it does not mean it is a golden ticket to spend. Use coupons only on the items you would normally purchase. Using coupons just for the sake of getting a deal means you are spending money you normally would not otherwise.
32. Make your meal plan. When you have a plan for your meals for the week, you know what you will have for dinner each evening. This saves a trip to the store to get items (which may increase your spending). Not only that, you won’t be tempted to run out and pick up dinner at a local fast food restaurant.
33. Limit your shopping trips. You have to go to the store. There is no getting around that. However, if you limit the time you allow yourself to be in the store, you won’t have as much time to wander (which is when you toss items into your cart you may not need). Set a timer for 30 minutes and you’ll be forced to stick to the list so you can be done before the buzzer sounds.
34. Watch bank fees. Some banks charge fees for various reasons. Some may charge if your balance dips below a certain threshold. Others may charge for a paper statement. Take a look at what you pay your bank and if needed, make a switch.
35. Stick with frozen fruits and veggies. A simple way to save money and still get the healthy foods you want to eat is to skip the produce section completely. Buying frozen fruits and veggies gives you the foods you want, but often at a lower cost — especially if the produce item happens to be out of season.
36. Fix it yourself. If something breaks in your home, fix it yourself. There are videos which can help you do just about anything! My husband and I replaced the outer gasket on our washing machine by doing this. The part itself cost us less than $20. Had we hired someone to do this, we would have paid $100 – or more!
(Of course, if you are not handy, this is not wise as it may cost you more to repair what you may damage further).
37. Swap services. If you need a tutor for your child, don’t rush out and hire one. Ask a teacher friend or college student first. You might be able to offer something in return, such as lawn work. Trading services gives you both something you need at absolutely no cost.
38. Fill up the tires. If your tires are not properly inflated, you will burn more fuel. Check the air frequently so you know they are properly filled.
39. Drop the meat. I am not saying to change to a vegetarian diet. Drop the meat from at least one meal a week. Meat is one of the most expensive items on your plate. Create a meal with beans or eggs instead. You’ll save more money and might find a new healthier way to eat.
40. Watch the expiration dates. This is a big one for many. Watch the expiration dates on the foods you buy and make sure you eat them before they go bad. Remember that best if used by does not mean expired, so you don’t need to necessarily toss foods after that date has lapsed.
41. Skip lunch dates. Packing your lunch for work is a huge way to save money. Limit the lunch out to once a month as a treat for bringing your lunch with you every other day of the week!
42. Don’t buy prepackaged snacks. It can be a convenient to pick up the snacks for the kids in prepackaged bags. You pay a premium for this. Grab a package of the snacks they want and some baggies and package them yourself. As an added bonus, you can control the amount of the snack in each baggie.
43. Keep the change. This is a fun one that my husband and I do every single year. When we pay for anything with cash (we are a cash budget family, of course), I never pay with change. I only hand over bills. I then keep every penny and set it aside. Each November, our family sits down and rolls up the change. We then use this to help others during the holidays and to also pay for our gifts for one another.
44. Don’t rush to the dry cleaner. Some clothes must be pressed after you wash them. Invest in an iron and ironing board and iron them yourself! This can result in huge savings!
If your items say dry clean only, you can often hand wash them using mild detergents (or even hand wash settings on your machine). Dry them flat once laundered and then iron (as needed).
45. Take advantage of free events. If you check your newspaper or local city website, you can often find free events taking place in your community. This is a great way to get involved in great causes – while spending little to none of your own money.
46. Unplug appliances. Even when appliances are not turned on, they can be using phantom power. The EPA estimates that the average household has anywhere from 20-40 devices using phantom power.
47. Use energy efficient bulbs. While these bulbs may cost more initially, you will end up saving money in the long run. First of all, they require less energy to run. They also last longer, which means you will replace them much less frequently.
48. Give up your habits. If you smoke, enjoy wine or other habits, it might be time to give them up completely. Look at what you spend every month on these items and multiply this by 12 to see what you are really spending. Not convinced? Switch to a cash budget only for these items and you’ll see how much money you spend on them every single year.
49. Make your own gifts. I still remember the year that our family did this for one another. This happened when I was 10 years old. I do not recall any other holiday as well. It made an impression on me. With Pinterest and online resources, you can make just about anything for any person on your list. Not only is it fun, but it really can keep the budget in check.
50. Use your shopping list. This is so important! Make a list before you go to the store and stick to it. It can be tempting to toss other items into your cart, but if you follow your list, you’ll get only the things you need.
51. Negotiate your rates. If you have a higher interest rate on your credit card, see if you can get them to lower the rate. If not, then transfer your balance to someone to another card with a lower rate.
52. Use a programmable thermostat. A simple way to save money is to maintain the temperature in your home. Using a programmable thermostat allows you to set a different temp when you are away from home during the day, but then the temp will be comfortable when you get home from work. You might want to even invest in a Nest thermostat, which learns your living habits and makes automatic adjustments accordingly.
53. Shop for the holidays after the holidays. As each holiday ends, stores put decorations and other items on sale. The day after the sale, you will save 50 percent. Within 10-12 days, the savings will increase even more! Grab the items you need for the next holiday after the end of each season.
54. Learn the 10 second rule. No, this is not about food that falls on the floor. When you get ready to add something to your cart, count to ten. During that time, ask yourself if you really need it or not. Many times, you’ll find that it is not a need, but it is actually a want.
55. Share babysitting. If you need a night out, don’t hire a sitter. Ask another friend who has kids instead. You can then return the favor the following week.
56. Grow your own food. Gardening can be a fun hobby, which ends up saving you money. You get the chance to grow your own food (so you know where it comes from). An added bonus of this one is that it gives you something to do when you are bored.
57. Use your crockpot. Dinner time can be stressful, even if you have a menu plan. However, if you can find meals which use a crockpot, dinner can be waiting for you when you get home from work. Not only do you usually get dinner for one evening, you often have left overs which work perfect for lunch the next day.
58. Buy in bulk. Many times you can save money if you purchase items in bulk. A trip to your local warehouse might prove a great way to save. Before you do add something to your cart, make sure you check out the per unit price to ensure it really is the best deal.
59. Find hidden fees. Take time to review every one of your bills. There might be hidden fees you aren’t even aware you pay for every month. If you find items you aren’t sure about, make a call to the company.
60. Don’t quit. Saving money is not easy. Getting out of debt is tough. However, you need to stay the course. Use a vision board so you can see your financial goals every day. Work with your partner to help support one another. Whatever your goal, don’t give up.
This post is courtesy Tracie at Penny Pinchin’ Mom.
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