Saving money is tough. Maybe you’re not earning a lot or have a pile of debt you’re trying to get rid of. That’s when you can get creative and kick your savings up.
We put together an extensive list of some of the most creative and easiest ways you can cut back and put some extra cash toward your debt – or away for a rainy day. Some you may already do. Others may be so simple, they’ve seemed to be too obvious to try.
Below are 60 creative and easy ways to save money.
1. Avoid impulsive spending
Considering a large purchase? Give yourself some time to think about it. You may reconsider buying after you’ve taken some time to cool off. There are times where you’re walking through a store and think you need that new flat screen TV, but the one at home works just fine.
For more tips, check out 7 Hacks to Stop Impulse Spending.
2. Avoid ATMs
It’s nice having the cash in your pocket, but at what cost? It’s better keeping that cash together in a safe place where it can grow, rather than burning a hole in your pocket. This tip is especially relatable to out-of-network ATMs – you’ll be charged fees for withdrawing money that isn’t from your bank. There’s never a reason to pay to access your own cash.
3. Pay students to cut your hair
Beauty schools charge discount rates for students to learn how to cut hair. If there’s one nearby, give it a shot. It may seem a little scary letting an amateur touch your luscious locks, but there are experts overseeing the students to help if needed.
4. Cut down your shower time
Those cheap TV dads may be onto something. It’s nice taking a long, hot shower – but the water and heating bills can add up to a lot. Put yourself on a timer. Set exactly how long you’re going to need to get yourself clean and get out. Over time you’ll see that high water bill go down, and even the cost of the energy to heat it.
5. Stay away from shaving cream
Depending on the size and kind, shaving cream can run you anywhere from a couple of bucks to $10. Yikes. Why not get the job done for cheap? You can pick up a bottle of conditioner for a buck, and it’ll last you for a while.
6. Keep an eye on the AC
The temperature can seem unbearable during hot, summer months. Fix your thermostat to a reasonable temp and leave it alone. Run fans and wear shorts. You’ll thank yourself come Fall when your electric bill hasn’t risen to a new high.
7. Turn off the electronics
So often people leave the house for work and forget to turn the television off. If that’s you, try to set a daily reminder on your smartphone. Maybe you fall asleep with it on. It’s worth setting a sleep timer at night.
8. Cut cable
There are plenty of ways to entertain yourself without cable TV. But if you really can’t let go of watching your favorite shows, you can try streaming services.
You can pick up a Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, or any other device to convert your TV into a SmartTV. Streaming service costs are a small fraction in comparison to cable. You may want to research what shows and content are available before cutting cable completely.
9. Hit up the thrift shop
No, you don’t have to pay $50 for that new outfit. Get it for $10 instead at your local thrift store. People often overlook buying used clothes because they think everything will be stained and torn. It takes some digging to find hidden gems, but when you do, you’ll save megabucks.
10. Throw a potluck
Don’t make all the food for your next party or get together yourself – have a potluck instead. Everyone brings a dish of their own, and gets to show off their cooking. And if they can’t cook, they can show off their store-bought apple pie. This will allow you to focus on spending time with your friends and family instead of worrying about how you’re going to cover your party costs.
11. Ask for discounts
Don’t be shy at a restaurant or store. If you’re in school, in the military, or over 60, ask if they have a discount for you. They don’t usually advertise them, but it’s worth it to ask. Some stores may even have discount days where you can get a percentage off for being a student or senior.
12. Get a reusable water bottle
Instead of buying an endless supply of plastic water bottles, get a good reusable one and drink tap. Bottled water on average costs nearly 2000 times as much as tap water, according to Food & Water Watch. So, not only will you be saving the environment by cutting down on single-use plastics, you’ll save a ton of money too.
13. Get your media from the library
The library isn’t a thing of the past – they have tons of updated resources from books and magazines to movies and music. Consider renting your latest read from the library instead of buying it. Your local library also may have a digital selection, so you can save the trip and read from your laptop or tablet.
14. Cancel your subscriptions
If you have magazines delivered that just collect dust or get thrown away, cancel those subscriptions. Odds are, you were paying a lot more for them than you thought. This is one of those mindless ways you’ve been spending money – now you can stash away those savings.
15. Do Secret Santa
Instead of buying gifts for every family member and friend for the holidays, assign Secret Santas ahead of time. Put everyone’s name in a hat and have each person draw a name. This way, each person only has to buy one gift – it’s also fun for everyone to guess who they’ll be receiving from this year.
16. Trade clothes with your friends
If you and your friends need a wardrobe refresher, don’t go to the mall. Throw a clothing swap party. Each person brings a couple items of clothing and trades with another person. It’s a fun change to a Saturday night, and it’s absolutely free.
17. Reuse your towel
If you’re washing your bath towel after every use, you’re wasting money on laundry. You only need to wash your towel every four to six days. Just make sure to hang it up neatly so it can dry – if it’s left on the floor or wadded up, it could build mildew.
18. Ditch the paper towels
Another towel tip – stop spending money on paper towels. Buy reusable hand towels for the kitchen and bathroom. For spills and messes, cut up old T-shirts or stained bath towels to use as cleaning rags. It’s also a lot better for the environment.
19. Automate your savings
Your work probably has an option to put part of your paycheck into a savings account automatically. This way, you won’t be tempted to use that money – you won’t miss the extra fraction you don’t see in your paycheck. It also saves you from having to transfer those funds yourself.
20. Use credit the right way
This one may seem like a no brainer but stop carrying a balance on your credit cards, and start making money from your creditors instead of the other way around. Use a rewards card, and buy exactly what you need without going over budget. Then, pay the full balance off in time every month, and actually see the extra money build up in rewards points.
21. Scout the sales
If you really have to buy something brand new, don’t pay full price. Wait for a sale day to come around and pocket the extra cash.
You probably aren’t taking advantage of the full savings on your trip to the grocery or mall. Make sure you clip as many coupons as possible on things you need. Just because you find a coupon doesn’t mean you have to buy something for the sake of the deal. Stick to your list.
23. Avoid store credit cards
Say no when the cashier asks if you want to sign up for their card and save 20 percent. Odds are, you’ll be spending more by going more often. There are also tons of hidden fees you don’t want to pay. You can get more out of a general rewards card anyways.
24. Buy generic products
If there isn’t a sale on your name brand oatmeal, go for the store brand instead. It’s usually the exact same product minus the fancy packaging.
25. Ask for a raincheck
If the sale item on your list at the grocery is sold out, go to the cashier and ask for a raincheck on it. If the item is in stock the next time you come in, you’ll be able to purchase it at the sale price.
26. Make your own coffee
Avoid your regular order at the coffee shop before work, and make your coffee at home instead. At a coffee shop, you’ll pay between $2 to $5. At home, you’re spending a fraction of that cost, and you can customize it exactly how you like.
Save gas money by carpooling to work, school, or any other spots you frequent. Have your friend drive one day, and you drive the next. You’ll also be cutting down the mileage on your car which could save you in repair costs.
28. Make one trip
If you have errands to run, plan to hit all the stops that day and plan it out ahead of time so you can save money on gas.
29. Take the bus/train
Or the subway, or the train, or any other public transport. This will cut down your gas costs and mileage on your car. Take the time to catch up on some work or reading instead of honking your way through your morning commute.
Take inventory of what you own, and see what you don’t need and aren’t using. If the items are in good enough condition, consider selling them at a yard sale or on a listing site. You’ll make extra money on the clutter that would otherwise be collecting dust.
31. Meal prep
Plan out and prepare all your meals for the week over the prior weekend. This way you won’t be tempted to eat out and spend double or triple what you would’ve at home. It’ll also save you the prep time.
32. Invest in reusable baggies
Instead of spending your money on single-use plastic snack bags, buy reusable ones. They’ll cost more initially, but you can use them over and over again. They come in different sizes just like your regular baggies, and you can even buy them with fun prints.
33. Shop around for your banking
Make sure you’re getting the best deal possible at your bank by looking at others. Your bank may have unnecessary fees, or could charge you if you dip below a certain amount in your account. Consider what other banks have to offer, and ask yours if they can match that plan. If they say no, switch to the better option.
34. Buy frozen foods
Skip the produce section and buy frozen fruits and veggies – it often costs less to buy the frozen option. And by purchasing something that can be kept in the freezer for long periods of time, you’re cutting down on your food waste.
35. DIY your car repair
The easiest way to spend more than you need to is to get duped by a car repair cost. The most common repairs also happen to be the easiest to do on your own.
Find out: Easy Ways to Save Money on Cars
36. Ditch the body wash
Stop paying extra for body wash when you could get the same results with a bar of soap. They typically last longer, and cost around 15 times less than your average body wash, according to a report from Mintel, a consumer products and marketing research firm.
37. Keep your tires filled
Make sure your tires are properly inflated. If not, you’ll burn more fuel. You could also need to spend $400 on a set of new tires a year earlier than need be. Edmunds, a car pricing website, tells you how much to fill your tires to be safe.
38. Go (kind of) vegetarian
Meat is probably the most expensive purchase on your grocery list. By cutting meats out of your meals a couple of times a week, you can pocket that extra money. If meat isn’t a necessity for you, even better – go full on vegetarian.
39. Walk or bike
If the grocery store is close and you don’t have too long of a list, take your bike. If the gym is right down the street, burn a few extra calories by walking there instead of driving. You’ll save money on gas, and get a little cardio in.
40. Stay sober
If alcohol is often a splurge of yours, quit drinking. You can make exceptions for special occasions, like a night out with friends, or at a wedding. But if you’re buying a six pack for your movie night in, opt for water instead.
41. Prepare snacks yourself
Don’t buy those prepackaged snack packs for you or your kids’ lunches. You’ll often spend a lot more just for convenience. Instead, take the time to prepare the same meal on your own. A plus: it probably won’t be as packed with preservatives.
42. Every penny counts
Be that person who picks a penny up off the street. Keep the nickel left over from your morning bagel purchase. Pick a day a couple of months away to roll all of those coins you’ve saved and take them to the bank to deposit into your savings account.
43. Ditch the cling wrap
Stop buying plastic cling wraps – there are cheaper options! Tupperware sets are meant to keep your food fresh just the same as a cling wrap, and they’re reusable. Instead of buying a $3 box of cling wrap every month, buy a $10 Tupperware set you can use for years.
44. Go to free events
Check your community’s calendar for free events. You’ll often find live music, movies in the park, and art fairs you can go to free of cost.
45. Unplug your electronics
Don’t just turn off your appliances and electronics, unplug them. Even if they’re turned off, they could still be costing you in ‘phantom power.’ The EPA says the average household has 20-40 devices that are turned off but still use energy.
46. Buy LED light bulbs
LED bulbs may cost more than regular bulbs initially, but they’ll save you on your electricity bill. To be less wasteful, wait until your current bulbs burn out to buy new LED replacements. And you can always look for sales to cut your costs even more.
47. Quit smoking
Easier said than done – we know. But when you consider how much your smoking habit is costing you, you may want to stop cold turkey. If you smoke a half a pack of cigarettes a day, you’re spending $9,435.25 a year, according to the UMass Medical School.
48. Repair your clothes
If your T-shirt has a rip, don’t trash it and replace it. Sew it up on your own and continue to wear it. You shouldn’t have to replace an item of clothing until it has irreparable tears and stains. There are plenty of sewing tutorials on YouTube to get you started.
49. DIY your gifts
If you’re relatively crafty and have the time, consider making your holiday or birthday gifts. There are tons of resources like Pinterest and YouTube to help you out – even if you have no experience whatsoever.
50. Stick to the shopping list
This is another no-brainer, but if you don’t have tunnel vision when you’re shopping, you could be spending way more than you planned on impulse purchases. Don’t buy the bag of chips that isn’t on sale. Leave behind the chocolate that was strategically placed at checkout. Stick to the list and stay on budget.
51. Negotiate your interest rate
Shop around for credit cards – you could be spending more with your current line than if you were to transfer your balance to another card. If your interest rate is higher than another card, call your creditor and see if they can match the rate. If not, take your business elsewhere.
52. Cancel your gym membership
Yes, it pays to be healthy, but if you’re only going to the gym once every couple weeks for the treadmill, consider canceling your membership and going on a run. There are also plenty of at-home workouts that cost nothing – some fitness classes are even recorded on YouTube.
53. Shop after the holidays
After prime decoration and gift buying season is over, stores will put their seasonal items on clearance. Stock up and save by purchasing everything you need a year early.
54. Count to 10
Here’s a 10-second rule you probably haven’t heard of – every time you want to buy something, hold the item for 10 seconds to see if you really want it.
In those 10 short seconds, you consider the price, the money you could have in your pocket instead, and everything you already have. You may just rethink that purchase.
55. Babysit for free
Yes, if you’re trying to save money, you should work for free. If your friends need a sitter for their night out, offer to do it for free, and ask if they’ll return the favor on your date night.
If you have a few staple produce items you never shake buying at the grocery store, consider growing them yourself at home. You can buy seeds for herbs, fruit, and veggies at any home improvement store, and get started.
If you live in an apartment, not to worry. You can even grow your garden in a windowsill. The Spruce has a list of the best plants to grow in an apartment.
57. Use a clothing line
You don’t have to throw your laundry in the dryer and waste that extra energy – use a clothing line to cut the costs, and it’s better for your clothes. The cost of a cycle in the dryer isn’t much savings, but you’ll see the results when you don’t have to replace your tattered clothes as often.
58. Buy in bulk
Buying your foods in bulk can save you a ton of money – just make sure you’re getting foods that don’t spoil like oats, rice, spices, etc. Before going on a shopping spree, make sure the price per unit is still lower than your average-sized purchase.
59. Find hidden fees
Make sure to review your bills every month. There could be fees you didn’t know you were paying, or something that looks unusual. This is usually your best safeguard against 1) spending more money than you need to and 2) a fraud attempt, which could cost you thousands.
60. Shop around for your car insurance
Most people don’t know they can switch their car insurance if the rates are better elsewhere. Get quotes from other companies to see if they’re any better than your own, and ask if your current plan can match it. If not, you can save a lot more by switching.
While you need an emergency account, only having money for emergencies is kind of a drag. If you want to boost your funds for emergencies and something fun, consider micro-savings.
Micro-savings are essentially a separate savings fund dedicated to covering something you really love, spur of the moment. Like, for example, the Beyonce fans that keep separate savings accounts on the off-chance Queen Bey announces concert dates in their area.
Your fund can be for anything – concert tickets, Superbowl seats or one of those awesome mid-century Joy Bird sofas. The point is, setting a goal can motivate you.
62. Open a holiday account
Did the holidays sneak up on you again? Be better prepared next year with a holiday account. These accounts let you stock money away (and earn interest!) all year so you can cover your holiday gift buying and expenses stress free.
Rate shop several banks and you may find higher interest than you do on your regular savings. Just keep in mind: holiday accounts work similar to certificate of deposit accounts. If you need to pull the money out early, you may get slapped with a penalty.
63. Take a pioneer staycation
One way to help the planet – and your savings account – is by simply using less. And if you really want to kick your savings up to another level, try going full dark for a few hours a week. Turn off the central air, unplug the TV, power down your laptop and read a book, sip a glass of wine or play board games by candlelight.
If you can commit to several hours in a row every week, you’ll see the biggest savings. Need more motivation? Getting away from your electronics is also a great way to destress.
64. Keep the change
Back when most of us lived on cash, we’d keep change jars around the house as an easy way to save a bit more. Today, you can opt for a modern version of that. Some banks let you automatically move the change from every purchase to your savings. Apps like Acorns automatically roundup every purchase and invest the change for you.
65. Tip yourself
Few things in life are as motivating as getting recognition – and a reward – for a job well done. Why not reward yourself by setting up your own tip jar?
If you stick to your budget for a month, resist the siren call of that 50% off flash sale email, or just do something nice for someone else, toot your own horn a little and drop a tip into the jar. There’s actually an app for that; Tip Yourself lets you add tips to your savings as you see fit. But you can also use your banks online transfer feature to DIY-it.
66. Set a time limit
As a general rule, the longer you’re in a store (or on a retail site), the more chances you have to bust your budget. Turn your regular shopping trips into a game and set a time limit. Say, for example, you race to the grocery store checkout line in 30 minutes.
As a bonus, compare the cost of your shopping trips at that store before the time limit and put the overage you would have spent if you’d stayed longer into your savings.
67. Treat yo’ self
When you’re trying to boost your savings, it seems counterintuitive to actively try to spend money on something that wasn’t a necessity but trust us; it isn’t. When you forgo everything in life you love, odds are good you’ll eventually snap and go on a shopping spree.
Every once in a while, treat yo’ self to something you really want, and you’ll make it much easier on yourself to save regularly.