97 Ways to Save Money!

Here are 97 ways to save money!

DECREASE YOUR SPENDING

  • Live below your means. This one seems obvious, but so many people do not follow it. Think big purchases when applying this! If you purchase a house for $200K with 5% down then you will pay $1018 every month for 30 years before you own that house. If you take that same down payment and payments, but purchase a house for $100K then you will own the house in 9 years 3 months. That is a savings of $253K! I just used numbers that are easy to work with, but you get the point :-)
  • Swap. You can swap with friends and family or you can swap online. When you swap online you will have postage costs. This is a win/win in my book – you get rid of things you do not need and get things you do! Go to Tales of the Tightwad to read an EXCELLENT article on swapping.
  • Shop sales. There is hardly ever a reason to pay full price for something.
  • Shop at thrift stores. You can find some great things at thrift stores. You can find things for yourself and things that you can sell on ebay!
  • Walgreens. Walgreens has a great program that allows you to get your household products, makeup, and medication for free. It is simple to use and completely worth it! If you need help getting started then try my Walgreens tutorial.
  • Do home projects yourself. Most home renovations can be done on your own. Home depot even offers classes to help walk you through it!
  • CVS. Just like walgreens, you can get anything at CVS for free if you know how to play the “game”. If you need help getting started then try my CVS tutorial.
  • Learn to sew. Basic sewing is easy. At the least, you should teach yourself to patch holes and repair/add buttons. There are plenty of clothes that are in great condition other than a small tear or a lost button and fixing it rather than buying new ones can really save some money!
  • Refunds. There are tons of refunds out there that go unnoticed. I use refund cents to help me find them. As long as you remember to send them out you can save a lot of money using them.
  • Rebates. Sites like Ebates and Mr. Rebates can save you a lot of money if you purchase things online. Both sites offer $5 when you sign up and offer up to 35% back at different sites. They also post coupons that can be used with the rebate.
  • Insurance. Check your insurance rates every year. You can raise the deductible, drop full coverage, and apply for multi-car, multi-policy, and good driver discounts. Put it on your calender once per year and make some phone calls!
  • Eating out. When you eat out use sites like Restaurants.com and the Entertainment Book to save money when you eat out. Restaurants.com offers $25 gift certificates for $10 and the Entertainment book has coupons for 2 for 1.
  • Gifts. Shop for gifts all year round using a gift box. It will save stress and money!
  • Credit card interest rates. Call your credit cards every once in a while to see if they can offer you a lower rate.
  • Pack your lunches. At $5-$10 a day for lunches you can save $1300-$2600 a year just by brown bagging it! Associate Money has a wonderful article talking about this!
  • Look for value. Just because something is cheap does not mean you should buy it. Research your purchases, sometimes spending a little more when you buy something can save you more money in the long run.
  • Make your own coffee. Buying coffee everyday can run $2-$5 a cup depending on what you buy. Save that money and purchase a nice coffee maker. Your budget will thank you!
  • Stock pile. When you see a sale on something you use regularly buy a lot of it and store it for the future. I try to keep a 3 month supply of toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. If you have the space you can even do this with canned goods and freezer items!
  • Make your own cleaners. Store bought cleaners are bad for the environment and bad for your own health. Save money and headaches by making your own! Mama B and Cleaning up The Clutter wrote great articles on making your own cleaners!
  • Wait before you buy. If you want to make a large purchase then wait at least 2 days after you find the item to actually purchase it. If you still want or need it then you will know that it isn’t a whim.
  • Pay down and don’t carry a credit card debt. The interest rates on credit cards are astronomical. Only put money on your card that you can pay off at the end of the month. If you have trouble with this then don’t use credit cards at all!
  • Decide what is important to you. Spend money on the things that are important to you. You need to know what those are so you don’t waste money trying to come up with cheaper items to replace them. Vice versa, if it is not important then don’t try to pick out the top of the line item!
  • Use cloth products. There are cloth paper towels, cloth mama pads, cloth wipes, even cloth toilet paper available! You can save hundreds of dollars a year (and green space) by using cloth instead of disposable products.

CAR

  • Drive a small car. If you drive by yourself or with 1-2 people most of the time then there is no reason to get a large gas guzzler. Get the car that fits you 95% of the time.
  • Buy used. Cars lose value as soon as you drive them off the lot. If you buy used then you will not lose quite so much right off the lot! If you have to buy new (occasionally it does make sense) then try these tips.
  • Get regular oil changes. This is the easiest upkeep on a vehicle and it will help make it last longer.
  • Keep your tires inflated. Keeping your tire pressure within the correct range will save you on gas money!
  • Use cruise control. Not only will you save gas money by using the cruise control, you will also be less likely to have to spend money on a speeding ticket.

INCREASE YOUR INCOME

  • Cashcrate – This site gives you money for daily surveys and signing up for special deals. You can make $48 a month just by doing 2 surveys a day (the most they will allow you to do).
  • Swagbucks – This site gives you points called swagbucks when you use their search engine. On average you will earn 2-6 swagbucks a day, which translates into $5-$20 in Amazon gift certificates a month.
  • IRazoo – This site gives you points for recommending sites. You use their search engine and then you give the sites it comes up with a yes or no recommendation. You can also type a comment about it. You can get 8 points per site for doing this. If you earn 100 points a day you will get a $5 Amazon gift certificate each month.
  • Dollar Surveys – This site comes up with surveys that you can answer and then they will send you $1 paypal.
  • Ebay – Learn how to sell your own stuff and items that you find on ebay! You can make a pretty good living off of it. Go to this ebay tutorial if you want some help getting started.
  • Get a raise. One way you can increase your income that is often overlooked is getting a raise at the job you currently have. Talk to your boss and see what you can do to be on track for a promotion in the future!
  • Credit card rewards. If you use credit cards make sure that they give you rewards! You can get 1-5% back on things you would have to purchase anyway (sometimes you can even charge your utility bills). If your average credit card bill is $500 a month then you will earn $60-$300 a year by using a rewards card.
  • Get a second job. I don’t recommend doing this for long because you don’t want to “burn out”, but sometimes getting a second job can be the kick start you need! Put the extra money aside for something your really need or want.
  • Sell something. If you can create, then you can sell! Try starting a business on Etsy or Hyenacart.
  • Blog. You can earn an income blogging. That said, Problogger found that 29% of bloggers make less than $10/month so I really wouldn’t recommend going into blogging solely for income. 53% make $99 or less and 70% make $499 or less (a month). If it is something you enjoy you can make money at it though.  I wrote a whole series on how to make money blogging!
  • Bank bonuses. This is one of the easiest ways to make money. Each one has different terms, but they usually consist of putting a certain amount of money in a new account for a certain amount of time. I have made anywhere from $25 to $150 per bank bonus and when I am “focused” on them I can do 4-5 a month. The ING bonus is going on right now!
  • Garage sales. If you need to rid your house of clutter and make a little money at the same time then a garage sale is the way to go!

FOOD

  • Cook low cost meals. I’ve posted may recipes for dinners under $10 and they are all delicious! You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make wonderful meals.
  • Drink water. Water is good for you and costs nothing. Drinking soda can really strain your budget.
  • Try the off brand. You don’t have to use it all the time, but try it at least once and if it works keep buying it!
  • Eat less meat. Meat is a high price grocery item. If you can get away with cutting back then you can save a lot of money.
  • Grow your own food. Gardening can be a stress reliever for some and it can also provide a lot of healthy, fresh food. Here are 10 money saving tips you can use in your garden.
  • Make your own compost. Composting will reduce your garbage (which in some areas can save money), reduce your green waste (you won’t have to pay to have that picked up now), and give you healthier, more beautiful plants!
  • Start a co-op. If you don’t have room for too many plants then try to start a mini co-op. Last year I grew tomatoes and some herbs. I had different friends who each also grew 1-2 things. At the end of the season we swapped! It worked out great. You can do this with meat as well if you know of some people who can split an entire (or half) cow, deer, etc. You will need freezer space for the meat!
  • Use coupons. Coupons can save a lot of money! If you need help getting started then try this tutorial.

RECREATION

  • Use a library. A library isn’t just for books. Libraries put on shows (I just got back from a easter puppet show and a few weeks ago we went to a Dr. Seuss birthday party), hold contests, have reading groups (for you and your children, if you want some adult interaction then see what they offer!). They also have videos that you can check out.
  • Go to the park. The park is free and it is a great spot to picnic and play!
  • Use a grocery store when you are on vacation. Nobody said you had to eat out on vacation! Go to a nearby grocery store and save a lot of money on food.
  • Stay outside the tourist trap. You can often find a nice location to stay that is a lot cheaper if you just move away from the typical tourist area. On our honeymoon we found a hotel on Kauai that was only $55 a night. It was not near the other hotels, but it had it’s own private beach and it worked out great for us! The average hotel cost in the area was over $200/night.
  • Use sidestep and priceline. Sidestep will check all the major travel search engines for you and compare them on one page. If you are flexible with your trip then you can use that information to make a good bid on Priceline.
  • Take a staycation. If you need a break then try a staycation. You don’t have to travel far away to have fun!
  • Use Redbox and Netflix. If you are a big movie fan then you can save money by using redbox and netflix instead of always going out to the movies or renting them for $3 a pop at the video store. Run the numbers and see if it works for you!
  • Use an entertainment book. Get an entertainment book for the area you are visiting and use the 2 for 1 coupons. It can save 50%!

SCHOOL

  • Recycle supplies. You don’t need new supplies every year! Only buy new stuff when the old stuff is unuseable
  • Sell and buy textbooks online. You can save a lot of money by buying and selling your textbooks online. You should also look into what the differences are between the textbook the class is using and the previous version. Sometimes it is only a sentance or two and you can save 75-80% off the book! Please do not save money by not purchasing the textbook at all! You are spending a lot of money on these classes, you want to get the most out of them :-)
  • Get a micro fridge. Use a micro fridge in your dorm so you can have snacks and food that does not have to come out of a vending machine!
  • Join UPromise. UPromise will help you pay off your student loans!
  • Go to a state school. Private and out of state tuition is high! If you don’t have a scholarship then look into state schools. The academics are often great and they are a lot cheaper.

HEALTH

  • Stop smoking. This isn’t a tip for everybody, but if you do smoke then try to stop! You will save money on health and on the cigarettes!
  • Exercise. You can exercise at home and then you won’t have the gym fees.
  • Get regular checkups. If a doctor finds something that needs attention it is usually safer and lower cost if it is caught early.
  • Use a prescription plan. Use the plans that are offered at CVS, Walgreens, or Costco.

KIDS

  • Cut their hair yourself. Get a pair of trimmers and a good pair of scissors and you will save a lot of money!
  • Breastfeed. Most estimates that I have read put the cost of using powder formula for one year at $1100-$1800. That’s a lot of money that you can save!
  • Rotate toys. Kids get tired of playing with the same things. Take some away and only allow them to play with certain toys occasionally. It will keep the toys new and exciting.
  • Make your own wipes. There is no reason to use the chemical wipes that are sold in canisters. Make your own using washcloths and a simple water solution. There are tons of different recipes out there to help you start!
  • Use hand me down clothes. Most children’s clothes (especially infant ones) are still in great condition because they are used for such a short period of time. Use them for more than one kid!
  • Use cloth diapers. It’s not as scary as it sounds. There are AIO diapers that work just like disposable ones. Diapering a child costs on average $2400 for 18 months. You can get quite a beautiful cloth stash with that money, and you can turn around and sell them to get part of you money back!
  • Use diapers.com. If cloth isn’t for you then use diapers.com to save money on disposable diapers. Go to this post to see how you can get your first 5 packages of name brand diapers for less than $25 shipped!

UTILITIES

  • Get rid of your landline or cell.
  • Hang your laundry to dry. The dryer is one of your biggest energy drainers. Hanging your laundry to dry will make it smell fresh and save you money. See what Engineer a Debt Free Life did to air dry her laundry!
  • Weatherproof your home. You can save a lot of heating and cooling costs by installing good windows, caulking cracks, and putting foam over your pipes.
  • Only do large laundry loads. Wait to do a load of laundry until it is large enough to be worth it.
  • Use energy saving powerstrips. Energy Saving Power Strips can save you a lot of money by switching your appliances off when you are not using them.
  • Shampoo your carpet. It will make it last longer.
  • Keep your heat thermostat to 68 degrees or less.
  • Wash on cold. Most items will still be clean with a cold wash. The only things we wash on hot are the diapers and my husbands zoo clothes!
  • Keep your air thermostat to 72 degrees or more. You can increase that by quite a bit. Start at 80 and move it down if you can’t stand it. Your body will acclimate.
  • Install a low flow faucet and toilet. You can save a lot of money this way!
  • Stop watering your lawn. If you absolutely have to water then install an irrigation system so you aren’t wasting the water. Better yet, use a rain barrel!
  • Plant a tree. Strategically placed trees can save money on heating and cooling because of the shade protection.
  • Get rid of cable. Since we are switching to the digital system you should at least try it for a month and see what stations you pull in with digital alone.

LONG TERM

  • Educate yourself on finance. Fool.com is a great online resource.
  • Practice math. The latest survey found that most billionaires were children of people with math jobs. Practice using math everyday!
  • Continue your education. Don’t stop learning, you can get an advanced degree or take a class at the local junior college.
  • Think in the long-term. Plan out long term goals. It is easier to see why you are saving if you have plans for that money in the future.
  • Budget. Mint, quicken, and wesabe are three different online resources that can help you make a budget.
  • Have an emergency fund. You are better able to take risks with an emergency fund. If a job comes up that you want to try, or of you want to start your own business, you can do that as long as you can continue to support your family. Sometimes you need to take a risk to get ahead.
  • Be patient. You won’t be a millionaire overnight, take it slow.
  • Do a job that you enjoy. You will spend less on “pick me up” items if you are doing something that you like doing!
  • Give to charity. Not only does it feel great, but you will be less likely to take a bunch of stuff in if you are in the habit of getting rid of things.
  • Diversify your savings. Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. There are savings accounts, CD’s, bonds, stocks, money market accounts and more. If you need help diversifying your retirement accounts then try this post.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dina April 11, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Great list! I do most of these things already but I got some new ideas, too. Thanks for putting all this wonderful advice together.

Reply

2 LittlePeopleWealth April 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm

You’re welcome – it took a while, but it really made me think! I’m glad it helps :)

Reply

3 WebbieLady April 11, 2009 at 5:50 pm

I have the Eating Out avoidance, not only for the crazy price but because my AMore and I cook better than anything cooked out. I mean, if it is not very special resto, very unique, it’s always a NO for us.

Reply

4 LittlePeopleWealth April 11, 2009 at 7:29 pm

We used to be so bad about eating out, it was just so much easier. But, I’ve learned that you can make even better food for less if you stay in :)

Reply

5 Jackie April 12, 2009 at 2:35 am

What a great list! Thanks so much for sharing it. Really made me think about all the different ways to save.

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6 LittlePeopleWealth April 12, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Thanks :)

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7 pebble April 12, 2009 at 10:33 pm

That tip on rotating toys is a new one for me. I might also add, some toys are quite durable and there are a lot of used ones we can get for free or at a steal.

Thanks.

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8 LittlePeopleWealth April 13, 2009 at 12:15 am

Toys are one of the best things to buy used! Kids tend to get sick of them before they actually wear out.

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9 Julie April 14, 2009 at 4:41 am

Most excellent tips Heidi :)

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10 Anonymous April 22, 2009 at 12:30 pm

We too used to eat out all the time. We are now trying to really stick to a budget and it is amazing how much money we save and how much healthier we are eating, but eating at home. Losing weight and spending less money…. you can’t beat that!
Carrie
mommycarrie1(at)hotmail(dot)com

Reply

11 LittlePeopleWealth April 22, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Our eating out stopped suddenly when we had a newborn! We can go out occasionally now that he is a little bit older.

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12 Tashia August 1, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Excellent List! These are all fabulous tips and as my family has discovered as well, essential to paying off debt and living on one income!

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13 Financial Bondage July 1, 2010 at 1:44 am

The swapping is becoming more popular I've heard.

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14 LittlePeopleWealth July 7, 2010 at 2:13 am

I love swapping. It is definitely becoming more popular.

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15 coupon boa July 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm

It's an excellent list! I love watching and following these lists to get more ideas for saving.

Thanks,
couponboa

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16 LittlePeopleWealth July 21, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Thanks :)

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17 Tom February 8, 2014 at 2:06 pm

There is so much stuff you can make yourself. For instance, you have toothbrush recipes that require little more than baking soda.

Reply

18 http://blisekenbali.com/wacana/details-in-how-to-make-money-online-for-free-whats-required April 24, 2014 at 9:25 am

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