When it comes to saving money, most people automatically think that they’re going to have to live a frugal, impoverished lifestyle. This is categorically false.
We’ve come up with a list of 84 creative ways to save money that will have a tiny effect on your lifestyle and could literally save you thousands of dollars every year.
There are some real gems here… let’s get right into it.
1. Cancel your monthly subscriptions
Most services these days charge low monthly subscriptions. Streaming services, software tools, apps and memberships are all automatically billing you monthly. Those monthly costs may look cheap, but over a year they can add up to hundreds of dollars, so only keep the ones you need.
2. Take a packed lunch to work
If you eat out for lunch every day at a cafe or restaurant near where you work, make your own homemade lunch instead of going out. You’ll be able to save around $5-10 per day on food – which adds up quickly over the course of a month.
3. Find free events in your city
By following local Facebook groups, you can learn about free local events that take place every week in your city. Many of these events are planned by volunteers who don’t charge for entrance or ask for donations to cover costs. If you see an event that looks interesting, go check it out and say thanks with a donation instead of paying full price.
4. Use Whatsapp, Facebook or Skype to make calls
If you’re spending a lot on cell phone calls every month, find a way to cut it out of the budget. You can use tools like Whatsapp, Facebook and Skype to call other people, or you can get inexpensive calling cards to make calls from your cell phone.
5. Carpool with coworkers or neighbors
If you’re driving to work, carpool with coworkers or neighbors and split the gas money or parking costs. By doing this, you’ll save a significant amount on driving to and from work on your own.
6. Get cash back using Rakuten
Rakuten is a website that allows you to get cash back on most of your online purchases. Simply buy through their website or browser extension and they will give you a percentage cash back on your purchases.
7. Use YouTube to save money on repairs
When something breaks in the house, our first thought is to call someone out to fix it. However, YouTube has short, helpful tutorials on almost every problem. So try to find a video on the issue before picking up the phone, it could save you a lot.
8. Use the $5 bill trick
Set a new rule: every time you receive a $5 bill, stash it away and see how much you have at the end of the year. This has astounded many people who have checked back and saved thousands of dollars in a year without much effort.
9. Get Amazon products at their lowest prices
Visit camelcamelcamel.com and search for the product you’re interested in buying on Amazon, then click the price history. You’ll be able to see all of the prices for that product on Amazon, and then you can set up an alert to tell you when it’s at its lowest price.
10. Save money by buying on AliExpress
AliExpress is a website where Chinese manufacturers sell directly to you, the consumer. You can find almost anything you want on AliExpress, and even though it takes a while to ship, it’s available to you for a fraction of the cost.
11. Don’t pay fees to use ATM machines
ATM fees can be expensive; it’s estimated that we pay $4-$6 each time we use an ATM, which simply doesn’t make sense. So opt to go inside and speak with a bank teller instead of withdrawing money from a machine whenever possible.
12. Set a family spending limit on gifts
If you’re buying gifts for your family during the holidays, it’s easy to spend a lot due to expectations and trying to out-do each other. Set a spending limit; you’ll focus on buying the perfect gift instead of overpriced items.
13. Use a credit card to build up air miles
Many credit cards allow you to collect air miles every time you make a purchase. If you travel frequently, this money can add up quickly and save you money on future flights.
14. Switch your energy provider to save money
Check the rates with different energy providers until you find a plan that offers the best price for your dollar, and then switch. You’ll save money every month and it’s as easy as filling out a form.
15. Have your coffee at home and save 98%
Coffee shops charge $4 for a cup of coffee, but you can make it at home for about 10 cents. If you really crave a good coffee, invest in a good coffee machine and use it for many years to come.
16. Borrow books, magazines & DVD’s from the library
We’ve forgotten about this one, but instead of buying your books, you can borrow them from your local library for free. And most libraries have DVDs and magazines you can borrow for free as well.
17. Use Amazon’s Subscribe and Save
Amazon has a program called Subscribe & Save, which allows you to have items delivered to you on a regular schedule (at a lower price of course). This is an efficient way to save if you know that you’ll need to order these essentials anyway.
18. Reshuffle your restaurant orders
Save money by ordering slightly differently at restaurants. Instead of ordering your usual meal, consider sharing an entree or splitting an appetizer with someone else at the table. You’ll save money and won’t even be able to tell the difference.
19. Refinance your mortgage
If you have a mortgage, refinancing your home can lower your monthly payments and save money in the long run. It’s one of the most cost-effective things you can do to save money.
20. Buy groceries in bulk
When you buy products in bulk, you can save a lot of money. When your favorite product has a sale and the price drops to $5 for two boxes instead of $7 for one box, make sure you stock up.
21. Clear your saved card details
Disable “remember me” options when shopping online to avoid impulse purchases. Force yourself to enter your card details manually every time you make an online purchase. It’s also smart to clear your saved credit card details in case of security breaches.
22. Have one “money-free” weekend every month
Keep more money in your bank account by not spending money at all for one weekend every month. You can spend time at home or go to the park, only eat food you have at home or dine with friends and family instead of wasting money at restaurants.
23. Shop for groceries mid week
Wait to go food shopping until Wednesday or Thursday. You’ll be able to take advantage of the money-saving specials stores put on fresh food during the mid-week, and it also avoids the weekend rush.
24. Wait for sales to buy the things you want
If you need to buy a new product, save money by holding off until a sale is on. The same goes for other expensive items such as clothes, TVs and laundry machines.
25. Use Amazon outlet to save money
Amazon offers money-saving outlet deals for a variety of products when sellers have too much stock (which happens a lot). To find money saving deals, visit Amazon’s website and search for outlet items at the bottom of the site.
26. Get a smart thermostat
Save money on your energy bills by getting a smart thermostat. These money-saving devices automatically adjust the temperature in your home so you don’t have to, helping you save money on your monthly bills.
27. Use the 72 hour rule
If you’re thinking about buying something that’s a little pricey, use the 72 hour rule. Give yourself 72 hours to consider it. If you still want the item after three days, you should buy it. This is a smart way to save on emotional, impulse purchases.
28. Buy store brand medication
Store brand medication works exactly the same as branded medication, but it costs less money due to having less marketing money put into it. Little known fact: some medicines are even made in the same factory and then sold to different companies for branding purposes.
29. Workout from home instead of a gym
Gym memberships cost hundreds of dollars a year. You can still workout at home at a much lower cost, such as weights and a jump rope. Or download exercise apps from your app store to work out anywhere – some of these workouts are brutal!
30. Use the Kakeibo method
For a long time, the Japanese have been using Kakeibo journals to track their daily expenses and work towards their savings goals. There are free printable Kakeibo journals available online or you can pick one up from Amazon.
31. Pay yourself first
If you’re fed up of having your paycheck wiped out every month, pay yourself first. This means putting aside a small portion of your income into savings before you pay other bills, and you should set up an automatic rule for this. You’ll never miss the small amount you put away every month.
32. Use Fetch rewards
Every time you use your Fetch money-saving app, you earn points. By collecting these points, you can cash them in for money saving vouchers and other offers from well known brands.
33. Make more money by starting a side hustle
Start a money-saving side hustle to earn money while still working your day job. There are lots of money saving side hustles you can do from home, including selling things on Amazon, creating courses, writing articles, doing voiceovers or even design work.
34. Open a savings account that you can’t access easily
Set money aside in a savings account that you can’t easily access. You’ll be less likely to dip into this money if it’s not going to simply disappear from your bank account, helping you save money for larger money goals.
35. Use a “round up” savings app
An app that saves money automatically for could be the solution you’re looking for. Apps such as Acorns round up your money purchases and save the money in a savings account or invest it for you.
36. Use Ibotta to save on groceries
Ibotta is an app that analyzes your grocery receipts and gives you money back on money-related purchases such as food, toilet paper, et cetera. You don’t even need to clip coupons!
37. Chopping veggies yourself
Buying pre-chopped veggies costs a lot more money than simply doing it yourself. Pre-chopped vegetables often end up going bad quicker than whole vegetables, so you’re essentially paying money to throw money away.
38. Do Meatless Mondays
To save money, cut down on meat once a week. Buy cheaper cuts or ideally go meatless for one day a week which is commonly known as “Meatless Mondays”.
39. Become a member at wholesale stores
Become a member of wholesale stores like Costco or Sam’s Club to save money. You can get discounts by becoming a member and you’ll end up saving money on household goods that are more expensive in other stores.
40. Bundle your home services
By bundling money-saving services, you save on household bills. For example, internet packages often come in good deals with phone and TV plans.
41. Get a reusable coffee cup
Some coffee shops will give you discounts if you bring your own reusable coffee cup. Not only does it save money, it’s good for the environment too.
42. Look on the bottom shelves
While grocery shopping, be sure to keep an eye out for promotional discounts. Supermarkets will try and entice you to spend more by leaving savings-priced goods on the bottom shelves or endcaps.
43. Use an envelope system
The money-savings envelope system is a method that involves setting money aside in envelopes for different money goals. For example, you could have an envelope labeled “car payments” with money in it earmarked towards your car payment.
44. Sell your unused stuff
There are numerous money making sites online that will pay money for items you no longer use or need. By selling your unused stuff, you’ll get money in your pocket and you’ll clear out the clutter.
45. Check your bank account regularly
Don’t be scared to check your bank statements regularly. Unauthorized charges or transfers from your account could eventually take a serious toll on your finances and could be easily avoided if you simply took a few minutes to review your account statement.
46. Avoid large car expenses
Maintain your car and save money. Keep an eye out for warning signs such as low oil levels and leaking fluids. By keeping up with your car’s maintenance, you could save money down the line from expensive car repairs.
47. Switch banks
Bank fees are sneaky and one of the easiest ways to lose money. Switch to a better bank account and avoid money in fees by opting for accounts that have no monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance requirement.
48. Rent out a room for more income
If you have a spare room in your home, consider renting it out and reduce your rent or mortgage cost. You could use websites such as Airbnb or just put a “room for rent” sign in the window of your house.
49. Buy a refillable drinks bottle
Instead of spending money on drinks from the local store or vending machine, buy a refillable bottle. Some even come with helpful features such as indicators that tell you when is the perfect time to refill your bottle.
50. Read blogs and listen to personal finance podcasts
Read personal finance blogs (ahem!) or podcasts to learn about money saving tactics and strategies from the experts. Educating yourself about money is the first step to having more of it.
51. Plan your meals for the week
Plan meals beforehand by researching meal planning websites and apps. By grocery shopping with a plan, you’ll avoid impulse buys and save money over time by purchasing only those items that you need.
52. Get your attic insulated
If you haven’t insulated your attic, heat (and money) is leaking out of it. By getting a professional to insulate your attic, the money will come back to you in the form of savings on your home heating bill.
53. Put gifts and unexpected income into a savings account
Whether you get money for a birthday present, an unexpected tax refund or money from selling old stuff, put the money straight into savings. That money would otherwise probably have been spent on impulse buys.
54. Use an employer matching retirement plan
If your employer offers a money-matching retirement plan, take advantage of it. You’re effectively getting a guaranteed return on your money without any extra effort on your part.
55. Unsubscribe from marketing emails
Unsubscribe from promotional emails from companies that only encourage you to spend money. Create a list of money-saving related emails that you want to receive – and unsubscribe from all the others.
56. Put all your spare coins and cash in the bank
By putting all those loose coins and money in your wallet or purse into the bank, you’ll soon have money that can be used for bigger purchases, or at least some bills.
57. Use budgeting apps
Use budgeting apps like Mint or You Need A Budget to keep track of your money and stay within your spending limits. If money is constantly going over your limits and it should be, you might want to reevaluate your spending.
58. Use the debt snowball method
To pay down debts faster, list out all of your debts smallest to largest along with how much money you have left over each month after expenses. Pay extra money to the smallest debt and once it is paid off, the money will go to pay down the larger debts. Continue this until you’ve cleared all of your debts.
59. Use the 50/30/20 budget
Divide your money into three equal sections: 50% for necessities (such as rent or mortgage and bills), 30% for money you can spend on things that aren’t necessities, such as eating out or buying a new pair of shoes. The final 20% of money will be money that you can save.
60. Buy store brand products
Store-brand products are often more cost effective than name-brand equivalents. Whereas some of the money that you might spend on purchasing a famous brand is spent on advertising and marketing.
61. Carry large bills
If you only carry money that is in large denominations, you will be less inclined to spend it on impulse buys as you won’t want to break the note.
62. Do you really need your car (or 2nd car)?
COVID has meant that we’re driving less. Given the rise in quick ride apps like Uber and Lyft, we’ve found that we don’t really need to drive everywhere as much. Getting rid of a car in your household could save you hundreds a month.
63. Sign up for customer rewards programs
A lot of companies have money saving rewards programs linked to their loyalty cards. For example, you can get money back on most groceries if you sign up for the customer rewards program and scan the barcode as each item is scanned.
64. Move debt to a 0% balance transfer card
If you have money that needs to be paid off on credit cards, pay off the balance as fast as possible by moving all your debt to a 0% balance transfer card. Then shift to another 0% card when your current offer ends. This way you’ll only be paying down debt, not interest.
65. Buy used products on these 4 sites
Buying used products has a stigma, but in the mobile app age, it’s different than it used to be. With the rise of services like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor and OfferUp, you can buy next to new stuff for a lot less.
66. Do your Christmas shopping in January
After Christmas is a great time to buy holiday products you need to replace like decorations, toys, and clothing. You’ll pay up to 50% less for the same items that are selling for a premium right before Christmas.
67. Switch to term life insurance
Term life insurance is cheaper than whole life, which you might be currently paying for. Term life insurance gives you a lump sum of money after an agreed upon length of time, which is why it’s cheaper than whole of life.
68. Rent video games instead of buying
Most people play video games until they complete them so it makes sense to rent rather than purchasing new ones. Some places even offer discounts if you rent multiple games at a time.
69. Use the Honey browser extension
Install the browser extension Honey. When you’re looking to make a purchase online, Honey will track down if there are money-back offers available for that product and gives you the option to select the money back deal of choice.
70. Clear your cookies before booking a flight
Airlines track your browsing history and increase the prices of the flights you have been looking at. If you clear your cookies before looking at flights, the airline will not know that you have been looking at cheap fares and will price the tickets normally.
71. Use a comparison site for household expenses
Comparison sites allow you to view money saving money offers from several different finance companies. If you can, select the money saver so that you can save money on your insurance and utility bills.
72. Cut down on takeouts and food delivery
The rise of apps such as Deliveroo and UberEats mean that we’re spending money on delivery food more than ever. We’re even ordering coffees to our homes and paying delivery fees. Cut down on deliveries and you’ll automatically save a lot.
73. Save with Secret Santa
Instead of buying gifts for your family, friends and colleagues each year, get together with them to do a Secret Santa. Each person in the group buys one gift for another person in the group and you’ll only spend a fraction of what you normally would on presents.
74. Keep your tires properly inflated
When your tires are under-inflated they wear out faster and reduce your gas mileage. To make sure that you get the most from your tires, keep them inflated to the correct pressure stated in the owner’s manual.
75. Switch to LED light bulbs
LED bulbs will save you money because they can last for up to 15 years and reduce your energy bill. LED light bulbs are brighter than others too, so they do not require as much energy to get the job done.
76. Make a shopping list
Before you go out or shop online for groceries, take the time to make a shopping list. This will stop you from buying things that you don’t actually need.
77. Use ‘deal of the day’ sites
Websites like Groupon and Living Social offer great deals on products, spas, travel, and events. However, make sure you aren’t splurging on luxuries you wouldn’t have purchased in the first place!
78. Use a smart energy meter
If you have a smart energy meter, you’ll be able to see how much electricity and gas your appliances are using in real-time, which allows you to adjust the settings accordingly. This way, you can stop wasting money on running appliances that don’t need to be on.
79. Have a pot luck dinner
Instead of meeting friends at a restaurant or providing expensive dishes at a party, you’ll be able to save money by hosting a pot luck dinner, where everyone brings their own dish.
80. Get a water softener
A water softener can save you hundreds of dollars per year by preventing scale build-up and soap scum from clogging your shower heads, dishwasher hoses and faucets. It will save on potential repairs and chemical products too.
81. Ditch cable and satellite for streaming
One way to save up to $500 per year is by dropping cable and satellite TV subscriptions. That cost can add up quickly and easily be replaced with streaming products, such as Netflix or an Amazon Fire Stick.
82. Give up unhealthy habits
Smoking cigarettes costs around $1,000 per year and alcohol is even more expensive. If you give up these habits altogether, you’ll not only save money but also improve your health in the process.
83. Combine your errands
Instead of making multiple stops to run errands, group them together into one trip. That way you’ll save on gas money and also reduce the amount of dead time that you spend in your car.
84. Change your entire mindset towards money
People that think about money in a positive manner find it easier to make smart financial decisions. Negative thinking leads to risky moves, such as spending more than you earn, not keeping an eye on your bank accounts and falling into debt traps. If the thought of money makes you nervous or worried, try changing your mindset.
So, saving money isn’t as difficult as you think right? I’m sure you came away with some practical ideas to keep more money in your pocket and have almost the same standard of life that you have now.