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Whether you need to or simple just want to save money, check out this list of money saving tips. Anyone can use these money saving tips regardless of age, gender or life status. Get started saving today!
Tips for Saving Money
Saving on Food
#1 – Make a shopping list
Before heading out to the grocery store, sit down and figure out what food you need. You should decide what meals you will be eating for the next week and make sure you add the necessary items to your grocery list. Planning ahead will:
- Reduce the number of trips to the store (thus saving you time).
- Limit impulse buys (those double stuffed olives are delicious, but do you really need to spend $5 on them).
- Set you up with a week worth of meals ready to cook.
#2 – Don’t go to the grocery store on an empty stomach
You don’t have to have a full meal before heading to the grocery store but make sure your tummy isn’t rumbling. Those double stuffed olives become irresistible on an empty stomach. So, curb that appetite before walking into the grocery store.
#3 – Prepare meals ahead of time
Do you have one or more days a week where cooking dinner in the evening is impossible? I sure do. This is where planning ahead becomes critical.
When you sit down to do your grocery list think of meals you can double up the recipe on or throw in a crockpot. Obviously, doubling up a recipe gives you a quick meal to eat later in the week.
Cooking food in a crockpot takes the pressure off making a meal one evening. Instead, it allows you to put the meal together the night before or in the morning, when you have a bit more time. Plug in the crockpot before you head out to conquer your busy day.
Make sure your crockpot has a timer. This way the crockpot can kick on at the right time to ensure a perfect meal when you’re ready to eat. If you have a crockpot that doesn’t have a timer, then use an outlet timer.
#4 – Pack a lunch
Avoid the temptation or need to buy lunch each day by always packing your lunch. Occasionally, I’ll get the urge to go grab lunch somewhere but if I already have lunch it usually curbs that desire.
Leftovers make a great option for a quick lunch to grab in the morning, as you walk out the door. Sandwiches are also a good choice.
Sandwiches can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a few days. You can make several sandwiches at once and have them ready to grab each morning.
#5 – Cashback rebate apps
Cashback rebate apps are slowly replacing the paper coupon. Each app is a little different, but they all provide a list of grocery and related items to get a discount on.
Ibotta, Fetch and Checkout 51 are a few of the better apps available today. Find out how to use them, so you can start saving money.
Saving Money on Dining Out Tips
#6 – Happy hour
Save yourself a few bucks by going to a restaurant during their happy hour. You can usually find good food and drink specials for a couple bucks cheaper than usual. $2 here and $2 there can add up quickly when dining out.
#7 – Share a meal
Often, dinner plates at restaurants have more food on them than you need to eat in one meal. Consider sharing an appetizer and a dinner with your date, instead of getting an appetizer and two full dinners.
#8 – Skip the alcohol
Drinks have a huge markup to them. Either skip the drinks altogether or try limiting yourself to just one. Skipping a round of drinks for 2 can save you easily $10 or more.
Save Money on Entertainment
#9 – Do a potluck
Dinners or drinks out with friends can get expensive. Next time you’re out with them or planning a gathering, suggest doing a potluck. Everyone can bring a dish and beverage to share.
Go the extra mile to make sure the first is a huge success. If everyone’s having a good time, then getting them to agree to another potluck should be easy.
#10 – Start streaming
Canceling cable and finding a streaming provider is all the rage these days. And it should be. Cable providers often come with equipment to set up in your home and no easy way to temporarily suspend services. Streaming providers have lower fees and more flexible plans.
Hulu, Netflix and Disney+ are just a few streaming options available. Many of these streaming providers have their own series too.
You could pay for Hulu for a month, catch up on your favorite shows and then cancel. The next month you could pay for Netflix, catch up on your favorite shows through them and then cancel. Sign up again with any provider and pay only when you want the service.
#11 – Watch a matinee
Save money on viewing a movie in theaters by catching the matinee. Most theaters have a matinee option for their first showing that day of a movie. Also, eat before you head out to the theater, so you can avoid buying food there. It is so overpriced.
#12 – Visit the library
Your local library is a treasure trove. Do not overlook it. Obviously, you can rent books from the library, but most local libraries have a lot more to offer.
There is often a descent selection of classic movies you can rent including those old favorites. They also have exercise videos you can try out, which could provide variety to an otherwise boring exercise routine.
BONUS: Perhaps the best resource the library can provide though is free passes to community events or local museums. For a family of 4 in Chicago that could easily be $100 in savings.
#13 – Park District
Our park district offers low-cost arts and crafts programs, music and dance classes and sporting activities for all ages. If you’re looking to have fun without breaking the bank the park district options can fit that bill.
Save Money on Transportation
#14 – Consider alternatives to driving
Driving your car to work every day can be expensive. Consider taking a train, bus, carpool or even bike to work. A bike is certainly the healthiest way to get to work but it may not always be practical or safe. A train is often quick and provides a great opportunity to catch up on sleep or work, depending on your priorities.
#15 – Evaluate what you need in a car
If none of those options are feasible to you, ask yourself if you need the size car you have. How often do you use that large trunk space or have more than 5 people in your car? A smaller vehicle can save you on insurance, gas, upkeep and more.
Tips for Saving Money on Clothing and Household Goods
#16 – Shop discount stores like TJMaxx or Marshall’s
These stores have discounted prices on every day items. Even better, you don’t have to wait for a sale to feel good about your purchase as it’s already marked down.
#17 – Use Rakuten
Rakuten is a must if you’re an online shopper. If you don’t know about Rakuten, where have you been hiding? Rakuten is a cash back rebate company where if you buy items online through their referral link you will get cash back. They even have options for cash back in stores too.
#18 – Check out thrift stores
It’s amazing what you can find at a good thrift store for a fraction of the price. Some items even have price tags on still.
#19 – Try the Goodwill or Salvation Army
The Goodwill near us marks prices down on Sunday based on the tag color. Even sweeter, the Salvation Army near us does $0.69 clothing for select tag colors every Saturday. Go check out what your local thrift store might offer.
#20 – Layaway
Ask stores if they have a layaway option. Sears and Kmart still do, but sadly those stores are few and far between these days.
My mom always used to put Christmas gifts for us on layaway in July. She’d slowly chip away at the cost when she had a little extra after each paycheck. By the time Christmas rolled around she’d have a pile of gifts for us under the tree. She was as excited as we were!
Tips to Save Money on Housing
#21 – Downsize
This is likely the hardest decision to make and the hardest to implement but it will have the largest impact on your budget. The cost of housing is the largest household expense in the U.S.
Make no mistake about it, that empty room at the back of your house is costing you money. Any space in your home that is filled with clutter and is not used on a regular basis is just burning a hole in your pocket.
If money is really tight then it might be time to take a cold hard look at your living arrangements. You could save hundreds of dollars each month by downsizing.
#22 – Turn down your heat at night
For those living in a cooler climate, turn your heat down at night when you sleep. Turning the temperature down a few degrees will save you some money.
A programmable thermostat makes this easy. If you don’t have one, you can buy one for less than $50.
An alternative to a programmable thermostat is setting a reminder on your phone to turn down your heat before you usually go to bed. The downside is your home will be cool when you wake up.
I used to hate climbing out of my warm bed into the cool crisp air. Now we have a programmable thermostat and I’m much happier.
#23 – Invest in energy efficient goods
Use energy efficient lightbulbs and appliances. Just swapping out all the regular lightbulbs in your house for energy efficient ones can save you good money. Many utility companies offer rebates when you upgrade to energy efficient appliances. Make sure to check with your local utility company.
#24 – Replace old toilets
Upgrade the toilets in your house to toilets that use less water with each flush. You’d be surprised how much water is used in those older toilets.
A new toilet might cost around $250 or less. The savings on your water bill will quickly pay for itself, especially if you have a large family.
Tips for Saving Money on Wellness
#25 – Give up your gym membership
Gym memberships can be worth the cost if you fully utilize what you are paying for. However, gym membership fees can include several features you may not use. Make sure you know what you are paying for with your gym membership.
Working out at home can be fun and just as effective as working out at the gym. The right home exercise routine can offer the ultimate life hack.
Money Management Tips
#26 – Check your bank account every day
Checking your bank account every day will make you more accountable for your spending. The $5 you spend on Starbucks or $10 on an Uber ride can add up fast.
By checking your bank account or credit cards statement every day, you will see firsthand how much the activities from each day are truly costing you. With any luck, you will see a pattern of expenses that you could eliminate with a little planning and prioritization.
#27 – Save all spare change in a jar or using Acorns
Not too many people pay for everything with cash these days, but when you do consider saving your change in a jar. The modern day alternative to this is Acorns.
When you sign up for Acorns and pay $5.35 for lunch with your registered card, Acorns will round up the cost to $6. The remaining $0.65 cents will be added to an investment fund. It’s a unique idea worth looking into.
#28 – Invest in a Health Savings Account (HSA)
An HSA is the ultimate retirement savings account. While you could use it to pay for your current medical expenses, the benefits of using it as a retirement savings account are substantial.
With a Roth IRA you pay taxes on the money your investing at the time you invest the money. Then, when you withdraw the funds in retirement you don’t pay taxes.
An HSA is similar in that you won’t pay taxes when you take the money out for medical expenses (at any point in time). However, you also won’t pay taxes when you put the money into your Health Savings Account.
This is important as medical costs soar in retirement. This means you could completely avoid paying taxes for healthcare expenses in retirement.
And don’t worry, any extra you have saved can be withdrawn penalty free for any reason once you hit 65. You will have to pay taxes on the money you withdraw though if not used on medical expenses. Essentially, your HSA becomes a traditional IRA.
#29 – Avoid paying fees when investing
Fees can significantly hinder the growth on your retirement account(s) over the years. The short term effect may not seem so bad, but the power of compound interest is lost when you pay fees you don’t need to.
Making your own investment decisions may seem scary at first. However, the key is a bit of upfront work to educate yourself on the basics.
Start educating yourself today and take the investment challenge. During the challenge you will learn how your current investments rank against the other investment options available in your portfolio.
You will learn how to understand the true profitability of a fund. The growth of a fund is just as important as the fees associated with it. By the end of the challenge, you will be able to tell where your current investment funds rank against other fund options available in your portfolio.
#30 – Stop impulse buying
Don’t buy something the first time you see it. If it’s not a household essential, wait a week and decide if you really need it. Chances are you’ll decide it’s not a must have and you’ll save yourself money.
Spending money on items you need or know you’ll enjoy and use frequently feel good. Looking at a treadmill that’s collecting dust or has become a hanging closet does not feel good!
#31 – Negotiate lower rates on your credit card bills
This may not be easy for those who shy away from confrontation, myself included. Here a few tips to get you moving.
- Remember you don’t know the person on the other end of the line and probably never will.
- Prepare ahead of time and do any research you may need to so you’re ready to negotiate.
- Pick up the phone and just dial the number already. Stop looking for reasons to delay calling. This is making the anxiety worse – I promise!
#32 – Take a No Spend Challenge
It’s exactly what it sounds like. Challenge yourself not to spend any unnecessary money for a certain length of time. For a successful challenge, make sure to have some fun and valuable activities planned ahead of time.
Get Started Saving Today With These Money Saving Tips
Saving money can mean making some tough decisions. Hopefully, these money saving tips make it easier for you to get started unlocking your full savings potential.
The good news is once you start implementing the necessary changes to save money, it’ll become easier. In fact, with any luck it’ll become second nature and you won’t even realize you are using these money saving tips.