The Ultimate List of Money Saving Ideas
(103 Ways to Cut Costs and Save Now!)
Looking for money saving tips? You've found them.
A ton of them!
We've got so many ideas to help you slash costs and save money we've gone ahead and sectioned this article into 5 parts. Not all the savings strategies will apply to everyone, so you can easily navigate to the section which will have the most impact in your life. -- So to stop wasting cash, let's get started!
1. Repair Items Yourself -- Around the house, if you are in the habit of calling the repairman, unless you like the company you can quit it. Paying service hours adds up, especially when most house calls involve minor problems which are easy to fix. Try a quick search on youtube for do-it-yourself tips for repairing what is broken, most likely a step-by-step is available to walk you through the process. For the best ROI focus on projects that reduce costs and add value to the home. No tools? No problem, borrow from your neighbor --- just be sure to return them!
2. Air Up Your Tires -- Keeping the proper PSI in your car's tires impacts your gas mileage with eyebrow raising results over time. It's estimated to be able to save you up to 3.3% (according to fueleconomy.gov) on your mileage, and the savings at the pump is money in your pocket left unspent to get you through your day. Best of all, it's simple to check with a pressure gauge and your corner gas station typically has an air filling station. Check online for the optimum pressure for your car model and tires and put a big smile on your face as you save money mile after mile.
3. Clear Lint In Dryer -- Even with today's new energy efficient appliances, washing machines and dryers are energy hogs. One of the biggest offenders is your dryer, and remembering to perform minor maintenance to improve its efficiency which will impact on your energy consumption bills. Ensuring the lint filter is clear every time you use it reduces the energy burden required to dry your clothes. In the long run it will scale back what you owe for electricity. (For obsessive frugals: Ways to Reuse Dryer Lint via SavingAdvice)
4. Clean the Air Filter's In Your Car -- To add further savings through efficiency, make sure your car is using a clean air filter. It's easy to change the filter and is estimated to improve your gas mileage by as much as 7%. Mile after mile that is money in your pocket. The more you drive, the more you save of course, but even average drivers will notice the gains in wallet over the long term.
5. Start a Garden -- Vegetables, organic and eating healthy has sure made a consumer comeback. Unfortunately, it has flipped the tables on pricing, as quality vegetables used to be inexpensive while meats and seafood were the premium choice. If you have been to a WholeFoods lately, you know good vegetables don't come cheap. The solution: Grow your own! A small plot of your yard dedicated to something as simple as herbs can save you $100's over a year's time. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers are easy to grow in most climates and are quite a value when you produce your own.
6. Hang Clothes to Dry -- If you live in a climate where this is feasible - sorry Seattle - then ditching your dryer altogether equals savings. Not only that, but there is no need to purchase the various softeners and other products to imitate a natural scent. You can't improve on nature, and there is nothing so fresh as breeze dried laundry. The reduced energy consumption is icing on the cake when you receive your reduced energy bill each month. (Save More Tip: Make Your Own Detergent via MoneySavingMom)
7. Seal Home Energy Leaks -- Whether you are in the desert or in the Appalachians, the seasons inevitably take their toll on your household's energy bill. Take an afternoon to seal up the cracks and holes letting the precious warm or cool air escape from your home. Perform a DIY heating or cooling system audit. You don't need to be a professional --- just look for obvious problems which may be impacting the efficiency of your home. Addressing these items typically requires low-cost materials and will prove high-return in savings.
8. Borrow Tools -- Ever know someone who has every tool for every job? It's amazingly useful to have the specialized tool your job needs when you need it, but it's incredibly expensive to accumulate and often takes a lifetime. At least for the specialized tools, look to borrow them for your task at hand rather than running to the local hardware store for the purchase. It doesn't do you any good just 'sitting' in the garage, let someone else be the hero for a change to lend you what you need.
9. Replace Air Conditioning Filters -- Much in the same way dirty air filters in your car increase energy consumption--the air filters in your air conditioning, when clean, ensure your AC isn't sucking excess power to get through the day. Clean filters reduce strain on the blower motor and reduce the labor required to create a smooth airflow through your duct system. Bottom line: Monthly electric bill reduced even further. (MoneyCrashers also advises not setting your thermostat lower than 78 degrees for further savings)
10. Plant a Tree To Block Sun Exposure -- If cooling your home is a challenge, consider planting a tree on the side of the house receiving the most direct exposure throughout the day. Your air-conditioning bill will improve incrementally, you get the benefit of a beautiful tree in your yard, and you can use that extra savings from your energy bill for whatever you please.
11. Do Your Own Bookkeeping -- Taxes are never fun, and your CPA's time isn't cheap. Don't waste valuable money having your accountant spend time organizing your receipts and putting your books together. If you can reduce the time spent to just filing your taxes, the reduction in costs can be significant. Now if only we had a trick to cut your tax burden in half!
12. Keep Pine Essential Oil -- Keeping a bottle of pine essential oil in the bathroom is a great and effective means of eliminating offensive toilet odors. You need only a few drops, and will reduce your dependency on brand name cleaning products with hefty price tags. Everyone is happy, an inexpensive bottle of pine oil goes a long way--saving you dollars without compromising the senses. Thanks to diynatural for this idea)
13. Use Leftover Materials -- For the next home improvement project you are considering, shop around before hitting the big box retailers and consider using leftover materials. A drive around the neighborhood with a keen eye or an afternoon on a site like Ebay can often provide the materials you need at far reduced costs. Additionally, the story of how you sourced the materials is often as beautiful as the final product. Into Recycling? Read more about the hidden value of the materials around us at bargaineering)
14. eBay for Replacement Parts -- Whether you need a new harddrive, air filters for your late model Ford, or a specialty part for mounting your flat screen, eBay is a wise place to start shopping at reduced costs. In my experience sellers have been exceptionally generous, and 'good as new' is usually virtually no different than never taken out of the box. So if you are in need of a brand, but don't want to pay retail, eBay makes it a breeze.
15. Rotate Your Tires -- Rotating your tires regularly extends their life. Getting a few more years out of your tires before you need to replace them is worth doing, as new tires aren't cheap. This can be done yourself, though admittedely it's not as easy as inflating your tires---but hey, we are here to save money, so make an afternoon of it, prepare to get a little grease on yourself and jack and rotate your tires rather than paying at the shop.
16. Shave Using Straight Razor -- When considering how to save money, old timey activities naturally arise. They go hand in hand with savings -- two peas in a pod you could say. Shaving companies have been accused of marking prices by as much as whopping 4000% -- in other words you are making them rich! Consider learning to use a straight razor and free yourself from an endless cycle of buying new razors, gels and the like in the name of shaving. An incredible shave is possible and every trip to the grocery store will put a smile on your face when you can say no to $15 replacement blades. (h/t Alternet)
17. Cut Your Own Hair -- OK ladies. Admittedly this one isn't going to fly for most of our female readers. On the other hand, for men, it's well worth considering a home based hair cut, and saving on the regular $15 plus tip visit to a barber or $60 or more to get the head massage shampoo from a salon. The shampoo head massage is worth it in my humble opinion, but this is a money saving list, so at least here, it gets the cut.
18. DIY Exercise -- Gym memberships are costly, and regular expenses. Save the money outright and shift to exercising without the gym. Youtube has countless personal trainers teaching how to do just that, using body weight exercises, and versatile tools like kettlebells or sandbags. If the Zuzka Light ZGym home trainings don't have you sweating at home and in better shape than your gym sessions I'll eat my hat. Weather permitting, work the outdoors into your routine and you will feel better, look better and won't miss all the stair-master socializing.
19. Turn Off the Lights -- Small hinges move big doors. An appropriate and wise saying. In this case, a small matter of turning off unused appliances, lights and other electronics when not in use can incrementally save you cold hard cash. Kilowatts cost money, stop wasting them. Unless you believe in spirits, there really isn't much need to have your entire home lit up when you are comfortably absorbed in your afternoon nap in the living room.
20. Use Fans Over AC -- This may be common knowledge, but in case you missed it, use fans to cool the room you are in rather than running the energy intensive air conditioning. The running air helps you perceive the room as cooler with dramatically reduced energy costs. No need to run a fan if you aren't in the room either, as it doesn't cool the room, rather circulates the air--simply turn it back on when you return.
21. Insulate Your Water Heater -- Be sure to check recommended advice regarding your particular model, but insulating around your water heater tank reduces heat loss and allows it to do its job less frequently. This can add up to a savings of 5% in your water heating costs.A standard shower costs nearly 3.25 cents a minute--a simple less gallons per minute showerhead change can save up to $800 a year! (h/t Mr. Mustache) Unfortunately I probably make that up with my tea kettle, but I digress.
22. Cancel Your Cable -- Even consider removing television altogether from your home. Blasphemy you say! Consider it. You will reduce the constant temptation to merge into the couch channel surfing 'looking for something good.' Streaming video services are the greatest thing since the wheel IMO anyway... The monthly cable bill is an insane expense dedicated to entertainment for most households proportional to income, and the freed up time can be put to more productive use. You can still watch your favorite team, just make an evening of it, make it a special event at friends or at your favorite restaurant.
23. Sell Before You Trash -- eBay is incredibly empowering, if you aren't already taking advantage of the marketplace to sell your used goods you should. It's incredibly easy to do, and you will be utterly surprised what people are willing to buy. Try yard sales if you aren't comfortable online. Don't assume nobody will want some rusty part. There is a buyer for just about anything, so before you trash -- sell. New to eBay? Read a step-by-step guide to selling unwanted items from theSimpleDollar.
24. Volunteer -- Counter-intuitive? Hear me out. Volunteering during your free time is an incredibly powerful money saving tip. Keep your empty hours filled with positive projects keeps you from filling them with more expensive pursuits. Not only that, the relationships you make and the satisfaction you get from pouring your efforts into a great cause will open doors and transform you.
25. Brown Bag Your Meals -- A simple shift to preparing your meals in advance, from the home can save hundreds--for some thousands--of dollars over the period of a month. Brown bagging is a little old-timey habit from our parents which some seem to have misplaced. Not only will you save daily on food costs but you make eating out special again when its not a daily occurrence. Brown bag frugality will never go out of style. For more on the art of brown bagging check out what Money Saving Mom has to say.
26. Trade Babysitting Services -- Watching the kids has gotten pretty expensive of late, but most parents will pay anything to get a night off. No need to break the bank on the local teenager whose just as likely to raid your liquor cabinet as keep your kids safe. Instead consider setting up a babysitting swap with your friends who have kids and are just as desperate to maximize savings and recreation. If you have the gumption, go all-in and start a parenting co-op, get everything you need to know explained by Carrie Kirby of Wisebread.
27. Always Ask for Lower Fees -- Did you know you can often reduce your interest rate with your current credit card simply by asking for a lower rate? It's true. Credit cards aren't the only service which often have room to reduce your costs if you simply have the gumption to ask. From banking services to your local service station, ask for a reduction in the cost or a waiver to the fees. You'll be surprised how often you are rewarded with lower costs--no harm if they refuse.
28. Buy Consumables in Bulk -- Ever gone to Costco and come home shocked with how much you 'did not expect' to purchse? Well, getting 3 years worth of vegetables is a bad idea of course. In fact, anything that goes bad doesn't justify the savings. On the other hand, buying your paper towels, canned foods, and other staples which don't go bad does make for significant savings. Shop for these items with a keen eye for discounts and you can reduce your expenses in bulk.
29. Read More Than Watch -- Learn to love to read. Insanely powerful, incredibly rewarding and as an entertainment it is a cost saving juggernaut. Your average novel can give you weeks of enjoyment at an average cost of $12, while catching a movie in the theater can run upwards of $20 without popcorn and is over in over an hour. Your mind looks to fill empty time with activities, it's a part of who we are. Using time to read is rewarding and efficient.
30. Walk More -- Besides saving you a fortune on healthcare over a lifetime, immediate savings on transportation costs should give you a mind to start walking more. A brisk walk to work, when possible, is saves on gas of course, and also fortifies the mind in preparation for your day. If your employment is too far to stroll, consider carpooling or catching a ride part of the way and walking the rest. BudgetsAreSexy puts their spin with their walking budget concept.
31. Ask for Help -- From around the house to things you need to get done at work. Many of us look at asking for help as 'letting the cat out of the bag' that we are just filled with doubts and fears as the next person. You need not worry so much--ask for help when expenses present themselves and creative solutions can appear as if by magic. Not simply asking to borrow money, I mean ask for help from friends and family to find solutions allowing you to avoid spending money needlessly.
32. Choose Outdoor Entertainment -- Rather than splurging on the all-inclusive resort package for your next vacation, consider enjoying the boundless joys--and infinitely cheaper--world of nature around you. For a night out, consider a hike in the nearby hills rather than the local tavern. Live in the city? No problem, explore the urban bounty rather than being spoon-fed your entertainment experience.
33. Freelance Your Free time -- You may not realize it, but you have valuable skills. Skills people would be willing to tap into for money. Spend extra time offering those skills to friends and family, or strangers on the marketplace. You can even make a game of it: how much can you earn helping out in your free time. Spending free time in this way builds relationships which can lead to better opportunities, earns you money, and prevents your spending money on entertainment. To help you get started on the right foot, Amanda Abella at MoneyUnder30 shares 3 keys to setting your freelance rates.
34. Spend Time Shopping Around -- Buying the first product or service offered to you could be the best deal---but maybe it isn't. From car insurance to repair services, it is wise policy to shop around before you commit to spending a dime. Cheapest isn't always best, but you may learn something in the process---and if you end up going full circle and returning to the provider you began with, you will be able to make the purchase with full confidence.
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35. Get Amazon Prime -- If you love your television and I can't convince you to get rid of it altogether, then consider cutting your cable bill and getting Amazon prime. For roughly $99 a year, you can watch most of most popular tv programs without additional cost, in most cases shortly after the premier date. Additionally, you get all the other benefits the online retailer provides its Prime members, from free two day shipping to free music access and book rentals! For a breakdown of all the benefits, Nerdwallet lays it out.
36. Shop Amazon Pantry -- A recent addition the money saving services on offer by the online giant Amazon, Prime Pantry provides 5$ shipping and makes buying grocery staples with Amazon's incredibly discounted costs viable. You can get snacks, drinks, canned foods, cookies, and toiletries at the lower costs that made Amazon famous with an amazingly reduced shipping rate--must try it to believe it, if you are in a Prime Pantry serviced region, start using it now!
37. Eat Before You Grocery Shop -- It's happened to us all. We've run out of food, are starving and head to the grocery store to stock up. Prowling through the aisles, everything looks incredibly good and the cart starts filling with pastries, cookies, peanut butter, cold cuts---the pile keeps rising. Shopping on an empty stomach increase costs--I can quote you the statistical data, the studies that prove this, but we all know it's true. Solution: Eat well, then shop, you will make wiser decisions.
38. Shorten Your Showers -- Adding a water efficient shower head is step one. Step two is reducing your shower time to something less than a mini-opera performance. Let's face it folks, a hot shower is an amazing experience, but it doesn't need to take 20 minutes every time. Being mindful when you shower of your water consumption reduces your water usage expense, further reducing your utility bills.
39. Be Patient -- The money game is won by the patient. If you gotta-have-it you are going to pay the gotta-have-it right now premium tax. Getting the best deals on the things you need, as well as the things you want, is often a waiting game. It's human nature, we all have something we would give absolutely anything for -- your whistle according to Benjamin Franklin. When you feel that desire to pay too much because you want it so bad, resist the urge and take a second moment to reconsider. Oftentimes a short wait is all that is required to fulfill your desires without paying a premium.
40. Stop Drinking Alcohol -- Quit paying the sin taxes. Regular drinking of alcohol is an incredibly expensive habit. Your average bottle of wine or beer, big picture, doesn't have much impact. Yet over a years period a regular drinker, even in moderation, is paying a heavy price for the activity. You can even calculate precisely what you are spending annually on alcohol using the rethinking drinking calculator. You don't need to go tea-total, but if you can turn a regular habit into a very irregular one, you will be saving hundreds of dollars with direct impact on your households bottom line.
41. Quick Smoking Too -- I don't want to see your health impacted, but if you enjoy smoking, that's entirely up to you in my estimation. That being said, the expense of smoking cigarettes is outrageous. A pack a day habit, if eliminated, stands to save you a minimum of $150 a month, much more in heavily taxed regions. As habits go, smoking is on the top of the list as the most expensive. Side note: We know it ain't easy to quit -- for further help check out the quit smoking budget plan from CommonSensewithMoney.
42. Reduce Brand Dependency -- When you are buying clothes, luxury colognes, perfumes, or even everyday grocery products---avoiding brands and the premium prices they ask for the sale will save you money. If you just have to have the latest DG bag, go ahead and get it, just know you are paying a premium for it, and make adjustments elsewhere in your budget.
43. Take Advantage of Free -- When meeting friends or looking for activities with the kids, take full advantage of the free opportunities that surround us like parks in cities, and nature areas where available. Planning to meet in restaurants or Starbucks encourages you to spend money to linger. Avoid the temptation altogether and choose instead to meet at landmarks, libraries, parks or other free to linger locations without the cost.
44. Cell Phone Plan Optimization -- Cellular phones are incredibly convenient, and incredibly expensive in monthly costs and keeping up with the latest phones. The opportunity lies in optimizing your mobile phone plan to reduce your spending to only what you use. Many of us purchase our new iPhone, register with the service provider and make timely monthly payments, never bothering to see if there is a better plan, a better solution to fit our usage. Examine your mobile usage and adjust accordingly to save. For families, Kim Komando breaks down her recommendation for the best money saving mobile family plans.
45. Learn to Sew -- Our ancestors knew a thing or two about saving money. What you don't spend matters, and little costs add up. Knowing how to sew, even if just for minor garment repairs and the like, can extend the life of your clothes, is a surprisingly addictive hobby and can even earn you some extra dough when friends catch on that you are a seamstress in the making. Sewing tips for savings via Monica Beyer at SheKnows.
46. Stop Buying Warranties -- Beware when you are presented with an extended warranty add-on to you next purchase. Ever notice how you pay extra for the warranty but rarely if every use it. In most cases a catastrophic failure of a product is covered anyway--it would be a sorry company that doesn't stand by it's products in normal circumstances. The warranties are added on for a reason and its usually the company's bottom line that wins. Warranty rip-off guide available for those interested on learning more via LifeHacker.
47. Travel Off-Season -- If you are a travel bug and delight in seeing the world's many treasures--you can save a lot of money if you take note of seasonal spikes. Most travel destinations are seasonal of course, but visiting around the fringe can still ensure a good chance you get good weather but will cut the travel costs and lodging expenses dramatically. See the world at half the cost if you simply plan ahead.
48. Travel via Exchange Rate -- International travel is a delightful experience, and living frugal doesn't necessarily mean cutting out 'living'. Watch currencies and let the exchange rate decide your next destination--you could benefit greatly from the increased buying power of a well timed vacation. Whether Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Europe, let the peso, euro, or CAD make your choice for you. The dollar has been on a rampage lately, see what countries the experts at SmarterTravel recommended a few years ago and just imagine doubling your dollar reach today!
49. Buy Secondhand -- If second hand clothes give you the heebie-jeebies, no problem. Don't forget furniture, appliances, and other goods though which can often be found at a deep discount in thrift stores, pawn shops and yard sales. Not to be scoffed at, these treasures are prowled by the very same stores that polish up and sell the 'distressed' merchandise at premium prices.
50. Shop Estate Sales -- Take advantage of estate sales in your area. The process is fun, and with a little patience you can stumble upon incredible values. If you insist on luxury brand products, or have a taste for expensive furniture, making sure you attend the estate sales found in your local newspaper classifieds is a great way to get meet your passion with discounted pricing. To learn more, GetRichSlowly reveals the dos and donts of shopping at an estate sale like a true frugal champion.
51. Entertain at Home -- The family night out has never been more expensive. Entertaing at home can cut the costs and double the fun, with a little creativity. You can make it special. Make a movie night, projecting the film on the wall--or turn your typical peas and potatoes family dinner into a candle lit bistro. You are limited only by your own creativity.
52. Matinee Cinema -- If you are going to the movies, make sure to hit the matinee showing of the latest blockbuster you are dying to see. The ticket cost is significantly reduced, it's typically less crowded and you can roll your savings into your favorite treat if you like. Experience the excitement without the insane evening prices.
53. Coupon Savings Games -- Couponing as an obsession isn't my thing. BUT... taking advantage of coupon discounts for products you intended to purchase already makes perfect sense. Clipping discounts and tallying up your savings can even be a fun game for the frugally minded among us--but beware falling for the coupon trap and consuming without necessity simply because its a deal you can't pass up. Extreme couponing is all the rage, and nobody does it better than theKrazyCouponLady, if you are a beginner, start there.
54. Drink Lots of Water -- Consuming water keeps you healthy and saves you money. Invest in a nice filter for refilling a couple of bottles of water and you are ready to tackle the day. The hydration is great for you, and helps prevent hunger pangs when your body is only really looking to hydrate. Add to the fact that you may be replacing soda, or other drink and you will see immediate savings you can bank on.
55. Save Your Change -- There is a positive psychological effect that happens when you value money. Try it. Get a used 5 gallon water jug and start saving your change. Yes, even the pennies. Keep an eye out when you are going about your day, and if you see change, pick it up. It's the universe calling to you my friend, helping you toward your destination. Don't ever be so high and mighty that you let money pass you by.
56. Craft Your Gifts -- When did we let our children dictate what is an appropriate gift? Giving is great, but it doesn't need to be the latest $100 wizz bang from the store. Make it a family affair, and when the next special event comes around and a gift is being considered---build it, make it, gather it together. Making a greeting card with everyones creative input, gathering together a basket of wild flowers, or baking their favorite cookies---it's the thought that counts right?
57. Cold? Wear a Sweater -- Frugal living is oftentimes simple living. The simple answer is often a direct path to the results you want without the unnecessary spending. In this case, when it is cold, wear a sweater -- duh. Turn your thermostat down, let your heating system have a break and simply dress appropriate to still be comfortable within your home. It's a drop dead simple tip with an immediate impact on your household budget.
58. Optimize Internet Speeds -- Similar to customizing your mobile plan to your usage needs, adjusting your internet service speeds can often result in instant savings. If you are currently paying for the premium internet speed package by your provider, try changing to a slower service. Average users won't notice any speed difference. Before you have nightmare flashbacks of dial-up modem days, providers have been ramping up the connection speeds of their basic packages consistently too, so in most cases you can save without any impact---and you can always change back if it does bother you.
59. Shop Using a List -- Before you head out on your next shopping trip, make a list of the products you need and stick to it. Making a list before hand helps keep you from getting distracted by impulse purchases and keeps you focused on the prize. Use the added focus to catch and take advantage of pricing opportunities to save and avoid buying anything on a whim.
60. Help Someone Every Day -- Share your time and talents with someone every single day without looking for anything in return. Hold yourself to a goal of one real interaction a day in which you provide insight, a kind word or more extensive help. You never know to what future opportunities it will lead, what power relationships it may build. How it helps you save? It puts your mind's focus on providing value and helping the people around you rather than looking for the next distraction.
61. Use Products Longer -- Ever caught yourself day dreaming of replacing your gadget for the latest greatest model? Ever find yourself shopping to replace something before its been really truly worn into the ground and used up beyond usefulness? I bet you have, whether you do it with clothes, technology, cars or other products, we can generally by using the products we buy longer before considering replacing them. You can survive with last years model. Trust me.
62. Measure Your Money -- The old-timey wisdom is what you measure, improves. It applies to your personal finances, and yet so many fail to track what they are spending their money on. By accurately noting what you spend money on, and studying it, from month to month -- you will undoubtedly discover money leaks and can end them. Relentlessly seek out where you are being sloppy with your money and fix it.
63. Eat Out Less -- Restaurants charge a premium, and your bill is likely padded with the costs of a soft drink, appetizers and desserts. How can we say no to the best-ever Tiramisu at the local bistro or a nice glass of wine with dinner? The solution is to avoid the temptation altogether, or at least limit the times you dine out. Sure its enjoyable, but its costly too. Add a little balance and reduce how often you eat out to save some cash. For great recipes check out the $5 Dollar Dinners Index.
64. Learn to Love Rice -- When cooking at home, rice is an ideal meal stuffer. You can cut your costly luxury foodstuffs like meat, chicken and or other foods by 2/3 and mix with a nice basmati rice. You reduce the cost of your meal dramatically, the additional rice serves to fill you up and the flavor item accentuated still manages to make the meal sing. No laughing matter, cutting the costliest product by 1/2 for each meal can equal thousands in savings over a years time.
65. Reduce Your Rent Through Trade -- If you are handy, talk to your landlord and ask what improvements they may have been considering on the property. Explain your situation and what your goals are clearly, they may be interested in working out a rent reduction in return for completed improvements. Then get busy doing them to the best of your ability, if you prove yourself, who knows you may be able to work out a regular deal on maintenance and improvements that would otherwise be subbed out to a contractor.
66. Chart Your Spending -- The frugal living club members over at Netmums have come up with a strategy building good spending habits by planning their days spending. Including acronyms such as, 'NSD', 'LSD' and 'HSD' for arranging your days into 'No Spend Days, Low Spend Days and High Spend Days. Plotting what you make available to yourself by assigning spend days is a great way of rewriting some of your purchase habits to more resourceful behaviors. h/t and thanks to NetMums for insight into this spending tips.
67. Avoid Unnecessary Fees -- Watch your money like a hawk, as nothing is so painful as paying an unnecessary expense. The list includes: bank overdraft fees, parking tickets, speeding tickets, mobile roaming charges, long distance charges, late return fees, impound release fees, etc... The costs of inattention are high, be mindful of what you are doing from moment to moment and save this money before its lost.
68. Avoid The Joneses -- Keeping up with the fashion trends, latest gadgets and celebrity recommendations is for suckers and those with more to prove and less to move. In other words, don't worry what your neighbors expect, don't worry what your peers are doing. Do what is right and resourceful for you at this time. Make the decisions without social influence based on what will accomplish your goals---and you will make saving automatic.
69. Drop the Latte -- If you want to reward yourself with your favorite mochaccino from Starbucks, go right ahead. But... You can save some serious money from your monthly coffee expenses if you determine to make coffee yourself, at home and stop getting your caffeine fix daily from Starbucks. Make it less regular, return it to the special experience it was meant to be.
70. Consolidate Accounts -- If you allowed your life to veer firmly off simplicity road, you may have opened a number of bank accounts, savings accounts and financial instruments along the way in the name of accomplishing the many goals of your very busy life. Now that we are looking to slash budgets and increase our personal austerity, look to consolidate unnecessary accounts to reduce maintenance fees, complexity and hassle.
71. Learn to Cooperate -- From carpooling, sharing tools, to book clubs, take advantage of the myriad benefits of working together. We are in this together, and the truth is everyone is struggling to be the best person they can be---though some people are better at it than others. So you don't have to be an army of one. Go talk to people, share your interests, share your stories and see what opportunities are available to slash costs by sharing value.
72. Dilute Your Juices -- You may have grown accustomed to full power concentrated orange juice in the morning, or like my Aunt Norma, swear a glass of cranberry a day is going to extend your life. You can dilute your juices with water, and if done slowly can enjoy them just as much while extending how much you get out of your favorite juice drinks. Good health, and frugality at its finest.
73. Clean House -- Take a close look in your closets and your garage. Don't wait until spring, clean out your storage spaces, take an inventory and take action. Sell what you don't need, there is income to be found there. Additionally, taking stock of what you have will help prevent your unnecessarily buying duplicate products simply because you lost track.
74. Create a Budget -- Endlessly discussed, rarely put into practice. Create a budget, chart what money you have coming in and plot the regular expenses you can expect. Simple so far right? Set aside what you plan to save, and then live within the remaining amount. That's the keystone that trips up so many of us. Living within your remaining budget for the month is a struggle at times. Just do it, at least until you can grow your income. To further maximize your cost cutting effectiveness -- apply the Pareto Principle (80/20) to your budget -- for a breakdown see how at Moolanomy.
75. Consolidate Accounts -- If you allowed your life to veer firmly off simplicity road, you may have opened a number of bank accounts, savings accounts and financial instruments along the way in the name of accomplishing the many goals of your very busy life. Now that we are looking to slash budgets and increase our personal austerity, look to consolidate unnecessary accounts to reduce maintenance fees, complexity and hassle.
76. Use The Envelope System -- Segmenting out your available money into compartmentalized categories can help you keep from cheating and overspending. A classic recommendation is to create envelopes with labels for each of the categories in your budget. When your monthly pay comes in, portion ito out to its appropriate envelope. Each financial slice of the pie gets its money and you are less inclined to dip into vital areas and ruin your budget.
77. Take Advantage of Free Tools -- A wealth of personal finance apps and online tools have become available to one and all over the last few years. Your current bank, credit cards, or other financial services are offering a number of free tools to help you manage your money more effectively. In some cases they miss the mark of usefulness, sure.. but there are a number of very good tools. Alternatively, check out the iTunes appstore -- tons of free financial apps to choose from.
78. Use Free Intro Services -- A number of companies, in an effort to begin the relationship, offer free to use introduction packages to their software and tools. Online services like Freshbooks allow you to use their incredibly helpful software for free if you stay under their client minimum. Seek out the tools which can help you get more done, but before you buy, shop around for free intro offers as you may be able to get what you need for free until you grow!
79. Freebies, Free Samples & Free Stuff -- When I was a starving college student, we would head over to Costco browse for a bit and take advantage of all the free samples to satiate our hunger. You don't have to go that far, but there are a number of freebies and samples available which can cut your costs. For example: next time you go to the dermatologist, be sure to ask if the doctor has any samples of their recommended skin care products---they usually do and are happy to share them with you at no cost. To stay up to date on all the freebies available now and in the future be sure to bookmark - HeyItsFree.
"If people are not laughing at your goals, your goals are too small."
80. Shop Out of Copyright -- If you took advantage of an earlier savings recommendation to learn to love to read, you will be pleased to learn that in addition to eBook sharing programs like the Amazon Prime kindle owners lending library, most of the best classics you should read before you die care available free having fallen out of copyright. Work your way through all that Project Gutenburg has to offer and you won't need to buy another republished book for decades--that should save you some moolah.
81. Crock Pot Cooking -- For the frugal living crowd, rice is a staple that repeatedly saves the day, and the crock pot is the tool that makes the spending go away. Instead of throwing away your peelings, bones, and other toss-out items, start thinking crock pot. You can pour a variety of ingredients into a crock pot, add water and a few other items and you are well on your way to a tasty stew or other meal with what you would have previously tossed into the landfill.
Frugal living] If rice is the staple that repeatedly saves the day, the crock pot is the tool that makes spending go away."
82. Learn to Forage -- Admittedly, living in a city, the first thing that comes to mind is, 'Oh Great... This guy is recommending dumpster diving!' No, I'm not going that far... BUT there is an amazing amount of locally sourced food surrounding most of us which grows wild and is simply available to those in the know. Don't go all 'Into the Wild' on me and eat the first berries you see growing. Instead, ask your chef from a favorite local restaurant, odds are they are well aware of the local sourced ingredients, what's available... and can point you in the right direction to start harvesting yourself. Learn more about the ups and downs of urban foraging for greens from NPR.
83. Frugal Competition Time -- Nothing is as motivating as crushing your competitors. As Conan so aptly put it when asked what is best in life? "To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!" -- You may not take the competitive spirit that far, but recruiting another frugally minded friend to have a savings competition is incredibly inspiring. Set the rules, track your results, and meet back each month to compare notes and see who won.
"What is best in life? You tell me."
84. Become a Test Subject -- Beauty schools, and massage schools famously need subjects for their students to practice their art. In other words, you can get cut rate massages or your hair done at no to low cost if you are just willing to let the uninitiated practice on you. Seek out other institutions which will offer the same. If you are willing to live with the results and let whatever happens be an adventure, shift your full price services to low cost testing alternatives.
85. Groupon Discount and Deals -- I hesitated to mention this as it can very easily turn into spending MORE money than actually saving you money if you cannot resist the temptation to buy packages and products you weren't intending to in the first place. It can be hard to pass up an all inclusive vacation at 25% of full price, even if you had no intention of going anywhere this weekend. If you can, prowl Groupon regularly and snap up discounts on products and services you use regularly. You can keep an eye on rebates and deals as they happen using the Snap by Groupon app h/t DealSeekingMom as well as stay on top of the best weekly rebates across the web.
86. Match Credit Card Rewards to Lifestyle -- Credit card rewards programs are legion these days. Cash back rewards, retail purchase points, of course travel miles, and other pay for using programs abound. The trick is to match a credit card and the rewards they offer to your lifestyle, rather than trying to fit your life around what they require. Get the card with benefits that reduce your costs if you change nothing--make the savings automatic.
87. Think Long-Term -- Nothing is so disastrous for financial success than to approach decisions with a short term mindset. The more you can shift to a long term outlook, on everything from financing to deals with your friends and family, when you make decisions the more you will likely save. From car purchases to buying in bulk, looking at the long term consequences of your choices makes clear which path will cost you more money. Choose wisely, my young paduan--every choice has an impact on your wallet eventually.
(Financial Resource: Long Term Lending Options to Reduce Monthly Spend)
88. Pay Off Your Credit Cards -- Incredibly powerful, widely known yet so often not done. Move mountains, upset the powers that be, spend sleepless nights in pursuit of the means to pay off your credit cards. The interest rates for even the best of cards are pretty poor, the worst cards for bad credit are outrageous. Even worse, the credit lines give you a perception of having more buying power than you do, and the temptation for more debt is best avoided.
"Move mountains, upset the powers that be, spend sleepless nights just pay off your credit cards."
89. Consolidate High to Low -- Not everyone can pay off their high interest debts with a snap of the fingers. That's OK. In the meantime, you can remove some of the monthly burden by lowering your bill payments via consolidation. Fancy term, but really simple. It just means you are in effect performing a personal refinance on what you owe. Get a new loan with lower interest to pay off your higher interest debts. Boom --- lower costs, lower interest, more savings.
(Financial Resource: Lenders to Consolidate Debts and Lower Expenses)
"It's not in the dreaming, it's in the doing."
90. Don't Buy That Time Share -- Do yourself a favor on your next trip down to Cabo, no matter how much free stuff the timeshare salesman are offering, skip the presentation---and most certainly do not buy the time share. The high pressure salesman are effective, and if you fall victim to their persuasion and buy a unit, you'll spend the rest of your life trying and failing to convince others what a great deal your program is---IIT"S NOT, don't do it, save yourself the money. Don't take my word for it, see what Dave Ramsey has to say about the time share myth.
91. 48 Hour Big Decision Rule -- When you are facing your next big financial decision--abide by the 48 hour rule. Don't buy anything significant, without giving yourself 48 hours to consider it --- following being convinced. It doesn't count to say, "I've wanted to buy the new Ford Mustang for at least 5 years so I'm well past 48 hours." When in the dealership and having been offered the deal, if everything looks good and you want to buy, then give yourself 48 hours to cool off and consider. You will be surprised how many deals don't look as good after a good nights rest.
92. Downsize Your Car -- The average American family pays a ridiculously too high amount of their monthly budget towards their car in proportion to their income. If you can afford the latest model you so love, then go ahead--but.. don't for a moment compromise your financial future on the sexy car when something more frugal will do. Let your peers laugh as you drive back and forth to the bank to deposit all your monthly savings and accumulate a lifetime of wealth because you make sound decisions.
93. Buy Used Cars -- Speaking of cars, we all know buying new is financial insanity right? Repeat after me: "I only buy pre-owned vehicles - period." The less expensive used car can save you tens of thousands on the sticker price alone without any sacrifice at all. Visit your local dealer and test drive their pre-owned or dealer low mileage models, there is no difference and they save you tons of money and typically come complete with very strong quality guarantees.
"Speaking of cars, we all know buying new is financially insane right?"
94. Relocate -- If your job doesn't tie you to a certain location, take a close look at the costs of living in your current location. You don't need to sacrafice quality of life when you consider a move. Not just real estate (which can be shockingly lower in different areas), the costs of consumables and services can be lower too. You can cut out all the lattes you want, and stop taking showers to save money--or you can boldy transform your balance sheet and slash your expenses when you relocate to a new area. To see which cities Kiplinger listed as the cheapest to live in the U.S. based on the cost of living index, Forbes weighs in here with their cheapest in America list. You can see the most affordable in the world here via Business Insider.
"Don't think what's the cheapest way to do it or what's the fastest way to do it... think what's the most amazing way to do it."
95. Downsize -- Let's get this straight -- downsizing doesn't mean you failed. It has zero to do with who you are as a person. If you or your family could make do with a smaller home, less bedrooms, or less closet space--this is a bold option to consider which can have a remarkable impact. Living with less (while still meeting your needs) and slashing your biggest expense by as much as half--just makes cents. If your mortgage is dragging you down, or your rent is simply a struggle to accumulate from month to month, sometimes the struggle isn't worth it. Sometimes it is. You be the judge.
96. Raise Your Credit Score -- You want to boost your savings literally across the board? One of the simplest ways to pay less for more of what you do is to boost your credit rating. It's easy to do--but takes time. For many, simply cleaning your report of misreported or erroneous items can have a dramatic impact. When your credit score goes up the price you pay for your most important purchases: mortgages, credit cards, auto lending, insurance rates etc. goes down. You get access to better products offering better rewards, more beneficial terms and lower rates--it's a must if you are serious about saving money.
97. Avoid Insanely Stupid Behavior -- This needs mentioning as its one of the more common causes of emergency expenses. Driving drunk results in DUI charges in the best of cases, with expensive court fines, bills and attorneys fees. Rowdy behavior can lead to accidents and injuries with unexpected medical bills. Poor choices can land one in jail with the costs of bail and further legal costs to look forward to. Do yourself a favor, avoid such risky behavior to save money.
(Resource: If you insist on the tom-foolery, be sure to bookmark Lawsuit Legal for when you need your next trial lawyer...)
"Do You Avoid Insanely Stupid Behavior? Or Rush To It?"
98. Be Patient -- The money game is won by the patient. If you gotta-have-it you are going to pay the gotta-have-it right now premium tax. Getting the best deals on the things you need, as well as the things you want, is often a waiting game. It's human nature, we all have something we would give absolutely anything for -- your whistle according to Benjamin Franklin. When you feel that desire to pay anything because you want it so bad, resist the urge and take a second moment to reconsider. Oftentimes a short wait is all that is required to fulfill your desires without paying so much.
99. Pay Yourself First -- A mantra of the financial management crowd, personal finance experts never fail to recommend you should pay yourself before your expenses. What they mean is you pay yourself out of your paycheck or income starting with the money you intend to save / invest. Then you portion out the remaining money for your other obligations. It puts your priorities where they need to be for success so you don't put off your obligations to yourself and your dreams endlessly. To hear from the Money Master himself Tony Robbins, in his own words listen to a recent interview with Lewis Howes on his School of Greatness podcast.
100. Save Tax Free First -- You may not realize it, but one of the largest drain on your financial future is your tax burden. Maximize your tax-deferred savings options. Your contributions will be made with after-tax dollars but your accumulation will be on a tax-deferred basis---meaning the growth is free from further taxes until you retire and are ready to cash in. It adds up, and taxes saved add up to remarkable gains over time.
"If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments."
101. Be Generous and Giving -- From helping out wait staff struggling to make ends meet with generous tips to donating to worthy charities and causes. Give freely and give generously. Frugality is great--but be careful not to obsess so much on cutting spending that you turn off the spigot of generosity. Giving opens the doors to receiving, makes you feel great and is food for the soul. We are all in this together, so do yourself a favor and provide what help you can when you can. If you feel like you never have enough for yourself let alone to give generously, learn how to build generosity into your budget via ChristianPF.
102. Reconsider Charities -- Your global charity or high profile cause may not be all its cracked up to be. Before you write your next check, content to then go about your day feeling good about the impact you made, you may want to look closer at who is getting your money. The administrative costs of some of the biggest charities are outrageous--meaning: in some cases less than .10 cents of every dollar you give gets to what you thought you were helping. Do your homework and make sure your giving isn't swallowed by corruption or administrative gimmicks. You may be surprised at how your favorite charity is seriously lacking in generosity for whom they were formed to help. See for yourself here, this Forbes study reveals which charities give you the least bang for your buck.
103. Delay Having Kids -- Love them or hate them, children are expensive--more so if you have them before you are able to put a firm foundation under yourself financially. If you can put off having kids just a little longer, so you can address your financial situation and avoid diverting your hard earned cash to diapers, daycare and strollers--it will save you money. Struggling is costly, made more so when forced to borrow for every emergency or scrounge month to month. Do yourself a favor and wait until you have stocked away some savings.
104. Be Romance Wary -- Love is a wonderful thing, and sharing the joys of life with a partner magnifies the life's experiences. On the other hand, if you choose poorly, romantic choices in life are some of your most costly. We'll skip over the small fortune dating seems to demand and head right to the 800-lb gorilla in the room--divorce. The emotional train-wreck divorce can unleash on a family is tragic. So too the financial ruin. I'm not saying you should swear off romance forever and become an internet troll--rarely seeing the light of day. Rather, do choose wisely regarding matters of the heart.
105. Leave Debt Behind -- Neither a lender nor a borrower be--wise words from the original American fugal living advocate. It's not always possible to snap your fingers and eliminate all your debt, but make a plan to get there and start taking action. To be more prosperous and ensure your money is being used wisely, put debt behind you and more importantly the countless lost dollars paid to interest on your financing. Borrowing to pay for your lifestyle is no life at all--take bold action, and cut the debt burden forever from your life.
Hey! The Ultimate Money Saving Tips List was only supposed to have 103!
Bonus Tip: Under Promise & Over Deliver -- Always. In everything you do.
In Summary: Make saving money and living frugally pain free. The ultimate formula for savings is up to you, mix and match extremely powerful high impact ideas from this list that make sense for your family with as many of the small step tips which apply to your life.
Fortune favors the bold, as they say--review this list from time to time for ideas and be sure to share it with any of your friends that could use a little extra money in their life and a few less financial pressures to worry about.
If you have great money saving ideas you think should be on this list, I'd love to hear from you. Be sure to follow us on twitter and share your favorite tips for making life more affordable via @arielpryor