Saving money is not inherently difficult. The hardest part is finding new or creative ways to save money and then acting on them.
Many people feel finding new ways to save money is too much work and that the effort needed to save a few bucks isn’t worth their time.
Yes, it’s easier to go with the flow and pay sticker price for everything. But what if learning how to save money on a few everyday things could significantly improve your financial situation?
Would you be game?
Saving money becomes enjoyable if you think of it as a game instead of a chore. Then, when you see your bank account growing, your feelings of disdain will be a distant memory.
So if you are ready to start growing your bank account, this list is full of money-saving tips to help you improve your savings game.
How To Save Money: Cars
Car payments and car expenses can end up accounting for a large part of your budget. However, they don’t have to. Here are money-saving tips for when you are in the market for a car.
1. Research First
When buying a car, it pays to do your research before starting your search for a suitable vehicle. First, you’ll want to decide on the kind of car you want, so you know the fair market value.
Use Kelley Blue Book to find the car’s market value. Knowing your chosen car’s market value will help prevent you from overpaying on your chosen model.
2. Buy Used
Did you know a new car loses value the minute you drive it off the lot? So let someone else absorb that depreciation and stick to buying a used car. Buying a used car will help you get more car for less money.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Being a smart and savvy shopper means starting a price negotiation for the car you want. Be willing to walk away if the vehicle is overpriced.
4. Pay in Cash if Possible
Paying for your car with cash has two great money-saving benefits. First, you won’t have to pay interest on a car loan. Second, you won’t have a monthly payment. No monthly payment means more of your take-home pay can go toward your financial goals.
How To Save Money: Entertainment
The entertainment expense in a budget is just another name for fun money. Fun money is money earmarked for non-essential expenses that bring you enjoyment.
Fun money is essential to have in your budget. Who wants to go through life without having fun? So let’s look at how to save money on entertainment.
5. Cut Ties With Cable
Cable costs can set you back financially each month. So canceling your cable service and opting for a streaming service instead can help you save money. If cutting the cord isn’t an option, try to cut back your cable package to the bare minimum.
6. Take Advantage of Your Local Library
Visiting your local library can provide you with more than just free books to read or movies to borrow. Libraries are also an excellent resource for saving money on other forms of entertainment. Many offer free speakers, workshops, music and film streaming, classes, and free passes to local attractions.
7. Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions or Memberships
Be sure to check your bank statements to ensure you are don’t get billed for a subscription service you no longer use. Sometimes companies will bill you automatically when a free trial ends.
Got a gym membership you don’t use? Why not cancel it and start a workout routine at home? Find a workout buddy to hold you accountable and to keep you motivated.
8. Use Groupon
Groupon is an online coupon and discount platform that helps you save money on entertainment. Groupon’s categories include entertainment, food and restaurants, gifts, sports and fitness, toys, and many others. So before using any of your fun money, be sure to check Groupon for deals.
9. Take Surveys To Earn Money to Use for Entertainment Expenses
Sometimes you have to make money to save money. There are many ways to make extra money. The possibilities are endless, from starting a side hustle to turning your hobby into a business.
The easiest way to make a few extra bucks each month to spend on entertainment is to take online surveys. Online survey companies pay you to share your opinion.
Typically online survey companies allow you to choose Paypal cash or gift cards when redeeming points. Use this towards your entertainment budget so you can save more of your paycheck each month.
10. Eat at Home More
Cooking at home instead of going out to eat is hands down one of the best ways to save money. But, of course, I’m not telling you to stop eating out altogether, especially if eating at restaurants is your thing.
Reducing the number of times you eat out during the month is a surefire way to start saving more money.
11. Pay Attention to the Time of Day
Planning your leisure activities during the time of day when they are the cheapest will save you money. For example, going out for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner, going to a matinee instead of seeing a movie at night, or hitting up happy hour instead of drinks after dinner are all ways to save.
12. Entertain at Home
Entertaining at home is a great way to save money. There are many fun things to do with your friends or family while saving money to help you progress toward your money goals.
A few ideas for entertaining at home are to:
- Plan a potluck meal
- Have a board game night
- Do some wine tasting
- Have a bonfire
- Watch a movie
- Play cards
- Hang out on the deck or patio
How To Save Money: Groceries
Your monthly food budget can quickly get out of hand if you’re not careful. Using some of these tips for saving money on groceries will help you get your food budget under control.
13. Meal Plan
Making and sticking to a meal plan is one of the best ways to save money on your food bill. Meal planning is simple once you figure out a system that works for you.
Using an inexpensive monthly planner, making a meal planning binder, or using a free printable meal planner are all straightforward systems to get you started.
Then you just have to start filling in your family’s favorite meals. Easy, right?
14. Use Cashback Grocery Apps
Cashback grocery apps are so much easier than clipping coupons. Paper coupons will save you money; however, clipping coupons can be time-consuming.
Two top-rated cashback grocery apps are Ibotta and Fetch Rewards. They are both straightforward to use and offer great cashback deals.
15. Shop Online for Groceries
If you want to get serious about saving money on groceries and sticking to your food budget, shopping online is the way to go.
You will avoid impulse buys by not going into the store. You can also easily remove groceries from your cart if your total is more than your budget allows.
16. Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is a great way to save money on ingredients so you can make cheap meals for your family and reduce food costs. Just check unit prices to confirm you are getting a deal. Also, avoid buying perishable food in bulk if you won’t use it up before it expires.
17. Avoid Food Waste
The average household wastes 31.9% of food bought each year. Reducing food waste is a missed opportunity for saving money on groceries for many Americans.
There are many simple strategies you can employ to decrease your food waste. Meal planning, only buying what you will use, repurposing your leftover food, and organizing your fridge and pantry by expiration dates are a few strategies that can help you avoid throwing out food.
How to Save Money: Home
Home costs account for the most significant portion of a household budget. So here are some tips on how to save money on your priciest possession.
18. Refinance Your Mortgage
Refinancing your mortgage to a lower interest rate will help you save money on your home. You may even be able to shorten the term of your mortgage and still reduce your mortgage payment while saving money on interest.
19. Get Rid of PMI
If the value of your home has increased and you are still paying private mortgage insurance, check with your lender to see if they would consider a home appraisal to qualify you for the 20% equity threshold.
Every month, paying extra money on your loan principle will help you get your PMI canceled sooner. In addition, even small amounts of money will add up to get your mortgage balance down to 80% of the original appraised value faster.
20. Plan for Major Purchases
A home requires many expected and unexpected purchases. Yet, for some reason, things like water heaters, kitchen appliances, and HVAC systems seem to fail at the worst times possible.
Setting money aside in an emergency fund will help you prepare for costly unexpected home repairs. In addition, this will help you avoid taking on credit card debt in the event of an emergency.
The easiest way to set aside money is to automatically transfer money into a high yield savings account or money market savings account. However, it is best to have a separate savings account for your emergency fund to keep it safe and ensure it’s used only for emergencies.
If you know you will need to replace a home appliance soon, planning will help you take advantage of upcoming sales. Do your research before buying to ensure you get the best deal on what you need.
21. DIY When Possible
Doing essential home maintenance and simple home repairs yourself can save you several hundred dollars by avoiding paying someone else to do the work.
Things like yard maintenance, minor landscaping, and indoor painting are all things the novice DIYer can typically handle. But be careful. Don’t take on anything that could risk your safety or the safety of others just to save money.
You could also trade services with a friend. For example, if you have a certified electrician friend and you are a pro at installing flooring, trading services can save you both money.
How To Save Money: Insurance
Insurance is an expensive but necessary part of life. You don’t want to sacrifice coverage levels just to save some money. However, there are ways you can reduce your premiums while still keeping the coverage you need.
22. Shop Around
It’s easy just to let each year roll by while paying your regular premiums on your car and homeowners insurance. However, if you take some time to make a few phone calls to compare quotes, you may be pleasantly surprised by how much money you can save.
23. Raise Your Deductibles
Increasing your deductibles for your car and homeowners insurance will reduce your premiums. If you go this route, make sure you have money set aside to pay your deductible if the need arises.
24. Bundle Your Policies
Many insurance companies will offer deals for purchasing multiple types of policies. For example, bundling your homeowner’s, auto, and umbrella insurance policies can result in a multi-policy discount.
25. Opt for Term Life Insurance
For most people, term life insurance is sufficient for their needs. In addition, it’s cheaper than whole life insurance policies, helping you get more coverage for less money.
The younger you are when you purchase term life insurance, the cheaper your premium. Shopping around for coverage will help you find the lowest rates possible.
How To Save Money: Travel
The cost of traveling can add up quickly if you’re not careful. But using some of these money-saving tips will help you enjoy traveling without blowing your budget.
26. Establish a Travel Budget
Creating a travel budget is a must for saving money on travel. Planning and keeping track of your travel expenses will help you stay within your budget.
27. Rent Someone Else’s Home
Opting to rent through a service like Airbnb instead of renting a hotel room can save you money on your vacation. But make sure to check ratings and reviews of the rentals before booking.
Renting a home will give you access to a kitchen that will allow you to cook your meals instead of eating at restaurants every day, saving you hundreds of dollars on your travel costs.
28. Be Flexible with Your Travel Dates
If you are willing to travel during the off-season, you will save a lot of money on your vacation costs. So avoid traveling during holidays and peak season for your destination.
29. Use a Travel-Friendly Credit Card
Do your homework on your credit cards before you go. Make sure you’re using a card that does not impose foreign transaction fees or fees for currency conversions when traveling abroad.
30. Use Credit Card Reward Points
When used responsibly (paying the balance in full each month), credit cards that offer travel rewards you can redeem for hotel nights or flights can save you a bundle. Credit card rewards can score you extraordinarily cheap or even free travel with some planning and strategizing.
31. Rent Out Your Place
If you are traveling for an extended period, consider finding a renter for your home to offset your travel costs. You could find a renter for your home by using a listing service like Airbnb or VRBO.
32. Avoid Buying Overpriced Food
Account for food purchases made while traveling in your travel budget. Avoid blowing your travel budget by staying away from overpriced food in airports, rest stops, or fast food joints.
Take snacks and drinks with you when possible when traveling. For example, take a reusable water bottle along to fill up instead of buying bottled water.
33. Souvenir Buying
Saving money while traveling with kids can be difficult. Set a limit on the number and cost of souvenirs they can choose. Establishing this kind of limit will not only save you money but will also help your child value their souvenir.
Opt for taking pictures over souvenir buying. Once you return home, try creating a scrapbook of your travels with one of the many online photo album sites. A self-made photo album will provide you with a souvenir that holds lasting memories.
How To Save Money: Utilities
There are many ways to save money on your home utility bills. You can significantly reduce your monthly utility bill with a bit of effort. Stack your savings by using several of these ideas.
34. Reduce Your Cell Phone Bill
One of the first things to address when saving money on your utilities is your phone bill. If you haven’t already, get rid of your landline.
If your current cell phone carrier does not have a cheaper phone plan to save you money, you can easily find one with a bit of research.
Also, check if you qualify for any special discounts on your cell phone bill. For example, some carriers offer discounts for students, veterans, or government workers. In addition, check if specific cell companies provide cell phone discounts through your employer.
35. Reduce Your Internet Bil
If you can’t completely cut the cord for cable, you typically can save money by bundling your internet and cable services through the same company.
You can also reduce your internet bill by opting for a slightly slower speed. Another way to save money is to buy your modem and router instead of renting them. Just be sure they are compatible with your internet provider.
36. Switch Out Light Bulbs
Many people don’t realize how much money switching to energy-saving LED bulbs can save them. A study done by the Consumer Federation of America determined that switching regular incandescent or halogen bulbs to LED bulbs saved the average home that uses 20 light bulbs $1,000 over ten years.
37. Upgrade Your Thermostat
Investing in a programmable thermostat for your home will help reduce heating and cooling costs. Try setting your thermostat to adjust at night or when you aren’t home during the day to save money on your utilities.
38. Decrease Your Water Heater Temperature
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lowering the temperature on your water heater from 140 degrees to 120 degrees will save 4% to 22% on your energy costs each year. But, the amount you can save depends on your consumption.
39. Reduce Water Usage
Here is how to save money on your water bill:
- Install water-saving showerheads
- Take shorter showers (set timers for kids)
- Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth
- Replace old toilets with water-saving ones
- Repair leaky faucets
- Hook up a rain barrel for gardening
- Only run a full dishwasher and washing machine
- Only plant trees and shrubs that are drought tolerant
40. Insulate Your Home
Ensuring your home is properly insulated will help to decrease your utility bill. Fix drafty doors and windows with caulk or weatherstripping. Use heavy curtains or cellular shades on windows for insulation.
How To Save Money: Online Shopping
Unfortunately, online shopping has made it too easy for people to spend money they don’t have. Learning how to save money when shopping online can help you kick your overspending habits to the curb.
41. Unsubscribe from Emails or Subscribe to Emails
If your spending is out of control and you are trying to stop buying things to save money, then unsubscribing from store emails is the way to go. By unsubscribing, you reduce the temptation to spend money when trying to save money.
However, if you are looking for discount codes or coupons for something specific you want to buy, try subscribing to store emails. Stores send notifications of upcoming sales and special discount codes via store emails.
42. Stop Impulse Spending and Emotional Purchases
Impulse spending can wreak havoc on your budget. Establishing a waiting period before you decide to buy something can help stop unplanned purchases. Also, sleeping on it for a day or two will help you avoid impulse purchases.
If you tend to be an emotional spender, meaning you buy things to improve your mood, try to find other ways to cope with your feelings. For example, during stressful periods, finding other appropriate stress-relieving activities or using relaxation techniques will be healthier for you and easier on your wallet.
43. Give Yourself a Spending Allowance
Restricting your online shopping by setting spending limits can help you save money and focus on your financial goals. Factor your spending money into your monthly budget to keep you on track so you can progress toward your financial goals.
44. Remove Saved Credit Cards
One-click purchases make it too easy to spend money nowadays. Delete your saved credit cards from your store apps to make online shopping more inconvenient.
45. Comparison Shop
When purchasing online, shopping around for what you need will help you keep more money in your bank account.
46. Use Cashback Apps and Coupons
Take advantage of free cashback apps, such as Rakuten or Honey, to help you save money when shopping online. These cashback apps have browser extensions that help you find the best coupon codes and discounts with just the click of a button.
47. Decide on Your Priorities
Being intentional with your spending habits and establishing your priorities will help you save money when shopping online. In addition, knowing your path will allow you to stop and think twice before making a purchase that could hinder your progress when working toward your financial goals.
How To Save Money: Taxes
Learning to optimize your tax benefits can help you reach your money goals more quickly. Here are some ways to save money on taxes to put more money in your bank account.
Contribute to Your Tax Deductible Retirement Accounts
Contributing to your employer-sponsored retirement account, such as a 401K, will decrease your tax liability by reducing your taxable income for the year. If you don’t have a retirement plan at work, contributing to an individual retirement account (IRA) can get you a tax break.
48. Open a 529
Opening a 529 for your kids to save for their college years could get you a state tax deduction or credit. In addition, federal taxes are not imposed on 529 plan earnings, and withdrawals to pay for college are not taxed.
49. Take Advantage of a Health Savings Account
Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are available to people enrolled in a high deductible health insurance plan. You do not pay federal income tax on contributions made to your HSA.
Earnings on your HSA are not taxed, and distributions to pay for qualified medical expenses are tax-free, making this savings vehicle an asset for reducing your tax bill.
50. Use Your Dependent Care FSA
A Dependent Care Flexible Savings Account (DCFSA) is a pre-tax benefit account to pay for qualified out-of-pocket dependent care expenses. Contributions are made directly into the DCFSA from your paycheck. Since the money you deposit is pre-tax, it saves you money on your taxes.
51. Give to Charities
Giving to a tax-exempt organization is another avenue for saving money on taxes. However, before donating to a charity, do your research to ensure your charitable donations will qualify under federal tax laws.
Final Thoughts on How To Save Money
Hopefully, this list gave you plenty of actionable ways to save money that will benefit you. Your next step to seeing your bank account grow is to choose a few of these money-saving tips to apply to your life. Learning how to save money on your everyday expenses or score free money today will lead you to a better financial position in the future.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks and has been republished with permission.
Lisa is a personal finance enthusiast and founder of AdaptYourDollars.com, where she writes about her knowledge of frugal living and money management. Her goal is to help women gain control of their money to live their best lives possible. She is also a healthcare professional and has an MBA. When she isn’t writing or at her day job helping people, she can be found cheering on her kids at their sporting events, baking bread, or running.