Most of us would love to find new ways to save money that don’t take a lot of time and you’re lucky because I’ve got you covered. Most of these 100+Ways to Save Money start with a simple mind shift that can take you so far. They’ll help you pay off debt, save for a house, start an emergency fund, build your retirement, and pay your monthly bills, too.
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How to Save Money on Everything
I learned a very long time ago, by reading The Tightwad Gazette, by Amy Dacyczyn that saving the most money doesn’t come from saving big on one item, but from saving a little bit on every item.
Since I first read that, I’ve been practicing frugal living in every way possible. I try to approach every purchase, expense, and activity with a few questions. Those questions are:
- Can I buy this for less?
- Can I make this last longer?
- Can I use something else?
- Can I do without?
By running every expense through that test, I come up with a lot of solutions that don’t involve running out and buying something new. Here are a lot of the little ways I save that add up to big savings in the long run.
Related Reading: How to Start Frugal Living – 8 Simple Tips for Beginners
Tips for Saving Money In the Kitchen
- 1.) Stretch Salad Dressing – I’ll put milk in a nearly empty ranch bottle and shake it up to get one more serving of dressing.
- 2.) Save Vegetable Scraps – I add them to soup or use them when I make homemade chicken broth.
- 3.) Make coffee at home – Everyone should know this, but look at how many people are in the drive-thru getting coffee on the way to work. It’s exorbitant! I buy 3 lbs. of very good coffee at Costco and it lasts me all month long for $8.99
- 4.) Eat Cereal for Dinner – It may sound funny, but eating cereal for dinner now and again is a lot cheaper than making tacos, roast, or spaghetti. And, it’s way cheaper than eating out.
- 5.) Serve Whole Food Snacks to the Kids – I’ve noticed that if I buy crackers and chips for snacks, the kids will devour them in a day. However, if I buy apples, carrots, and cheese for snacks, they tend to last a lot longer and the kids don’t gorge themselves on them. They’re more nutritious, too. 120 Healthy Snacks for Kids
- 6.) Pack Lunches – This goes for both school lunches and work lunches. Leftovers work great for work lunches, too.
- 7.) Freeze Fruit Before it Spoils – Brown bananas are great to freeze, but so are strawberries, apples, orange slices, etc. I prefer to freeze them on a lined cookie tray, then put them into a freezer bag. Sometimes I will put smaller amounts directly into a sandwich bag. These frozen fruits are perfect for smoothies.
- 8.) Use Economical Recipes – Recipes that use frugal pantry staples will make your money go a lot further. See which ones in my 15 Frugal Pantry Staples post, here.
- 9.) Make Your Own Chicken Stock – Save your raw bones and bones from the dinner plates to make your own chicken stock. I show you how to do this in How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Stock for Free.
- 10.) Look for Markdowns – You can find marked down meat, produce, dairy, and shelf-stable foods, too. Get to know where your stores put their markdowns and look for them every time you go to the store. You never know what you’ll find.
- 11.) Cook Whole Chickens – At under $1.00/lb., whole chickens are very economical. Not only do you get the meat when you cut a whole chicken, but you get enough scraps to make soup or chicken stock.
- 12.) Cut Paper Plates in Half – You should usually avoid using disposable products, but if you’re using them, cut them in half. This works well if you’re just serving a snack, dessert, or a kids’ lunch. This way, your plates last twice as long.
- 13.) Eat Legumes Every Week – We all know that beans are very inexpensive, but making meals every single week that rely on beans is a great way to stretch your grocery budget. Get good at using them in several different ways. My Bean Recipes:
Check out these Frugal Bean Recipes:
- 5-Ingredient Black Bean Soup
- Instant Pot Green Chicken Chili
- Cheesy Beef and Black Bean Green Enchilada Casserole
- Easy Brown Sugar and Bacon Baked Beans
- 14.) Buy Convenience Foods, Sometimes – If it will keep you from eating out, pick up convenience foods. I keep frozen pizza and boxed macaroni and cheese on hand for those days I just don’t want to cook a whole meal.
- 15.) Buy Meat in Bulk – When you see a great price on meat, stock up. You can then keep it in meal-sized portions in the freezer.
- 16.) Make Freezer Meals – By making freezer meals, you can have convenient meals for nights you don’t have time to cook, and you can use your bulk-purchased meat to make them.
- 17.) Manage your produce – Go through your produce every 2-3 days to evaluate what needs to be eaten quickly. Plan your meals to include those items. If they are starting to go bad, cook them up.
- A great recipe for using up those carrots is Maple Ginger Glazed Carrot Coins
- 8.) Make your own desserts – Homemade desserts cost pennies compared to store-bought desserts. Even if you start with a boxed mix you’ll be better off.
- 19.) Meal planning – Do not forget to plan your meals. They don’t have to be elaborate, and you don’t even have to have a full week planned out, just start your day with a plan for that night’s dinner, or even better … plan it the night before.
Read these Meal Planning Posts for inspiration:
- Cheap Family Meal Plan – $65 for 1 week
- Ultimate Guide to Monthly Meal Planning
- Super Simple 10-Minute Meal Plan
- Make a Frugal Meal Plan in 7 Steps
- 20.) Eat leftovers – If you don’t like eating leftovers, turn them into something else. Leftover chicken can become chicken salad, leftover steak makes nice fajitas … change things up a bit.
- 21.) Have potluck get-togethers – When you gather with friends and family, have everyone bring something.
- 22.) Buy an Instant Pot – My Instant Pot has saved me tons of money by helping me make fast and delicious meals. This is the one I have.
- 23.) Stock your pantry when things are on sale – There are so many food items that go on sale regularly, stock up when they’re at a low price and that way you’ll be paying half for your groceries. Read my article about How to Make a Grocery Price Book for details and a free printable.
- 24.) Prepare meals from scratch – Food is almost always more expensive when you pay someone else to make it. Learn to make things from scratch.
- 25.) Buy in bulk – By using the bulk bins at my grocery store (Winco), I can get all kinds of things at a reduced price. My favorites are spices, pasta, nuts, rice, flours, grains, etc.
- 26.) Don’t buy bottled water – It takes seconds to fill a water bottle at home and take it with you. If you live where the water is not safe to drink, get a Brita Pitcher and keep water on hand at home. I love this 18-Cup Dispenser that you can keep in the fridge. Or, if you prefer the Berkey, these filters will last for a full 6,000 gallons of water.
- 27.) Cut your own vegetables – Buying vegetables off of a salad bar will quadruple the cost. It really only takes a couple of minutes to cut up your fruits and vegetables for a meal.
- 28.) Consume less alcohol – Yes, alcohol is expensive. A quick way to cut back is to reduce the frequency or amount that you consume. Are you used to having a drink every night at dinner? Reduce that to every other night, or just dinners out.
Saving Money When Going Out
- 29.) Make the Kids Share – Having the kids share an adult meal can be a much better idea than getting them each their own kids’ meal. Not only is it more nutritious, but there are more options and we’ve been known to share one meal between 3-4 kids. Now that my kids are a little older, I usually share my meal with one of them, too.
- 30.) Drink Water When Eating Out – Drinks are way too expensive to be buying out.
- 31.) Skip Appetizers and Desserts – These will easily double your check. Grab a carton of ice cream on the way home if you want, or get a $1 sundae at McDonald’s if you really want a dessert out.
- 32.) Adults Share a Meal – My husband and I like sharing a meal when we’re out. If we’re concerned about having enough to eat, we’ll add an extra side salad.
- 33.) Take Candy to the Movies – We all know this trick, don’t we? Usually, we’ll buy a popcorn and a large drink to share, then everyone brings their own candy if they want.
- 34.) Find Free Entertainment – Every town has some sort of free events. Spend time looking for free things to do instead of paying for expensive show tickets or admissions.
- 35.) Combine Errands – By batching your errands to specific days and specific areas of town, you’ll not only save time, but you’ll save on gas as well.
- 36.) Wait till movies come to DVD – It’s so much fun to go to the movies, but it’s very expensive. Not only is admission costly, but it’s so hard to resist the popcorn, soda, and candy. Look around for budget movie nights or just wait until the movies come to Netflix, Hulu, or DVD.
- Find Great Discounts with Groupon.
Saving Money Around the House Tips
- 37.) Create Less Garbage – More packaging and more garbage = Bigger garbage can and garbage dumping fees.
- 38.) Make your own cleaning products – I’m not always a fan of homemade cleaning products, but they’re worth a try. I do love using vinegar and dawn dish soap for cleaning my shower.
- 39.) Trim my dog’s hair and nails – Grooming is expensive. Just taking the dogs in for a nail trim is $30. Imagine how much you can save by learning to do it yourself.
- 40.) Reduce Your Phone Bill – Call your provider and ask for a better rate.
- 41.) Insulate Your Home – make sure any cracks are sealed up before winter hits.
- Bonus: Turn up the heat, turn down the A/C (better yet, use a fan)
Laundry Savings Ideas
- 42.) Use less laundry detergent – More is not always better. We sometimes forget that. Try using less and see how it works for you, it might even be better for your machine.
- 43.) Hang clothes to dry – This is great, especially in the summer when you have access to some lovely sun. It’ll also help keep your house cool. This compact clothes drying system I use and love.
- 44.) Wash in cold water – We nearly always use cold water to wash.
- 45.) Run full loads – In order to be efficient, don’t try running half-full loads. You’ll save time and energy costs, too.
- 46.) Use the Quick Wash Cycle – I didn’t even know this was a thing a couple of years ago. I’ve been using Quick Wash for laundry and the Dishwasher for years and it cuts back by nearly half, which I assume means it’s using half the energy and water, too.
- 47.) Do laundry less frequently – Go back 50 years and people would think you are crazy for wearing clothes once, then washing them. Don’t put your clothes in the laundry unless they are actually dirty. Wouldn’t you love to do half as much laundry?
Tips for Saving Money When Shopping
- 48.) Use Amazon Prime – You can find great prices, but most of all – it keeps you out of the stores where you will probably end up buying things on impulse. If you don’t have it yet, get a free 30 day trial, here.
- 49.) Return Things to Costco That no one Liked – Costco has a great return policy. They really do want you to be satisfied with their products. I have purchased things that didn’t live up to my expectations and instead of just having to throw them away, I will go ahead and return them.
- 50.) Stay Away from Target (actually, all stores) – Every time you step into a store you are at risk for spending too much money. If you go less often, you’ll have more money in your pocket.
- 51.) Buy Generic – Most of the time, generic is a great replacement for brand name products.
- 52.) Shop at Garage Sales – You can get incredible deals on clothing, sports equipment, furniture, etc. at garage sales.
- 53.) Shop at Thrift Stores – why pay full price when you can pay less than half?
- 54.) Avoid buying dry clean only clothing – dry cleaning is expensive and time-consuming, read those labels before you buy. If you do use dry-clean only clothing, use this kit at home to clean your clothes.
- 55.) Buy quality clothes and shoes – quality clothing will last much longer than clothes you can pick up at Walmart. I get most of my clothes from StitchFix now and their clothes are top-notch, plus I get the most compliments. 🙂
- 56.) Resist impulse buys – all the stores try to tempt you, but just don’t do it.
- 57.) Leave your credit card at home – if you don’t have it, you can’t use it.
- 58.) Only buy what’s on the list – always shop with a list so you don’t forget what you need and know what to buy.
- 59.) Unstuff your shopping cart before check-out – before heading to checkout, look through your cart and evaluate whether you can put things back.
- 60.) Compare prices on everything – if you don’t know prices, you could be overpaying by a ton.
- 61.) Use Cash – when you use cash it hurts a lot more to turn that money over. It makes you smarter and more conservative.
- 62.) Use Ibotta – get cash back or gift cards when you shop.
- 63.) Use Rakuten – for cash back from hundreds of stores.
- 64.) Use Raise – to buy discounted gift cards, use my code (tprovost) and you’ll get $5 free.
- 65.) Shop in season – almost everything has a season when it’s a better time to buy.
- 66.) Shop at dollar stores – you’d be surprised what great things you can pick up at the dollar store.
- 67.)Use clearance sales – get to know where your store puts their clearance items and look for things you use and possible gifts
Frugal Entertainment Tips
- 68.) Do without cable – it is very expensive entertainment that adds up very quickly. People spend over $1,000 per year paying their cable.
- 69.) Entertain at home – there’s so much to do at home for free or nearly free: Have a movie night, play games, exercise, do a scavenger hunt, cook a nice meal …
- 70.) Groupon – we like to use Groupon for family outings – things like bowling, escape rooms, laser tag, Great Wolf Lodge, etc. can all be found on Groupon
- Go Here to See the Latest Groupon Deals in Your Area
- 71.) Look for free activities like street fairs, craft shows, park activities, etc.
- 72.) Have a Potluck with Friends – whether it’s a Summer BBQ, Holiday Meal, or just a lazy weeknight, a shared meal with friends makes for a wonderful time.
Travel – Tips for Saving Money
- 73.) Vacation with family – stay at your relative’s house instead of booking a motel room
- 74.) Make your own meals on road trips – get a room with a kitchen, refrigerator, and microwave
- 75.) Priceline for Flights – I’ve had great luck with Priceline when booking flights. They’re so easy to use and I got a great price.
- 76.) Stay close to home – the closer you are to home, the lower your travel costs. Less gas, no airfare, you can take food with you.
- 77.) Be a Hometown Tourist
- 78.) Rent an Apartment, House or Room – instead of staying in a hotel/motel. Get $55 off your first stay with Airbnb.
- Get Great Travel Discounts Through Groupon Here
Transportation Savings Ideas
- 79.) Buy gas at a Discount – Costco or use Grocery Store Points for Gas Discounts
- 80.) Maintain your car – a well-maintained car gets better gas mileage and needs fewer repairs.
- 81.) Shop around for gas – gas prices in my area differ up to $.40 per gallon. I pay attention to which stations have the best price.
- 82.) Compare insurance prices – review your insurance every year.
- 83.) Drive the speed limit – not only do you get better gas mileage but you have fewer tickets
Smart Money-Saving Ideas
- 84.) Collect coins in a jar – coins can really add up over time.
- 85.) Put cash away in a hiding spot – by stashing cash a little here and a little there, it doesn’t hurt as much.
- 86.) Pay off debt – debt is wasting your income
- 87.) Sell unused items – you can Make Cash Fast by selling your stuff.
- 88.) Quit using credit cards – if you’re diligent about paying them off every month, they can work for you … but most people end up growing debt, instead
- 89.) Direct deposit your paycheck – most banks will give you an incentive to use direct deposit, look into it at your bank.
- 90.) Pay bills online – this will save you time and postage.
- 91.) Cancel magazines – you can use your library or read articles online.
- 92.) Review your bills regularly – eliminate or reduce as many of them as you can.
- 93.) Set up automatic savings – if you wait until after paying your bills, savings probably won’t happen.
- 94.) Leave your debit card at home – fewer chances to spend money if you don’t have your debit card with you.
- 95.) Cancel unused gym memberships – there’s a lot of free exercise right at home or outside your front door.
- 96.) Donate unused items – tax deduction
- 97.) Turn in empty cans and bottles – take cans and bottles to a recycling center that pays cash.
Miscellaneous Tips for Saving More Money
- 98.) Use what you already have – if you keep your things organized, you’ll be more aware of what you already own.
- 99.) Do your own repairs – YouTube has all kinds of videos about repairing things at home.
- 100.) Share with a friend – instead of buying a new tool, pan, item of clothing that you won’t use very often, see if you can use a neighbor’s or a friend’s.
- 101.) Go without – yes, you might just have to go without sometimes. Skip that movie, milkshake, magazine, etc.
- 102.) Make do with something else – instead of buying something to solve a current problem, see if you can use something you already own.
- 103.) Get every last drop – put water in that shampoo bottle, stand the ketchup bottle upside down, put those small bits of leftovers in a soup, etc.
- 104.) Use the library – it has all kinds of things available, not just books. You can find DVDs, magazines, games, kitchen appliances, video games, books on tape, and so much more.
- 105.) Use rechargeable batteries – once you’ve made the initial investment, they’ll last a long time.
This list of tips for saving money could go on and on, but this is a great place to start. Figure out a way to save money on everything this year. Even if it’s only a few cents, those cents add up when it’s applied to every time you spend money.
If needed, just start with easy wins. You can always add in more savings later.