Do you wish you could save more money, but aren’t sure where to start? This list gives you 100 effective ways to start saving money today.
Whether you’re sending a rent check or buying a morning coffee, your daily expenses have a huge effect on your savings. This list will help you save money while becoming more aware of your spending habits.
Read on for the top 100 ways to take control of your personal finances and build up your savings account.
100 Top Ways to Save Money Today
Not all of these 100 tips will apply to everyone, as the best budget plan is customized to the individual. You have to consider how you spend your money and what purchases are important to you.
Read on to see which ones make sense to you, and choose the top ten or so to start saving today!
1. Assess Your Spending Habits
The first step toward effective savings is understanding how you spend your money. While this step won’t save you money in and of itself, it is an essential first step toward your financial goals.
First, you should write down how much money you make and how much money you spend on a monthly basis. Record where you spend your money, and list it in order from largest to smallest expense. If possible, track your spending over several months so you can start to find patterns in where your money goes. There are a bunch of great apps to help you do this, as you’ll see later in the list.
2. Identify “Big Spend Areas”
Once you’ve identified your areas of spending, pick out the biggest five or six. Where does the majority of your money go? Some common “big spend” areas are rent, transportation, groceries, restaurants, and entertainment.
Now that you see where most of your money goes, you should start to consider ways to make cuts in these categories. Since these areas make the biggest dent in your budget, reducing spending here would provide for the biggest growth in your savings.
3. Think About Utility
While analyzing your spending is important, you don’t just want to think in terms of dollars and cents. You should also think about value in a non-monetary way, like in how much enjoyment you gain from an experience or to what extent a purchase enhances your quality of life.
If you find a medium to big spend area that’s essential to your happiness, then you know you shouldn’t cut it out completely. Instead, you might focus on different spending categories, or find ways to gradually change a habit rather than eliminating it completely. You want to set yourself up for success, so thinking in terms of personal fulfillment is an important part of setting your financial goals.
4. Set Specific Goals
Once you’ve identified areas that you can cut without sacrificing too much happiness, you should set specific goals for saving. Let’s say you spend about $200 a month at the bar. A goal of $0 would be unrealistic, but perhaps you could strive to cut it in half and just spend $100 a month at the bar.
In addition to assigning this amount, you should also get specific about how you’ll achieve this goal. Can you cut out Tuesday bar nights with your coworkers? Maybe invite friends over for a game night instead of going out? Start ordering beer instead of fancy cocktails?
This approach will help you take realistic steps toward saving and evaluate your success along the way. If you find that you’re not meeting your goals, then you can adjust your approach so that it can work better the next month.
Analyzing your spending and making a budget are key first steps to saving money.
5. Track Your Progress
Once you’ve set your goals and started to take steps toward meeting them, you should record your progress. Saving money is like any other goal. It requires a lot of intention, effort, and reflection.
You should write down how well you met your goal and what, if any, obstacles you encountered along the way. These obstacles might be psychological; you tried biking to work instead of driving and felt super anxious biking through the city. If a spending change makes you too unhappy, then it might not be worth the effort. Or you might need to change your approach, like trying to shift your schedule earlier or later so you encounter less traffic.
If you’re progressing well toward your goals, then continue on with what you’ve been doing. If you’re falling short, then consider ways to adjust your strategy.
6. Use Money-Saving Apps
When it comes to making a budget and tracking your progress, you’re not on your own. There are lots of apps to help you along the way. One great one is Mint, a financial tracker that records all of your activity from all of your accounts. In addition to keeping records, Mint analyzes your spending patterns and makes a budget. It also creates graphs to show you your net worth and cash flow.
Another useful budget tracker is the aptly named app, You Need a Budget, or YNAB. There are also a bunch of helpful apps that keep track of sales and deals at clothing and grocery stores, like Shopkick, RetailMeNot, Grocery IQ, and SavingStar. Browse around the app stores and find ones most useful to your daily life.
7. Pay Off Your Credit Cards
If you’re carrying a balance on your credit cards from month to month, then you’ll be wasting a lot of money on interest. Reducing the amount of money you pay on interest will help you save money in the long term.
If possible, try not to carry a balance on your credit cards; the interest rates tend to be extremely high. If you are in debt, try targeting the highest interest credit cards first. In the long run, you’ll reduce the amount of money you waste on interest payments.
Take a proactive approach to paying off your debts by setting aside a certain amount of your income each month to pay off your debts as fast as possible. In the end, you’ll have more money, since less of it will be going to interest.
8. Invest in the Stock Market
One of the best ways to save for your future is to invest in the stock market. I don’t mean that you should choose a random company and risk your money on shares. Instead, you should invest in low-cost exchange traded funds and mutual funds with a trusted investment company, like Vanguard or TIAA Cref.
You can start investing with at least $1000, but ideally you can put at least $5000 a year in your account or 10% of your income. The longer you let your money invest, the more you’ll have as a result of compounding annual growth. If you start early enough, you could have hundreds of thousands of dollars saved for retirement.
Don’t just let your money sit around collecting dust. Instead, watch it slowly grow over time in the stock market.
9. Lower Your Rent
Rent makes up a big portion of many people’s monthly income. A good rule of thumb is not to spend more than one-third of your monthly income on rent, but many people, especially those who live in expensive cities, spend half.
To save money, you should consider moving into a smaller apartment or a cheaper area, at least for a certain period of time. While you might argue that this would significantly affect your quality of life, you also might be overestimating the discomfort.
Simplifying your lifestyle can have unexpected benefits, and you might be surprised to find that you can live in a smaller space without sacrificing much of your overall happiness.
The right rewards card could save you lots of money on travel, restaurants, or other key categories.
10. Choose the Right Credit Card
There are lots of credit cards out there, and choosing the right one can be a great boon in saving money. A lot of cards offer rewards, like sign-up incentives, cash back, and travel points. If you do need to carry a balance from month to month, then you should also look for low interest rates.
Take a look at your spending habits and figure out which card makes the most sense for you. If you choose well, then you could see lots of savings in cash back or travel rewards. For the most part, I’d advise against choosing a card with an annual fee. Rewards rarely justify an annual fee, though this decision ultimately depends on your spending profile.
11. Automate Money to Your Savings Accounts
Another great way to save money is to set up a savings account and automatically funnel a portion of your paycheck into it. Take a look at your budget, and figure out if you can spare a percentage of your income to put into immediate savings. By setting up this system automatically, you don’t even have to think about it from month to month.
By putting aside a certain amount and not touching your savings account, you can put limits on your spending. If you didn’t put this money into savings, you could very well end up spending it. Auto-saving helps mark this money as unavailable for recreational spending.
12. Cook at Home
A few years ago, I looked at my budget and realized I was wasting a lot of money on going out to eat. I’d spend $40 to $80 each time I went out to a mid-range restaurant. When I looked at the value of these experiences, I saw that it didn’t justify the cost. The restaurants around me just weren’t that good.
Many people spend a lot of their income on eating at restaurants, and they could save more than they realize by cooking at home instead. Making sure you have ingredients on hand will help you cook more, as will starting to prep meals before you get too hungry. Even if you’re hanging out with friends, you might suggest eating at someone’s house instead of meeting at a restaurant.
13. Switch Bank Accounts
If you’re paying a monthly fee for your checking or savings account, then you should switch to a new bank. In addition to setting up a free account, you can take advantage of sign-up bonuses for opening a new account.
You should also look for savings accounts with high interest rates. While interest rates are low on average, some are higher than others. Search around for a savings account that will most allow your money to grow over time.
14. Turn Out the Lights
Remember to turn off lights whenever you leave the house or aren’t using a room. You’ll find your electric bill going down, and you’ll be saving energy, too. Win-win.
Get a bike to save money on transportation fees!
15. Get a Bike
If you live in an urban or bike-friendly area, then cycling around, rather than driving or even taking public transportation, might save you a good deal of money. Apart from the initial cost of the bike, cycling is a free way to get from place to place. Plus, it keeps you in good shape, which could reduce potential health-related problems and medical bills later down the line.
16. Skip the Bar
The mark up for drinks in bars is excessive. You could buy a glass of wine for $10 in a bar versus an entire bottle for $10 at a store. Cocktails are particularly pricey. Instead of going out for drinks, consider hosting or attending social events at people’s homes. You’ll see significant reductions in the amount of money you spend on drinks.
17. Write and Stick to a Grocery List
Impulse shopping at the grocery store afflicts millions of people every day. Stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are especially triggering, with their colorful displays and ever changing snack foods that look too good to pass up.
Instead of wasting money on the flavor of the week, plan out exactly what you will buy at the grocery store, item by item. Take your list with you, and hold your head up high as you walk past trendy snack items and mouth-watering pre-made meals without a second glance.
18. Do Your Research on Big Purchases
Are you in the market for a new car? How about a laptop? Will you be buying a TV in the next few months? If you’re on the cusp of making a big purchase, then you should do your research to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Read consumer reviews, and compare prices across different venders. Make sure that you’re zeroing in on a brand known for quality, and not wasting money on something that will need maintenance or break in a few months. Use the limitless internet resources at your fingertips to research your next big purchase and make sure you’re getting the best product for the least amount of money possible.
19. Buy in Bulk
For non-perishable items that you use a lot, you might save money by buying them in bulk from a store like Costco. These items could include certain foods or household essentials, like trash bags and cleaning products. Buying in bulk can save you both money and time, as you won’t have to make so many trips to the store.
Take care of your pearly whites to save money at the dentist.
20. Brush Your Teeth
Saving money isn’t just about finding the best discounts; it’s also about acting in a proactive and preventive way. Maintaining good dental hygiene is very important for reducing dentist costs later on down the road. Cavity fillings and root canals can get extremely expensive. Prevent these expenses by taking good care of your pearly whites.
21. Get Regular Oil Changes
Just as you should maintain your teeth, you should also act proactively to ensure good car health. Regular oil changes and maintenance will keep your automobile in good working order. Automotive work can get extremely expensive, especially if the mechanic senses that you have no idea how much a repair should cost and seizes the opportunity to overcharge.
22. Be Your Own IT Technician
Don’t rush to the phone for tech repairs before figuring out whether you can fix it on your own. For basic repairs on printers and other technology, you might be able to research what to do online and make the fix without paying someone else.
23. Avoid Fast Fashion
Styles are constantly changing from season to season. Fast fashion stores, like Forever 21, H&M, and even Zara, offer a lot of trendy, low-quality pieces that will not stand the test of time. You may find yourself continuously spending money on clothes that fall apart and quickly go out of style. Be cautious of succumbing to fast fashion; it can be a money pit that never stops taking.
24. Drink Tap Water
Tap water is free! If you’re trying to save money, why drink anything else? Skip the bottled water – plastic bottles are super bad for the environment, anyway – and the soda, too.
Of course, recent events have taught us that we can’t necessarily trust the tap water in our communities. Most places are fine, but you might want to have your water tested for lead if you have any concerns. Filters on your tap also help purify the water. If your water is healthy, then drinking tap water in a glass or reusable bottle is an excellent way to save money.
Don’t waste money on spring water if your tap water is just as good!
25. Don’t Blast the Heat
Reducing the heat is one way to lower your utilities bill significantly, especially if you use a more expensive heating system, like oil. Rather than turning the heat up and down on a whim, consider programming certain temperatures at certain times. If you can turn down the heat when you’re at work or away, then you’ll save both money and energy.
26. Shop Second Hand
Embrace second-hand stores! Whether it’s a vintage clothing store or your local Salvation Army, you can score great deals on clothes and furniture. You’ll probably be able to find high quality items for lower prices than you would shopping at the mall.
27. Invest in Quality Appliances
Buying cheap appliances might feel like you’re saving money, but it will probably backfire in the long-term. If your appliances break and keep needing to be replaced, then you’ll spend more overall. Go for quality the first time around.
28. Exercise More (and Stop “Stress Shopping”)
Exercise has a number of benefits, and one might be saving you money. If you’re spending a portion of your day exercising, then chances are you’ll be spending less time eating out or shopping. Plus, if you’re someone who tends to shop to relieve stress, then you’ll find that exercise is a much less expensive (and more effective) mode of stress relief.
29. Get Creative with Your Dates
Dating doesn’t have to break the bank. A lot of people are sick of the traditional dinner and a movie format, anyway. Consider creative, low-cost date ideas. Hiking, picnics, and board games, for instance, are all fun and (almost) free.
Think outside of dinner and a movie for a fun, free date.
30. Share TV Subscriptions
Saving money doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice joys in life, like Netflix and Hulu. You could still save a bit in these areas by sharing subscriptions with a friend or relative. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is totally cool with it: he said, “We love people sharing Netflix. That’s a positive thing, not a negative thing.” Just make sure to read the fine print of your subscription to see how many screens can be using the service at the same time.
31. Use the 30-Day Rule
Saving money is often an exercise in self-control when immediate gratification would be so much more satisfying. Instead of giving into temptation to buy something right away, try to wait 30 days and then reevaluate whether you still want the item under consideration. Hindsight is supposedly 20/20, so waiting for a month will give you crystal clear vision. If you do still think an item is worth it after this time, then perhaps its value does justify the cost.
32. Go Generic
Have you ever noticed how stores like CVS offer a near-identical generic brand of an item next to a more familiar brand? Instead of Advil, you can buy CVS brand Ibuprofen. Instead of Dove shampoo and conditioner, you see a generic copycat. The same goes for prescription medication. Go for the generic, as it’s often the same product without the extra cost of advertising.
33. Pause Before Taking Out a Big Student Loan
Many recent graduates find themselves mired in steep student loans that make them feel like they failed at life before they’ve even begun. While education is a wonderful investment, you should also take time to consider costs of tuition. In many cases, you can get an equally enriching education at a less expensive school than you would at one that would leave you over a hundred thousand dollars in debt upon graduation.
34. Try Marie Kondo’s “Spark Joy” Approach
Marie Kondo discusses her “spark joy” approach to organization in her recent bestseller, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. Kondo says that you should sort through your possessions individually and consider whether each one gives you an immediate spark of joy. If it doesn’t, let it go.
You could use this “spark joy” approach to simplify your lifestyle, whether to reduce your cost of living overall or sell your possessions online or at a yard sale. You could also use it when shopping to make sure you only buy high-utility items that you really love.
Plan your meals in advance to save money. If you wait to see what you’re in the mood for, then you’ll end up spending more each time you eat.
35. Plan Your Meals
Planning meals is essential if your goal is to eat out at restaurants less. If you wait until you’re hungry and have no idea what to cook, then chances are you’ll slip into temptation and head to a restaurant (or to Grubhub for delivery). Planning specific meals before hunger strikes will help you meet your cooking goals.
36. Seek Out Free Events
Entertainment doesn’t have to cost money. Check out the social events in your town each month to see if there are free festivals or concerts. You can stay as busy and entertained as ever while spending a whole lot less.
If you have space outside or inside, then you can grow some of your own fruits and vegetables. Home grown produce will help you save money at the grocery store, and it will taste a lot fresher, too! It doesn’t get much more local than your own backyard.
38. Switch Pharmacies
According to Consumer Reports, some retailers charge as much as ten times more than others for prescription medications. Shop around at Walgreens, Costco, CVS, and other pharmacies to find where you can fill your same prescriptions at a lower price point.
39. Stop Taking Taxis
Taxis generally cost more than almost any other form of transportation. Instead of hopping in a cab, consider whether you can choose a cheaper mode, like the subway, a bus, or even cycling from point A to point B. Taxis were a major drain on my budget when I lived in New York City. When I realized the error of my extravagant ways, I was able to save a lot of money in this area.
Instead of spending money on a taxi, walk, bike, or take the metro instead!
40. Compare Discount Flights
If you’re planning to travel, you should make sure to get the best flight deals. Sites like Kayak.com and Skyscanner.com help you compare prices, while search engine Hipmunk.com lets you compare duration to make sure you won’t get stuck with too many layovers. By comparing prices, and trying tricks like buying three months out or on Tuesday afternoons, you can avoid spending too much on flights.
41. Be Flexible with Travel Dates
Another money-saving travel tip is to be flexible with your travel dates if you can. School vacations and holidays are, by far, the most expensive times to travel. If you can plan a trip outside of these popular time periods, then you’ll find much more reasonable flight prices and hotel fares. If you’re very flexible, then you can use sites like SecretFlying.com to hop on especially good, if random, flight deals.
42. Stay In a Hostel
Staying at a hostel doesn’t have to entail sleeping with 16 other backpackers in a cramped dorm room. Lots of hostels have private rooms with twin or double beds, plus they often offer a sense of community with fellow travelers. Consider booking a hostel for all or part of your next trip to save money on lodging.
43. Go Camping
Hostels aren’t the cheapest lodging option – camping is! Break out your tent and take advantage of all the camping sites in the great outdoors.
44. Decrease Your Commute
If you drive long distances back and forth to work everyday, then you’re spending a lot on gas and ultimately, car maintenance. If possible, you should try to decrease your commute to save money and probably feel a lot happier overall.
Home energy audits help you reduce energy costs.
45. Get a Home Energy Audit
These often free audits help home owners make improvements to their homes that save both money and energy. Go green!
46. Seal Your Windows
Sealing off the windows with plastic is a great way to reduce heat loss in the winter and prevent your heat bill from crawling up too high. Use this life hack to winter-proof your home.
47. Ditch Cable
Cable subscriptions can add up to over $100 a month. Instead of paying for cable and premium channels, consider getting rid of it completely. There are lots of free shows online, and you can also use cheaper services, like Netflix, Hulu, and HBONow. You could even invest in a projector, and watch shows and movies full screen on your living room wall instead of a pricey HD TV.
48. Get a Library Card
Are you an avid reader? Instead of buying books, take advantage of your free local libraries. A library card will also let you rent books for free on Kindle, too.
49. Get Into Potlucks
Instead of eating out at restaurants, organize a potluck with friends. Everyone brings a meal, and you end up with a ton of awesome food and good company for a fraction of the price you would pay eating out at a restaurant.
Don’t waste money on overpriced airport food. Bring your own meals from home.
50. Bring Your Own Food When Traveling
The cost of food at the airport costs so much more than it does at the grocery store. Taking the time to load up on snacks and make sandwiches before hitting the road will save you on overpriced airport meals or sub-par roadside restaurants.
51. Find BYOB Restaurants
Alcohol gets one of the biggest markups at restaurants. Glasses of wine, for instance, cost the same as or more than many bottles of wine at a liquor store. If you want to drink when you eat out, consider trying a BYOB restaurant.
52. Consolidate Your Student Loans
Look into options to consolidate your student loans so you can pay all of them off together with one lower interest rate. A lower interest rate can save you a lot of money in the long run, especially if your loans are especially high.
53. Change Your Routes to Avoid Temptations
Are there certain stores, restaurants, or bakeries that you can’t help but stop at when you drive by? If your usual routes, like your journey to work and back, takes you past irresistible spots, then consider changing the way you go. Out of sight, out of mind.
54. Join a Cheaper Gym
Your gym membership may be costing you over $100 per month. If you can get the same experience at a less expensive gym, then you can put the difference into your savings. There are some low-frills gyms with all the same workout machines for only $10 a month.
If your gym is breaking the bank, consider joining a cheaper one.
55. Take Advantage of Price Matching
Did you know that Target will price match any item that you find being sold cheaper elsewhere? There are lots of stores that offer price matching. When you go shopping, especially if you’re buying a big purchase, do your research to see if you can get it for a lower cost.
56. Inflate Your Tires
If your tires are low, then you’ll reduce gas efficiency as you drive. Keep tires inflated so that you’re not burning through fuel and filling up more than you need to.
57. Paint Your Own Nails
Manicures and pedicures often cost $30 to $50, and they only last a couple of weeks. While you may not get the same pampering experience, you’ll save a large amount of money by painting your nails at home.
58. Make Your Own Beauty Products
Making your own shampoo, conditioner, facewash and other beauty products can save you a lot of money. Plus, whatever you make will probably be a lot healthier than name brand products and have far fewer chemical additives.
59. Identify Your Spending Triggers
Are you a stress shopper? Do you buy yourself little gifts when you’re feeling down? While you don’t have to eliminate “shopping therapy” completely, you should try to become more aware of the emotional triggers that lead you to spend money and ultimately, take away from your savings.
Do you shop to pass the time or reduce stress? Find other, less expensive activities to channel your energy!
60. Find Free Ways to Reduce Stress
A lot of people blow past their budget because they shop to make themselves feel better. If you’re a “stress shopper,” try to seek other ways to reduce stress without spending money. Take up yoga, go for a walk outside, try knitting – you might find yourself less tempted to shop when you’re busy and immersed in other relaxing activities.
61. Don’t “Compare and Despair”
It’s all too easy to set certain expectations about your lifestyle based on how other people live. Rather than trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” free yourself from the pressure to wear certain brands or own certain things. The only things we really must have are shelter, food, and medicine.
62. Check Your YOLO Mindset
If you want to save money, then you need to take spending seriously. Rather than letting purchases slide with a “you only live once” justification, shore up your willpower by focusing on the future rather than solely on the here and now.
63. Keep the Change
If you tend to carry cash, then you’ll probably get a lot of change with your purchases. While it’s easy to lose track of change, you should collect it in one place to save (and to use precious quarters on laundry).
64. Choose Your Method of Payment
Do you tend to spend more freely when you carry cash? Or do you buy stuff left and right when you can do so with the swipe of a credit card? If you find that you buy a lot more stuff when you use a certain method of payment, then consider switching. Use the mode that will help you regain control.
Seek out inexpensive groceries, and look for sales as you shop!
65. Get Cheaper Groceries
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Whole Foods, whole paycheck”? While I love all their organic produce, I also find myself spending a lot more if I buy all my groceries at Whole Foods. Consider shopping at less expensive grocery stores.
66. Search for Sales
There seem to be sales everywhere you look, so it’s a rare occasion when you have to buy something full price. Hunt around for bargains, perhaps even shopping for items on a holiday weekend or during a time known for big discounts. When shopping online, you might also search around for “promo codes” that offer a discount when applied to your purchase.
67. Skip the Designer Sunglasses
There are certain pricey products that have become mainstream for people of various budget levels, and designer sunglasses are one of them. But are those Ray Bans really worth the cost? UV protection and polarized lenses are great, but spending hundreds of dollars on an easy to lose pair of sunglasses might not be worth it. Consider getting a non-luxury brand, or try out the less expensive, but equally stylish Warby Parkers.
68. Cancel Unnecessary Monthly Subscriptions
Netflix, Shoprunner, HBONow, BirchBox, Blue Apron – it’s all too easy to sign up for lots of monthly memberships that are inexpensive on their own, but add up to a lot of money altogether. Look over your monthly subscriptions and see whether you really need all of them.
69. Never Grocery Shop Hungry
This tip is pretty self-explanatory. Just don’t do it. It’s never a good idea.
If you grocery shop when you’re hungry, your receipt might end up as long as this one.
70. Start Cooking Before You’re Hungry
Start chopping and dicing before hunger pangs have set in. If you wait until you’re hungry, then you’re less likely to want to cook and may end up ordering takeout instead.
Save money on gas by carpooling with friends or coworkers. If you’re going in the same direction, go there together!
72. Use UberPool
UberPool is a cheaper alternative to usual Ubers and taxis. You just pay for a seat in a car and share the ride with people traveling in the same area. You can choose this money-saving option when you order your ride.
73. Compare Auto Insurance Rates
If you’re a car owner, then you know how car insurance takes a certain chunk out of your monthly budget. Compare rates among different companies to make sure you’re getting the best value for your dollar.
74. Choose the Best Phone Plan
Shop around for the best phone plan instead of just going with what’s trendy or what your friend uses. You could save a lot of money each month by finding the best value.
Shop around for a phone plan with the best value.
75. Buy a Cheaper Laptop
It’s easy to be dazzled by Macs, but do you really need a $1000+ laptop? If you’re only looking at expensive computers, consider other brands that will give you the same functionality at a fraction of the cost.
If you keep your laptop, TV, and kitchen appliances plugged in all the time, then they’ll slowly but surely sap away energy and increase your utilities bill. If you’re not using them, unplug them. You might use power strips so you can unplug many things at once with the switch of a single button.
77. Rent Out a Room or Land
Do you have an extra room that you could rent on Airbnb, or land that you could rent out for someone to keep a horse? Use that extra space to your financial advantage, and maybe make some new human or equine friends in the process.
78. Hang Your Clothes to Dry
If your dryer adds to your utilities bill (or eats away at your quarter collection), then consider saving money and energy by hanging your clothes to dry.
79. Stay Healthy
Take care of yourself with a balanced diet and frequent exercise. Not only is it good sense, but it will also save you money in the long run with less doctor visit bills or prescription meds.
Remember, an apple a day keeps the expensive doctor away!
80. Move Away From the City
Big cities are expensive. As the saying goes, real estate is all about “location, location, location.” By moving out of an expensive city, you might get more space and a nicer place to live for a lower cost.
81. Become an Expat
If your lifestyle offers mobility from place to place, then you might spend some time living in an inexpensive country, like Thailand. Your expenses will go way down on big areas like rent, food, transportation, and maybe even health insurance.
82. Teach English Abroad
Do you enjoy talking about the English language and meeting people from new cultures? There are lots of English teaching jobs in countries like South Korea, Japan, and Saudi Arabia that offer huge money-saving opportunities. You can get your flight covered, a prepaid apartment, and a non-taxed salary; after a year, your savings will be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
83. Always Check for Groupons
Even if you’re not a coupon-clipper, you can use Groupon to your advantage. You’ll find there are tons of cheaper options for activities in every category, from restaurants to haircuts to exercise classes. Before you buy full price, check for a Groupon first.
84. Avoid Delivery Charges
If you’re ordering food, most delivery services let you filter for restaurants with free delivery. Avoid extra charges for delivery and minimum spends.
Quitting smoking would be good for your wallet and your lungs.
85. Ditch Pricey Bad Habits
Do you spend a lot of money on a habit that you’d be better off quitting? Put down the cigarettes and ditch the soda to see your savings grow. If you’re finding the task impossible, consider dollar-matching. For every dollar you spend on cigarettes, for example, put a dollar in your savings.
86. Plan Your Trip Early
If you wait until the last minute to book hotels or flights, then chances are you’ll pay more for lower quality. Plan out your trip months in advance to get the best prices.
87. Consider Selling Your Stuff
Do you have anything of value – an old laptop, clothing, Beanie Babies – that you could sell? Set up a yard sale or sell on eBay to make money on your own stuff. Then, put it into your savings.
88. Embrace eBay
eBay, likes Craigslist, is a great place to shop for all manner of items at lower costs. Before buying new, consider whether you can find the item for a much lower price and still excellent quality on eBay. Lots of sellers, furthermore, don’t charge for shipping.
89. Unsubscribe from Promotional Emails
I mentioned earlier that saving money has a lot to do with avoiding temptation. If you’re getting lots of emails from stores about new products or sales, then you might end up doing a lot more online shopping than you would if you never saw those promotional emails in the first place!
Set up a jar or piggy bank to collect change and small bills.
90. Create a Savings Jar
Like automating a certain part of your income to your savings account, you might set aside a savings jar to save cash. Set your own rule, like whenever you have a $5 bill, you put it in the jar. Watch your grown-up piggy bank grow over time.
91. Organize a Clothing Swap
Clothing swaps are a great way to save money on clothes. Set up a swap with your friends to get rid of old things and get a whole new wardrobe – for free!
92. Buy a Used Car
Instead of going for brand new wheels, invest in a used car. You can often get much better deals on high-quality cars that had a previous owner.
93. Become a Craigslist Connoisseur
You can buy so many things on Craigslist, from furniture to beauty services. Plus, you can find great deals on apartments. Sharpen your Craigslist game so you can discover the best possible deals.
94. Avoid Realtor Fees
There are several cities, like Boston, where realtors charge a fee of a full month’s rent when you move into a new apartment. This may be a personal sticking point, but I see no reason to spend all that money on a realtor’s fee, especially on top of the usual first, last, and security payments. If you’re apartment hunting, try to find no-fee apartments (these are usually rented directly from the owners).
95. Bring Your Own Lunch to Work
Just as cooking at home will save you money, so too will preparing lunch at home and bringing it to work. Rather than paying for take-out everyday, bring your own food. A packed lunch is way more cost-effective, and it can be a good deal healthier, too.
Don’t be afraid to bring your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lunchbox to work. It’s a great money saver and conversation starter.
96. Avoid ATM Withdrawal Fees
ATM’s can charge anywhere from $2.50 to $6 or more when taking out money from a non-partnered bank. Avoid these fees by seeking out your bank’s ATMs (and use a bank that has widely available ATMs).
97. Exercise Outside of a Gym
Gym memberships can make up a significant part of your budget. Consider taking a break with the gym altogether by starting a home yoga practice or running outside. Of course, losing the gym membership might not be worth the savings if your workouts bring lots of value to your life.
98. Listen to Free Music on Spotify and Pandora
If you spend a lot downloading music, then you might consider streaming rather than buying. While paying the artist is a great cause, you can still buy your favorites while reducing your spending in this area. Because of all the free music online, you’ll be able to implement this change without changing your music habits very much at all.
99. Have One or Two “No Spend” Days
Test the edges of your self-control by implementing one or two “no spend” days in your week. Try not to spend anything during these days; nothing, zero, zilch. As long as you don’t backslide and spend twice as much the next couple days, then you’ll find yourself saving money that you otherwise would have spent without much hesitation.
100. If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again!
Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you fall short of your goals, try to figure out where you went wrong and adjust your strategies as need be. Saving money is a skill like any other – you’ll get better the more you practice!
The more you practice, the better you’ll get at saving money!
How to Save Money and Stop Spending: What Works?
In theory, you could save money by cutting out everything but the essentials – food, shelter, etc – and living a monk-like existence. This approach isn’t very practical for most, though, nor would it be very fun.
Taking a brute force approach to saving money is like suddenly cutting your daily diet down to 1,200 calories. You might keep it up for a week or two, but then you’ll fall off the wagon. Before you know it, you’re two days deep into a shopping spree, maxing out one credit card after another.
Saving money is about finding balance between making cuts and retaining a certain quality of life. You don’t want to completely eliminate areas that bring a lot of value to your day-to-day life. If saving money feels painful, then you probably won’t keep it up for very long.
That’s why no single method works for everyone. A lot of lists will tell you to cut out daily Starbucks runs, but they ignore the value that this habit brings to some people’s lives. One person could see a $2 morning coffee as a luxurious splurge and easy to give up. Another might see that same $2 coffee as key to their productivity. One person should cut the coffee, but the other absolutely should not.
Everyone will read this list a little differently, and you should choose the money-saving methods that work best for you without threatening your quality of life. By making small changes and keeping track of your progress, you can ditch the paycheck-to-paycheck life and enjoy financial security and independence.