Most people know the “boring” ideas when it comes to saving. You know what I am referring too — things like making a budget, use cash, and to stop spending. We all know about those already. But, what about unique ways to save money?
I’ve put together this list of more than 60 ways you can easily save money! On their own, they don’t save much. But, when you do several of them, they can collectively make a significant impact on your finances.
You might find that you already do some of them, but others may be new to you. Even if you do many of these already, hopefully, you see something new you can do too!
CREATIVE WAYS TO SAVE MONEY
1. Follow the 30-day rule
If you want to make a big purchase, don’t do it right away. Think about it for 30 days. Many times, your urge to buy will pass. However, if you are still unsure, 30 days time will allow you to consider if it is worth spending money on it or not.
2. Don’t use the ATM
It is too easy to stop by the ATM and get $20 here and $20 there. Before you know it, you’ve taken out more than $100 you didn’t plan on spending. Not only that but if you stop by an ATM which is not part of your bank’s network, you can also get hit with those annoying ATM fees.
Instead, visit the bank (not even the ATM at your bank) one time after each payday and get the cash you need. Your cash budget comes into play here.
3. Spend less money on interest
Look at your credit cards to see what interest rates you are paying. If they are high, chances are most of your money payment goes towards interest rather than lowering your balance. Research credit cards and consider transferring the balances to a card with a lower rate, so your payments tackle the balance (just read the fine print regarding fees and introductory rates).
4. Cut the cable cord
Cutting cable is one that can save you a LOT of money! If you still want to catch your favorite shows, you can get a Chromecast or Amazon Fire Stick (which turn your TV into a SmartTV). Then, add a few subscription services such as HuluPlus, Netflix or even use your Amazon Prime membership. Check out some smart alternatives to paying for cable, so you won’t have to miss out on your favorite shows!
5. Cancel subscriptions you aren’t using
All too often we sign up for introductory offers for services to try them out. But, how often do you forget that you signed up and continue to pay for it month after month – without using it? Review your statements to find these services and cancel them.
Or, use a free service, such as Trim. They do the hard work by seeing if you have subscriptions to cancel. Trim can even lower your cable bill and also try to find you insurance that costs less money. The average person saves at least $30 a month!
6. Get haircuts at a beauty school
If you live near a beauty school, then you should visit when it is time for a trim or color. You can get deeply discounted cuts while helping a student learn. (And there is always an expert cosmetologist right there to help the student).
7. Take shorter showers
I know that a nice long, hot shower can wake you up in the morning. However, if you jump in and get hit with the cold blast first, you’ll be awake more quickly. Then, hurry and shower, and you’ll save money both on water, but also the energy to heat the water.
Bonus tip: Set your water heater 120, and you can save an additional amount on those energy costs.
8. Skip the shaving cream
Don’t buy shaving cream. Pick up a bottle of cheap conditioner (often even less than $1 a bottle) and use it instead.
9. Layers in the winter months
Keep the thermostat set at 68 – 70 during the winter. If you are cold, grab a sweater or a blanket. You can even use a hot water bottle under your sheets to make them nice a toasty before you climb into bed at night.
10. Turn off the lights
It may sound simple, but it does make a difference. You won’t get rich with this one, but it still saves you money! We’ve got more than 50 other ways you can lower utility bills you will want to try.
11. Make your greeting cards
Our family has a total of 5 birthdays within about seven weeks every year. When picking up greeting cards, we can easily spend more than $20 — just on cards! Instead of doing that, we make them. Not only do we save money, but they are also much more personalized and mean more to each of us.
Bonus tip: If you don’t want to make your cards, then stop by your local dollar store and find them for $1 each instead!
12. Potluck party
Instead of throwing a massive spread for your next party, go potluck instead! This way, everyone brings a dish to help create a meal. You could even set a theme and have each person bring one item to pull it together. For instance, you could have at taco party and have each guest bring one thing to help build the tacos.
Not only is this more fun, but it also keeps your costs lower when having a get together with your family and friends.
13. Share accounts
Rather than get your own Netflix account, split it with a family member or friend. You each pay 50% of the monthly fee, but both get full access to the account. You can even do this with your Amazon Prime account (learn how to add a family member).
14. Forget the bottled water
While it is convenient, it is an expense you don’t need. Invest in a good water bottle and fill it at home before you leave.
15. Visit your library
Your library card gives you more than a way to check out books. Most libraries offer magazines, newspapers and even movies! Best of all, this is all completely free.
16. Cancel subscriptions
If you are paying for a magazine you never have a chance to read, then that is money wasted. Drop the subscription and use that money for something else instead.
17. Limit the gifts
When the holidays roll around, it can be simple to overspend. Set a limit as to not only those you will buy for but even the number you will give to your kids. The simple idea is to give your kids four items: 1 thing to read, one thing to wear, one thing they want and one thing that is special for them.
18. Do a clothing swap
I love this simple way to get new clothes and accessories at absolutely no cost to you! Have a party with your friends and have everyone bring 3 – 4 articles of clothing and accessories they no longer wear. At the end of the evening, you’ll have gotten rid of things you don’t want and have new items to wear.
Bonus tip: You can do this with your friends with kids’ clothes as well!
19. Don’t wash your towels every day
Hang your towel up each day and allow it to dry. Launder it only every couple of days rather than every day. It saves money on laundry soap and energy costs. As a bonus, it also means less laundry for you! If they get musty, you can q strip them to make them smell fresh again.
20. Switch to cold water
While this is not huge savings, you can save as much as $0.50 per a load of laundry washed with cold rather than hot. Of course, hot water cleans better, so use it more sparingly on those items which need a good deep clean.
21. Stay home
Instead of spending money to go to the movies or even walking around the store because you are bored, find something to do at home. Play games with your kids. Find a new hobby. Spend time with your family and friends.
22. Get rewards cards
It seems every store has a rewards card or app these days. If you aren’t signed up for them, you are missing out on savings. Some of them offer bonuses at the register and others after a certain number of trips or even a spending amount.
Bonus tip: Use an app such as KeyRing instead of carrying every single keyfob on your ring.
23. Be patient when shopping
Wait for a sale before you pick up that new pair of shoes. If you time it right, you can always score great deals on the items you want.
24. Use your coupons
Most people know to clip grocery coupons, but you can also find coupons to use at restaurants and other retailers. My favorite app is CouponSherpa! I never shop anywhere without checking it for a great coupon.
25. Don’t autosave credit card numbers
When you make a purchase, most sites will allow you to have your credit card information retained for a future purchase. Don’t do this. If you have to type in your credit card information, you will think twice before you buy.
26. Stick with generics
Believe it or not, generic products are often the name brands in disguise. It is true with most store brands. The stores pay a fee to the big producers to have their products packaged with the store branding on them. That means instant savings for you – without sacrificing quality.
27. Get a raincheck
When you find that on-sale item it out of stock, ask for a raincheck. It is a voucher which will allow you to buy the product at a later date, once it is back in the store. Watch the expiration date as most are valid only for a specified period. Also, not all items qualify for a raincheck, so you will need to check the sales ad to know for sure.
28. Skip the morning coffee run
While convenient, it can hit the wallet hard. Make your coffee at home before you leave in the morning. A bonus is not taking longer to make your morning commute (or getting to sleep in a few more minutes longer). Using a well-insulated cup to ensure your coffee stays hot longer, so you don’t end up throwing it out.
Taking turns driving to work saves you money not only on fuel costs but keeps the wear and tear down on your vehicle.
30. Plan your outings wisely
Plan your trip before you plan your errands. You will use less fuel running around and even save time.
31. Use public transportation
If you have to pay for parking in addition to fuel, the costs can quickly add up. Not only does public transit save you money on parking, but you get to relax and read the paper on your way to work, instead of stressing over traffic jams.
32. Coupon wisely
When you get a coupon, it does not mean it is a golden ticket to spend. Use coupons only for the items you would typically purchase. Using coupons just for the sake of getting a deal means you are spending money you normally would not otherwise.
33. Make your meal plan
When you have a plan for your meals for the week, you know what you will have for dinner each evening. It saves a trip to the store to get items (which may increase your spending). Not only that, you won’t be tempted to run out and pick up dinner at a local fast food restaurant.
34. Limit your shopping trips
You have to go to the store. There is no getting around that. However, if you limit the time you allow yourself to be in the store, you won’t have as much time to wander (which is when you toss items in your cart that you may not need). Set a timer for 30 minutes and you’ll be forced to stick to the list to finish before the buzzer sounds.
35. Watch bank fees
Some banks charge fees for various reasons. Some may assess one if your balance dips below a certain threshold. Others may charge for a paper statement. Take a look at what you pay your bank and if needed, make a switch.
36. Stick with frozen fruits and veggies
A simple way to save money and still get the healthy foods you want to eat is to skip the produce section entirely. Buying frozen fruits and vegetables gives you the foods you want, but often at a lower cost — especially if the produce item happens to be out of season.
37. Fix it yourself
If something breaks in your home, fix it yourself. There are videos which can help you do just about anything! My husband and I replaced the outer gasket on our washing machine by doing this. The part itself cost us less than $20. Had we hired someone to do this, we would have paid $100 – or more!
(Of course, if you are not handy, this is not wise as it may cost you more to repair what you may damage further).
38. Swap services
If you need a tutor for your child, don’t rush out and hire one. Ask a teacher friend or college student first. You might be able to offer something in return, such as lawn work. Trading services will give you both something you need at absolutely no cost.
39. Fill up the tires
You will burn more fuel if you do not correctly inflate your tires. Check the air frequently. This simple tip can help save you money on your vehicle maintenance and repairs.
40. Drop the meat
I am not saying to change to a vegetarian diet. Drop the meat from at least one meal a week. Meat is one of the most expensive items on your plate. Create a meal with beans or eggs instead. You’ll save more money and might find a new healthier way to eat.
41. Watch the expiration dates
Watch the expiration dates on the foods you buy and make sure you eat them before they go bad. Remember that best if used by does not mean expired. Don’t toss foods after that date (unless they smell or taste bad).
42. Skip lunch dates
Packing your lunch for work is an easy way to save money. Limit the lunch out to once a month as a treat for bringing your lunch with you every other day of the week!
43. Don’t buy prepackaged snacks
It can be convenient to pick up the snacks for the kids in prepackaged bags. You pay a premium for this. Grab a package of the snacks they want and some baggies and package them yourself. As a bonus, you can control the amount of the snack in each baggie.
44. Keep the change
When we pay for anything with cash (we are a cash budget family, of course), I never pay with change. I only hand over bills. I then keep every penny and set it aside. Each November, our family sits down and rolls up the coins. We then use this to help others during the holidays and to also pay for our gifts for one another.
45. Don’t rush to the dry cleaner
Some clothes get wrinkled after you wash them. Invest in an iron and ironing board and iron them yourself! You can see significant savings if you iron them yourself.
If your items say dry clean only, you can often hand wash them using mild detergents (or even hand wash settings on your machine). Dry them flat once laundered and then iron (as needed).
46. Take advantage of free events
If you check your newspaper or local city website, you can often find free events taking place in your community. It is a great way to get involved in great causes – while spending little to none of your own money.
47. Unplug appliances
Even when appliances are not turned on, they can be using phantom power. The EPA estimates that the average household has anywhere from 20 – 40 devices using phantom power.
48. Use energy efficient bulbs
While these bulbs may cost more initially, you will end up saving money in the long run. First of all, they require less energy to run. They also last longer, which means you will replace them much less frequently.
49. Give up your habits
If you smoke, enjoy wine or other habits, it might be time to give them up altogether. Look at what you spend every month on these items and multiply this by 12 to see what you are spending. Not convinced? Switch to a cash budget only for these items, and you’ll see how much money you spend on them every single year.
50. Make your gifts
I still remember when I was ten years old and our family did this for one another for Christmas. We did a love gift – which was a gift from the heart. The funny thing is, I don’t recall the gifts from any other year. It made an impression on me.
With Pinterest and online resources, you can make just about anything for any person on your list. Not only is it fun, but it really can keep the budget in check.
51. Use your shopping list
Make a shopping list before you go to the store and stick to it. It can be tempting to toss other items into your cart, but if you follow your list, you’ll get only the things you need.
52. Negotiate your rates
If you have a higher interest rate on your credit card, see if you can negotiate it down. If not, then transfer your balance to someone to another card with a lower rate.
53. Use a programmable thermostat
A simple way to save money is to maintain the temperature in your home. Using a programmable thermostat allows you to set a different temp when you are away from home during the day, but then the temp will be comfortable when you get home from work. You might want to even invest in a Nest thermostat, which learns your living habits and makes automatic adjustments accordingly.
54. Shop for the holidays after the holidays
As each holiday ends, stores put decorations and other items on sale. The day after the sale, you will save 50%. Within 10 – 12 days, the savings will increase even more! Grab the items you need for the next holiday after the end of each season.
55. Learn the 10-second rule
No, this is not about food that falls on the floor. When you get ready to add something to your cart, count to ten. During that time, ask yourself if you need it or not. Many times, you’ll find that it is not a need, but it is instead a want.
56. Share babysitting
If you need a night out, don’t hire a sitter. Ask another friend who has kids instead. You can then return the favor the following week.
57. Grow your food
Gardening can be a fun hobby, which ends up saving you money. You get the chance to grow your food (so you know where it comes from). A bonus of this one is that it gives you something to do when you are bored.
58. Use your crockpot
Dinner time can be stressful, even if you have a menu plan. However, if you can find meals which use a crockpot, dinner can be waiting for you when you get home from work. Not only do you usually get dinner for one evening, you often have leftovers which work perfectly for lunch the next day.
59. Buy in bulk
Many times you can save money if you purchase items in bulk. A trip to your local warehouse might prove a great way to save. Before you do add something to your cart, make sure you check out the per unit price to ensure it is the best deal.
60. Find hidden fees
Take time to review every one of your bills. There might be hidden fees you aren’t even aware you pay for every month. If you find items you aren’t sure about, make a call to the company.
61. Stop using plastic
It is easy to spend too much when you use your debit or credit card. However, if you use cash, you can’t overspend because it’s impossible! Learn more about how to use a cash budget.
62. Don’t quit
Saving money is not easy. Getting out of debt is tough. However, you need to stay the course. Use a vision board so you can see your financial goals every day. Work with your partner to help support one another. Whatever your goal, don’t give up.
63. Repair clothes – don’t toss them
When a shirt gets a rip or loses a button, many people get rid of it. But don’t! You know those buttons that come with your clothes? Keep them and learn how to sew a button back on should you lose one. Learn some basic sewing skills so you can patch a small tear in your shirt or iron a patch on a hole in your son’s jeans.