What can I do to save money?
It’s the question we keep on asking ourselves, since there’s only this much we can earn (extra) and our living costs keep on rising. The best way to do well, financially speaking, is to try and earn more money, while also devising new strategies to increase savings.
We have gathered here not 10, not 50, but 100 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY, that should help you get into the right direction:
Save money on electricity
One of our most successful article: 100 ways to save money on electricity. Here are few tips we’d like to mention in our new list here:
1. Purchase energy efficient devices – get a good head-start with saving money on your power bills, by purchasing only energy efficient devices.
2. Turn off the lights, when leaving the room – you’re not there, no one needs/uses the light. Switch off and then on, when you get back in.
3. Buy LED or CFL light bulbs – pay more at first for these energy efficient light bulbs and you’ll save money on the long run.
4. Don’t watch TV with the lights on – there’s enough light from the ‘tube’, no need to have extra lighting on, unless you are willing to pay more.
5. Unplug the devices you are not using – a fast way to save money on electricity: if you’re not using a device, unplug it. Having it in ‘idle’ mode does consume power. Not a lot, you might say, but it adds up.
6. Don’t put hot / warm food in the fridge – wait until it’s cooled off properly and then put it in the fridge.
7. Keep your home cooling devices clean – the freezer and fridge need to be properly cleaned every once in a while. They’ll run better and more efficiently.
8. Hand-wash your dishes – if you have few dishes to clean, wash them by hand. There’s no need to run the dishwasher for 3 plates and 2 forks.
9. Use a laundry line – if the weather is nice, you can just hang your clothes to dry. They’ll smell better and you’ll save money by not using the drying machine.
10. Seal the windows and doors – modern windows / doors are properly sealed. If not, your extra effort now will help you save money on energy, since your house won’t heat as much in the summer or cool too fast in the winter. Not having to turn on your AC or heating system this often does save you a lot of money.
Save money shopping
11. ALWAYS have a shopping list – not only you won’t forget to buy the items you went shopping for, but you’ll be less tempted to purchase extra-stuff.
12. Leave the kids at home – a screaming toddler throwing a fit because you’re not buying something she likes won’t be too useful when it comes to being more frugal. So, if possible, leave the young ones at home and focus on your shopping alone.
13. Don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach – being hungry will make you more prone to purchasing all kinds of edible items you might have skipped otherwise.
14. Don’t go shopping just for the rewards – we all know those nice coupons (ex. Walmart Coupons) and offers that have a limited time. Retailers are hoping you’ll get into the ‘fear of missing out’ trap and go shopping just to get the rewards. Don’t worry, there’s always gonna be another sale, so shop when you have to.
15. Get a small shopping cart – getting a huge one will make you buy more, since it would look empty otherwise. Having a clear plan for your shopping, a list and a smaller cart will help you save more money.
16. Ignore the checkout isles – a lot of money is spent while we’re waiting to checkout. Impulse buying is a pretty big over-spending reason, so try to avoid this trap as well.
17. Avoid eye-level merchandise – the items that are placed at your eye-level or at a child’s eye-level (items that target our kids) are the most profitable for the store. This means we’re not actually saving money in this case. So do look higher and lower to get better prices.
18. Count the hours – an easy way to curb your impulse buying is to think how many hours you’d need to work in order to pay for a certain item. If you have to work 5 days to afford a dress, maybe you’ll stick to something more affordable.
19. Round up the prices – a nice trick to save more money is to round up the prices: if you are paying 4.55 bucks for something, consider you’re spending 5 bucks on it and save the rest.
20. Shop online – it allows you to check for the best prices, saves you gas and your impulse buying is easier to keep in check.
21. Don’t buy immediately – if you are tempted to purchase an item, let few days pass until the desire and the actual purchase. This way, you might actually find out you didn’t really need. If you still want to make the purchase after few days, go ahead, it’s clearly not in impulse purchase.
Save money on your small business
22. DO NOT get a bigger office unless you really need it – many small business can be easily run from home. If you don’t need to hire help and could use a small home office, save the money and work from home. Or, if you do need a town office, get a small affordable one.
23. Buy what’s needed, when you need it – as soon I started my small business I immediately jumped to some serious purchases. The biggest one was a multi-functional printer, which cost me close to 250 bucks, that was left unused for 6 years. I never needed it anyway, but it looked cool at the time.
24. Use recycled printer cartridges – the new ones are VERY expensive, so we started using recycled ones at least few times after the new one was emptied. The printing quality stayed the same (we’d print contracts and invoices, not some super-high res’ pictures), while our costs decreased dramatically.
25. Keep your overhead as small as possible – you don’t have anyone to impress, so don’t spend money just to look ‘rich’. Buy what’s needed and look for the best deals.
26. Buy second-hand office furniture, if possible – there are many ‘sources’ for office furniture or appliances that are not new, but still look amazingly well. You don’t have to purchase torn and dirty furniture, but there are some amazing deals to be found.
27. Apple products look cool on your office desks, do you really need them? – I see many small business owners who pay an arm and a leg to give their employees expensive computers and gadgets. In most cases your team can do amazingly well with a not so expensive brand. Take me for example: I am a graphic / web designer, I can afford any apple devices and yet I purchase HP, Lenovo or anything else that doesn’t cost as much.
28. Let your employees work remotely if possible – I love this new trend: some businesses (even bigger one) let their teams work from home (or whatever place they love to). They can meet 2-3 days/week at the office to discuss plans and tasks, then the employees can work from home. Of course this cannot apply to any business, but at least in the IT world there’s a lot of wiggle room. You’ll have a smaller office and pay less for rent/utilities.
Save money on gadgets
29. Don’t purchase new gadgets just because a new model is in the stores – we have 4-5 year old DSLR cameras, camcorders and MP3 players, that still function flawlessly. You can bet Nikon have released at least few more models after my D5100, but my camera still does a great job, so there’s no chance I am willing to pay another grand for a DSLR camera. Same with our laptops, we run them ‘to the ground’ and then get new ones.
30. Take good care of your stuff – don’t throw them, don’t leave them in the sun, don’t be reckless with your gadgets. Take good care of them and they’ll last for years, saving you a ton of money.
31. Buy based on specs, not looks – the biggest reason why I am not an Apple fan is that, while the products are nice and of good quality, the prices are huge. When it comes to my laptops for instance (which earn me a living, as a web designer), I just buy based on specs. Same ‘power’ in a MacBook Pro for instance would cost me at least 3-4 times more. I am happy to use HP or Lenovo, as long as they do a great job.
32. Don’t buy expensive gadgets to look cool – I am known in the local blogosphere as the one who’s ‘poor’ enough to not have an Iphone or an iPad. I have a smartphone that cost me 110 bucks and a tablet with a similar price (both Samsung). Not top of the line, of course, but they do a great job. I have everything I need on them, but they cost a fraction. And no, I don’t care that people tell me that I look ‘pathetic’ not getting expensive gadgets, when they know I do earn a good living off my business.
Save money on clothing
33. Buy on sale – if you don’t care about waring ‘last year‘ models, you can wait until the stores are having their clearance sales and get your clothing for almost nothing.
34. Make sure your clothes can be used in various combinations – buy stuff and think about ways to match them. Instead of having to purchase 30 shirts for instance, you can have 4-5 and use them in various combinations.
35. Buy generic brands – look for good quality materials and craftsmanship, not just the label. I was pretty amazed to notice that some ‘non-brand’ clothing has an outstanding quality, while the price is just a fraction of what I’d pay for a famous brand.
36. Skip the outlet stores – for years I thought these shops are giving me a great deal, until I found out that most of the time the quality of the merchandise is not ‘retail’ quality, so, the smaller price is not just because they are giving me a good deal.
37. Shop in thrift stores – I personally don’t like to wear clothing that was pre-owned, but you can still get some amazing deals there. There’s some digging to be done, but the results can be notable.
38. Wear your clothes for as much as possible – I have shoes that are 10 years old, I have pants purchased back in 2007 etc. I like to wear my clothing until it’s no longer looking OK and not get new stuff just because it’s cool to follow the trends.
39. Get what you need – I have way less clothing than my 1 year old for instance. I don’t need as much, I am not growing right now, nor do I dirty my attire at least 2 times/day. I do have what’s needed and that’s it.
Save money on your car
40. Don’t buy new, as much as possible – there are great deals with cars that have been used very little or not at all, but, for being pre-owned, have a more affordable price.
41. Don’t change your car every 2-3 years – I know it’s cool, but it will be costly. My car is 7 years old for instance, looks great and runs smoothly. There’s no intention to change it for at least 4-5 more years (or more).
42. Avoid a car loan – I got mine with a car loan, which cost me a lot. Better save the money and purchase your car without financing. You’ll avoid big interest rates and all kinds of fees and commissions.
43. Get a good mileage car – here in Europe we care a lot abut mileage. We drive smaller cars with better fuel consumption. You’ll ‘feel‘ the difference when having to pay for the gas years in a row.
44. Get the right car, not the ‘cool‘ car – of course everyone dreams of Porche or Mercedes. But VW, Audi or Toyota are still decent cars that can be used for many years. Purchase the car that’s right for your needs, not the one that looks great in magazines.
45. Take great care of your car – keep it running properly, do the maintenance as advised, keep it clean. You can use a car even 15-20 years without issues, as long as you take great care of it.
46. Use one car, if possible – it’s true that many couples love to have 2 cars (at least), but each extra-car comes with a lot of expenses (insurance, repairs, taxes, fuel etc.). If possible, stick to one car and you’ll save a lot of money.
47. Know where you can get cheaper gas – husband has found out that a gas station 2 miles from our home has way more affordable prices than ALL the stations in the city. As you can guess, he’s buying fuel from there only, which saves us money.
Save money on food
48. Buy in bulk – you’ll get better prices and you can store the food properly until needed. Works great for the items that don’t spoil as fast.
49. Plan your meals – I think it’s the best way to save money on your groceries. Having a clear meal plan allows you to purchase what’s needed and make the most of what’s already in the pantry / fridge.
50. Cook at home – it’s healthier and you’ll save a lot of money. Not only you’ll have access to better ingredients, but you’ll pay less than ordering at a restaurant.
51. Pack your lunch at home – instead of eating at a restaurant or order food, have your lunch pack ready from home. You’ll save LOTS of money this way, with little effort from your part.
52. Buy generic, when possible – I used to be quite a snob when it came to some famous brands, but then I noticed that a lot of store brand items are just as good. Let’s face it, there’s little difference in sugar or rice for instance, so why pay more just for the ‘name‘?
53. Cut your own veggies and fruits – it’s not such a difficult task to cut the carrots or apples yourself, instead of paying more to get the pre-cut versions.
54. Make your coffee at home and bring it to work, or use the company’s coffee machine (if free) – all those daily lattes do add up and prevent you from saving more money.
Save money on entertainment
55. Learn to have fun without spending too much – there’s more to life than going to the movies or the clubs. Learn to enjoy having fun outdoors, doing, sports and sightseeing.
56. Look for free ticket contests – many festivals and shows you’d like to attend are also promoted via all kinds of contests and giveaways. You can earn free tickets there, and save money.
57. Drink and eat at home, before going to the movies – a HUGE part of the price you’re paying to enjoy a movie comes from the sodas and snacks you’re eating in the theater. You can easily survive 2 hours without munching on something, so get the ticket and watch the movie. You can re-hydrate and eat afterwards.
58. Wait for few weeks to see the movie – there are many free or cheap options to enjoy a movie. If it’s not some life-changing release you have to see right now, wait for few weeks and you can see it cheaper or for free.
Save money on insurance
59. Ask for discounts – ALWAYS ask for discounts, even when you’re not interested in insurance. You never know what opportunity you might have missed otherwise.
60. Shop around for the best insurance rates – don’t sign the papers until you’ve done a bit of research – Youi Australia comprehensive insurance. This would allow you to get better deals and save more money.
61. File fewer claims – the more claims you make, the bigger your premium will be. Use your insurance wisely, for really serious problems, not for any small things that can be easily paid for from your pocket.
Save money on health
62. Lose weight or try to stay fit – being overweight comes with a lot of possible health issues. From high blood pressure to diabetes and all kinds of ailments. If you are in the ‘red zone’, try to lose weight and your overall health will improve. This does save money.
63. Prevent – do your blood tests and routine checkups when scheduled. In most cases this would allow you to ‘catch’ a serious problem before it gets out of control. Even a life-threatening disease can be treated with less money/effort, if caught just in time.
64. Work out – take the stairs, go biking, run. You don’t need to spend thousands of bucks to go to cool gyms, but you should make it a habit to work out. It improves your fitness level, your health and you’ll be happier and more productive.
65. Buy generic drugs, when possible – in some cases brand name medication is way better, but there are many instances when a generic brand works just as well, at a fraction of the price.
66. Don’t smoke or quit smoking – not only you’re seriously messing with your health, it also costs you a lot.
67. Try to get a proper rest each night – stop wasting time with useless entertainment, try to get a good night sleep. It will make you feel better and your health will also improve. This means more savings at the end of the day.
68. Care properly for your teeth – brush and floss, go to the dentist every 6 months, solve any small issues that appear. It’s cheaper to prevent than treat.
Save money on your home
69. Purchase as much home as you need – if you are a small family, you really don’t need a huge home. Get a home that best suits your needs.
70. Try to save for bigger down-payment – you’ll bet a better deal on your home loan, if you can already pay a bigger ‘chunk‘ of its value, compared to someone who has a small down-payment available.
71. REALLY shop around for the best deals – we’re talking a HUGE purchase here, probably the biggest in your life. Do your homework, be patient and smart.
72. Look at the taxes, too – there are lots of seemingly great price homes that have huge property taxes. Take this into account as well, when shopping for a new home.
Save money on travel
73. Look for great deals and plan accordingly – there are MANY great deals out there, you just need to be careful and plan ahead.
74. Go off-season – take winter for instance: going skiing during Christmas would cost an arm and a leg. Go after the holidays and the prices will plummet. There’s still gonna be snow around, you just won’t have to pay for the holidays ‘spirit‘ anymore. We do this during summers too, if we know July is the most expensive month for instance, we purchase our tickets on the seaside as soon as the season ‘ends’. You can guess that the weather is still amazing for weeks to come, but we don’t pay ‘premium‘ anymore.
75. Cook at ‘home’ – you’ll probably think we’re crazy doing this, but it saved us A LOT of money during our summer holidays. We can easily fry some potatoes and meat, plus throw in a salad. If we’d go to a restaurant (and probably order something similar anyway), we’d pay at least 50 bucks in Croatia. By cooking at least some of ours meals, we were able to save hundreds of euros.
76. Not all attractions are worth their price tag – we were pretty selective with the attractions we paid for, while focusing on sightseeing more.
77. Drive your car, if possible – we always take our car if we’re going somewhere that’s less than 1000 miles. For a bigger distance the fuel consumption is too big, but smaller distances are not an issue. Driving our car saved us tons of money though, since we didn’t pay for tourist buses or other ways of transportation.
78. Get your refreshments from the store, not the beach – when in Croatia, we’d go to a Lild store near the resort, get what’s needed and then just pack our own ‘bags’ on the beach. Why pay up to 2 euro for a Coke, when the store bought one cost us 10 times less?
Save money on kids
79. Teach your kids to save money – do it when they are very young and this would really help them in their lives.
80. Don’t buy all the stuff other kids have – our children are already under a huge pressure from the society to own all kinds of gadgets and items. Try to teach them it’s OK to not have it all and offer them better life experiences instead.
81. Save money for their college as soon as possible – it will allow your family to stay away from some huge student loans in the future.
82. Buy gender neutral items – strollers, clothing, shoes. If you have more kids, having done this will save you money and your son won’t have to sit in a pink stroller.
83. Ignore the collections – while they look really nice and you don’t have to think about matching the clothing, these collections are also pricier. Stick to separate items (which are of good quality and at a good price) and do the matching yourself.
84. Stay away from brand name prints – Disney characters look really great on kids clothing, but the items are also way more expensive than similar ones without Mickey, Pluto or god knows what princess.
More saving money tips
85. Be careful at the small expenses – they do add up and you’ll be shocked to see how much money you’re wasting each month for stuff that cost few bucks only.
86. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses – you don’t need to impress your neighbors or relatives. If someone cannot connect to you because you don’t have x or y thing, you’re not missing anything by not getting their attention/friendship.
87. Buy second-hand items – while I am not too willing to wear pre-owned clothing for instance, we did purchase household items that weren’t new. Got them in perfect condition and the prices were way smaller.
88. Keep track of your spending – there are many tools you can use (from a simple notebook, to an excel spreadsheet and online tools) to track your spending. This will reveal your spending patterns and allow you to create a realistic budget.
89. Have a budget – spend money wisely and plan ahead. It will help you a lot with your savings effort.
90. Save a little and do it often – for some people, saving 300 bucks/month for instance seems daunting. What about saving 5-10 bucks every few days? When you have the chance, fill up your ‘piggy‘ and it will add up.
91. Pay your bills in time – avoid unnecessary fees by paying your bills in time.
92. Avoid ATM fees – look on your statements online or find ATMs that are free to use.
93. Save your coins – you’ll be shocked to see how much your ‘change’ can amount to in an year’s time.
94. Ditch the cable – you don’t need 400 channels anyway. Just watch Hulu or Netflix if you really need it or, better, spend time with your family or read something useful. Or, why not, sleep.
95. Pay yourself first – instead of saving what’s left after all the expenses, try to save first and then manage what’s left. If you’re also budgeting, it won’t be hard to get the best formula for savings and spending.
96. Do it yourself when possible – don’t pay someone for something you can easily do in little time. If it’s too complicated and time consuming, it’s a better idea to hire someone, but, if it’s something small, you can have some fun and save money.
97. Use the library – don’t just buy books, see if they are available at the local library. If you really love a book, it’s OK to purchase it, but in most cases you’ll probably just read it and never think about it again.
98. Understand the difference between NEEDS and WANTS – we don’t need huge TV screens or thousand dollar suits, but we do need healthy food, a roof over our heads etc. Try to discern between something important and just a whim.
99. Don’t use credit cards unless really needed – use cash most of the time, since it’s easier to curb your impulse spending. If you do have a credit card, make sure to avoid any fees and interest rates that would prevent your from saving money.
100. Don’t purchase in-game ‘extras’ – I used to play Travian for few years now and then. The ‘premium’ features did cost few bucks every once in a while, but they did add up. If you do like to waste time with a game, try to play it for free.