Itching to finally pay off your student loans or buy your dream house? Read on for some practical ways to save money to help you get started.
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The Frugal Manual | Creative Ways to Save Money
1. Clip Coupons
Clipping coupons can be tedious and take up a lot of your time, but it can certainly help you save up on grocery expenses. The good news is there are websites such as CouponDivas that help you find coupons or deals for your local supermarket. Just be careful not to get too carried away and make sure to get deals only on those items you really need.
2. Shop in Thrift Stores
You may not know this, but there are absolute gems in thrift stores! If you feel like you really need a wardrobe upgrade, consider thrift stores instead of malls. It’s also a great way to avoid spending too much on dressier clothes, which you’ll probably wear only once or twice.
3. Skip the Gym Membership
Gym memberships can really cut into your monthly expenses. Sure, it’s great to hit the gym and be active, but do you really go to the gym every week? If yes, then go ahead and continue paying for that membership. If not, it might be better to consider getting rid of that gym membership and just follow your own exercise routine. You can check out some yoga exercises on YouTube, or go jogging outside.
4. Live Closer to Your Job
Are you familiar with the expression, ‘Time is money?’ Think about it, the longer you sit in your car in a traffic jam, the more you waste precious time, not to mention gas! The time you waste doing nothing can actually be used to do something that can earn you money. You can improve your overall lifestyle and spend less on transportation if you live near your work.
5. Use a Budget Tracking App
These days, it seems like there’s an app for everything — productivity, travel, savings, and even to keep track of your kids! If it’s your finances you want to keep track of, you can use a budget tracking app to help you be mindful of your expenses and set goals for your savings.
6. Plan Your Withdrawals
Withdrawing from an ATM machine that isn’t from your bank can have fees. Avoid the extra unnecessary expenses and make sure you withdraw enough money from your own bank’s machine.
7. Delete Your Credit Card Numbers
Online stores such as e-commerce websites, Google Play store, and App Store give you the option to save your credit card number on your account so it can automatically charge you each time you purchase. Don’t let this happen! If you already saved them on there, delete them now! In this way, you will have to force yourself to enter your details each time you purchase, giving you more time to decide if it’s worth it or not.
8. Go Shopping on Wednesdays
This may seem like odd advice, but do you notice how grocery stores often launch their sales mid-week? Going there on the first day of the sale will ensure you have first dibs on great deals. Some stores would also still accept coupons from the previous week. potentially adding up to even more savings.
9. Check Price Comparison Apps
Price comparison apps have become popular for travelers since it helps them snag the best deals on flights and accommodation. These days, even other items like groceries and clothes also have dedicated price comparison websites. Check them out so you can ensure you’re getting a great deal.
10. Pay in Cash
It’s tempting to go overboard when shopping with a credit card. You don’t have to pay for it yet, but you get your items immediately. It’s not until the bills arrive that you start regretting your purchase. Prevent shopper’s regret and opt to pay only in cash when you shop.
11. Lower Your Utility Bills
It seems like something we should all know and be doing, but we often miss out on this. You don’t have to do something drastic like turn off your refrigerator, but simple acts can help you cut down on your utility bills. You can use the money for more important things, such as savings. Plus, you would be doing the environment a huge favor.
Here are little things you can do to lower your electricity costs:
- Turning off the lights when no one is in the room
- Switching off the TV when no one is watching
- Keeping the thermostat at a pretty reasonable level
12. Cancel Your Cable
A cable or satellite service would cost you about $50 to $200 per month, imagine where that money could go to instead? Do you still really need a cable service in this era of media streaming? Cut down the cords and consider subscribing to Netflix or Amazon Prime instead to get access to loads of TV series and movies you can watch at your own time.
13. Don’t Shop in Convenience Stores
Another seemingly non-obvious way to save money is by avoiding convenience stores. These stores make their profit by charging convenience fees. An additional dollar or two per item may not seem like a huge amount, but it can make a significant difference in expenses once it adds up.
14. Rent Out Your Room Through Airbnb
Reevaluate your home and see if you can live in your main bedroom and rent out the spare. If you might have more space than you need, then why not use the extra space to make some money? Rent out your extra room through Airbnb and you may just get enough earnings to pay for your rent or possibly even more!
15. Live in a Smaller House
Choosing a smaller house means less cleaning and less maintenance. Go for a house that has just enough space for you and your family. A simpler home requires much less maintenance which means a lot less headache and expenses.
16. Run Your Dishwasher Only When It’s Full
This may seem like an odd tip, but trust us, it works! Dishwashers are designed to work most efficiently when it’s full. If it’s half empty, you’re pretty much just wasting energy, water, and detergent. If you want a clean sink immediately but don’t have enough dirty dishes to fill up the dishwasher, you can just scrub it on your own.
17. Evaluate Your Paid Subscriptions
It’s quite easy to subscribe to certain stuff both online and offline and forget about them later. Double check on all your monthly subscriptions such as reading materials, premium memberships, websites, and more. You probably forgot about a lot of them by now but are still paying for them every month.
18. Use Cloud Storage
It’s understandably important to back up your files and keep them secured. Most people would buy a physical storage device to keep their files in. You can eliminate this expense and go for free cloud storages instead. There are tons of options out there such as Google Drive and DropBox. If you’re subscribed to Amazon Prime, you get unlimited storage for all your photos.
19. Have a Savings Contest
Now here’s a fun way to save money: make a contest out of it! Compete with your family or friends and see who can save the most in a month. Put in an incentive for the winner so people will take it seriously.
20. DIY on Gifts
The holidays are coming and you’re probably stressed out about all the additional expenses that come with it. Enjoy the holiday season without worrying about overbudgeting on gifts by making them yourself! DIY gifts are personal and thoughtful, so your friends and family will love them.
21. Share Streaming Accounts and Other Subscriptions
Have your own Netflix account? Why not slash the expense by half and share the subscription with your roommate, family, or friend? You can also share other subscriptions such as magazines or website memberships.
22. Skip on Buying a Car
It can be tempting to get yourself a new set of wheels when car companies are providing more payment options. Before you hit the shop just yet, think real hard on whether you really need it. There are a variety of ridesharing apps available as well as low-cost public transportation which can help you save money in the long run.
23. Plan Your Meals Ahead
Planning your meals for the week can help you come up with a list for your groceries and stop you from buying items you don’t need. Plus, if you already know what you’re going to eat in the next couple of days, it eliminates the temptation of eating out.
24. Check Out Free Preventive Health Screenings
If you have a dental or medical policy, there’s a good chance you’re entitled to free preventive health screening. This is one benefit you should take advantage of! Getting diagnosed early on or figuring out if you’re prone to a particular condition can help you prevent it and would cost you less than when you have to get treatment.
25. Follow the 30-Day Rule
When you have an urge to spend on something you think is just another luxury or unnecessary expense, stop yourself from reaching for your wallet immediately. Instead, write it down in a piece of paper or take a note in your phone. Get back to it after 30 days and see if you still want it.
26. Drop Bad Habits
Too much drinking, smoking, or even intake of sweets is not doing your body a favor. Try to compute how much you spend on your vices and you might be shocked by the figure you come up with. Just imagine how much you’ll save in a year by skipping all those bad habits. Both your body and your wallet will be thanking you!
27. Find a Cheaper Web Hosting Service
If you’re a blogger or use a website for your business, then web hosting is an expense you cannot avoid. There are still ways you can cut down on this cost, though. For example, if you host more than one website, you can consider consolidating all of them onto a Virtual Private Server (VPS) rather than paying separately for each website hosting account.
28. Be Creative When it Comes to Entertainment
All work and no play is never good for anyone. You should definitely spare some money for recreation and fun, but you can still save while you’re at it! Consider staying in and bingeing on Netflix instead of having a movie date out. Throw a potluck dinner party with friends instead of eating out in an expensive restaurant. These options are just as fun but will cost you much less.
For some family fun, stay in and play some games! There are a lot of card and board games available that are guaranteed to be fun for the whole family.
29. Get Your Own Library Card
You may be ignoring your local library, but there are tons of benefits to getting your own library card. For starters, you get to have access to a multitude of books, movies, magazines, and even newspapers. You can also get some work done in the library and save on buying yourself an expensive frappucino just so you can stay in a coffee house.
30. Buy Clothes You Can Use on Different Occasions
Buying new clothes isn’t always an avoidable luxury, sometimes, it’s an absolute must! We have to admit that even the most expensive clothes and shoes can be worn out over the years. If you plan to start replacing your old wardrobe, at least buy clothes you can use for several occasions. It’s also advisable to buy shoes that go with almost everything.
31. DIY on Home Products
Another way to save some money on unavoidable expenses is to DIY some home products. Many people have chosen to create their own shampoos, soaps, mouthwash, and even dish detergent and other cleaning aids. You can check out tutorials on YouTube and other blogs on how to go about it. If you love using essential oils, you can always add them to your DIY home products.
32. Brew Your Own Coffee
It’s tempting to just stop by your regular coffee house to get your daily dose of caffeine before heading off to work. Try to sit down and check your expenses on coffee before you do so though. You might realize you’re spending more than you should for a beverage. Cut on this cost without giving up your daily coffee by brewing one yourself. There are traveler or commuter coffee mugs available so you can still sip your coffee on-the-go.
33. Wait for Sales
If you have to absolutely buy a new item like a gadget or a dress, at least wait until it goes on sale. You don’t have to buy the latest iPhone the moment it comes out. Wait for the prices to start decreasing. You can also wait for Black Friday sales for your gadget upgrade. Just make sure to buy only what you need.
34. Shop After the Holidays
Prices of holiday merchandise go down significantly after the holidays have passed. Christmas tumblers, Easter toys, and other holiday-themed items are so much cheaper after their season. Plan ahead and buy them after the holidays and use them for the following year.
35. Bring Your Own Bag
Some stores charge extra for the paper or plastic bag. This may not seem like a big difference, but you’ll be surprised when you realize how much it can add up to. There are stores such as Whole Foods, Target, and others that offer incentives for bringing in your own bag. It can be cash back or discounts, or even an entry for a raffle. You can bring your own canvas bag when you shop and lessen your waste. An added plus is you’ll be helping out the environment too!
36. Opt for a Free Haircut
A professional hairstylist can charge a lot for cutting your hair. You can get good grooming and still save up by having a student or intern do it for you. Students will seize the opportunity to practice and can give you a huge discount or even do it for free.
37. Shop on Amazon and Other Online Stores
It may seem unusual for money saving tips to mention shopping, but let’s face it, with the holidays coming up it’s pretty unavoidable. Try shopping for gifts through Amazon or other online shops instead of going to the malls yourself.
First, you will save up on gas or transportation money. You will also be less tempted to impulse buy on stuff you randomly see in malls, and you won’t be tempted to eat out. Plus, it’s so convenient since you’ll have the stuff delivered directly to your home.
Learn money saving tips from America’s most frugal mom in this video from Inside Edition:
Saving money can be tricky, especially when you rely so much on debit and credit cards. With all the student loans to pay for and future dreams to fulfill, it’s important to save money in even the simplest ways. We hope these money saving tips and ideas help you save up on all your holiday-related expenses this year!
Any more ideas on ways to save money? Let us know in the comments section!