We’re all looking for more ways to save money. My guess is, you’re probably 1 of 3 people:
- You’re overwhelmed and struggling to make ends meet. You have no plan for your finances, but you’re determined to get started.
- You have a plan in place and it’s working. You’re well on your way to saving, but you’re open to learning something new.
- Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle. You kinda have your act together, but you’ve got room for improvement and know you need to make some changes.
Full disclosure, I’m in that third group.
No matter where you’re at I want to help.
I put together this massive list of 150 ways to save money to help you seriously cut expenses and skyrocket your savings. Spread throughout this list, you’ll get to see what some of the brightest minds in the finance blogosphere had to contribute. Their advice is gold and comes from years of experience.
If you can apply a handful of new ways to save money, then you’ll be that much closer to reaching your goals.
Want the 14,000 word PDF?
2018 is the year of mega posts for PF Geeks.
Each month I'll be writing up a post that truly is the best thing on the internet for the topic.
My goal here at PF Geeks is simple. I want to help average people manage their money so they can accomplish their above average dreams for life. My heart is really set on helping people live a more fulfilling life, where they can find and live out their life purpose.
Money is only a tool to accomplish your life purpose. It is a means to an end, but it’s also the place you have to start.
Enough introduction, it’s time to share my full list of 150 ways to save money. I’ve split them all up into 11 major sections.
150 Proven Ways to Save Money
- 150 Proven Ways to Save Money
- 17 Habits & Mindsets That Will Help You Save Money (and live a better life)
- 23 EASY Ways to Save Money on Groceries
- 14 Budget Tips That Will Save You Money Every Month
- 19 Effective Ways to Save Money On Housing Expenses
- 9 Ways to Increase Your Income (when you can’t cut any more)
- 22 Awesome Ways to Save Money with Discounts and Cashback
- 7 Powerful Ways to Save Money on Banking & Investing
- How to Save Money on Transportation: 8 Tips
- 11 Effective Ways to Save Money on Education
- 9 Random Money Saving Tips to Ramp up your Savings
- Next Steps
This post may contain affiliate links
My 11 Favorite, Highest Impact Money Saving Tips
When it comes to dealing with money, I’m HUGE on automation. The less time and work I personally have to do to save, the better. There are a number of ways to automate your saving and investing. If you want to remove yourself from the equation, figure out how to automate your finances.
“Automation is paramount when it comes to saving money. It’s the wingman to our cash who keeps us from making that bad decision. How often have you heard the story or done it yourself when you received a pay increase you impulsively think of ways to spend the additional money? If you instead automated the saving of it, you can quickly build wealth, and continue to live just the way you were before the increase.”
2. Expense Ratio
An expense ratio is simply the yearly cost of investing in a mutual fund, index fund, or exchange traded fund (ETF). The problem is that these fees are sneaky. You don’t notice them because the gains in the
market cover up the fees you are paying.
There really isn’t any way to get around this expense ratio. Every fund has one. But it is critical that you make sure you aren’t paying more than you need to. If the expense ratio is higher than it needs to be, then it will significantly drag down your portfolio’s return.
If you want more info, check out my Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Expense Ratio.
3. Stop Investing on Your Own
Most casual investors are absolutely terrible at keeping pace with the stock market. The last report I read showed that the average investor earns an average of 4.3% per year while the stock market has averaged 11.65% over the same period of time.
If you really want to make the most of all the money you are saving, then STOP investing on your own.
BUT don’t run to the nearest financial services company and pay them to do it either.
Here are 3 incredible resources to learn how to invest on your own.
4. Pre-Tax Savings
One of the best ways to save money is to use pre-tax income to put away as much as you can into your investment vehicles. If you have access to a 401k, 403b, or a 457 through your employer, take advantage of it! If you’re already maxing them out, then you can open up a traditional IRA as well depending on your income level.
“The best way to save is to save FIRST. Before you see money in the bank, fill up your 401k or IRA with as much as you can – especially pre-taxed dollars. Pre-tax dollars will lower your taxable income and set you up for a wonderful retirement. And, make it automatic so you don’t even have to think about it.”
5. Buy a Used Car
Buying a used car rather than brand new is by far one of the easiest ways to save money. Cutting your coffee habit, turning off the lights at home, and packing a lunch for work are great daily habits that add up over time, but their immediate impact is less noticeable.
Buying a used car will save you thousands of dollars.
Kelan and Brittany, The Savvy Couple
“One of the biggest financial mistakes people make is purchasing new cars. Financing a depreciating asset is a great way to keep yourself in financial ruin. Purchase a reliable used car, learn basic DIY maintenance, and always shop around for major repairs. Just remember a $1,000 in car repairs each year is cheaper than that $250/month car payment.”
“Driving reliable used cars in my 20’s was the easiest way to save tons of money. Focus on all the other great parts of life in your 20’s and avoid the car envy. Invest the money you are saving each month and drive your dream car later in life. Time in the market is so important, start early!”
7. The $1 Per Pound Rule
Of the 30+ tips I received from personal finance bloggers, this one was probably the most unique. It comes from a new blogger friend of mine, Jillian, mom of 5 kids who is all about intentional living and this is how she was able to cut $7,000 a year on their grocery bill!
Spend $1 per pound of food on all your groceries.
Jillian, Montana Money Adventures
“The basic premise is most of the food you should buy is $1 a pound or less. Crazy right?
Often the food clocking in under $1 a pound is exactly what we should be eating more of. It’s real food. Fruit, veggies, whole grains, beans, eggs. And all the food that we probably ought to be eating less of is conveniently more than a $1 a pound. Processed foods, sweets, condiments, meat or cheese.”
8. Doing a No-Spend Month
This money saving tip comes from one of my fellow finance bloggers, Angela. She has been blogging for 6 months and I love how real and personal she gets on her blog. Since following her, I’ve seen a number of people doing “No Spend Months”.
The goal is simple: Spend as little money as possible.
Angela Rozmyn, Tread Lightly, Retire Early
“We have always been good savers, but after a summer of seemingly endless unexpected expenses, I knew we had to take tighter control on our finances. Enter the “no spend” month. I set ourselves a limit of $1500 ($50/day) for anything outside of our mortgage and daycare. I expected to blow through this budget thanks to a planned vacation to Hawaii, but I wanted to start right away instead of waiting until the right time. Imagine my shock at the end of the month when we calculated our savings rate – it had doubled.”
8. Cut Your Own Hair
This is probably easier for guys to put into practice. Stop paying $20-30 + tip to get your haircut when you can do it yourself, saving time and money.
It’s easy. Saves time. Saves money. And I can do it at home.
“For 15 years, I’ve been cutting my own hair. Ok, sounds lame, and everyone lists this as a cost saving idea, right? Let’s look at the numbers. Let’s assume I’d have paid $20/haircut and would have gotten my hair cut every three weeks. Doing the math, that says I’ve avoided 260 haircuts @ $20 each, for a total of $5,200. Ok, it cost me ~$80 in the two razors I’ve bought, so my net benefit is only $5,120. More importantly, I save the time required to drive to a barber, and I can cut my hair when it fits my schedule.”
9. Come Up With a Weekly Ultra Cheap Meal
If you are trying to save money on food then this has to be one of the best hacks out there. My advice is to spend some time coming up with 4-6 ultra cheap meals that you can rotate through.
Here are 5 of my go-to recipes:
- Rockin’ 5 Ingredient Sweet Potato Turkey Chili Recipe
- Our Epically Frugal Lunch Recipe
- Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork
- Life Changing Instant Pot Beef Stew
- Italian Drip Beef Sandwiches
10. Prioritize Making Money
There’s no question that before you can save money, you’ve got to find ways to make money. It is so important to keep costs low and live frugally, but at some point you’ll find a better ROI by looking for ways to boost your earning ability.
I LOVE what the blogger, 99to1percent had to say about this.
“In order to save money, you first have to make money. We recommend:
- Researching the best paying companies
- Having a killer resume
- Negotiating your salary
- Changing companies every few years
- Contracting if possible. Contracting allows to charge a very high rate and for every minute you work
- Side hustling
- Reaching out to successful people/mentors and ask for guidance
- Paying it forward by helping other people
Using these strategies, we have been able to increase our income from $0 to $160K to $400K, and live on only 15% of our income. The rest is spent on paying the mortgage down faster, investing and giving.
We welcome anybody who might have any questions, to reach out to us through our blog. We reply to every email, tweet or comment. Thanks!”
11. Buy Stuff That Lasts
One of my favorite ways to save money is to only buy things that last. For a while I was always focused on getting the best deal possible to save money but inevitably, 6 months later the clothes, shoes, or furniture was already falling apart.
One of my favorite places to find awesome, durable products is BuyMeOnce, a website all about helping you find products that will last.
Marissa, The Budgeting Wife
“I save money by spending money on products that are going to last. Rather than buying poor quality products that I have to keep purchasing over and over again, I’ll spend a little more on something that is nice quality and will last longer. From buying a crockpot that will save me on meal costs over time, or saving on the cost of cable by purchasing an Amazon Fire TV Stick or Roku. I’d rather buy nice than be wasteful and buy twice.”
17 Habits & Mindsets That Will Help You Save Money (and live a better life)
12. Adopt a Long-Term Perspective
Everyone wants to get rich quick, make a lot of money tomorrow, and be financially independent in a year.
If you want to save money, build wealth, and live a generous life it takes time to get there. The key is to remember that every choice and step you take today will help you tomorrow.
13. Avoid Lifestyle Inflation
Avoiding lifestyle inflation is one of the cornerstone mindset shifts of those who are on the fast track to wealth.
“After pouring through data from thousands of people, one thing is clear: the more money you make the more you spend. By avoiding lifestyle inflation year over year, you can increase your savings rate and retire earlier. The key to avoiding the lifestyle inflation trap for me was to track my spending in every category over time. By looking at this, it becomes crystal clear when I’m spending more than I intended – giving me an opportunity to adjust my spending before it goes off track.”
14. Visual Reminders of Your Debt Payoff
When you are paying off debt, one of the best ways to stay motivated is to create visual reminders of your debt payoff progress. When everything is done online, sometimes keeping a physical reminder can make it feel more “real”.
15. Calculate Purchases by Hours Worked Instead of Cost
One of the most powerful mindset shifts in the early retirement blog community is seeing purchases not only in terms of dollars paid, but also by how many hours you worked to be able to make that purchase.
16. Keep Compound Interest in Mind
Everyone knows how big of an impact compound interest is when it comes to building wealth! The secret to saving for retirement is to get as much money as possible invested as early as possible.
“So what’s the best way to get your head in the saving game? I recommend always keeping the magic of compound interest in mind. Sure, you could spend that money today. Alternatively, you could invest it, then sit back and watch its value climb.
Suddenly, the decision on whether to spend or save just became a lot easier!”
17. Think Big
This tip comes from one of my favorite bloggers, Physician on FIRE. It’s good to focus on all of the small, daily habits that add up, but only after you’ve taken care of some of the major areas of spending.
These are the things that can bust your budget. An expensive home costs more to heat, cool, maintain, and improve. Property taxes are higher. You might get your money back when it’s time to sell, but as many of us learned in the last decade, that is not always the case. Cars depreciate the moment they leave the lot. Public school tuition is 100% less than private school tuition. Owning two of anything rarely makes you twice as happy as having one.”
This money saving tip comes from Chris and Jaime at Keep Thrifty! I know I struggle with being patient, but the truth is a little bit of waiting can save some serious money!
Chris & Jaime, Keep Thrifty
“By waiting to buy things you want (but don’t need), you can get them at significantly reduced prices or even free. Technology items are a great example; phones and computers prices often drop 50% within the first year. Beyond this, waiting to watch movies and read books can mean getting them for free from the library instead of paying tons to watch in the theater or get the hardcover.” Patience is the Ultimate Passive Income
19. Stay Motivated
If you want to save money over the long-run, you’ve got to find your motivation. Anyone can stick to a budget for a couple of weeks, but those who can stick to the plan for years on end will find themselves financially healthy.
Money isn’t the goal. It is a tool to create the life you want.
You’ve got to find what matters to you. What are your goals? What are your dreams?
“Saving money is about motivation. The key is to define what you are saving for. When faced with a purchasing decision, you need to compare the cost and value of the item to your savings goals. I value my savings goals higher than most of what’s available to buy today. That’s why I’m very happy to siphon any extra money I earn straight into investments.”
20. Prioritize Retirement
At the end of the day, you won’t be able to borrow your way through retirement. Rather than prioritize luxury cars and lavish houses, we are putting our money where we need it most.
21. Quit Your Bad Habits
One of the best ways to save money is to identify habits that can build on each other to accomplish multiple goals at once. Excessive drinking, smoking, dipping, and overeating are just a handful of bad habits that 1) cost money and 2) are bad for your health.
22. Make Saving Money Fun
If you’re new to budgeting, then one of the best ways to save money is to have fun doing it!
“Make saving money fun. Create a fun game such as using a swear jar and putting a dollar in every time you say a bad word. Or, come up with another idea like putting $1 into the jar every time you’re handed back a $1 bill. Over time, this will add up and can be put toward debt, a vacation, or whatever you’re saving for!”
23. Track Your Net Worth
I tell anyone willing to listen that tracking their net worth can be one of the most helpful monthly practices. The truth is, what gets measured, gets improved. If you don’t know where you are, then how can you know where to go?
My wife and I didn’t get serious about saving and budgeting until we realized how little of our income we were actually saving.
There are some awesome online tools that make tracking your net worth incredibly easy. Personal Capital is the favorite by most bloggers in the personal finance space. We just signed up and you should too!
24. Keep the Kitchen Clean
There’s nothing worse than wanting to cook a meal, but having to spend 20-30 minutes emptying the dishwasher and loading it again. Rosemarie Groner’s Budget Bootcamp has a whole section all about how this one habit is key to getting your food spending under control. When your kitchen looks messy, it is much more tempting to just eat out another meal.
25. Monthly Spending Review
At the end of each month, take some time to review your monthly spending. What categories did you go over on? Did you manage to save on any?
Make adjustments to your budget and adapt your spending as needed.
26. Pocket Your Frugal Wins
This ties right in with your spending review. If you have a few categories that you underspent on such as food or entertainment, then save that difference!
If you paid cash for a vacation, then take that week’s worth of food budget and use it to chip away at your loans or put the extra money into savings.
27. Set Goals
There’s no doubt that setting goals can put some fire in your belly to stick to your saving plan. The key is to set long-term goals, break them down into shorter, more achievable steps, and then figure out what daily, weekly, and monthly steps are needed.
The key to financial goal setting is to break down your goals between process and outcome. We all tend to focus our goals on what the outcome will be–in every area of life.
- Retire with $2 million dollars
- Save 20% for a house downpayment
- Get out of debt
- Lose 20 pounds
- Get 10,000 monthly visitors in blog traffic (maybe that’s just me)
- Read 25 books this year
- Spend more time reading the Bible
Those are all great goals! But they need to be broken down into the tasks and objectives that will actually drive results.
If you’re goal is to 25 books a year, then you need to read an average of 25 pages each day.
If my goal is to reduce my grocery spending by taking my lunch to work, then I need to meal prep each week.
Goal setting with the process in mind will help you clarify the exact steps needed to reach your target.
Three Steps to Better Goal Setting
- Make a list of your long and short-term goals
- Break each of them down into daily, weekly, or monthly processes or habits that will drive success
- Decide when you will take action on the systems needed in step 2.
“In my humble opinion, one of the best way to be able to save money is to define some goals as well as strategies to reach every single one of them. Instead of saying I want to save $5,000 dollars before next year, plan ahead some strategies and how you plan on reaching your goals. Having proper strategies tailored specifically for your goals is the key to reaching them, and even more when it comes to saving more money!”
28. Start a Dinner Club
It’s easy to make regular dinner outings part of your social life with friends. We have a monthly dinner club with three other couples. Rather than pay $40-50 every month, take turns hosting the group.
This alone saves us around $350 a year. Instead of going somewhere and dropping $40-50 each time, cook at home and invite everyone over!
23 EASY Ways to Save Money on Groceries
29. Eat Healthy
Most people automatically assume that eating healthy means a higher grocery bill. Sadly, they are mostly right if you only count the up-front costs. However, a poor diet will cost you much more down the road.
“Like money, our health is only as valuable as we make it. A diet full of junk food costs you well beyond the initial purchase since the foods you eat can have a dramatic impact on how you look and feel (your mood, energy levels, skin, hair, etc.), as well as how you age. An unhealthy diet, even for people at a healthy weight, is associated with significant health risks which can cause serious illness and even death. On top of that, it typically takes more calorie-dense junk food to fill you up versus eating more nutrient-dense foods, so you end up eating more calories and spending more money.
By taking steps towards a healthy lifelong diet, full of nutrient-dense foods versus calorie-dense foods, you’ll not only save money but also set yourself up for an active, strong, and healthy life for years to come.”
30. Meal Prepping
There’s no doubt that meal prepping is one of the most effective ways to make cut your spending by thousands of dollars every year. Stop paying $10 every day for lunch and start cooking your own meals.
Learning how to meal prep by checking out our Ultimate Meal Prep Guide to Save you Time and Money.
“Frugal living gets a bum reputation when it comes to meal planning. While it’s certainly true that I love oatmeal, my husband and I eat meals that are full of variety and only spend about $200 a month on groceries. We also eat pretty healthfully. The trick was switching over slowly and being more strategic about where we shop.”
Ibotta is an app that can save you money on all of your grocery spending! Check out the list of offers they’ve got and see how you can start saving money today. My wife and I just started using them and we’re excited to report back soon on what our experience is like!
Sign up here and get a free $10 to start!
32. Cutting Out Alcohol
It’s not a bad thing to enjoy a drink from time to time, but if you are in crunch mode trying to save money then this should be one of the first places you cut.
33. Buy In-Season Produce
There’s no doubt that a diet rich with fresh fruit and vegetables can cost a bit more, but it doesn’t have to. When food is in season, there is simply more supply of it available and it costs less to keep fresh throughout the year.
“Most grocery stores will greatly discount whatever produce is in season, because they have a lot of it and it needs to sell before it goes bad. Pay attention to what is in season, and maybe try a new fruit or vegetable you’ve never had that’s on sale. You may have found a cheap new favorite!”
34. Make Your Own Coffee
As a student it can be tempting to hit up coffee shops to fuel those long study sessions. Trust me, we’re on the same page. Coffee shops are where I get some of my best work done and at times the extra few bucks is worth the change of environment.
That being said, it is a total waste of money. If you are in debt payoff or prevention mode then don’t pay $4-5 for overpriced coffee when you can make your own for about 15 cents a cup.
Personal note: I’m a huge fan of cold brew since it is less acidic and typically has more caffeine. I started making my own at home using this cold brew maker and it has been a huge money saver for me. Every batch I make saves me $15-20.
35. Don’t Throw Away Food
The average American throws away over $640 worth of food every single year. The easiest way to do this is to plan out your meals ahead of time and only buy what you need.
36. Stop Buying Bottled Water
A bottle of water from a gas station or grocery store is going to run you on average $1.22 a pop. I get it, sometimes you want the convenience. Just know that you’re paying 300x too much for that water. Get on amazon and buy yourself a nalgene or other refillable bottle. You’ll save money and help the environment.
37. Ditch Sodas/Drinks at Restaurants
Saving $2 on soda won’t make you wealthy, but avoiding the worthless calories will keep you healthy. Why waste the money?
38. Buy Rotisserie Chicken
This is an easy way to save money on protein! You know those delicious rotisserie chickens that most grocery stores carry? At Kroger you can get them for half off after 7:30 pm. At Whole Foods, they offer half off every Wednesday and Wal-Mart makes their chickens every 3 hours so if you score on the right hour you could walk out with a $1.99 chicken.
If you eat a lot of protein week to week, this is an awesome way to save a lot of money over the course of a year.
39. Unit Price for Food
One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries is by looking carefully at the quantity of food you’re getting for the price. If you’re trying to eat healthy, then you definitely want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.
40. Eat Less Meat
Meat is generally the most expensive source of protein. Eating lots of chicken, beef, and fish can quickly rack up the grocery bill. Reduce your spending by adding beans, rice, and vegetables to stretch your meat consumption.
Here are 3 Meatless Recipes that taste great and are cheap!
41. Load Up When Meat Goes on Sale
I have a personal goal that I try to never pay full-price for meat. If you’re willing to test out new cuts or protein sources you can almost always find one that is on sale. When they do, load up while you can.
42. Buy Meat as ¼ Cow
If you know someone with a farm or ranch this is another great way to get high quality meat for much cheaper than you can find in stores. This takes buying in bulk to a new level, but if you’ve got the freezer space and the cash up front, you can usually end up with a couple hundred pounds of meat.
43. Shop at Cheaper Stores
Research the grocery stores in your area to find the best pricing.
The blog, Root of Good, recently published a controversial article outlining that Costco is actually less cost effective than most people think! If you’re a Costco member, you should definitely take a read.
Costco Costs More: A Cautionary Tale of Bulk Buying Gone Wrong
“Nothing was cheapest at Costco… I went on a search for things that are great values at Costco. I mostly came up empty-handed but did notice a few things.”
44. Get 2 Meals Worth When You Eat Out
It should go without saying that if you want to save money on food you shouldn’t be eating out. But let’s be real… life happens. One thing my wife and I do is intentionally try to stretch our meals out into two meals.
45. Don’t Grocery Shop When You’re Hungry
Unless you have the discipline of a navy seal, grocery shopping when you’re hungry is just a bad idea. It’s like a buffet. Your eyes are bigger than your stomach, or in this case, your stomach AND your wallet. You end up buying way more than you need.
46. Use InstaCart
These days, most grocery stores offer the option to have your food delivered or pick-up ready. This usually comes at a small fee, but if it means you only buy exactly what you plan to eat, then chances are the money you spend will be worth it!
Anissa Watkins, Moe Tips
“Grocery budget- I recently polled the FI community about methods used to save money at the grocery store. One person told me that she had her food delivered. I tried it and spent $40 less than what I would normally spend! Shopping on line helped because it prevented me from aimlessly grabbing things off the shelves without a list. Winning!”
47. Have a Monthly “Clean Out the Pantry” Week
If you’re anything like me, your pantry tends to accumulate stuff. Most pantry items have a long shelf-life but that doesn’t mean they last forever! Go through your pantry and freezer items at the end of each month and use what you can.
48. Get a Slow Cooker
I don’t know of a kitchen gadget that is more useful than a slow cooker. Turn it on before you leave for work, dump in your ingredients, and come home to the wonderful smells of an already made dinner.
The great thing about slow cookers is that the recipes tend to be extremely low budget.
Here’s the one we use!
49. Make a List Before You Go Shopping (and stick to it!)
The biggest grocery killer for most people is simply buying what you don’t need. This starts with failing to actually plan out your meals for the week. One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries is to make a list before you get to the store. Only buy what you are planning to eat for the week.
50. Lose Weight
When trying to find ways to save money most people don’t consider their weight, but it might be the best place to start. Maintaining a lower body weight is one way to cut costs on groceries.
Plus, a healthy person is typically a sign of a healthy bank account:
- Workers who exercise regularly make on average 9% more than those who don’t. Source
- The lifetime cost of obesity is around $92,500. Source
Read more: The Costs of Being Fat, in Actual Dollars
51. Keep Convenience Items on Hand
This semester my wife and I have started keeping a few quick & easy meals on hand at home. Sure, it’s better to cook budget friendly, healthy meals. But sometimes we just don’t have time. Sometimes we’re just lazy.
This happens all the time. I get caught in this frustrating limbo where I’m too lazy to cook, but too frugal to eat out.
2 Easy Meals to Make at Home
They are both dirt cheap and won’t go bad sitting in your pantry.
14 Budget Tips That Will Save You Money Every Month
52. Make a Budget
If you’ve never taken the time to put together a budget, then please. For your sake. Make a budget. If you don’t have a set budget, then you likely have no earthly idea how much you are actually overspending each month.
53. Track Your Budget
I bet this seems obvious, but this step is truly where the magic happens. This is where the difference is made between those who crush their debt by paying it off way ahead of schedule and those who spend half of their life paying off student loans.
Once you have a budget made, you actually have to track it. Your budget won’t be perfect the first time you put it together. You will forget things like vehicle registrations, wedding gifts, drivers license renewal, oil changes, replacing your phone, or getting sick.
There are great programs and apps that can let you do this for free or cheap.
54. Mint / YNAB
Please do yourself a favor. Sign up for a budgeting program or software like Mint or You Need a Budget. Sign up, link your bank accounts, create a budget, and then do an expense review at the end of each month.
Both of the programs are great and have cult-like followings. We use the free version of Mint and absolutely love it. YNAB is a paid app, but is free for the first year if you verify that you are a student.
If you hate modern technology and want to make your life harder than it needs to be, print off your bank statements and do all of this manually.
At the end of the day, the best choice for you is whichever one will help you stick to and follow your budget.
“The best way to save money is to know where your money is coming from and where it’s going. You can’t save money you don’t have, and you won’t have it if you’re not tracking it. Tracking your money is the foundation of building a solid financial future, period. Personally, I use YNAB to track all of my expenses and budget every single dollar. If you’re serious about saving money, but you’re not tracking it, then you’re not serious.”
55. Avoid Gimmicky Saving Apps
Saving apps like Acorns can be a great way for budgeting rookies or major spenders to save money, but if you want to really accelerate your ability to save, you need to make a plan and stick to it.
I love what one of one of my blogging idols, Jeff has to say about these…
“Instead of relying on “rounding up” apps to help you save, set actual goals. Putting money away 50 cents at a time isn’t going to make a meaningful dent in your savings (especially once you factor in the fees of many savings apps).
Instead, set weekly or monthly savings goals and automate the process. Many banks let you set up automations to transfer from checking to savings on a set schedule.”
The team at DollarSprout recently put together an incredible article with 19 Legitimate Ways to Earn Extra Money From Home. If you’re trying to make money online then you definitely need to check them out.
56. Monthly Allowance
The key here is to set a monthly limit on your guilt-free spending while keeping every other area of your budget in line. Save money everywhere and then spend money on the things that matter most to you.
57. Debt-Paydown Strategy
If you’re loaded down with debt, then you need to come up with a strategy to pay it off.
If you’re loaded down with different kinds of debt then check out this awesome guide, How To Get Out Of Debt On Your Own. The best debt payoff strategy is ultimately the one that you will stick with.
58. Have an Emergency Fund
Sometimes life decides to punch you in the face. Emergency funds help shoulder the blow. If you are trying to avoid taking on student loans, then the last thing you want to do is take on more debt. The amount you keep set aside is up to you.
The riskier your situation, the bigger of an emergency fund I would have. Dependent on one income? Living on a razor thin budget just to get by? Have kids? Those are all reasons to increase your safety net.
If you have an emergency fund, make sure to read tip #116 to find out the best place to keep your money!
59. Budget for Vehicles
Car maintenance is my budget killer. New tires, new batteries, new brakes, water pump, timing belt, replacing an axle(Yes, I know this should never happen…). Those are just a handful of the things we’ve paid for over the last two years. None of them were budgeted or planned for.
That’s no longer the case. We now set aside money each month for future, major car maintenance. Depending on your mechanic or shop, the ability to pay cash can definitely get you a discount.
60. House Maintenance
When it comes to housing expenses we are fortunate to still be renting. But like vehicles, houses take work. Set money aside each month into your emergency fund. DIY everything you can and pay cash for the rest.
The better job you do at maintaining the condition of your home, the less you’ll have to spend down the road.
61. Don’t Take on Consumer Debt (car, credit, etc)
Debt 101: If you are trying to avoid debt then don’t take on new debt.
If you are trying to aggressively pay down your student loans, then don’t finance a new car, phone, tv, mattress, or anything else you think you need.
Credit cards aren’t evil, but in the hands of a spender they are incredibly dangerous. If you can make your payments each month and treat your credit card like a debit card.
If you want to learn how to use a credit card properly, check out Debitize, the next tip!
62. Debitize App
Debitize is this awesome app that helps you treat your credit card like a debit card. If you want to build up your credit score, earn travel rewards, or get some cash back then you need to be using credit cards.
Credit card companies make some money when you spend money. But they really make their profit when people spend way more than they actually have and get stuck with high interest credit card debt.
Debitize keeps that from happening in a simple, yet genius way.
You link your credit card and checking account to an account with Debitize. Whenever you make purchases on your credit card, they will automatically deduct that amount and at the end of the month, they use that money to pay off your credit card.
63. Set Up a Sinking Fund
Sinking funds are a great way to automate your finances and plan for major expenses coming up. If you know you’re going to spend $600 on Christmas every year, then starting setting aside $50 each month so that it won’t be such a shock when the time comes.
Mint automates all of this for us. It takes us about 15 minutes to go through each of our budget categories to make sure that everything went to the right place.
Check out my full guide on sinking funds: What is a Sinking Fund? The Key to Smart Budgeting
64. Stop Making Impulse Purchases
Most people who have problems with money usually have problems with discipline. One of my best money saving tips is to stop making impulse purchases. These can add up over time and greatly impact your ability to save money.
65. Go through Rosemarie Groner’s Budget Bootcamp
If you haven’t found your way to Rosemarie Groner’s website, Busy Budgeter, then you are seriously missing out! She is a huge inspiration for my own blog. About six months ago, I signed up for her 90 Day Budget Bootcamp and it was seriously life changing.
Over the course of 90 days Rosemarie will take you step-by-step through the exact steps that helped her family become debt-free. If you want to take major & effective steps to reduce your expenses, sign up today.
19 Effective Ways to Save Money On Housing Expenses
66. House Hacking
Want to live for free?
Enter house hacking.
“My favorite way to save BIG money is something called House Hacking. Housing expenses, whether rent or mortgage payments, are among the biggest personal expenses we have. House Hacking is a way to reduce or even eliminate your housing payment. You do this by renting out part of the home you live in. This could be spare bedrooms rented out on Airbnb, a basement or garage apartment rental at your house, or living in a small multi-family building and renting spare units.
The beauty of this approach is that you benefit from owner occupant financing, which often has lower down payments and great interest rates and terms. And if you live in the house hack for a few years and decide to move, you can then keep it as a rental long-term that will have a better chance of cash flowing.”
67. Pay Your Mortgage Off Early
Putting extra money into your principal each month will save huge amounts of interest over time and help you build up equity much quicker. You’ll want to weigh the options of investing versus making extra mortgage payments.
68. Live Somewhere Cheaper
Everyone knows that living expenses account for the majority of people’s spending. If you can find a way to earn a high salary in a lower cost of living area, you’ll find that your ability to save will dramatically increase.
“The greatest cost saving move Mrs. Groovy and I ever made was leaving high cost New York for low cost North Carolina. By leveraging geoarbitrage, we went from barely saving any money, to saving more than 50% of our gross household income. To say we’re huge fans of geoarbitrage would be an understatement. However, realizing many people are not in a position to relocate, I’m also a proponent of what I call spatial arbitrage – that is, going smaller with your living space. If you’re tied to your current zip code, moving from a larger house or apartment to a smaller one can make a big difference in your expenses. And this can be achieved with just a little creative thinking.”
69. Cut Cable or Find an Alternate
Stop paying $125 a month for cable. Being frugal isn’t always easy, but at the end of the day it comes down to opportunity costs. Cutting cable is by far one of the most effective ways to save money.
Take the $125 you’re saving, put it in an index fund earning 7% and after 30 years you’ll have an extra $150,000 sitting in your bank account.
If you think cable is absolutely necessary then check out either of these step by step guides to watch TV for cheap.
Adam Hagerman’s 17+ Cable TV Alternatives–How to Save Money and Enjoy Life
Married with Money’s We Cut the Cord (Kind of)
Rob, Mustard Seed Money
“One of the best ways to save money is to cut down on the amount of time that you spend watching television. By reducing your TV time, you’ll reduce your electric bill. You could also lower your cable bill by reducing or dropping certain TV subscriptions. You would also spend less time watching commercials, which send you messages to spend frivolously at times. With the free time you gain by not watching TV, you could exercise and make more money.”
70. Republic Wireless
Want to stop paying $60 a month for your phone bill? Make the switch to Republic Wireless and start saving today. You can get a plan for as low as $20 a month.
Note: My wife and I have not done this yet as we are locked into a contract with AT&T!
71. Buy in Bulk
There’s no doubt that buying in bulk can save you money. But don’t rush out to go drop $500 at your nearest Costco. Take some time to figure out what items you buy regularly that have significant cost savings in bulk. You also have to consider how much space you have to store items.
72. Get a Roommate
Housing expenses typically make up around 30% of take-home pay. One way to reduce this is by getting a roommate to split rent.
A typical 1 bedroom apartment in Houston, TX runs around $1,000 while a 2 bedroom only costs $1,300 total or $650 each. This one change alone could free up $350 every single month.
73. Use Half the Supplies (cleaner, shampoo, detergent, etc.)
An easy way to save a few extra bucks each month is to start using half amounts of typical products such as soap, toothpaste, detergent and other similar household items.
74. Become a DIY Champion
Any product or service you buy is going to be marked up to make someone else a profit. Whether you are buying furniture, having your car battery replaced, creating your own plan for retirement, or picking up some crafts from Hobby Lobby, you are paying a premium.
The best thing about developing some DIY skills is that they are often repeatable. Learn how to replace your battery once, and you’ll never pay someone to do it again.
You get the satisfaction of working with your hands to create something and the added bonus of saving money.
75. Install CFL Light Bulbs
If you want to save a bit of money in your home, then start buying CFL or LED light bulbs. They require less energy so you save on electricity and you won’t have to replace them nearly as often.
Consumer Reports estimates that you can save as much as $57 per bulb over the life of your CFL bulb.
76. Get a Quality Home Inspector
There are a few things in life that are absolutely worth paying the money for and a home inspector is one of them. Paying a couple extra hundred bucks for an inspector with a good reputation who will put in the time can save you thousands of dollars if they catch any major repairs that are needed.
77. Downsize Your Living Space
Moving to a smaller apartment, townhouse, or house can greatly reduce your monthly living costs. When my wife and I moved from a 2 bedroom townhouse to a 1 bedroom, we ended up saving around $600/month.
Not to mention, with a smaller living space you need less furniture, less decorations, and you pay less in utilities.
78. Put 20% Down and Avoid PMI
If you’re looking to buy a house any time soon, put 20% down so that you can avoid paying private mortgage insurance, PMI for short.
PMI usually costs between 0.5-1% of the entire loan on an annual basis split into monthly payments. This means that on a 200,000 loan you’d be paying up to $166/month just to insure your loan. The worst part about PMI is that it doesn’t go towards your principal.
79. Heat / AC
Raising or lowering the temperature by just a few degrees can save as much as 10% off your monthly bill. The bigger your living space, the more money you can save each month.
The next several tips will give you some more specific ways to save money on your electric bill. You can also check out this awesome post by Dollars and Dividends for a list of 10 more ways to save money on your AC bill.
80. Programmable Thermostat
If you’re willing to invest in a programmable thermostat like Nest or Honeywell then you may be able to decrease your electricity bill anywhere from 10-30%. It costs some money up front, but you’ll recoup the amount you spent after a few months depending on your current bill.
81. House Filters
Filters for your house are one of those small maintenance items that most people overlook. Replacing these monthly will keep your system working at peak efficiency. We buy ours on Amazon Subscribe & Save. We don’t have to worry about buying them each month or remembering what the right size is.
82. Turn Off All Lights
Turning off the lights in your house is one of those small daily habits that can save you a tiny bit of money every day.
83. Insulate & Find Air Leaks
If you have a sky-high electricity bill then there is a good chance the place you live is poorly insulated. Buy some spray insulation and make sure your attic is completely sealed.
You’ll also want to check your external doors and windows to make sure they are completely sealed. Doing this will keep your hard earned money from being wasted.
84. Surge Protector
Even when appliances aren’t being used, they can suck up electricity. If you don’t want to unplug everything constantly then buying a cheap surge protector is an easy way to save time and money.
9 Ways to Increase Your Income (when you can’t cut any more)
At some point you can only cut costs so much–boosting your income might be the answer to making ends meet month to month.
“My top tip to save more money would be to find ways to make extra money. And, everyone has extra time to make money too. The average person watches over 30 hours of TV a week and if you can just claim back half of those hours, you will be able to make a good amount of extra money.
This extra money can help you to pay off your debt earlier, save more money for retirement, go on your next vacation, and more. Plus, whether you have just one free hour each day or if you are willing to work 40 to 50 hours a week on top of your full-time job, there are many options for you when it comes to the different ways to earn extra money.”
85. Ask for a Raise
The easiest path to wealth for most people is to work hard at a normal job, save 40-60% of their salary, and invest it over time, letting compound gains do the heavy lifting.
If you want to increase your ability to save money, then you have two options to speed this up:
- Cut more expenses
- Increase your income
If you were able to get a one-time $5,000 raise & save it each year, your lifetime savings would be nearly $500,000 higher with annual returns of 7%. If you want to know how, check out this incredible resource by Ramit Sethi: The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Raise & Boosting Your Salary. I used his advice and was able to negotiate a starting salary 10% above what was initially offered.
86. Surveys / Swagbucks
Swagbucks is essentially a rewards program where you can earn points, gift cards, and cash by watching videos, taking surveys, and doing the things you already do every day online.
It sounds scammy, but to date, Swagbucks has already paid out over $243,157,016 in cash and free gift cards.
If you use my referral you can get a free $5 to get started.
87. Start a Blog
There’s no question that blogging can make serious money, but don’t expect to get there overnight. A number of the bloggers you’ve seen contribute to this list actually make money blogging. Some like TheSavvyCouple make a few thousand a month while others like Michelle Gardner make over a million a year.
That being said, you need to ignore the bloggers out there who are selling the dream that blogging is a get rich quick scheme.
If you do want to start a blog, then check out what my friend Pete McPherson has to say first. He has an incredibly valuable podcast and he tells it like it is.
Pete McPherson, Do You Even Blog
“STOP STARTING BLOGS TO TRY AND MAKE MONEY.
There are far easier ways to make side income (go mow grass or babysit or freelance), and if you’re looking to retire early and rich… stay in your day job, work hard, save 40-60% of your income, and invest.
Start blogs when you can’t shut-up about something. Money comes from that later, but it’s a long, hard grind.
If you’re a blogger and still reading, I recommend you start by listening to some of the most successful (seriously) bloggers on my long-form podcast.”
Have any teaching skills? Know english decently well? VIPKID is a program that offers American elementary education to Chinese students. could be your chance to earn an extra $20 an hour with a couple hours a day.
If you want to read a full review on VIPKID and one user’s experience, check out this Chelsea’s 6,000+ word review on how you can start teaching with VIPKID.
Babysitting for friends and family can easily earn you anywhere from $10-20 an hour. The best part is that once the kids go to sleep you can often use this time to work on side projects, study, or catch up on email.
The easiest way to get started? Join a couple of Mom groups on Facebook and make a pitch.
3 More Ways to Get Leads
- Ask your current clients to refer you out to their friends.
- If you are involved with a church, contact one of the admins and ask if there are any needs. Most churches hire nannies to take care of toddlers and babies during services.
- Put a flyer up at local coffee shops.
90. Pet Sitting / Dog Walking
Follow the exact same strategy above, but for people’s pets! If you love animals and have a flexible schedule, you could easily make $30-50 a day walking dogs, feeding them in mornings and evenings.
For pet sitting, use the strategies above during Summer, Christmas-time, Thanksgiving, and Spring Break.
This can be a great way to supplement your income. If you’re able to generate your own leads and clients, all the income you bring in is yours.
Sign-up with Rover to get started!
91. House Sitting
I’m not trying to beat the same drum over and over, but people will pay you serious money to watch their house while they are on vacation. When it comes to house sitting, you’re a lot more likely to get leads from people you already know or have a relationship with.
Start with babysitting or pet sitting, and then kindly let them know that you are always willing to house sit if they need it.
92. Social Media Marketing
These days every business knows they need to have an online presence, but many business owners don’t have the knowledge or experience to do it themselves. Want to start your own business?
Launch your own social media marketing agency. Reach out to local businesses in your area and offer them your expertise.
93. Pinterest Marketing
Honestly, I think setting up your own business that offers Pinterest marketing & coaching could be the best move for 2018. If I had any experience with Pinterest, I’d be all over this.
Blog owners all over the world are clamoring to set themselves up to get website traffic through Pinterest, but many of them don’t have the time to manage it themselves because they are so focused on creating content.
Check out what Kate Ahl is doing over at SimplePinMedia to get some ideas!
22 Awesome Ways to Save Money with Discounts and Cashback
94. Negotiate Your Bills
A great way to save a few extra bucks every month is to negotiate all of your current bills. It may surprise you, but nearly every bill you pay can be lowered.
Mike, Ninja Budgeter
“You might be surprised how much money you can save just by asking your service providers for a better deal. The cost of home, life and car insurance, cell phone, cable, internet and most other services can often be reduced with just a phone call. Rather than asking for a better deal, I like to inform them that their package no longer fits within my budget and I’m going to need something for less than (insert target price here). Many people don’t think to ask but I have successfully reduced many of my bills this way.”
95. Look into Insurance Savings
Every year or so you need to audit your insurance costs. It is easy for these to slowly rise over time, especially for vehicle and home insurance.
To lock in some savings on insurance follow these steps:
- Check your current rates
- Shop around at other companies to see their best offer
- Call your current provider and ask them to price-match.
Just remember, you’re talking to a real live person on the other end. Be nice. Be courteous. And if they are able to give you a deal, be thankful. If they can’t, just know that the customer service rep isn’t the one setting the policies.
This whole process only takes about 20 minutes and can save you money for at least the next year. This ranks high on my return on effort scale.
96. Credit Card Rewards
If you want to make the most of the money you are already spending, then you absolutely need to check out credit card rewards. You’ve probably heard of this before, but credit card companies will pay you major rewards that can be redeemed for travel or cash back.
The real secret to earning credit card rewards is to find cards that offer massive bonuses when you hit a minimum spend.
There are millions of guides out there to earn credit card rewards, but if you want to sift through the noise and promotion, check out the exact guides that got me started. (Chase Gauntlet Part 1, Part 2).
97. Amazon Subscribe and Save
An easy way to save a few bucks is to utilize Amazon’s subscribe and save feature. Think of all the things you find yourself running out of each month… laundry soap, dog food, toilet paper, etc.
Find the product on amazon and set it up to be delivered each month. This won’t make you rich, but this one money saving tip will put a few extra bucks in your wallet.
98. Buy Generic
I know this one isn’t sexy, but you can easily save a few bucks on hundreds of items you buy every year. Skip the well-known, premium brands and stick with generic or store brands.
For 90% of the things you buy (groceries, medicine, cleaning products), you won’t even notice the difference. But your bank account sure will.
99. Google for Promo Codes
This one is easy and takes almost no time. Before you buy anything online or in stores, do a quick Google search to see if there are any promo codes out there that can save you money. You’d be surprised what all you can be saving money on!
Ebates is an awesome company that offers discounts and cash back for shopping at your favorite stores. It’s incredibly easy to get started. Make an account, and before you buy anything, check on Ebates to see if there are any discounts available!
If you want to get started with an extra $10 feel free to sign-up using my referral link!
This is what it’ll look like when you’ve got it activated:
Of the apps/websites on this list, Groupon is probably the one that is the most mainstream. If you want to get major discounts on most restaurants and services, click on over and sign-up.
Honey is an extension that you add onto your internet browser. When you go to check out, it will automatically apply discount codes to get you the best possible price.
Get yourself a free $5 when you sign-up today.
Unlike the others, Paribus saves you money on purchases that you’ve already made! After your account is made, Paribus monitors your online receipts and checks for price drops on the items purchased. If they are eligible for a price adjustment, Paribus will alert them and the retailer and work to get the user the money they deserve back.
Paribus is 100% free to join and customers keep 100% of the savings – no hidden fees.
104. Get a Solid Cashback Card
If you don’t already have a solid cashback rewards card, then you are missing out on free money. Get yourself a card like Citi’s Double Cash and start getting 2% back on everything you purchase. If you spend a lot on travel, groceries, or gas then consider getting a card specific to those categories.
105. Ask About a Prompt-Pay Discount
Hospitals have an incredibly difficult time collecting money from patients. Usually if you offer to pay the entire bill up front, you can get the price GREATLY reduced. I’ve heard of people getting discounts anywhere from 10-40% of the total.
106. Have Your Hospital Bill Itemized
Another way to get your hospital bills slashed is to ask them for an itemized list of charges. This allows you to see exactly how much you are getting billed. You’d be shocked to see how much that 1-minute consult from the specialist cost you. Negotiate these away and then ask for a prompt-pay discount.
Nearly every grocery store on the planet offers discounts and coupons on select items. Just this past week I managed to leave the store saving around 25% on my total cart purchase. I will say, couponing isn’t my favorite hobby, but spending 5-10 minutes before you shop can make a huge difference.
Check out these 2 bloggers who teach people how to save tons of money by using coupons:
- Living on the Cheap
- The Krazy Coupon Lady
108. Buy Discounted Gift Cards
Buying gift cards online to the restaurants or businesses you frequent is a great, easy way to save money. It won’t be much, but saving 5-10% on everything you buy is just one money saving tip you should take advantage of.
109. Student Discounts
One of the best parts about being a student are the countless discounts out there. Restaurants want your business and are willing to offer discounts, usually 10% or a free drink to get you there. Even if you’re trying to save money on food sometimes you just need to get a quick bite before you hit the books.
110. Teacher Discounts
I have a crazy amount of respect for the work that teachers do. My sister was a teacher, my wife works in the admissions officer at her school, and several of our best friends teach. If you work in this field, then take advantage of the savings that are out there.
Here’s a list of over 60 stores that offer teacher discounts!
111. Kids Eat Free Discounts
If you’ve got kids then you should find restaurants in your area where kids eat free. This won’t make you rich overnight, but if you find yourself eating out every week as a family then this is just one more way to keep more money in the bank.
112. Military Discounts
First off, if you have served or are serving in our country’s armed forces, I can’t thank you enough for fighting and giving of yourself to protect us. Your sacrifice is recognized.
Secondly, I’m glad to know that there are a number of establishments that offer discounts to members of our country’s military.
113. Save Money on Pet Meds
One way to save money is to buy your pet’s medications online through 1800PetMeds.com.
I was tired of paying our vet $30 a month for our dog’s flea/heartworm/tick medicine. A little bit of research online and we’re now able to buy it for less than $20, saving us around $120 a year.
114. Pet Insurance
Pet insurance is one of those things most people shake their head at, but for many people the peace of mind is worth it. Depending on who you get it through, it usually runs around $30/month.
It costs you a bit each month, but it can save you thousands if your pet ever gets cancer or has to have surgery.
115. Use your Flexible Spending Account
A Flexible Spending Account, or FSA, can be used to set aside pre-tax money for healthcare related expenses. If you don’t have access to an HSA, then an FSA can be a decent alternative to save some taxes on money that goes towards your health.
The key is that it doesn’t allow for carry-overs more than $500 per year, so don’t treat this as an investment account.
Bonus! Take Advantage of Birthday Freebies
Birthdays are a great time to celebrate with family and friends, and why not try to score some Birthday freebies along the way? My friend Olivia wrote a massive post with over 300 Birthday freebies to help you save money on your favorite day of the year!
7 Powerful Ways to Save Money on Banking & Investing
116. Put Money Earmarked for Major Spending into a High-Interest Savings Account
If you’ve got any large sum of money set aside for tuition, or a future down payment, then you should absolutely get that money working for you. Most people put this money into general checking or savings accounts that are only earning a measly .01% interest rate.
That means for every $1,000 you have in savings, the bank will pay you 10 cents a year. Sad right?
This is why you need Ally bank. Ally is fully online bank that will pay you an annual interest rate of 1.25%, earning you $12.50 on the $1,000 you have saved for tuition. That is 125 times as much as most major banks.
Sure, an extra twelve bucks may not seem like much, but the more money you have saved up, the more money you’ll be earning yourself.
How does your bank line up against Ally?
Tip: This is also why your emergency fund should be set up with Ally! If you’ve got 3 months of living expenses saved up earning next to nothing, you need to be getting the best return possible.
117. Bank Account Hacking
One strategy to make the most of your emergency fund or other cash balances is to move bank accounts to take advantage of sign-up bonuses. This is a more advanced strategy, but it can be lucrative. Banks offer sign-up bonuses all the time to get you to open accounts with them.
Their assumption is that you’ll keep your accounts forever and they’ll make their money back over time.
If you want to take your emergency fund to the next level, start #bankaccounthacking to earn sign-up bonuses. They usually range anywhere from $100-300.
The master on this is Doctor of Credit. One of our 2018 goals is to take advantage of the free money that banks are willing to give you.
Here are the go-to resources to help you master this:
118. Waive Your Fees
If you pay any kind of annual fees for financial services (checking, savings, investing, or credit cards), call your provider tomorrow and ask them to waive them. Many providers are willing to do so if it means keeping you as a client.
119. Negotiate New Rates on Your Credit Cards
Credit cards are known to have incredibly high interest rates. When you consider the fact that the average American with credit card debt has a balance over $6,000 you start to realize that these credit card companies are making a fortune.
If you’ve got credit card debt, don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. Instead, do everything you can do pay it off.
One easy way to pay it off faster is to simply call your credit card provider and ask if they are willing to lower the interest rates on your cards. Depending on your outstanding balance, a few % points could save you hundreds in interest.
120. Avoid Overdraft and Late Fees
There’s nothing more annoying to me than paying money for absolutely nothing. When you overdraft your checking account or fail to make a credit card payment on time, you usually get hit with a $25-35 dollar fee.
Most banks these days allow you to set-up automatic transfers each month to pay off your card balances. Stop paying late fees.
121. Check Out Your Credit Card Rewards
Do you actually use your credit card to its full potential? Most likely not. Credit cards offer awesome incentives to get you signed up because they know this one major secret.
You’ll forget about them.
Now, I’m not talking about the rewards points or cashback you earn. I’m talking about the bonuses, discounts, and incentives you probably forgot about that your credit card offers.
Take a look at the list of benefits that the Propel American Express card has:
- Discounted hotels
- Discounted airfare
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Auto rental collision and liability insurance
- Roadside assistance
If you have a credit card, make sure you are making the most of all the benefits you have access to.
122. Improve Your Credit Score
Your credit score is a measurement of how trustworthy you are in the eyes of potential lenders. If you are planning to buy a house or car in the next year, you should try to improve your credit score as soon as possible.
Improving your credit score is one of the smartest things you can do. Start today by signing up with CreditKarma and getting a free credit report. It will identify your weak areas and give you advice on how to improve it.
I also recommend checking out this in-depth article by Alex Sadler, Free Credit Score Guide: Understanding your score and what you can do to improve it.
How to Save Money on Transportation: 8 Tips
123. Become a One-Car Family
This might be on the more extreme side, but only having one car can be a huge money saver! Think about all the costs that add up and imagine your budget without them.
Dave, Married with Money
“When you’re in the ‘trimming’ phase, scrutinize your expenses until it hurts. We went down to one car over a year and a half ago. We thought it’d be painful – and at times it’s inconvenient – but it’s surprisingly easier to manage than we’d thought. In addition to not having to fork over money for the car, we also save a ton of insurance, maintenance, and gas. It’s crazy what you think you need but can get by without.”
124. Buying Cars: Don’t Budget Around Your Monthly Payment
If you do go out to buy a used car, then you want to be prepared to negotiate. One of the killer tactics that car salesmen use is to distract you from the total price tag by turning your attention to the monthly payment.
Stick to your budget and don’t let the salesmen distract you with the monthly payment. A $10 increase in your monthly payment over a 5 year loan will end up costing you nearly a thousand bucks.
125. Slow Down Your Driving
Driving fast 1) costs money and 2) rarely gets you anywhere quicker. As soon as you cross 50 MPH, every additional 5 MPH will basically cost you an extra 18 cents per gallon.
126. Clean or Change Out Your Car’s Air Filter
Changing out your air filter will help your car system to run more efficiently. Saving you money in gas and repairs over time.
127. Check Tire Air Pressure
When your tires are deflated, it takes your car a bit more effort to get from place to place. If you want to improve your gas mileage by 3%, then keep your tires inflated to the proper PSI. Check your tire pressure regularly and make sure they are topped off.
One of our best purchases last year was a portable tire pump. They’re cheap and you’ll be thanking me next time your tires go flat.
128. Find a Cash Only Mechanic
Car repairs can run up some serious costs. An easy way to save some money is to find a cash-only mechanic for the repairs that are out of your league.. Buying the parts at cost and paying our mechanic for labor saves us on the mark-ups.
129. Get a Bike / Walk
Car insurance, gas, and maintenance can add up to thousands of dollars a year. If you live in an area where you can get by with biking, then you should absolutely consider making the switch. This might seem like an extreme step, but some debt situations call for extreme action.
130. Drop Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
Collision and comprehensive car coverage can be great. My wife and I both have it because the last thing we want is having to replace either of our cars. But there is going to come a day when the cost to insure our vehicles isn’t worth the money.
If your car is worth less than $2,000, drop the coverage and start saving it for your next car purchase.
11 Effective Ways to Save Money on Education
131. Borrowing / Renting Books
Next to tuition, buying textbooks every semester is usually the biggest education specific expense. There are plenty of ways to save money on book expenses and the only cost to you is convenience. This alone can save you hundreds a year.
- Check out books from your school’s library
- Buy used from older students
- Rent from Chegg.com and save up to 90% on textbook costs
What’s awesome about Chegg is that you can also sell back the textbooks you already own!
132. Kindle Books
Another way to save money on books is by buying books for Kindle. These are usually WAY cheaper than buying the exact same book in hard copy. The only up-front cost is the kindle itself, but you’ll after just one semester you’ll have saved more than the kindle cost.
133. School Scholarships
You might be amazed at just how few of your classmates actually take the time to apply for scholarships at your school. Nearly every school (public, private, undergraduate, graduate, etc.) offer merit-based and need-based scholarships.
134. Outside Scholarships
If you’re like me, you probably get emails every week from some spammy scholarship website. Those emails might be annoying, but there are millions of dollars in scholarship money available if you are willing to put in the time to apply.
The hardest part in getting money from outside scholarships is finding the ones you qualify for and have the best shot at getting.
Pro-Tip: Email your financial aid or scholarship office and ask if they have a list of outside scholarships they recommend.
135. “Good Student Discount” for Car Insurance
Most car insurance providers offer a “good student” discount, so if you’ve got the grades, typically an A or B average, then log in to your insurance provider, click over to discounts, and check the box.
136. Work for Your School
If you have the opportunity to work for your school, then you can probably score some solid tuition savings. Usually this is for full-time employees only, but this can be an awesome way to get your grad school tuition covered or majorly discounted.
137. Ask Your Employer to Pay for School
The goal here is to ask your employer to designate a portion of your current pay to go towards tuition.
You see, every dollar is taxed first and then paid towards your tuition. If you can approach your employer and convince them to designate a portion of your salary to be paid directly to the school, then you save money in taxes.
138. Refinance Your Student Loans
If you’ve got a number of loans at high rates, you should at least look into your refinancing options. Refinancing is simply taking your various student loans and bundling them up into one loan. The amount you owe doesn’t change, but you can often score yourself a better interest rate.
I’m not an expert on this, but check out Physician on Fire’s massively helpful Student Loan Resource Page!
139. Utilize a 529 Savings Plan
If you’ve got kids and plan to pay for their college education, then start saving the minute they’re born! One of the best vehicles to use is a 529 savings plan. With the new tax reform bill, these can also be used to pay for private education expenses for elementary through high school years.
There are some drawbacks and limitations to 529’s, so make sure you make your own educated decision.
If you’ve got kids, you should definitely check out Ryan’s podcast on 529 plans! The choice you make can make a huge difference.
Ryan of FinancialResidency
“One major takeaway from this episode is around expense ratios within the 529 plans. The expense ratios range between 0.2% to 1.3%. That is a massive gap between a bad 529 plan and a best in class 529 plan so make sure you really analyze the cost of the 529 before you start funding it for the next 10-18 years.”
Resources to learn more:
- How Much Should You Have Saved In A 529 Plan By Age
- What happens to your 529 plan if your kids don’t go to college?
140. Track All of Your Education Expenses
There are a number of tax deductions and credits available to students. At the end of the year you may be able to save money on your taxes but this is only possible if you have the numbers recorded to back it up. Tuition, fees, books, and even mileage can be deducted.
141. Pay Off Your Student Loans ASAP
The average college graduate in 2016 left college with a whopping $37,172 in student loan debt. Talk about an anchor holding you down! If this is you, your number one priority needs to be wiping these out.
The whole reason I’m spending time to write this guide is to help you NOT take on student loans. But if you must… at least get a decent interest rate and pay them off as soon as possible.
Jonathan Mendonsa, Founder of ChooseFI
“Paying off the student loans aggressively was by far the most difficult and tedious decision, but my life is so much simpler and less expensive without it that I would make the same choice today. I found that while I might regret a purchase of a new gadget #buyersremorse. I never regretted looking back and seeing that my loan balance had gone down. My cash flow is so much better and I can embrace risk because of my newly achieved financial flexibility.”
9 Random Money Saving Tips to Ramp up your Savings
142. Find a “Go-To” Gift
Coming up with awesome & cheap gift ideas is always a challenge for my wife and I. We either forget to buy something ahead of time or we struggle to find a decent gift that we can afford. I highly recommend coming up a couple of “go-to” gifts that won’t break the bank, but will impress the one receiving it.
143. Understand the Healthcare System
This money saving tip comes from one of my new favorite bloggers, RogueMD.
“Once you understand why a system penalizes certain behaviors, you can make the system work for you. The US healthcare system isn’t designed to help you improve your health. Once you understand how and why it penalizes you, you can use it to make yourself healthier and more financially prosperous.”
144. Cheap / Free Exercise
You don’t have to have an expensive gym membership to get and stay in shape. All it takes is discipline and a willingness to think outside of the box. Spend some time outdoors, go on walks, get a bike, or start a frisbee group.
If you have the space, look on Craigslist and see what it would take to set up a home gym of your own. Warning though, the home gym fanatics I know never hit the point where they have all that they need.
145. Cheap / Free Entertainment
Entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive, but it might take some creativity to come up with ideas to do it for cheap or free. And you may have to convince others to join you.
Here are 2 articles with some ideas to get you going:
146. Sell Stuff You Don’t Use or Need
Over time, we all have a tendency to accumulate stuff like books, movies, furniture, clothing, video games, etc. If you have already gotten all of the value from a product then try to resell it on Ebay, Craigslist, or your local Facebook resale groups. The longer they sit in your apartment or house, the less valuable they become.
Take time once a year to do a cleaning purge. Sell everything you can and donate the rest.
147. Contribute to a Health Savings Account
This one is tricky, but if you are eligible for a health savings account (HSA), then you absolutely need to be taking advantage of it. They are considered by many to be the ultimate savings account because you get to combine the tax benefits of a traditional IRA with the future withdrawal benefits of a Roth IRA.
148. Check Out Your Local Library
I’m a huge geek when it comes to libraries. If you love reading and are always buying books, then go check out your local library. It can be an easy way to save hundreds a year or… it will just free up some money to buy the books your library doesn’t carry.
149. Groom Your Own Pets
Here’s one more way to save money on pets… Getting your dog groomed doesn’t have to be expensive. Buy yourself some clippers and trim them yourselves! Our dog needs a haircut every couple of months and our local groomer costs around $40.
This one money saving tip saves us around $240 each year.
150. Split the cost on Netflix / Hulu / Amazon Prime
Find 2-3 friends who you trust and split the cost on monthly services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. This may not save you the big bucks, but an extra $50-60 a year can add up.
If you’ve made it this far, then congrats! I hope you’ve found some new ways to save money and cut costs.
Now, can you do me a HUGE favor?
It would make my day if you would share this massive list of ways to save money on your favorite social media platform!
Join me in the comments below and let me know if you’ve got any money saving tips that should be added!