How to Save Money: 45 Ways

There are two things that many people are most interested in when it comes to making more room in the monthly budget. How to save money and how to make extra money. While you can always look for ways to make more money , it can also help to be saving money. Often people are not sure how to start saving, but it does not always have to include drastic changes. If you are wondering how to save money, here are 45 of my favorite ways:

Baby Steps: Small Savings

In order to get started saving money, it can help to take it in small steps. Consider these options for saving money a little bit at a time:

  1. Shoeboxed. A great way to save money is knowing where you are spending money and keeping track of things, it of course also helps with maximizing your tax refund. I found a great free program that helps me keep track of things, Shoeboxed. It is a free service (although paid versions are available too) that will keep your documents available online, you can quickly snap a picture with your smart phone and upload it. You can get it for FREE, for more detailed info you can checkout our Shoeboxed review.
  2. Online Rebate Programs. A great way to save money on your purchases is by using online rebate programs. One of the best sites I have found is Great Canadian Rebates. Although it is a Canadian site it has a very extensive US membership and offers.The site has an ever-growing list of merchants that can help you find great deals AND get a rebate! It is very simple to use, you register online and make a purchase as you would do with any online store and GCR will credit the rebate to your account.BONUS: If you sign up now you will get $2.00 added to your account, just for becoming a member! They also have a referral program, where if you refer a friend you will earn a 10% Referral Bonus on all Cash Back Rebates earned by any new member you refer. Win-win for all.
  3. Clip coupons: You know that you can save money by clipping coupons. Saving a couple dollars here and there can start to add up. If you are really savvy with your coupons, you could save even more.
  4. Don’t buy coffee every day: You’ve heard of the “Latte Factor.” You can use it to save a little bit each day by brewing coffee at home some days and taking it with you.
  5. Brown bag it: Bring your lunch to work with you, rather than buy it.
  6. Apply for rebates: Take a couple minutes to apply for rebates. Many times, you can do this online, and it’s fast and easy. [Also see How-to Streamline the Rebate Process]
  7. Cook at home, rather than get take out: There are great crock pot meals and 30 minute meals that you can make for healthier — less expensive — dining.
  8. Leftovers!: Plan your meals so that you can use leftovers in another meal. This can help you save money, and reduce your food waste.
  9. Buy generics/store brands: Give generic/store brands a try. You might find you like these just fine. If that’s the case, buy those instead of name brands.
  10. Drink water from the tap: You can get a filter if you don’t want straight tap water. It’s still cheaper than always buying bottled water.
  11. Stay away from vending machines: The items are usually over-priced.
  12. Hit the matinee at the movie theater: It’s cheaper than going at night.
  13. Eat out during lunch: If you do want to go out occasionally, go for a lunch date, since it’s cheaper than eating dinner.
  14. how to save money
    Make your own laundry detergent
    : There are a number of recipes for making your own laundry detergent; this can save you money.
  15. Use homemade household cleaners: No need to buy expensive cleaners at the store, there are ways to keep your home clean with a little dish soap, vinegar, water and baking soda.
  16. Use customer rewards: If you can get discounts by signing up for a free reward program, and you don’t mind someone tracking your purchases, this can be a good way to consistently save more money.
  17. Make gifts for others: You can create thoughtful, personal gifts for others, rather than purchase them. You can also discuss gift limits with your family members.
  18. Entertain at home rather than going out: You can save some money by having people at your house, rather than going out.
  19. Spend quality time with the family: Having fun at home is great for saving money. You’ll get in quality time, and you don’t need to spend a lot.
  20. Replace soda with water: Not only is water (from the tap) cheaper than buying soda, it is healthier, too. If you like a little flavor, you can buy cheap packets to add a little interest.
  21. Home haircuts: For many men and boys, it is fairly easy to get a haircut. A pair of clippers from the store is all you need.
  22. Get your music streamed: I used to use Pandora, and now I use Spotify. It’s a great way to listen to music, without paying anything, by or paying a small fee so you can take your playlists everywhere with you. This can be a good way to listen to music without buying albums or individual tracks.

Medium Savings

When you are ready to take it up a level, you can try some of these other ways to save more money. Some of these result in long-term savings, so you might have to wait a little while to see results.

  1. Cut the cable/satellite: Rather than paying for expensive packages, downgrade. You can easily get movies streamed on Netflix for less than you pay for a movie package. How many channels are you really using? Reduce you plan and save more money. You might even be able to cut it altogether.
  2. Get rid of a phone: You can do this by getting rid of your landline and using VoIP, or by ditching a cell phone. Re-evaluate your phone needs and downgrade your cell plan or get rid of a line if it makes sense.
  3. Use your library: You don’t need to buy books; you can get them at the library. You can also get movies, read periodicals, and even check out other media in some cases. Many libraries are also lending ebooks.
  4. Get ebooks: I am a true bibliophile, so it has taken me some time to warm up to ebooks, but I’m almost there. I know they can save me money — especially if I head to Project Gutenberg and get books in the public domain. Many great, literary classics are available for free via Project Gutenberg and other outlets. Over time, you can save quite a bit by not paying for physical books.
  5. Cancel subscriptions: Evaluate your subscriptions, and cancel those you aren’t using.
  6. Be more energy efficient at home: You can save money by practicing energy efficiency at home. Switch to CFLs, add a little more insulation. These cost a little bit of money up front, but can net decent savings over time. Of course, you can do other things like seal of air leaks, use smart strips to help you unplug at night, get a programmable thermostat and turn off lights in empty rooms.
  7. Improve your fuel efficiency: Look for ways to save money on gas by properly maintaining your car, driving carefully, and planning your trips so that you use less gas.
  8. Avoid driving: When possible, avoid driving. Walk or bike to work, or take public transportation. You can also carpool to share the costs associated with the commute.
  9. Properly care for what you have: Whether it’s clothing or appliances, proper care and maintenance can save you a great deal in the long run. Care for your things so that they last longer, and you will save money.
  10. Cancel your gym membership: It’s fairly easy — and inexpensive — to put together a home gym. Or, you could always start jogging. You don’t need to pay to go to the gym to get in shape.
  11. Ask to have fees waived: My bank will waive one fee a year — just because I ask. Also, if you are a good customer, you might find that you can get other fees waived. If you are being charged a fee, ask if it can be waived.
  12. Travel smart: Use fare finding web sites and discount airlines to save. Join hotel rewards programs to earn free nights. Bring food with you in a cooler, rather than buy it at restaurants and gas stations.
  13. Look for low-fee investments: When you invest, look for funds and plans with low fees. When choosing a broker, pick one with low transaction fees. You’ll save more in the long run.

Sweating the Big Stuff

There are those who observe that some of the smaller savings just won’t lead to significant room in your budget. Here are a few ways you can really kickstart your savings in a big way.

  1. Refinance your home: One of the best ways to find as much as $500 a month extra in your budget is to refinance your home. Mortgage rates are low now, so you can get a good deal on a refinance. In some cases, you can refinance to a lower term, and still save money each month. Consider your situation and see if you can save more money with a refinance.
  2. Increase your insurance deductibles: If you have a decent emergency fund, you can increase all of your deductibles. Increase the deductibles on your home (or renters), auto and health insurance policies. A higher deductible means lower premiums, and that can save you big in the long run. [Also see 10 Ways To Reduce Car Insurance Bill]
  3. Pay down consumer debt: One of the biggest expenses you have is probably the interest on consumer debt. The faster you pay it off, the more money you save in the long run. You can also ask your credit card issuers for an interest rate reduction. In some cases, you can get a 1% to 3% reduction, just for asking. That can save you big as you try to get rid of consumer debt.
  4. Buy a late model used/lease return: Instead of buying a brand new car, you can consider buying a late model used car, or a lease return. These cars are still usually in fairly good condition, but they cost thousands less than a brand new car — and they don’t depreciate as fast.

Habits that Can Help You Save

Whether you are looking for big savings or small savings, you can develop habits that are geared toward saving money:

  1. Learn to say no: Just say “no” to more stuff.
  2. Practice conscious spending: Ask yourself why you are buying something. Just because you think you want it isn’t a good reason. If you can’t come up with at least two concrete reasons why you are buying something, put it back.
  3. Avoid spending triggers: Be aware of places that trigger spending, whether it’s browsing on eBay (my husband’s spending trigger), or window shopping in the historical district. Also, be aware of whether you are an emotional shopper. If you shop due to stress, or some other reason, recognize that and try to find other ways to beat your stress.
  4. Automate your savings: You can’t spend what isn’t there. Automate so that you save money in a retirement account and/or emergency fund first thing each month. Now you won’t have the money in there to spend.
  5. Institute a waiting period: From three days to a month, sleep on a purchase. You might decide you don’t need something after all.
  6. Comparison shop: Make it a habit to look for better prices elsewhere. Before you buy, find out if you can get a better deal elsewhere by looking online, or at another store.
  7. Consider used: Whether it’s small things, like a video game or book, or bigger things, like cars and homes, consider buying used. My husband got a great deal on a refurbished computer — and it works just fine. Look for good quality used items before buying new.
  8. Cultivate contentment: One of the best ways to save money is to be content with what you have. Cultivate contentment with yourself and your life, and stop looking for happiness and fulfillment in material things. You’ll find that you spend less and save more when you recognize that you have enough.

What saving tips do you have to share?

39 Responses to How to Save Money: 45 Ways

  1. I like how you divided up this list into the different levels of possible savings you will get for taking that action. It’s a nice logical way of splitting things up and makes it good for quick reference.

    Thanks for the great list!

  2. Host potluck and game nights with friends and family. Free entertainment and cheap food.

    Consider gardening or drying your clothes outside in the sun shine.

  3. What an awesome post! There are so many “money saving” articles out there, but this was seriously helpful. I was particularly intrigued by the home made cleaning products, I think that will be my next project. Thanks for posting

  4. What a great list! I have never heard of Make your own laundry detergent and Use homemade household cleaners. Not sure if you really save much but it’s a good thought!

    Regarding increasing your deductible, just make sure you do the proper calculation before you increase your deductible. Sometimes it does not make sense to do this for meager $30 saving per 6 months.

  5. Ben Franklin said that a small leak can sink a ship. This post shows that the little things do make a difference in a positive way. We have tried many of them and can tell you by experience that it makes a huge difference. I have been trying to stick to spending only $50 per week for groceries and it forces me to be very conscientious of what I buy and I stay away from the junk food and processed food. We eat well. It takes time to get used to new habits, but it is worth it when you are trying to save money.

  6. most importantly-do a family budget and stick to it! Know your limit and live within it..most people have know idea how much they really spend, what they really have to spend and overspend on almost everything for convenience–use flyers to capitalize on sales-there can be several dollars in the difference for the exact same product between competitors. Price match for sales if you don’t want to drive around and waste gas. Don’t buy something just because it is a good deal if you don’t usually buy it or really need it and SAVE for large ticket items rather than using credit…and of course while saving watch for the sales on those items…

  7. Very nice list! I like that each of these tips are very practical! Although I like the “Sweating the Big Stuff” category the best, all of these can add up over time. I must politely disagree with No.19. I tried cutting my own hair once and it was BAD. There are no pictures of me during that period. It turns out it’s a lot harder than it looks 🙂

    • LOL

      I’ve only very recently started cutting my own hair, and I always look so awful that my husband keeps telling me to just burn it off my head instead as I would look better.

      No matter, I love knowing that I was able to save $35 just by cutting my own hair. I am now a big fan of home remedies. I make my own laundry detergents, do my own hot oil therapy at home, etc. Saves me big bucks.

      • There are ways to save without compromising a decent hair cut. Its not free but better than looking like a rats ass. Hair schools offer good deals on students cutting your hair. I found a decent place in china town that cuts hair for 16.oo no wash or dry. Take a look around.

  8. All of these tips really can add up! I have been living a more frugal lifestyle and the payoff is starting to show. I make my own laundry soap and dryer sheets now. I love it! I spent a total of $11.70 total and have enough soap & sheets for over 6 months. The cooking at home is a real bonus for the family too. I have even started making my own bread. I get 4 loaves for around $3.50. My 16 year old son loves it! 🙂 Finding ways to cut back has been a challenge. Especially finding the ones that work for me. Give a few of them a try… you will be amazed!

  9. That was an amazing article. I specially liked those small saving part.. to spend quality time with family etc… make gifts for others. And from the “habits that help you save” part i should definetly try to say ‘no’.

    Nice article, definitely looking forward for more such interesting articles !!!

  10. On the subject of saving money, has a free perscription drug discount card that you can print off. it says it can save up to 85%, so its worth a try.

  11. I save money by couponing on groceries at Target. They allow you to use a manufacturer’s coupon & a Target coupon stacked together on one item. I also recently signed up for a Target debit card. It is linked directly to your checking account & saves you 5% everytime at check out.

  12. Coupons have been the bestthing for me. I used to be embarrassed to use them and now i am such a coupon mom!! I also switched my cellphone and my husbands cellphone to non contract phones. That has saved us like 75 a month which has been the most helpful in the long run. I dont know much about the phone industry and all that but I realized I was paying WAY more money than I should be. Every month my cellphone bill was more than the utilities in my whole house! Thats just ridiculous. Cant speak for all phones but we got tracfones and some double minute bundle where we buy minutes and they give us double for life. Pretty smart and the coverage seems great so far. We do live in a suburb of a big city but I travel a lot and its been working. Just something to look into if you want to save a lot of money.

  13. If you do your laundry in coin machines in your apartment building, I gave found that I can dry all three loads in an hour if I open the door every ten minutes and take out the stuff that is dry or mostly dry, and I usually take out all my knit tops in the first ten minutes and hang them to air dry. That way, I only pay for ONE dryer at $1.75 plus 25 cents for the extra few minutes over the first 45.

  14. If you are considering buying a home, the first thing you should do is to improve your credit score. Mortgage interest rates are based on you credit score today and an increase of as little as 60 points can lower your interest rate aproxamately 1% which can save you $100 per month in your mortgage payments. That is $1,200 per year and if you keep your home for the average of 7 years that is $8,400. Depending on the score you start with it could be even more or slightly less. Go to they have a rate calculator that will demonstrate the savings by credit score ranges. To improve your score will take a few months but as you can see it is well worth it.

  15. Great website! Everyone needs this kind of help today with the economy being what it is.
    Tips on saving energy with your car or your home are what we all need. The way food prices
    are going up should make everyone think twice about coupons. Coupons are like money and
    throwing them away like alot of people do is just like throwing away money! With the ups
    and downs in the stock market and what has been experienced in the real estate market in
    the last few years, it has made it a real challenge to just get by, let alone save for retirement
    or to think about helping your kids get an education to help them get a leg us in life today.
    Thanks for your website which is a resource for all of us to do better financially in coming days.

  16. Best way to save money is through class action settlements. They are so easy and you can make a lot. And it’s your money. Look for a database like from the mysettlementclaims website.

  17. I coupon which really helps I cut cable and internet out 8 months ago that is saving me 2500 a yr I just started making my own laundry soap a an for dryer sheets I put white vinegar on a spounge it works great I left att to metro pcs this is.helping 900 a year we eat out one time a month as a treat Im trying to always trying to save money all ideas are welcome this site is awesome

  18. Save up for a car!

    Once your current car is paid off, keep making the same “payments” to a car savings account, and before you know it – you will have a great downpayment or even enough to purchase a new car outright! We did this, we kept our older car while all our friends bought new. It took self control, but 5 years later, we drove out of the dealership with a brand new car – PAID FOR! Wahoo! It was worth saving for. We plan on keeping our new car for 8-10 years and buying our next car new again.

  19. We cancelled our home phone and cable. Now we just have netflix and watch current shows online – for free! We save at least $75 per month now.

    Food: We make a menu plan for the current week and only buy what we need for that week. It has saved us so much money and we are not wasting food like we used to.

    Never buy magazines – you can get almost the same info from the magazines website for free.

    Save up for vacations. Put money aside each month, then eventually you will have enough. Vacations are so much more relaxing when you know that you won’t have a bill when you get home.

    Pay bills weekly. Every Monday, we pay our credit cards and other bills that have come in. Now we always know where things stand and we don’t get behind.

  20. Great tips. I think the medium savings list has a number of points we always forget to think about. Like simply asking to have fees waived, it doesn’t hurt! And being frugal by cutting things out that we really don’t need. Netflix is great and has definitely saved me a lot of money by cutting those extra cable channels out of my plan.

  21. Paying yourself first becomes fun real quick. When you purchase something during the week, you know you can afford it, because you’ve already put your savings away at the BEGINNING of the week. It’s easy to see the benefits in that. But yeah, you should always limit your spending, pay yourself first, then pay yourself again with the money that’s left over.

  22. I always shop when I am stressed or depressed, thanks so much for the great list of advice! You should write more things that can help people. i know I would read it!!

  23. We make our own soda with soda stream. We save alot there…..because its cheaper and because we drink less because we have to make it.

  24. Wow, I’m glad to see others teaching people how to save money, especially in this economy! Your tips are great. My mind is churning. Thanks!

  25. I was able to get the $50 bonus signing up to ING Direct by using the Orange Key 39597236S1

    Thanks for the great list! I cut the cable and have never looked back 🙂

  26. Cutting out coffee from DD and Starbucks is saving me a ton of money. I didn’t stop drinking coffee every morning, I just make it myself with a nice french press and freshly ground coffee grains.

  27. We don’t make our own laundry sheets but I do buy them in bulk and I cut them in half because you only need half of one to get the same results. Also, I buy the really big bottles of Sunlight dish detergent and use that for our laundry soap. You only need a little compared to regular laundry soap as it’s really concentrated and it keeps our clothes just as clean as any other soap out there! Way cheaper!
    When it comes to grocery shopping, I always buy things like rice/pasta by the sack. This adds up to huge savings and we always have these staples on hand. Also, items like dried beans can save you big money compared to canned. I will cookup a big batch of beans and freeze them in baggies for whenever we need them. Make a habit of going to the grocery store without a list and letting the flyer dictate to you what your menu for the week will be. Buy whatever is on sale that week and save!
    In addition, we make our own dog food for our two doggies. There are so many healthy, natural recipes out there for your dogs that will save you money and make them healthy and happy!
    We have also made more of an effort to not be buying coffee. We used to buy two large coffee twice a day! This is over $10 each day that we were spending!?! We also bought a french press and a grinder and now we have the BEST coffee every morning:)
    Love reading and sharing these money saving tips!

  28. You are dead about just saying no. This can be the hardest thing to do but will easily be the one that will save you the most money in the long run. Saying no to one dinner invitation and one movie invitation per month will save you hundreds every year.

  29. I’m a big spender good thing I have a frugal wife. Who knows well how to handle money. But then there are just times I easily get tempted especially when my work has something to do with online. I have easy access to amazon and ebay which is sometimes get me into fight with my wife. Now that I’ve read this I will definitely try to stay away from online shopping as much as I can. Thanks for your post!

  30. I’ve found that paying at the pump when I go to the gas station saves me money. That way I don’t have to go inside and I stay away from impulse buying.

  31. First clear your loans. From my experience I can say, there are smart financial calculators which show you in detail how to payoff any type of loan early. The calculator which I use is ” Smart Loan Calculator Pro ” which is available for iPhone / iPad. It is awesome. It is not for one time. It is life time use smart calculator. Give it a try. I guarantee, you would thank me after you download and check it. After checking it, I realized how easy to payoff any type of loan early.

  32. Excellent article. One of the most helpful I’ve read. My boyfriend and I just moved in together to make it easier to start saving for a house. We have very little debt and good jobs, but we find it difficult to make cost cutting choices in every spending category. We are both heavy smartphone users and would find it difficult to part with our premium cable package, we like to DVR shows and movies.

    To avoid spending, we make coffee at home every day, make dinner at home most nights, and usually spend weekend nights at friends houses. Its BYOB and sometimes we order pizza. We never go to bars, rarely eat at restaurants, and buy all our clothes on sale/at discount stores. I have cut my own hair in the past but I find the $15 haircut at the discount salon is well worth it.. My car is 12 years old and paid off. We don’t mind living frugally, but we’re ok with taking a little longer to achieve our financial goals because we spent a little extra here and there for certain comforts and conveniences. It’s really a matter of personal goal and preferences. All in all, great advice for people who want to save money and reach their goal of owning a home.

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