Getting serious about your finances is a great move. Especially when you finally realize all of the money you should be saving and not wasting. Below are 53 ways to save money and cut costs starting today:
1. Pay Yourself First
What good is working all those hours with no money in the bank to show for it? Therefore, when you receive money from your own business or job, first save money for yourself and family before you pay your bills. It’s best if you automate this process and treat your savings as a recurring monthly expense. Just as AT&T sends you a bill for their services each month expecting payment, you need to bill and pay yourself for your services as well.
2. Decide Your Priorities
Whatever you desire in life, that is what you should work to save money for. It could be having financial security, being able travel the world, or being able to take care of others. Decide your priorities so you have clear and defined goals on how to achieve your dreams.
3. Set A Budget
Have a plan for every dollar that comes into your household. Stay consistent with tracking your spending. There are budgeting apps that you can download to help. You could even create your own budget guideline by using Microsoft Excel or handwriting your monthly budget in a notebook. Compare your spending each month to see what you can cut and what opportunities you have to save. Having a budget helps from overspending and that keeps money in your pocket.
4. Have A Weekly Cash Allowance
Carrying cash helps us to spend less. Each week give yourself a reasonable cash allowance and stay within those limits. Avoid swiping your debit/credit card when you don’t have enough cash in your wallet. This will help you to prioritize your purchases between needs and wants.
5. Save Your Coins
Those same coins that you prefer to let the cashier keep after a purchase because you don’t like to carry change, adds up to the same dollars you like to spend. Overtime, those coins add up and we’ve heard stories of people saving over $600 a year from spare change. Change your mindset about loose coins and see how much you could save within a year’s time.
6. Drink Coffee At Home/Workplace
To wake up in the morning with a nice hot cup of coffee while reading a book on your couch is priceless. To head to work with a nice pot of coffee brewing for you and your co-workers is priceless as well (literally; it’s free coffee). Drinking coffee at home and/or the workplace helps to cut the costs of buying. Save the trip and the $5 a day from going to the coffee house.
7. Prep For Grocery Shopping
Check what’s in your pantry before you do your weekly or monthly grocery shopping. After you do this, make a list of the food you will need to purchase that is within your food budget for the week or month. This avoids purchasing food items not needed and helps to not forget what you do need from the store.
8. Buy Only What You Need
It is not best to buy items just because you think you “may” need them in the future. Even if it’s cheap, if you do not need it, it’s a waste of money.
9. Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions
Take a look at your bank statements periodically to make sure you are not paying for unnecessary, or even worse, unused subscriptions.
10. Cut Your Cable Bill
Having cable just to have, is too expensive and a waste of money if you don’t need it. With the internet and video streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu, cable is no longer the thing to have for entertainment and the “go-to” for the news.
11. Consolidate Student Loans
This could get you into a fixed/lower interest rate, lower your monthly payment, and reduce the length of time needing to pay while saving money overall. Look at the pros and cons before taking action.
12. Set Goals
Vacations, major purchases, date nights, you name it; plan for it. Life is better when you have a plan and making steps to accomplish them. This helps you from overspending.
13. Compare Prices
Before you spend your money on a large purchase, compare prices with a competitor first. Smart Phones have made this even easier with a quick search as you are standing right in front of the item you are looking to buy. You can also check if you can find the same item used and in good condition to save even more.
14. Negotiate The Price
Accepting sticker price may not be the only option. Also, when you are buying with cash, the seller may be flexible with pricing too. Do your research and agree on a price that works for both you and seller.
15. Shop Sales
Major retailers have annual, semi-annual and seasonal sales to clear out their older merchandise to make room for the new inventory coming in. This is the best time to shop and stock up on the items you love. Don’t pay full price for the items you love if you don’t have to.
16. Bring Your Lunch To Work
Meal prep for the week, eat leftovers from last night or make yourself a sandwich with chips and juice box! Do what you must to save yourself from spending an average of $10 per weekday on food for lunch.
17. Bring An Ice-Chest On Road-Trips
From trips to the beach to road-trips across the state, make sure you pack your cooler with sandwiches, bottled waters, juice and snacks to help save on food expenses.
18. Reduce Energy Costs
Monitor your energy usage by turning down your thermostat while you are at work. Closing your blinds in the summer also helps to keep the house cool. Check out our blog “14 Money Challenges To Help Start Your Savings” for our energy costs savings challenge.
19. Track Your Progress
Each month, have a “check-up” on your progress when it comes to saving money and cutting expenses by tracking. You can do this by using Excel, tracking manually, and apps for phones. When we see results, that encourages our good money saving behaviors to continue.
20. Stitch Your Clothes
Sew your own clothes when you have a hole or need to replace a button instead of throwing away and buying more. This will help with your overall clothing budget and if you get good, this could turn into a side hustle.
Centerpieces, home/seasonal décor, kitchen “nick-nacks”, and backyard landscaping are better when you “Do-It-Yourself”. This helps to save money and also gives you a sense of pride in your home when you know you personally helped to created your palace.
22. Buy Used
Books, furniture, tools and jewelry are great things to purchase used. When you buy used, the item is still new to you so don’t get wrapped into wanting to be the first one to own. Take a stroll through a thrift store or head to a garage sale and you’ll be surprised on all the great finds for a fraction of its original cost.
23. Keep Track Of Free Trials
Don’t let these escape you because that is what they are expecting you to do. Free trials for a week or 3-months sound like a good deal after you provide them with all your credit card information to start. What if we told you millions of people forget to cancel. Set a reminder on your phone or calendar to cancel if you don’t find the subscription useful anymore.
24. Buy Generic/Store Brands
It’s in the stores best interest to deliver great comparable products to their customers. Whatever products they could keep you buying that is made by them, is more profitable for them. Sometimes generic/store brands are better than name-brands.
25. “Service” For A “Service”
You may be great at detailing cars and your friend may be great at fixing a toilet. Why not trade services in order to save money.
26. Get Organized
Get organized and have a location for everything in your home. Having a designated spot for your Band-Aids, cleanings supplies, tape, and batteries helps you to remember your inventory when you need an item. If it’s not there, it means you need to buy more. No more guessing and buying more items you don’t need.
27. Clean Out Your Closet
When you know what you have in your closet, that saves you from buying the same white t-shirt all over again. Take time to clean out your closet today and you may be surprised about what you have and what you can still fit into.
28. “Fix-It” Yourself
There are truly some things that we can’t fix ourselves. With the things we can fix, save money from hiring someone to fix it for you. YouTube has made it easier to watch tutorials for fixing items such as leaky faucets, patching holes in walls, and adjusting crooked cabinet doors. You will surprise yourself with all the things you can learn to do.
29. Review Cell Phone Plans
You may be paying for services you don’t need and not be aware of it. It’s best to review the phone plan you are on periodically. Unlimited data pricing may not make sense for you or paying extra to use your phone as a “Hot-Spot” doesn’t make sense for you either. Ask if the company you work for gets special discount pricing as well.
30. Ask For Fee Reversals
The worst they could say is “no”. Whether you accidentally missed the due date on a credit card or overspent in your checking account, ask for a fee reversal to help with those unneeded expenses (this is why creating a budget is important).
31. YouTube for Music
Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Spotify are great websites to pay for subscriptions to conveniently stream music. Your favorite artists sometimes also stream their music on YouTube for free, so don’t be so quick to purchase a plan from a streaming service. You just may have to listen to an ad or two.
Bottles and cans, used ink cartridges, electronics and car batteries can bring in extra cash and store credit to some of your favorite retailers. Some people think it’s more hassle than what it’s worth, but why not try to get some of your money back if you can on recycling fees.
33. Borrow What You Need
You may be saving up to buy a lawn mower and paying a gardener may not be in the budget at the moment until then. It doesn’t hurt to ask to borrow a lawn mower from a neighbor. Just make sure you bring back whatever you borrowed in better condition than before you borrowed it. They may need to borrow from you from time to time as well in the future.
34. Make Your Own
Some of the things we buy, we purchase because they are convenient and saves us time from having to make it ourselves. Making items such as cleaning supplies is a good example of this. Pinterest is popular to help with great ideas.
35. Buy In Bulk
Everyday items that we know we need are a good idea to buy in bulk. Items such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, trash bags, and batteries help us to cut costs in the long run.
36. Trade Items
The barter system hasn’t died. Trade appliances, electronic devices, books, children’s items, etc. Trading for items that you need helps from spending money.
37. Join Free Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs can help save money on real-time and future purchase just by spending money you were going to spend in the first place. Just be very careful you do not spend unnecessary money just to earn enough to get a “$10 off on the next $50 you spend” coupon. That’s how they get you.
38. Use Coupons
When you use coupons you could score free stuff. Companies give coupons so you are more likely to try their products and keeping on buying. They want you to get discounts too so why not? The more financially savvy you become, you will realize that people who have a lot of money know how to keep more money in their pocket by couponing.
39. Save On Entertainment
Websites like Groupon have really made it easy to save money on entertainment. You are able to get discounts on concert tickets, hotels, theme-park tickets, spa days and so much more. Check this site and similar sites before you pay full price.
40. Review Auto Insurance
Review your auto insurance coverage periodically. Points fall off your record, vehicles decrease in value and insurance companies are notorious for not informing you. You may have been even paying for coverage you do not need. Save money by getting quotes from competitors. Lower rates for the same coverage will sometimes be provided just to win your business.
41. Save On Gas
Try to run all your errands on the same trip. Plan a day and map out a route that doesn’t cause you to backtrack and waste unnecessary gas. This is great for people who have to commute to work as well.
42. Buy Term Life Insurance
The point of life insurance is to cover you and your family for expenses for a set amount of time until you save up a good nest egg to be self-insured. Do not overspend on life insurance. Buy a term policy that makes sense for you.
43. Don’t Overspend On Housing
Your rent or mortgage expense should only be 30% or less of your take home income. Yet some Americans are over 50%. This causes financial stress and could lead to you being “house-poor”. If you are renting and spending more than what is advised, consider moving to a more affordable location when your lease is up. Even if your mortgage is more than you can handle, consider downsizing.
44. Start A Business
All businesses do not take a lot of money to start. Having a business enables you to write off monthly expenses such as, your phone bill, sections of your home used exclusively for business and so much more. This in return helps to save on taxes. Make sure you talk to your tax advisor about the benefits. Also check out our blog 17 Things To Know About Starting A Business.
45. Avoid Financing
Just because you think you have afford the monthly payment, doesn’t mean you can afford it. A good practice is to buy your purchase with cash. Sometimes you are able to negotiate better deals and you avoid paying interest.
46. Pay Down Debt
Not only do you have to pay for the price of the item you purchased, you have to pay the penalty that goes along with it for not paying with cash (interest). This means paying more and paying longer. Once you pay down debt, you will find there is more money for your budget each month to save or spend on fun activities.
47. Cut Bad Habits
Smoking, drinking, and gambling are some bad habits just to name a few. These are expensive so imagine if you dropped these habits and saved your cash.
48. Teach Children About Finances
When your children understand what it takes to be able to purchase the items they need and love, they will better take care of what they have. To know the importance of not losing jackets and taking care of their toys is invaluable. Educating your children about money in return helps you to save it by not having to repurchase lost or damaged items.
49. Keep Receipts
This is a good habit especially when buyer’s remorse sets in. To be able to correct your purchase by returning it is a great feeling.
50. Shop at Dollar Stores
Don’t sleep on the 99 Cents Store and dollar stores. They carry the name-brands you love and trust at a lower price than retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target on most items.
51. “Sleep On It”
Don’t make purchase decisions solely based on impulse and emotion. Sometimes it’s best to “sleep-on-it” when it comes to larger transaction purchases. You may find you don’t need the item as bad as you did the day before or you even may find a better price from a competitor on a later day.
52. Save For Retirement Early
The earlier you save for retirement, the less money each month you will have to contribute from your monthly budget. For example, if your goal is to retire with $1 million at the age of 67, if you start at 18 years old with investing $100 a month with a rate of return of 9%, you will accomplish. On the other hand, if you wait until 40 to start saving for retirement, to get the same result, you have to contribute close to $1,000 of your monthly budget. Early planning saves money with compounding interest.
53. Don’t Care About What People Think Of You
You are finding ways saving money, they are not. So, because of your money habits you will have more money saved while they spend it. Don’t be concerned about what people think of you on your journey of saving money and cutting costs. Continue to do what makes sense to you and what is best for your wallet.
We hope you enjoyed our tips to saving money and cutting costs! Leave a comment below and tell us some of your ways to save cash and lower expenses!