25 Easy Ways to Save Money
We all know that we are supposed to save money. After all, a penny saved is a penny earned.
I’ve always been the type of person to save all my pennies. I love saving money and I hate spending money, I guess you can say I’m pretty frugal, maybe even a little uptight. I still love to have fun, go out, and travel, but saving money is extremely important to me.
In high school, I upgraded from my Superman piggy bank to a real savings account. I remember being so excited to deposit money into my savings on a regular basis.
That excitement carried into my college years and even opened up a second savings account my junior year.
Needless to say, I got pretty addicted to saving money.
Not long after graduating college I was talking with a friend and the topic of finances came up. In the middle of our conversation, she happened to mention that she didn’t have a savings account.
I naively assumed that everyone not only had a savings account but that they regularly put money into it.
I quickly learned that was NOT the case at all and I began asking various people if they had savings accounts and many of them said no.
However, the thing that shocked me the most was not that many people didn’t have a savings account, but that the majority of people simply did not know HOW to save money.
I also learned that people felt like they couldn’t save money because they didn’t have any money to save. However, the truth is that there usually is money to save, as long as you are willing to cut back on spending.
Cutting back on spending money can be hard, especially when you are used to receiving a paycheck and spending all the money you make. But, it’s not impossible.
In fact, saving money can be fun and satisfying. If you struggle with saving money or simply don’t know what to save on, here are 25 easy ways to save money!
- Effectively Save for a Long-Term Goal
- How to Save Money as a College Student
- How to Successfully Save Money as a Millennial
1. Cut back on subscriptions
Subscriptions are all the rage these days, and rightfully so! Having a subscription is easy, awesome, and typically helpful.
Nowadays, there are subscriptions for literally everything from TV and music to groceries and makeup.
However, the reality is that the cost of subscriptions can quickly add up. According to this article, the average person spends $237 a month on subscriptions. That’s $2,800 a year! Cutting back on the number of subscriptions you have is a great place to start in order to save money.
To do that, make a list of all the subscriptions you are currently paying for and see where you can cut back. It may not seem like you are saving a lot of money, but it really adds up.
2. Automate savings
If you put away money here and there when you feel like it, that needs to change. Depositing money into your savings account needs to become a habit every single time you get paid.
The fastest and most effective way to save money is to consistently put money into a savings account.
If you think it’s too difficult to remember to deposit money into your savings, schedule a monthly direct deposit from your paycheck or your checking account into your savings account. Direct deposit makes saving money a no-brainer.
Simply decide how much money you want to be deposited into your savings and ask your bank to make automatic transfers every month. This method will grow your account in no time and is an easy way to save money for the future.
Tip. Save your extra income
If you have a really good month financially, don’t spend the extra money, save it! Extra income is an awesome chance to reach your financial goals sooner, but it only works if you use it wisely.
3. Go on affordable (cheap) dates
Dating is fun, but it can be expensive. I remember a friend complaining to me about how expensive it is to be in a relationship and how he started to dread taking her to dinner.
This can turn into a financial burden for a couple if the only time fun happens is what money is being spent.
Instead, find activities you both enjoy that cost little to no money. There are surprisingly tons of fun things to do for free. There is no rule that says you have to spend money in order to be in a happy relationship.
Groupon.com is an amazing site and app to get discounted items. I have used Groupon for many things including kayaking through caves, windmill tour, and racecar driving.
For me, one great thing about Groupon is that I am able to find new ideas for activities and all at an extremely discounted rate.
I suggest always checking Groupon when looking for anything because chances are you can find it for an affordable rate.
5. Grocery Shop
The bottom line is that eating out is more expensive than grocery shopping. Spending money on fast food and restaurants is one of the easiest ways to waste a bunch of money.
One of my favorite foods to eat is salmon. At a restaurant, a salmon dinner can for $30. When I buy a salmon at the grocery store, I get it for maybe $20 and it lasts for 5 days. The value is undeniable!
I personally hate cooking, but ever since I started doing it I have saved hundreds of dollars.
Grocery shopping also helps you eat healthier options, which is just another perk of it all.
6. Invest in a good coffee maker
Basically, don’t get Starbucks every day. It’s estimated that the average person spends over $1,000 a year just on buying coffee. That’s a ton of money!
It’s even suggested that millennials spend more on coffee than retirement.
Avoid this by investing in a decent coffee maker and making your coffee at home. Besides, it can be fun to be your own barista and you’ll never misspell or mispronounce your name.
7. Find the cheapest gas stations
Gas is an essential (at least it is in Southern California!). With the rising prices of gas, it helps to know where all the cheapest gas stations are.
I personally use Costco gas because it tends to be around $0.10 cheaper than all other gas stations. However, there are plenty of apps and websites that help you find the lowest gas prices in your area. This could definitely save you money in the long run.
8. Sell textbooks on Amazon
This is for all my readers who are students. Textbooks are crazy expensive. One new textbook can cost upwards of $100.
Instead of buying your books at the university bookstore, get them used on Amazon for half the price. Once you are done using the book, sell it back on Amazon to get your money back.
By getting into the cycle of buying and selling your textbooks on Amazon, you can keep reusing that book money until you graduate from college. This will literally save you hundreds of dollars.
It is extremely easy to sell books on Amazon. All you need to do is create a profile and list your book for sale. It’s that simple and it’s a great way to save money.
9. Switch phone bill services
My fiancé and I used to have Verizon and were paying a crazy amount of money. Each month I was so upset to have to pay such a ridiculous phone bill when I knew we could get cheaper service elsewhere. The only problem was, we owed Verizon at least $1000 on the phones we had.
Not long after I was completely fed up T-Mobile ran a deal where they would pay off your phones if you switch to them. We took advantage of the deal and now our phone bill is almost half of what it used to be with Verizon.
If you’re paying more than you should for your phone bill, shop various services for deals. Cell-phone providers run deals all the time to try and get customers to switch to them. There is no reason to pay crazy amounts of money for a phone service these days.
10. DIY Everyday Products
Personally, I love making beauty products. Not only is it healthier for me, but I hate paying for something I can easily make.
I know that not everyone is into DIYing their products, but it really is an affordable option for things like toothpaste, lip balm, face wash, etc.
11. Cashback credit cards
I swear by cash back reward credit cards. Every single purchase I make is on a rewards credit card that earns me points. During the last few years, my fiancé and I have earned hundreds of free dollars just by using our cashback reward cards.
The secret is to pay off the credit card every month. I have never paid interest on a credit card and I never will.
I simply use the credit card because of the benefits of earning free money. It has been amazing.
Our best rewards credit card is a travel rewards card and are able to get free hotels, Uber’s, and flights.
12. Don’t buy drinks at restaurants
It’s a trap! Don’t do it!
Alcoholic drinks at restaurants are ridiculously priced. Some drinks cost more than an entire entree! It’s not worth it to throw money away like that just to have a drink during dinner.
Personally, I think it’s crazy. I know many people do it, but if you want to save money, check the prices of those drinks and think twice about whether or not it’s worth it.
13. Save money, ruthlessly
“Do not save what is left after spending; instead spend what is left after saving.” – Warren Buffett
This my absolute favorite finance quote. So many people don’t save because they’ve spent all their money first. Instead, dedicate yourself to save money each month and they spend what you have after taking care of your savings.
Saving ruthlessly is the only reason I was able to pay off my student loans in 2 years.
14. Pay off student loans
Most people have credit card and student loan debt. The difference between credit card debt and student loan debt is the idea that student loan debt is ‘good debt’. Newsflash, debt is debt regardless of how it’s labeled.
If you’re in any sort of debt, you’re paying interest, which is just more money out of your pocket in the long run. It’s absolutely okay and realistic to want to live debt free, even if people try to convince you that “some debt is good for building credit”.
Although this is the only section that actually requires you to pay money out, you’ll save money in the long run by paying off your debt sooner. I’ve talked to so many people who have just accepted the fact that they will be in debt the rest of their lives, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With dedicated monthly payments of just a little bit more than your minimum balance owed, you can get out of debt sooner.
I do want to acknowledge that everyone’s financial situation is different and it may be more difficult for some to put more money towards paying off debt. That’s why it’s so important to sit down and figure out a financial plan that works for you and your family while also obtaining a financially stable life without living paycheck to paycheck.
15. Track your expenses
It’s pretty dang easy to spend money especially if you only use debit or credit cards. Since we don’t live in an era where it is necessary to balance checkbooks, there really is no reason to keep track of your money being spent.
Instead of swiping your credit card and forgetting all about your purchases, try logging into online banking every few weeks to take a look at your expenses. I make sure to look at my expenses every other week just so I can be fully aware of my spending habits and how much is in my account.
16. Shop around for affordable groceries
Groceries are a necessity, however, not all grocery stores are created equal. There are some grocery stores that charge more because of their brand. However, there is food just as good and healthy at more affordable grocery stores.
I also really like getting groceries at farmers markets. There seems to be an idea going around that farmer’s markets are expensive, but that is not always the case. I’ve had great luck getting fresh and affordable food all while striking up conversations with the farmers.
Believe it or not, some dollar stores and 99 cent stores also have affordable and name brand groceries. I love going to the 99 cent store and getting pantry items and sometimes even fruit.
17. Join all reward programs
Reward programs are great. I am probably in a dozen reward programs from stores to restaurants. Over the years, I have gotten free meals, free beauty items, free birthday gifts, free movies, huge discounts, and so much more.
Many people skip signing up for reward programs because they take time to sign up for and there tends to be junk mail or lots of emails associated with them. But, if you are going to the same place often, it’s completely worth it to get on their rewards program and start benefiting from all the free and discounted stuff!
18. Cut cable
Chances are you already have a subscription to Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, etc. There is no need for cable. Having cable on top of all your monthly TV/Movie subscriptions is just a waste of money.
There are so many affordable options to watch TV these days. There is just no real need to hang onto cable.
19. Meal prep dinner
For me, meal prep is my only guarantee that I won’t eat out every meal. Yes, meal prep takes time. No, I don’t enjoy cooking. What I do enjoy is saving money and (trying) to eat healthy. The only way I can do this is if I meal prep on Sunday’s for the entire work week.
For breakfast, I typically do a green smoothie (often made the night before work). My smoothies consist of either spinach or kale, strawberries, banana, mango, and chia seeds.
For lunch, I don’t get very creative. I either go with baked salmon and broccoli, pasta and broccoli, or chicken and broccoli. If I’m feeling fancy, I throw in carrots or cauliflower. The point is, find what you enjoy eating (something preferably on the healthy side) and meal prep that.
Don’t think you have to stick to the same basic foods that I cook. Remember, I don’t enjoy cooking! Find yourself different recipes and get creative with it, especially if you’re a foodie. It also helps if you eat healthy foods that will aid in weight loss.
20. DIY cleaning supplies
I swear by cleaning with white vinegar. It completely changed how I clean when I learned about its effectiveness.
The best part is that white vinegar is crazy affordable and will last you months. Instead of buying one cleaning supply for glass, another for counters, another for the toilet, and so on and so forth, just use some vinegar!
21. Airbnb instead of hotels
The question these days is: Hotel or Airbnb? I’m definitely a huge fan of staying in an Airbnb.
Not familiar with what that is? Airbnb is basically a Bed and Breakfast for the modern world. Seriously, check it out here. It absolutely revolutionizes traveling. An Airbnb could save you anywhere from $30-$70 per night. To help you out when selecting your Airbnb, here are some tips:
1. Location: When deciding which Airbnb to choose (you will have tons of options), pay attention to the location. If you know you want to be close to a downtown area or a tourist area, be sure to pick a place that is a quick ride over.
2. Check-in/out times: Try and find an Airbnb that is flexible with arrival and departure times. Message the Airbnb owner of the house before booking and see if special accommodations are allowed.
3. Transportation: A great money saver is public transportation such as the bus or train. This is the cheaper alternative to taking Uber or Lyft everywhere. Get an Airbnb that is walking distance from a bus stop or train station to save you the most money possible.
22. Wax yourself
Waxing costs a lot of money that quickly adds up. Save your money by learning to wax yourself. There is excellent organic wax on the market that is easy to use and less painful than getting it done. The best part is that you can get wax and strips for less than $30 and it will last months! Not a bad deal.
23.Create a budget
Budgeting is vital. If you want to save money, you have to know how to budget. To learn how to start a solid budget, check out this detailed post: Create A Monthly Budget to Kickstart Your Savings
24. Know the Worth of Your Time
Saving money might not seem exciting, especially since you worked 40 hours a week for your paycheck. Why not just go and spend all your money on partying and shopping?
Well, have you ever taken the time to figure out your worth? Here’s what I mean.
Let’s say you make $15.00 an hour and go out with friends and spend $120.00. That’s 8 hours of work.
Is it worth it?
Not always. If you wanted to buy an item of clothing that costs $45.00, that’s three hours of work.
Is it worth it?
You’re not just going to work to get a paycheck. You are giving up your time. Time is valuable and is something you can’t get back. That’s why you need to know your worth.
If you spend a day’s paycheck within a few hours, chances are you aren’t valuing your time. Instead, if you really want to save money for the future, invest it in something that will make a positive impact on your life. A few drinks with friends and some expensive clothes aren’t worth what you could get from saving that money for your future.
25. No More Avocado Toast!
I’m joking. Avocado toast is delicious. (If you don’t know the joke I’m referencing, read about it here. Trust me. This millionaire’s financial advice to millennials is ridiculously hilarious).
I’m definitely not suggesting you give up avocado toast in order to save money, but I do think that in order to save money some cutbacks need to happen. Small tweaks here and there in your spending tend to add up.
Just like it’s easy to spend money extremely fast when you have a moderate to exciting social life, it’s just as easy to save money when you cut back. Here are some areas to consider cutting back in order to optimize your savings:
– Curl your own lashes. Okay, ladies (and gentlemen). Eyelash extensions are crazy expensive and require refills every 2 – 3 weeks. I know it takes longer to curl your eyelashes with an eyelash curler, but it’s literally hundreds and hundreds of dollars cheaper to do it yourself than to spend upwards of $100 a month on extensions. Remember, to reach your goal by your deadline, cuts need to happen. Cut out the expensive eyelash extensions.
– Do your own mani/pedis’s: Again, doing it yourself may not be as lavish, but it will save you money and help you reach your goal sooner.
– Workout at home: Gym memberships, pilates classes, and yoga are all pricy. While you’re building up for your savings, do your workouts at home. There are plenty of YouTube videos to help with at home workouts in case you feel lost.
– Matinee movies/movies from home: I love watching movies, but prices are rather pricey these days. If there is a movie I really want to see, I catch a matinee showing because it’s literally half the ticket price. Otherwise, I watch movies at home from Netflix since I’m already paying for that.
What are your tips on saving money? I’d love to hear from you!