How to Save Money: 96 Ways to Cut Your Spending

If you have been trying to get out of debt and improve your financial situation, but doesn’t have the action plan to get it done…help is here! Take a look at the following list of ways to cut your spending. Not all will apply to you, but try a few of the ideas. Then come back and try some more.

Take the money you save and put it toward paying down your debt, and put some away in a good bank that pays decent interest as an emergency back up fund. You’ll be amazed at how much debt you can repay and money you can save over the course of a year, just by making little changes.

23 Ways to Save Money Around the House

  1. Line Dry your laundry. It will lengthen the life of your clothes and save energy.
  2. Set your thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer.
  3. Use a programmable thermostat, so you never forget to adjust the temperature.
  4. Use ceiling fans to reduce the burden on your AC.
  5. Paint your roof white. There are white roof coatings that work with certain roof. They are much more energy efficient than black roof coatings.
  6. Use CFL or LED lights instead of regular incandescent bulbs.
  7. Wash your laundry in cold water.
  8. Weatherproof your home to save electricity and heating costs.
  9. Stop using phantom power by unplugging your electronics at night. Using power strips makes this easier.
  10. In the summer, close East (morning sun) and West (afternoon sun) facing window blinds, reducing heat; and in the winter, open them.
  11. Get rid of cable TV or switch to basic cable.
  12. Or use Netflix and Hulu in place of cable. Netflix is less expensive than cable and Hulu (which is free), between them, you have a wide variety of TV shows available to watch.
  13. If you don’t want to get rid of cable, see if you can bundle it with your phone and internet service to save money.
  14. Get rid of the internet and use the library (assuming you don’t need it for work).
  15. Get rid of your land line, if you have a cell phone. Or get rid of your cell phone. Or use a prepaid cell phone, instead of an expensive phone with an expensive contract.
  16. Catch rainwater for watering your garden.
  17. Use pasta water for watering household plants.
  18. Turn off your water when you’re brushing your teeth, shampooing, or shaving.
  19. Recycle. You’ll save on your trash bill.
  20. Compost. You’ll save on your trash bill and help your garden.
  21. Haul your own trash to the dump, if you have a pickup truck or trailer.
  22. Try to do repairs yourself, before hiring someone. Use free resources at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and on the internet to help you.
  23. Challenge your property tax assessment, if you feel it’s too high.

8 Ways to Save Money on Transportation

  1. Sell one of your cars.
  2. Carpool.
  3. Take public transportation.
  4. Walk when you can. You’ll be healthier, too.
  5. Rotate your tires regularly to make them last longer. Also keep up with other maintenance requirements.
  6. Fill your car up when you’re down to a quarter tank of gas. You won’t be stuck going to the nearest, most expensive gas station when your car is on empty.
  7. Use GasBuddy.com to search for the lowest prices on gas.
  8. Don’t use high octane gasoline, unless your car specifically requires it.

21 Ways to Save Money on Groceries, Cleaning, & Personal Care

  1. Use up what you already have before buying more.
  2. Fully leverage the return policy for products that you ended up not using, or products that doesn’t fulfill the promise.
  3. Use a member card from your grocery store of choice. For example,
    • Target and Lowe’s offer 5% discount if you use their credit card
    • CVS and other store offer discounts and deals when you use a member card at the check out.
  4. Use The Grocery Game or other deal sites to make effective use of coupons.
  5. Cook from scratch.
  6. Grow a garden.
  7. Eat less meat.
  8. Or buy a side of beef, instead of smaller packages at the store.
  9. Give up cold cereal. Eat oatmeal instead. It’s cheaper and healthier.
  10. Give up (or cut back on) junk food.
  11. Look for good deals on Amazon. Yes, it’s true. Amazon can be a good deal for groceries. If you buy something regularly, you can save even more by subscribing to that product. But know your prices before you shop.
  12. Keep a price book, so you you know when a deal is a deal.
  13. Shop at Costco or Sam’s Club, if you have the storage for buying in bulk. Have your price book handy, to make sure you buy the good deals.
    • Bonus: warehouse clubs can also offer good deals on everything from insurance to tires to glasses and more.
  14. Plan a weekly soup night to use up leftovers. Wasted food is wasted money.
  15. Use cloth napkins. Buy them at yard sales or make your own from cheap linens you find at thrift stores.
  16. Use rags, rather than disinfectant wipes or paper towels.
  17. Make your own laundry detergent and household cleaners.
  18. Use vinegar as a fabric softener, or skip the fabric softener all together.
  19. Go no-poo. (That’s no shampoo, people!)
  20. Use crystal deodorant. It’s more expensive up front, but it lasts a year, making it cheaper in the long run. It’s better for you, too.
  21. Use alternative feminine products like the Diva Cup and cloth pads.

7 Ways to Save Money on Clothing

  1. Swap hand-me-downs with friends. This is really effective with kids’ clothing.
  2. Don’t be afraid to shop at thrift and consignment stores.
  3. Mend clothing, instead of tossing it.
  4. Borrow one time use items, like a formal dress or a snowsuit for a day in the snow.
  5. Coordinate new clothing with old clothing, so your wardrobe is versatile. You won’t need as many pieces.
  6. Carry a Tide-to-Go pen. When you get a stain, treat it right away, so it doesn’t set and ruin your clothing.
  7. Wear clothing more than once between washes. Your clothes will last longer, and you will save money by not running the washing machine as much. This doesn’t apply to two year olds after eating spaghetti.

8 Ways to Save Money on Entertainment and Eating Out

  1. Take a staycation instead of a vacation.
  2. Vacation in the off-season.
  3. Take your date for a walk in the park and a picnic, instead of dinner and a movie.
  4. Wait for movies to come out on DVD before watching them. Use Netflix or Redbox, instead of spending $7+ a person in the theater.
  5. Make your own mochas, rather than hitting Starbucks.
  6. Search for knock off recipes, so you can have your favorite restaurant food at home, for half the cost.
  7. Make a commitment to only eating out once a month…or not at all.
  8. Make a menu plan, so you don’t give in to the temptation of eating out, because you don’t know what’s for dinner.
  9. Consider freezer cooking if you tend to eat out, because you don’t have time in the evening to cook.
  10. Pack your lunch for work. And pack your kids’ school lunches.
  11. Watch your local newspaper website for free events. Many cities offer free concerts and movies in the park during the summer.

7 Ways to Save Money on the Kids

  1. Make your own baby food.
  2. Make your own disposable baby wipes. Better yet, use cloth.
  3. Use basic cloth diapers.
  4. Learn how to cut your children’s hair. If your brave, cut your spouse’s hair, too.
  5. Pick up a few toys when they’re on clearance. Store them on a “gift shelf” in a closet. When your child gets invited to a birthday party, have your child choose a gift from the shelf to give to his friend.
  6. Host your children’s birthday parties at home, rather than renting a place. It’s much less expensive and much more creative.
  7. Buy extra school supplies at back to school sales. The prices won’t go any lower, and you’ll be glad for the extra supplies, when the teacher asks you to send in more paper mid-year. Plus, school supplies like crayons can make great stocking stuffers or party favors.

7 Ways to Save Money on Health and Medical Expenses

  1. Ask your doctor to prescribe generic medicine. At many places, generic prescriptions are only $4.
  2. Practice healthy habits, like exercising. You won’t need to see the doctor as often.
  3. Give up unhealthy habits, like smoking. You’ll save the money you were spending on cigarettes, and you’ll be healthier, too!
  4. Ask your medical provider or hospital for a discount, if you’re paying cash.
  5. Make use of a flexible spending account, if your employer offers one.
  6. Cancel your gym membership. Take up running or use workout DVDs.
  7. Volunteer at the YMCA in return for a membership.

10 Ways to Save Money on Insurance, Debt, & Finance

  1. Raise the deductible on your insurance. But first make sure you can cover the deductible, if you need it.
  2. Combine your insurance needs with one company, so you can get a multi-policy discount.
  3. Ask for other discounts, like good driver and good student discounts.
  4. Review your insurance policies annually, to make sure they meet your needs. If you overbuy, you lose money every month on something you don’t need. If you underbuy, you’ll lose money when your insurance coverage doesn’t provide what you need.
  5. Consider putting your dependents on their own insurance plan. It might be less expensive than the plan offered through your employer.
  6. Consolidate your student loans to a lower interest rate.
  7. Transfer your credit card balances to a lower interest card. But make absolutely sure you can pay off the balance, before the introductory period is over.
  8. Stop using credit cards all together, if you’re not paying them off each month. Take them out of your wallet and cut them up or freeze them, to remove the temptation.
  9. Do your own taxes, rather than hiring an accountant. Programs like Turbo-Tax make doing taxes relatively easy.
  10. Make a budget. When money in a given category is gone, don’t spend anymore.

5 Ways to Save Money When You Shop

  1. Before making any purchase, ask if you really need it. If so, find out if you can borrow it, get it used, or wait for a sale, before you pay full retail price.
  2. Use the 48 hour rule. Make a commitment to wait 48 hours before making any unplanned purchase. Often the urge to buy will disappear after a few hours.
  3. Start shopping for next Christmas now. Aim to be finished shopping by Thanksgiving. You can shop for the best prices on your gifts, and you won’t have any holiday debt, come next January.
  4. When you shop online, use Ebates or MyPoints. You get a percentage back in the form of cash or a gift card. Make sure you look for codes, before you check out, too. Ebates has a list of coupons for each of the stores they work with.
  5. Sign up for Swagbucks and use their search engine. You’ll accumulate points that you can redeem for gift cards. If you start now, you may be able to pay for all your Christmas presents this year with giftcards you earn from Swagbucks!

So there you have it. 96 ideas to cut your expenses and save you money. Can you think of any I’ve missed? Leave your ideas in the comments!



Author

By , on Aug 18, 2013
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{79 Comments}

  1. bbr:

    here’s another tip. A lot of stores will offer you a loyalty program. Sign up for it. You can pay with any form of payment including cash or debit.

    If you are struggling with finances and are credit debt free, a credit card can help stretch that dollar further via cashback rewards. Make it a habit to pay the bill off instantly though online bill payment as soon as you get home and login to your computer. Write it down somewhere how much you spent that month. Note only do this if you have enough self-discipline to do it. Otherwise skip it.

  2. Linda:

    “How to save money” sites always leave out apartment dwellers. I’d love to see a list that was generated specifically for people who rent. We don’t have the same kinds of options that home owners often do (we can’t, necessarily, change providers of things, for instance) and a lot of the suggestions aren’t doable for us. For instance, many apartment managements specifically say that drying laundry on the patios is a violation of the lease – and that’s if there’s even room out there on that tiny thing to spread out more than a towel or something! The above list says an idea is to paint the roof white. I’m thinking the management wouldn’t be too keen on my doing that! ;)

    Home owners have more room and more ability to do a lot of the cost-cutting measures that are usually recommended. And, if you do happen to find an article that’s geared to apartments, you’ll find advice for college-age apartment renters who are fine with saving money by decorating with anything and everything. Not everyone that lives in an apartment is under 25. Some of us are a little older and actually see this as our permanent home – just as you house owners see yours.

    Help us find ways to save money on home expenses, too!

  3. Dan:

    Awesome list with lots and lots of great tips. Thank you for that.
    I’ve stumbled over Ebates just a few weeks ago and I love it! :)

    Dan

  4. Great detailed post! We really need to stick on the budget. I think the term “self-control” is much needed here. Sometimes, we tend to buy stuffs wherein it is not in the list. Stay focus and stick to the budget plan.

  5. NickJ:

    Regarding #4:

    Ceiling fans don’t cool down a room. They just make you feel cooler in the breeze. Don’t run fans unless you’re actually in the room to feel the effect.

  6. Regarding #23 – challenge your property tax assessment. Some cities give discounts to senior citizens on fixed incomes of $25,000 or less but you have to apply for it.

    • Pam:

      We do most of these things as a way of life here.

  7. Maggie:

    Wow that is a great list! Some of the things I had already done (paint roof white? check!) but others like using knock off recipes I hadn’t even thought of! Another thing I did to save money on my cable was sign up for this company called BillCutterz. They took my cable bill and made it cheap for the same service and it was so quick to sign up! I loved it and I think you will too!

  8. Jane:

    I bought several of the crystal deodorant sticks on sale from Amazon a few years back and I’m still using the same one. So I’ll get at least 4 years use from a $4.50 stick of deodorant! For best use put it on immediately after showering while your skin is clean, wet & pores are open. Always wet your skin, not the crystal, running water on the crystal may cause it to crack and wear down faster.

    Another thing is I started using a merkur refillable blade razor rather than the disposables. You can get a 100 pk of blades for under $10 on Amazon and the razor itself will last for many years not to mention the relief on our landfills. I now use body wash or cheap shampoo as my shaving cream, V05 still goes on sale for @80 cents.

    Also now I use cloth instead of paper for all but toileting. I don’t think any of my new habits are far out there but they sure do save lots of money and are environmentally friendly.

  9. One of the best SIGNIFICANT ways of saving money is to switch your electricity or natural gas supplier. These “save money” sites always miss this one, and it is one of the best ways to save significant amounts of money month after month.

    • Not everyone has that option; many people like myself live where there is only one provider.

  10. Debbie:

    I stock pile and use a lot of coupons. I have saved $30.00 on groceries.

  11. Rob:

    We all know that using a list when grocery shopping is essential in saving money. Save even more by setting a maximum price you’re willing to pay to the side of each item and then try to beat it. Also set a weekly total. After you’ve learned to beat that, set a new lower total. Repeat until you either can’t beat it or you die of malnutrition.

  12. Thanks Lynnae!

    Most people could really save a ton of money with these tips. I mostly like the “saving money around the house” list because just about every one of those things are relatable to most of us.

    I try to do a lot of conserving money, but its always great to see a list like this to get a few helpful reminders.

    Thanks again!

    love the blog, btw

    -Coupon Lady

  13. jennifer:

    what i do to save money is pretty much pick out things i like outta weekly ads that are actually a good price!buy in bulk and save a tons of $$$$. thats alls ill buy and thats what i eat then. say a can of soup is $2.00 and on sale for 49 cents i will stock up on it. after a couple of weeks your house will be super full of your favs. you will only have to go to the store for milk bread eggs. pretty simple!!! * tip* i check all stores around me compare, make a list of every item at each store i go shopping to all stores. becarful because the cheaper stores are NOT usally a deal! plus you can clip coupons and use those. make sure you check each store coupon policys

  14. tom:

    Use an online bank like ING Direct or Ally … not a traditional one with fees and higher operating costs like Bank of America.

  15. The best way that I’ve found is by reducing monthly bills like cable and internet.

  16. That is one exhaustive list! I’m going to print this out for sheer inspiration. I found this post on pinterest, and it just goes to show how the internet really does make it easier to save money. For one, I get almost all of my recipes on pinterest, which saves time and money. You can always find printable grocery coupons and online coupons. Then there are free ebooks that you can download. Thanks for all of these money-saving ideas.

  17. Lynn:

    I think the best thing to do is practice. This is one of the those practice makes perfect and change your life style kind of thing. It works. The hardest part is consistency. Once you’ve saved, you will feel like you are on cloud 9, and when you geared off to eating out one night that cost you, it will be a lesson.

    I’ve lived fugal all my life, until I’ve landed a nice job and pretty much spent like a maniac because I was able to afford whatever and whenever. I have to say, even making that kind of money at the end of the month, i did not save and this goes to show no matter how much you make, the way you spend and your habits will reflect your future. Its actually much harder now that I have to go back to living fugal because again its a life style change, but i think this change will be best for my future.

  18. I’m really a bad spender! I don’t know how to save! All these are really helpful to me. Yet some are already practiced there are just times that when you buy something you will tend to forget these tips.

  19. Wow, even two years late this list is still applicable. There are even a few things that I could do, like washing my clothes with cold water instead of hot and unplugging my electronics every night.

  20. Kirk:

    Thank you for writing about saving money! In this economy, it is so sad to see people hurting and yet, giving them tips sometimes falls on deaf ears. Great job!

  21. These are great ideas! I would like to add another. Swapstorm.com is a FREE bartering website. We created it to help people save cash by trading unwanted things for goods and services they can use. Stop by and start Trading!!!

  22. Coupon clubs can also be a great way to save money on things like grocery items and everyday toiletries.

  23. Tracy:

    Here is a great money saving tip if you have a mortgage. Pay it every 2 weeks instead of monthly. At the end of the year you will be putting extra money towards the loan and not realizing it. This will turn a 30year mortgage into a 27 year mortgage. Even more if you go with Primerica, if you are able to, their estimates are free but are literally house market value, i.e. hard to get if you still owe a lot. Yes you saved money by switching to a payment plan by paying every 2 weeks but its not the most savings. If you can get a mortgage loan through Primerica your 2 week payment is made and then loan is readjusted, then you pay a 2 week payment and then loan is readjusted. This will bring your loan down by a few years or more. For example, a 27 year mortgage becomes a 18 year mortgage instead by refinancing with them. FYI they do not do new loans as far as I know of yet. Most mortgage DO NOT readjust after that 2 week payment, they readjust after your full payment of the month. Also applies for when you pay an extra payment, some mortgage companies apply any extra at the end of the year. (These are the worst) Also if you have a loan that has a variable interest rate, get rid of it NOW!!!

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