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
- Line Dry your laundry. It will lengthen the life of your clothes and save energy.
- Set your thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer.
- Use a programmable thermostat, so you never forget to adjust the temperature.
- Use ceiling fans to reduce the burden on your AC.
- Paint your roof white. There are white roof coatings that work with certain roof. They are much more energy efficient than black roof coatings.
- Use CFL or LED lights instead of regular incandescent bulbs.
- Wash your laundry in cold water.
- Weatherproof your home to save electricity and heating costs.
- Stop using phantom power by unplugging your electronics at night. Using power strips makes this easier.
- In the summer, close East (morning sun) and West (afternoon sun) facing window blinds, reducing heat; and in the winter, open them.
- Get rid of cable TV or switch to basic cable.
- 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.
- 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.
- Get rid of the internet and use the library (assuming you don’t need it for work).
- 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.
- Catch rainwater for watering your garden.
- Use pasta water for watering household plants.
- Turn off your water when you’re brushing your teeth, shampooing, or shaving.
- Recycle. You’ll save on your trash bill.
- Compost. You’ll save on your trash bill and help your garden.
- Haul your own trash to the dump, if you have a pickup truck or trailer.
- Try to do repairs yourself, before hiring someone. Use free resources at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and on the internet to help you.
- Challenge your property tax assessment, if you feel it’s too high.
8 Ways to Save Money on Transportation
- Sell one of your cars.
- Take public transportation.
- Walk when you can. You’ll be healthier, too.
- Rotate your tires regularly to make them last longer. Also keep up with other maintenance requirements.
- 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.
- Use GasBuddy.com to search for the lowest prices on gas.
- Don’t use high octane gasoline, unless your car specifically requires it.
21 Ways to Save Money on Groceries, Cleaning, & Personal Care
- Use up what you already have before buying more.
- Fully leverage the return policy for products that you ended up not using, or products that doesn’t fulfill the promise.
- 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.
- Use The Grocery Game or other deal sites to make effective use of coupons.
- Cook from scratch.
- Grow a garden.
- Eat less meat.
- Or buy a side of beef, instead of smaller packages at the store.
- Give up cold cereal. Eat oatmeal instead. It’s cheaper and healthier.
- Give up (or cut back on) junk food.
- 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.
- Keep a price book, so you you know when a deal is a deal.
- 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.
- Plan a weekly soup night to use up leftovers. Wasted food is wasted money.
- Use cloth napkins. Buy them at yard sales or make your own from cheap linens you find at thrift stores.
- Use rags, rather than disinfectant wipes or paper towels.
- Make your own laundry detergent and household cleaners.
- Use vinegar as a fabric softener, or skip the fabric softener all together.
- Go no-poo. (That’s no shampoo, people!)
- 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.
- Use alternative feminine products like the Diva Cup and cloth pads.
7 Ways to Save Money on Clothing
- Swap hand-me-downs with friends. This is really effective with kids’ clothing.
- Don’t be afraid to shop at thrift and consignment stores.
- Mend clothing, instead of tossing it.
- Borrow one time use items, like a formal dress or a snowsuit for a day in the snow.
- Coordinate new clothing with old clothing, so your wardrobe is versatile. You won’t need as many pieces.
- Carry a Tide-to-Go pen. When you get a stain, treat it right away, so it doesn’t set and ruin your clothing.
- 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
- Take a staycation instead of a vacation.
- Vacation in the off-season.
- Take your date for a walk in the park and a picnic, instead of dinner and a movie.
- Wait for movies to come out on DVD before watching them. Use Netflix or Redbox, instead of spending $7+ a person in the theater.
- Make your own mochas, rather than hitting Starbucks.
- Search for knock off recipes, so you can have your favorite restaurant food at home, for half the cost.
- Make a commitment to only eating out once a month…or not at all.
- 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.
- Consider freezer cooking if you tend to eat out, because you don’t have time in the evening to cook.
- Pack your lunch for work. And pack your kids’ school lunches.
- 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
- Make your own baby food.
- Make your own disposable baby wipes. Better yet, use cloth.
- Use basic cloth diapers.
- Learn how to cut your children’s hair. If your brave, cut your spouse’s hair, too.
- 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.
- Host your children’s birthday parties at home, rather than renting a place. It’s much less expensive and much more creative.
- 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
- Ask your doctor to prescribe generic medicine. At many places, generic prescriptions are only $4.
- Practice healthy habits, like exercising. You won’t need to see the doctor as often.
- Give up unhealthy habits, like smoking. You’ll save the money you were spending on cigarettes, and you’ll be healthier, too!
- Ask your medical provider or hospital for a discount, if you’re paying cash.
- Make use of a flexible spending account, if your employer offers one.
- Cancel your gym membership. Take up running or use workout DVDs.
- Volunteer at the YMCA in return for a membership.
10 Ways to Save Money on Insurance, Debt, & Finance
- Raise the deductible on your insurance. But first make sure you can cover the deductible, if you need it.
- Combine your insurance needs with one company, so you can get a multi-policy discount.
- Ask for other discounts, like good driver and good student discounts.
- 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.
- Consider putting your dependents on their own insurance plan. It might be less expensive than the plan offered through your employer.
- Consolidate your student loans to a lower interest rate.
- 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.
- 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.
- Do your own taxes, rather than hiring an accountant. Programs like Turbo-Tax make doing taxes relatively easy.
- Make a budget. When money in a given category is gone, don’t spend anymore.
5 Ways to Save Money When You Shop
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!