No matter where you are on your financial journey, you need to know that it’s possible for anyone to turn their financial life around and start saving money. Sometimes all it takes is that first step in the right direction to get things moving in your favor. But, as with most things, sometimes that very first step is the hardest part.
That’s why we created this list of 100 ways to save money starting today. None of these tactics will be life-changing on their own, but they can make quite a difference over time if you’re able to implement more than one. Some of these suggestions take just a few minutes, while others require a bit of regular effort. Still, they’re all incredibly simple – anyone can do them.
Obviously, not all of these tips will apply to everyone. Just go through the list and find 10 or 15 that do apply to you and use them in your life. When you do, you may quickly find that you’re saving more money than you ever thought possible.
100 Ways to Save Money
1. Move bank accounts to take advantage of perks and earn more interest
If you’re paying a monthly fee for your checking or savings account, you would benefit from researching some of newest banking offers out there. Not only do some of the best banks offer sign-up bonuses simply for opening an account and setting up direct deposit, but some offer attractive interest rates to new customers as well.
It’s true that interest rates are not what they once were, but it’s still worth a look. Some of the best free checking accounts and best savings accounts can be found online. Here’s a guide on how to make that switch.
2. Turn off the television.
One big way to save money is to drastically cut down on the amount of television you watch. There are a lot of financial benefits to this: less exposure to spending-inducing ads, a lower electric bill (and perhaps a lower cable bill if you downgrade your subscription), more time to focus on other things in life — such as a side business — and so on.
Want to take things a step further? Consider cutting the cord to cable TV altogether.
3. Stop collecting, and start selling
There was a time when people thought their collections would bring them riches. Beanie Babies were a big fad at one time, as were Longaberger baskets. Now you can find those items on resale sites like Craigslist and at garage sales for a fraction of their initial cost, leaving many people who sunk thousands of dollars into their “investments” wondering what happened.
If you want to avoid that situation, don’t collect items of questionable value. And if you want to recoup some of the money you’ve already spent on collectible items, you can start selling them now and use those funds for any number of worthy financial goals. Read our “Guide to Selling Unwanted Items” for some simple strategies that can help you profit as much as possible.
4. Sign up for every free customer rewards program you can.
No matter where you live, you’ll find plenty of retailers who are willing to reward you for shopping at their store. Here’s the basic game plan for maximizing these programs: create a Gmail or Yahoo address just for these mailings, collect every card you can, and then check that account for extra coupons whenever you’re ready to shop.
You can add to those rewards and discounts by using rewards credit cards to earn points on purchases at a wide range of stores that can be redeemed for cash back or
5. Use credit cards wisely.
If you have a habit of overspending with credit cards, hide your cards and keep them in a safe place in your home, not in your wallet. Keeping your card “out of sight and out of mind” might help reduce temptation while you’re out and about. Already in trouble with bad credit? Apply for a bad credit credit card and rebuild your credit through slow, consistent spending on essentials.
6. Master the 30-day rule.
Avoiding instant gratification is one of the most important rules of personal finance, and waiting 30 days to decide on a purchase is an excellent way to implement that rule.
Quite often, after a month has passed, you’ll find that the urge to buy has passed as well, and you’ll have saved yourself some money simply by waiting. If you’re on the fence about a purchase anyway, waiting a while can give you a better perspective on whether it’s truly worth the money.
7. Write a list before you go shopping – and stick to it.
One of the easiest ways to save money is to only shop when you have a list. Because when you’re without one, you typically end up making impulse buys and unplanned purchases – all things that cost money.
Creating a list before you go to the grocery store is especially important. Not only can it help you buy items that fit with your meal plan, but it can also help you avoid buying food you might waste. Always create a list and, more importantly, stick to it.
You can also take advantage of a cash back rewards card that gives bonus cash at grocery stores – just be sure to pay off the balance each month.
8. Invite friends over instead of going out.
Going out to eat or “out on the town” has a way of completely destroying both your food budget and your entertainment budget in one fell swoop. And no matter what, it is always cheaper to stay in with friends and come up with your own entertainment.
Instead of hitting the town, host a fun pitch-in dinner with your friends. Play cards, sit around a fire pit, or watch movies with your guests. You’ll all save money – and have a blast.
9. Repair clothing instead of tossing it.
Don’t toss out a shirt because of a broken button – sew on a new one with some closely-matched thread. Don’t toss out pants because of a hole in them – put in a patch of some sort and save them for times when you’re working around the house.
Most basic sewing jobs can be completed by anyone, and a little bit of practice goes a long way. Learning basic sewing skills is a great way to save some money – and extend the life of your clothing.
10. Don’t spend big money entertaining your children.
Most children, especially young ones, can be entertained very cheaply. Buy them an end roll of newspaper from your local paper and let their creativity run wild. Play ball in the backyard. Head to the park. Plant a garden. Teach them to ride a bike without training wheels once and for all.
Realize that what your children want most of all is your time, not your stuff, and you’ll find money in your pocket and joy in your heart.
11. Negotiate rates with your credit card company or complete a balance transfer.
If you’re paying a lot of interest on your credit cards, it’s important to know that you do have some power as long as you’ve been making your payments. Not only do you have the right to negotiate your current interest rate with your credit card issuer, but you have the right to transfer your balance to an entirely different card as well. (In fact, that is perhaps your biggest bargaining chip.)
Start by calling your card issuer at the number on the back of your card and explaining your request. If you don’t make any progress with them, check out these balance transfer credit cards to find one with an in
troductory 0% APR that could help you save hundreds of dollars in interest over time.
12. Clean out those closets.
Go through your closets and find anything and everything you no longer use. Then, don’t just get rid of it, use it to your benefit.
You can have a yard sale with it, sell it on eBay or Craigslist, take it to a consignment shop, or even donate it for the tax deduction (mark down what you give away so you can get a receipt). All of these options can turn old stuff you don’t want anymore into money in your pocket. Not only that, it’s often a psychological load off your mind to clean out your closets.
13. Buy video games that have a lot of replay value – and don’t acquire new ones until you’ve mastered what you have.
My video game buying habits have changed quite a bit since my “game of the week” days. Now, I focus on games that can be played over and over and over again, and I focus on mastering the games that I buy. Good targets include puzzle games and long, involved quest games – they maximize the value of your gaming dollar.
Once you’re done with a game for good, take it to a video game resale shop like GameStop and see if you can trade it in for store credit you can use to get another game.
14. Drink more water.
Not only does drinking plenty of water have great health benefits — it has financial benefits, too. Drink a big glass of water before each meal in order to stay fuller longer and ultimately eat less. Not only will you save on the food bill, but you’ll also feel better after you become properly hydrated.
Even better, drinking more water — whether in a refillable bottle or at restaurants — means spending less money on beverages like soda, juice, and tea. Remember: Tap water is not only just as clean as bottled water, it’s also free.
15. Avoid convenience foods and fast food.
Instead of eating fast food or just nuking some prepackaged dinner when you get home, try making some simple and healthy replacements that you can take with you. An hour’s worth of preparation one weekend can leave you with a ton of cheap and easy dinner and snack options for the following week.
Also consider breaking out the ol’ crock pot for some
inexpensive meal options that not only save money, but time, too.
For those times when you simply can’t avoid dining out, maximize your savings with coupons and a rewards credit card that gives a bonus for restaurant spending (but you know yourself best, so only spend what you know you can pay off each month with no interest).