This is one of the most complete lists of frugal tips designed to save to money. Follow even one or two of the tips in this post and you will start spending less and saving more. Each week or month, incorporate a few more tips. Over time you will find you money stretches furhter and your savings are growing.
Frugal tips for less spending in general
1. Watch impulse purchases
Start noticing all of the purchases you make on a daily or weekly basis. For example, the extra items you put in your cart at the grocery store. The clearance sweater you that was too good to pass up. Swinging through Starbucks and ordering a breakfast sandwich to go with your coffee.
We all make impulse purchases. But challenging yourself to pause and think if the purchase is really needed is a good thing to try. You may end up buying the item even after taking a second thought. But even cutting a few purchases out here and there will add up over time.
2. Try a no spend month, week, or even day!
Make a challenge with yourself to not spend any unnecssary money over a given amount of time. This might be different for you than it is for me as our spending habits are different. If you like to stop for coffee in the morning, or grab lunch with colleagues during the day, or snags take out frequently for dinner – not spending for one day might be a huge accomplishment!
Maybe for you, a challenge is not spending any money for a week. Or not spending online for two weeks (I’m looking at you, Amazon). Make a challenge with yourself to stop the spending habits you know you need to break.
3. Delay a purchase
This may be for a day, or two days, or a week. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in idea of something (or some deal), you don’t recall if you actually need it. Shop online and put things into your cart. Then STOP. Pause before you check out.
If there is a great deal on the item today, maybe the deal will get even better tomorrow. Plus you may not even remember what you put in your cart 24 hours from now.
A few days from now if you’re still drooling over this amazing purchase, then fine. Buy it. You may even save a few more dollars by waiting with an abandoned cart email from the seller. I see this on Etsy all the time. I put an item in my cart, and a few days later, a 10% off coupon arrives. If I still really want the item I’ll buy it, and use the coupon to make it a deal.
4. Ask yourself: will I be happy I purchased this a year from now?
This is a simple checkpoint to identify if this is a purchase you truly need. Everything is so disposable these days that it seems ordinary to just whip out a credit card and buy anything you want today and have it delivered tomorrow.
But asking yourself if you’ll be happy you bought it a year from now gets you thinking about how much you value the purchase you’re about to make. If it’s something you’ll cherish for years to come, that may be a good purchase. If it’s not, and it’s simply another mindless purchase, try to not purchase it.
5. If something breaks, consider fixing or not replacing
This tip depends on what the item is. Not everything that breaks belongs in the trash. And not all garbage has to be replaced. Maybe the broken item is a sign you don’t need it anymore or could do just fine without it. Also if the item is expensive or sentimental, perhaps fixing it is more cost effective than buying new one. You could also check out local Buy Nothing Facebook groups to see if someone has the thing you need for free!
6. Don’t spend money just because you have it
Have you heard that phrase “money burning a hole in your pocket?” That’s what this tip is all about.
Lets say you’re on a cash only budget. And at the end of the month, you have some cash left in your wallet! Yay! Resist spending those dollars just to spend them.
Saving those dollars for a rainy day, or investing them will benefit you in the long run. Don’t let a short-term impulse rob you of your financial future. Take any leftover money at the end of the month and put it away where you can’t spend it. An envelope for extra cash, a savings account or an investment account are all good options depending on your situation.
7. Use cash as much as possible
Grab some envelopes, hit the ATM, and divvy out your money. For example, if your grocery budget is $400 for the month, withdraw $400 and put it in an envelope labeled “groceries.” Take the envelope with you each time you shop and only pay using the money that’s in the envelope. You’ll not only stay on budget, but you’re likely to spend more when paying via credit card according to Consumer Reports.
8. Delay purchasing the latest fashion trends or newest technology.
Trends change, technology ages. Both will be cheaper if you wait a little bit versus being an early adopter. If it’s a need and not a want, sit tight and wait a few months before making a purchase on a trendy or new item. The hype will fade and prices will adjust.
9. Cancel subscriptions to things you are not using
That grocery delivery service, gym membership, a discount airline club, etc. If you buy subscriptions, there is likely a subscription of some type that you are paying for, for something you barely use or are not getting the return on.
It’s so easy to forget or “keep meaning” to cancel. Cancel now if you can get some money back. Or cancel right before the membership is set to renew. Add a reminder to yourself in your calendar. Don’t get caught in the trap of an automatic renewal on something you don’t use!
Frugal Tips for Food & Groceries
1. Write a list
We’ve all been there. The grocery store is crowded. You didn’t want to go to begin with but you needed milk and a few other things before you head home. You race around the store snagging this and that. You’re in the busy checkout, approaching the cashier when you realize you forgot a critical item. Your mind races wondering if you have enough time to jump the line grab the item and come back.
If you write a list and stick to it, it actually works. You enter a grocery store are bombarded with bright lights, thousands of products, and sale stickers all over the place. It’s a budget-buster to not come prepared with specifically what you are going to purchase while in store.
Plus it’s a lot more time-consuming in the store without a list – running from aisle to aisle, having to retrace your steps when you forgot something a few aisles back. Before you leave for the store, jot down everything you plan to purchase. This ensures you are only buying what you actually need, are not purchasing something you already have, and allows to you to spend time shopping more efficiently and not forget anything standing in line.
2. Switch to cheaper brands
The name brand isn’t always better but it’s usually more expensive. Challenge yourself to find cheaper alternatives to some of the products you are not brand loyal to. If you have a few products you’re willing to pay more for to get the brand you want, great. Keep buying those items. But find products you don’t have a preference on and try the store brand next time.
3. Look at the shopping ads/circular
There are so many awesome money-saving ideas within the store flyer itself. When you are writing your shopping list, check out what is on sale at the store you are heading to. That way you already know what the best deals are going to be and can craft a meal plan around them.
4. Find coupons to use to pair with sale prices
One of the easiest ways to save even more money while grocery shopping is to use coupons. They could be ones you have clipped from the Sunday paper. If that’s not your jam, download the app of the store you are shopping at and clip coupons digitally. Typically the apps have the exact same or very similar coupons. Pairing a coupon with a sale priced item is an easy way to stay frugal and save money.
5. Use receipt scanning apps to save money
Apps like Ibotta, Fetch Rewards and Checkout 51 can be used to save money on grocery store purchases. These apps have come a long way in the last few years and make it incredibly intuitive and easy to save.
Recently I learned you can tie rewards cards directly to Ibotta so all you have to do is clip offers you are interested in, in advance and shop using your rewards card (no actually uploading of your receipt). Ibotta will automatically credit your account for qualifying purchases.
Checkout51 is also a favorite of mine. In some cases, they have overlapping offers with Ibotta so you can make one purchase, and use multiple receipt-scanning apps for the same item!
Fetch is my new favorite and works similar to the other receipt-scanning apps. However, what makes this app different is you don’t’ have to scan offers in advance! Simply shop, scan your receipt, and any offer you qualify for will be credited to your account. No pre-clipping of offers or watching 30-second videos to quality. Easy peasy and another easy frugal living tip to help you save money.
6. Take snacks and lunches to work
This really is a no-brainer and so much more cost-effective than eating out or snacking from the vending machine. I cringe when I see people standing in front of the vending machine either for a beverage or a snack. They. Are So. Expensive! Relative to anything you can find in the grocery store. Plan ahead, stop at a store before you get to work, and stock up on the exact same snacks and beverages for a fraction of the cost.
7. Take snacks and beverages on to the grocery store with you
We’re all tempted to open the cooler and snag a beverage in the checkout line on our way out the store. Or you reach your car and have a hankering for some fast food. If you bring snacks and a bottle of water with you, it’ll be easier to talk yourself out of impulse buys you don’t need.
8. Drink more water
I’m not sure when our household turned into such a “beverage” family. But the amount of sparkling water, Gatorade, vitamin water, soda, etc. we have in our fridge at any time is crazy. I have started to wean myself off of some of the beverage consumption that has become a habit and have seen great savings in our food bills. Do you really need that $1.50 Bai or could you put lemon in your water and that would suffice. Expensive beverages are such a waste, especially if you’re mindlessly drinking them and trying to pay off debt.
9. Grow your own herbs
We have a garden, and I’m torn with how cost-effective it truly is over purchasing in store when in season. It takes a lot of time and money to maintain a garden. Fresh, organic and delicious? Yes, Free? No. One thing I would recommend though is growing your own herbs.
In fact, you could keep them in a pot right in your kitchen. It’s crazy how much a small pack of mint is if you’re muddling mojitos or rosemary if you want to add to tonight’s dinner. Growing a few herbs year round in our house has not only saved money but encourages us to put these awesome fresh flavors into meals we are cooking regularly. It makes them taste so fresh. Try it!
10. Purchase in bulk when it makes sense
I used to have a Costco membership and canceled it. So I’m not a proponent of buying in bulk at all times. But if you use some quick math and determine the bulk item is, in fact, the best deal AND you know you’ll be able to consume it before the expiration AND you have room to store it, then by all means, bulk shop away!
11. Shop Aldi for staples
If you have an Aldi store around and are not shopping for staples there, prepare to save some money. I have never found a store with such low everyday prices in my life. Pair those already low prices with a sale price and you have an unbelievable deal.
Produce and meat are hit and miss in my opinion. But staples and non-perishables like canned goods, baking supplies, snacks, etc. are all very competitively priced. Plus they typically have a seasonal section for holidays and other events around the year. I go there every year before we throw an Oktoberfest party to stock up on various mustards and Bavarian pretzels. Aldi really does have it going on!
12. Cook and bake in bulk
Try making a huge batch of your favorite meal this weekend and either freeze some of it or plan to eat it multiple times throughout the week. Not only will it be more efficient on your time, but it’s also cost-effective in many cases to buy ingredients in larger units of measure. I love being able to pull leftovers out of the freezer and eat what tastes like a home cooked meal (because it is); only it was prepared a few weeks ago.
Frugal Tips for Household & Laundry
1. Only run the dishwasher completely full
You’re likely putting in the same amount of soap and the machine is using the same amount of water regardless. Maximize the dirty run by making sure it’s full before you run it. Also, make sure the dishes aren’t overlapping each other too much or are covering where the water sprays out.
For months after getting a new dishwasher I wasn’t aware that the way I was stacking the dinner plates made the water spinny thing on the lower shelf catch. No wonder the dishes were coming out less than clean. I thought it was our crappy new dishwasher, turns out it was the way I was loading the dishes that mattered.
2. Only wash dirty clothes
I fall into this trap a lot. I automatically throw everything on my body into the hamper whether I’ve worn it all day or only a few hours. I’m not saying to wear dirty clothes. I’m saying every load adds up, so check yourself before throwing barely worn clothes into the hamper. Can you wear it again and wash it after that?
3. Shop in your pantry and freezer before going shopping
We’ve all been there. We’re at the store buying groceries and can’t recall if we have a can of this or a frozen pack of that, so we buy another one at full price just in case. Using what you already have is a great way to keep the pantry turned over and save some money in the process by not buying duplicates of something or spending full price on something you thought you needed.
4. Make a budget (and stick to it)
Wondering why you aren’t meeting your financial goals each month? It may be because you haven’t written them down and taken deliberate actions to reach those goals. Check out how to create a zero-based budget here and get your financial goals on track this year.
5. Watch the thermostat
Keep the heat on as low as you can tolerate and the AC on as high as you can tolerate. Every degree you can swing is money saved. I’m not suggesting freeze or sweat to death. I’m saying to simply don’t overheat or over-cool the house. Grab a sweater or blanket and snuggle up if you are cold. There are ways to regulate your own body temperature that does not involve the thermostat and you can save money in the process.
6. Get a roommate/rent out a room
This may be an option depending on your personal situation. If you’re living alone, could you consider getting a roommate? Or, do you have a spare bedroom you’d consider renting out to someone? This tip isn’t for everyone but could be a good option if you have space to spare, patience to handle another person living in your home, and are looking to make some extra money on the side.
Money Saving Tips for General Online Shopping (clothing, household goods, etc.)
1. Shop around for pricing
This is really a no brainer. Not only shop around at various stores and websites but if it’s not urgent, put off the purchase. Put in your Amazon cart and wait a few days. Pricing is so volatile it could go up (or down!) by the day; heck by the hour!
2. Use money-saving apps like Rakuten or Paribus
Rakuten is old reliable. It’s been around forever and is the cornerstone of my online shopping. Simply visit rakuten.com before you make any purchase. Rakuten will track purchases made through the app and give you quarterly cash back on qualifying purchases. Even if it’s an extra 1% cash back, that’s 1% you didn’t have before!
Watch Rakuten like a hawk because the percentage cash back fluctuates daily. Many times they feature 2x cash back or more at select stores. Depending on the size of your purchase, when you can get 5, 10 or even 12%+ cash back on your purchase; and you do that for nearly every online purchase you make, you can see how the savings can rack up quickly.
Paribus is another good staple to consider if you want to become a little more frugal. It’s an app that essentially tracks your online purchases made. If the online price should drop, they work with the retailer on your behalf give you back the difference. Seriously all you have to do is set up your account and forget about it. Paribus works behind the scenes to do the heavy lifting for you and everything is automatic.
3. Use Retailmenot or Honey to find promo codes
Do not, I repeat do not check out from an online vendor without first trying to find a promo code. You can find a code for almost anything. My favorite place to start is retailmenot.com. Simply head to the website and search for the retailer. If there is an online code available, odds are it’s on this website.
Using Honey is a great option if you are on a desktop computer. So many of us shop on our mobile devices today, but if you’re bored at work and shopping online, this tip is for you. Download the Honey browser extension on your computer. After you’ve shopped and are approaching the checkout, the Honey app comes into play. Honey will basically scour the internet and apply the promo code that will give you the biggest savings automatically. So it is not only a time savings but gives you peace of mind that you used the highest money-saving code the internet has to offer.
4. Purchase discounted gift cards
If you are looking for a discounted gift card, let’s say for Gap, you can search for a Gap card and find multiple vendors selling Gap cards. You can pick and choose the right deal for you. I typically just go with the best deal, the highest percentage discount. But sometimes the vendor comes into play. If I’ve worked with them before and know they deliver fast and on time, I may choose to not go with the very best deal and use a vendor I know and trust.
This is one of my best frugal living tips and I use it all the time. Purchase discounted gift cards (pay below what they are valued at) using an online vendor. My preference typically leans toward giftcardgranny.com. They are a website that hosts multiple gift card resellers at once.
5. Buy used when you can
Whether it is at Goodwill or a consignment shop locally. So many high-quality items are donated by people who no longer need or want them. It could be an awesome score for you. Think Halloween costumes, specific kitchen items you only use once in a while, baskets, etc. Truly someone else’s trash can be your treasure if you hunt for it!
6. Sell things you don’t need or use
Conversely, if you have things sitting around the house not being used or loved, consider selling them. Have a garage sale, use the Facebook marketplace, try eBay.
You may be sitting on some pretty nice change if you look around and find belongings that no longer serve you, and put them up for sale. You’ll be giving someone who needs the item a good deal and put money in your pocket at the same time!
Money Saving Tips for School Supplies
1. Stock up while in season
This is a no brainer. Your child has a school list and you buy everything on the list. If the deal is too good, why not stock up on a few extra? You know your child will be using the basics: crayons, pencils, folders, etc. for years to come. Plus you could probably even keep some around the house for those snow day arts and crafts. If the deal is too good to be true, stock up on extra for the future, or donate extra to the classroom. Teachers spend so much money out of pocket stocking the classroom with extra supplies, I’m sure they’d be grateful for any additional supplies you bring their way.
2. Stock up on seasonal sales year round.
It’s amazing the deals you can find throughout the year. While you’re grocery shopping or perusing Target, head down the office products aisle. You’d be surprised the sale and clearance deals you can find on select items throughout the year. Or even month or two after traditional back-to-school shopping. It was probably October or November and there were still mounds of school supplies on clearance. Stock up for next year when it is truly rock bottom pricing.
3. Compare prices
I’m shocked at the school supply deals I’m able to find at Staples. With the big box stores directly competing, I didn’t think Staples would have a chance at my business. During the back to school season, they had weekly deals for just a few cents. Scissors for $.05, folders for $.01, erasers for $.02, folders for $.03 ea, etc.
Of course, they had maximum quantities and you had to spend at least $10 in the store, but it was such a good deal. After adding the penny items to my cart, there were still so many good deals that I could pair with coupons, it was easy to reach the minimum dollar threshold and simply get an amazing deal all-around.
Save on Eating out and Fast Food
1. Plan in advance
Check out the website and social media accounts of the restaurants you are visiting. That way you know of any daily specials they have and can print or bring with you any coupons they are offering to social media fans or website visitors.
2. Use coupons
Don’t throw away that junk mail. Open the coupon packets that arrive at your house and page through. Keep the few coupons that you think you might use to restaurants in your area that you are interested in trying, or that you frequent all the time. There is a local pizza restaurant near us that we absolutely love. Chicago deep dish. Nice beer selection. Great atmosphere. We never go without a free appetizer coupon. Do we need the appetizer? No. Do I want the free cheese curds? Yes. We feel like we’re getting a deal and I eat less pizza because of it. More leftovers come home and the restaurant got me to come in the door. It’s really a win-win situation.
3. Order from the kid’s menu
Restaurant portions are simply out of control in most cases. Ordering off the kids menu when you can (I usually only consider at fast food places), is a great move all around. It’s a frugal cost savings move as the child’s meals cost less than the adults. It’s also a calorically-conscious decision because it’s a normal portion. I’d argue it’s actually the appropriate portion for an adult. I always feel satisfied and not disgustingly stuffed after eating a kid’s meal. Typically they offer a fountain drink in lieu of milk and you can swap the apple sauce or “healthy” item for fries. Try a kid’s meal…your wallet and midline will thank you.
4. Share an entrée
Order one entrée and split it with the person you are with. Regular entrees are typically huge depending on the restaurant you are at. Maybe order an appetizer and an entrée and split both. I don’t know about you, but when I go out to eat, I’m hungry.
Because of that, my eyes are typically bigger than my stomach and I over-order because I’m ravenous. Get a few bites down my throat and I realize I’m starting to feel satisfied and have only started my meal. Try sharing an entrée or paring down on what you order when you’re hangry.
5. Only order dessert
Dessert is my favorite part of the meal anyway. I’m usually too full from the meal to be able to fit any more deliciousness in my stomach. Try something new and order that fancy dessert as your meal.
6. Box up half of your meal and take it home
Either make a commitment to yourself you are only going to eat half; or ask the waiter or waitress to box up half before it even reaches the table. Most regular meal portions are more filling and higher in calories than your daily needs anyway. Do yourself a favor and try not to eat the entire meal. You won’t feel like you have to waddle out of the restaurant and will have a great 2nd meal to enjoy again soon.
7. Order water
Beverages are expensive! Don’t order a drink and simply ask for water. You’ll cheaply stay hydrated and not consume unnecessary liquid calories.
Save money on your Pet
1. Find a good, but affordable vet
Not all cheaper vets are of poorer quality. I was amazed to compare prices in my area and find a vet that I feel comfortable with is professional and is affordable.
2. Order pet supplies online
There are hundreds of online pet vendors for everything from medications to basic supplies. If you hunt around online you may find a deal that is better than Petco or Pet Smart for your pet supplies. Plus you benefit but being able to shop at home. You can shop in your comfy clothes and save time (and gas) in the process.
3. Use discounted gift cards to places like Petco or Pet Smart
Start with a website like cardcash.com. They offer gift cards for sale from many different vendors. When I looked at the time of this publication, Petco cards were being offered at 17% off. This means you could purchase a $100 gift card for $83. It’s a great option if you shop these stores already and know you are going to spend the money anyway.
Frugal Entertainment Ideas
1. Entertain yourself around the house
I’m amazed and how much crap we have in our house that we don’t use on a regular basis. Cards, board games, video game systems, etc. Dust off the shelves and break out a puzzle. There are likely so many things you already own that you can use to entertain yourself or your kids instead of leaving the house to spend money on entertainment.
2. Invite friends over
I find it so much more relaxing to go to a friend’s house or have friends over than going out to a bar. The kids can be crazy together. I can kick off my shoes and just relax. Invite the neighbors over and have a cost-effective evening in.
3. Go to the library
I was surprised to see what an untapped resource the library is! It offers so many options for free or affordable entertainment. My local library allows you to check out books and movies online which makes it really convenient to simply swing by and pick them up.
Beyond that, they offer awesome FREE classes and entertainment for people of all ages. Storytime and group activities for toddlers; crafts for kids; life skills for teens and young adults, and all sorts of awesome resources for adults. I was thinking about attending one next week called “10 Tips for Getting the Most out of your Retirement Money.” If you’re looking for something to do yourself or to get the kids out the house, check out a local library today! Yes, they offer free entertainment on some weekends too!
4. Use Groupon or Living Social to find cheap entertainment
These sites have been around for a while and offer a nice assortment of discounted tickets to local events, restaurants, spas/salons, etc. In fact, use Rakuten first before you make a purchase on Living Social or Groupon to save even more!
5. Visit a park
When the weather is nice, my daughter really enjoys going to the park. Any park, but I like to change it up. In fact, the “park” we go to most often is playground equipment located at an abandoned elementary school. My daughter loves playing with other kids but typically when we go, we have the entire playground to ourselves. I have to pry her off the slides after we’ve been there for a while. It’s free, it gets her energy out, and she is highly entertained.
6. Check out free or really cheap activities at Michaels
Michaels Craft Stores offers an entire calendar full of arts and crafts activities for people of all ages. Sometimes they are free. Sometimes they may cost a few dollars. The mess stays at Michaels, your child is entertained for an hour, and they get to take home a project. Visit your local Michaels website to find local calendars as all stores are different.
7. Bring your own beverages and snacks if you’re heading out
Many places that offer entertainment or activities allow you to bring your own food and beverage into the location. Just check ahead. If you’re allowed to bring your own coolers, food and closed beverages, then do it!
You’ll get to eat and drink what you want for a fraction of what any vendor would charge on site. I’ve been surprised to see this at Disney, at ballparks, at outdoor fairs and concerts. Pack a few of your favorite essentials and save!
8. Go to a matinee instead of a night movie
I’m surprised at the difference in price between going to a theater before 4pm or so and going after. Get the exact same entertainment for a lesser price point. If your theater has a rewards or loyalty program, don’t forget to use that too. You may earn free or discounted tickets to come back again.
9. Buy discounted gift cards at Target using your RedCard
Heading to Disney? Swing by Target and use your Red Card to purchase gift cards for the park. You will receive 5% the purchase of all Disney gift cards. If you’ll be at the parks for a few days with children, between the food, snacks, treats, souvenirs, etc. you could definitely save some cash by thinking ahead.
This is also a great gift idea for any families you know are heading to Disney! Note, Target gift cards and Visa and MasterCard gift cards do not qualify. But almost any other store does!
Transportation Saving Tips
1. Use True Car before you purchase your next vehicle
I lovedTrue Car so much when I bought my new 2012 Malibu (yes, years later I’m still loving the deal I got), that I wrote a review about it. If you hate the price haggle when you’re purchasing a vehicle, this website is for you. Essentially you choose the make, model, and features of the car you are looking for.
True Car will then show you how much off sticker local retailers are willing to offer you off the car you are interested in. You then go to the dealership with the piece of paper and they will honor the discount. No haggle; you know what the retail is on the vehicle, you know what they will give you off. No awkward price discussions, just getting a good deal you want with ease.
2. Watch for deals on maintenance and tune-up at your local dealership or independent repair shop
I get junk mail every other day from local shops offering discounts on oil changes or a combo discount on oil and something else. I also sign up for emails from the dealerships and independent repair shops I trust and receive coupons and discounts that way.
Also, watch for or ask for discounts when you are purchasing tires. I received, what I thought was a great deal on ties complete with a manufacturer rebate. On top of that, the dealership offered me 5 free oil changes and gave me a punch card.
3. Find a mechanic you trust
This one can be difficult to “know” if you can trust them, but well worth it. I get so frustrated every time I go into this one dealership for an oil change. My car isn’t that old, and every time I go they try to upsell, cross sell, make additional recommendations. I am so frustrated with being sold that I am on the hunt for an independent repair shop.
I have my car’s manual, I know what their recommendations are; why are the dealerships recommending so much more? You want the vehicle to be reliable, but don’t just agree to every single thing the dealership recommends. Do your homework, look online, get a second opinion before you spend unnecessary money.
4. Don’t drive so much or combine trips.
Every mile adds up. Instead of running one errand at a time, can you combine them? I found myself leaving during my lunch hour at work frequently just to “get out of the office.” When the weather was nice I decided to swap the drive for a nice long walk. I put on my earphones and, jammed out to some country and got a decent amount of steps in on my Fit Bit.
Plus I could tell I didn’t have to fill up as much. Not running errands one at a time during the day extended my next fill-up by another day. Ask yourself if you really need to hop in the car or are just looking for an excuse to leave. If it’s the latter, find an alternate way to relieve your stress and save some money in the process.
5. Use GasBuddy or simply watch gas prices in general
My car holds 15 gallons. So when on empty, every $.10 per gallon I can save on gas is $1.50 saved per fill up (10 cents x 15 gallons). I’m not saying drive across town and spend extra time and extra gas seeking out the best deals.
But if you drive a lot or drive past a lot of gas stations on your way to work. Take a few seconds and use the GasBuddy app to see which station has the best price on gas in real time. Plan your stop accordingly and save with very little effort.
6. Wash your own car
I have to admit, I’m not as good about washing the inside and outside of my car as I should be. I’m the type where I’m happy it’s raining today to wash the winter salt off my car and am considering it a “free” car wash.
Instead of going through the drive-through or to a fancy car wash costs $30 or $40 to wipe down the inside and outside, why not do it at home? Get the kids involved. Turn it into a fun activity and save some money in the process.
7. Price check your insurance
My husband and I had American Family for years. We used the same agent as his parents, paid the bill every 6 months and thought nothing of it. Then our premium started to inch up. I’m thinking, my car is only getting older and worth less, why in the heck is the premium going up?
We shopped around and saved hundreds, yes hundreds annually by switching insurances and received better coverage, too. It doesn’t hurt. It’s easy to grab quotes online and compare costs with coverage.
8. Once you’ve made your last vehicle payment, save for the one
Pretend you continue to have a car payment and make payments to yourself each month to save up for the next vehicle. You’ve been living with this car payment for a while, so your budget won’t notice a difference. Money has this magic superpower where once it hits your checking account it has a way of disappearing.
Continue to pay yourself the car payment and put it away in a safe place for a down payment on your next vehicle. Heck, depending on the time between now and your next vehicle purchase, you may even be able to pay for the next vehicle in cash!
9. Use public transportation or ride your bike to work.
If you work far away from home but are close to public transportation, consider using it instead of driving. You’ll likely save time and money over gas and paid parking. Or, if you’re close enough to work consider riding your bike to work. Get a workout in before you even hit the office.
Saving Tips for Holidays / Gift Giving/ Gift Exchanges
1. Plan ahead
Likely you know these annual events are coming. Make a budget in advance, and start saving up for holidays well before its gift-giving time. Think birthday gifts, holiday gifts, holiday décor, holiday cards, etc. These are all expenses you know are coming. Start saving now, and if you find a deal on a perfect gift for Christmas in July – pick it up! Deals and steals happen year-round, not just Black Friday.
2. Set a dollar amount with the people you are exchanging with
My husband and I started to do this and I really like it. For times when we mutually exchange or what do a small token: Anniversary, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc. we discuss and set a limit. Typically we still are on our own for Birthdays, mother’s day/father’s day, etc. Sometimes one of us will go over the limit, but in general, it’s been a good way to control the finances, gift something meaningful and creative but not go over-the-top.
3. Look for gifts throughout the year
This is a tip for those last-minute gift givers who leave shopping until it’s 24 hours before the gift-opening is planned. It can be stressful shopping when you’re under a time limit and need to find something, like, today. You’ve missed the window of nearly any online shopping so you’re likely limited to in-store options or a gift card. Keep your eyes peeled for good gift ideas throughout the year and purchase as you see fit. Take note of any “hints” the recipient may drop during the year to make this even easier.
My husband has gifted me so many things throughout the years that I have hinted at. We were heading to the neighbors with a casserole-type pan and I mentioned how it would be so nice to have a carrier to take it over in. Next opportunity he had, I was gifted this awesome new Pyrex set with a nifty carrier & handles. I wasn’t trying to drop a hint. I merely mentioned an inconvenience and he remedied it in the future (I had forgotten I had even said something).
4. Stock up on post-holiday or seasonal items for next year
You can easily get 75% to even 90% off holiday décor if you shop a day or two after the holiday passes. I’ve scored stocking stuffers, holiday books, Easter eggs, Shamrock bling…you name it at post-holiday sales. Snag some significantly discounted items this year for use next year. Beware of buying just to buy though. It’s easy to get caught up in the fact that something is on sale or is a deal. Only buy what you truly think you will need or use.
Save on Beauty
1. Pamper yourself at home
Try your own color at-home or give yourself a mani/pedi. Even after purchasing a brand new nail color or tool you need to get the job done right, you’ll still be ahead financially than if you went to the salon to have someone else do it for you.
2. Use Groupon or Living Social for your next haircut
You can score a great deal on haircuts, color or almost any beauty regimen using one of these discount sites. Check the terms and conditions. Sometimes there are no limits to how many Groupons you can use, so you could go back to the same salon with the same deal within a specific period of time.
3. Purchase discounted gift cards to your favorite beauty stores
Ulta, Sephora, Sally Beauty, etc. all have discounted gift cards for sale on Giftcardgranny.com. Use this site to purchase store gift cards for less than their value. For example, you could purchase a $50 Ulta gift card for $42.50 saving 15%. You’re saving $7.50 immediately on purchases you were going to make anyway.
Save by Using the Library
1. You can try before you buy
The library offers an awesome opportunity for you to read nearly anything for free. Instead of spending money purchasing that hardcover, why not check it out from the library first. If you still want a hard copy after, fine, go buy it. But at least you now know for sure that you do.
2. There is so much more besides books
The library offers so many other forms of media beyond just books. DVDs, music, etc. are all available at the library. One of my favorite memories as a kid is being able to go to the library and select books on tape. The ones that hang from a rod in a plastic bag attached to a hook. Take time to explore the library and all of the other options of media to check out and enjoy at home.
3. Free activities for adults and children
Many libraries offer free activities for people of all ages. Visit the website of your local library to check out a schedule. Everything from story or play time for the little kids, to crafts for the bigger kids, and informational seminars for teens/adults.
Simply adopting a few new frugal habits can make a positive impact for your finances. Challenge yourself to identify a few ways to cut costs and save more money this year. Not all tips will be a good fit for you. Choose a few and start saving money today!