Feeling like you spend a little too much? You’re not alone. Millions of people around the world are looking to do a little more with what they earn. Luckily, saving money doesn’t have to be a sacrifice.
Look through the 102 money-saving tips of 2016 below and find a few that work for you. You don’t have to go crazy with it – but following a few of our tips can help save hundreds to thousands of dollars per month for the things that matter in life.
1. Eat frozen veggies
Frozen veggies are almost always cheaper than their fresh counterparts. The reason for this is not because frozen veggies taste worse or because they are less nutritional. It’s simple economics!
Fresh veggies must be transported quickly from one part of the world (where they grow) to another (where you live), and those costs are passed on to you. When you buy frozen veggies, you are buying the same vegetables, but you don’t pay for that fast, expensive shipping.
Start buying frozen veggies to reduce your weekly grocery bill. You can even freeze your own veggies if you buy too many fresh ones by accident. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive!
2. Drink water instead of expensive drinks
It’s tempting to load up on delicious drinks when you’re at the supermarket. You see every type of drink there is, and you’re already buying so much food, so you think to yourself, “Why not buy a few drinks?” You may also buy smaller 16- or 20-oz drinks on a whim at your local convenience store.
These costs add up quickly. Although the drinks are delicious, they’re also expensive. On the other hand, water is totally free at home, and much less expensive at convenience stores. Switch to water and you will save money – period. You will also be much healthier! Switching to water is the first tip when you’re trying to lose weight. Get a faucet filter or Britta pitcher if you don’t like the taste of your tap water.
3. Use your leftovers
Never throw away your food! Leftovers are easy to reheat and some dishes even taste better the second day. You can save everything from a home-cooked meal to a late-night pizza. Tomorrow, next day, and the day after that, you’ll have a full meal or snack without spending a penny.
If you struggle on how to save your food, load up on tupperware, plastic bags, freezer bags, and other useful storage containers. With a storage arsenal at your back, you will be able to save anything without inconvenience or hassle. (That’s half of the battle – we’re always lazy after we eat!)
4. Stop throwing away healthy veggie or fruit parts
Do you throw away the stems, the seeds, the skin, and the leaves? You’d be surprised at just how many different parts of foods can be saved and repurposed in later dishes. As an example, if you use broccoli or cauliflower heads and throw away the stems, you are making a mistake. They are delicious and packed with nutrients – you can eat those, and save on food costs as a result! Check out our full list of common food parts you might be throwing away accidentally.
5. Cook your own meals
You can make the same meal you get at a restaurant for ½ to ¼ of the price you pay there. Most people know this – they just don’t like to cook, don’t know how, or don’t have the time.
The good news is that in 2016, anyone, regardless of cooking ability or patience, can cook their own meals and save huge on monthly meal expenses. (Look at how much you spent last month on takeout and restaurants – what if half of that money was back in your pocket?)
- Look up quick meals to cook in 20-30 minutes or less (the same amount of time you would spend getting takeout)
- Look up meals that can be cooked with whatever you have in the house
- Cook meals in bulk at the start of the week, freeze them and eat them throughout the week
- Look up simple recipes with just a few ingredients and steps to get your feet wet in the culinary world
6. Stock your kitchen pantry like a chef would
Everyone knows that buying in bulk is cheaper. But when it comes to ingredients, you might be surprised at just how much cheaper. (There is a reason why restaurants have massive vats of ingredients in the back!)
Basically, if it can be stored easily, you’re always better buying in bulk. And there’s no reason not to, assuming you can stomach the original cost. You can sometimes save 50% – 80%! The investment will pay off big time in the coming months when your grocery bill is a fraction of what it used to be. Click here for a full list of 50 ingredients that you can buy in bulk and store with ease.
7. Grow your own vegetables
Do you have room for a garden? You can save money by planting your own vegetables at the start of the season and harvesting them when they’re ripe. Depending on where you live, you will be restricted to growing certain types of vegetables, but even if you grow only a few, you’re still saving big. Vegetables are some of the most expensive items in the grocery store!
Veggies you grow yourself are yummier than what you can get in the supermarket, too. Nothing beats homegrown, not even at a luxury supermarket like Whole Foods.
8. Plan your menu around fruits and veggies that are in season
Ever wonder why some fruits, like strawberries, are so cheap in the summer?
The reason is because that particular fruit is in-season. If a fruit is in-season, that fruit is being harvested en masse somewhere in the world. There is an abundance of it. As a result of that, prices are cheap for you locally.
You can look up which fruits and veggies are currently in-season to reduce costs while still eating fresh fruits and veggies. You’ll find something you love in every season, and right when you start getting sick of it, a new batch of in-season fruits and veggies will roll around.
9. Enjoy more dinners at home with your family
Most families eat at home at least occasionally. But the meals are usually nothing fancy. You might eat hamburgers and hotdogs one night, pizza another night, and baked chicken another night. When you want something fancy, you go out to an expensive restaurant and rack up a big bill.
You don’t have to go out for the privilege of having a good meal. Anyone in the house can cook a fancy meal without spending the entire day doing so or buying a million ingredients. In fact, that same meal you get at the restaurant can likely be made at home fairly easily, and for a much cheaper price. The next time you have the urge to go out, stay in with your family and put together an inexpensive, but still decadent, meal.
10. Look for recipes that are cheap to make
Some meals are expensive to make. Others are cheap to make. Both can be made to be especially yummy.
Take a look at these cheap meals and see if any of them appeal to you when your stomach is rumbling. Everyone loves a good steak once in awhile, but if you want to save money, you should try to cook inexpensive meals as frequently as possible.
11. Learn how to cook
Learning to cook is arguably one of the most valuable skills you can pick up. When you want to make something delicious, you don’t have to pay to sit in an expensive restaurant and wait for a chef to cook it. You can do it yourself! You can also save on more regular meals – even making your own pizza is about half as expensive as ordering one for delivery is.
Grab a few cookbooks and make some recipes. You’ll be shocked at how much you can save, and you might be surprised at how therapeutic and rewarding cooking your own meals can be.
12. Create a grocery list and stick to it
Food is a necessity – it’s first in food, water, and shelter. But that doesn’t mean you can splurge without limitation when it comes to groceries. Think about if you “splurged” on rent and had to pay $200+ extra per month. That would be a big hit to your budget, no?
Use that same thinking when you go to the grocery store. Make a list that you can afford and stick with it. As long as you can avoid temptation before the checkout line, your budget will be balanced. You can do it! (If necessary, partition some of your grocery bill towards “cheat foods” – foods that you decide to get on a whim while you’re there.)
13. Avoid convenience foods and fast food
When you eat food that is convenient to get – a bag of chips, or a hamburger from a fast food place, etc. – you are paying for both the food and the convenience. Usually, you get a little for a lot. For example, a big bag of chips at the grocery store costs the same as a small bag of chips at the convenience store.
Create your own convenience. Always buy a snack during your lunch break? Start making snacks at home or buying snack food in bulk. Take the convenience charge out of convenient food and you’ll save big.
14. Be aware of what you put in your shopping cart
There are some foods that are disproportionately expensive: they cost much more than they are worth. Some examples of these foods are bottled water, fruit bars, and “lunch packs”. You pay a dollar but only get a nickel in value.
Take a look at these 25 food items you should never buy again and see if you are purchasing any of them – if you are, stop buying them and start making them yourself. You’ll be amazed at how cheap the ingredients are and how yummy the homemade versions are.
15. Make your own snacks
Making your own snacks can save you a lot of money. Even if you buy bulk, snacks are still expensive. You can get the snack ingredients yourself and make them for a fraction of the price. Check out these common snacks that can be made for less. If you eat any of them on a consistent basis, consider making them yourself.
16. Be your own barista
Going to a coffee shop in the morning is a ritual for most of us. But it’s a very expensive ritual. Coffee and tea are both very inexpensive, yet at somewhere like Starbucks, you pay $3 or more for a single cup. That’s over $20 a week and close to $100 every single month.
If you want that money back in your pocket, get a coffee maker that suits your needs and start being your own barista. Some of us will be able to get by with a normal coffee pot and regular hot coffee. But some will need a little more to match the coffee shop experience.
Love iced coffee? Get a cold press to make cold coffee that doesn’t get diluted by ice. Never have time to make coffee? Get a timed coffee pot so the brew is ready to go when you get out of the shower.
Breaking the coffee shop habit is hard to do, but the savings are immense if you can bring yourself to do so.
17. Stop eating sugar
Sugar itself isn’t expensive. You can pick up a huge tub for a couple of dollars.
But sugary meals, snacks, desserts, and drinks can be very expensive, and they’re not nutritious or filling in the slightest. That means you’re basically throwing money out the window when you buy them, even though you are technically buying food.
Try to cut back sugary foods as much as you can. Everyone needs a slice of chocolate cake once in awhile. But if you get rid of the daily ritual of sugar, you will spend less and feel/look better. It’s worth a shot.
18. Try skipping meat with a vegetarian meal once a week
If you’re not a vegetarian, you probably don’t eat many vegetarian meals. But if you’re trying to save money, you should. Vegetarian meals are not only incredibly filling and nutritious, but they’re also very cheap.
Take a look at these 15 frugal vegetarian recipes and try making a new one for one meal every week. Even one vegetarian meal per week will put a couple 20-dollar bills in your pocket every month.
19. Brown bag your lunch
How much do you spend on lunch every day? Buying your lunch every day is convenient, but also quite expensive. Even if you try to save money when you order, you will still spend a couple hundred dollars per month on lunch. There’s no way to avoid it.
Try bringing your own lunch in a brown bag for a full month and see how much money you save. You don’t need to make peanut butter and jelly. Prepare a real meal the night before and stick it in the bag for morning. You’ll save a lot of money, and you’ll probably eat healthier, too.
20. Stop smoking
Smoking is a cash drain. Every smoker knows this. Packs of cigarettes are expensive, and if you live somewhere with high tobacco taxes, the costs can be on the borderline of absurd. And you’re buying a pack every number of days, without ever taking a break…
Try to quit. If not for your health, do it for your wallet. Calculate how much you spend every month and year on cigarettes. That money can be back in your pocket. Best of all, there are plenty of ways to quit smoking that don’t cost a penny.
21. Use natural remedies that are 100% FREE instead of expensive chemical products
Do you buy supplements or creams for your health or skin? Chances are, you can stop buying those supplements and use inexpensive natural remedies to achieve the same results.
That concept might sound unbelievable, but it’s true – many modern “remedies” can be replaced with their natural counterparts. Try the natural route and you can look and feel the same without breaking the bank.
22. Drink a glass of delicious detox water three times a day to lose weight
Losing weight and feeling good doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need supplements, weight loss books, or a personal nutritionist.
Chances are, most of what you are trying to do can be accomplished with a detox water recipe. In essence, you combine a mixture of natural ingredients with a cup of water, and when you drink it, you get all of those natural benefits without the steep price tag. Try a detox water recipe and you will be able to cut out most of your “weight loss budget”.
23. Drink green tea to lose weight
Losing weight can get expensive. You have to buy all of your healthy foods and supplements. And you have to pay for your gym membership and any fitness subscriptions you have… the list goes on.
What if it were a little easier?
Try drinking green tea to speed up your weight loss for pennies on the dollar. Green tea is extremely inexpensive, but it contains a host of antioxidant and weight loss properties that can help anyone, regardless of diet or fitness regimen, to lose weight. Pick up some tea bags and add them to your routine. You may find that you can replace other expensive weight loss components with a simple cup of green tea every day.
24. Exercise home by watching YouTube videos
A gym membership can be expensive (depending on which gym you go to). And if you take classes at the gym, your costs for fitness can skyrocket. A single class can be $50+, which stacks on top of your $30 – $50+ per month for your gym membership. That’s not cheap!
If you want to do fitness classes and general fitness at home to cut all of those costs out, follow a popular fitness YouTube training course. Watching one is just like being in a class in the gym – except you’re comfy at home and you don’t have other people watching you work out.
25. Concoct your own perfume at home
Some ladies have a certain perfume that they love. Others just have perfume for the sake of having perfume. The exact scent isn’t important. You’re only worried about smelling lovely.
Believe it or not, you can concoct your own perfume at home and create similar aromas to the brands sold in stores. Perfume companies do not want you to know that their products are relatively simple. They hide behind flashy marketing to make you think it’s a luxury, but in reality, it’s just a few ingredients combined together.
Try making your own by buying your own ingredients, then see how it smells. If you like it, you have just saved a couple hundred dollars per year on perfume.
26. Make your deodorant last longer
Like most toiletries, deodorant isn’t a huge expensive – but it does add up. You’re probably buying at least one stick or spray bottle per month, and that can be $10-$20, which totals to $100-$200+ per year. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that money back in your pocket?
Making your own deodorant is tricky, but making store-bought deodorant last longer is not. Follow these tips and you’ll find that your sticks and spray bottles seem to last forever. When you go to pick up toiletries, you can leave deodorant off the list, pocket the money, and buy yourself something nice.
27. Paint your own nails instead of paying for a manicure and pedicure
Manicures and pedicures are expensive no matter which salon you go to. Even if you go to a discount salon, you are still paying an absolute minimum of $50 for your visit. That amount may seem like a necessary expense to you. If it does, you likely haven’t tried giving yourself a manicure or pedicure before.
It’s relatively easy to do and the results are almost exactly the same as if you were to go to a salon. Check out these ideas for painting your own nails and giving yourself an at-home mani/pedi treatment. Once you give it a try and see how much you save, you likely won’t want to step foot in the salon again, or at least not as frequently as before.
28. Make your own soap
Did you know that soap is extremely easy to make? The markup in stores is ridiculous. You might pay a couple of dollars for a bar of soap that literally costs a nickel to make! You probably won’t go broke buying soap, but making your own can free up funds for what you really want to buy.
Take a look at our top 10 homemade recipes for soap. They’re all easy for a beginner and surprisingly fun once you get into it. You might even decide to start selling to your friends and family if you make enough soap – that’s how many of today’s popular soap brands got their starts!
29. Whiten your teeth at home
There are two primary ways to whiten your teeth: dentist appointments or at-home treatments. Using the dentist can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on your insurance. At-home treatments are less expensive, but still not cheap. A pack of white strips can run over $50, and there is no guarantee that they will work, or that your teeth won’t react negatively to the chemicals.
There’s an easier way: using at-home natural remedies. You can get the ingredients for less than $10, and you can turn your teeth anywhere from slightly-whiter to “celebrity white”. It’s your choice. Read how to whiten your teeth at home to get started.
30. Use no-cost beauty products you can whip up at home
Do you use beauty products? Chances are, you use at least one or two. Maybe you want smaller pores, fewer wrinkles, more luscious hair… the list goes on. We all want to look good.
And usually, we associate looking good with a high price tag. We usually think that the more expensive a product, the better it will work. But that’s not entirely true. Though there are many reputable beauty products out there, many of the goals of beauty products – like fewer wrinkles, smaller pores, and softer hair – can be accomplished with inexpensive at-home natural remedies. Try a few of them. If they work, you can ditch the expensive beauty products and use the more affordable alternative. You’ll still look great!
31. Get a complete makeover for free
Do you find yourself buying beauty products, only to use them infrequently or not at all?
If you do, you are throwing money down the drain. You may think that money is a necessary expense to try out different products and find the ones that look best on you. But these days, there are better alternatives. You can try on products before you buy them with the help of the internet. Many different companies let you upload a photo and “try on” whatever you would like through the use of special effects and filters. You’ll be surprised at how far the technology has come.
Once you find the perfect combination of beauty products, you can buy those and know that you’ll be using them.
32. Dye your hair without spending a dime
Dying your hair isn’t cheap, especially if you dye your hair on a consistent basis. Salons are excellent, but pricey. If you do it yourself, you probably don’t use the cheapest option available. Whichever method you choose, you have to do it frequently, further raising your monthly expenses.
What if you could get that money back in your pocket? There are ways to dye your hair without spending a penny. The look you get is just like the one from the salon or the products you use. The only difference is you’re saving big. Give it a try, and remember that you can always go back to the salon or your old products if you don’t like the look.
33. Smile more to reduce stress
Being happy and stress-free means you lead an affordable life. You don’t eat or smoke due to stress, you don’t make impulse purchases to make yourself feel good, and you don’t spend money on therapists and other therapeutic activities.
You can be happy for free. Take a look at these easy ways to make yourself happy right this second. They’re all easy, but extremely effective. Be happier to save money.
34. Do-it-yourself home repairs
When something breaks in your house, whatever broke usually just has one thing wrong with it. Your faucet might just be clogged, your toilet might have a single part in the tank disconnected, or your dryer might just have a single valve loose.
Getting a repairman into your home to fix the problem can run you $100+ per hour. Most of the time, you don’t need to pay that cost. You can fix the problem yourself with the help of the internet. If your broken home appliance falls is on this list, chances are, you can do repairs yourself with no prior handyman experience and save a ton of money by doing so.
35. Make your own cleaning products instead of buying them
Keeping your house clean really adds up. You either pay for a cleaning service (very expensive) or do it yourself (moderately expensive). If you do it yourself, you still have to buy cleaners, detergents, soaps, softeners, air fresheners, and whatever else you use for cleanup.
If you put in the effort to do it yourself, you may want to try and pay the least amount possible. After all, you are already putting in the time to do the chore – why spend money on top of that? Click here for a full list of easy and inexpensive cleaning product substitutes that can replace the pricey store-bought alternatives that you’re using now.
36. Customize your air freshener
No one likes living in a stinky house or apartment. To mask the smell, you may use air fresheners – scented candles, spray bottles, automatic dispensers, and others. All of these fresheners are expensive and can run you $20+ for a week or so of pleasant aromas.
You can put together air fresheners yourself for a very low price. Often times, these fresheners smell much better than the artificial store-bought ones. There are also ways to keep your house smelling good without the help of an air freshener. Read this list and try a few of the ideas to save money and keep your living spaces fresh and clean.
37. Choose energy-efficient appliances
Your appliances make up a huge portion of your energy bill. When you have old or non-efficient appliances, they take a lot of energy to work. If you have a high energy bill and old appliances, the likely reason you’re paying so much is because your appliances are sapping up tons of energy.
Getting new energy-efficient appliances can save you money on a month-to-month basis. You do pay for the appliance upfront, but you save on your energy bills every single month and eventually earn that cost back. Six months to a year in, you have paid off the new energy-efficient appliance completely (via energy savings), and you have a brand new appliance to top it all off.
38. Get rid of cable TV
The truth is that your TV isn’t doing you any favors. Watching it can be a way to relax, but staring at a screen isn’t necessarily enriching – there are far more healthier ways to relax. And, you pay a huge bill for the privilege of unhealthy relaxation on top of that. In some areas, due to cable company monopolization, customers pay $100+ per month to watch cable TV.
Is that really worth it?
$100+ in your pocket every month is quite noticeable to most people. See what it’s like to live without a TV, and if you like what the lifestyle sounds like, cancel your cable at the end of your subscription. You can always renew, but most who get rid of cable TV never go back.
39. Avoid paying for expensive cable tv by shifting to online streaming
What do you like to watch on cable? Pretty much every show out there is available on a streaming service, and all streaming services are cheaper than a cable TV package. When you use a streaming service, you also don’t have to deal with commercials, or waiting for your favorite show to “come on”.
Check out the most popular streaming services – there is something for everyone. Then, cancel your cable TV subscription and subscribe to one of the services that looks good. You can even subscribe to two or three and still pay less than what you pay for cable TV. And as the months go by, those savings put hundreds of dollars back into your bank account.
40. Reduce your electricity bills
Have you ever tried to reduce your electricity bill? Maybe you have settled into the train of thought that your house of apartment just uses a lot of electricity. But most of the time, that’s not the case – you are the one using the electricity, and there are things you can do to use less.
Take a look at these easy ways to reduce your electricity bill and implement a few of them today. You’ll notice a reduction in your energy expenditure immediately, which will lead to lower energy bills month-to-month. Those savings will snowball on top of each other until you are saving quite a bit per year. Go try some now – the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll save!
41. Use less water
There are so many ways to use less water every month. And it’s not like you have to inconvenience yourself. A lot of the methods revolve around forming newer, more efficient habits when you do use water.
For example, if you run the faucet while brushing your teeth, you can turn it off. If you let your shower warm up for five minutes before jumping in, you can check in every 10 seconds or so to see when it’s warm.
Read the full list of water-conserving habits and try out a few every week. By a few months in, your water bill will be half of its original figure, and you’ll feel good about not wasting gallons and gallons of water, too.
42. Cut AC costs
Running the AC on full blast makes your house comfortable. But with that method, you’re sacrificing lots of money for comfort.
Even a small reduction on your AC expenditure can lead to big savings. Turning a window AC unit from High to Low can lower its energy expenditure by up to 30% (depending on the unit). Turning your central AC up just two degrees can lead to 15% savings in energy expenditure.
Rest assured that you do not need to settle for a warmer house with less AC usage. Take a look at this list and implement a few of the techniques to increase airflow circulation and keep your house cool while using less energy.
43. Stay cool without the AC
You can use certain tactics to cool off your house without resorting to the AC. Moving your furniture around and setting up fans in effective locations are just two of them. If you take the effort to keep your house cool without the AC, you can use less AC to make it chilly and comfortable, which will lead to savings. You might even be able to get by without AC at all. –
44. Organize your pantry for less than $50
An organized kitchen is a kitchen you feel good in. Everything is at your fingertips and you have room for everything you buy. Sometimes, you can even make food last longer with proper storage. For example, putting cereal in airtight containers can make it stay fresh for 3-4x longer than if you left it in the cardboard box.
Check out our quick guide to organizing your entire pantry for less than $50. Beautiful and functional storage does not have to be expensive if you know what you’re doing!
45. Beautify your home for less than $50
Decorating your home can be discouraging. When you go to look online and in stores, you see all of these different items you love, but everything is so expensive! You probably don’t have a huge home improvement budget, but you still want to make a big impact.
If that sounds like you, check out our recommended ways to spice up any room for less than $50. You won’t be able to get a new luxury leather couch for that price, but you can add some serious flair by replacing the right components of a room.
46. Redecorate your bedroom for less than $100
You spend eight or more hours inside of your bedroom – you want the space to feel perfect. But you don’t need to shell out money to get that effect. In fact, some of the biggest changes you can make can be done for under $100.
You can get a brand new color on the walls or a brand new bedding set that makes you feel like your bed is brand-new. Take a look at the full list if you want to upgrade your bedroom in some way without setting aside a huge budget.
47. Invest in long-lasting kitchen accessories
One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make is sacrificing quality for price, especially in the kitchen. When you buy cheap kitchen accessories, they break constantly, and you have to keep replacing them month after month and year after year. A much better alternative is spending the money on quality once and using that particular accessory for years into the future.
Check out our ultimate list of kitchen accessories you shouldn’t skimp on. The next time something breaks, if it’s on the list, spend the money on quality and your wallet will be happy you did.
48. Take care of your indoor plants on a budget
Indoor plants have been proven to increase productivity and uplift mood. But they’re expensive! You need to get the plants in the first place, then you have to spend all of that money on their care and upkeep. The costs can make some people avoid them altogether.
As long as you can afford the plants, you can afford their upkeep with some inexpensive ways to take care of them. You’ll replace all of your regular monthly costs with other materials or homemade materials. Overall, you’ll be spending just a few bucks to keep them all healthy – and the health benefits are absolutely worth that small amount.
49. Organize your shoes almost for free
A really nice shoe rack can be the perfect touch to your closet or bedroom. But the nice ones are expensive. You might pay $100+ for one that you’re really in love with.
You don’t have to. You can create a very cheap shoe rack that looks really good if you do it yourself. Browse through these easy and cheap ways to organize your shoes and see if you like the aesthetics of any of them. If you do, follow the instructions and you have just saved $100+.
50. Organize your closet on a budget
Organizational units aren’t cheap. Even the cheapo plastic ones will run you close to $100 if you get them for your entire closet. If you get high-quality wood or metal ones, expect to spend over $100, if not a couple hundred dollars.
You can do it in a smarter way. We’ve put together 11 amazing ideas for organizing your closet that are all extremely inexpensive. Get organized today without spending a fortune.
51. Organize a yard sale to get rid of your clutter
The first step to removing clutter in your home is clearing everything out. From there, you have two options: throw it out or try to sell it.
Don’t throw it out! Try to sell your stuff at a garage sale. The beauty of the garage sale is that you can sell anything you want, and there’s always a chance of someone buying it. Everything from those old books to that unused storage container can be put out and sold.
Make sure to plan in advance before throwing your garage sale. The key is being organized. If you organize well and do the proper “marketing”, you can sell most, if not all, of your items. Start clearing your junk out, and when it’s ready for sale, plan your yard sale for maximum exposure and sales success.
52. Learn how to recycle
Most people associate the word recycling with aluminum cans and plastic bottles. And those items can certainly be recycled in the traditional sense, earning you $20+ every month when you put them in the machines at the grocery store. But other items can be recycled for money, too. Old clothing can be sold to thrift shops. Everyday items can be sold on eBay and other sites.
Before you throw anything out, learn how to save money with recycling and make sure you’re not throwing money in the trash!
53. Unleash your creativity and reuse old household items
Everything you throw out should first be examined for reuse potential. You’d be surprised at just how much can be reused instead of tossed away. An obvious example is reusing Chinese food takeout containers for tupperware containers. But you may not know about more creative ideas, like reusing tires, water filters, and more.
Look at these 20 items that can be reused with ease, and if you use any of them, try to reuse instead of repurchase to save a truckload of cash every year.
54. Collect your old pennies and turn them into a great décor piece
Saving your pennies can earn you a few bucks, but it’s tough to make any real money with them. Even 1,000 pennies – or 20 rolls – is just 10 dollars.
A better option is saving them and turning them into a fancy, but inexpensive, decor piece. Once you know how to put them together, you can create almost any type of art piece to display or hang in your home. Check out the guide to penny decorations, then start setting your pennies aside from the rest of your change collection to build your stash up.
55. Create a reading nook out of materials that you already have
A reading nook is one of the coziest spaces in any home. There’s nothing like cuddling up with a book in secret. Many people think that they can’t have a reading nook if one isn’t in their apartment or house, but that’s shortsighted thinking.
With a dash of creativity and just a couple dollars, you can put together your own unique reading nook that transports you to another world with your book. Check out our top 10 inspirations for reading nooks and get to putting one together today. You may be able to construct one with materials already in your house!
56. Revive your old dresser without spending a fortune
Want to improve your bedroom, but not sure where to start? Try updating your dresser. There’s nothing like waking up to fresh clothes out of a dresser that you love the look of.
You don’t need to buy a new dresser to get a new look. You can polish it, paint it, put tiles on it, and more. Check out these top 10 ways to revive an old dresser and get started on a brand-new bedroom for free.
57. Take care of your car to prevent maintenance costs
The biggest expense in owning a car is paying for repairs. Some of the repairs, such as the transmission, are astronomically expensive. Even if you have a cheaper or older car, you are still going to be shelling out money for expensive parts. Some repairs can even exceed the purchase price of a used car!
There is no way to completely avoid repairs, but if you keep your car in perfect condition, you can pay for as few repairs as possible. Over time, fewer parts will break, and your dedication to taking care of your car will save you thousands of dollars. You’ll also spend less time with your car in the shop – an inconvenience for everyone!
58. Invest in an affordable car without to sacrifice the quality for the price
Every car model is somewhere on the “affordability index”. A car like a BMW would be very low in the index because of how expensive the repairs are. Something like a Toyota would be higher on the index because the purchase price is low and the repairs are generally inexpensive.
You are going to want to get a car on the higher end of the “affordable index”. Take a look at these 12 affordable cars to own and see if any are up your alley. Rest assured that they are not low-quality cars – they are just affordable to own because of the low maintenance and repair costs. There’s something for everyone.
59. Cut gas costs
Uh oh. It’s time to fill up again. You either have to bite the bullet and fill the tank up all of the way, or spend $10-$20 to reduce the blow and convince yourself that it was no big deal.
Fill up less by practicing efficient driving methods. Your car will use less gas if you take a conscious effort to drive it right. Eventually, your new habits will become the ordinary, and you will pay less for gas on a month-to-month basis. Read the full list of efficient driving methods to get started now.
60. Drive smart to reduce fuel costs
There are a lot of ways to burn fuel at a high rate with your car. You might accelerate too quickly, use the brakes too much, or neglect certain repairs so that your car needs more gasoline to do its job.
If you can drive smarter, optimize your car’s performance, and reduce fuel costs, you can save a lot at the pump every month. In some cases, drivers have been able to use half as much gas by practicing smart driving methods.
61. Walk and bike whenever possible
Driving costs money no matter how you look at it. Every mile you drive burns gas and wears down your car. Eventually, you’ll need repairs, and you’ll always have to fill up your tank. At times, the cost of owning a car can seem almost not worth it.
You can drastically reduce your automotive expenses by deciding to walk or bike wherever possible. It’s simple – you don’t use your car, so you save money. You’ll get in exercise and get to enjoy the weather, too. You can’t walk or bike everywhere – but if you’re going down the street or around the block, put one foot in front or the other or hop on your bike. You’ll be happy you did.
62. Stop paying for accommodation and get adventurous by living in an RV
If you travel, you probably pay for hotels. Hotels – and even motels – can get expensive, no matter where you stay. A standard $70/night motel is still over $2,000/month. We won’t even calculate what an expensive hotel would cost.
You can vacation more frequently and spend more money when you do if you take the plunge and rent or buy an RV. Traveling in one temporarily is an adventure, and in a lot of ways, it’s better than living in a motel or hotel. You’re right outside with nature, you have privacy, and you can travel with all of your at-home amenities that make you feel comfy.
63. Start carpooling
Ridesharing has gotten cheap enough to be an affordable option for your frequent transportation needs. Unlike taxis, most rideshare apps calculate your cost upfront, meaning there are no surprises that can eat into your budget. Use ridesharing to get around during congested hours and to potentially save on your daily commute costs.
Some ridesharing apps have introduced the carpooling option, meaning you can travel with another rider and save close to half of your fare. Take a look at the best ridesharing apps and comparison apps to see how expensive travel would be if you had someone drive you around. Sometimes, it’s cheaper than driving yourself and paying for gas and parking.
64. Book your flight in advance
Your flight can be cheap or expensive. That’s completely up to you. If you book in advance and with our tips to get cheap flights, you can get a close-to-unbelievable fare. You can pocket your extra savings, or use them to live a little more luxuriously during your vacation.
Make sure to bookmark our guide and take action right when you know you’ll be vacationing for the best rates possible.
65. Get better rates on your rental car
The listed prices for rental prices are never the actual prices. You can always negotiate in a myriad of different ways. Before you walk into the office or place the phone call, read our tips so you’re prepared to negotiate and get a better deal.
66. Plan your holiday at a cheap travel destination
Some vacation spots are more expensive than others. The expensive spots are undoubtedly nice to travel to, but they can be out of reach for some vacationers. Luckily, a less-expensive vacation spot doesn’t need to mean that you’re going on a less-enjoyable vacation.
If you pick the right cheap travel destinations, you can get a lot for a little and live like a king or queen on an affordable vacation budget. Read the top 10 cheapest travel destinations from around the world and pick a location that fits with what you want your vacation to look like.
67. Pay off your car loan faster to save on interest payments
Interest is the “hidden cost” in any car financing deal. The dealerships will advertise a car as $199 per month, but they won’t mention the APR rate. You pay your APR rate every month, but it goes to the bank you signed with, not towards the purchase of your car. You’ll pay 2% – 10% or more extra on every single payment.
APR is an expense you should try to remove right away. Often times, the rates are high compared to other types of debt, and they can make your monthly payment much higher than it actually is. Work towards paying off your car loan faster to end your financing earlier and avoid costly monthly APR fees.
68. Pay less for rent
Rent is out of control! Housing prices have skyrocketed in the past decade to the point where ⅓ of Americans spend almost half of their salaries on rent. If you could reduce that cost by 10% or 20%, you would free up an enormous amount of money to spend on other expenses and purchases.
Though there is no guaranteed way to get a good deal on your rent payment, you can employ certain strategies to get the lowest price possible. You can negotiate, time your search during certain times of the year, and more.
Take a look at this expansive list to saving money as a renter. If you’re smart about it, you can get a nicer apartment for the same price you pay now, or lower your rent payment without downgrading the quality of your apartment.
69. …or don’t pay rent; raise money to buy your own house
If you have ever dreamed of owning your own house but found the goal to be unrealistic, change your mindset. Owning your own home can be attainable if you follow the right strategies to save and set aside money. Take a look at this guide to saving money for your own house to get started on the right foot. No one wants to rent forever!
70. Move into a smaller house
Realtors say that the 1 complaint from homeowners is that they bought “too much house”. It makes sense. Expensive houses with lots of rooms look very attractive when they’re totally empty, but as you fill them up, you may find that you don’t have enough stuff to use them to their fullest potential. You could probably get by with fewer rooms and better organization.
If that sounds like you, you may want to consider moving into a smaller house. Although it’s not a one-and-done way to save money, it can be the ticket to slashing your mortgage payment and freeing up a serious amount of money. In addition to your savings, you might be more comfortable in your smaller house, too. Sometimes, bigger isn’t better, especially if you live alone or with just your spouse.
71. …or move to the countryside
When you live in a city, everything is more expensive. Rent, food, and going out are three of the main expenses you’ll pay out the wazoo for when you live in a city. You may have already experienced this – you may be struggling to pay your rent, or you may be forced to stay in when you want to go out.
Try moving further outwards from the city, or even so far as the countryside. Stuff out there is much cheaper. If you’ve lived in the city all of your life, you might not believe how cheap the prices are at first.
72. Organize your finances
If you don’t pay attention to your finances, you are bound to overspend. You spend too much by accident, which leaves you with less money for other expenses and purchases. Your life gets chaotic and the worry of money is always on your mind. In extreme cases, you may even rack up extra debt if you’re unable to match your spending habits with your income.
Organize your finances and that all goes away. Setting a budget and keeping track of finances lets you use your money in a responsible way. Responsibility when it comes to finances feels good – the stakes are too high to be unresponsible.
73. Create a budget and stick to it
Do you find yourself spending too much and not having money at the end of the month? You probably need to create a budget. With a realistic budget, you can divvy up your income safely between expenses and spending money.
Throughout the month, you will know exactly how much you have spent and how much you have left. You’ll have money for the things that you want – and you’ll ensure that you set aside the money for the things that you need. Here are our top 10 tips to creating yourself a budget and sticking to it every day.
74. Build an emergency fund
Emergency expenses can hit you during the worst of times. We’ve all heard the story about the guy who got laid off from his job and had his truck break down the day after.
You should always have money set aside for unexpected expenses to avoid having to borrow money. Using credit cards to pay for things you can’t afford is a great way to bury yourself with unbearable high-interest debt. Build an emergency fund so that you have a stash available in case something bad happens. You have to contribute to it on a consistent basis until it’s built, but once it is, the peace of mind you will feel cannot be underestimated
75. Save $5/day to invest later on
Saving your change in a piggy bank is a good way to accumulate some spare spending cash. Saving five dollars a day is a good way to accumulate a lot of cash. If you can stay consistent in saving $5/day, in two years, you can have enough for some high-ticket items.
Start using cash and save your change to put aside a few dollars each day. Adding a few more dollars on top of that is a small expense you can probably afford, and the payoff down the line is well worth it. In general, this method of saving a few dollars per day is the easiest way to get enough money for a big purchase you usually wouldn’t buy.
76. Be responsible and consistent
Always remember to stick to your financial goals every day. The only way to have enough for what you want while also keeping enough for your necessary expenses is by being consistent. If you slip up one day and stray from your budget, the rippling effects will affect the days and weeks ahead in a stressful way.
Remembering to be responsible about your money can make you a better person, too – you won’t get that if you go out on a whim every day.
77. Cut costs by using a money-saving app
Apps are arguably the most expensive way to save money in 2016. There is an app for everything! You can get an app to check the lowest gas prices. You can get one to automatically check for the best coupon at an online store. You can get one to automatically grab print-out coupons for stores in your area.
The possibilities are endless! Do a bit of browsing through the 12 best money-saving apps and see if any would help you save on what you buy. Chances are, at least a few will, and in some cases, they can help you save big. A small time investment now towards downloading the app will lead to accumulated savings every month – give it a try!
78. Quit using credit cards (or use them wisely)
There’s a good chance that your credit card(s) have pretty high-interest rates. Even if you carry a small balance on them, the interest can add up quickly to the point where it eats into your budget for other expenses.
You should aim to use your credit card as little as possible. When you do use it, make sure you’re using it in a way that benefits you. All cards will have different “tricks” to save the most while paying the least amount of interest. Read all about smart credit card tricks and get started with them today.
79. Sell unwanted goods on eBay/Craigslist
What would you do with a couple hundred extra dollars? You can make anywhere from hundreds to thousands if you take the time to put up Craigslist ads and meet with buyers.
Take inventory of any unwanted items in your house. In general, you can sell anything if it’s worth $20 or more and you post it as a “good deal”. You’ll have to spend some time taking pictures, replying to emails, and meeting with buyers, but at the end of the day, you can put some money in your pocket out of thin air with effective Craigslist ads.
80. Use cheap alternatives to expensive products
In many cases, the generic version of a product is just as good as the branded one. One common example is Tylenol. You can get off-brand Tylenol with the exact same ingredients for 70% – 80% of Tylenol’s price, and the ingredients are literally exactly the same.
Take note of what you use on a frequent basis and check around online for cheaper alternatives. We’ve put together a full list of cheaper alternatives to get you started on big savings right away.
81. Try living like your grandparents did
What would you do if you didn’t have a penny to your name? In the times of the Great Depression, your grandparents probably had close to that. But they still got by, and they still had money for the things they needed. Learn their techniques and apply them to your modern life to live like they did and make your dollar stretch as far as possible.
82. Teach your kids to save money
Fiscally-irresponsible kids can be a big cash drain on your income. Of course, it’s not their fault – most kids don’t have a clear concept of the value of money and what it’s worth. Your job is to teach them early so the entire family knows to be frugal and save as much as possible. (Frugal families always have more money available.)
Take a look at our handbook for raising frugal kids. You don’t have to do anything drastic. With the right steps, you can raise your kids to respect your money as much as you do, and everyone will benefit from that.
83. Trick your spouse into saving money
Relationships can get rocky when one person is spending too much. Both of you need to be on the same page if you want it to last.
As such, there’s nothing wrong with trying to “trick” your spouse into saving more money. Don’t be deceptive, but guide him or her in the right direction. Use these tips to nudge him or her along and you will get rid of any tension due to the financials. Life is too short to worry about money with the person you love.
84. Share the living costs with your partner
Spending a lot of time with your partner? You may consider moving in with him or her. You two can combine rent payments to get a bigger apartment for less money overall. Of course, never jump into anything – but splitting rent and using other money-saving relationship tips can be a big help to both of your finances.
85. Take free online classes
An ivy-league school costs around $50,000 per year to attend. A state school costs about $30,000 out-of-state, or $10,000 in-state.
An online course is free and you can learn from anywhere in the world
Yes, you can get actual degrees from these online courses. Although you won’t quite get the “college experience”, you will get valuable knowledge that can help you get employed and make more money. You’re saving money on tuition and helping yourself get paid more. Check out our top list of free online college courses that give out diplomas to get started today.
86. Save and invest money for the future
Once you save up a bit of money, you don’t want to invest in just anything. You want to invest in something that will lead to the right amount of risk and reward. If you are into taking gambles, you may choose to invest in a private company. If you’d prefer more stable returns, you may choose to invest in the market.
Read our guide on alternative investments and bookmark the page for when you use the tips on this list and generate enough money to invest.
87. Learn to save money from the best
You don’t get wealthy by blowing your money quickly. We’ve all heard of the athletes and celebrities who spent their fortunes within a few years only to go back to the “regular life” shortly after.
What you don’t hear about as often are the celebrities who are exceptionally frugal. For example, Warren Buffett is known for his plain attire and standard meals, despite being one of the most wealthiest men in the world. Check out the full list of frugal celebrities and see if you can copy any of their habits to try and imitate their success.
88. Get a university diploma for free
There are entire universities available online where you can earn real university diplomas. They’re not talked about often because expensive colleges want to keep you paying extraordinary fees to attend. But many employers won’t care if you went to an online university or a live-in university – as long as you have the knowledge, you’re ready to get hired.
Take a look at the top 10 best free universities and see if any offer programs that interest you. When we say free, we really mean it – you can get started without putting a penny down. You’ll save on tuition costs, and you’re setting yourself up to make more money so that you have to save less in the future.
89. Develop new saving skills through reading
Although this is a very comprehensive list of ways to save money in 2016, we can’t cover everything. There are ways of saving money that you’re still in the dark about.
If you’d like to shed light on every single way you could save money in your day-to-day, pick up one of these money-saving books and give it a read. On any topic, there’s nothing quite like an author’s perspective. In this case, his or her perspective can educate you and make your life more enjoyable to lead.
90. Don’t fall into retail traps
Are you being taken for a ride? Even the smartest shoppers can be tricked by retailers into spending more money. Their methods are subliminal and they work on you without you even realizing it. Make sure to take note of common retailer traps so that you don’t spend extra when you go out to shop.
91. Try generic brands of items you buy regularly
Sometimes, the brand name is better. We all have a certain product that we need to buy the brand name for
But many brand-name products are indistinguishable from the generic versions. The companies trick you into thinking their products are superior through clever marketing, but deep down, they’re exactly the same. Try replacing these common items with their generic alternatives and see how you feel. Chances are, the generic version will be just fine, and you’ll save 10% – 30% every time you buy that product.
92. Look for affordable clothing stores
There are a lot of expensive clothing stores that sell low-quality clothes. At the same time, there are a lot of inexpensive clothing stores that sell high-quality clothes.
The trick is finding the cheapest stores that sell the best clothes. If you can do that, you can get clothes you like wearing, but save hundreds of dollars on your wardrobe at the same time. Check out our top 20 cheapest high-quality clothing stores and see if any are in your area. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save while maintaining your spiffy look.
93. Follow stores to get amazing discounts
Do you get email and regular mail from any retail establishments? You’ll probably notice there are two types of emails: general promotions and really good deals.
To save a lot of money, you want to follow the stores that give out really good deals. Your mailboxes will be flooded with deals that you’re actually interested in looking at. You’ll save time because you won’t have to sort through junk promotions, and of course, you’ll save a ton of money when a promotion is in line with what you need to buy.
Here are the top 10 big stores that offer promotions frequently – sign up to each of them and you’ll be saving money anytime you need to make a purchase.
94. Look for the best price online
Some people assume that all retailers have the same prices for products. That’s not true. Prices fluctuate wildly online, even for high-ticket items like TVs and laptops. That $500 laptop on Amazon might be only $430 at BestBuy. If you buy at Amazon, you’re throwing away $70 and sending it to the wallet of whoever is selling the laptop.
Always check for the best price. Follow our comprehensive guide to make sure you check all of the corners and get the absolute lowest price you can. Sometimes, the best deal is at a known retailer, but sometimes, you can go to smaller retailers to get prices that beat the big guys by a longshot.
95. Integrate coupons in your everyday shopping habits
Most of us use coupons once in awhile. But what if you had a coupon for every purchase you made? Your life would be much cheaper. You could buy the things you wanted without ever paying full price.
People are saving 10% or more on all of their expenses with clever couponing tricks. Read about them here and try to implement all or some of them to save everywhere you go.
96. Take advantage of tax-free days
Almost every state has a flat-rate sales tax that you pay on every purchase you make. For example, in Massachusetts, sales tax is 6.25%, which adds 6.25% to any purchase you make.
On tax-free days, that sales tax disappears, so everything you buy is a certain percentage cheaper than usual. If you can, you should aim to make big purchases on this day to save a couple bucks. If you wait a little bit and spend $2,000 on tax-free day, you can save $100+ with just a little patience. Look at tax-free sales dates and take note of when your state’s is – you can also travel to surrounding states and shop there on their tax-free days.
97. Use negotiation as your hidden shopping skill
Going into the store and paying full price is one way of shopping. But if you’re smart about it, you can sometimes get the stores to lower their prices, especially if you are shopping local or purchasing a high-ticket item. (You can sometimes even get online stores to lower their prices for you.)
It’s all about how you behave and what you say. Click here for a list of 25 negotiation tactics to test out the next time you have to buy something. Negotiation doesn’t always work, but some of the time you can save yourself quite a bit of money with a few simple phrases.
98. Have fun for free
Think of all of the things you can do when you have no money to spend! Chances are, you can’t think of many. You can’t think of many because it’s more difficult to have fun without a full wallet in your pocket – but it’s not impossible if you get creative.
Check out our top ways to have fun without spending a penny (or spending very little). Use the list as inspiration to plan a day or weekend revolving around cheap or free activities. You’ll have a blast, and you’ll save money to spend on other purchases besides having fun.
99. Make your wedding look fabulous without spending a fortune
Weddings are pretty expensive for the lucky couple getting married. Even with help from friends and family, it’s rare to spend under a few thousand dollars for all of the different services required.
Don’t start your marriage off with the burden of a wedding that’s too expensive. Instead, set a budget you can afford, then stretch your dollar as far as possible with our fantastic frugal wedding ideas. You can save on everything from the dress to the catering, and sometimes, the savings are so big that you will be able to reduce your budget or upgrade other services.
You only get one wedding, so make sure it’s as decadent as feasibly possible.
100. Have fun watching movies that teach you lessons about saving money
If you struggle with overspending, you may just need some inspiration to be a little more frugal. Movies can help with that. Seeing what it’s like to spend less can give you the kick you need to actually do it.
Take a look at these 10 inspiring movies that teach us to be thrifty. Next time you go to watch a movie, select one of these for great entertainment that benefits you financially.
101. Make your no-spend weekend super fun
There are so many ways to spend money and have fun. But you may feel a little trapped if you’re trying to save cash. You want to be able to go out, but it seems like everything costs money. And staying in too much gets old really fast for most.
If you’re in the boat where you want to save cash while still doing stuff, put together a no-spend weekend for yourself. Take your spouse, family, or friends out without spending a dime. There are quite a few activities that you can do for free, and none of them are boring. After all, the best things in life are free.
102. Plan your birthday in advance to reduce costs significantly
Doing anything at the last moment will lead to high costs. Think about booking an airline ticket. If you’re taking a trip in June, your flight cost might be 3x lower if you book in January instead of May.
The same principle applies to having a birthday party. Booking venues and purchasing everything else associated with a good party is a lot cheaper if you organize beforehand. Check out the guide to organizing your birthday party and you can throw yourself or a friend an incredible party without incredible expenses to go along with it.
Did you make it this far? We commend you for taking your finances so seriously. Now, it’s time for action. Scroll up and begin to implement a few of the ideas discussed to start saving money. It’s easier than you think – you just have to start. Good luck!
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