One topic that many people worry about continually is money. It’s common to think about how much money we have or don’t have as well as how we’re going to keep our family afloat. In a perfect world, everyone would have enough money to live comfortably, but that’s not reality. Even though the economy is doing well, a large portion of the country is struggling. Many people don’t have extra income that can be put away for the future.
Although people want to be comfortable in their daily lives, it can be hard to make ends meet, especially when emergencies arise. There are steps to take to keep more money saved so that people can afford to treat themselves or have money for a rainy day. There’s never a wrong time to start saving money for the future for yourself and your family. Here are 40 of the easiest ways people can start saving money. Which methods are you willing to try?
1. Head to the Library
Hankering to read a new book? Don’t go to the bookstore, opt for a library instead. It’s much cheaper to use a library card than having to buy a new book. And there won’t be a home filled with clutter from all the books that have been purchased either. If they don’t have a particular book, it isn’t hard to make a request from the library to search for it either. They can contact other libraries to have it shipped to them to borrow.
The library is also a great place to find music, movies, and even video games. It’s an ideal place to take your whole family for a chance to have fun and learn something new. The best part about the library is that everything is free to access.
2. Drink Water
If there is an occasion eating out with your family, choose to drink water with the meal. Fountain drinks and tea can cost as much as $2, and that can add up when there are more people at the table. Instead of drinking an expensive soda or coffee, stick with a refreshing glass of ice water.
Encouraging family members to go with water will cut down on the tab and will also reduce the number of empty calories being consumed. It’s also great to help your family to stay hydrated. Getting in the habit of drinking water regularly is beneficial for everyone.
3. Use a Programmable Thermostat
Instead of turning the dial up and down during the day to have a comfortable temperature, save more on the heating bill by having a thermostat that can be programmed. They can be set to be a specific temperature during the day and another at night so that it’s always comfortable and doesn’t have to be fiddled with at all.
Consistent use of electricity and gas is much better than having spikes in usage throughout the day. You will find that your house stays cooler during summer and warmer during winter when using a programmable thermostat. This tip will end up saving you a lot of money on your electricity bill.
4. Make Coffee at Home
Getting your favorite coffee from the favorite shop is an indulgence that most people can’t go without during the day. It helps people to function, and it’s a treat for themselves. But those fancy, expensive coffees do add up over time. People are also getting the same shot of caffeine as a regular cup of black coffee, just with more sugar and milk added.
Either give it up or cut back on how many coffees are being purchased in a month to help. If you must get coffee from a coffee shop, consider seeing if your favorite cafe has a rewards program. That way, you can earn points toward a free coffee in the future.
5. Catch a Matinee Movie
If there is time during the day, consider going to the movies early in the day to get matinee prices. They’re much cheaper than evening prices. Another bonus is that most people don’t go to the theater during the day, so the theater is almost guaranteed to be nearly empty.
You’ll find that the best seats in the house are more readily available and there’s no need to hurry past people sitting in the same row. Take a few snacks from home to avoid spending a lot of money at the concession stand. You can also find coupons and other deals on your local movie theater’s website.
6. Start Clipping Coupons
Don’t overlook clipping coupons. There’s no need to become one of those extreme couponers, especially if there’s no room in the home for all that food. However, don’t use coupons for things that will never be used. That ends up being a waste of money and resources too.
Look for coupons on items that are used regularly so that the savings are more considerable when heading to the grocery store. If you use deals a lot and find that you have a surplus of food and other supplies, donate your extra items to a local women’s shelter or food bank.
7. Use a Green Thumb
There’s no reason to hire a landscaping service just to cut the grass. That adds up to be a big waste of money. For the price of a year’s service with a landscaping company, one could purchase their own mower and take care of the lawn themselves.
Get the whole family involved with taking care of the yard so that everyone is getting some fresh air and exercise while the weather is still good. Research shows that spending time outside and working in the garden contributes to an elevated mood and an increase in happiness. Working in the yard is a great way to connect and have fun with your family.
8. Watch Less TV
The majority of television today is riddled with ads, and that means more temptations to spend money on things that aren’t needed. Eliminate the temptation by just turning the TV off when the program is over. It’s also a great way to save on electricity so that the bill will be lower at the end of each month.
If you need to watch something, look into a streaming service; for a small fee, around $12 to $15 per month, you can view an unlimited amount of shows and movies with zero commercials. Many of the current streaming services offer excellent, award-winning programming for people of all ages.
9. Find Inexpensive Hobbies
Hobbies can be a great way to alleviate stress and give our minds something to focus on other than work. But if a chosen hobby is too expensive to maintain, there’s nothing wrong with cutting back on it for a few months.
Buying all of those supplies can eat up a lot of cash that could be used to pay bills or save in your bank for when it’s really needed. If you have several hobbies, you can just pick one to focus on and take a break from the others. Also, look into a cheaper activity that’s enjoyable without breaking the bank.
10. Stick to Cash Over Credit
With the development of the credit card, it’s become easier and faster to pay for things with credit than with cash. But that’s precisely the problem. A credit card is swiped, and there’s sometimes little awareness of how much money is being spent.
With cash, every dollar can be counted to ensure that the monthly budget is adhered to. Out of sight, out of mind, is not how someone should be spending their money. Instead of using a credit card, try the envelope method — separate cash into different envelopes based on what bills need to get paid each month. You can also have containers for savings, groceries, clothing, and other essentials. This way, you can visualize where every dollar is going to go.
11. Shop Around for Insurance
Insurance premiums can become expensive to pay every month to cover the possibility that an accident may occur. That’s why it’s a good idea to shop around and look for providers who give discounts on good driving, safe driving records, or having security measures installed in the home. This can save a lot on the bill each month while still providing excellent coverage.
Do plenty of research before choosing a new auto insurance company. Make sure that their policies work well for you and your family. Don’t choose a particular company just because they have the lowest rates.
12. Downsize Closets
It’s a great idea to get rid of clutter so the atmosphere of the home is more calming and organized. But there’s could also be enough for you to have a garage sale or donate to charity. That can put some more money back into bank accounts while still cleaning out the closet to make room for the really precious things.
You can sell your unused items through an online app or take it to a consignment shop. If you donate your unwanted clothing, shoes, and accessories, you can also write them off on your taxes. Not only will you be removing clutter from your home, but you’ll be helping those in need as you save money.
13. Make Slow Cooker and One-Pot Meals
To save time on cooking, consider investing in saving crockpot recipes. They’re easy, save a lot of time, and make a decent amount of food that can last for quite some time. Crockpots are worth the price considering how well they work and how much food they can make.
It’s a much better idea than standing in front of the stove for hours every single day to make meals for the family. You can also make big batches of food and freeze it for future meals. This way, your whole family can eat a yummy, healthy meal with minimal spending and effort.
14. Don’t Forget Breakfast
It can be one of the most important meals of the day when it comes to saving money. Instead of skipping breakfast and splurging on a large lunch, have a small meal in the morning so that there’s less inclination to gorge at lunchtime. A decent portion of protein for breakfast will curb hunger pangs much later and that will mean a smaller lunch at noon, one that’s less expensive.
Eggs are inexpensive, filling, and great for your health. Get some eggs and tortillas to make breakfast burritos that are tasty and will keep you satisfied. You can also make them ahead and freeze them, so you have a perfect breakfast every day of the week.
15. Exercise at Home
It can be practical to have a membership at the gym, because if it’s being paid for, then there’s more inclination to go. However, there are more natural ways to stay motivated to exercise. Drop the membership and find a very motivated friend to work out with. They’ll be in the inspiration that’s needed to keep the drive going and keep those calories burning.
You can also find great workout videos online for free. Go to YouTube and type in “cardio workout,” “high-intensity interval training,” or “bodyweight exercises.” You should be able to find a fun workout that’s completely free.
16. Go Secondhand for Major Purchases
Having a car has become a necessity in today’s working environment, but there’s no reason to splurge on a brand new one. New cars can be expensive, take a long time to get, and the monthly payments can be through the roof. Consider a secondhand car instead, preferably a late model for a lower price.
A used car would work just as well if the previous owner maintained it properly. Financial experts encourage those who are looking to save money to buy their vehicles secondhand. Because a car starts to depreciate as soon as you drive it off the lot, there’s no reason you have to buy new.
17. Pack a Lunch
Working at the office often means going out for a hot, fresh meal with the rest of the coworkers. That also means spending more money. There’s nothing wrong with brown-bagging lunch most days during the week.
Depending on what it is, it won’t be as hot and fresh, but there’ll definitely be more money in the bank account at the end of the month by making this small sacrifice. You can buy a thermos or mini crockpot to take to work with you to eat leftovers from dinner at work. Another option is to set aside the money that you would typically spend on lunch and put it in a savings account.
18. Stay Away from the Mall
Going to the mall, even to window shop, can be a luxury for some people. However, the temptation to shop is powerful. It would be better off if you avoided the mall altogether to make it easier on the wallet.
If the weather is beautiful, go for a walk around the park instead. There are fewer temptations there, and you’ll get a dose of vitamin D. You could also get together with friends and have a potluck or even head to the library for a relaxing time with a book. The possibilities are endless.
19. Car Maintenance is Important
It’s an easy task to put the care of one’s car in the hands of someone else. They’re the professionals and know how to take care of the job quickly and efficiently. But getting oil changes and check-ups can add up to a lot over the year.
Learn how to do a few auto maintenance tasks like checking the tires and changing the oil regularly to save a few bucks and extend the life of the car. You can find videos online that teach you how to do these tasks. There will also be a manual for your vehicle online so you can be sure you have the right tools for maintenance.
20. Only Buy What’s Essential
Before heading to the checkout, it’s a good idea to stop and take a look at everything in the cart. Self-inquire as to whether some of the items there are really necessary or if they’re more of a treat. If you find out it’s the latter, put them back.
Grocery shopping can sometimes lead to spur-of-the-moment decisions that aren’t so strong by the end of the trip. Putting them back will save on the bill during checkout. Make a list before you head to the store and stick to it. You’ll get just what you need and not have to deal with any leftover or wasted food.
21. Pay Bills Online
With the threat of online security called into question, people are always worried about paying their bills online. They fear that their credit card information is going to be taken and ruin their credit forever. However, these sites are very secure, and using them to pay bills comes out to be much cheaper than mailing a check.
Paying online also avoids there being late fees if checks don’t get there in time. If you pay bills online, you can set up an automatic payment feature. That way you know for a fact that your bills will get paid and you won’t be stuck with any late fees.
22. Curb Makeup Costs
There is something to be said about the quality of makeup, depending on the price. They feel a little different against your skin and can be more vibrant. But the majority of the price paid for more expensive makeup brands is mostly about packaging.
It’s possible to go without those expensive brands for a while and stick to the generic stuff to save up on money each month. Makeup found in drugstores has increased in quality over the years. There are also tons of websites and beauty influencers who give you cheaper duplicates to the expensive makeup you’ve been eying.
23. Cancel Subscriptions
Getting a magazine once a month or other online services can be convenient, as they’re a way of keeping in touch with the world. But your credit card is billed each month automatically, and that’s money that’s not being tracked. Cancel any subscriptions so that there is better control over where all the money is going.
If you need to read a specific magazine or publication, see if your local library has it. You won’t be able to keep it, but you can still read and enjoy it. Also, if there is a particular image or story you want to keep, you can make a copy to take home with you.
24. Monitor Phone Bills
If there’s a family phone plan in place, ensure there aren’t extra charges jacking up the bill. Going over the data of a phone plan can lead to a lot of additional fees. Talk with the family to curb the overuse of their phones.
Install a data tracker app on phones so that everyone can see just how much they’re using. Alternatively, any charges can be paid off by contributions; get the kids to earn money to pay for these charges. It’s a great way to teach them responsibility. You can also have one or two nights a week where the whole family stays off their phones and spends time together without screens to save on data usage.
25. Repair Broken Items
It’s easy to find something that’s broken and throw it away to buy a new one. But not all of these are lost causes. Consider repairing them. There are ways to fix electronics by yourself, or you can find a repair shop to help you.
A dysfunctional phone may need a new battery, or a torn skirt can be sewn together to be like new again. A little mending and effort can go a long way and save money on having to buy a new one. If a product can’t be repaired, you may be able to buy a refurbished model to save money.
26. Stay Steady on the Road
If cruise control is an option, use it. Maintaining a steady speed is better on gas mileage than using the pedal and changing your speed every five minutes. There will also be a consistency that will minimize the chances of getting a speeding ticket, which is too expensive.
Consider putting the cruise control to better use. If you need speed, it’s time to slow down a bit. Revving the engine is fun, but it can waste gas and cause damage to your car. Staying steady is the key to saving money on gas and vehicle repairs.
27. Shop Around for Major Purchases
Before making big purchases, it’s a great idea to do some online research on the ones at the top of the list. Look at items that have the highest reliability ratings and don’t be afraid to check out their reviews. A product may look good, but it could just be for show.
A product that lasts longer and works properly is a much better option to get great value from every dollar. Alternatively, don’t buy an item just because it’s the cheapest. Sometimes splurging a bit on a major appliance can save you money in the long run, especially on energy costs.
28. Switch to a Cheaper TV Package
Getting the highest number of channels seems like a great idea because then there’s a greater variety to pick from. Bigger packages, however, mean more money. Downsize the TV subscription package you have to just a few channels, the ones that are watched the most, to save money.
Trust us: the other channels will be missed for a while, but then that feeling will go away. Like we mentioned before, you can cut cable completely and subscribe to a few streaming services. You’ll have plenty of shows and movies to watch for a fraction of the cost of a cable subscription.
29. Look Out for Hidden Fees
Especially at ATMs, there are always fees for using machines that aren’t affiliated with the bank of choice. Those add up quickly. Look for bank-affiliated ATMs to save on those fees, or plan. If there’s a planned vacation, consider having enough cash on you to avoid going to ATMs during the trip.
You can find a special money pouch to take with you so you can keep your money safe and secure. There are also ways to get a card with your bank that’s like a debit card but only has a certain amount of money on it. That way, you can use a card without spending money you don’t have.
30. Quit Smoking
Not only are cigarettes expensive, but they’re not great for one’s health either. It’s better just to quit them altogether. The costs of taking care of lung cancer and other related diseases in the future can get quite high, and there may not be enough savings later on in life to take care of them.
Smoking is just a costly habit that isn’t doing anyone any favors. Speak with your doctor about finding ways to quit. There are support groups, medications, and even nicotine gum to help you drop this nasty habit. It’s hard to stop smoking, but it’s definitely worth it!
31. Shop During Sales
Always keep an eye out for sales that are going on at your favorite stores. These are often clearance sales to make way for new stock or sales for customer loyalty. Either way, it’s a good idea to consider these but don’t splurge on items that are never going to be used.
Focus on getting the basics to supplement your wardrobe. Jeans, black slacks, a white button-down shirt, dress shoes are essential for anyone’s wardrobe. Join a rewards program at your favorite stores to stay in the loop on special promotions and coupons. Also, check online for even more great deals.
32. Use Generic Products
People tend to stay away from generics because they think that they’re not as good as name-brand products. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Name brands are all about advertising and fancy packaging; generics work just as well, especially with medications.
Go the cheaper route; you won’t even notice the difference. Additionally, avoid specialized gender-specific items. It’s a fact that products designed for women are more expensive than those targeted towards men. In reality, the products are mostly the same but put in different packaging. Just because a bottle of shampoo is pink doesn’t mean it’s in any way better or worse than the usual version.
33. Have Goals in Mind
Set a bar for how much should be saved each month. This concept provides a standard to work towards, and with it in place, people will be more willing to cut certain things out of their daily lives to meet it. Small adjustments over time will definitely add up, as long as they’re adhered to.
Forgive a few steps back in the cases of emergencies and get right back on that path again to saving money. Keep a list going of what you want to achieve and display it in your home to keep you motivated. You can also set reminders on your phone to keep you focused on saving.
34. Make Phone Calls Online
To save on your phone bill, there are other ways of communicating with people long-distance. Through the Internet, there are programs and services like Skype and FaceTime that allow communication with other people.T
They are all at the price of an Internet connection, which is being paid for already. Consider using these instead of a regular phone call to dial back the charges on the phone bill each month. The connections on these types of services are great, making it easy to stay in touch with your loved ones. You can choose to make video or voice calls when you use an internet-based phone program.
35. Cook with Frozen Food
There’s always been the debate as to whether frozen or fresh vegetables are better. Pocket-wise, frozen is the better option. This notion is because they last longer and won’t start to rot in the fridge. That means food isn’t being wasted and thrown away, along with the money spent.
Frozen is also healthier since they were frozen at their peak condition, whereas fresh vegetables are shipped and there’s no guarantee that they’ll be ripe when they get to the store. You may have heard that frozen foods lose their nutrients, but that’s not the case. If you start cooking crockpot meals, frozen food will be a lifesaver!
36. Return Movies On Time
Renting movies from a local kiosk is a much cheaper option than going to the movie theater, but the catch is those late fees. Failing to get it back in time adds a lot to the price. Save money by putting the DVD back in its case as soon as the movie is over and putting the case somewhere near the front door so that it’s easy to remember and take back to the kiosk.
Another option is to rent a movie through an online service so you avoid any late fees. With this option, a film automatically disappears when your rental period is over. This is a great benefit and doesn’t involve you having to return a DVD physically.
37. Turn Electronics Off
Even when they’re off, having electronics still plugged in leeches a little bit of electricity at a time. To really squeeze those extra pennies, unplug them when they’re not in use. It can be annoying to plug them in and out all day, but the savings will be there at the end of the month.
You can also find special plugs with timers on them. Set these for a particular time of day to turn off all of the appliances plugged into them. That way, you can ensure that the electronics are off while you are out of the house. This idea is a neat tip if someone to trying to maximize their savings.
38. Create a Monthly Budget
Examine expenses that are made during the month to determine what the monthly budget is. Trim out a few things to create a new, lower budget for the month. Seeing what can be removed from everyday life makes it easier to go without, especially if every dollar needs to be saved.
Bills should be at the top of the list since these can’t be negotiated, and all other expenses should be curtailed accordingly. There is an infinite supply of budget templates online that are available for free. They can help you devise a plan to keep your family on a reasonable budget each month.
39. Embrace Darkness
When leaving a room, turn the light off. There’s no reason for it to be on if there’s no one in the room. This tip is even more useful in saving money if you’re leaving for work.
If it’s dark out, it may feel more comforting to leave the lights on so that it looks like someone is home, consider leaving on one for your state of mind. You can also get a porch light to leave on so you can leave the interior lights off. There are also solar-powered lights for your yard that won’t cost you any money on electricity.
40. The Swap Game
Kids can become quite bored with books and toys and want new things for a more enriching experience. Buying new things can be rewarding but expensive.
Instead, swap things with other parents you trust. The kids will have new things to play with without having to spend any money. Just be sure that someone keeps track of who belongs to what so that they can be returned when the children grow bored of them again. This tip is a great way to give your kids a variety of items to play with as well as interact with other children and their families.