A lot of us have trouble saving money, simply because we make it more difficult than it needs to be. We think that we have to put hundreds of dollars away each month into our savings account to make a difference.
This is great, but how many times do we get distracted or find something else to do with that money?
Probably more than we care to admit.
We all have to save money. In order to meet our money goals and have enough for a rainy day, saving money is non-negotiable.
But there are different levels to this savings thing.
If you find saving money difficult, don’t fret. You can start small. By making little steps to save money in your daily activities, you can free your budget up each month by an extra $100 – $500 or more a month…
…therefore getting you that much closer to your debt-free journey.
To help you meet your savings goals, here are 50 super easy ways to save money each month.
- Pack bag lunches. You can save hundreds a month if you stop buying lunch out. Also, stay away from the vending machine at work.
- Make coffee at home. Buy a coffee maker like the Keurig 2.0 and purchase your favorite coffee to brew at home. My favorite is Donut Shop.
- Cut the cable cord. Watch your favorite shows and movies with streaming packages to Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Related: Great Ways to Watch TV Online Free
- Stop buying bottled water. The waste is bad for the environment and your wallet. Buy a water filtration pitcher such as Brita instead.
- Cancel the gym membership you never use. If weather permits, go out for a run or walk. You can also purchase videos to work out at home or find workouts on YouTube. Related: How To Build a Home Gym on a Budget and Best Streaming Workouts For Any Budget.
- Stop eating out. Vow to make more meals at home, so you won’t be tempted to order takeout. This will save you dollars and calories. Signing up for Freezeasy will help you to plan affordable meals for your family.
- Use coupons. Obtain coupons from Sunday’s circulars, coupons.com, and/or download them to your store’s loyalty account to be redeemed later.
- Use cash-back sites such as Ebates and Swagbucks when shopping online. You’ll earn money back on purchases you were going to make anyway.
- Use cash-back apps such as Ibotta, Checkout 51, and SavingStar while out shopping.
- Eat less meat. Let’s be honest. Meat is expensive and who says you have to eat it at every meal or every day even? Start off with meatless Mondays and look for tasty meatless dishes you can make at home.
- Stop drinking sodas. Not only are you saving money, but you’re saving calories and sugar as well. Even diet sodas should be kept to a minimum. Love the fizz? Try seltzer water with lemon instead.
- Host a potluck. Round up a few friends and have everyone bring their favorite dish. You’ll get a full meal at a fraction of the cost.
- Pay in cash. You will spend more money if you keep reaching for the plastic to pay for everything. Even using a debit card will give you the feeling you can afford something when you can’t.
- Skip Happy Hour and look for free or cheap things to do instead. If you must drink, have wine nights or cocktails at home before going out.
- Find free and affordable things to do. (You can check out my lists here and here for more ideas). The museums in my area are mostly free and quite educational. Many have “after-five” events which make the museums feel more classy and grown up. Even for these events, the cost is free or very low cost. Related: Cheap and Free Things to Do.
- Sign up for customer loyalty reward programs. Most stores, especially grocery stores, have them. They will usually offer discounts and exclusive members-only savings.
- Check out books and rent movies from the library. Give Amazon a break for a bit and check out books instead of buying them to save money. Redbox may only be a couple of dollars, but those add up. You can rent certain movies from the library and keep them longer than a night.
- Stop buying music, stream online with Spotify, Pandora, or Amazon Prime instead.
- Sign up for Target Cartwheel and scan it at checkout. You’d be surprised how much money you can save on top of in-store sales and coupons.
- Cancel your home phone service and use your cell phone exclusively. Unless you have the service bundled up with internet and cable, I would say skip the cost. Plus who uses a landline anymore anyway?
- Downgrade your cell phone service package or switch to a small cell carrier. Though not available in my area, Republic Wireless might be a great option for some of you. You’ll have to pay for your phone, which at this time is only androids, but it may be worth it.
- Wash and dry clothes at night to save. Electricity rates are lower during non-peak hours and you’ll save money on your next bill.
- Keep up with car maintenance. Maintain your car by keeping up with oil changes engine tune-ups. Not doing so can cause major and more expensive repair.
- Wash clothes in cold water, when appropriate. Hot water causes your water heater to use more electricity or gas.
- Pay bills on time to minimize late fees. My cable provider charges $20 a month if a payment is made late. This is expensive, so make sure to pay on time. Automate if you can.
- Get rid of debt. Not only is it stressful, but debt wrecks havoc on your entire life. It decreases the amount you can save, decreases the amount you can borrow, and it increases the interest you have to pay. In addition, your credit gets beat up, big time.
- When shopping for groceries, save money by buying mostly items on sale. Stock up on enough items to last you until the next sale.
- Combine coupons and store sales for maximum savings. Most of the time, coupons usually coincide certain sales. If not, pay attention to the rotation and wait for items to come back around on sale.
- Give up your fancy smartphone and get a basic barebones phone instead. Most cell phone carriers require you to get the smartphone data package, which is expensive.
- If you go out to eat, skip the alcohol. Drinks are usually marked up higher than necessary, so you’ll be paying for it out of your behind. If you must have a drink, keep a bottle on ice for when you get back home.
- Go out to eat during a restaurant’s lunch hours. Most restaurants usually have lunch specials to entice people to visit during slower times.
- Order an appetizer as a main dish. Trust me, your server won’t look at you weird and the serving size is usually satisfying.
- Minimize salon visits. Go to the salon for chemical procedures or haircuts, but get a style that can be easily maintained at home. Check out YouTube for tutorials or go to a local cosmetology school for deep discounts. Services are performed by students but are supervised by licensed cosmetologists.
- Do manicures and pedicures at home. With proper filing and care, your nails can look just as great. Plus, it’s probably safer. Like to feel pampered? No worries, spread your visits out or like above, get an affordable mani and pedi at a cosmetology school.
- Group errands together so you’ll save on gas and time.
- Shop online. You can usually find better deals online, plus you’ll save time and money. Just make sure not to spend too much on shipping, because it will defeat the purpose altogether. Use Ebates to earn cash back for online purchases.
- Create a manageable budget and follow it. Once you know where your money is going, you’ll save more money and increase your quality of life. Use Every Dollar to create a budget online – it’s FREE!
- Increase the insurance deductible on your car. You’ll save hundreds each year on your policy. Just put this money aside just in case something happens.
- Drop collision coverage if you own an older car. It’s kind of silly to have full coverage on a 1997 Mazda.
- Select a health insurance plan with a higher deductible if you are pretty healthy. All plans should cover wellness appointments, so you can still get your checkups. Check with your state, you may be eligible for Medicaid or a more affordable health plan.
- Find deals on sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, so you can save and not feel like you’re missing out on life.
- Refuse to sign contracts, if possible. No need to get locked into a long-term contract. Force companies to earn and fight for your business.
- Have open travel dates. When planning your vacation, be flexible on your days. You’ll often find deals if you travel three days sooner or later. This can also save you money on airline prices.
- Plan your trip with others. You can usually save more when you split the cost of travel with other people. You’ll be able to visit places which may be cost-prohibitive if you went by yourself. Related: How to Save Money On Your Next Road Trip.
- Use Airbnb to find lodging for your next vacation. My family was able to find a beautiful home near the beach for our last vacation to Myrtle Beach. We saved hundreds (maybe more) for going through Airbnb instead of staying at a hotel. Search Kiwi for the best rates on flights.
- Improve your credit score. Having a high FICO (credit) score will make your life a thousand times easier. The lower your score, the more you will pay in interest. Pay bills on time and keep a low debt to income ratio. Check your report regularly and dispute mistakes. By law, everyone is eligible to receive a free credit report each year from each of the big three companies. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com to request yours (credit scores are usually not free). Self Lender is a great tool to help you build credit and save money at the same time.
- Refinance your student loans. You could save hundreds, even thousands by refinancing your student loans for a better rate. Check out Credible to see if that is an option for you.
- Downsize your crib. No, you don’t have to go live in a tiny house, but if you’re a couple living in a 2,000 square-foot home, you may be as happy in a 1,000 square foot apartment. Do you really need the three extra rooms if you barely have overnight guests? Think about the associated costs with a bigger home, such as bigger utilities and maintenance fees.
- Relocate to a less expensive neighborhood. Do you really need to be downtown? If not, wouldn’t it be worth it to move a little outside of the city so you can save more money on rent? People often feel like they’re stuck to one spot, but if you run the numbers with rent and transportation, you may find that relocating may be best. Try this calculator to compare the cost of living in two cities.
- Get rid of your car. If you live near public transportation or have a second car, you can save thousands a year by getting rid of the car. You’ll save on maintenance, insurance, gas, and (yikes) car payments. Use services such as Uber and Lyft to get around. Can’t give up the car? At least buy used.
What steps have you taken that save you the most money?