How to Save Money Fast: 100 Ways to Get You Started

How to Save Money Fast

How to save money fast? This is a question which is often on our minds. Of course, we are not talking about the wealthiest people in the world. But, the rest of us, we always worry about this factor.

Regardless of your financial journey, you ought to know that you can turn your financial life around. At times, all it needs is to take the first step on the correct path. But, like most things, this first step is the most challenging part.

That’s why we made this list of 100 great ways to get you started. None of these ways are life-altering on their own. But, over time, they can make a big difference if you can execute more than one. Some of these tactics take only a couple of minutes. In contrast, some regular demand effort. Still, they’re so simple than anyone can follow them.

Not every suggestion applies to everyone. So, how to approach it? Go through this list and pick the ones which apply to you. Then use them. You don’t need to find 50-60 tips; even 10-15 will do. And when you finally use these tips, you’ll see that you’re saving more than you ever imagined.

How to Save Money Fast: 100 Ways to Do it Right

  1. Moving bank accounts to benefit from perks and get more interest

You must be giving the regular fee for your savings or checking account. In this case, you may want to research the newest offers out there. Some of the top banks provide sign-up bonuses to open an account. Besides, some even offer reasonable interest rates to new clients.

It’s a fact that interest rates aren’t what they were once. But, it’s still worth looking for. You can find the best free savings and checking accounts online.

  1. Stay away from the television

Turning off your TV is a big step in saving money. There’re many financial benefits to it. These include low electricity bill, little exposure to ads that induce you into buying things. Plus, you get more time to focus on essential things in life.

Want to get serious about this? Cut the TV cable cord altogether.

  1. Stop accumulating, and instead start selling

Once, people believed their collection would bring riches to them. Longaberger baskets were a big fad, and so were Beanie Babies. Now you can find these products in garage sales and Craigslist for a fraction of the MRP. So many people who put a lot in their investments were left wondering what happened.

If you wish you avoid this situation, then avoid collecting products of questionable value. And if you want to recover some amount already spent on such products, then start selling them. You can then use that money to fulfill any financial goal of yours. Go through our “Guide to Selling Unwanted items” to get simple tips.

  1. Sign up for all the free customer rewards program

Regardless of where you stay, you’ll get many retailers willing to reward you for buying from their store. We’ll tell you the basic strategy to maximize returns from these programs. Create a Yahoo or Gmail id only for these emails. Collect all the cards possible. Then check the account for additional coupons as and when you’re willing to shop.

You can even add to these discounts and rewards by using rewards credit cards. Through this, you’ll get points on purchases at several stores. You can redeem these points for cash backs or other offers.

  1. DIY gifts rather than buying from the stores

It’s also possible to save money while giving away generously. How? By making your gifts. You can make candles, freshly-baked cookies/bread, food mixes, and many types of gifts at home. It’s both easy and cheap.

Besides, these make incredible gifts as there’s a personal touch. Something you can never buy from outside. Also, they’re often consumable, implying they don’t end up as junk in someone’s closet.

  1. Hone the 30-day rule

One of the most important rules of personal finance is to avoid instant gratification. Instead, you should wait for 30 days to decide whether to buy a thing.

Very often, once a month has passed, you’ll see your urge of buying has passed too. Who knew merely waiting can save you so much money! Waiting gives you a better idea of whether a thing is worth the money or not!

  1. Make a shopping list and stick to it

This is one of the simplest ways of saving money. Shop only when there’s a list with you. Because without a list, you’re likely to make impulse purchases. This burns a big hole in the pocket.

You are making a list before grocery shopping is especially needed. It helps you purchase products which suit your meal plan. Besides, it’ll also help in avoiding the purchase of products you may waste. Hence, never go shopping without a list. More importantly, stick to it. You may also use a cash-back rewards card which offers bonus cash at retail/grocery stores. But ensure paying off the balance every month.

  1. Rather than going out, invite friends to your home

When you go out for lunch/dinner/clubbing, it destroys your entertainment and food budget. It’s always cheaper to invite friends over, plus it’s more fun too.

Hence, rather than painting the town red, host a pot-luck lunch/dinner with your friends. Watch movies, play cards, or talk to your friends. You’ll not just save money, but will also have a blast.

  1. Fix your clothes rather than throwing them away

Don’t throw away a dress due to a broken button. Instead, sew a new one onto it. Don’t toss a shirt if it has a hole in it. Stitch a patch onto it and wear them when you’re working indoors.

Anyone can do the basic sewing job. And with a little practice, you can go a long way. Hence, learning basic sewing is an excellent way to save money. Plus, it also increases the life of your clothes.

  1. Don’t spend much fulfilling whims and fancies of children

It’s straightforward to entertain children cheaply, especially younger ones. Give them a newspaper and allow their creativity to run wild. Plant a sapling. Go to the park. Play ball. Train them to ride a bike.

Remember that your child wants your time the most and not the material things. If you do this, there’ll be money in your account plus happiness in the heart.

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  1. Negotiate interest rates with your credit card issuer or do a balance transfer

Are you paying too much interest on the credit card? Then you should know that you hold some power, given you’re making timely payment. You can negotiate your current rate of interest with the credit card company. Plus, you can also transfer the balance to a different card.

Begin by calling the card company and telling your request. If this doesn’t work out well, then check the balance transfer cards. Find one that has an initial 0% APR. Doing this can save you a lot in interest over time.

  1. Clean the closets

Dig in your closet and separate anything that you don’t use any longer. Then don’t just discard them. Instead, use it smartly.

You can either sell it on Craigslist or have a garage sale. You may even donate it to get a tax deduction or take it to any consignment shop. Some money is always better than no money. And who knows, you may even strike a perfect deal on some stuff. Besides, it also gives a mental peace cleaning the closet.

  1. Buy video games with high replay value. Avoid buying new ones until you’ve become a master at what you’ve

There’s a change in our video-games purchasing habits. And this change is for good. Now, our focus is more games which we can play over and over again. Plus, we focus on honing the games we buy.

Once you’re a master of a game, take it to a resale shop like GameStop. Check out if you can exchange it for store credit which you can use to buy another one.

  1. Drink lots of water

Yes, you heard it right. Drinking lots of water is excellent for your health, agreed. But it also has financial benefits. When you drink a glass of water before every meal, you stay full longer. And eventually, you eat less. Not just will you save on your eating bill, but you’ll feel much better after proper hydration.

Even better. Drinking more water means spending less on tea, soda, and juice. Note: Tap water is just as hygienic as bottled water. Plus, it’s free as well.

  1. Avoid junk foods and convenience food

Rather than eating junk food when you get home, cook something easy and healthy. A couple of hours of preparation a weekend will give you lots of easy and cheap meal options for an entire week.

You may also want to break out the old crock pot to get some cheaper meal option.

For times when you can’t avoid eating out, use reward credit cards and coupons to maximize your savings.

  1. Quit smoking. Please!

You should know by now that smoking is not just costly, but it also kills. Hence, to save lots of money and lead a long life, quit smoking. You can even quit cold-turkey. There’re many anti-smoking products in the market. Or try an electric cigarette. It’ll buy you some time. No matter which way you choose, you’ll be a lot better without it.

  1. Make multiple batches of casserole

All of us know that casseroles are easy and tasty dishes to make. So, the next time you make one, prepare four batches and put 3 of them in the freezer. Then, when you’re out of time and want a quick meal, heat those.

When you cook in bulk, you can buy the ingredients also in bulk. This means extra savings. Plus, having casseroles in your fridge helps you avoid junk food when you’re in a hurry.

  1. Switch off the lights

When you keep the lights on at your home, it might not be costly on a per-watt basis. But it costs big over time. Hence, to save maximum, switch off the lights when not in use. If your house gets ample sunlight, you may not even need lights during the day. Try it for some time, and you’ll see your electricity bill going down over time. The bottom line is – turn off light if you’re not using it.

  1. Exchange books, DVDs and music at the library or on the Internet

It’s straightforward to exchange the DVDs, CDs, and books you no longer need, online. Clean your media collection and swap them with others on sites like PaperBackSwap. If you have a library nearby that loans books and DVDs, then it’s even better. The more you can trade with others, the more you’ll save.

  1. Make full use of yard sales

You can score great deals at yard sales. This is an excellent place to get things you need anyway. Think shoes, housewares, clothing, and even sporting equipment. But, you need to be careful as well. Because low prices may entice you to buy items you don’t need. Hence, at your next yard sale, restrict yourself to things that you were already planning to buy.

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  1. Install LEDs or CFLs wherever it makes sense

Light bulbs which’re energy efficient may cost more initially. But their life is much longer than regular bulbs. Plus, they consume far less electricity. It could be challenging to decide which types to install. But, both CFLs and LEDs will be an upgrade from what you’re using currently.

CFLs use only one-fourth of the energy of incandescent bulbs. They last for years and are the cheapest choice after traditional bulbs. But, there’re some drawbacks too. They contain some amount of mercury and take some time to give full brightness.

LEDs, on the other hand, are more expensive. But, the good news is that they’re becoming cheaper with time. Plus, they’re undoubtedly the best lighting choice available. They’re quick to light up, are efficient akin to CFL and last for years. And they give a warm glow without becoming too hot themselves.

You don’t need to replace all bulbs at once. Even changing the most used 4-5 bulbs can help you save $45 a year.

  1. Use a programmable thermostat

It’s not rocket science to install a programmable thermostat. This’s a great way to cut your energy usage when you aren’t home or just for temperature regulation. By programming it to cool or heat, you can be sure that your utilities aren’t going to waste when you’re asleep or at work. Hence, you save a lot in the process.

  1. Buy high-quality appliances

You should always research when buying a new appliance. Yes, an energy-efficient washer may cost you some money. But, if it saves you energy and works for 15 years rather than 5, then it’s worth a buy. Because you’ll save a lot in the long run.

So, always do your homework before buying an appliance. Begin with back issues of Consumer Reports. You can get these at any library. An hour long research may save you many dollars. If you’re sure you’ll be buying the appliance and have the cash ready for it, consider applying for a credit-card. And that too one with a huge signup bonus. It’s an easy means of earning some money on a purchase you were anyway going to make.

  1. Change or clean your car’s air filter

A clean filter improves your car’s mileage by nearly 7%. This way, you save over $100 for every 10,000 miles you drive. Cleaning your air filter is no big task. You can do it in few minutes. Follow the instructions on the manual, and you are good to go.

If the air filter can’t be fixed, you may change it for a new one. An air filter is easily available for less than ten bucks.

  1. Stop the use of credit cards

If you tend to spend too much using a credit-card, hide them. Or keep them in a secure place but not in your wallet. It’s okay if you’ve to keep a card for urgent situations. But don’t carry it with you always. If you’re someone who gets tempted to use a card, “out-of-sight-is-out-of-mind” theory may help.

  1. Plan your meals as per your grocery store’s brochure

Don’t create your meal plan out of thin air. Instead, plan your meals around the flyer of your grocery store and what’s on sale there. Find the biggest discounts. Then plan recipes as per those ingredients. Do this for some months. You’ll end up with a lot less in your food bill than your usual.

  1. Compare prices – find a cheaper grocery store

We tend to shop at the same grocery store. It becomes part of our daily routine. We mightn’t realize that we aren’t getting the best deal there. Luckily, there’s an easy way to find the cheapest grocery store. Keep track of the 20 items you buy most often. Then shop these products at different stores. Ultimately, one store will emerge as the winner. Make this store your routine shopping destination.

  1. DIY when you can

Before I tried it myself, I believed baking bread at home would be a waste of time. Not to mention complicated. But, once I tried it, I found it was much cheaper, tastier, healthier, and more manageable. Better than store brought loaf.

We hardly buy bread from stores now. Mainly because our homemade bread isn’t just cheaper, but better too. Identifying what you can prepare at home is the right way of saving money. Plus, you learn a new skill in the process.

  1. Don’t do stress-spending

It’s convenient to justify spending to vent off a stressful day. But it’s never a great idea. Rather than buying items you don’t need, it would be wiser to find another way of de-stressing.

Meditation is a great option, and so is exercising. Even the old-fashioned nap is a great stress-buster. Watch movies, read or work in the yard if you’re feeling stressed. Unnecessarily spending money will only make you feel guilty afterward.

  1. Share your dreams with your loved ones

You may be thinking that what does this has to do with saving money. Right? But think about it more. If you spend time with your loved ones and share your goals, it becomes easier to plan for it. Make a big, challenging goal together. Then motivate one another to be financially sound. Soon, you’ll see that you’re naturally doing it. Your dreams will be much closer than before.

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  1. Do a “maintenance check” of your appliances

Check them periodically to ensure there’s no dust clogging them. Clean the space behind the appliances as it tends to get dirty easily. Check all the vents, particularly on cooling/heating units, refrigerators and dryers. The less dust there is, the more their efficiency and life. Hence, you’ll save both replacement cost and your energy bill.

  1. Withdraw unused club memberships

Are you paying membership fees of clubs you don’t use? For example, a country club membership or gym membership? Just cancel all membership you never use. Remember, you may renew these memberships any day if you miss having them.

  1. Use second-hand when you can

You can find the exact product you need with some smart shopping. Consignment shops, used equipment stores, second-hand games store, etc. are great places to buy used things. Make such stores a part of your shopping routine. Whenever you need to shop, go to these stores first. Only if you don’t find anything useful, should you go to other stores? But, this is less likely to happen.

For example, clothes cost pennies when you buy them second-hand. Even if the owners wore them just once. By buying second-hand, you can save boatloads of money.

  1. Keep your hands sanitized

This is an easy one. Wash your hands properly every time you handle raw food or use the loo. You’ll save yourself from harmful bacteria and viruses, hence saving on medical bills.

That doesn’t mean you mustn’t explore the world and get some mud on you. Sometimes, it’s okay. But basic cleanliness and hygiene are also must.

  1. Delete your credit card info from online accounts

It’s easier to shop online when your credit-card info is fed in the account. Just pick, click, and buy. The ideal way to break this tendency is deleting your credit-card from the account.

This way, even if you want to spend, you’ll have to find your card. It will buy you some time to think if you want the product or not. Sometimes being pushed to find the card is all it takes to tell yourself you don’t need the product.

  1. Gift of labor

For new parents, offer a day of babysitting as a gift. If you’ve some pet owners around, offer to look after their pets while they travel. Offer lawn care to a new house-owner as a gift.

Such gifts are eternally a hit. We know it from personal experience. As a parent of a new-born, we just loved getting a baby-sitting gift. Even more than any other material gift, we may get otherwise.

  1. Do holiday shopping just after the holidays

Many people use this strategy for Christmas. But, it applies to all holidays. Wait until a couple of days after any holiday. And then go shopping for things you need which are specific to that day.

Buy a Father’s Day card for the following year the day after Father’s Day. Get Halloween decorating stuff on Nov. 1. Buy cards, gift bags, wrapping paper and bows after Christmas. The offs are huge, and you may store this stuff for next year.

  1. Join a volunteer program

Volunteering helps you meet new people. You involve yourself in a constructive project which may lift your spirit. It also doesn’t cost anything, but can give a lot of entertainment. In a few cases, it may even help delete your student loan).

I spend much of my time volunteering. This involves serving different groups and committees in the society. Undoubtedly, this is the best thing I’ve ever done.

  1. Declutter

Go into your room and look at every single thing in there. Are you fine that an item is there, or it would be okay if it weren’t? If you find things to get rid of, discard them. It’s only creating clutter and may be of use to someone else. In the process, you’ll get most of the cleaning done. Hence, it’s a total win-win situation.

  1. Use generic brands of products you regularly buy

Rather than taking the typical brand of a product you buy, try some generic version. You’ll not just save a few dollars, but you’ll find the generic brand to be same in quality as name-brand. Usually, the only distinction between the two is that of marketing. And, I would rather not pay more just for marketing. Once you board the generic train, you’ll see your grocery bill becoming lesser and lesser.

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  1. Cook at home

Get a handy cookbook and try to cook some of the recipes inside. You’ll see that making a meal at home is way easier than you think. Plus, it’s much healthier and cheaper too. Even better, you may cook meals in advance. Our favorite cookbook for beginners is Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything.”

  1. Go for term life insurance

Mark my words: insurance isn’t an investment. If you’re caught in a costly whole-life policy, pick cheaper term insurance. Use this difference in money to clear your debt and start creating wealth.

Whole-life and universal policies are costlier and give mediocre investment opportunity. In nearly every case, you’ll be better off with cheaper term insurance. Plus, there’ll be more money in your wallet.

  1. Use fuel-efficient and reliable cars

A fuel-efficient and reliable car will help you save thousands in the long-run. Let’s suppose you drive a car for 80,000 miles. If you pick a car which gets 25 miles/gallon over one which gets only 15, you end up saving 2,133 gallons of gas. At $3 a gallon, you are saving $4,600. Reliability also pays similar dividends.

Do some homework. It will pay off. Even learning simple tips for fuel-efficient driving can be helpful.

  1. Try avoiding the mall

The mall is a fun place to go to. But, it is packed with temptation. Hence, you must avoid going to a mall unless you need to buy something.

Window shopping while on a tight budget is torture. Free yourself and find something else to do. A good movie, a walk outside or even a fun game can replace your mall expeditions.

  1. Hone the 10-second rule

You’re out shopping or say doing online shopping. Whenever you choose a product and are about to take it to the checkout, wait for 10 seconds. During these few seconds, ask yourself if you need the item or not. If there’s no right answer, put the product back. This will help you avoid impulse shopping.

  1. Rent out extra parts of your home

Do you have an unused bedroom or an in-law suite? Rent it out on sites such as Airbnb.com. If you’re living in a tourist area, you may earn lots of money. But, be sure to know the risks involved and take all the steps to protect your possessions and family.

  1. Make a visual reminder of your liabilities

It’s imperative to put your debts into easily understandable terms. For this, create a big progress bar. This bar will start with your debt amount and end with zero. Every time you pay some of it, fill in a part of the progress bar.

Place this reminder somewhere you can see daily. And fill it regularly. This will keep your eye on the target and take you directly to debt freedom.

  1. Unsubscribe magazines

Do you have a heap of unread magazines lying around in your home? Perhaps it’s due to a subscription which you aren’t reading. Not only must you not restart the magazine, but you must also give them a call for a refund. You never know. They may even pay back the prorated amount. I’ve culled my subscriptions earlier and have never had a regret about it.

  1. Eat breakfast

Having a balanced breakfast gives you the energy to last the entire day. It also curbs your desire for a heavy, costly lunch. Meanwhile, breakfast could be quite cheap, healthy, and quick. A bowl of cereal in the morning usually helps me avoid an expensive lunch later in the day.

  1. Do babysitting for neighbors and vice versa

We stay in a society that has many families with young kids. Due to this, many parents are keen on swapping babysitting nights with us. Hence, we save the money of keeping a nanny for an evening out. Some families take to a new extreme altogether.

So, try to find one or two sets of parents whom you can trust. Swap days of babysitting with them. If all goes well, you’ll get some evenings free without having to pay for a babysitter.

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  1. Utilize leftovers: Jazz them up

Many feel that leftovers are sub-standard residues of regular meals. But, there’s nothing inexpensive than consuming leftovers. You can make leftovers tasty by using a few techniques. You can come up with something exciting and delicious.

Our pet technique? Chaining. That means using leftovers to make a completely new dish. For example, your last night’s leftover includes rice and ham. You may use them to make black beans and rice or fried rice tonight.

  1. Go through all your clothes

If you have the urge to buy clothes every-now-and-then, go through what you already have. Dig out clothes from every nook-and-corner and bring them in front of your eyes. Suddenly you’ll see a completely different wardrobe. You won’t feel like spending money on clothes anymore.

  1. Take your own lunch

Rather than eating out during lunch at work, pack your own box. Even if you can’t do it every day, do it at least two-three times a week. With some smart cooking and only some of your time, you can make something enjoyable for your lunch. Plus, you’ll save lots of money in the process. Your colleagues mightn’t understand your wish to save money, but that’s their lookout.

  1. Learn to dress minimally

Buy clothing which you can mix and match on several occasions. This way you won’t need too many clothes. So, if you’ve seven shirts, five pants and seven ties that complement each other, then you’ve endless options.

This is just what we do to minimize shopping for clothes and still manage to appear professional. We mix and match what we wear by using simple, timeless pieces that go well.

  1. Ask for motivation and help from your close ones

When you feel de-motivated, talk with your near-and-dear ones. Ask them to help you. Tell them that you want to reduce your spending and you’d like it if they give some advice.

Then, heed their advice. They may have some personal insights to offer, which may be useful for you. At the very least, there’d be someone to understand your condition.

  1. Try to repair things on your own

Decades ago, it was harder to repair the things we had in our homes. But, nowadays it’s a piece of cake. There’re online videos and tutorials which show how to fix almost everything. And that too for free. So, regardless of what you’re trying to repair, it’s worth a try. Besides, you end up learning a new skill in the process.

  1. Keep an idea notebook with you

I’ve wasted too much money and time just because I forgot some of my best ideas. But, now I keep a small notepad with me to write down ideas the moment they come. This keeps me from forgetting anything important.

  1. Buy a deep freezer

A deep freezer is a good bargain after the initial cost. But, it’s worth it only if you use it. Usually, having some additional freezer space helps you buy in bulk and pay less overall. Besides, you can make lost of meal in advance and store them. This way, after a long day at work, you need to pop the pre-cooked meal in the oven. See this article, if you need help deciding whether a cold-storage is worth it.

  1. Find a cheaper place to live

Iowa’s cost of living is surprisingly low. Enough that I’m ready to sacrifice the cultural opportunities of other cities to live in Iowa. When I wish to enjoy the cultural frolics of different places, I can travel there. Because I can afford to do that as I save on living expenses for the complete year.

If you stay in a very costly area, ponder if the extra money is worth it. A move can mean the difference between living hands-to-mouth and having money in abundance.

  1. Find out the free events in town

Our town has many free tennis and basketball courts, wonderful parks, walking trails, free disc golf, etc. One can go and enjoy for hours in the amazing outdoors, hiking on trails or playing sports. And the best part – everything for free. All you need to do is find it. Here’re over 100 free things you can do if you want more inspiration.

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  1. Inflate your tires

You lose 1% on gas mileage for every 2 PSI of air pressure below the needed level in your tires. Most car tires are 5-10 PSI under the normal level. This means, by simply inflating your tires, you can increase your gas mileage by 5%.

It’s simple too: go through your car’s manual to check the normal tire pressure. Then visit the gas station. Ask the attendant for a tire air gauge you can borrow. Then stop at the air pump. Feel your tires. Then using the pump fill them to the needed level. It’s essentially free gas!

  1. Start gardening

Gardening is an inexpensive hobby if you have a garden. Rent a tiller. Till up an area. Plant some saplings. Keep the patch weeded. The result? A very inexpensive hobby which gives healthy food to you and your family.

I like planting tomato plants and caring for them. Then my family and I enjoy the abundance of tomatoes every summer. We prefer eating them fresh, canning them, and making tomato sauce, juice, pizza and pasta sauce.

  1. Check your community calendar

Most communities have many free events. Though you mightn’t be aware of them at the time. So, if you wish to stay in tune with everything happening nearby, check your town’s newsletter. Or stop by the city hall or local library and ask for a list of upcoming events.

You can even get free stuff, free meals, and free entertainment by just paying attention. Plus, you’ll know what’s happening around you.

  1. Use public transport

If the town’s transport system is available nearby, use it rather than driving to work. This’s way cheaper, and you don’t have to worry about the issues of parking.

When we were living in a big city, we issued a yearly transit pass. This pass paid for itself after not even two months of using it compared to driving my car. After that, for ten months, we could ride to work for free. That’s money in my account.

  1. Learn to cut your hair

This mightn’t be a popular thought, but it works if you don’t have a complex hairstyle. For example, I cut my hair using a pair of clippers. It may look like an impossible thing, but it isn’t that difficult to learn. Place a garbage bag on the washbasin. Get the scissors and clippers and get it done with. 2 or 3 cuts will cover the cost of clippers, and then you’ll be getting free haircuts. If you practice hard, you can do some stylish cuts too.

  1. Carpool

If your co-worker stays near you, you may both benefit from carpooling to work. Or, if your spouse works close-by, commute by one car. You can drop and pick them up or vice versa. Doing so will save you money plus increase the life of both your cars.

  1. Plan your ‘debt snowball.’

Everyone should have a plan to erase all debt. So, sit down and plan which debts you’ll be paying in what order. Merely having a design helps a lot in putting the plan into action. And, paying off your liabilities is one the definite ways to make you financially independent.

  1. Buy a crock pot

A crock pot is a slow cooker. It’s possibly the best deal in the world to reduce cooking costs of a busy family. You need to put in the ingredients before work. Place it on the sim. And dinner is waiting for you when you reach home.

There’re many recipes for all types of foods. Every time you cook like this, you save money compared to dining out. Slow cooker meals are especially good as leftovers. Savings everywhere!

  1. Do some basic auto and home maintenance regularly

Rather than waiting for something to break, make a periodic maintenance schedule. Under this, you check around your house and car and do some maintenance where needed. This small exercise will take a couple of hours a month. But, it will prevent stuff from breaking down and help to detect issues before they turn disasters. When you maintain your home, it stays in great shape. Plus, it also increases the value of your property.

  1. Purchase staples in bulk

With things we use regularly, we get them in bulk. This is especially for items that aren’t perishable. For example, we buy diapers, laundry detergents, and trash bags in bulk. This reduces their cost/usage and in the long run, contributes to savings.

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  1. Pack meals for road trips

When you’re hitting the road, pack some meals and snacks you can eat easily. This way, you don’t have to stop and shop for food. Plus, you don’t have to look for a place to eat and waste time and money. Instead, you can eat on the road. Or, stop by a lovely area and stretch a little bit. Convenience foods are unnecessarily expensive. So, it’s better you avoid them as much as possible.

  1. See your cell telephone bill, find services you don’t use, and get rid of them

There’re many ways to save money on your telephone bill. This includes moving from a prominent service provider to a smaller company that offers service in your zone for less. Besides, you must go through your phone bill to check if you’re paying for anything you don’t use.

  1. Merge your student loans

Interest rates are at an all time low right now. So, determine what type of loan you have. Then merge your student loans into a single low-rate package.

This is just a single way to deal with student debt. But look at the different student loan consolidation offers and find how much you may save. Even a reduction of 1% on a loan of $10,000 saves you $100 annually. And your loan is perhaps higher than that.

  1. When purchasing a car, see only the used models

It’s a fact that new cars are unjustified investments. Not just they fall in value the moment you drive it. But their value continues to drop every year.

So, if you wish to save maximum on transit, consider used cars only. If you look at cars only some years old, you may even get one within its warranty tenure.

  1. Make the library your go-to place

Don’t think of a library as only a place to get books. Think of it as a free place where you can do all types of things. I used it to meet people, learn foreign languages, to grab a local newspaper, using the internet, and checking out CDs. Plus, I also get the news of all upcoming community events from my local library. And the best part? It won’t cost you anything.

  1. Using a simple razor for shaving

I’ve been advocating our basic safety razor since long. But this’s only a single piece of the puzzle. For regular shaves, we shave in the shower and dry the blade later on. Merely using soap for lather is also very cheap as I change blades once every 2-3 weeks.

What’s the point behind all this? Shave using a simple razor. Don’t use an electric one who goes out of order in three years. Or the latest swiveling multi-blade razor for that matter. The former is costly, and the latter comes with costly replacement cartridges. Plus, do shaving on a wet face. You could get a neat shave with some practice. Besides, it’s frugal in the long run.

  1. Find daily motivation to make intelligent moves

I’m usually motivated by my children. Maybe you get inspiration from your spouse or from someone you respect. Perhaps, it’s a personal goal akin to early retirement.

Get something which pushes you to bring positive changes in you. Then use that thing or person as a continual reminder. Keep its picture in your wallet, on your bathroom mirror and your vehicle. Have it in your mind as much as possible.

  1. Know all the perks your company offers

Spend some time with your company’s HR. Learn about the different benefits available at your job. You may be amazed at what you learn.

After discussing with our HR, we got free tickets to sporting events, career enhancement opportunities, and so on. We even learned about the optional employee match on retirement funds. This reduced our spending on things like sporting events and training classes. Even better, it improved our retirement planning.

  1. Prepare cleaning supplies at home

We prepare our laundry detergent at home and even our Goo-Be-Gone. Besides, we also love making our Soft Scrub, Glade and Windex. In all the cases, it’s far cheaper than purchasing the commercial ones.

Look around for recipes. You’ll be surprised to know the number of things you can prepare at home. And they don’t eat up a lot of time and energy. Our “Frugal Spring Cleaning Checklist” will give you more tips.

  1. Propose cheap exercises when meeting with family and friends

This can be a tricky job. But, there’re many techniques you may try. Our preferred one is to take the initiative to suggest something. This usually gives us the power to direct the group toward less costly activities. For example, persuade your friends to visit a park rather than golfing. That fee will remain in your pocket.

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  1. Don’t speed

Speeding is wasteful in respect of gasoline consumption. Plus, you’re likely to get pulled over and pay a hefty fine and a higher insurance premium. It’s way more cost-effective to drive within the speed limit. It keeps the gasoline in the tank and keeps the police off your trail.

  1. Read more

Reading is the most beneficial and cheapest hobby. Most places have a public library. Go there and borrow the books that interest you. Then in your free time, find a cozy corner in your home, and read away.

You’ll have something new to learn. This will improve your reading comprehension. Plus, you’ll be enjoying yourself without spending a dime. Here are more ideas to get into the flow of reading.

  1. Don’t buy a big house

There’re many reasons to buy a smaller house. The area of our current house is 2000-sq-ft. I live there with my wife and two children. Honestly, it’s the perfect size for us. And if anything, I feel it’s still significant.

We’re often in the same room, and the rest of the house remains empty. There’s no use of a giant space to live. Instead, buy something modest, and you’ll have plenty of room. Not to forget, plenty of money in the bank.

  1. Take a new route to work

Do you have the habit of stopping for something on your way to work from home or back? Then change your route altogether. Get rid of this constant drain by picking a new route which doesn’t have such temptations. Use it even if it’s longer than your regular route. You’ll still be saving on time by not stopping and buying.

  1. Ask for waivers on fees

Whenever you sign up for a service of any type which includes the sign-up fee, ask them to waive it. You never know they may waive it. And you save money by being direct about not intending to pay high fees. I did this with my last phone sign-up and asked them to waive the fees. This reduced my phone bill considerably.

  1. Avoid overspending on hygiene items

Many people perhaps find that cheaper hygiene products are just as well off as the costly ones. We buy the toothpaste, which is the most affordable. And the same rule applies when buying deodorants. The key is to use these products consistently and regularly. Shower daily, maintain personal hygiene, and you’ll be alright. No need to purchase a $40 scrub if you properly scrub your face.

  1. Avoid eating too much meat

Meat is quite costly when you take into account its nutritional value. Especially in comparison to fruits and veggies. And in almost all cases, beans and other protein-packed staples give higher value. You don’t need to become a total vegetarian if you don’t want to. But, you can still save a lot by consuming meat less frequently.

  1. Use a coupon strategy

To save maximum, use coupons with your shopping list and grocery store flyer. By doing this, you can save double the amount. How? Both through using the coupon and the original sale savings. This way you don’t buy items you don’t need just because you have a discount or a coupon.

  1. Air seal your house

Most houses have some air gaps, which make it harder to regulate the temperature inside. And it becomes costlier too. Spend a day air-sealing your house and keep your money from leaking out. The DoE has an impressive manual on basic air-sealing.

  1. Prepare your own wine or beer

Do you like an occasional drink? If yes, then this is an excellent way to enjoy your favorite drinks at a high discount. It’s very easy to make 5 gallons of wine or beer in one go. Plus, it’s not that tough once you become a pro at it. Even better, it’s a fun activity to do with your pals. You get the equipment; they get the juice. And both of you get some bottles of tasty homemade beverage. Some free drinks plus some good entertainment. I think this is a fantastic deal!

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  1. Ensure all your electrical devices are connected to a surge protector

This especially holds for your computer and entertainment console. A high voltage may damage your devices quite easily. So, invest in a basic surge protector and keep most of your devices plugged into this device. To save more, unplug those devices you don’t use frequently. This will help avoid phantom energy usage.

  1. Sign up for an automated repayment plan for your student loans

Several student loans provide a slight rate cut if you register for their automated debt-repayment option. Hence, you save some money every month. Plus, you don’t have to put the effort of paying your bill. Through our automated plan, we saved $60 a year.

  1. Reduce your vacation spending

Rather than going on an extravagant trip, do some sight-seeing in your nearby areas. One of my best trips was when our son was a toddler. We just packed our suitcases and drove around Minnesota. Eventually, we ended up camping for some days along the Lake Superior. For a full week vacation, this trip was dirt cheap and incredibly memorable. One more strategy is looking into travel rewards credit cards to earn free airfare and hotel stays.

  1. Unsubscribe the satellite or cable channels you don’t watch

Many people having cable often pay for a premium package which they don’t need. For the longest time, we held the subscription of Cinemax, HBO and Starz. But we would hardly watch it once a month. So, we discussed if it was worth paying for it or not. Because we could see a movie for much cheaper just by renting one. Hence, unsubscribe the channels you don’t want and put that money back in your wallet.

  1. Exercise more

Go for a jog or walk every morning or evening. Do stretching or some light weights at home. You can easily do these exercises at home. And that too, for free. Plus, it improves your health a lot. Just keep aside some time every day to do some exercise. Your wallet and body will both thank you.

  1. Use online bill payment with your bank

This fulfills two purposes. Firstly, you stay in close touch with your money. Because it’s easier to keep a close watch on your balance.

Secondly, it saves money on paper checks and stamps. All you need to do is fill an online form, press submits, and your bill is paid. Try it and take its advantage if you haven’t already. Some of the best free digital checking accounts give this perk.

  1. Connect your PC and entertainment center to a smart power strip

smart strip cuts power to every device on the strip once you turn off a control device. It thereby reduces phantom power drains. So, if your workstation is connected with it, each time you power down your PC, every part powers down too. That is your monitor powers down, your scanner powers down, your printer powers down.

You can do the same with the entertainment center. When you switch off the TV, the cable box goes off too. And so does the DVD player, the VCR and video game console. This saves a lot of electricity and trims down your power bill.

  1. Don’t be harsh on yourself when you make a mistake

Even though you make ten great choices, but you can beat yourself for one bad choice. And feel like a total failure. If you make a colossal mistake and realize it, ponder over it. Think about why you realized it now rather than at that time. Then try applying this later on. The recollection of that mistake can become quite valuable, indeed.

  1. Look ahead – always

Don’t let your past mistakes become a burden for you. So much so that you end up making more mistakes. Instead, look ahead in the future. Try to look past your mistakes. As eventually, they’re lesson meant to teach you something.

At times, you get the best lessons of life through life experiences. Be it good or bad. So, accept your past instead of running from it. Promise yourself to do better and set goals to improve every day.

  1. Never ever give up

When your fight against debt feels too much, read a blog on personal finance. Also, remember that many people ’re charging the same fight. Go through the archives and learn something new. Get motivated to continue fighting, no matter what.

Conclusion

On most occasions, we pay more than we should out of habit and apathy. If we change our perspective and look at everything as a chance to save money, it can transform our budgets. Without the need to add even a single dollar.

What’s important is to remember that when you look back, it’ll be the experiences that’ll stand out. Not the comforts you lived in. Living on a budget could teach you many things about how to leverage your pay-check. We live only once. So, why not make the most of each penny we earn?

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