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Have you seen the memes about how egg-spensive everything is right now? All jokes aside, it’s getting harder and harder to live our everyday lives as everything keeps increasing in price while our salaries stay the same, or in some cases, our jobs are wiped out completely. These extreme money-saving tips may seem over the top, but they’re simple — and make a lot of sense.
Grocery trips, on average, are more expensive than they were in 2019, particularly due to the rising cost of basics like eggs and milk. The holidays are over, and some of us are looking at credit card bills reminding us that we went a little beyond our means this holiday season.
While all of this sounds like a dismal start to the year, we’re seeing it as a chance to make some much-needed changes in our financial lives. Whether you’re feeling like you need a complete overhaul of your spending habits or just need to cut a few costs in your budget here and there, we’ve got a list of frugal hacks that sound crazy but are actually super simple and smart. Here are 48 extreme money-saving tips to try.
And be sure to download The Krazy Coupon Lady app for even more ways to save!
1. Buy a whole cow to save hundreds on meat.
No, seriously. Buy the whole cow. You can save lots of money (try $11.63/pound for Ribeyes) and have tons of beef (144 – 185 pounds of finished cuts) for meals far into the future.
You can choose a full cow ($2,047 – $2,760), half a cow ($1,068 – $1,440), or even a quarter of a cow ($569 – $747), which can work out to as little as $7 to $8 per pound of beef.
Although it seems pricey, talk to a friend or family to go in on cow-pooling with you. It’ll cut down the cost for all parties and prevent food waste.
2. Build a stockpile; restock when necessary.
When you see a product for sale at a rock-bottom price, don’t just buy one — buy enough to last you at least three months. Do this, and you’ll rarely have to pay full price for household essentials again.
3. Buy name-brand groceries and fresh bread at the dollar store.
Jennie-O turkey products, Vicks medicine, Maybelline, Gerber, Bounty, and Oroweat bread are just some of the quality brands you can find at your local Dollar Tree. We compared Hungry Jack Pancake Mix to Walmart prices, and a 32-ounce box at Walmart comes to $2.77, while two 16-ounce boxes at Dollar Tree work out to $2.50.
And guess what … you can totally use coupons on them to get these products for pennies, or better yet — free!
Read the coupon fine print for exclusions, and remember — one manufacturer coupon per product and two printable Internet coupons per transaction at Dollar Tree.
4. Answer feedback surveys at the bottom of food receipts.
If you’re going to eat fast food, make sure you eat it for free by taking the customer service satisfaction surveys at the bottom of receipts.
5. Use cloth wipes instead of toilet paper.
Eeek! For something that you flush down the toilet, toilet paper is not cheap. Use cloth wipes that can be reused, instead. I know what you’re thinking, and it’s really not that bad. Here’s a little secret: keep a second trash can (preferably one with a lid) in your bathroom as a place to toss used cloth wipes. If you line the can with an old pillowcase, all you have to do is throw the whole thing in the washer. No need to see the dirty laundry at all!
An average family of four goes through about 16 to 18 rolls of toilet paper per month. An 18-roll pack of Quilted Northern is around $19 at both Amazon and Walmart. Spend $19.98 on two 15-packs of reusable wipes rather than $19 or more every month on toilet paper to save over $225 every year.
Shop reusable cloth wipes on Amazon:
6. Enter contests to score free tickets and giveaways.
Call radio stations when they have giveaways. You can save hundreds on concert tickets this way. And always check the bottom of your grocery store receipts. For instance, if you participate in one of Kroger’s surveys, you’ll automatically be entered into a monthly drawing for a chance to win $5,000.
7. Use magazine perfume samples instead of buying bottled fragrances.
If anything, you can stockpile them and save your favorites for when you go out with friends or on a date.
8. Request free makeup samples like those from Sephora.
Betcha didn’t know Sephora customers could sample almost any product in store (with the exception of mascaras, pencils, lipstick, and pressed powders). In fact, you can request up to three samples per category — think fragrance, skincare, and color.
Related: Free Stuff You Can Get All Year Long
9. Make your own toothpaste.
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
- 1 – 2 teaspoons peppermint extract or essential oil
Mix together baking soda, salt, and peppermint. Then add a bit of water and stir. Gradually add more water, stirring at the same time, until the paste has reached your desired consistency. Store the paste in a lidded glass container.
10. Sign up for free samples.
Signing up for a free sample takes seconds, and you’ll score not only free products but also high-value coupons.
Use these links to sign up for freebies today:
11. Toss a foil ball in the dryer to soften clothes.
If you’re gonna be this DIY, you need to make two to three aluminum balls per load. Just crumple up three to four feet of foil for each ball.
When you’re done making your ball, it should be two to three inches in diameter.
12. Put a brick or jar in your toilet tank.
Reduce the amount of water used during each flush when you place a brick or jar filled with water in the back of your toilet.
13. Freeze foods so they don’t spoil.
Whenever I buy perishable items, I throw whatever I don’t use for my meals and freeze it in a Ziploc bag for later.
I always end up cooking it or eating it a week or so later, which saves you money and prevents your food from spoiling!
Related: Make-Ahead Freezer Meals
14. Ask for the ugly produce.
Grocery stores tend to discount, set aside, or throw away their less-attractive pieces of produce, but they’re totally still fine to eat. Find the “clearance section” in the produce department. If your store doesn’t have a markdown area, ask if you can get ugly produce for free or for a discount.
15. Re-dye faded black clothes for about $3.
Dyes like Rit dye are found everywhere and only cost $3.
Shop Rit Dye at Target:
16. Unplug your appliances to save on your electric bill.
Yes, most appliances — think hairdryers, toaster ovens, coffee pots, laptops, and PCs — draw power 24/7.
Although they typically draw a low amount of power, every household has vampire appliances that drive up your power bill. Over time, unplugging these appliances can save you up to $100 – $200 a year.
Here’s a quick look at what your phantom appliances may run you every year:
- One desktop computer and monitor, an inkjet printer, game console, and a cable modem: $20.04
- One LCD TV, two tube TVs, one audio system, three cable boxes, one DVR, and a cable modem: $90.89
Here are more ideas for how to save on electricity.
17. Buy snacks in bulk and individually package them yourself.
I personally like to refrigerate my trail mix as well! Shop snack coupons here.
18. Hang your clothes instead of using the dryer.
Not only will you save on electricity, but your clothes will also last longer, too.
Shop hanging racks on Amazon:
19. Take coupons with you on vacation.
The top drugstores — Walgreens and CVS — are nationwide. More than likely, you’ll see one of these stores where you’re vacationing or when you’re en route to your final destination, giving you the perfect opportunity to score deals that may not be available in your hometown.
Collect the coupon inserts found in the state you’re visiting as well! But pay attention because coupon inserts vary by region.
20. Save restaurant condiment packets and squeeze them into containers at home.
Because they almost always give you too many packets anyway.
21. Use discounted gift cards for everything.
Buying discounted gift cards from Raise.com is like creating your own sale. Say you can’t kick your weekly addiction to Starbucks. Head to Raise.com and search for Starbucks gift cards. You’re likely to find gift cards up to 10% off their face value. Do the same for your Kohl’s purchases (get an average of 6.5% off), Chili’s meals (up to 12% off), and more.
22. Clean with used dryer sheets.
Dryer sheets have a slight abrasive texture that’s excellent for cleaning the bugs off the front of your car, soap scum on shower doors, and dust off baseboards.
23. Fill your own applesauce pouches at home.
Buy jarred applesauce and fill your own pouches to save $0.10 per ounce. You will need to spend a little more up front for reusable pouches (or you can just wash and reuse previously purchased pouches), but the cost will even out with how much you save. Let’s look at a cost breakdown of the Great Value brand applesauce at Walmart.
- Total cost of 12 pouches (3.2 ounces each): $6.44 = $0.17 per ounce.
- Total cost of a 46-ounce jar of applesauce: $2.96 = $0.06 per ounce.
Plus, you can make a total of 14 pouches out of the 46-ounce jar, rather than the 12 that you get pre-pouched. This works out to $0.19 per pouch compared to the $0.53 per pre-pouched price.
24. Wash and reuse zip bags.
You can honestly reuse these until they get holes from wear and tear.
25. Learn how to read price tags.
Know whether you’re getting the best deal possible or if you should wait for a bigger discount by learning how to read price tags. For example:
- Costco marked down items always end in $0.97.
- Target markdown prices ending in $0.04 are at their lowest price.
- Gap prices ending in $0.97 are known as “price kills.”
- Walmart prices ending in $0.00 or $.01 are likely the lowest markdown price.
- JCPenney prices ending in $0.97 have been marked down.
- Kohl’s price tags with a NM in the upper right-hand corner indicate that the item is a new markdown and will likely go on clearance at a lower price than night or the next day. It’s best to wait to save even more!
26. Rent a spare room out on Airbnb.
Airbnb has an easy calculator tool on their host page that will tell you how much you can earn a week just by renting out your extra space.
For instance, someone living in Austin, Texas can make an extra $130 a week by renting out a room in their house. Worried about letting strangers in your home? Airbnb has your back and offers free home protection insurance worth up to $1 million with a hosting account.
27. Wrap gifts in newspapers instead of expensive wrapping paper.
Don’t feel like subscribing to a newspaper? A great work-around is the Nextdoor app. It’s a hyperlocal app that links you up with your immediate community, so if you have neighbors tossing newspapers, just ask for their old ones!
28. Clean with vinegar and baking soda instead of expensive cleaners.
Why pay for cleaning solutions when you have the cleaning power of baking soda and vinegar sitting in your pantry? Mix baking soda with water to create a paste that’s perfect for wiping the inside of your fridge, tub, sinks, and pretty much any surface that needs a little abrasive cleaning.
Vinegar diluted with a little water can clean glass surfaces and even the calcium buildup on showerheads and fixtures when soaked for several hours or overnight.
29. Subscribe to Imperfect Foods to save on costs and fight food waste.
Subscribe to Imperfect Foods. It’s free, and you’ll save up to 30% over grocery store prices. If they deliver in your area (use your ZIP to see), you can choose either certified organic or conventional produce.
30. Make dryer sheets last longer by cutting them in half.
Also, let’s not be stingy here. Use each sheet twice before tossing!
31. Earn cash back for buying products with the Dosh app.
The Dosh app links to your credit or debit card and gives you cash back for qualified purchases. Some of these partner merchants give anywhere from 2 – 10% cash back, and the app does all the work for you (no need to scan receipts!).
Once you’ve earned cash back, you can send it directly to your PayPal or bank account.
32. Score cash with the Amazon Trade-In program for your old electronics and more.
In exchange for your used electronics, video games, and more, the Amazon Trade-In program will give you gift cards. Amazon will even pay for the shipping of your trade-in and give you an immediate offer. You’ll be getting rid of clutter and earn money at the same time!
33. Instead of buying new K-Cups, refill them with coffee and brew another cup.
- Tap the used coffee grounds from K-Cups into your trash, making sure to leave the filter intact.
- Spray the remaining grounds out in your sink for a clean filter.
- Dry out the K-Cup and refill with fresh coffee.
- Cover the filled K-Cup with foil, crimping in the sides so the coffee doesn’t spill out, and use normally.
34. Clip coupons and find deals in The Krazy Coupon Lady app to save even more on sale items.
Think couponing takes too long and isn’t worth the time? You haven’t used The Krazy Coupon Lady app.
KCL finds deals for you and tells you exactly where to go and which coupons to clip or print for free.
Download the free The Krazy Coupon Lady app now to gain access to hundreds of free coupons and daily deals that will save you a ton.
35. Ignore expiration dates.
Pay attention to the real meaning behind dates printed on labels, and ignore those that don’t pose a health risk:
- “Sell by” lets the store know how long to display products for sale. The product should be purchased prior to this date. “Sell by” is typically found on perishables like meat or poultry.
- “Best if used by” is a recommendation for best quality or flavor, not safety.
- “Use by” indicates when a product will start deteriorating in quality and flavor as determined by the manufacturer. For more info on food expiration dates, we have it covered.
36. Get a Starbucks grande cup for your tall drip coffee and save up to $0.30.
More than just the cost savings, when you go this route, you also have room in your cup to add cream and sweetener without spilling all over.
37. Only drink alcohol if there’s a rebate for it.
Stop paying full price for alcohol, people. Download the Ibotta rebate app now for easy cash-back offers on all your favorite booze. Before heading to the liquor store or bar, browse through the app’s offers and buy the qualifying beverage. Then upload a photo of your receipt and get cash credited to your account in about 24 hours.
38. Use YouTube to fix things around the house instead of hiring someone.
Learn pretty much anything on YouTube, including how to fix electrical issues and other simple home repairs. Most repairs are easy and a whole lot cheaper than hiring a contractor.
39. Always buy clearance meat in the grocery store.
Ask your store’s butcher when meat gets marked down, and go shopping on those days. You can always freeze what you don’t plan on using right away.
40. Ask the butcher to remove the skin from salmon filets for a cheaper price.
It may not be the biggest price cut, but it will take away from the overall weight of the salmon filet and save you some money!
41. Water down body wash, shampoo, and soap.
When that bottle of soap starts getting low, swoosh around a bit of water in the bottle so you can use every last bit!
42. Cut sponges in half.
I like to store them in a Ziploc bag under my sink.
43. Break broccoli stalks.
The price of fresh broccoli at the grocery store is sometimes dependent on weight. To pay less, look for less stalky heads or break off any extra stalk you weren’t going to eat anyway.
44. Use every bit of food in your fridge and pantry.
Limit grocery trips to when your refrigerator and pantry shelves are completely bare. Have some produce on its way out? You can still use it! Fruit can be tossed in the blender to create smoothies, even if it’s about to go bad.
When you chop vegetables, save the ends and even the skins to make a homemade broth a few times per month. Broth freezes well and is a great way to use up every last bit of produce in your fridge (plus, you’ll never spend on a store-bought carton again!).
45. Extreme money-saving tips: cut the paper towel roll in half to use less.
This tip came from a TikTok mom fed up with her kids using so many (expensive) paper towels. Just cut the roll in half to ensure the minimum amount is used.
46. Sell one thing per week.
Reduce the clutter in your home and earn a little extra cash. Free sites like Poshmark, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace allow you to sell your unused or unwanted items free of charge. Even if you sell one $10 item per week, that’s an extra $520 at the end of the year.
47. Tear all wipes in half.
Double the lifetime of your baby wipes, makeup wipes, and disinfecting wipes by tearing them in half. True, this may not work for some diaper disasters. But for the most part, wipes are larger than they need to be and you can get away with using smaller wipe sizes.
48. Wash all of your clothes in cold water.
Looking at energy costs alone, washing laundry on a cold setting costs just $0.04 per load while washing using the hot setting costs $0.68 per load! This is a difference of $249 per year if you’re a family doing laundry daily.
Most clothes last longer when washed on the cold cycle, so you’re even saving money on your wardrobe. Wash your laundry using the cold/cold setting from now on to cut down on energy use and cost.