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You’re a coupon code queen, have the KCL app on your phone, and try to never to pay full price for anything. Food and birthday freebies? You’re there. You know when it’s cheapest to buy gas, and you probably have written down your living expenses and budget in the past few months — because let’s face it, everything is more expensive these days. That’s why it’s more important than ever to start shopping smart — and saving smart — and this guide for how to save money will help give you that jump start you need.
The most important thing to remember about saving money fast is to start small. Think about where you want to focus on first, like saving money on groceries, and begin there. While this list is 50 tips deep, don’t feel like you need to start all of them right away. Maybe you try one a day or one a month. The most important thing is you’re moving in the right direction — and any dollar saved is a dollar back in your pocket. Read on for our best tips for saving money.
Clever Ways to Save Money Like a Total Pro
1. Cancel Monthly Subscriptions and Anything on Auto-Pay
Let’s be honest: We all have at least one subscription we don’t care about. In fact, one survey says that thousands of Americans are blowing about $348 each year on subscriptions they don’t use.
Do an audit of all of your current subscriptions, in addition to anything you have set to auto-pay. Are you really getting your money’s worth, or could you cancel them and save your hard-earned cash?
2. Remove Any Stored Credit Card Information Online
Online shopping is made even easier when we ask the site to remember our credit card details. One survey found that about 64% of cardholders in the U.S. save their information online. However, eliminating this convenience will make it more inconvenient to spend money on impulse purchases — something that we might be spending more than $300 a month on, and that number is increasing.
3. Switch to Generic Medications to Save Money
Disclaimer: Talk to your doctor first. But 99% of the time, generic medications get the job done the same as name-brand ones, since they have the same active ingredients. They can cost 20 – 70% less (and some estimates say it’s even more), which could mean major savings for you. This will especially be the case if you don’t have health insurance and need to pay out of pocket.
4. Shop at the Right Time
You know how Halloween candy is also super cheap the day after the holiday? That’s because stores are trying to get rid of it. It’s the same with summer sales and end-of-the-year sales, like Black Friday. Last year, the average savings during Black Friday sales was about 24%, and it was especially money-saving for people shopping for furniture, bedding, tools, and home improvement products.
5. How to Save Money? Pay Off Debt With a Solid Plan
The average credit card interest rate in the second quarter of 2022 was 15.13%. Ouch. Instead of mindlessly throwing your money at your debt, try being more strategic.
- Knock out the credit card or loan with the smallest balance first. These smaller wins can help you build momentum and also improve your credit score.
- Focus on the debt with the highest interest rate. This is what’s costing you the most money, so it has the most savings potential.
- Consolidate your debt. This means you merge all of it into one payment. Be sure that when you do this, though, the interest rate ends up being lower.
- Transfer your debt to a credit card with an introductory rate of 0%. Keep in mind that there’s a time limit for this — usually around a year. So you want to be able to pay the debt off by then.
6. Hunt for Freebies
If you look closely, free stuff is all around you. Start with Facebook Marketplace. In the left-hand menu, look for “Free Stuff.” Nextdoor has something similar, with “For Sale & Free.” People are always trying to get rid of stuff.
What about some of your favorite restaurants? If they have an app, they often reward you with a free treat just for downloading it. And let’s not forget the library, which is packed with free entertainment, including audiobooks, movies, and music.
7. Open or Transfer Your Bank Account
Instead of saving money, how about making money? Banks are businesses too, and they reward people for choosing them. For instance, if you open a checking account with Chase and set up a direct deposit, they’ll give you $200. (Most banks offer something like this!).
Just be sure you read the fine print on any monthly/yearly fees, along with the minimum balance you must maintain so you don’t end up surprised.
8. Save Money By Using Your Own Bags
This one is a win-win: You do Mother Nature a favor and you can save some money. Some stores, like Whole Foods, will give you money back if you bring your own reusable bags. Currently, for each bag you bring, they’ll credit you $0.10. In your early stage of searching for tips for saving money, this one could be an easy win to start with.
9. Buy Generic Groceries
Similar to drugs, generic grocery items can often keep up in terms of quality, but they might be 20 – 25% cheaper. Don’t believe the bad reputation generic items have gotten. Normally, the reason they’re cheaper is that much less money is spent on research and development, marketing, and advertising. So they can charge shoppers less.
10. Shop With a Rebate App
A rebate is money you’re given after having purchased something, and there are cash-back apps that help you do this specifically — like Ibotta or RetailMeNot. If you look at their deals, you’ll find offers for up to 60% cash back. They have coupons, too!
11. Buy in Bulk
Note: This isn’t always cheaper, but it often is. Here’s an example. This pack of six rolls of Charmin toilet paper is $14.16. The pack of 18 rolls is $28.34.
The first option is cheaper, but check out the cost per 100 sheets. It’s $6.62, versus $0.40 for 18 rolls. You might spend more money up front, but that money goes way further.
12. Take Advantage of Perks and Benefits at Work
There are ways to save and make money at work besides asking for a raise. Does your employer match 401(k) contributions? Start putting money into that account! What about your health savings account (HSA)? Some employers also contribute to that, and you can use it toward any health-related expenses.
This is free money. Be sure you’re leveraging it.
13. Refinance Your Mortgage as Another Tip to Saving Money
This won’t be the right choice for everyone, so use a calculator to see if it’s a good option for you. If it’s a good fit, refinancing could save you about $270 a month.
14. Join a Loyalty Program
Stores and brands love loyalty programs because they incentivize shoppers to keep coming back for more. For example, Ulta’s loyalty program (which is free to join) gives you points for every dollar you spend, which you can then use toward their products and services.
15. Buy Discounted Gift Cards
The savings are small per card but can really add up. For example, on Raise.com, you can buy a Walmart gift card that has a value of $17.37, but you pay $17.11. Imagine what the savings can look like at the end of each month.
16. Bring Your Own Reusable Coffee Cup to the Cafe
Some coffee shops reward customers for bringing their own coffee cups. For instance, if you’re a Starbucks Rewards member, they’ll give you 25 stars and a $0.10 discount.
17. Check Your Home Insulation
If you feel a draft coming through any doors and windows, you’re losing money. You could save about 15% on your heating and cooling costs, although in some climates, the savings might be greater. Be sure all of these gaps are sealed to maintain the temperature inside your home.
18. Let Things Sit in Your Cart for a Few Days
Want to cut down on impulse purchases? When you’re shopping online, let things sit in your cart for a few days before you buy them. There’s a good chance you’ll return to them and decide you really don’t care about them all that much.
19. Scan Your Receipts
Don’t toss your receipts yet! Using an app like Fetch Rewards, you can scan your receipts, earn points, and redeem them for gift cards and other rewards.
20. Get a New Credit Card
Like we said earlier, banks are businesses, and they’ll literally pay you for opening new credit cards with them. Many offer bonuses simply for getting the card. In addition, financial institutions like Wells Fargo will give you $200 if you spend $1,000 in the first three months, and you get 2% cash rewards on your purchases.
21. Do Automatic Transfers to Your Savings Account
Do you forget to stash money in your savings account? Set up automatic monthly transfers so the process is hands-off.
22. Rent Clothes You Don’t Really Need
If you have a wedding coming up but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a dress you’ll hardly ever wear again, rent it! Try Rent the Runway. A dress that might cost $545 to buy can be yours for four days for $65 to $85.
23. Switch to a Menstrual Cup
Feminine products aren’t cheap, and a box of tampons alone can cost around $10 – $12. And that can add up over time. A Diva Cup, on the other hand, might cost you $40 and can last for several years.
24. Unfollow Influencers Who Influence You to Spend
We know, those Stanley Tumblers are so cute. But they’re also pricey — and you might’ve never heard of them if it wasn’t for Instagram influencers. Check your follow list and the content your favorite Instagrammers are posting. Is it all shopping links? In the past six months, how many items have you bought based on their recommendations that have ended up being pointless purchases? If the answer is more than two items, now would be a good time to click the unfollow button on them or remove your credit card info from Nordstrom or another retailer that Instagammers love to promote. It’s time to save your hard-earned cash and not spend it!
25. Let Your Clothes Air Dry
Little savings add up big time, especially if you’ve got a lot of clothes to dry. Using your dryer for an hour can cost between $0.24 and $0.72. Hang your clothes and let them air dry.
26. Cut Your Sponges in Half
What happens when your sponge starts to smell? You toss it. Well, guess what? They’re usually bigger than you need anyway. Cut them in half and make them last twice as long. (It’s better for the environment, too.)
27. Ditch Disposable Paper Products
We treat paper towels and tissues as incredibly disposable because, well, they are. However, we spend over $100 a year on paper products alone. Switch to rags, hankies, and cloth napkins and save yourself some cash.
28. Fill Up Your Tank at the Beginning of the Week
Another thing to remember when looking for tips for saving money? Gas prices tend to be lowest at the beginning of the week. By Friday and Saturday, they’re at their most expensive.
29. Use Electricity When It’s Cheapest
Electricity is often cheaper during off-peak hours because not as many people are using it. This includes the late night and early morning. Use any energy-sucking appliances during the cheaper times of the day.
30. Don’t Use a Shopping Cart
We know this won’t always be possible, but as much as you can, skip the cart when you’re at the store. You’ll be less likely to buy things you don’t really need since you’ll have to carry them.
31. Pay in Cash and Negotiate
When it comes to bigger purchases, if possible (and it makes the most sense), offer to pay in cash fully and ask if they’ll give you a deal. Very often, merchants like this because they can skip the hassle of dealing with credit card processing, and they’re willing to negotiate a little. (Plus, it eliminates any processing fees on your end, too!)
32. Budget Your Money With Envelopes
Let’s say you budget $50 for the month for eating out. Keep that exact amount of cash in an envelope and use that. When the money is gone, so are your eating-out opportunities. This helps cut down on impulsive spending.
33. Reverse Engineer Your Savings Goals
Maybe you know that by the end of the year, you want to have an extra $5,000. That means saving about $416 each month. Then you work from there. Could you skip ordering takeout and save an extra $100 a month? What about canceling that streaming service you never use? There’s another $20. Start at the end and work your way back. It’s easier to come up with a plan when you already know the end goal.
34. Pay With a Credit Card When You Get Rewards
Check with your bank. Many institutions offer rewards for certain types of purchases. For example, they might offer rewards if you use the card for groceries. Also, be mindful of what cards you use to pay for travel. These rewards can stack up fast.
35. Get Paid to Drive
There are apps (like OnMyWay) that run on your smartphone while you drive, and you can earn cash, points, or rewards for every mile.
36. Buy Produce That’s In Season
It’s usually cheaper than fruits and veggies out of season. Not sure what this includes? Google it and be sure to specify your area.
37. Don’t Toss Your Food
Some research says that we throw away about $1,500 worth of food every year. Ideally, you only buy what you’ll eat that week/month. However, if you can’t finish it, freeze it, donate it, or compost it! Don’t throw away your money. Find out how food expirations work to get started.
38. How to Save Money? Always Shop With a List
This is kind of like the envelope system. If you create a list and stick to it, you’ll be less likely to spend money on things you don’t really need.
39. Eat at Home
You knew this one was coming, but listen up. The average American spends almost $300 a month on eating out. Imagine how much money a few additional home-cooked meals will save you.
40. Stick to Happy Hour
There’s a reason we all love Happy Hours: The prices are way cheaper.
41. Set Up Automatic Payments
If you can swing it, set your bills up for auto-pay so you can avoid late fees, which can be around $30 each time. Ouch.
42. Monitor Price Drops
There are tools like CamelCamelCamel that can tell you how the prices online are fluctuating. If you see a price dropping, keep an eye on the product and get ready to buy.
43. Flush Your Toilet Less Frequently
We know this one might not work for everyone, but every cent counts. Newer toilets are typically more efficient. However, older ones that use more water can cost around 2.8 cents per flush. This all comes down to personal preference, but if you’re looking for ways to cut costs, this is an option.
44. Save Money by Buying Used
Buying used clothes doesn’t mean you’re purchasing something smelly with holes in it. Sometimes, people wear something once and end up selling it. Visit sites like Swap, Poshmark, and ThredUp. You can even buy stuff that still has the tags on, but it’ll still be cheaper.
45. Switch to a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat better controls the temperatures in your house, making it cozier when you’re there and more cost-efficient when you’re not. This could save you about $50 a year.
46. Use a Low-Flow Showerhead
Swap out your current showerhead for a more eco-friendly one, which can translate to immediate savings. How much, exactly? Anywhere from $25 to $260 a year. Talk about good tips for saving money.
47. Consider Pay-Per-Mile Car Insurance
This might be especially beneficial if you work from home and no longer drive that much. You can often get the same or similar coverage, too. For example, Allstate has a day rate and per-mile rate, and your daily insurance might be just a couple of bucks.
48. How to Save Money? Keep a Spreadsheet of Your Spending
Swiping your debit card is easy. You never really “see” the money leave your account. Create a spreadsheet with two columns. One should have the balance of your last paycheck. The other should have your expenses. Every time you spend, your balance will go down. This will tell you really quickly what your monthly cash flow is truly like.
49. Exchange Dryer Sheets for Wool Dryer Balls
The cost is roughly the same, except dryer balls will last you much longer (as many as 1,000 loads). Plus, they’re nontoxic and thus, better for you and the environment. And they help to speed up drying time by up to 25%, which means you save energy and even more money. Win-win!
50. How to Save Money 101: Turn on Your Ceiling Fan
Per hour, running a ceiling fan is much cheaper than running the AC. When you combine the two, you can save 4 – 8% on cooling costs. Remember to adjust your ceiling fan direction with the seasons. Opt for counterclockwise in the summer to push cool air down and clockwise in the winter to push warm air down.
We know that some of these might not seem earth-shattering, but saving money often comes down to the details. Try tackling a few of these money-saving tips at a time, and your bank account will thank you. For more tips for saving money, keep reading right here — KCL is full of them!