101 Unique Ways To Save Money
Whether you need to put your finances in order or looking to get rich, the best place to start is by saving money. While that may sound like an uphill battle, it’s actually fairly easy.
Especially when you implement any of these 101 unique ways to save money.
Banking, Billing, & Budgeting
1. Switch Banks
If your current bank is charging monthly fees for a checking or savings account, then you should do some research and find a bank that doesn’t. Additionally, you want to use a bank that offers favorable interest rates, a sign-up for opening a new account/direct deposit, no overdraft fees, and has low or zero ATM fees.
2. Be Cautious of ATMs
Speaking of ATMs, use them as little as possible since you’ll most likely face withdraw fees – especially from non-affiliated banks. If you know you’ll need to have some cash on hand, plan ahead and withdraw from bank-affiliated ATMs or ATMs with reasonable fees.
3. Pay Bills Immediately
Don’t take the risk of forgetting about a bill or making a late payment. Once a bill arrives, pay it immediately to avoid late fees.
4. Review Bank Statements Frequently
Set aside the time and review your bank statements regularly – every three months is a great time period. Knowing how much you spend each month could help you budget your finances.
5. Break-Up Your Paycheck
Have a percentage of your paycheck taken out and placed into a savings account – if you’re not self-employed you can ask the HR department to set this up. By automatically depositing money into a savings account you’ll be less tempted to spend your hard-earned money on something that you don’t need.
6. Negotiate Rates
Keep an eye out for the best deals from utility companies – such as electric, phone, cable/satellite, gas. Often you can negotiate a better price since these utility companies will want to retain you as a customer – they’ll probably throw in some other incentives to sweeten the pot.
7. Ask For Fees to Be Waived
Sometimes you get slapped with a fee from your bank – like that $35 fee the bank charges you if you don’t have the funds in your account. Customers have had success with banks waiving those fees if you ask for the penalty to be reversed. If you still have more questions regarding penalty fees, seek some advice from CHOICE.
8. Cancel Services You Don’t Need
Do you need to have every premium channel in your cable/satellite package? Do you really need to have that expensive cell plan because everything’s unlimited? Take a close look at bills and see which services aren’t essential.
9. Use Online Billing
Not only us online billing convenient, it ensures you pay your bills on time and saves you from having to purchase stamps.
10. Cash Only
If you have a cash-only mentality, you’ll be less likely to pull out your credit card – which will just be an unnecessary debt for you to pay down.
11. Make Use of Open Source & Cloud Computing
If you’re a small business owner, you need to take advantage of all of the free software available. For example, Google can replace Microsoft Office. Due.com provides free invoicing and time tracking software.
12. Have Fewer Meetings
When you cut back on the meetings at work you can focus on completing tasks, as opposed to paying employees overtime to finish a project by the deadline.
13. Look For Tax Deductions
Business owners are aware they are entitled to business-related tax deductions. However, did you know that can deduct everything from business dinners to business books? Nolo has a list of tax deductions for your small business that you should definitely look over.
15. Purchase Used Items or Lease
Why purchase brand new furniture or equipment when you can lease or find used items? Scour sites like Craigslist, newspaper classifieds, or auctions to find perfectly acceptable equipment or furniture. You can even rent furniture or equipment from companies like Aaron’s.
Go old school and start bartering with other business owners. For example, if you’re a web developer, create a website for cleaning service in exchange for one month’s work of cleaning.
17. Find Sponsors
Throwing an event is a great way to establish your business as an industry leader and do a little networking. Events, however, can get expensive. Find a sponsor for your event so both parties don’t have to front the entire bill. You’ll even get some free press out of it.
While there may be teams when you need the assistance of a professional, there are plenty of readily available resources that can teach you some of the important legal, financial, and marketing needs for your business. If you can do some of this one your own, you’ll spend less on pricey lawyers or accountants.
19. Share Office Space
If you have an office with some free space, why not rent that extra space out? Besides making a little extra dough, you’ll save money since you aren’t spending it on heating, cooling, or powering that unused space.
You could even take this idea and it apply it to your home by renting out a room or unused space on sites like Airbnb.
20. Join an Association
When you join a trade or business association (here’s a list to glance over) you’ll have membership discounts on everything from travel, insurance, car rental, and long-distance phone service.
21. Keep Your Home Cleaned and Organized
What do you think happens when you can’t find something in your home? You’ll most likely go out and purchase that item – even if it remains under a pile of clothes in your closet. By keeping your home cleaned and organized you’ll be able to easily locate things when needed, which will prevent you from buying it again.
22. Be Smart With Electronic Usage
According to the Department of Energy, “the average charger is consuming .26 watts of energy when not in use, and 2.24 watts even when a fully charged device is connected to it.” That may not sound like a lot of usage, but add that phone charger to all of the other devices and appliances in your home and you can easily expect to see a pricey electric.
To ease your electric usage, you should unplug unnecessary devices/appliances, use power strips, curb idle time on computers/gaming consoles, and replace older appliances with Energy Star devices.
23. Go Easy on the Detergent
Modern dishwashers and washing machines use a lot less soap than older models, but detergent companies are still suggesting you add more soap than needed. Save a little extra cash by using about ⅓ less soap when washing dishes or laundry.
Bonus Tip: When doing your laundry, save electricity by putting the temperature setting at cold, as opposed to hot.
24. Cut Back on Washing Your Hair
You don’t have to wash your hair everyday. Not only does this save money on soap and reduce the amount of time that you’re in the shower, it actually makes your hair healthier.
25. Take a Navy Shower
The Navy created this type of shower to help conserve water on ships, but you can give it a try at home to save on water and electric bills. All you do is warm the shower up a bit, get wet, turn off the shower, shampoo/wash yourself, and turn the shower back to rinse off.
26. Learn to Sew
Instead of buying a new article of clothing because a button popped off or a tear appeared, learn how to sew so you can make minor repairs to your clothes. You can also this skill to make your own curtains, pillowcases, and even bedspreads.
27. Use More Vinegar
White vinegar is an effective and economical multipurpose cleaner. In fact, vinegar can be so resourceful that Reader’s Digest shared “95+ Household Uses for Vinegar.”
28. Make Your Home Smart
This may cost you an initial payment upfront, but you’ll save money in the future by making your home smart. This means installing a programmable thermostat, like Nest, so you can regulate the temperature when you’re not home. You could also install automatic timers for lights and solar panels to save energy at home.
29. Fix Things Yourself
While there may be times when you need to call in a pro – you don’t want to cause bodily harm to yourself – there are many projects you can do around the house yourself – whether it’s minor plumbing repairs, patching a hole in a wall or even fixing your computer.
30. Reuse Common Household Goods
You may not want to use them forever, but you can reuse disposable items like tin foil, ziplock bags, and take out containers for food storage. If you need some inspiration to repurpose and reuse broken household goods, you should visit this article.
31. Paint Your Roof
If you paint your roof white, you can “reduce summer energy use by 10–40%” since it will reflect approximately 90% of sunlight.
32. Use the Fridge and Freezer for Non-Food Items
While your fridge and freezer are both obvious places to store and extend the life of food, you can also use the fridge or freezer to store clothing (this prevents them from getting destroyed by mites), lipstick, pantyhose, candles, and batteries.
33. Air Seal Your Home
If you air seal your home, you reduce the amount of air that leaks in and out – which will lower your heating and cooling bills. The Department of Energy is a great place to discover how to properly seal your home.
34. Do a Maintenance Check on Your Appliances
Want your appliances to run more effectively? Check to make sure there isn’t any dust clogging the vents on heating/cooling units, refrigerators, and dryers. If there, vacuum the dust.
35. Bundle Packages/Cut the Cord
Some companies, like Comcast or Verizon, may have deals if you bundle your cable, internet, and phone service with them. If you don’t want to bundle your service, consider cutting the cable altogether. As long as you have an internet connection, you can still view your favorite shows and movies on streaming services like Netflix or Hulu.
36. Public Transportation
Whether it’s the subway, train, bus, cable car or ferry, you can beat expenses like gas, tolls, and/or maybe even insurance by making your daily commute through public transportation.
What if you live too far away from public transportation? You could always carpool with coworkers or neighbors. Not only does this also save you gas money, you may even be able to live in a one-car household. According to the American Public Transportation Association, “a two-person household can save, on the average, more than $10,174 a year by downsizing to one car.”
38. Maintain Your Vehicle
You can easily extend the life of your vehicle by performing routine maintenance, such as an oil change, checking fluids, changing windshield wipers, and rotating tires. Most of the time you can even do these tasks yourself.
39. Detail Your Own Vehicle
You want your vehicle to stay clean, right? Instead of paying for someone else to clean your vehicle, you could spend the time to detail your vehicle yourself.
40. Refinance Your Automobile Payments
If you’re currently making payments on your automobile, it may be worth your time to do a little research to refinance your loan. It’s possible that you could find a loan that is a percentage lower. Bankrate has some additional tips on when to refinance your vehicle.
41. Check Out Car Auctions
42. Purchase Reliable, Fuel Efficient Vehicles
If you live in the city, do you really need a Hummer? Probably not. When car shopping do your homework and find vehicles known for having long-life spans and aren’t too harsh on gas.
43. Buy Used Vehicles
You can find plenty of used vehicles on Craigslist in your neck of the woods. However, another great place to search for used vehicles is at car rental companies like Enterprise.
44. Inflate Your Tires
If you drive regularly, you need to make sure that your tires are inflated completely. Why? Because deflated tires can decrease both the life of your tires and your vehicle’s fuel economy. Additionally, it makes handling your vehicle more challenging, which can lead to accidents.
45. Find a Different Way to Work
If you go past the doughnut factory every morning on the way to work, and make a habit to stop in, you may want to find an alternative route to avoid temptation – and another unnecessary expense.
You could also search different routes to see which one is the shortest mile wise so you can save gas.
46. Walk, Jog or Ride a Bike
Why simply rely on public transportation or your own automobile when can walk, jog or ride your bike from point A to point B? Not only does it save you money, it’s better for the environment and your health.
47. Audit Your Driving
Have you recently moved? Did you just switch jobs? Are you carpooling, which means you’re driving less? All of these factors could result in lower auto insurance.
48. Switch to Term Life Insurance
Instead of paying for an expensive whole life policy, switch over to the more affordable term insurance. With your savings you can pay off debt, like credit cards or student loans. The Simple Dollar has a handy tool to help you find the most affordable life insurance in your area.
49. Pay Plans Less Often
Instead of making monthly or quarterly insurance payments, pay your policy either every six months or annually. Insurance companies typically provide discounts if you make less payments towards your policy.
50. Bundle Policies
Instead of using multiple insurance companies for auto, home, or life policies, consider using just once insurer. Larger insurance companies often offer discounts if you bundle policies together.
51. Deal Directly With Insurance Companies
You can easily shop around for the best insurance plans yourself without the aid of an agent. When you deal directly with an insurance company you’re cutting out the middle, in this case an agent, which means you won’t have to pay their commission.
52. Raise Your Deductible
According to Investopedia, if you were to raise your deductible from $250 to $1,000 you could see annual savings of 15% to 20%.
53. Shop on Wednesdays
According to Yahoo! Finance, “Financially, the best day of the week to go shopping is likely Wednesday – that’s the day grocery stores start their weekly discount and coupon programs. It’s also a day most stores will honor coupons from the previous week, giving shoppers a ‘discount double play’.”
54. Skip The Coupons
Sometimes those deals that you catch via coupons lead to overspending and impulse buying . For example, think about all of the expiring deals that fly by on Livingsocial or Groupon. Even though that $15 off every $30 you spend at a local restaurant sounds enticing, do you really need to spend that money?
55. Comparison Shop
With the internet at your fingertips, there’s no excuse for you to browse looking for the best deals available.
56. Shop at Discount Sites or Stores
You’d be surprised at the deals you can find at discount stores like TJ Maxx. Whether it’s clothing, home furnishings, or groceries like olive oils, you can find brand-name items at a discounted price.
57. Ask For a Discount – Even if You Don’t Have a Coupon
You’d be surprised at how many times a store has a coupon or membership card lying next to the register. If you just ask, the individual behind the counter may have no problem giving you a little coupon or discount action.
58. Speed Shop
After making your grocery list in advance, and sticking to it, give yourself a set amount of time to spend in the grocery store. The less time that you spend in the grocery store will help restrain from making an impulse purchases.
59. Host a Swapping Event
Instead of purchasing new clothes, jewelry, books, movies, etc., you could host a swapping event with friends, family or neighbors. While these items are used, they aren’t new to the people who are swapping or bartering with each other.
60. Ask For Last Year’s Inventory
Some stores may items left over from last season – which they’re probably desperate to get rid of. If so, you may be able to snag some new clothes at a great price.
61. Shop After the Holidays
There are a lot of amazing deals that take place after the holidays. Instead of getting sucked in, practice a little patience and wait to purchase all of your holiday decorations after the celebration when they’ll be on sale.
62. Remove Credit Card Numbers
When you delete your credit card numbers from online shopping sites you’re resisting the urge to buy something you don’t really need on the fly.
63. Buy in Bulk
This only works for non-perishable items, like laundry detergent. You’ll discover that this cuts down price per usage, as well as trips to the store.
64. Pair Clothing Wisely
That funky lime green, zebra print shirt may look awesome, but how well will it actually pair with the other articles of clothing that you own? When clothes shopping, try to purchase items that can easily be mixed and matched.
65. Bring Your Own Bag
Certain store are encouraging customers to use their own shopping bags by offering a discount. Target, for example, provide a 5-cent discount for each reusable bag a customer uses.
66. Plan Stay at Home Nights
Instead of going out on a Friday night, why not plan a family game night or invite your friends over to watch the latest Marvel flick?
67. Have a Potluck Dinner
Speaking of inviting people over, you could host a potluck dinner so everyone invited brings a food item and the entire meal doesn’t fall on just one person or family.
68 .Combine Parties/Events
If your child and your niece/nephew/friend’s kid have a birthday around the same time, why not throw a conjoined party? That way you can split the costs
69. Look For Free Events Around Town
Glance through your local newspaper or city website and see what’s happening in the coming days or weeks. You may be able to attend everything from concerts to movies under the stars to museum tours for free.
70. Share Streaming Services
Ask friends, family member, coworkers or neighbors if they are willing to share streaming services. For example, your neighbor could share their Netflix account with you in exchange for access to your HBO NOW account.
71. Make Homemade Greeting Cards From Old Pictures
Spend a rainy afternoon, for example, and scan some old pictures to use for homemade greeting cards. Not only does this kill some time, you’ll preserve priceless pictures, have them readily available if you ever need duplicates, and create one-of-a-kind cards.
72. Use the Library
With a library membership, you can checkout everything from books to movies for free. If you have children, you may want to see what upcoming events your local library is hosting.
73. Purchase Games/Movies With Replay Value
What’s the point in playing a video game or watching a movie just once? You’re better renting first and seeing which games/movies have the most replay value for you.
74. Go to the Movies During the Day
If you want to catch the latest blockbuster in the theater, you should catch a matinée when prices are cheaper.
75. Get Outside
Whether it’s going for a hike, relaxing on the beach or camping for the weekend, the great outdoors is one of the most cost-effective ways to keep you entertained.
76. Ask (and Offer) to Watch Each Other’s Kids
Instead of paying for a babysitter, offer to watch your neighbor’s kids when they go out. In return, your neighbors can watch your children when have something planned.
Volunteering isn’t just a way to give back to the community, it’s also a great way to socialize and keep yourself busy without spending money.
Food and Drink
78. Spice Up Leftovers
Remember how awesome Thanksgiving leftovers are? You can take a turkey and make turkey sandwiches or turkey salad and enjoy that one meal for multiple days. Try and do the same with you leftovers by getting creative and spicing them up.
Bonus tip: This may sound cheap, but don’t be ashamed to accept leftovers from friend, family, or neighbors if offered.
79. Eat More Raw Veggies
Not only are raw veggies cheaper than products like meats, they also don’t require you to turn on the stove. Even if you can’t do this every day, try to plan to do this at least once or twice a week.
80. Plant a Garden
Why keep making trips to grocery stores or farm markets for herbs, fruits or veggies when you can grow these items yourself?
81. Buy Local
Seasonable fruits and veggies from local farm markets are much cheaper than the produce that you’ll find at the grocery store. You could even freeze or jar the produce so you’ll have it during the winter when it’s not available.
82. Make More Soup
The cost per-portion for homemade soup is very low. Plus, you can always store the extra amount in the freezer.
83. Consider Meal Delivery
When done correctly, meal delivery services from Plated and Blue Apron can actually save you money by avoiding take out – and their meals are also well-balanced. These meal delivery services also provide discounts for first-time and frequent users.
84. Eat On Someone Else’s Dime
This might sound a bit cheap, or deceptive, but it’s a solid way to save money. For example, if you’re a single female, you could accept more dinner dates. If you’re a bachelor, you could stop by and visit family members. In either scenario, you’ll not only get a free meal, you’ll get to spend time with good company for an evening.
85. Skip the Weekly Trips to the Grocery Store
No. You don’t need visit the grocery store once or twice a week. When you skip these extra visits you’ll be forced to make meals out of the food you currently have in the house.
86. Save Condiments
If you do get takeout, and receive all of those individual condiment packages, you may rarely have to spend money on ketchup, mustard, mayo, hot sauce, duck sauce, or soy sauce.
87. Ignore the Vending Machine
Instead of visiting the vending machine, you should purchase your favorite snacks from the grocery store at a fraction of the cost.
88. Take Advantage of Happy Hour Specials
Pretty much every bar that serves food has happy hour specials. It’s a smart way to eat and drink on the cheap.
89. Make Your Own Beer and Wine
You can make your own beer or wine by purchasing equipment on sites like Northern Brewer.
90. Collect Loose Change
A penny, nickel, or dime doesn’t sound like much, but that’s free money! If you keep collecting loose change you’d be surprised at how much that will add up. You can then use that money to put towards a bill, debt, or savings account.
91. Use Professionals in Training
Remember, you get what you pay for. However, if you want to save money on things like a haircut or having a cavity filled, consider students who are training for these professions. By using local dental or cosmetology schools – or any service, for that matter – you’ll get a discounted price.
92. Go to Bed Earlier
This might not work for everyone – we all have different sleep and work patterns – but by going to bed earlier you reducing the amount of electricity you’re using since you don’t need to keep your lights on as long.
93. Couch Surf
Couch surfing definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you don’t mind crashing on someone else’s couch, floor or wherever, it’s an incredible cheap way to travel. Besides, you’ll also get a tour guide out of your adventure.
94. Travel Light
Avoid those excessive baggage fees by packing lighter and bringing only carry-on bags.
95. Graduate Ahead of Time
If you’re in college, or even a parent with a child in college, you may want to look into a three-year program. By graduating a year earlier students won’t have to pay tuition, university fees, and boarding for a fourth year – which means less money they’ll have to pay back.
96. Find Out What Benefits Your Company Provides
Take a moment and talk to HR about the benefits your company offers. You may discover your company provides childcare, tickets to events/movies, tuition reimbursement, gym reimbursement, pet insurance, and more.
97. Cancel or Use Club Memberships/Subscriptions
If you’re not going to go to the gym or read that magazine, then stop paying for the membership or subscription. If you have a membership/subscription, then make a plan to put them to use.
98. Swap Talents and Skills
Let’s say your neighbor is great at cutting hair and you’re decent at sewing. You could exchange a hair cut for sewing repairs.
99. Join a Memorial Society
This may sound extremely grime, but if you joined a local affiliate of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, or a similar group, you’ll ensure that a hefty part of the estate won’t be going towards the funeral.
100. Stop Collecting, Start Selling
Why keep spending money on Star Wars merchandise or the latest trend (remember Beanie Babies)? That’s not to say that you can’t have a collectible every time and time, but you don’t need to become a hoarder.
Go through your house and see what items aren’t of any value to you any longer and start selling at yard sales, Craigslist or eBay. Here’s a nifty Guide to Selling Unwanted Items to help you get started.
101. Stay Healthy
By eating healthy, exercising, washing your hands, and not doing things like smoking, you’ll cut down the chances of you getting sick – which means you won’t have to use sick days or spend time in the hospital.