There are many small, creative ways to save money each week–and you don’t have to be reduced to dividing your 2-ply toilet paper in half or turning into the kind of extreme couponer that makes cashiers cringe when they see you coming to make it happen.
Just think: $20 per week savings could result in $1,040 by the end of the year.
Many times, when you’re trying to save money, you look at the big things: the huge purchases you can skip making; the regular payments, like your cable bill, that you can cut; and other strategies that will save you big bucks overall.
Unfortunately, whether you’re trying to get out of debt, avoid getting into debt in the first place, or save up for something big, there are only so many big things that you can cut. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should give up!
Try some of these creative ways to save money on a tight budget.
Buy your toilet paper and paper towels from Amazon. The price almost always beats the store prices, even with coupons. See if the brand you’re buying offers Subscribe & Save, this saves you an additional 5%.
If you subscribe to 5 items in the same month, you’ll get 15% savings on each item! You can cancel your subscription at any time.
2. Turn Off the TV
And your smartphone. And your laptop. In fact, step away as soon as you finish reading this blog. No, it’s not about the power drain! Instead, it’s about the ways you can use that time to save your money–or make–money instead.
Fill out surveys for gift cards, try some DIY tasks, like making your laundry detergent or bread, and learn how having back the time you once spent mindlessly scrolling can transform into money-saving opportunities.
3. Have More Parties
Nights out can get expensive fast–for everyone involved! Instead, try having more parties at home.
Opt for a potluck: you provide a dish, friends provide a dish, everyone brings their drinks, and you enjoy each other’s company instead of spending your evening seeing who can run through their budget the fastest.
4. Include Treats in Your Budget
One of the best tricks to save money is to treat yourself. Yes, you’re trying to save your money, not spend it. However, if you leave no room in your budget for treats, you’ll quickly become frustrated and be tempted to cheat.
When you do have room to indulge, you’re less likely to make irresponsible decisions the rest of the time.
5. Do Some Spring Cleaning
You dread spring cleaning with a passion no matter what the time of year, but did you know that it can help you save your money? Your kitchen cabinets, your closet, and other areas of your home are filled with items that you need on a regular basis, but that you can never find when you need them.
How many times have you gone out and bought another spatula or grabbed another outfit because you couldn’t make your existing possessions work?
Instead, take the time to look at what you’ve got, then organize it accordingly. You’ll be surprised by what you won’t need to buy when it’s already in your home.
6. Become an Expert in Something New
When your dishwasher breaks down, it’s time to become an appliance repairman (assuming that it’s no longer under warranty). Are you having trouble with your computer?
Try some online troubleshooting before you take it into an expensive repair shop. If you have pets, learn how to handle basic grooming tasks and find affordable vet care.
You can even learn how to cut your own hair–or at least how to cut your spouse’s or sons’. The more you’re able to do yourself, the more money you can save on hiring other people to do it for you.
Even better, think of the feeling of accomplishment when you’re the one to pry a sock out of the washer pump or figure out why the ice maker in the fridge is no longer working.
With a wide range of tutorials and videos available online, there are plenty of opportunities to learn anything you need to know how to do.
7. Shift Your Thermostat
A single degree on your thermostat can save you as much as 3% on your electric bill by the end of the month–a savings of 1% per 8-hour period every day that the shift is made. When you’re looking at expensive electric bills, especially in the middle of summer or winter, that amount can add up fast!
If you’re struggling to adjust your thermostat, consider investing in a smart thermostat that will optimize the temperature when you’re at home, but allow it to change overnight or when you’re at work. You’ll still experience plenty of savings, but you won’t be home to notice the shift in temperature.
8. Reduce Vampire Drains
No, we’re not talking about creatures of the night that will come in and suck your blood. Instead, vampire energy drains come from devices that use energy merely because they’re plugged in, even when they aren’t doing anything.
By unplugging devices that aren’t in use, from your coffee maker to your TV, you can significantly cut energy use throughout your home. Take the time to turn them off every evening before you to go bed or, even better, switch them off as soon as you use them.
9. The Best Way To Save Is To Pay Yourself First
Make consistent contributions to your savings account before you pay your bills or anything else. If your employer doesn’t allow a direct deposit to your savings account, try using an app to automatically transfer cash to your account.
10. Save Money On Food
Wondering how to save money on food? Meal planning will keep you from hitting the drive-thru window again. A fast-food meal for two can easily cost $20 or more, but that same $20 spent at the grocery store could feed you multiple times.
Print out this free meal planner and see what a difference it makes to plan. Use a grocery list at the store to avoid impulse buying.
11. Never Pay Full Price
Use coupons and rebate apps to keep you from paying full price anytime you shop. Ibotta gives rebates for grocery and household items. Rakuten gives you cash back for most online purchases and some in-store purchases as well.
12. Save Your Money By Creating A Budget
As Dave Ramsey always says “if you don’t tell your money where to go, you’ll be wondering where it went.” Print out a free budget planner and see how much easier it is to save your money when you have a plan.
13. How To Save Money On Your Energy Bill
Energy-efficient light bulbs can last up to 20 years and reduce your electric bill. Adjust the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees or less to save even more.
14. One Of The Best Ways To Save Is To Avoid Fees
If you must use a credit card, choose one that doesn’t charge you an annual fee and gives you cash back. I have a Chase Credit card that gives me money back on my Amazon purchases.
Don’t use a credit card unless you can pay it off as soon as the bill comes; you waste a fortune by paying high-interest rates on credit cards.
Watch out for ATM fees; these add up quickly. A dollar here and 50 cents there doesn’t sound like much, but in a year’s time, you can easily spend a hundred dollars or more in fees.
15. Delay Shopping
One of the best ways to save money fast is to delay shopping. Instead of ordering that thing that you have to have online, put it in the shopping cart and let it sit for a few weeks. If two weeks go by and you still really want to make a purchase, then go ahead and do it.
Most of the time I never buy the things in my shopping cart, and I save myself a lot of money. I get to have a shopping experience without the expense.
16. Here’s How To Save Money Each Month
You can save money each month by making purchases when things are out of season. Here are some examples of what bargains to look for by month:
- January- Christmas decorations and bedding
- February- Winter clothes, cell phones & tv’s
- April- Sneakers and cruises
- May- Mattresses and refrigerators
- July- Summer clothes
- August- Patio furniture
17. Give Thoughtful Gifts
Another creative way I save money is to make my gifts. People appreciate thoughtful gifts more than expensive gifts, make something yourself to show how much you care. Go to Google or Pinterest and search for homemade gift ideas.
18. Skip The Trip To Starbucks
Eliminate that daily cup of coffee from Starbucks, the energy drink from the convenience store, or the daily soda from the machine at work.
A daily coffee at $4 a cup is $1460 per year, a soda at $1.50 a day is $547, and an energy drink at $5 a day is $1825. Just giving up one of those habits for a year would give you a pretty good chunk of change.
Make your coffee and take it with you. I bought this 20-ounce travel mug from Amazon for my morning commute; it keeps my tea hot for hours.
19. Bottled Water
One of the best places to save money is on water. Buy a good water filtration system, and it will pay for itself in no time. Most Brita pitchers cost less than $20, and some people spend more than that in one month on bottled water.
20. Health Savings Account
A health savings account, or HSA, saves you money by allowing you to contribute pre-tax dollars to an account to cover your medical expenses.
Any interest you make on the account is also tax-free. If anything is left in the account at the end of the year, it is rolled over to the following year.
21. Cleaning Supplies
Household cleaners are expensive, and some are pretty toxic as well. Making your cleaners is one of the best ways to save money and improve your health.
Common ingredients in homemade cleaners are vinegar and baking soda; both are pretty inexpensive.
22. Ditch The Beer And Cigarettes
Smoking a pack a day for 20 years will cost you upwards of $40,000. You could pay cash for a nice car if you could break the addiction.
23. Gym Membership
Wondering how to save money each month on a gym membership? Try a free app like The Nike Training Club to get a good workout. There are over 100 workouts to pick from, and the workouts adapt to you.
After each workout, you answer a few questions about the intensity of your workout, and then the app adjusts your next workout accordingly. You can even choose whether you want to go for a run or do exercises.
The app asks you what equipment you have before it puts together a plan for you. I love this app, no more struggling to keep up with the instructor or leaving the room feeling like you didn’t get much of a workout because it was to easy.
24. Dress Appropriately
How do I save money in the winter? When it’s cold outside, I put on an extra layer of clothes instead of turning the heat up.
I’ve had people come to my house in shorts and a t-shirt when it’s snowing outside and tell me that it’s cold in my house. If you want to be warm in the winter, wear some clothes, I’m not turning up the heat.
25. Air Freshener
Candles, air freshener, and plugins, they all smell nice, but over time that cost adds up.
One of my favorite creative ways to save money and be healthier is to use air fresheners made with essential oils. I add a few drops of mint to a glass spray bottle of water to freshen the whole house.
26. Use Air Filters To Save Your Money
Replace the air filters in your furnace and air conditioner on a regular basis to keep them running as efficiently as possible.
27. Cut The Cord
The cable bill gets higher every year, last year we spent $1,700 on cable, that’s outrageous. Switching to Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Netflix is one of the best ways to save money.
Use cold water for lightly soiled clothes to cut your energy bill. Try making your laundry detergent. One of the creative ways to save money that I use is ditching the dryer sheets; we don’t even miss them.
29. Money-Saving Ideas For Your Car
Keep your tires properly inflated, change your air filter on a regular basis, and clean the junk out of your car. Take care of your vehicle to maximize your fuel efficiency. Learn how to save money on your car insurance.
30. One Of The Most Creative Ways To Save Money Is To Train Your Pets
Are you tired of spending money on expensive kitty litter every month? Try training your cats to use the toilet, instead. Okay, maybe training your cat is a little too creative of a way to save money, but if you manage to do it, send me a video. ?
Does your dog tend to chew through your favorite shoes? Train him to chew on dollar store flip-flops instead (or, better yet, keep your shoes out of reach and opt for a high-quality dog toy).
Instead of using expensive treats to train your pets, use treats that are designed to boost oral hygiene: it’s a treat and tooth protection in one, which can in turn help save you money on vet bills down the road.
31. Watch What You Say
Never say anything about yourself that you don’t want to come true. Stop the negative talk, if you go around saying “I’ll never get out of debt,” or “I’ll always be poor,” then you will be.
I know it sounds silly, but this was a big turning point for me when I stopped saying “I can’t” and started saying “how can I” instead, I began to find a way to get out of debt, to create wealth, and have a happy marriage.
If you’ve tried everything else and your still in debt and aren’t making any headway in your finances, your words and thoughts could be the missing key.
More Creative Ways To Save Money On A Tight Budget
Saving your money can be a challenge, but it’s one that’s well worth it! If you need more frugal living tips or help to find other creative ways to save money, leave us a comment below.