Have you ever wondered how some people don’t make so much, yet they’re always comfortable? It’s easy. You too can be able to live comfortably regardless of how much you make. This complete guide to saving money contains everything you need.
Before we get started, let me tell you: this is a big steal for you.
We’ve compiled 50 saving money ideas that will keep your finances in check. Once you know these, you can adjust your lifestyle, live comfortably, and have something in place for the future.
Without further ado, let’s explore this guide to saving money.
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Make Savings Easier
1. Set Money Saving Goals
Before you start saving money, ask yourself this question:
“Why do I want to save?”
Is there anything you’re planning for in the future? Do you want to retire as a millionaire, travel the world, and meet new people? Do you want your children to never lack?
Get a journal or notepad, and write down the reason you want to start saving money.
Doing this helps you stay consistent when you start saving. When you’re tempted to remove from your savings, you remember your goal and stick to the plan.
2. Make a budget
When you want to start saving money (especially on a low income), you have to plan a budget.
What is a budget?
A budget is an estimate of your income and expenses over a certain period.
You need a budget to ensure that you don’t spend more than you have and go into debt.
We have a full guide on how to budget even when you suck at it.
When budgeting, first calculate the amount you made in the previous month. You can use the average of the past 3 months to get your estimated earnings for this month.
Then, rank your expenses based on priorities. Put the most important ones first.
Allocate money to each spending category based on how much you spent on them in the previous months.
Then, start making your cuts.
To save more money when budgeting, put a percentage of your income into your savings first before you budget. So, you’ll have to manage the rest without worrying about your savings.
3. Enable automatic savings
In almost every guide to saving money, you will find something about automating your savings.
That’s only because it works.
Automating your savings anytime money drops in your bank account makes you forget that you have extra money somewhere.
You wouldn’t be tempted to remove something that you don’t know left your account.
When budgeting, you only create your budget with what’s left. No need for another savings allocation.
How do you automate your savings?
First, you can open another savings account. Set your checking account such that a percentage of your money goes to the savings immediately it drops.
You can also use money-saving apps to automate your savings. We’ll see more of that below.
4. Take part in a savings challenge
Have you ever tried starting a challenge with friends?
Saving money with other people helps you stay accountable.
When you see your challenge buddies dropping some money every month, you’re also going to drop yours – and you can’t remove it.
Ask some friends if they’ll like to create a savings goal and join you on the journey. It is much easier being in a community than doing it on your own.
5. Try Frugal Living
If you don’t have so much money and you would love to save (even if it’s something small), you can opt for frugal living.
Frugal living involves cutting several money-sucking habits off your life.
With this lifestyle, you’ll always go for the more affordable alternative to everything. Instead of buying new clothes, you get fairly used ones. You’ll shop for groceries and cook at home instead of going out to restaurants with friends.
Not everyone loves this lifestyle.
So, I’ll advise that even if you want to go frugal, plan your budget first, and try to stick with it. Going frugal is not something you do in a day.
It’s a process that takes time.
Check out the common mistakes that people make when trying to go frugal.
Saving Money on Groceries
Grocery shopping is one of the major areas that people spend their money on. You take as much money as you want to get healthy food items from the market.
Then, you somehow end up broke before the month ends… and you finish the food too.
In the second section of this guide to saving money, we’ll be looking at how to save money on groceries. Let’s go!
6. Make a shopping list
Don’t go shopping blind, else you’ll buy the entire store.
Before you step out of your home, take a record of everything you have already. Then, list out the things you don’t have.
The ingredients in this list should be based on things you eat every day of the week. Don’t write down anything you’re not going to use.
By taking a list to the store, you know what you’re purchasing, and won’t be tempted to pick something else.
When you feel like buying what’s not on your list, verbally remind yourself that you’re not meant to buy it.
Even if it’s on sale, say “This is not on my list. I don’t need It today.”
7. Have a meal plan
I told you earlier on to organize your shopping list based on what you’ll be eating during the week.
You can only do this if you have a standard meal plan. This is a calendar that shows everything you’ll eat for the day, week, or even month. If you want, you can also add recipes for each meal.
Make sure you’re not planning only your major meals, but also including others like fruits, snacks, and beverages.
So, when you go shopping, you can get everything you need.
8. Eat before shopping
Never go shopping on a hungry stomach, else your stomach will shop for you.
If you feel hungry, grab some snacks and fill up before you set out.
Shopping hungry will cost you extra because you’ll keep buying things you don’t need.
9. Use an online meal-planning service
If you don’t have time to plan your meals yourself, using an online meal-planning service helps you take care of the problem. It is one of the best ways to save money on food.
Meal-planning services like eMeals provide you with new recipes for main and side dishes every week. It also generates and sends you a complete shopping list based on the recipes.
So, you never have to buy unnecessary items. You can remove the ones you already have from the list. Try eMeals using the 14-day free trial, and see if you like it.
10. Order online
This is not about ordering fast food online, but getting groceries. You’re still going to be cooking at home.
When buying groceries online, you can either choose to pick up the groceries yourself or have them delivered to you. Some stores charge for delivery while some don’t.
How does shopping online save you money?
When shopping online, you’re able to go through various products and choose the most affordable before you checkout. You don’t have to throw the first item you see into the cart when all the options are right in front of you.
11. Use coupons
Coupon codes help you save some money when shopping online, and even in supermarkets. These stores have mobile apps that give you coupons when you buy something.
So, download these apps on your device and start collecting those coupons.
However, remember you’re saving money here. You don’t want to use up those coupons either.
So, don’t buy things because you have coupons. Only shop when you need to, and buy things you want to eat.
12. Get your groceries alone
If you have kids, one thing you don’t want to do when you start saving money is going shopping for groceries with them.
Do this, and you’re going to spend more than you bargained for.
Kids want all the fancy things they see in the supermarket, and you will not leave there without getting them anything.
Save yourself some money by shopping with your list alone.
13. Buy in bulk
This is a good old money-saving trick you probably do already.
Instead of buying bit by bit, once or twice every week, buy your groceries in bulk.
Most times, you get a discount when you buy in bulk instead of getting single items.
However, before you purchase too much of any product, check if you have space in your house to store it, how much you need it, and if it will go bad when stored for too long.
14. Track grocery spending and adjust if necessary
When you get back home after buying your groceries, check if you spent within the budget.
One good app that lets you do this is the EveryDollar app. With it, you can track every purchase you make and ensure that you never spend outside your budget.
15. Buy with cash or debit cards
Don’t go to the supermarket with your credit cards.
Credit cards give you the feeling of wealth. You’re not taking money out of your pocket or your bank account, so you feel like you can spend as much as you want.
It gets even more comfortable if you’ve always paid your credit card balance at the end of each month. You feel that you can pay for this one too.
If you’re truly looking for the best way to save money, you have to do away with credit cards while shopping.
Go with cash, or have a debit card in your purse.
16. Compare with your budget at month-end
Even though you already used your Everydollar app to stay on track after each day at the supermarket, you still need to crosscheck at the end of the month.
Did you spend within the total budget you made for groceries?
Was what you wrote down reasonable?
Do you need to adjust it for the next month?
Can you cut on the spending a little bit further?
This helps you stay accountable and draft the best budget plan for you. Budgeting is not about suffering. It is spending on the most important things, saving money, and living comfortably.
How to Start Saving Money on Transportation
17. Rideshare Apps
You can start saving money on transportation by using any of them.
The rewards usually differ by state. So, check for your state and see what’s there.
18. Try Gas-Saving Apps
GasBuddy is one of the most common gas-saving apps available. Every time you pump your car, it saves you some money.
They even have a card you can use to pay for gas. The GasBuddy card links to your checking account and saves for you every time you use it.
19. Get Your Next Car With Cash
Many people collect loans because they want to get new vehicles. Instead of going for a loan, save that money until you can get the car with cash.
When you do this, you never have to worry about owing someone for the car you drive.
Your car payment doesn’t have to take time at all. Just below, we will be looking at some of the best ways to make more money. So, you’ll be able to afford something good.
20. Don’t Make Car Payments
In this guide to saving money, I’ll be telling you to stop making those car payments.
Imagine if instead of giving that $525 per month to pay for your car, you never have to pay anything.
That $525 can go straight into your savings account. When it piles up after 12 months, you’ll be having over $6,000 in extra savings.
Instead of using a car that you have to keep paying a loan for even while maintaining it, get a smaller vehicle.
If you can’t pay off the loan on your car in less than 2 years, sell it and buy a cheaper one (with cash). From the profits, you’ll also be able to pay off the loan you took.
21. Save Money on Auto Insurance
Head over to a local independent insurance agent around you to see how much you can save on insurance.
You could be paying more than you should for insurance.
So, go to an independent agent. They’ll compare various policies and which one will suit your money-saving goals.
22. Get More Affordable Repairs Around You
You don’t have to opt for a dealership to repair your vehicle. There are so many affordable mechanics around you that can do the work and save you money.
Contact your family and friends, and ask for a responsible and reliable mechanic you can entrust your car to.
It will be fixed at a cheaper rate.
23. Try Carpool
Ever tried going out with your friends instead of riding in your car?
It’s fun, and it saves money.
If you have people heading to the same destination or following the same path to your destination, you can get a free ride.
There’ll be lots of things to talk about while saving money on gas.
24. Use Public Transport
Finally, one of the best ways to save money on transportation is by moving with a bus or train instead of taking your car.
This will help you save gas money.
Also, taking public transport means you get to meet new people, enjoy a mini-episode of your favorite TV show, or even read a book you put aside for weeks.
Best Way to Save Money on Your House
Refinancing your home helps you get out of debt quickly. If you have equity in your home, a high-interest mortgage over a 15-year term, or an interest-only loan on your home, this is a good step for you.
Refinancing allows you to save more money in the long run, since you would have paid up your debt. So, you can now enjoy vacations and invest in things that yield profit with the rest of the money.
26. Go for a smaller home (Downsize!)
Your home is too large, and no one is occupying the rooms. Maybe you can’t handle the mortgage anymore, since it’s ripping off a huge part of your income.
These are good reasons to downsize.
Sell the house, and get a smaller one.
27. Go through your bills
What bills do you pay for every month?
Internet? Water? Electricity? Cell phone bills?
You can save extra money each month by going through these bills.
Since you’ve been paying the same amount for so long, you may not know what special rates are available for your internet or cell phone.
You can also limit the usage of these utilities to reduce your bills. When you’re not home, turn off the lights. Don’t heat water when you don’t need it. Change your air filters. All the minor activities matter.
28. Cut the Cable
Why go for cable when there’s Netflix, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, Hulu, and Apple TV?
These options are more affordable than cable. You can save up to $1,000 a year when you go for any of these.
Moreover, you will remain entertained.
Trade by barter remains one of the best ways to save money.
When you need to hire someone to fix damages or add some extra features to your house, this method could be very useful.
All you need to do is look in your neighborhood for someone who does the things you want. Then, offer them a service in exchange.
If you have kids at home, you could offer to babysit while they went to work.
By offering service for service, you won’t need to pay any money to get things done in your house.
30. Use a better insurance agent
In this guide to saving money, I will tell you to check your insurance. It may not be the best for you (based on your money-saving goals).
Instead of leaving your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance immediately after you set it up, go back to check on it.
What if something has changed?
If you’ve hired an independent insurance agent, talk to them. See if they can get you a company with better rates. This will save you some money yearly.
31. Use energy-efficient appliances
Some home appliances use up more energy than others. And as you know, the more energy is used, the more you’ll have to pay at the end of the month.
Replace your old appliances with energy-efficient ones.
Some appliances you could replace include light bulbs and refrigerators. They usually carry the ENERGY STAR logo, so they’re not hard to spot.
You don’t have to do it all right away. Make these changes little by little, so you don’t have to touch your savings.
How to Save Money on Entertainment
32. Lower your internet rate
You may have noticed what many internet providers do.
They get you hooked at an affordable rate when you want to register.
Then, they increase it when you’re about to renew. Instead of going on with the plan and paying an extra $40 each month, talk to them.
Dial their number and tell them you won’t be paying the exorbitant rates. They’ll provide you with a better alternative.
33. Get some subscription services off your list
There are so many things we do and forget later on.
We subscribe to a service that removes $15 from the bank every month and never even go back after a few days or weeks.
The money keeps leaving your account, and you don’t bother.
Stop wasting your money. Check your subscriptions and cancel the ones you don’t use. For the ones you use, but not so frequently, you can change your subscription plan to a lower one.
34. Go to restaurants without servers
Trying to have a night out with friends? Going to dinner with your family?
Don’t go to restaurants where servers will bring food to your table. Instead, use places where you can request an order, take your food and go to your seat.
This could save you up to $20 you spend on tips.
Use Money Saving Apps
35. Get cash-back apps
Do you shop frequently?
You don’t need to do anything. Just shop.
36. Download coupon-apps
They make it very easy to get your codes.
37. Use organizational apps to keep you in one piece
Many people lose money because they have no time to organize their day.
Every day is so clumsy that you spend money even when not necessary, you spend so much time on things that only squander your money instead of helping you save more.
There are different organizational apps with different purposes.
For instance, for groceries, you can use an app like Grocery iQ to help you plan properly for your grocery shopping.
Organizational apps save both money and time.
38. Try budgeting apps
Some budgeting apps also serve as investing apps. You put in some money, and they work on it for you.
So, you get bigger returns over time.
39. Use store apps to save more
Store apps like Whole Foods, Target, and Walmart’s Savings Catcher allow you to save some money, even if not so much.
For instance, the Savings Catcher, you can upload the receipts from your purchase.
After putting your receipt, the app scans for other stores that offer the same thing but at more affordable rates.
There are so many similar apps to this. Some allow you to scan at the register, while others like Amazon Prime come with cheaper rates and more benefits.
Make More to Save More
40. Start a blog
Some people argue that blogs no longer work. But, that’s not true. If you do things right, blogging could become your sole source of income in a few years.
Blogging is more of a long-term solution to your monthly income than a short-term one. So, it requires consistency and patience.
All you have to do is get a domain name and hosting on Bluehost.com. They make it easy to operate your blog with WordPress, so your setup should be complete in less than an hour.
You can either take some time each day to create content or hire someone to do that for you. As you get more views on the blog, you monetize.
41. Become a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants make money by helping people perform tasks. Everything is done online, so you don’t need to leave your home.
Some of these tasks include data processing, editing content, email management, and social media management.
You can still keep your 9-5 when working as a virtual assistant, but you have to manage your time properly between the two jobs.
42. Use your car to make money
Are you almost always at home, and you know how to drive? Why don’t you pick up your car and use it to make money?
Become an Uber driver. Pick people up and take them to their destination.
This could be very fun too, as you get to meet new people. If you’re friendly enough, these people could become more than just passengers at the back of your car. They could be real connections.
You can also become an Instacart shopper or driver- help people go shopping and deliver their groceries to their homes.
One of the best ways to save money is by making more money. Let your car make this money for you.
43. Teach English
So many countries need people to teach their kids (and even adults) English. If you’re pretty good at it, you can do this right from your home and earn over $20 per hour.
Sign up to VIPKID, and you can earn an extra $1,000 every month by teaching English online. You create your schedule, so you determine how much you earn on the platform.
This is one of the saving tips that most people don’t talk about. But, in this guide to saving money, we have to look at it.
These days, investments are turning people into millionaires. People who invested in bitcoin a few years back have added some extra money to their pockets.
You could also invest in stocks. If you don’t know how to go about it, sign up on Wealthfront, and let them handle investing for you. You only have to put in the money, sit back, and relax.
Other Saving Money Ideas
45. Pay Off Your Debt
When you don’t pay off your debt quickly, the interest fees increase, and it becomes even harder to pay it all back. It becomes harder to save money for retirement, emergencies, and other activities you’ve planned for the future.
Handle all your debt now, and you won’t be worried about savings anymore. The money that went into loan repayment will go into your savings wallet.
46. Reduce Your Smoking (or QUIT)
This might seem like a weird way to save money, but it isn’t. The American Lung Association reported that tobacco kills almost $500,000 people in the United States every year, and $333 billion is spent annually on the healthcare expenses of people with medical problems due to expensive smoking habits.
You’ve heard several times that smoking cigarettes can lead to various harmful side effects such as heart disease and lung cancer.
Apart from the money you’ll spend on medicals if these cases arise, you can also save extra money each month by buying fewer cigarettes.
Cigarettes cost between $5 and $15 per pack. Some people smoke more than 1 pack daily. You save up to $450 each month when you remove 1 pack from your daily smoke. Now, imagine how much you save if you stop smoking completely.
47. Go generic
Instead of buying expensive products all the time, go for budget-friendly ones.
You don’t have to use designers to feel or look good.
48. Head over to Thrift Stores
Instead of buying new clothes and shoes with your entire salary, head over to a thrift store to shop.
They don’t have to be new to be good.
49. Make your coffee at home
Instead of spending money every morning to get a cup of coffee, try brewing yours at home. You might just find a new taste that you love, and stop spending those dollars every morning.
If you still crave fancy coffee, you can choose particular days of the week when you’ll go out to get coffee.
50. Join loyalty programs
Loyalty programs allow you to get deals on airline tickets, restaurant meals, and many more things. In 2017, there were about 3.8 billion customer loyalty memberships in the United States. Use them.
To join these programs, check out the website of your favorite online stores or restaurants to see if there are bonuses and discounts for people who shop regularly. If they have, take them.
However, don’t sign up for any program that involves collecting a credit card. You don’t need another credit card to ruin your work so far. No more debt.
51. Set up bank alerts
You can avoid going into an overdraft. How?
By setting up notifications when your bank balance is getting low.
Instead of waiting till you have overdraft fees, you can find ways to increase your bank balance and save more money when you’re notified beforehand.
52. Take lunch to work
Americans spend so much money on lunch. You either order for food to be sent to your workplace or go out to eat. This removes $3,000 (or more) from your account every year.
It doesn’t seem like something that would add up to much, but it does. And you don’t even know it’s happening because buying lunch is normal. You do it every day.
Instead of buying at work, you can save at least $100 each month by preparing your food at home.
If you have to leave for work very early, make an extra serving at dinner to take to work the next day. All you need to do is heat it.
Now, you’ve gone through this guide to saving money. Employ these 50 saving money ideas in your life and watch your finances improve.
Remember that you need to have a savings goal, and put a plan in place to achieve that goal. Stay dedicated, stay focused, and keep getting new income streams.
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