When you’re looking for ways to save money each month, it’s usually “the little things” that make all the difference! Small leaks sink large ships! Follow me as I show you “47 Clever Ways to Save Money on Everything”!
“I never have any money” or “I don’t know where all my money goes”!
I hear this all the time from people who struggle with their finances.
They have good intentions, but the problem is that they lack a plan.
When you don’t have a financial plan in place, your emotions will govern your spending.
THIS is where people get into trouble and can’t figure out where all of their money goes.
But you know what?
You don’t have to have a 47-page financial strategy to make better decisions, every day, that will save you money.
When you make financial decisions ahead of time, before you’re in a position of temptation, you’ll be able to resist those impulse purchases. Let’s look at ways to save money, on a tight budget as well!
For example, I rarely ever buy coffee out. It’s just a decision that I’ve made.
So, by making that decision ahead of time, I don’t really struggle with temptation to drive through the local coffee shop.
The brain has a lot to do with our financial decisions.
The Pre-Frontal Cortex of the brain regulates higher-level thinking, such as decision-making, problem-solving, reasoning and making choices.
This is the part of the brain you want to be using with regard to your finances!
The pleasure center of the brain, the Nucleus Accumbes, is what’s responsible for emotional buying, whether it’s fear, hunger, loneliness or any other emotion.
By writing down your goals and intentions, the Pre-Frontal Cortex will help you to avoid emotional decisions! You may still have emotional urges, but once you look at the goals and new habits you’ve written down, logic will usually take over!
Writing thoughts down, reflecting (allowing the Medial Prefrontal Cortex to do its work) by comparing the current situation with prior decisions leads to a more rational behavior. ~The Why and How of Making Financial Decisions
1. Make Coffee at HomeOnce again, I love making my own coffee at home.
Because it’s exactly the way I want it!
With all the money you’ll save from buying coffee out, you could afford to buy coffee creamers and syrups to create your own “coffee masterpieces”!
I’m a coffee snob.
There, I said it.
I use a French-Press coffee maker that’s over 15 years old. It’s stainless steel and will last forever.
French-press coffee is stronger than automatic-drip and tastes so much better! Every other coffee tastes a little “off” to me now.
I buy bulk coffee beans at Costco and grind them at home. Freshly ground coffee tastes a zillion times better than coffee grounds from the store!My adult children have watched me with my French Press for years and they prefer it as well!
2. Pack a Sandwich
I do this all the time and it’s so easy.
I just reach in our bread drawer for bread and peanut butter. In 10 seconds, I made a sandwich. Nothing fancy.
It’s designed to keep me from getting hungry, which will enact my Nucleus Accumbes, and tempt me to drive-thru somewhere for lunch!
3. Limit Driving Time in the Car
This isn’t hard for me because I’m such an introvert, I would always rather stay home!
However, keep in mind that every time you start your car, you’re losing money.
Yep, you’re losing money on gas, oil, tires and engine life, every single time you drive.Make your car last longer and reduce your expenses by only driving when necessary, and even then, combine errands.
4. Eat Your Leftovers for Lunch
Food waste accounts for over 40% of the food produced!!!
Most people wind up throwing leftover food away because they don’t have a plan in place to make sure it’s eaten.
Want to save money on your grocery bill? Eat your leftover food!
When I was homeschooling my children, we always had leftovers for lunch!
Most of my children are grown now, but I still look forward to heating up leftovers for lunch.
Heck, I had spaghetti for breakfast the other day!
5. Bring a Water Bottle Everywhere You Go
Being somewhat of a ‘thirsty’ person, I always need a drink close by.
I’m probably a water bottle snob as well.
I will only drink out of a cup with a stainless steel liner. You can pick these up at Goodwill for a song. It will last pretty much forever.I don’t trust plastic water bottles, no matter what they say.
6. Take a Shower Every Other Day
Unless you work at a very physical or dirty job, you probably don’t need a shower every single day.
You might even be able to go every two days.
Remember, only a few areas of your body create odor, and you can wash up in the sink for those.
Re-apply deodorant and you’re good to go!
7. Avoid Shampooing Every Day
Once again, most of us wash our hair too often by just automatically reaching for the shampoo when we hop in the shower.
Most conventional shampoo is hard on your hair! Even the fancy brands are full of chemicals that your body doesn’t need.
You might even want to consider the “No Poo” method!
8. Use the Minimum Amount of Everything
9. Use Bar Soap instead of Shower Gel
10. Wear Clothes a Second Time Before Washing Again
11. Decide on What to Have for Dinner Early in the Day
An almost sure fire way to find yourself ordering pizza for dinner is to NOT have a plan for dinner.
Funny thing….dinner comes around just about every night. (wink)
Even if you just decide to have soup and sandwiches, you’ve made a decision!
Lay your meat out in the morning or get dinner into the crock pot early, but plan something for dinner.Even if your dinner consists of eating all of your leftovers!
12. Read Books from the Library or Free Kindle Books
13. Use LED Light Bulbs
For years, I completely underestimated the effectiveness of using LED light bulbs!
LED bulbs are a little pricey, but just replace your bulbs as you have the money! Pretty soon, you will have replaced all of the bulbs in your house!
14. Keep the Thermostat Down to a Semi-Uncomfortable Temperature
The Norwegians say “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”.
During the winter, I like to keep the thermostat down to the point where I need a hat and a bulky sweater.
I’ll turn it up a bit as the family comes home at the end of the day, and then back down it goes before bedtime.
Our electric bill rarely exceeds $80.
15. Make Sure All the Lights and Surge Protectors are Off Before Leaving the House
Just taking a few minutes to walk through the house and make sure everything is off when not in use, and unplugged, will have a tremendous effect on your electric bill!
16. Always Compare Prices before Purchasing Anything
Whether it’s a casserole dish or a piece of furniture, always ask yourself how you can purchase the best quality at the lowest price.
Buying the cheapest item isn’t always the best option. Well made items will last longer and serve you better. Try to buy better quality, used items.
There are some things that are just too easy to get at garage sales, like kitchen cook wear and kid’s clothes.
When looking for furniture or appliances, check out Facebook market place. I’m amazed at the great deals they have on there.
17. Always Look for a Coupon if You Must Buy Something
If you plan to go out for a meal, at least look for coupons to save you money on the bill!
I’m a little leery of coupons for groceries, but if you find some once in a while that coincide with what you already planned to buy at the store, then use them.
Where you can get into trouble with coupons is when you find yourself purchasing things, just because they’re cheap.
18. Buy the Best Quality You Can Afford
Thrift stores are the very best place to find good quality, used clothing on the cheap!
Go beyond Goodwill and Salvation Army if you can, there are small, local thrift stores that need your business and have great deals, too!
19. Become a DIY’er
20. Don’t Smoke, Drink or Vape
21. Buy Food that’s in Season
22. Avoid Buying Cleaning Supplies
23. Avoid Buying Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener
24. Avoid the Dryer as Much as Possible and Invest in a Clothesline
25. Avoid Turning the Oven on as Much as Possible
26. Drive Older Cars, Pay Cash and Take Very Good Care of Them
27. Find a Bank that Doesn’t Charge Fees
28. Skip the Gym
29. Use Kitchen Hand Towels to Avoid Paper Towels
30. Cancel Magazine Subscriptions
Print magazines are just about dead.
Their sales have dropped so much over the last 5 years, that many of most popular magazines aren’t even available in print anymore.
Have you seen the price of a magazine lately?? They cost as much as a book!
80% of most magazines are just ads, and further, consistent magazine readers are known to spend more money on consumer items than non-readers.
So, why clutter your home (and mind) with paper magazines when it’s all on line now?
Most magazines are available at the library, for free, if you must read them.
31. Never Buy Extended Warranties
For the most part, extended warranties are rarely worth the money.
Extended warranties are a 40 billion dollar business! Why do you think that is?
Think about it. They don’t pay.
One exception, for us, would be a replacement warranty on a new cell phone. We’ve collected a couple of times for phones that teenagers damaged beyond repair.
32. Stop Buying Bottled Water
In my opinion, bottled water is one of the biggest, commercial frauds…ever.
Who ever thought that people would buy water in a bottle?
I grew up in the age when we drank out of the garden hose while we were playing outside and then went back to playing!
I’ve tested it with a water-quality meter and it’s perfect.
However, I encourage you to get one of these water-quality meter and check out that bottles water you pay for. My guess is that it’s rank as tap water much of the time.
34. Rotate Children’s Toys
Most parents are overwhelmed with their kid’s toys all around the house.
When our children were small, we organized their toys in such a way that some toys were in their bedrooms, other toys were in the family room.
Every toy had some sort of storage box to keep them in, so that the kids knew where to put them away.
Then, other toys were put “away” until boredom set in with the first toys.
Then we would switch the toys up, bring out the “new” ones and put the “old” ones away.
You probably don’t need more toys, you just need to rotate the ones you have.
If you don’t have as many toys as you would like, swap toys with a friend who has children about the same age as yours!
35. Clean and Re-use Zip Lock Bags
I’ve done this forever.
Simply clean your zip-lock bags out when you’re washing dishes and then let them dry.
If you stored raw meat in your bag, just pitch it.
I get quite a few uses out of them!…
36. Do Your Own Manicures at Home
I love to get an occasional manicure, for special occasions like weddings, but I really don’t like the price!
It’s so easy to just do your own nails at home. Keep it simple and don’t over-buy polish. Just a few colors is fine.
37. Watch YouTube and Learn How to Cut Hair
Raising 6 boys, I learned quick how to cut a little boy’s hair.
I had no background in cosmetology and in today’s world, that isn’t even necessary for a decent home cut.
By purchasing a Wahl Hair Clipper for about $30, I could cut the kid’s hair when I wanted to and never leave home.
We’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years!
38. Groom Your Own Dog
Same as #37!
My Havanese “Remi” requires grooming, but there’s no way I’m going to pay for it! Groomers charge more than hair-stylists do!
Remi won’t win any awards, but he looks pretty darned good!
39. Take Advantage of Loyalty Programs
I love loyalty programs, but you have to be careful about the details of each one.
Also, make sure that you only use loyalty clubs in places that you already shop. It doesn’t make much sense to shop somewhere that you don’t enjoy just to receive loyalty points.
Since I buy gas for my truck on a regular basis, it makes sense for me to take advantage of the loyalty program at my gas station of choice, which would be Speedway.
Whenever I fill up, I almost always have a free drink available on my card, so I take advantage of it. The key is to not grab something else to eat that will cost you money.
Walk out with the free stuff, only!
40. Order Groceries On-Line and Pick-Up
Ordering groceries on-line for pick-up is one of the best ways to stay on budget!
On-line grocery shopping allows you to stick to your list, take advantage of the sales and NOT to be influenced by all of the other buying temptations.
41. Use Things Until They Die
Replacing items when they are “used up” is fine, but just how often do we use something until it has absolutely NO usefulness to it?
Learning to maintain and take care of expensive items like mattresses, cars, coats and leather shoes will make them last a long time!
My mattress is 19 years old.
We purchased a high-quality, two-sided mattress with all intentions of making it last.
It’s been rotated regularly and I’ve used my steam cleaner to lightly clean both sides every year. Most people don’t realize how many dust mites and dead skin cells lurk in their mattresses, but NOT if you clean them.
It’s still going strong.
42. Re-Purpose Everything Possible
I am not a fan of plastic.
As much as I try to avoid it in my purchases, sometimes there’s just no way around it.
Rather than re-cycling (which is usually just shipping the waste to a third-world country), give that plastic container a new life.
It helps to think about this when you’re shopping.
For example, when I shop and purchase something in a plastic container, I’m already thinking about what I can use it for after we’ve used up the product.
One of my favorites is a 64 oz. orange juice pitcher than I re-purposed for my dogs. I keep the pitcher full of water, near their food bowls, so that I can quickly top off their water.
I also used pasta jars to store home-grown herbs for later use.
43. Rarely Purchase Holiday Decorations or Knick-Knacks
About 10 years ago, we had a barn fire.
We hadn’t been in our house long, just about a year.
There was quite a bit of storage out in the pole barn, like furniture that we hadn’t placed in the house yet, years of toys, fabric, pictures, lawn equipment and holiday decorations.
We lost it all.
The following Christmas, we found ourselves without a tree or a single ornament.
But we decided to take advantage of this opportunity, because it forced me to have to really think about what I wanted to replace everything with.
Did I want to just replace Christmas decorations, just to replace them??
Rather, we decided to be very intentional about what we replaced our decorations with.
That first year, we had a tree that someone gave to us, with a few lights on it.
It was plenty!
Sure, we could have loaded it up with ornaments, but we decided not to, and to rather take our time choosing.
Today, we do have an artificial tree with carefully-chosen ornaments, but I have very few “decorations” to speak of.
I prefer to decorate for the holidays with nature elements, like hand-made wreaths and garland rom pine trees on our property.
This way, I don’t have to store the decorations, I just dump them in the compost pile.
44. Go Paper-Free at Mealtime by using Cloth Napkins and Real Plates
We have had a paper-free kitchen for quite a while now.
But recently, I glanced down the paper products isle to see how much paper plates and napkins cost these days…
At Walmart, even the cheap, thin and flimsy paper plates were nearly $8!
By the way, $8 would buy almost 4 gallons of milk.
Paper napkins also cost more than I was willing to pay, for something that I’ll wipe my mouth with once or twice and throw away.
I would rather put my food dollars towards real food, rather than wasting it on disposable items.
45. Start Your Own “Christmas Fund” and Put Money in Every Month
Rather than struggle to come up with money for Christmas gifts every December, it makes good sense to just put a little back each month.
When I was a kid, this was called the “Christmas Club” at the bank. Local banks actually encouraged patrons to save for Christmas in a separate savings account.
Today, it’s so simple to just set up an automatic transfer from your checking account, for a few dollars every paycheck, to go into a specifically designated Christmas savings account.
You’ll never miss it.
I’ve been doing this for years now and I’m never stressed about Christmas buying, because the money is always there.
46. Set up Automatic Withdrawals for Sinking Funds
One great thing about automated banking is that it’s so easy to set up separate “savings accounts” or “sinking funds” for specific items you’re saving for.
“Sinking Funds” are really just anticipated purchases that you’re setting aside money for today.
In the future, you may want to save for a home or a remodel of the home you currently own.
Maybe you want to take that “Dream Vacation”, a sinking fund is a great way to put that money away.
Other sinking fund ideas might include saving $1000 for an emergency fund (highly recommend this one!), saving for new tires, car repair or new (to you) car, investing in equipment and/or education that makes you money or makes you more sustainable, etc.
47. Continually Ask Yourself “Do I Really Need This??”
Can I live without it? Does This Purchase Line Up with the Goals I’ve Set for Myself?
We are faced with over 3,000 images per day to purchase something.
The temptation will never go away, that’s why it’s so important to have a plan and goals.
So when you’re tempted, you can point back to the goals you have in place and learn how to say “No”!