Saving money is a great way to take charge of your financial future. Whether you’re keeping it for your retirement or saving for a rainy day, it’s always a good idea to build healthy savings. Emergencies can also happen that may require you to spend money. Having funds in your savings account may just spare you from the hassle of dealing with stressful situations.
Putting away a percentage of the money you earn is one way to save. But there is only so much you can take from your pay to create a good amount of savings. There are plenty of other ways to save money and this includes making lifestyle choices.
“Lifestyle choices” means making decisions in your life that can benefit you. They can also mean finding creative ways to save money. These choices can be as simple as making your own coffee or opting to go do free activities instead of paying for them. While saving your dough, you can also start practicing a sustainable lifestyle that can support your local community and even help the planet.
Below are 32 creative ways to save money.
1. Create a Budget and Stick To It.
One of the best ways to save money is to know where the money goes. Creating a budget lets you see how much you have and examines the way you spend. When you create a budget, you already have a set of funds to spend for a set of items or activities to spend on. It’s important to stick with your budget to avoid overspending.
2. Cook at Home Instead of Dining Out.
Dining out is one of the things that contribute to overspending. Instead of going to a restaurant, whip something up in your own kitchen. Groceries are cheaper compared to dinners out. It can last for weeks, and you can create several meals out of them without breaking the bank. Not only is it going to be less expensive, it’s also healthier.
3. Buy Generic Brands.
When you need medicine, make sure to pick the generic version if available. The difference between these drugs is the dollar amount. You don’t need to spend a couple extra dollars when they work the same.
4. Cancel Unused Subscriptions.
Many companies use subscriptions nowadays. They come in the form of TV streaming, monthly makeup kits and even dog toys. Think about how often you watch a show from a particular streaming service or how often your dog needs a new chew toy. Cancel subscriptions that you no longer use or need.
5. Shop for Clothes at Thrift Stores.
Fashion trends shift rapidly but you don’t need to keep buying expensive new clothes to keep up. You can save money by going to your local thrift store. Thrift stores are hidden gold mines for unique pieces that transcend current fashion trends. Thrifting is also a fun way to contribute to the environment.
6. Use Cashback and Rewards Apps.
Another way to save money is to use cashback and reward apps that help you avoid paying for things for their full price. Apps like Honey, Coupons.com and Fetch Rewards offer discounts and coupons that you can apply whenever you make a purchase. Many banking and payment apps offer cashback and rewards as well.
7. DIY Home Repairs and Improvements.
If you’re suddenly faced with a home repair but you’re trying to stick to a budget, try to do it yourself. Hiring service industry contractors can cost you a lot of money. If it’s an easy fix, watch a DIY tutorial online to save yourself from paying someone else. There’s a wealth of home repair and improvement knowledge available at your fingertips. Not only will you save money, but you will also learn a new skill.
8. Set up Automatic Transfers to Savings.
It can be a hassle to remember to transfer funds into a savings account whenever you get paid. Luckily, banks have options for you to set up automatic transfers to your savings. This process eliminates having to manually transfer yourself and keeps money consistently flowing into your saving account.
9. Bundle Your Insurance Policies.
Insurance policies can get very expensive. It’s even more expensive if you have several separate insurance companies. Make sure you shop around and learn ways how to bundle your insurance within just one company. Find the best insurance policies that benefit you and fits your budget.
10. Cut Down on Electricity Usage.
Examine everything in your house that requires electricity and determine which ones consume the most to reduce usage. HVAC units can be the largest contributor to an expensive electric bill. Open windows and let fresh air in when it’s warmer outside instead of using the AC. If it’s colder outside, bundle up and opt to use heating at night. Practice turning off all the lights in rooms that are unoccupied as well.
11. Utilize Public Transportation.
Gas prices fluctuate often and there will be days when gas is more expensive than taking public transportation. If your area has a good transportation system, use it to save money. Metro and bus cards are cheaper than weekly trips to the gas station.
12. Buy In Bulk When Possible.
Items bought in bulk are cheaper than buying single units. Go to a bulk grocery store to stock up on groceries that can last you for weeks. This is cheaper than going to regular stores where single items can be more expensive. Buying in bulk saves money since there is less time, material and labor used to sell each unit.
13. Negotiate Bills and Fees.
Did you know that you can negotiate your bills and fees? Whenever you sign up for a service as a new customer, companies will offer a lower price range to get you to become their customer. If those low rates can be offered to new customers, they can offer them to their repeat customers as well. You can also look at an itemized list of what you’re paying for and figure out which ones you can do away with to save money.
14. Grow Your Own Vegetables.
If you have enough space in your backyard, try and grow your own herbs and vegetables. Growing your own produce can help you save money while also learning a sustainable lifestyle at the same. When your harvest is bountiful, it can also be a source of income by selling them to other people.
15. Participate in Free or Low-cost Activities.
You don’t need to pull money out of your wallet to have fun. There are many free and low-cost activities to do to keep yourself entertained. Go hiking or explore a museum. Active communities also hold monthly free events that are both fun and entertaining.
16. Buy Second-hand Furniture.
Second-hand furniture can be very affordable. They can be found in social media marketplaces or thrift stores. Some second-hand furniture come in great condition. They can also be sturdier than modern, mass-produced furniture. You can save money in the long term if you opt for furniture that has stood the test of time.
17. Make Your Own Cleaning Products.
There are many recipes available online on how to make your own cleaning products. These are a combination of cheaper and on-hand ingredients that work as well as chemical products. It can also be made from organic ingredients which means it is safer to use.
18. Avoid Impulse Purchases.
In relation to the first tip, stick to your budget by avoiding impulse buying. If there is something that you really want to buy, work your way towards it as a reward. Make sure to save up for it instead of giving in to instant gratification.
19. Unplug Electronics When Not in Use.
Plugged-in electronics such as computers and appliances can still consume electricity. While it may not be much, the energy usage can accumulate which will be reflected on your electric bill. Save a few extra dollars by unplugging electronics when you’re not using them.
20. Plan Meals Ahead To Reduce Food Waste.
Wasting food might as well be like throwing money down the drain. Plan your meals before going to the grocery store. Create a list and stick to the items in that list. Don’t get an extra bag of salad mix only to forget about it in the refrigerator. Make sure you get the right portions of ingredients, so you don’t have to pay extra and waste food.
21. Take Advantage of Free Community Events.
Communities hold scheduled events every month that aim to bring people together. These events are low-cost or sometimes even free. Some communities do movies at the park or art exhibits by local artists. If you’re looking to save money while trying to meet other people, go to community events.
22. Carpool or Share Rides.
Another way to save money is to carpool or share rides with other people. You can pay only part of the gas fee of the driver you are sharing a ride with. Rideshare apps can get expensive so choose to share rides with people you personally know. If you can’t avoid using a rideshare app, select the option where you can share the ride with another passenger.
23. DIY Gifts Instead of Buying.
You don’t have to spend money when it comes to giving gifts. When you make a gift yourself, you are creating something unique for the person you are giving it to. DIY gifts are something you can’t put a price tag on.
24. Buy Refurbished Electronics.
Instead of buying brand new electronics, buy refurbished ones. They cost less and still function the same way as new electronics. Laptops and computers are the most refurbished electronics. While it may not be the latest model, it still serves its purpose. You can also get warranties from companies that sell refurbished electronics.
25. Cancel or Downgrade Gym Memberships.
If you have a gym membership but you don’t go to the gym daily, consider downgrading or canceling your gym membership. You can save money by opting for the class pass option, rather than an unlimited pass. Another option is to invest in some home gym equipment so you can work out without having to pay a monthly fee.
26. Utilize the Library for Books and Movies.
If you’re an avid reader who is trying to save money, the library is your best friend. The library is a great place to get free or low-cost entertainment in the form of books and movies. Local libraries are also up to date with newly released books, and they have a huge collection of movies. These are all available to borrow for a small membership fee.
27. Use a Programmable Thermostat.
As mentioned on this list before, HVAC units consume the most electricity. Having it run day and night can cause your electric bill to skyrocket. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can adjust your HVAC unit to work depending on the room temperature. When you do this, you are practicing an economic way of saving energy.
28. Sell Unused Items Online.
If you have things that hold no value to you but could be of value to other people, try selling them online. You can earn some money by selling your old things and putting it in your savings account. You also get space back in your home.
29. Brown Bag Your Lunch.
It’s tempting to spend money on lunch since it saves you time from preparing it and you don’t have to carry it around your bag. However, eating lunch out can get expensive. If you are saving money, it is better to pack your lunches. When you buy groceries, you are paying for several meals with less amount of money. Make sure to plan what to get for your lunch as well.
30. Opt for Free Online Courses Instead of Classes.
Going to school is very expensive. While taking out loans may help ease the process of paying for your education, it might hurt you in the long run. There are several online courses that are affordable and available online. Some of these courses are also accredited, so they are a better option than going to expensive classes.
31. Cut Your Own Hair or Go To Low-cost Salons.
Trips to the salon are expensive. Go to a low-cost salon that offers hair services at affordable prices. If you want to avoid spending money, you can try cutting or styling your own hair. Remember to follow instructions and watch tutorials first before going ahead and chopping everything off. When you get more comfortable, you may even never set foot in a hair salon again.
32. Find Free Entertainment Options.
Free entertainment comes in many forms. You can get free entertainment at the library or by visiting the local park. Free fun events are either hosted by a community or an organization. Check out your local community calendar for free theater shows. There are also groups who host quirky events such as wrestling matches, karaoke and more to entice new people to join.