25 Ways to Save Money

by Chris on April 10, 2013

In difficult economic times, we all spend considerable time figuring out how to make our paychecks last longer without giving up essentials. Earning additional money can be difficult when part-time jobs are unavailable and temporary positions are too fleeting for reliable earnings. Your family can develop a checklist of 25 methods of saving money that can turn pennies into dollars over time. An important step toward saving money is to think about every purchase made on a daily basis and determine whether that purchase is important.

An easy way to save money is to cut down on expensive food purchases. You can pack lunches each day with affordable fruits, vegetables and small snacks that are more affordable per item than fast food. On occasions where dining out is required, choosing lunch rather than dinner portions equals a few dollars saved per meal. Another cost-saving tip is to create burritos, soups, and other items that can be frozen and enjoyed later when you don’t feel like making dinner. The best bet when saving money on food is to always make food rather than paying for the convenience of fast-food or casual dining restaurants.

Apparel, shoes, and fashion accessories can be costly for tight budgets. The latest fashions might seem out of reach but a few shrewd moves can yield an affordable wardrobe. A trip through the local secondhand store might highlight dress shirts, pants, and accessories donated by people moving out of the area. You can shop at your favorite retailer but simply wait after new releases to find shoes, underwear, and other apparel on clearance. As one season moves into the next, you can often find past releases as clearance items discounted 25% to 75% off initial prices. Families can keep kids clothes if they anticipate new members of the family or to swap with neighbors. You can also arrange a clothing swap with your friends and family to share fashions without spending a dime.

A few sensible changes to your household routine can also contribute to greater savings. Your heating and air conditioning system can rack up high costs during temperature extremes. You should lower your heating and air conditioning when out of the house while keeping use moderate when at home. The electric bill can be reduced by planning your laundry and dishwashing routine. A fully loaded dishwasher or washing machine is more cost-efficient than a hastily filled machine. Families with ample backyard space can grow their own fruits, vegetables and spice to avoid costly trips to the grocery store. This abundance can be shared regularly during potlucks with friends and neighbors that cut food costs for everyone. It is also possible to reuse plastic bags, bottles, and jars in the future, which cuts down on waste as well as the costs of storage products.

Commuting to work is not only wasteful in terms of time but gas money and tolls where applicable. These costs are felt not only by employees but employers that send out couriers, sales people, and other staff. You should consider public transportation options in your area to save fuel and avoid wear and tear on your vehicle. This review might yield ride-share schemes, commuter buses, and other services that are more affordable than commuting costs. Another approach is to ask your employer if your work could be done through telecommuting rather than driving to the office. Major corporations have been allowing IT professionals to telecommute for years and many tasks can be completed from home computers.

The workplace can produce major expenses for the average employee who feels a need to develop camaraderie with colleagues. You should consult with co-workers to reduce costs from birthday parties, group lunches, and other events. For example, a birthday lunch with gifts at a local restaurant could be an office potluck with a modest limit on gifts. You can also adopt cost-saving methods from the workplace in your personal life. These practices range from reducing printing costs by using electronic documents to shutting off lights when you walk out of a room.

You need not eliminate fun from your life when trying to save money. Most communities offer free concerts, festivals, and public events designed to attract broad audiences. These programs might be hosted at local colleges or high schools, providing educational elements to your entertainment. Your local library not only offers the latest books but magazines, CDs, and DVDs at no charge. The added benefit of using the library is that greater use will lead to higher funding for new acquisitions that keep users happy. You can also trade books, movies, and music with friends and co-workers to stay entertained on a budget.

A major cost for many families is the monthly expenses for cable television. Quickly glancing at your monthly cable bill might show unnecessary expense based on your programming tier. You should consider reducing your cable package at least one tier if possible to save a few dollars each month. You might be able to negotiate free premium channels or reduced rates on higher tiers when speaking with your customer service representative. Movie fans likewise might not like missing their favorite films as they reach theaters but second-run theaters offer affordable tickets for recently released movies. These theaters often sell tickets at least 50% cheaper than first-run theaters.

These cost-cutting tips should equal money saved even after a few weeks. You should focus on how to put aside this money to highlight the value of saving. A change jar where coins and bills can be placed each day will fill up quickly to reward thrifty behavior. The 52 Week Challenge requires participants to save $1 in the first week and add a dollar to each week’s savings for an entire year. This popular savings method equals a total haul of $1,400 for the faithful participant. You can also focus on more conventional savings methods like a basic savings account that will accrue relatively low interest over time. As you use these various cost-cutting methods, the amount you deposit in this account should rise each month.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Grep June 13, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Excellent article! I’d like to add to this: Use Coupons. Coupons are available for almost everything these days. And you can find them both offline and online. My wife and I have an agreement. We put into a jar whatever coupon savings are shown at the bottom of our grocery receipt, and at the end of the year, we splurge on a little something for ourselves. At $50-80 every two week, it adds up fast.

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amhamilton July 15, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Oh my gosh I am a coupon addict right now! between coupons and my local stores rewards program I save about 45% per visit to the store. I know I can to better on this though ;-)

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kim June 17, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Great article on ways to save. We’ve incorporated some of these in our lives since the price of everything seems to be increasing.

Dining out is a few times a year now and usually just for special occasions. I’m enjoying cooking dinners at home and there is an added bonus in that the whole family sits down for dinner and we talk around the table. I’ve also found that if I make a little extra for dinner then the leftovers can be used for lunch the next day.

We bought a Keurig coffee brewer at work so that we would spend less at the coffee shops. The machine has already paid for itself. You can buy a special filter cup for the machine and and use your own ground coffee. We each take turns bringing in cream.

Turning the heat down at night in the winter was another change for us and we do not have an air conditioner.

These are small steps we are taking but in the end we hope to save a little more.

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katemcbride June 19, 2013 at 10:05 am

This is all very sensible stuff which only requires minimal lifestyle/behavior changes. On the topic of second-hand shops, it is worth pointing out that one can acquire designer labels on clothes that are sometimes actually new for a fraction of the price which is very satisfying. Also, second-hand shops have great character and very friendly staff. The concept of saving the money is a very worthwhile one.

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R.E. Danielson June 20, 2013 at 6:09 pm

This article has some great tips that could save a family quite a bit of money. I know one of the hardest things for my family to do was to give up fast food. Eventually, we made the switch, though. What has really helped us is meal planning. It eliminates having to think of an idea for dinner on the spot, and actually lowered our grocery bill as well. When you plan your meals for the week, it’s easier to spread ingredients out over several meals. This eliminates wasted leftover. It also cuts down on trips to the grocery store.
Another thing that has saved us money is not buying packaged drinks. We stick with homemade lemonade, tea, coffee and water. Cutting out soda and other junk drinks has saved us a lot of money as well.
Thank you for the comprehensive list. It definitely gave me some ideas for scaling back our budget.

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JennCole July 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm

This is a wonderful article! We already do some of the things you mentioned to save money, but the article included a lot of suggestions that I’m excited to try. We have four children at home, and food is our highest monthly expense. I will definitely start making soup and burritos! The kids love both of those foods, and they would be able to make a healthy (and filling!) snack on their own. Thank you for the great suggestions!

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rzashida July 4, 2013 at 12:37 am

Couponing is helpful. There are freebie sites to help. Having your own edible garden is helpful and so is using a bike for short trips.

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cellphonehippie July 6, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I’d also add “shop at dollar stores”. I wouldn’t recommend buying food from dollar stores, but that’s just me. But a lot of other things you can get at dollar stores – craft materials, coat hangers, things that you would normally buy at a drugstore or convenience store for $5+, you can get for a dollar.

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Happyflowerlady July 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm

One of the ways that I like to save money, is to use coupons whenever I can, and also to look online for free samples of products that I use.
Sometimes the grocery store will put a product on clearance or close out, and if I find that kind of a sale, I will buy all of it that I can afford, assuming that it is a food that will store, like something in an airtight package, or in a can.
Sometimes, these close outs are simply because the manufacturer has revamped the packaging, or sizes of a product, so the store want sto get all of the old packaging off of their shelves, so they can restock with the new product, so there is nothing wrong or outdated with these products at all.

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