51 Super Easy Ways to Save Money
51 Super Easy Ways to Save Money
I love cutting costs anyway that I can.
Having a growing family and mostly one income, has not allowed for a ton of wiggle room over the years in the finance department. As the main shopper in the house (groceries, household items, clothing, etc.) I have had to be creative with how I spend the money and how I cut costs. I know that one or two things may not seem like much, but all the small steps together, can equal big results over the years.
These are 51 things that I have done over the years to save money.
1. Utilize the library
As a family, we have saved so much money borrowing from the library instead of purchasing books and the great thing is you can try out a book before you purchase it to see if it’s something you would bother reading again or not.
2. Make your own beverages at home
This goes for hot and cold beverages. When it’s hot out I have a desire for an iced drink. When it’s cold I want a hot chocolate or chai latte. It’s so easy to make these at home and much more cost effective.
3. Pack snacks and water when out and about to eliminate the need to purchase snacks
This has been a huge one when going out with the kiddos. It never fails that someone is hungry or thirsty as soon as we’re out…even when they’ve just had a meal.
Pack something that is portable and something you don’t have to worry about keeping hot or cold; such as nuts, fruit or bars.
4. Cut back on meat and eat more beans
This has been a huge money saver for us and there are so many different bean recipes available. Even adding two bean meals a week can make a difference.
5. Workout at home
Between YouTube, free workouts (this is my favourite site for free workouts), home gym equipment and workout videos a person could save a lot of money by cancelling their gym membership…especially if they don’t actually use it ;)
6. Declutter and stay organized
Being organized and consistently decluttering helps you keep track of your belonging and what you have so you aren’t buying doubles of things.
7. Borrow occasional use, big ticket items
Borrowing instead of purchasing some items is another way to save cash. For example, I don’t can food very often, so instead of purchasing all the equipment for the once in a while, I borrow it when I need it.
8. Buy second hand
There are so many great things at yard sales or on craigslist. From clothes and baby equipment to furniture and appliances. Shopping this way can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. A word of caution though, it can be easy to spend more than what you need because the prices are so good. Make a list and stick to it.
9. Shop thrift stores
Same as above.
10. Use products up
How often do we have multiple items of the same thing being used at the same time? Have you ever had 4 or more bottles of shampoo on the side of the tub or shower? I’ve been there! We get a new product and instead of using up the first product we go right into the new one, eventually throwing out the little that was left in the package. Obviously if something isn’t working, get rid of it, but if it’s just a matter of a shiny new item, make sure to use up the original.
11. Use leftovers and reinvent them
No more throwing away good food. If you don’t want to eat chili 3 days in a row, then either freeze it or reinvent it as chili cheese buns, or make a casserole with it. Food doesn’t have to have a specific name. Often my kids ask me “what’s for dinner?” and it’s something I’m throwing together that doesn’t have a specific name like lasagna or pizza. I say “food”.
If after a couple nights of dinner, you have a bunch of odds and ends of meals left, have a smorgasbord of leftovers.
One night for dinner we had lasagna, pizza, oatmeal, pancakes and salad. I know it’s weird, but we used it up and nothing went to waste. That felt like a #momwin to me; fed everyone, didn’t have to cook and saved money by using up the leftovers.
12. Say no to cable
In our 13 ½ years of marriage we have never had cable. Not only do we save money, but we get a lot more done. Yes, we do watch a couple shows that are free on a Canadian site that we have watched at one time or another and once in a while we’ll do Netflix, but we have been able to save by not having cable.
13. Sell items on eBay, craigslist and local marketplace sites.
This is such a great way to make some extra money. I just recently sold off a bunch of stuff my kids weren’t using or had outgrown and it paid for groceries. Woohoo!
14. Sign up for customer reward programs
This can be really beneficial if it’s store you shop at often.
15. Shop with a list (groceries, thrift stores, yard sales)
Staying focused and only purchasing what is needed is a great money saving tip. I can’t tell you how often I would grocery shop and grab random items each time because they were a good price. Or I would grab items that weren’t needed, while forgetting what was needed, because I didn’t have my list
16. Eat in instead of going out or getting takeout
If you eat out often, this is a huge money saver. I recently did a price comparison for pizza takeout and homemade pizza. I could’ve saved even more if I had made the crust from scratch.
Costco has packages of yummy pizza crust kits that come with 4 crusts. They were on sale, so I grabbed 3. I decided to make 12 pizzas to freeze.
Crust 3pkg’s of 4 x $6.99 (on sale, regular $8.99)
Turkey sandwich meat $14.99
My total was just under $60 for 12 pizzas, which is about $5 a pizza.
When we order takeout pizza, we usually get 2-3 and they are at least $20 a piece. 12 pizzas at $20 each is $240. Ouch!! I saved us $180 dollars…yay me!! ;)
This can be true for so many things. If you price out making homemade burgers and fries compared to eating them out, not only is it cheaper, but it’s healthier and you know what’s going into your food
17. Do free or inexpensive things for entertainment
Sometimes I have parent guilt when I think about all the things we don’t do as a family. We have never been skiing, or on a fancy vacation, but there are a lot of free and inexpensive things to do. Our favourite is going for a walk. We live in a beautiful city, with many walking trails and paths. It’s nice to just get out, away from the housework as a family, enjoy each other’s company and get some sunshine.
18. Turn off lights
As a grown up now paying the bills, I understand why parents are after their kids to turn off the lights when they leave a room. Every little bit counts.
19. Turn down the heat or A/C
If it’s cold, it’s easy to add another layer of clothing. When it’s hot out, keep the A/C down a bit and get comfortable with the new temperature.
20. Buy generic brands
Generic brands are usually (not always) just as good as the name brand stuff, but they save money by not advertising the generic brands, which in turn can help you cut costs on your grocery bill.
21. If you have to buy organic, stick with the dirty dozen
As much as I would love to buy all organic, it isn’t possible at this time in our lives. I do what I can with the budget I have. There are some items that we buy organic and others we don’t. I try to stick to the dirty dozen.
22. Avoid places that are your weakness (Homesense, Marshalls, Winners, Target)
How often have you gone into your favourite place to “browse”, but you end up coming out with a thing or two? Nothing you really need, you just like it? Hmmmm…maybe that’s just me.
I know my favourite stores are a temptation for me to buy. So, unless I am looking for something specific, I stay out of those stores.
23. Ask yourself why you’re buying something and if you really need it?
If you don’t have a good reason and purpose for the item, reconsider if you should be buying it at all.
24. Ask yourself how many hours you have to work to pay it off, and is it worth it?
This one has stopped me in my tracks from purchasing something. Now that I am working a couple times a week, I compare what I am purchasing to how much I am making per hour and ask myself it it’s worth working that many hours to pay it off. I have passed on many things (even things I thought were a “need”) with this comparison method.
25. Say no to magazine subscriptions
Magazines are available at the library, so save yourself some money and borrow them instead.
26. Dress minimally and implement a capsule wardrobe
Experts say most people wear 20-30% of their wardrobe and the rest is wasted. Instead of letting your wardrobe go to waste, purchase pieces that you actually wear. Another great way of making sure you use what you have is by implementing a capsule wardrobe.
Definition of a capsule wardrobe:
It's a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you completely LOVE to wear that work interchangeably in your wardrobe.
Find out more about how to create your own capsule wardrobe here.
27. Buy staples in bulk
Buying in bulk works great for food, if you use it up in time. If you don’t then it’s still a waste of money.
Household staples that don’t go bad (laundry detergent, toilet paper, etc.) are great to stock up in bulk to save money in the long run.
28. Consolidate your debt
Consolidating debt onto one card or one credit line can help you to pay it down faster.
Transportation and lodging are two of the biggest expense when it comes to vacations. Why not cut the costs and have a staycation? Play the tourist and plan some fun outings and activities. To save yourself from working too much on your vacation, plan to eat out and save yourself some clean up. As the one who does most of the cooking in our home, the eating out is the part I look forward to the most on vacation.
30. Pay bills online or set up automatic withdrawals
Save late fees by having your bills paid on time and save on stamps. Some companies also charge extra for paper bills, so having it paid online or automatically will save that fee as well.
31. Switch banks or account type
Shop around a bit when it comes to doing your banking and compare prices. We have a mortgage with one bank that tried to convince us to move our personal accounts over from another bank. When we compared rates for a basic chequing and savings account, it just didn’t make sense. The bank we are at now has no monthly fees for our personal account and free e-transfers. Our mortgage bank has fees for EVERYTHING!!
32. Negotiate new rates on your credit card
It’s always worth a try to ask and negotiate.
33. Negotiate with your phone and internet provider
We have been with the same phone/internet company for over 10 years. I noticed that their competitor was having a great deal for new customers. With that information, I called my phone company and told them I was considering switching companies unless they could offer me a better rate. They started with 15%...I told them it wasn’t enough. Then they went to 25%...still not enough. I asked to speak to a supervisor. It was an hour and a half process, but eventually I got it down by 50%!!! That was a huge savings and well worth the time spent making the call.
34. Meal plan
Meal planning helps you stay focused when shopping because you know what you’re buying for and it keeps you from buying convenience or takeout because you forgot to plan.
35. Eat the pantry
Ok, so maybe not the pantry itself, but what about the odds and ends that are in there? Dried beans. Can of chicken. Be creative and use it up.
36. Eat cheaper meals as often as you can
Here is a list of $5 meal ideas to get you started.
37. Plan for last minute meals
I don’t know about you, but when I’ve had a long day out of the house or the fridge is pretty empty, those tend to be the days I need fast and easy meals, but I know that ordering out is not budget friendly. If I prepare for those times ahead of time, we still save my sanity, but we also save $$. My favourite meal to make ahead that is quick and easy is pizza. I make 12 at a time and freeze them for those days I don’t feel like cooking or the fridge is needing to be restocked.
38. Use a slow cooker
Slow cookers are great for cooking tough meat cuts, which are less expensive and for cooking beans and legume, which are super budget friendly and require longer cooking times.
39. Eat locally and in season
Purchasing local produce direct from the farmer is so much cheaper than buying at the store. Not only is it cheaper, but everything is picked ripe and fresh.
40. Cut out bad habits
Habits can be expensive and depending on what it is, can damage your health. Cut costs, by cutting the habit.
41. Maintain your vehicle
This isn’t necessarily one I would think of, but my hubby does. Keeping your vehicle well maintained, helps reduce costs. Here is how to do that.
42. Maintain appliances
Same as above. For specific ways on how to maintain each of your appliances, google it.
43. Downgrade your phone, cell and internet
Go with as basic of a package or service as possible.
44. Wash laundry in cold water
45. Simplify your hobbies
Hobbies are great, but they can be money wasters. Keep tabs on what you are buying and limit yourself to 2-3 hobbies to keep costs down.
46. Make use of clothing hand me downs
47. Wash your own car
48. Do you own mani’s and pedi’s
Having a get together? Have everyone bring something to contribute to the meal. It’s a savings for everyone.
50. Skip the drinks
Drinks can add a large chunk to the bill. Cut the drinks and go for water with lemon or lime wedges instead.
51. Share a dessert
Dessert is always fun when eating out. Cut costs and calories by splitting a dessert.
There you have it! 51 ways to save money. These are simple ideas that anyone can do to cut costs.
What are your favourite ways to save? Comment below with your ideas.