We all love to save money don’t we? Of course we do! In this post, I share51 different ways to save tons of money for you. These tips cover all categories – from shopping to automobile and even entertainment and debt. Really, there is something here for everyone.
So what are you waiting for, start checking out these 51 tips for saving a ton of money!
51 Tips To Save Tons of Money
1. Don’t Upgrade Your Cell Phone
When a new phone model comes out, you may be tempted to run out and buy it. This is not a wise move. First off, if you are in the middle of a contract, many times you will not be able to get the phone at the lower advertised price. You will have to pay the full price. And this price can be shocking.
For a new model that costs $199 with a new two year contract, you will pay the full price of $599 for the phone!! If you simply wait until your contract is up, then renew, you can get the phone for the lower price.
In addition, if it is a brand new model, it might have some glitches. There is an old saying that says when a new model comes out, wait until the next generation comes out to buy the current version. For as much testing the company does on the phone, it never is the same in the real world. Wait for the next version and avoid all the headaches.
Also by waiting, another model might come out that you like even more than the one you currently want. Simply wait and save some money.
Lastly, don’t just buy a new phone when you crack your phone screen. It’s much cheaper to get it fixed!
2. Use Discount Cell Phone Service
Instead of sticking with the big boys (Verizon, AT&T, etc.) and their large monthly bills for service, switch over to a discount provider. These days the smaller carriers have networks that rival the big players but don’t come with the price.
For example, I’ve been with Cricket now for over a year. They use AT&T cell towers so the coverage I get with them is exactly the same that I was getting when I was with AT&T. The catch: I am paying just $35 a month for service. That includes unlimited calls and texts and 2.5 GB of data. If you switch, you can earn a $25 account credit.
If you want to find some other potential deals and discounts, check out my resources page.
3. Buy Cell Phones Online
One final trick when it comes to cell phones. Most carriers are doing away with discounted phones when you sign up for a 2 year agreement. Instead of paying $200 for a new iPhone, you are paying $25 a month. Over 2 years this comes to $600 which is the price of a new phone without the discount.
You can easily get around this by purchasing your phone online. I’ve bought my new iPhone on ebay and bought my mother’s phone there as well. There is a risk to buying this way and I am a version behind, but the savings are substantial. Just make sure you ask questions and check out the return policy before placing a bid.
4. Send eCards Instead Of Paper Cards
Buying cards for special occasions cost a lot of money. Think about it: the average card today costs around $3. If you have a family of 4, and not counting relatives, you are buying 9 cards a year for birthdays and holidays. That’s $27 just for your family, and does not include any relatives.
In a year, the cost of cards can easily surpass $75. Save some money and go online and send them eCards instead. They are completely free and are available for any occasion. Plus, they get delivered to the recipients email instantly!
5. Buy Discount Cards
If you don’t want to deal with eCards as noted above, I have another option for you. Well, two really. First, get your cards at a dollar store. In my area, I get 3 cards for $1. Yeah, that $0.33 per card. While the selection is smaller, the savings are substantial.
Alternatively, you can make your own cards. Just get a piece of paper, fold it in half and grab some markers. It doesn’t have to be perfect, remember it is the thought that counts!
6. Save On Dental Work
Simply go to a dental school, where students perform the work while supervised by a dentist. You can go to the ADA website and click on Dental Schools to find one in your area. I’ve known a couple people who did this and they never complained about the service they got or later on. The work was always done right.
7. Save On Printer Ink
Simply switch the default font you use from Arial to Century Gothic. You won’t notice the difference, but your wallet will. Studies show that by switching to this font saves a person around $20 a year if you print 25 pages a week.
In addition to this, check out ink recycling. Some stores offer a coupon when you bring in your used ink cartridges to recycle.
8. Make Your Own Mouthwash
Many mouthwash products on the market contain alcohol. Not only does this dry out your mouth, leading to bad breath (the mouthwash simply covers up the smell temporarily), there are studies linking alcohol to oral cancer. To save money and be healthier, buy a container of salt and simply add it to some warm water and use that as your mouthwash. All dentists recommend it.
9. Unclog Drains Naturally
If you have a slow running drain, pour some baking soda into the drain and then add some vinegar. You will get a foamy reaction (which is fun to watch) that will break down the clog. After 15 minutes, run some hot water down the drain for 5 minutes and the clog should be cleared.
If you have a bad clog, you might need to repeat this process a couple of times.
10. Remove Lime Cheaply
If you have hard water or lime buildup on your faucets, don’t run to the store and pay a hefty price for some dangerous chemicals. Try the natural way first. Get a bowl and fill it with vinegar. Then place the faucet or shower head in the vinegar overnight. It will naturally break down the deposits.
In the morning, you may need to get an old toothbrush and scrub a little but you will see that most of the buildup is gone. (But if you have a really bad case, you might need to let it sit for a little longer.)
11. Take Water Wherever You Go
Whenever you go out for the day shopping or running errands, take a bottle of water with you. It is free, which means you will save the $1-2 it would cost you to buy a bottle. Plus, it keeps you hydrated, which will keep you feeling full, saving you money by not eating out.
I personally use this Camelback water bottle. It is insulated so my water stays colder longer on hot days.
12. Trade In Old Electronics
If you have an old printer, VCR, or cell phone collecting dust, you can go online to trade them in. Many sites will send you cash or gift cards. Check out sites like Wire Fly Trade Ins or Gazelle. They will give you an estimate of the value of your item and you will send it in for free. After inspection, they will verify the price they will pay for the item. If you don’t want to go the online route, stores like Amazon and Best Buy also have trade in programs.
At the very least, don’t toss it into the trash. Take it to Best Buy where they will recycle it for you at no cost.
By trading in these things, you will free up space, which can have a big impact on saving you money in the long run.
13. Sell Unwanted Books Online
Sites such as Cash 4 Books and Sell Back Your Book will buy your old novels. Simply type in the ISBN and see what they will give you for it. If you agree to sell it, you print out a prepaid mailing label, box up the books, and ship them out. You can choose either a check or credit to your PayPal account for payment.
Use this as a lesson to think twice before you spend money on a book.
14. Rent Books
To avoid having to sell old books like in the above example, you can just rent a book instead of buying it. Check out your local library or even see if they have an agreement with Amazon. More and more libraries have deals with Amazon to allow you to borrow a book digitally and read it on your tablet.
15. Get Digital Books Cheap
If you shop on Amazon, you know that many times the Kindle version of a book is cheaper than the physical copy. But you can save even more money on that digital version. Next time you are buying something on Amazon, look at the shipping options. Many times they offer a basic shipping option. In return for choosing this option, they give you a digital credit of $1.
You can use this credit to buy a digital book or some music. If you can wait to get the item choosing this option to get $1 makes sense. Just note that this credit usually expires in about a month, so you will want to use it quickly.
And for those of you who don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry. You can download the free Kindle app on all of your devices. I read Kindle books all of the time on my iPad.
16. Get Cash Back When Shopping Online
If you do a fair amount of shopping online, you can easily save money. My favorite way to do this is through ebates. When I shop through their portal, I earn anywhere from 1%-25% cash back on my purchases. Every few months, they send me my cash via PayPal. It is so easy, you are crazy not to be using them.
Signing up is free and when you do, you get a free $10 gift card!
17. Use Online Coupons
In addition to using ebates, you should also be checking for online coupons as well. There are a handful of sites that offer online coupon codes to enter at checkout to save yourself some money. You can find a large list of sites to check for coupons here.
As a last resort, if you can’t find any coupons, is to do a quick search using the retailers name and the term “coupon” to try to find a discount.
18. Pay Off Auto Loan Quickly
When you have a loan on your car, your insurance company, like Liberty Mutual and Allstate, will require that you have full insurance coverage for your car. The quicker you pay off the loan not only saves you on interest charges, but will allow you to reduce your auto coverage, saving you money. Of course, reducing coverage assumes you have a healthy emergency fund to cover you if the unexpected happens.
19. Compare Costs
If you pay out of pocket for health related expenses, such as x-rays, shop around. In most cases an x-ray at a hospital costs 20-50% more than if you go to an outpatient center. Most people do not realize this. When your doctor requires you to get testing done, simply call the local hospital and the local outpatient centers and ask what they charge.
20. Pay Deductible Annually
When you pay your insurance premiums, be it auto or life, make sure you sign up to pay the premiums on an annual basis. In most cases, the insurance carrier will charge you a fee for the “convenience” to pay monthly. Simply create a budget so that you can pay on an annual basis and save yourself from the fee.
21. Use Your Cruise Control
When you are driving on the highway and get to your desired speed, or the speed that traffic is moving at if it is slower than your desired speed, set your cruise control on. You will save gas by limiting your acceleration and deceleration of speed. You will in turn get higher miles per gallon, saving money.
22. Find Local Independent Shops
Local independent shops charge less than the dealers to for working on your car. Most dealers may charge close to $70 per hour for labor. A good independent shop might charge $40 per hour. That is a $30 savings per hour! In addition, your local shops may save you some money by using parts that are used instead of new.
Areas where this may save you is if you were in an accident and need a new tail light. Instead of spending over $100 for a new one, the independent dealer may be able to get a used one for half that cost.
Check online for local shops as well as the yellow pages. Some may even specialize in your make of car.
23. Find Out The Cost Of Car Repair Online
The website Repair Pal will offer you a free quote on what it should cost to fix your car. The site uses surveys it collects from thousands of shops around the country. By using this site, you will have a better idea if you are getting ripped off.
24. Use Rags While Dusting
When you dust, find an old shirt you don’t wear any longer and use it as a rag. Many people use paper towels and throw them out which costs money. You can reuse the shirt a few times, then add it in with your laundry and use it all over again.
25. Turn Off Your Power Strips
Not many people are aware of the fact that many of your electronics go into standby mode when you turn them off. They don’t turn off, rather they enter into “sleep” mode. While in sleep mode, they still require electricity. If you have a power strip with everything plugged into it, there should be a power button on it. Simply switch that button to off when you are done watching TV. When you want to watch it again, simple flip the switch back on.
Please note that if you have a cable box, you should not connect it to the power strip if you plan on using this tip. The cable box keeps time for many people and gets updates from the cable company. By keeping this plugged in separately, you ensure that you do not have to reset the time constantly and you allow the device to receive updates.
26. Wash Laundry Using Only Cold Water
While many articles of clothing instruct you to wash them in warm or hot water, it will not harm the garment if you wash it in cold water instead. It will still come out clean. By using only cold water, you do not have to use the energy needed by your hot water tank to heat the water as often. The process of heating your water costs you money. The less you have to heat your water, the more money you will save!
27. Take Advantage Of Your Birthday
Many retailers and restaurants offer discounts and free food on your birthday. You can check out an expansive list here. In some cases you do have to sign up for their free club which means getting emails, but this is a small price to pay in order to get some free food!
28. Use Microwave To Boil Water
When you use your microwave to boil water as opposed to your stove-top, you’ll use 60% less energy and will boil water much faster!
29. Go Meatless
Buying meat at the grocery store is expensive. Once a week, trying going meatless for a day. Have a salad for lunch and maybe make some soup for dinner. You’d be surprised as how much money you save over time by doing this trick.
If you really want to be adventurous, try going meatless a couple times a week.
30. Use The Right Sized Pot Or Pan
When you are cooking on your stove-top, be sure that the size of the pot or pan matches the size of the heating element. If you use a 6 inch pot on an 8 inch heating element, you’ll be wasting over 40% of the energy.
31. Get A Rain Barrel
Buy a barrel and connect it to your home’s storm gutters. You can then use the collected water to water the lawn or garden, wash your car, etc. Just make sure you keep a lid on it so that it doesn’t become a breeding ground for mosquitoes!
32. Use A Portable Electric Heater
If you have gas heat, to save money on the high cost of filling your tank every winter, buy a small portable electric heater. You can use it for a few hours every night to heat your house instead of relying on the furnace. The cost of the electric you will use will be much less than the cost of the gas.
33. Turn On The Central Air Fan On Your Thermostat
In the winter, you can turn on the fan on your thermostat to blow the warm air throughout your house. Obviously, when the heat is on, the fan is blowing the warm around. But you can keep the fan on after the heater turns off to continue circulating the air, thus keeping the warm air moving around your house.
34. Close Vents And Doors
In both the summer and winter, there is no need to heat or cool your entire house when you only use certain rooms. To save money from heating and cooling them, simply close the vents in those rooms as well as the doors.
35. Have Friends Night In
Building on the previous tip, if you are staying in, invite some friends over. Play video games or board games, or even watch a movie.
My friends and I do this twice a month. One week we will go over to their house, they will make us dinner and we’ll play board games all night. The next time, they come to my place, I make dinner and we play video games. We have a great time and save money!
36. Rent Instead Of Buying
Are you doing a project around the house and need a tool? Instead of going to the hardware store to buy an item you will rarely use again, consider renting it for the weekend. There are many rental shops popping up all over the place. The savings for going this route could be substantial.
In the event you find there is no place to rent the tool you need, consider asking your neighbors. You never know if they will have what you need or maybe could offer an alternative too.
37. Join A Warehouse Club
Buying in bulk can save you incredible amounts of money. Granted many of these clubs require an annual membership fee, however if you shop there regularly, it is well worth it.
Keep an eye on prices. While there are plenty of great deals, sometimes the prices are not cheaper as compared to the grocery store. Next time you go to the grocery store, make sure you take note of the prices for the items you buy. Then when you go to the warehouse club, you can compare deals.
As an added note, when comparing prices, do not look at the total price, but rather the unit price. This unit price is the true price for the item, multiplied by the size of the item.
38. Shop At The Dollar Store
While not everything at the dollar store is worth buying – some of the products are cheaply made – you can get many things for a fraction of what grocery and drug stores charge. For example, you can buy greeting cards for $1 or less. You can buy gift wrapping and other decorations for cheap.
Take a trip and check out the things they have and see how much you could save. Just be sure to take into account the quality of the items as well.
39. Shop After The Fact
If you are smart with your shopping, you can save tons of money by buying late. The obvious example here is with holiday decorations. After the holiday, stores drastically reduce prices. You can stock up for next year at half the cost.
But it doesn’t end there. You can do the same thing with clothes. Just buy at the end of the season. Since stores tend to have these clearance sales before the season actually ends, you can get some wear out of you new clothes this year.
You can even do the same thing with cars. Wait until the model year is up and then consider buying for a nice discount.
40. Use Reusable Grocery Bags
Not only is using canvas bags for groceries a wise move for the environment, but it also saves you money. Many stores, even national chain stores have begun to offer you discounts if you use reusable bags for your groceries and other items. In most cases, you will save $0.05 per bag.
Assume you use 5 bags per week grocery shopping. That comes to $0.25 per week or $13.00 a year. Now you are telling me, that is not worth it for so little money. Well if you invest that $13.00 at 5% and add the $13.00 you save each year thereafter, in 25 years you have just over $700. Again, not a million, but that is just with $13!! Start adding all the other money you save from these tips into the mix and watch how fast your money grows.
41. Buy Torn Bags Of Mulch
Home centers will set aside the torn bags of mulch and then sell these bags at a discount. To have the best chance of getting these bags is at the end of Saturday or Sunday. Simply bring some duct tape to seal the bag and a tarp to keep your car clean.
42. Think Outside The Box
The previous couple examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to thinking outside the box to save tons of money. You should always be looking at different ways to try to save some money.
For example, instead of buying the expensive rock salt to melt ice in your driveway, have you considered using water softener salt? It does the same thing and costs much less.
Or have you thought about creating your own seasoning mixes instead of paying for the pre-mixed packages at the grocery store?
When you stop and think for a little, you can come up with many alternative ways to save a few dollars here and there.
43. Buy Gift Cards At A Discount
You can find gift cards for close to 30% off their face value (so you would pay $35 for a $50 card) at sites like GiftCardGranny. There you can buy gift cards at a discount or sell unwanted gift cards for cash.
You can also get gift cards for a discount on ebay and craigslist, but they aren’t as safe as GiftCardGranny.
44. Team With Neighbors When Buying In Bulk
If you live alone, you can still take advantage of shopping at warehouse clubs. Simply team up with a neighbor. You can split the costs and the food. Even if you aren’t single, you can still team up with neighbors to save money by buying in bulk.
45. Team With Neighbors Trash
To save money on garbage, team up with your neighbors. You can share the service and split the bill. I have a friend that does this, but instead of paying, he mows the small yard for his neighbor during the summer.
46. Use Plastic Grocery Bags
If you have a stockpile of plastic grocery bags, you can use them to save some money. For example, when shipping things, you can use the plastic bags as filler to protect the contents of the package.
You can also use them when scooping kitty litter or when you take your dog for a walk.
47. Create A Budget
Yes, a budget can help you to save some money. When you see where you money is going, you may be surprised. That $3 here and there really does add up.
48. “Like” Products On Facebook
If you are on Facebook, make it a point to “like” the products you use most often. Many companies have begun to send coupons to those people that “like” them on the site. It’s a free and easy way to get coupons to save money.
49. Contribute To Your 401k Plan
When you save money in your 401k plan, that money is taken pre-tax. This means there is less money for the government to tax, which means you take home more money than you otherwise would.
For example, let’s say you earn $40,000 a year are paid biweekly and are in the 25% tax bracket. If you contribute nothing to your 401k plan, you pay roughly $385 in taxes each paycheck and take home about $1,150.
But if you contribute 10% to your 401k plan, you pay less than $350 in taxes each paycheck and take home a little more than $1,025. When you look at how much you bring home plus what you saved in your 401k, it comes to $1,190 or $40 more than had you not saved anything.
50. Make Savings Automatic
If you want to save more money, make it so that you save without any effort on your part. Well, aside from an initial 5 minutes, there is nothing else to be done.
You can do this manually by logging into your bank account and setting up a recurring transfer to your savings account. Or you could have it done for you. I use Digit for this reason and have saved close to $1,000 using them. You can read all about it here.
51. Think Twice
Before making any purchase, think about it. Wait a few days to see if you still want the item or not. Many times you won’t. You will realize that the advertisement you saw had you emotionally buy in to wanting the item, but when you allowed yourself some time to think about it, you realized you didn’t really need the item.
This trick is by far the most important one and if you only choose to do one, this would be the one to focus on.
So there are 51 ways to save tons of money. As usual, when you think outside the box, you can find often overlooked ways to save a good amount of money. Take this time to think things through and I bet you too can come up with various ways to save tons of money.
Readers, what additional tips do you have to save tons of money?
[Photo Credit: Maklay62]
Hi, my name is Jon and I run Penny Thots. I’ve been interested in personal finance since high school and love writing and talking about it. You can learn more about me in the Authors section of this site.