Every now and then I have a month where my spending gets a little out of hand and I have to play catch up to get back on track. Spending money can be a lot of fun, but on the flip side trying to save money can be difficult and sometimes seem impossible.
I recently spent several hours thinking and researching creative ways to save money including some of the best ways to save money for your future. I was tired of looking at the same old ideas of how to save money and not feeling inspired to do so.
Many of you who are regular readers know that I am a money conscious person who enjoys sharing what does and does not work in my own personal finances. I like sharing ceative money saving tips that can help you to live a better life.
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Here are creative ways to save money
1. Easy ways to save money every month- trick yourself into saving
This is something that has worked really well for me. I like to “stash” money away into a savings account directly from my paycheck. It’s almost as if I never knew that money even existed. Most employers have an option to choose a percent that you would like deposited from your paycheck into a savings account each pay cycle.
2. Unplug everything
I love being more environmentally conscious and saving money each month. By unplugging unused appliances you can cut down on your energy bill. People don’t realize that when they are not watching TV or charging their phone they are still using energy. This is called vampire power. You won’t save hundreds each year but this is a very easy task for you to do.
3. Find an accountability partner
Maintaining a social life while on a budget can be tough. I have found that having an accountability partner makes it much easier. Many people I surround myself with live comfortably and enjoy spending money on adventures and evenings out.
This can make it difficult when trying to save money on a tight budget. I have made it clear to many of my friends that there will be times when I’d love to go out but I simply can’t because it is not in my budget to do so. Having a couple of friends who understand and also practice this way of living has made saying “no” much easier.
4. Use professionals-in-training
When I lived in Seattle I loved taking advantage of beauty schools to get my haircuts, pedicures, and massages. I highly recommend checking out your local cosmetology, or massage schools to see what services they offer.
The best thing about using these places is that they always have a preceptor close by to guide the student if they need direction. By having your service performed at a school you are paying half price for the service and receive two professionals looking over you rather than just one.
5. Active living is cheaper and healthier living
Being active pays off in so many different ways. Not only are you creating a better you by staying healthy and fit. You are occupying your time with health and fitness which leaves less time to go shopping or hit up the bars. Who wants to be hungover while working out on a Saturday morning?
6. Try vegetarian
There are so many different diets out there. Whatever your dietary habits are see if you can cut out meat once a week. A plant-based diet of vegetables, beans, soy, and rice is much cheaper and also very healthy.
7. Pack a lunch
I know there are many of you who have no problem dishing out $10-$15 a day on a lunch during your work week. But if you are trying to save money this is not helping you.
By packing your lunch you are guaranteed to eat healthier and less likely to hit up the vending machine when you are feeling hangry. By bringing your food you can save at least $100 a month, this adds up to a whopping $1200 a year.
8. Drink more water
9. Pack your own water bottle
Speaking of drinking more water make sure you have a reusable water bottle with you at all times. Have any of you been at the airport and realized you forgot to bring your own water bottle? I have! And I wanted to kick myself.
I absolutely hate purchasing water. Especially when it’s expensive H20 such as at the airport or sporting events. Make it a habit to always have a water bottle with you. Not only will it save you money but it is much more environmentally friendly than those plastic bottles from the store.
10. Slow down, don’t drive so fast
Many freeways throughout the country have raised their maximum speed limits. Do you know what comes with this? Increased use of fuel.
Your mileage drops considerably when you go over 60 mph. According to studies backed by the Department of Energy, cars mpg ratings are marketed and sold at 55 mph. As speed increases you pay about 20 cents more per gallon for each mph you go over 60. Over time, that’s a lot of extra fuel, and cash!
11. Make a drink budget
People spend a good amount of time creating budgets that account for many things in their lives. But it’s not very often that someone creates a budget specific to their beverage intake. If you are a person who habitually enjoys getting a drink (coffee, beer or cocktail) perhaps you should consider creating a drink budget.
I must say for the alcohol drinkers out there following a drink budget may take a bit of willpower. Once a person begins drinking their judgments become a bit impaired and their ability to make good decisions diminishes each time they order another round.
If you are one of those people who is faced with making bad decisions while out with friends perhaps you should leave your cards at home and only bring cash. When the cash runs out, that means you are out. It’s time to go home.
12. Pay something off, but keep paying for it
I learned this from an older friend of mine and it’s helped me quite a bit. This method is perfect to use when you have reached your final payment on a significant priced item such as a car.
After making the last payment make it your mission to continue putting money away for the next similar priced item that you will need down the road. Many people rejoice in the fact that they have paid off a large priced item and begin spending money frivolously. Put that money away for when you really need it. If you can save a large chunk of change you will be able to walk in, pay cash, and have bargaining power the next time you purchase something.
13. Find an inconvenient bank to save your money
Keeping your money in an inconvenient savings account makes it more difficult for you to withdraw money on a whim. I know this sounds kind of silly but it really can help. For those of you who like to make impromptu purchases give this a shot. Putting your money into something that is difficult to get to decreases the chances that you will be able to access it and spend unnecessary money.
I know this sounds like some crazy outrageous way to save money but it really doesn’t have to be looked at like that. Remember we are just trying to find different money saving tips to work in your life.
14. Open a roundup savings account
This is an easy way to save money every month I absolutely love our roundup savings account. We use Acorns and the money gets deposited into my secret savings account. Everything is automated and I don’t have to do anything to save a good amount of money. The best part about using Acorns is that you can decide on your roundup amount.
15. 401k Matching
Another easy way to save money every month is by taking advantage of any 401k matching programs that your employer offers. Your company is essentially offering you free money so don’t leave it on the table. The way the matching program works is that if you contribute the designated match amount such as 6% your company will match your 6% contribution.
16. Meal plan
I know meal planning doesn’t sound like very much fun but it can save you a significant amount of money, especially if you are looking for ways to save money on a tight budget
If you are struggling with ideas the $5 meal plan can take the stress out of planning.
17. Make more money
When all else fails it may be time to make more money. I know, making more money isn’t as easy as it sounds. But the number of side jobs that are income producing is growing every day. Click here to learn about some of my favorite ways for making money on your own schedule.
18. Shop for things when they’re out of season
Many of us don’t think about buying useful items during the off seasons. But if you can train yourself to purchase things that are out of season you have the potential to save a good chunk of change. Check those clearance racks for a coat during the summer months.
Have you ever noticed the number of clearance items the day after Christmas? Take advantage of this time to stock up on needed items for the next year.
19. Commit to lowering your grocery bill
Make it your goal to spend $25-$50 less this month while at the grocery store. Take that money you saved and put it towards your retirement account or paying off debt.
20. Do fun activities that are free
Create a list of inexpensive or free activities that you can do with your friends or family, instead of going out to eat or shopping (examples: hiking, fishing, and game night). Here’s a list of creative ways to save money by taking part in a no-spend weekend.
21. Ditch your expensive cell phone plan
Have you heard of Republic Wireless and their inexpensive cell phone plans? They offer cell phone plans with no overages, no activation fees, no roaming charges, and no contracts. You can easily switch your plan up to twice a month if you need to. Republic Wireless rates start at $15 for unlimited talk and text and $5 per GB of LTE cell data!
22. Stop collecting, and start selling
Who needs more stuff anyhow? I get stressed just thinking of a cluttered living space. Make it a habit to donate an item every time you purchase something new. New shirt? Then you must get rid of an old one. New iPhone? Sell your old one on Gazelle. Gazelle is a great place for selling old phones and making money.
23. Make your own gifts instead of buying stuff from the store
The upside to giving something personalized is that it will leave an impact on the person you are giving the gift to. Making your own gifts can also get your creative juices flowing and feel good for your soul.
24. Write a list before you go shopping – and stick to it
If you are not careful about your food budget you can easily end up spending way too much at the grocery store. I know because I have been there. Being prepared with a list will help you to stay on track and help you to not overspend.
25. Invite friends over instead of going out
People enjoy spending time with the people they care about. You don’t have to go out and spend money to create lasting memories Why not order in or make your own food and have all of your friends over.
26. Repair clothing instead of tossing it
I know that we aren’t all Susie homemakers. I am definitely not a seamstress by any means. But do you know what I have done in a pinch? I have gone to Joannes fabric and purchased fabric glue to hem (fabric glue) the bottom of my pants to fit my height. For any of you savvy seamstresses out there please don’t judge.
27. Don’t spend big money entertaining your children
I know I am not the best person to be giving advice in this area because I don’t have children of my own, but I have been around my fair share of kids.
Through my time spent with various families I have found (without harsh judgement on any of my friends who are parents) that the best behaved children are the ones who have learned to entertain themselves. Children need their downtime and they don’t need to be stimulated by activity all the time. Give your children the opportunity to reboot and gain creativity through free time.
28. Negotiate rates with your credit card company or look for a balance transfer
Take some time to contact your credit card company and ask them to reduce your interest. This doesn’t always happen on the first try so practice patience and give it a couple of shots if necessary.
If you need a script to get you started try this
“Hello, my name is _____. I’ve been a customer of yours since ___, and I’m interested in securing a lower interest rate. I’ve made an effort to make on-time payments, and I spend ___ dollars per [month/year] with this card. I’ve recently been offered a new credit card with [competing credit card company]. It has a similar structure to yours, but they offer ___% interest rates. I’d like to stay with you based on our history, but the new offer is enticing. Would you be willing to match their offer?”
29. Avoid convenience foods, packaged foods, and fast food
Everything is focused around convenience. Many grocery stores are expanding their pre-packaged food sections to make things quick and easy. My suggestion is to opt for food options that are not pre-packaged and avoid
30. Make a double or triple batch of a casserole or soup
This trick has saved me when times get busy and I am not prepared. You can save time and money by making large casseroles or batches of soup that you freeze for another day. There is nothing wrong with freezing a meal. This tip will be a lifesaver when you are short on time and looking for something quick and healthy to eat.
31. Cancel unused memberships
Review your statements for any subscription services you are no longer using. Cancel all services that you are not taking full advantage of. It’s easy to overlook small charges each month, but over time, these can cost you a big chunk of cash.
32. Buy used when you can
Have you checked out any of the consignment stores lately? They have really come along way. You can save 50% by purchasing from consignment stores.
33. Try generic brands of items you buy regularly
Purchasing name brand groceries over generic can really add up over time. Choosing the cheaper option can result in over 25% savings. Based on this price comparison, a person can save at least $60 when choosing the generic brand over name brands each month.
We recently starting using Brandless for some of our groceries and absolutely love it. Brandless is an organic, fair trade, and vegan online retailer who sells everything for only $3.
34. Learn how to dress minimally
Dressing as a minimalist does not mean dressing frumpy or being unstylish. Dressing minimally means you are conscious of the items you purchase so you are able to maximize their use.
35. Ditch the car
This is a good tip for those of you who are trying to save money on a tight budget. Search for alternative methods such as public transportation, carpool groups, or even better ride your bike, jog, or walk to work. Not only does driving cost you gas money but it costs you wear and tear on your vehicle.
36. Learn about the benefits your company offers
Many people who work for companies that offer benefits to their employees forget to take full advantage of all that is offered. Several companies offer matches for 401k’s, discounted cell phone services, mental health counseling, and even insurance plans for pets, cars, and houses.
37. Shop around for the best insurance rates
I recommend that you review all insurance rates yearly. By staying up to date of new offerings that are available you are able to keep your insurance rates competitive while saving money each month.
38. Keep your freezer full
Shop the deals at the grocery store and stock up when you see a sale. Did you know that keeping your freezer full will save you money on electricity by keeping all of your items colder?
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I would love to hear of any other tips and tricks you have found to save you money. Do you have any outrageous ways to save money? How about easy ways to save money on a tight budget?
Comment below and I’ll be sure to add them to the list.