Finding ways to save money is something I often put on the back burner because it seems like too much work.
We’re already working hard to put food on the table and on top of that we also have to keep ourselves from overspending? Well, yes, yes we do.
The good news is that there are tons of simple ways to change your financial habits to build up your savings and live less worried about money overall. And this is regardless of your income.
Now, for some, the word frugal (a word you’ll see often paired with saving) is a scary thing they wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.
But living frugally doesn’t necessarily have to mean giving up your Starbucks run. It might just mean being introduced to new ways of saving or simply doing more of what’s already working.
Related: How To Save Money On Organic Meat
So enough babbling, how can you save some more money and improve your finances with small lifestyle changes? Here are 53 ways to save money on a tight budget.
Get cash back for shopping and referring your friends
This wouldn’t be a complete frugal and money saving list if I didn’t mention Ebates as a way to make money online just for shopping for what you’d get anyway.
When you shop through a store that is affiliated with Ebates (chances are if you shop at it, it’s an Ebates affiliate) then you get a certain percentage of your purchase back in your Ebates account as cash. When you refer each of your friends to open their own account you also get an additional $25 bucks.
It’s that simple. Try Ebates out and get a $10 sign up bonus.
Open an online bank account
Online bank accounts are great because they often offer you perks that brick and mortar banks sometimes don’t.
For example, I bank online with Chime (I’m in love with this account). They don’t charge you ATM fees or transfer fees. And they have an automatic savings plan that rounds up your amount to the next dollar for every purchase and put it away for you.
As we all know, change starts to add up fairly quickly. And its automatic so you don’t even have to think about it. Of course, after opening your bank account it’s time to start padding it with extra money, and there are more ways to do so than one (more on that later).
You can sign up with Chime here and get an initial $25 (while funds last) when you set up an initial direct deposit of $200 or more.
Use Groupon to go out
If you aren’t an introvert like me and you enjoy going out often, try subsidizing it with Groupon. Now, Groupon isn’t just any old coupon deals site. We’re talking 70% off kind of deals at select places/restaurants for each given day.The other day I snatched up two tickets to the movies for $13 bucks!
Try Groupon next time you go out and save some bucks by signing up with them here.
If you’re a meat eater
Try a subscription box like Butcher-Box.
They send you a monthly personalized box of organic, grass-fed meats for a monthly fee. One less thing you have to go out and buy, and they often run special bonuses depending on the season. The box ends up costing you about $6 per meal.
How to save on travel if you have pets or want a free stay
With Trusted House Sitters, you can exchange a service, like taking care of someone’s home and pets, for a free stay in their home.
Pretty straight forward stuff, though there is a screening process. It would be awesome to save money on pet sitting if you’re a pet owner when you need to travel.
Find out how you can get started with Trusted House Sitters and get free stays here.
How to save money on groceries
Lozo is a pretty cool site I recently discovered. Once you get on the site, you enter in your grocery list, and it’ll scour over 400 sites to find multiple coupons for each item.
Try lozo.com on your next grocery run.
DIY your own rain catcher
This is genius.
And it’s especially helpful for people with big yards or outdoor gardens. This might not be a familiar concept for some. But a rain barrel is simply a device you put together to collect rainwater to water your garden, your yard, or for whatever else you might need to use relatively clean water for.
A great thing is that you can decorate the barrel or plant flowers around it to really integrate it into your background. It can make for an entertaining DIY project that will also save you tons in the long run. It’s also not costly to install, and the gallons of water it’ll save you money on yearly are, well, priceless.
Bulk cook your meals
This one not only saves you money and space but time as well.
If you bulk prepare what you’ll eat for most of the week then you won’t have to worry about certain foods going bad while they sit in the back of your freezer. Bulk making your meals is two-fold: You’ll save money in the process, and all the time it takes to make it throughout the week.
If you set aside a couple of hours on the weekend (I like using Sundays) to make some meal staples you’ll be golden for the rest of the week.
Not to mention you’ll also avoid the temptation of going out to eat.
Invest in energy saving light bulbs
My mom used to use energy-saving light bulbs and it made a difference in our light bill (especially when paired with unplugging all electronics at night). They are an affordable investment that can keep you from constantly having to replace cheap lightbulbs again and again.
My favorite ones are the daylight fluorescent spiral lightbulbs you can put up everywhere around the house.
Learn to use a crock-pot (it’s really easy!)
This is how easy crock-pots are: get up in the morning, pop a few ingredients in, set the temperature, and let that baby simmer throughout the day to be ready for lunch or dinner. I couldn’t understand other people’s obsession with crock-pots until I bought one myself.You can find cheap ones like this one that are worth investing in.
And the best part? The amount of recipes you can make with a crock-pot are overwhelming.
Rent unused rooms in your house
Yes, Airbnb is everywhere and yes, you can make money off your spare room to help pay the bills.
If you seriously have a room in your house that you aren’t using consider renting it out to make some extra money on the side. It’s silly to let a spare room sit there gathering dust. Airbnb makes the process of setting up your own room for rent pretty easy.
Start your Airbnb account and take advantage of your spare space (not to mention you can get $40 towards your fisrt trip).
Create your own spirits
If you like beer then why not try brewing some at home? It’s a great pass time, and you can even experiment with some of the flavors to make it your own. You’ll also save on a beer trip to the local grocery store.
Here is a great DIY post I found on how to get started making your first beer at home.
Unplug electronics every night
This works if you want to lower your electricity bill. Leaving your electronics plugged in, even though they are technically off, will still use electricity. So get to unpluggin’ every night and make it a habit.
TV is old school…
Well, if you really really can’t live without your TV then try bundling it with your internet provider for a lower deal.
If you can part ways with your cable company, try subscription based tv like Netflix or Hulu.
Find cheaper gas prices
Here are three sites you can use to find where the cheapest gas is:
Taking the time to check for the cheapest gas option near you or on a trip can be worth it in the long run. As we all know little gas expenses add up.
Check them regularly to check for the nearest spot near you with the best deal on gas prices.
Make your own detergent
Did you know you can make gallons of your own detergent for a fraction of the store price? Why waste your money paying for name brand packaging and marketing when you can make bucketloads of your own effective clothes detergent at home with simple ingredients?
Here is a quick DIY detergent recipe courtesy of houselogic.com.
According to the site, the mixture comes out to about 7 cents per load. Wowsa.
Start a ‘do not touch’ fund
It’s never too late to start an emergency fund, especially because you never know when you might need it. This can be as simple as setting aside $5 a week with automated apps like Clink or Acorn.
Or you can do it the old school way and take out a few bucks in cash to add to a stash.
Try biking to places that are near? Does your mom live near and do you visit her often? Try biking there!
Or is your local gym/park close where you go to workout? Try biking there too! The buns and calf definition you’ll get are just an added bonus. You get the idea.
Use this handy cycle to work calculator to see how much you could be saving!
Keep up with your credit card rewards
Many of us (me included) don’t pay too much attention when picking a credit card, which is a bad mistake. Many credit cards will offer cashback systems that can help you save money and redeemable cash/rewards.
Here’s a NerdWallet comparison of the best cash back cards you can check out.
Regularly sell old things
Regularly selling your old things with sites like Decluttr can help you with getting rid of clunky clutter you don’t need in your life, and helps you make a few extra bucks in the process. This means anything from old cell phones, games, and movies.
Try Decluttr here (it’s pretty easy to use).
Live a DIY lifestyle
Some things are more satisfying when they are DIYed.
It definitely gives you a sense of fulfillment, and it also makes gifts that much more meaningful. Try DIYing as many things around the house as possible instead of outsourcing it every time. You’ll find that it’s often a cheap alternative because you’ll be savvier in finding cheap materials to fix thing with.
Fixed ripped garments instead of throwing them away
If there is a rip or a seam is broken, not all is lost! You can fix it at home with a simple sewing kit (and plenty of online tutorials). My favorite sewing kits are the ones that come with a little bit of everything, like this cheap one from Amazon. Isn’t it the cutest?
The gist of the story: Try fixing things instead of automatically trying to replace them.
Barter with friends and family
Maybe your friends has chickens and you have a tomato garden? This is the perfect eggs for tomato exchange!
This can be done for all sorts of things, even cleaning items like vacuums or gardening materials (whether you live in the city or in the country). Bartering isn’t dead and money isn’t the only way to get around.
Get serious about a side hustle and skip the TV
Side hustle money can be significantly life-changing. I started freelance writing not too long ago and it has been great to be able to invest the bit of extra income every month. Who can’t use an extra $300-400 dollars a month as spending money?
If you have been thinking about starting a side hustle, here is a list of side hustle posts you need to check out to get started:
Start your own indoor/outdoor garden
Gardens are pretty popular today, especially with everyone trying to take better care of their health and attempting to eat organic.
Creating a garden in your own home can help you skip the sickening pesticides, and the hiked up prices at the store. And an indoor garden is pretty easy to start and maintain. If you need extra help making one, check out this indoor garden starter kit perfect for people who lack a green thumb.
Make a list of free summer activities to do with your kids
Communities are often putting together free activities for the kids. Try keeping your eye open for things they can partake in on the weekends that doesn’t necessarily have to cost you anything.
Like local easter egg hunts or field days. If you don’t have kids then there are plenty of free adult activities to partake in and make friends through. It’s all about being purposeful on finding constructive things to do that are fee free.
Haggle your bills
Haggling is real and it’s a definite money saver. And it’s also easier than you might think.
Here’s a guide to haggling so you get better interest rates on your credit card bills.
Get rid of one credit card
This is a challenge, ready?
Look for one credit card, cut it up, and never use it again. You just rid yourself of a bunch of extra interest rate fees you don’t need in your life.
Replace sodas and juices with plain water
This one might be hard for some of us, because sugar addiction is a real thing.
But, if you replace all soda and juice (yes juice, it’s got as much sugar as soda) with water you’ll save yourself the money and invest it elsewhere. Water doesn’t have to be boring either. You can infuse it with fruit, buy sugarless water favoring, or add lemons with a dash of honey (my favorite in the mornings!).
The extra pounds you’ll automatically lose are also a great perk. ?
Line dry your clothes
You can line dry your close indoors and outdoors.
For a makeshift indoor clothesline, you can take a small wooden ladder or stick and tie it up from ceiling hooks in your laundry room. Voila, indoor clothes line ready to go. No spending on dryer power from now on. In college, this is often how students would dry their clothes in the basement laundry to avoid paying the dryer fees.
Use vinegar and apple scented detergent to clean
One time I mixed Apple Cider Vinegar and green apple scented dish soap to clean my bathroom. I was hooked. It smells amazing, costs you next to nothing, and leaves any surface sparkling clean.
It’s as simple as one part vinegar, two-three parts water and a dash of apple scented soap. It smells amazing, and costs next to nothing to make.
Keep your razors in baby oil
Apparently keeping your razors in a cup of baby oil makes them last longer. Really, anything to not have to spend weekly on those expensive razors I’ll try.
Go meatless for one week out of the month
This one is a pretty big no-brainer for many households.
Meat just seems to get more and more expensive. Get creative with your meals and go meatless for one whole week when you bulk prepare over the weekend.
Here is a great post on meatless recipes you can try from Country Living.
I’ve also compiled a list of cheap dinner ideas you can use for when you aren’t sure what to make. It’s perfect for weeknight dinners!
Make a list of basic toiletries and stick to them
I often find myself buying more toiletries than I need when I’m on my toiletry run; The extra hand lotion, the extra Febreeze spray, one extra exotic hand soap that I end up hating once I try it anyway.
Instead of doing that every time and overspending, why not make a solid list of items and stick to them on each toiletry run? Saves you the overspending trouble and having to delegate right there and then what you should and shouldn’t buy because you already made a predetermined decision.
Learn to change your own oil
Still learning how to do this properly, but learning to change your own oil can save you upwards of a $30+ trip to the shop.
I had no idea, until recently, that you can know what type of oil is the right kind for your car by looking at the motor oil lid. You learn something new every day.
Create an online yard sale
Try sites like Offer Up (an eBay like selling site) to sell all the things you find in your garage that you don’t use. It’s basically a yard sale except its online for the whole world as your potential customers (kind of an exaggeration).
Do your own mowing
Do you outsource your mowing? Try doing it yourself every other time you need it. That way you’re also burning calories.
Audit your memberships
Chances are, you signed up for stuff in the past that you have no use for. Audit those and cancel them immediately.
For instance, for the longest time, I had subscribed for a free trial on a beauty subscription box. I let it run its course and forgot about it, while my bank account grew $20 bucks shorter every month.
All because I was too lazy to pick up the phone and cancel it…
Buy one or two seasons ahead
This one I first heard from a lady that was in line in front of use buying winter jackets right smack in the middle of the scorching summer heat.
We strike up a conversation and what do you know? She buys jackets in the summer to be ready for winter.
Be the lady in line…save money buying one or two seasons ahead.
Get savvy with your leftovers
My mom used to be able to turn leftovers into the tastiest dinners. Sometimes even twice if she had to (she had the habit of making too much of one thing). Google some leftover re-purposing ideas if you are at a loss for some cooking creativity, save yo’ self some moolah in the process.
Learn to cut your own dead ends
I just recently started doing this.
My aunt used to talk to me about how she would cut her own ends all the time and I would never believe her because it turned out pretty well.
It’s seriously as easy as youtubing a video on how to cut your own ends. I did it and the results were perfect, not even kidding…and I saved myself the $20 + tip at the salon.
The gist of cutting your own ends is this: gather your hair in a ponytail at the start of your hairline (kind of like a backwards ponytail brushing your hair forward) tie it in a ponytail, take a pair of scissors and cut straight across on the ends. Once you flip your hair right side up you’ll be left with no dead ends and beautifully layered hair.
Buy your top three most used items in bulk
This, for most of us, probably means, toilet paper, paper towels, and toothpaste.
Buy these in bulk to save money if you can. They are things you will need year round anyway and you won’t have as many things on your grocery list.
Get your prescriptions at Costco
I always tell anyone that is willing to listen. Prescriptions are cheap at Costco, and you don’t need a membership card to use their pharmacy.
So if you live in an area that has a Costco, now you know where to get more affordable prescriptions, especially if you don’t have insurance.
Also, make sure you ask about any coupons they might be able to use as a discount when you check out.
Go shopping on deal days only
You can probably find out about the best days to go shopping at your local grocery store by doing some meddling around and asking.
But for example, according to multiple sources, Target’s best deal days are Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
I love Target for everything household. They have really pretty home decor items that won’t necessarily break the bank (especially during sale days).
Consolidate your loans if possible
Mushing all your debt together can often help you get a better interest rate and can be a great way to create your path out of debt for good. Though it isn’t for everyone, it’s definitely an option worth looking into.
Use coconut oil plus conditioner as shaving cream
This works like a charm. And it’s also great for people that suffer from razor bumps.
Try skipping the expensive and chemical ridden shaving cream and try mixing some coconut oil and conditioner for shaving cream instead. It leaves your skin really soft, and it helps it not dry out so badly once you pat dry.
Make your own cleaning supplies
There are plenty of mixtures out to create your own cleaning supplies that are pure genius. And best of all they work. You don’t have to buy all the fancy surface polish when vinegar and peroxide will often do just fine.
Take advantage of free trials
Free Netflix trial for a whole month? Heck yeah! Free Hulu trial? Sign me up. Free anything trial? I’ll take it.
just make sure you keep in your calendar when it’ll start charging you so you can cancel if you don’t want it.
Use draft pay
This is a great money saver if you are a scatter brain and you always forget to meet deadlines.
That way you avoid unnecessary late fees and gain peace of mind. It’ll also help keep your home clutter free and help with the environment.
Actively take care of your mental and physical health
This is a no-brainer, but one that we often neglect. Taking better care of ourselves in the long run will keep up from getting sick and spending on medicine, taking sick days, and feeling like total crap.
Try an exercise routine and look at it as a long-term money-saving technique.
Shop for basics at the dollar store
Dollar stores (or 99 Cent Stores) are two things: Almost everywhere you turn and super cheap.
You can get tons of household basics that are perfectly fine not being name brand items. There is really no good excuse to not shop at a dollar store and save yourself a good chunk of cash.
Create a 50/20/30 budget
Budgeting is different for everyone. But a good rule of budgeting thumb that is applicable no matter you income or spending goals is the 50/20/30 budget.
50% Of your income goes to needs
20% Goes to savings
30% Personal spending
Making sure you stick by these percentages is sure to help you meet your savings goals faster and helps you ensure that you aren’t overspending. The best money saving plans always have a set amount allocated to different expenses, that way you make sure you aren’t overspending.
Make it your mission to save money
Living below your means helps you live more freely because you don’t have to worry about debt or having overspent. It also leaves you extra money to invest wisely for your future finances.
Living below your means is just downright good practice overall and it helps get you ahead financially as you save the money left over each month.
Saving habits can save you tons
Being frugal doesn’t mean depriving yourself of everything nice in life.
In my head, I’ve always defined it to be living within your means and being more mindful about where and how you spend your money. All of these ways are ways to save more money fast— because they ultimately add up if you stick with them. The best money saving plans usually include cutting out unnecessary spending that doesn’t really add value to your life.
So frugal can take different shapes for different people. And of course, finding and adopting cool money saving lifestyle hacks always helps.
Have you tried out a frugal lifestyle yet? I’m always ready to hear it below.
Want to Learn of even more ways to save money and get out of debt? Check out the Teal Notes Index of Money posts: