24 Easy Money-Saving Life Hacks
Of course, you know how to save money! Cut coupons, eat in more, search the Internet for deals, make a budget and stick to it ... Everyone knows that stuff.
But there are many genuinely easy savings practices as well … things you can start doing as soon as now.
Here are twenty-four of our favorites:
1.) A stitch in time...
Take a few hours and clean out your drawers and closets. Make piles for things to trash, such as damaged items, things you can give away for tax deductions or sell for a profit and things that are keepers. When you put back your best things, place those items you haven’t worn recently in the front of your closet or on top in your drawers ... Boom! Without spending a penny, you'll have refreshed your wardrobe.
2.) Take an inventory
Walk around your house and make a list of what needs repairing. Likely, you’ll find some tasks like broken appliances, obvious wear, and tear, or perhaps some major problems that need attention ... or smaller items like leaky faucets, running toilets, or inaccessible light bulbs that need changing. But before calling your local handyman for help, see what you can fix yourself. Not handy? You may be surprised to know there are hundreds of how-to videos (with lists of materials needed) available free online. Make your priority repairing whatever you’re comfortable learning about, such as changing a lock, which is surprisingly easy ... That said, use a professional for anything out of your comfort or safety zone. Remember, if you make it worse you’ll end up spending more.
3.) Earn cash back
If you purchase items online (and don’t we all!), you will earn cash back on every purchase by joining Ebates or Swagbucks. Both are completely free, fast, and simple to use. Sign up now.
4.) Watch less TV
We know, we know … Netflix, Amazon Prime, and cable are part of all our lives. Nevertheless, make it a goal to watch less each day and cancel cable or satellite channels you don’t watch very often. You’ll save money on energy and love your leaner bills.
No green thumb, no problem. We’re not suggesting a farm. But if you plant some basic herbs in your kitchen, or on a back porch, you’ll always have fresh ones to cook with and save money at the market.
6.) Mind your health
Does this really need to be said? If you smoke cigarettes, take drugs illegally, or indulge in too much alcohol, do whatever it takes to clean up your act now. You'll save a fortune by kicking bad habits, and save yourself pain and heartache down the road on health issues. Also make it a habit to get recommended tests and shots, and take care of all annual examinations, such as general medical, dental, and eye appointments. Eat well and exercise. People who exercise even 15 minutes a day add three years to their life expectancy and moderate exercise helps reduce stress.
Reading is one of the least expensive and most rewarding hobbies around. Not a reader? Yes, you are. There are publications to interest everyone. Go explore. Want to make reading absolutely free? Go to the library. You’ll find not just books, but computers with Internet browsing, movies, music, magazines, and newspapers galore. Want something new and popular? You can reserve it online and will receive a message in your email when it’s waiting for you.
8.) Clean smart
Make your own cleaning supplies and/or check the dollar stores. A quick search online and you’ll find amazing cleaning products you can make from whatever happens to be in your pantry. Not that ambitious? Find a local dollar store. You’ll find good products at low prices.
9.) Eat less meat
You may love it and it certainly provides great protein, but if you swap one or more meaty dinners per week for one made with eggs, beans, or tofu, you’ll save money without sacrificing taste or nutrition. Keep in mind, too, that less expensive cuts of meat are delicious in casseroles, stews, and soups, which go a long way toward lunches and leftovers.
10.) Consider buying "used” or "pre-owned” things
Whether you’re in the market for a new car, computer, dish set, or handbag, there are countless sources for finding quality pre-owned, often barely used or remaindered merchandise. Use the Internet, ask lots of questions, and shop around. Does doing this take time? Of course, it does, but so does buying new. Use your time wisely.
11.) Cancel unused memberships
Ah, the gym, the club, the big warehouse store! These are all great if you can afford them and take advantage of their benefits. But if you don’t (keep it real), it’s time to cut your losses and terminate those contracts. The sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll save. Jogging in your local park may save you more than midriff spread.
12.) Drink water
Of course, water is key to your health, but it’s also better for your wallet. Make it a practice to drink filtered water at home and use a reusable, portable bottle when you go out. When dining out, order water instead of soda, coffee, tea, or alcohol, especially when traveling as these perks tend to add up. This practice alone can add up to hundreds, if not thousands saved over the course of a year.
13.) Pool resources
Talk to neighbors you trust about swapping things and hiring vendors. This means sharing games, books, magazines, newspapers, movies, and even trading babysitting and pet-sitting services. You can also try approaching certain vendors collectively and hope for a two- (or more) family discount. For instance, if you both need your roofs leaned or your houses painted, vendors may be open to charging you both less.
14.) Replace incandescent light bulbs
with compact fluorescent bulbs wherever they work, though they will not be compatible with certain fixtures. These bulbs cost more than regular bulbs but will save you about 70% on energy. And if you or your kids don’t already, make it a habit to turn out the lights whenever you leave a room.
15.) Need tires?
Chances are you will at least once during the life of your vehicle. When the time comes, consider buying your tires from Costco or another wholesale club, as wholesale suppliers tend to be less expensive than dealerships. In the meantime, keep them inflated and unload your trunk with whatever excess you haul around, and save on gas expenses, by enhancing car and tire longevity.
16.) Buy generic...
including medications. It is easy to second-guess yourself due to the hype. After all, there is a reason advertising agencies are paid so much to generate brand recognition. But that reputation will cost you. Is generic as effective, good, or safe as the name brand? Medications (over-the-counter or prescriptions) are most likely identical to the name brands, while food products like mayonnaise and salad dressing are certainly tasty. Go for it and save bunches.
Although eating in is almost always less expensive than dining out, going to restaurants is fun and relaxing. You can save money whenever you treat yourself by splitting an entrée or salad, and even if there is a sharing cost, it’ll be less expensive than buying two. Consider ordering an appetizer or two instead of entrees ... Like wine with your meal? Look for a place that allows you to BYOB.
Use your home appliances wisely. If you wash your laundry in cold water (unless there are deep stains), and turn off your dishwasher’s heat dry function, wait 20 minutes before you put items away ... and you will save on your electric bill. You can also present more modern heat and air conditioning units to maximize them when you’re at home and minimize them when you’re out. Make sure your home is well insulated to avoid wasting air or heat.
19.) Throw a potluck
Instead of meeting friends out for dinner, invite them over for a potluck. If you bought and prepared the dinner yourself it would be costly, but if you and your guests each make one dish, you'll all save and have a fantastic time pooling resource. Then there’s the added advantage of mingling with each other in the comfort of your home. Make this a habit and take turns hosting.
20.) Concessions and movies
Go to the movies during the day and bring your own snacks. If you can’t wait for a certain movie to come to you via cable or streaming app, consider a matinee or morning flick for off-peak showings. You should also ask about any relevant discounts for Seniors, military, students, AAA, etc. Can’t imagine a movie without popcorn and chocolate?
21.) Research community events
If you're looking to get out and have some fun, check your paper for local happenings .. Free exhibits, parades, sporting events, movies in the parks, group runs, and volunteer opportunities are offered several times a month almost everywhere. You can also make it your mission to connect with nature through walks in parks, bike rides, and hikes, and it is usually free.
22.) Get a freebie
Seek out free or mostly free haircut, manicure, or blow out. Local beauty school students eventually need client experience and look for volunteers willing to give them a chance to apply their training. Services are supervised by professional instructors, who won’t let you leave until you’re happy with the end result. These offers are listed on Craigslist.
23.) Make your own coffee
Most of us love a good barista and have made popping into a fancy/chain coffee shop part of a weekly routine. These days, however, you can make delicious, even specialty coffee in your own kitchen. Even if you invest in a more expensive coffeemaker or beans, you'll save lots of money and time, and support the environment by skipping the portable cup.
24.) Visit Squeeze
Squeeze, your financial concierge, is designed to manage every aspect of your personal finances by helping you evaluate spending habits and save whenever possible.