For many people, college is the first time they’re truly in charge of their own finances. While it’s often a challenge, creating and maintaining a savings account for students is a foundational lesson for building healthy financial habits that last a lifetime.
And saving money as a student has its short-term, practical benefits, too.
“Life throws a lot of expenses our way that are hard to plan for—like when your car suddenly refuses to start when you’re running late for class,” says Jacqueline DeMarco, a freelance writer specializing in personal finance content. “That’s why building out a solid emergency fund is something that every college student should prioritize.”
So, how can you save money as a student in college? These savings tips can help give you some monetary breathing room and a financially secure start in adulthood.
Can you make your bank accounts work for you?
First things first: Make sure you have a good place to keep your savings. That means finding a bank that’s convenient and offers the features and benefits that work best for you.
DeMarco notes that students may feel limited to banks available on or near campus.
“If they aren’t happy with their on-campus bank options, college students may find that an online bank is a better fit for them,” DeMarco says. “Not only do online-only banks offer all of their services digitally, they also tend to have lower fees and offer higher interest rates than banks with expensive brick-and-mortar locations to pay for.”
Whichever bank you choose, DeMarco says there are two accounts every new student should strongly consider opening: a checking account and a savings account.
Setting up both a savings account and a checking account can be done online within a few hours at the bank of your choice.
How can students save money?
Once you’ve set up your checking and saving accounts, it’s time to take the next step toward financial responsibility. One of the best ways to save money for students is by setting up a budget.
How much should a college student spend per month? To determine that, DeMarco recommends subtracting your monthly expenses (essentials like food, utility bills, etc.) from your monthly income (whether it’s from a part-time job, student loans, or money from a parent). Doing this simple math will help reveal how much you can safely spend each month on fun stuff like new clothes or going to the movies—after you’ve put aside a portion for your savings, of course.
Looking to add more wiggle room to your budget? Try these money-saving tips for students:
Shop at consignment and thrift stores
Consignment and thrift stores offer previously owned clothes and other items at a discount. The primary differences are that thrift stores tend to be nonprofit organizations, accept more donations, and are generally less selective in what they choose to sell. Consignment stores are often more selective about the donations they accept, and they pass a portion of the sale to the person who donated—or consigned—the product.
DeMarco notes that consignment stores are not only a smart option for saving money—they’re also a way for students to make extra money by selling unwanted items.
Buy used textbooks
Textbooks can cost students hundreds of dollars if they’re new. Instead of paying full price, consider buying or renting used textbooks. “Many college bookstores offer used options, and online platforms often provide affordable alternatives,” DeMarco says.
You might also be able to recoup some of the money you spent once you’ve finished a class by reselling your textbooks to a used bookstore or an online vendor. “Sometimes I could even sell a book for more than I bought it,” DeMarco says, referencing her time as a student. Cha-ching!
Think about meal planning
So busy with classes and assignments that you find spending money at vending machines for on-the-go snacks easier than planning ahead? Stop, shop, and save. Set aside a few hours each weekend to prepare all of your meals for the week to come. Or, if you live in a dorm, hoard some extra items from the dining hall so you’re ready when those late-night study session cravings inevitably strike.
“Planning meals in advance gives students the chance to make a shopping list and stick to it,” DeMarco says. “As a bonus, having their meals planned will make it easier to avoid the temptation to dine out after a long day of classes.”
Explore free activities
Who says you need to splurge to have a good time? There are plenty of ways to have fun without spending money. Chances are, multiple free activities are happening on and around your campus on any given night. You can look up event calendars online or keep an eye out for announcements. Groups and clubs are always looking for participants and potential new members, so you can bet they’ll be happy to have you. (Plus, a lot of these events have free food.)
Ask for student discounts
It’s common for stores on and off campus to offer student discounts. To reap the benefits, always keep your student ID in your wallet, purse, or cellphone case so you can flash it and save some money.
“You’d be surprised how many retailers, restaurants, theaters, and entertainment venues offer discounts specifically for students,” says DeMarco, who relied on student discounts to help build her professional wardrobe as she neared graduation. “Plenty of major mall brands offer these discounts.”
Get a cheap coffee maker
Relying on caffeine to get through those late-night study sessions—or just to get moving each morning? Save money on java by buying a coffee maker and becoming your own barista. DeMarco says that a cheap or used French press is easy to use and could save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.
Rethink the car
It can be tempting to bring a car to college—whether for grocery runs or the occasional road trip. But the costs of gas, maintenance, and parking can add up quickly, DeMarco says. So leaving that set of wheels at home is another way for students to save money. Most college campuses are great for biking and walking. And many also provide shuttle buses and rides to essential off-campus places like grocery stores—as well as safe rides at night.
Track your savings
As you put these ways for students to save money into practice, DeMarco suggests tracking their positive impact on your budget. That way, you can see how your small saving techniques can add up over time. There are even money-saving apps for students you can download to measure your progress.
Where should college students keep their savings?
As you’re finding new ways to trim your budget, where should you put the money you’ve set aside? DeMarco says you’ve got a few options to consider:
Rewards checking account
While there are better places for long-term savings, rewards checking accounts are a valuable tool for college students as they begin to manage their own finances. Certain online checking accounts will provide cash back rewards based on how much you spend. For example, the Discover® Cashback Debit Account provides a 1% cash back bonus1 as well as overdraft protection if you overdraw your account.
Checking accounts are an ideal place to keep your spending money, funds for paying bills, and income earnings from part-time jobs or side hustles since they allow you to access the cash you need at any time.
High-yield savings account
Starting a high-yield savings account, like the Discover Online Savings Account, in college can make a dramatically positive impact on the rest of your financial life.
DeMarco recommends a high-yield savings account for any money that students may not immediately need but still want to keep available. “That way, their savings can earn interest, but they can access those funds if needed,” she says.
Call it a sunny day fund—online savings with no monthly fees
Discover Bank, Member FDIC
And putting aside a set amount of money each month into a high-yield savings account can start earning you compound interest. Even depositing a small amount of savings while you’re in college can add up over the years to make a sizable stash down the line.
CDs, or certificates of deposit—especially those with a longer maturity term—can provide a higher return than a savings account. Use CDs for savings that you don’t expect to need over the CD’s term. The term length for CDs can vary widely. For example, Discover Certificate of Deposit terms range between three months and 10 years, with competitive annual percentage yields.
“If a student has a solid chunk of savings they know they won’t touch for a while, they may want to consider keeping their money safe in a CD, where it’s guaranteed to experience growth,” DeMarco suggests.
If you’re ready to start preparing for the more distant future (always a good idea), you can start by contributing money to an IRA, or individual retirement account. While some college students wait until they have a full-time job that offers a 401(k) plan to begin saving for retirement, the sooner you can get a head start, the better.
Discover offers both IRA CDs and IRA savings accounts.
Why not start saving while in college?
There’s really no better time to start saving than in college. To make your savings dreams a reality, set goals at the start of each semester and check your progress periodically. Maybe even reward yourself (nothing too extravagant, of course) for staying on track. Something as small as the occasional special meal or an activity that doesn’t blow your budget can be a fun way to celebrate those financial milestones.
Saving money can also create some amazing memories with the new friends you’ll be making. Ramen might seem dull, but challenging friends to see who can come up with the best recipe using cheap instant noodles can spice up the fun.
College can be a wonderful experience. And weaving these saving tips into that experience can help build the foundation for a comfortable and secure financial future. Just think: It could all start with a high-yield savings account.
Articles may contain information from third parties. The inclusion of such information does not imply an affiliation with the bank or bank sponsorship, endorsement, or verification regarding the third-party or information.
1 ATM transactions, the purchase of money orders or other cash equivalents, cash over portions of point-of-sale transactions, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) payments (such as Apple Pay Cash), online sports betting and internet gambling transactions, and loan payments or account funding made with your debit card are not eligible for cash back rewards. In addition, purchases made using third-party payment accounts (services such as Venmo® and PayPal®, who also provide P2P payments) may not be eligible for cash back rewards. Apple Pay® is a trademark of Apple Inc. Venmo and PayPal are registered trademarks of PayPal, Inc. Samsung Pay is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Google, Google Pay, and Android are trademarks of Google LLC.
These seven back-to-school savings tips will have your kids ready for another year without busting your budget.
July 28, 2023
New backpacks, calculators, shoes, musical instruments, and books—the shopping list for school supplies seems to get longer each year. It’s no wonder that families with children in elementary through high school planned to spend an average of $890.07—an all-time high—on back-to-school shopping, according to a 2023 National Retail Federation Report.
Clearly, back-to-school season can put a major dent in your budget. So how can you save money on back-to-school shopping?
Fear not. Tiffany Morrison, a personal finance writer, says there are ways to save money that can help ease the financial sting: “Back-to-school shopping can be done without breaking the bank.”
Here are seven tips for saving money this back-to-school season:
1. Plan ahead
The last thing that most parents and caregivers may want to think about during summer break is the next school year. But Morrison says it pays to plan ahead to stay in front of your back-to-school finances.
“Having a plan when it comes to school supplies and new shoes can help you not go over budget,” says Morrison, a mother of two high schoolers.
After all, no one wants to start a new school year in debt.
As soon as you can, Morrison says to make a list of the items your kids may need for the upcoming school year. Think about school supplies, backpacks, shoes, a first-day outfit, other clothes your kids may have outgrown—or anything they might need for extracurricular activities. Be as specific as you can, keeping in mind that your child’s school may not release its school supply list until just weeks before school starts—or sometimes even after it starts.
“Knowing exactly what you’re looking for ahead of time is a big help,” she says. “This way, you aren’t overbuying, which is easy to do when you aren’t prepared and don’t have a plan.”
After building a list, research prices. How much do those must-have shoes cost? How much extra is a backpack with wheels? Tallying up the numbers might reveal that back-to-school shopping will be more expensive than you anticipated. But don’t stress. There are a variety of back-to-school savings tips and clever ways to save money that can help you make it more affordable.
For starters—and in the spirit of preparedness—Morrison recommends setting up a back-to-school savings challenge for yourself.
“This involves setting aside a small amount of money, every paycheck, for a few months,” she says. “That way you’re prepared and not stressed about breaking the bank when that time comes.”
Where should you store those savings for back-to-school shopping? A high-yield online savings account allows your money to grow each month thanks to compound interest. It’s safe and easy to access, and you can even use multiple savings accounts to stay organized as you save toward different goals.
2. Look for midsummer deals
Once you have a list, Morrison recommends mapping out which stores have the items. Back-to-school shopping tips like this help you streamline and prioritize securing those midsummer deals so you don’t miss them.
“A lot of stores start having sales on school uniform clothing and school supplies beginning around July,” Morrison says. She adds that you can also find deals in the end-of-season clearance sections of stores.
“I also check to see which stores have any coupons available,” Morrison says. “And don’t forget to check the mobile apps associated with each store. Sometimes they offer extra savings.”
3. Stock up on back-to-school staples throughout the year
Some school supplies are timeless, and they need to be regularly replaced. Things like notebooks, folders, glue, markers, crayons, pens, and pencils always need to be restocked before the next school year.
For that reason, Morrison says that a great way to save money is to spread out your school-supply shopping throughout the year. By jumping on sales when you see them, you can check off a good chunk of your back-to-school shopping before the summer even begins—and at a fraction of the cost.
Another back-to-school savings tip from Morrison? Sift through the supplies your kids bring home on the last day of school. You may find unused plastic folders or spiral notebooks that can be saved for the upcoming year. You can also stow away items with a longer shelf life, like scissors, rulers, calculators, and protractors, so they stay in good condition.
4. Start meal planning
Morrison saves the most money of all on meals and snacks for her kids. That’s why, when it comes to tips on saving money this back-to-school season, meal planning is her biggest focus.
That doesn’t mean planning every lunch down to the last grape. Instead, Morrison likes to plan her kids’ breakfast, lunch, and dinner around their school and activity schedules.
For example, she says if there’s a busy week of school concerts and soccer games, you might be tempted to make an unplanned detour to the drive-thru on the way home. Instead, Morrison recommends always having an easy-to-prepare meal available for when things get hectic. “A simple sandwich with chips and veggies can go a long way,” she says.
To become a better meal planner, Morrison recommends practicing over the summer so you’ll be prepared when the school year is in full swing.
5. Take advantage of tax-free shopping days
Hitting the stores during tax-free shopping days is a lesser-known tip for saving money this back-to-school season. The downside? Only some states offer them, and they can include residency and product restrictions, so do your research before crossing any state lines for back-to-school shopping.
Tax-free shopping days may be a great way to save money, Morrison says. But she also notes that shops and stores may be busier on those days. One tip: Arrive at stores early to beat the crowds and take advantage of those tax-free back-to-school savings without too much stress or having to deal with sparse inventory.
Morrison notes that not all states offer sales tax holidays—and of those that do, some only reduce a portion of the tax. And be sure to check which items are eligible for the sales tax holiday before planning your back-to-school shopping.
6. Involve your kids in scouting out back-to-school savings
Implementing back-to-school savings tips doesn’t need to be the sole responsibility of parents. Teaching your kids about money and getting them involved in the family budget can help them understand the importance of saving money on back-to-school shopping. In the short term, they’ll feel like part of the team in making smart money decisions. And in the long term, they’ll file away life lessons for managing their own money.
Morrison recommends getting younger kids involved in the savings challenge. Whether they have an allowance or not, you can give them a “bonus” and have them deposit it in a back-to-school savings jar. They’ll see their jar fill up over the summer and can enjoy buying a few back-to-school items with the money.
Older kids can help save money as well. Morrison gives her kids a budget for their clothes and shoes. “If they want something more expensive, they have to help with the difference. They’ll usually stay within budget if they want to save their money.”
7. Make smart saving part of the family
“The older they get, the more expensive they get,” Morrison says. When healthy financial habits are part of your family culture, you can help your kids grow up with the confidence and know-how to make smart money decisions. That will help you manage your back-to-school spending, but it will also set them up for financial success in the long run.
Even during summer break, saving doesn’t need to stop. Finding inexpensive activities for kids can keep the momentum going from one school year to the next—and help you budget more for back-to-school essentials.
Articles may contain information from third-parties. The inclusion of such information does not imply an affiliation with the bank or bank sponsorship, endorsement, or verification regarding the third-party or information.
As a mom, finding clever ways to save money can help secure your family’s financial future.
Yes, I know, there are many other, more impactful ways to build wealth, and in the grand scheme of things, saving a buck here and there might not seem like the recipe for propelling yourself (with your entire brood in tow) to millionaire status, but hear me out.
Unless you stop the bleeding (in this case, frivolous spending), it will take you a lot longer to get there.
In my mind, building generational wealth is a combination of developing marketable skills, earning from those skills, investing wisely, and frugal spending.
…And putting your foot down when any member of your brood wants to splash $1,000 on a pair of, in my view, hideous sneakers.
That’s why I rave about How to Create a Budget and Everything You Need to Know to Start Using Coupons.
A Mom’s Guide to Saving Money the Smart Way
Of course, as with everything worth doing, it’s much easier said than done. Believe me; I’ve had moments of taking on unnecessary expenses at the grocery store despite having blown past our monthly budget.
It happens; you are going to slip up sometimes. The key is to have a solid hold on your spending habits and a savings system. That way, even if you go off the rails occasionally, you can recover and stay focused on your ultimate savings goals.
With that in mind, here are my top-secret (shhhhhh) creative ways to save money monthly.
1. Start Budgeting
It sounds obvious, doesn’t it?
Would it surprise you to learn that only 30% of American households actually have a detailed monthly budget prepared? Yes, according to a Gallup poll, two in every three Americans don’t have a monthly budget, nor do they have a long-term financial plan or investment goals.
I kid you not; budgeting is one of those things that everyone knows they should do, yet up to two-thirds of us don’t!
Having a detailed monthly budget will open your eyes to the reckless spending on everyday purchases you are currently engaging in.
From unnecessary online shopping sprees to pizza deliveries, even your grocery bill might have something you don’t need, or you can find cheaper alternatives if you just look.
You won’t know where all the money is going until you have an actual, written-down budget. THEN you will see just how badly you’ve been throwing cash around.
Here’s a quick guide on budgeting categories for the family if you want to get started right away.
2. Use Money Saving Apps
If you are anything like me, you put most of your grocery shopping, utility bills, and monthly bills on your credit or debit cards. While most of these offer rewards when you use them, you can go further and use savings apps.
Here’s why. Many of these apps highlight saving opportunities and fetch rewards such as cash back on many purchases you would make anyway.
Here are a few that I like using. You can check them out and see what you think:
Ibotta: I get cash back for most purchases.
Acorns: This one helps me save and invest.
Rakuten: These guys give you cash back on online purchases you make in over 3,500 stores.
3. Try Out Capital One Shopping
Now this is a tool I simply love! Capital One Shopping is not only free, but it also works in the background. So you don’t need to remember to use it every time.
If you want to find the best deals online and gift cards and coupons, you must install Capital One Shopping on your browser.
You will save a ton of money. Trust me on this one! It is by far one of my favorite and most clever ways to save money.
4. Create a Meal Plan
Have you ever found yourself at the grocery store buying things that weren’t on your list because they looked “interesting to try out?” I know I have!
I’m not saying you shouldn’t try new things and new recipes (what would life be without these little adventures?). I’m saying that meal planning will help you cut back on a lot of unnecessary expenditures when it comes to groceries.
Here’s why I meal plan:
It helps us avoid food wastage (leftovers are planned for)
Encourages a better diet
Saves money on impulse purchases at the grocery store
But most importantly, meal planning helps me save money and curb my spending habits on those nights I don’t know what my family will eat. I will already have a plan in place to help cut down on ordering in and eating out.
Check out my free printable meal plan!
5. Conduct a Personal Finance Audit
I know! I know! That sounds like what the IRS is for, but hear me out.
There are things you are paying for now that you either don’t need or don’t even remember that you are paying for unless you run a complete audit of your finances.
When was the last time you actually saw your husband reading that “Monster Trucks Forever” magazine that keeps coming in the mail?
How about you? Are you really going to visit all those vineyards someday? Then why are you paying for that subscription?
We often put so many little $1-a-month subscriptions on our cards because they seem important at the time, or a dollar a month doesn’t seem like that much. But they add up.
Run a quick audit on your bank statements to find out what you are paying for that you no longer use or don’t actually need, and cut it out.
These are just some creative ways I use to reduce our spending and save money. Saving money doesn’t have to be painful. You just need to find ways to reduce your living expenses (not necessarily lifestyle) and channel all that extra cash into your savings account.
Also see: How to get out of debt fast when you don’t have much money
How about you? What are some of your clever ways to save money?
It’s that time of year again for family and friends to get together for seasonal festivities. It seems that from now until New Year, people will be hosting parties and gathering together for holiday meals. While it is the season for entertaining, it can be stressful to think about hosting a holiday meal if you live in an apartment or studio. But never fear! You can still have a big party and hearty meal. We’re going to teach you how to make a holiday meal in an apartment.
Say goodbye to party planning stress. Our straightforward tips will make you the “hostess with the mostest” this holiday season. Here are 13 ways to make an entire holiday meal in an apartment.
How to make an entire holiday meal in an apartment
It doesn’t matter what type of food you plan to cook — making an entire meal in an apartment requires preparation and planning. Regardless of the size of your apartment, you can prep, cook and serve a beautiful holiday meal by following these helpful steps.
1. Make a guest list
Before you even think about drafting up a menu, you need to create a guest list and determine how many people you can realistically host in your space. Cozy is good but cramped is not. Assess how many guests you can comfortably seat at your table and establish who you’ll invite to your gathering. Once you have the finalized number, you can start the meal planning.
2. Set a menu
From traditional Thanksgiving feasts to taco bars to one-pan recipes, hosting an entire holiday meal in an apartment is a lot of work. But, you can simplify the workload but jotting down the menu and everything needed to whip it up.
Start by identifying different food categories. You’ve got appetizers, side dishes, the entree, desserts and drinks. If you want to make a five-course meal, more power to you. However, it’s also perfectly acceptable to keep it simple with a nice entree, a salad and dessert, too. Whatever you decide to cook is up to you, but you need to plan out the menu and serving sizes ahead of time.
3. Decide if it’s family style or buffet style
To serve family style or buffet style. That is the question and there are pros and cons to both. Family style is nice because all of the food options are on the table when you sit down to eat and can be passed around. It makes serving easy and allows people to easily grab seconds (or thirds!) However, if you have a small table to begin with, family style can feel cluttered and might not even be an option.
Buffet style is great because you can set everything up in the kitchen, let people pick and choose what they want to eat and then head to the table to dig in. Buffet style is probably the better option in an apartment so you can avoid being arm-to-arm at the dining room table.
Whichever serving style you choose, make the decision in advance so you know how to dish up and serve your finished food products before your guests arrive.
4. Make a grocery list
Your menu is set and you know how many people you’re cooking for at this point. Now, it’s time to plan ahead and make your grocery list. Include everything from extra ice to the garnish that’ll dress up the turkey (or tofurkey!) Be precise about the quantities you need, too.
5. Cook things in advance
It’s important to note that not every menu item needs to be cooked the day of. When you live in an apartment, you’re likely tight on kitchen space. That means that making five courses the day of in the tiny kitchen isn’t your best bet. So, think about what can be done in advance. For example, you could chop up all your veggies the day before and put them in the fridge until you need them. Or, you could make roll dough a few days early and freeze it until you’re ready to serve it. If you can chop, freeze or make things in advance, you’re going to have more room and less stress the day of your dinner party.
6. Get out that slow cooker
A slow cooker is a great way to start preparing for the holiday meal in advance. In a slow cooker, you can put the ingredients in at once, set it to start cooking and then move on to your next menu item. Slow cookers don’t take up too much space on the counter which is helpful in a tight space.
7. Focus on one dish at a time
It can be tempting to try and multitask when preparing an entire holiday meal in an apartment. After all, you might be short on space and interested in speeding the process up. However, it’s important to focus on one thing at a time. Not only does it save space but it reduces chaos and helps prevent burnt or overcooked dishes.
Let’s say you’re making a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Start with the item that takes the longest to cook — the turkey. Get the turkey prepped and baking in the oven first of all. Check! Then, you can move on to peeling potatoes for the mashed potato side dish. Once that’s done, move on to candied yams and so on and so forth. Save the easiest tasks for the end. It’s easy to open a can of cranberries right before you serve the meal.
8. Remember that not every dish needs to be homemade
Store-bought goods are completely fine! It can be tempting to try and make everything from scratch but it’s not imperative. Save yourself time and space by determining what can be bought from the store versus what food is best homemade.
9. Optimize and add makeshift surfaces for extra space
Chances are that your apartment has minimal counter space. When prepping for an in-house holiday meal, clean off the surfaces in advance by storing the bread box and cookie jar in the pantry for now. Once you have open surfaces, you’ll have more space to chop, mix and whisk.
You can also make makeshift surfaces like an ironing board or the dining room table for extra storage space. Got a patio? Put all the drinks outside while you’re cooking so they are out of the way and chilled for guests who will arrive later in the evening.
10. Practice mis en place
The French phrase “mis en place” means everything in its place. And that couldn’t be more true than when making a meal for guests in your apartment. Finished peeling potatoes? Put the skins in the garbage can and empty it, put the peeler in the dishwasher and put the potatoes in the pot of boiling water before you move on to the next recipe. It’s much easier to clean up step by step than waiting until everything is baking to start the process.
11. Outsource menu items
If you want to make all the menu courses yourself, more power to you! However, it can be smart to assign dishes to your guests to bring, too. You can still own the main menu and ask guests to bring things like hors d’oeuvres, a side salad, soda or cocktail mixes. Potluck meals can be a great way to save a little money, create more space and try different recipes.
12. Cook one-pot meals
One-pot meals can be a delicious blend of everything good in one bite. If you’re tight on space, consider making one-pot meals instead of having four to five side dishes plus an entree. One-pot meals don’t lack taste but they definitely save on space.
13. Keep it simple and have fun
We all love the delicious food that’s prepared around the holidays but most of us like the company even more. You’re not going after a Michelin star so keep the meal easy, have fun and enjoy your guests. Don’t let the stress of cooking take away from the joy of gathering.
Host a big, flavorful party in an apartment with ease
So, we’ve gone over tips and tricks that explain how to make an entire holiday meal in an apartment. Now, it’s time for you to draft up your own guest list, set a date for your party and start meal prepping! We hope these helpful hacks will save you time and space and allow you to host a party people won’t forget.
Sage Singleton is a freelance writer with a passion for literature and words. She enjoys writing articles that will inspire, educate and influence readers. She loves that words have the power to create change and make a positive impact in the world. Some of her work has been featured on LendingTree, Venture Beat, Architectural Digest, Porch.com and Homes.com. In her free time, she loves traveling, reading and learning French.
This post may contain affiliate links, which helps us to continue providing relevant content and we receive a small commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read the full disclosure here.
The ripple effect of a financial mindset can be seen in every aspect of your life.
Think about it: If you are not mindful of how you spend and save money, then you will be in a constant struggle each and every month.
If you are simply someone who is struggling to make ends meet, there are many things we can do to save money. If you are trying desperately to reach financial freedom sooner, then you need these best money hacks to make it happen sooner.
Around here at Money Bliss, we spend a lot of time on our money mindset and setting goals.
Everyone is in a different season with their finances.
But, one thing is true… Most of us never learned proper money management.
Do you find yourself in a constant cycle of financial struggle? Do you feel like you are constantly trying to live up to unrealistic standards?
It is easy for people to feel that they are constantly broke, and in some cases this is true. But, it is also important to remember that there are ways in which you can make more money and start saving for your future.
Since changing money habits does not always come easy and often requires some serious changes in our mindset, we are here to support you to find the top money hacks.
Read on as we share 50+ ways you can start saving more money as well as making more money while also saving your sanity!
What are Money Hacks?
Money hacks are the ways in which people stretch their money.
These money hacks can come from a variety of sources, such as personal experience, family members or friends, and other individuals on social media.
Money hacks can come in many forms such as:
Simple money saving hacks
Ways to make money on the side
Strategies to make every dollar count
Thrifty ideas to be more frugal
Ideas to be more conscious of our waste
All in all, money hacks will help you to spend less money. Thus, saving more money.
As you will learn at Money Bliss, saving money opens up doors of opportunities
Best Money Hacks
Money hacks are ways to build long-term wealth.
Even though most of the hacks for money include quick saving wins, over the long term, you will actually start a snowball effect of more money in your bank account.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to find the motivation to save money, but these 7 best real money hacks will help you reset your financial mindset and start saving!
The best money hacks are the overarching big picture concepts that you must master for long-term success.
1. Think Big
Open up your mind.
One way to reset your financial mindset is by opening yourself up to new ways of thinking about spending and saving.
Too often, we are focused on what is directly in front of us instead of thinking about the big picture.
A great way to think big with your finances is to decide how you want to live life with intention.
2. Habit of Saving Money
Get back in the habit of saving.
If you have been beyond your means or barely scraping by, the best way to get back on track is by saving at least 20% of your income.
This may seem a little ludicrous. However, by prioritizing saving first, you will be pleasantly surprised how well you live off the rest.
In this post, there will be so many simple and easy ways to start saving today.
3. Make a Plan for Your Money
Create a spending plan (aka that dreaded word budget).
Creating an outline for what you want and need will help you to make smarter decisions about your spending.
This concept has been made too difficult over the years.
The bottom line is you want to spend less than you make. So, make a plan for that to happen today.
4. Make Money on the Side
This one is huge!
Personally, making extra money has been a priority for the last 5 years. We spent many years trying to cut our expenses and hating our inability to actually spend less as a growing family. So, we changed our focus to finding ways to make more money instead.
Start a side hustle. If you are not making enough to live comfortably, start a side hustle! Use your unique skill set to make extra cash.
Pick up a second job or ask for more hours.
There are plenty of ways to make money fast.
5. Invest in Stock Market
This means a way to make money or increase your net worth. AKA make your money work for you.
Too many times, the concept of investing is big and scary. The thought of starting is way too overwhelming. So you put it off until next week or next month. Then, a couple of years go by and you have not invested your money.
That is the biggest financial mistake you can make.
Start small by investing in an index fund. Each month consistently add more money.
If you want to learn to trade stocks, then you must enroll in the best investing course I have found.
Read my in-depth investing course review.
6. Pay Off Debt
Ugh… debt is the cash flow killer.
You are unable to make forward progress if you are straddled by debt.
Figure out how to pay off debt ASAP.
When calculating how long it will take to pay off high-interest debt, you should consider paying the highest interest rate first. Here is the best debt payoff app available.
7. Watch Your Spending
Be mindful of your spending.
This is a great practice that many people need to start doing again, regardless of how much money or how little money they have.
Every few months, you need to evaluate your spending to see if it matches up with your values.
As you can imagine there are many money hacks that can help you save, but the list above is the money hacks that will make the biggest difference the quickest. Below we have many more money hacks for you to explore.
Hacks for Saving Money
Money app hacks are small, quick, and easy ways to improve your finances.
They can range from things like automating your budget or creating a money jar that pays for itself, to more complex solutions like changing your tax withholding or moving money around to get a higher return.
Honestly, there are so many life hacks for saving money.
8. Automatic Savings
This is a practice of automatically transferring money from your checking account into your savings account on a regular basis.
It is best to set a transfer amount and stick to it.
Since it is easier to save your money before you spend it, you must save as much money as possible in order for this strategy to be effective.
9. Financial goals
A financial goal is a long-term, quantifiable expectation for how much money you want to have, or what you plan on doing with your money. Your goals can be as simple as saving for the down payment on a house or as involved as saving for retirement.
Our financial goals allow us to set specific, numerical targets that help us achieve our desired lifestyle in a more concrete way.
You must set smart financial goals.
10. What brings you joy?
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that life is all about finding what brings you joy.
The question is open-ended, but your money must line up with what brings you joy.
Spend a few minutes and stew on the question.
11. Build an emergency savings fund
Building an emergency savings fund is a great idea if you are in the habit of saving money and want to make sure that you have some money saved up when times get rough.
If you are struggling to save, there are a few ways you can increase your savings.
For example, you might be able to set up automatic transfers from your checking account into an investment account. You should also make sure that you have a way to save money outside of your checking account.
Saving cash in a jar or saving up coins are ideas for some people.
12. Invest spare change
If you go shopping and buy something, most stores will give you change. If you use a debit or credit card, you can do the same thing with help of a popular app!
Simple money hack: investing your spare change.
In order to invest your spare change in an account, you can open one for as little as $5. Acorns then automatically invest the money from your checking account and into a savings acorn account.
As the round-up feature continues to add upon each purchase, it is a good idea to invest in this app so that you can save more dollars!
13. Challenge Yourself to Save
If you are looking to save money, it is best to set up a budget that includes challenging yourself.
A great way to do this is with the no spend challenge.
A no-buy is when you decide to simply not make any purchases for a certain amount of time.
A no-spend is when someone decides to not spend any money in a certain period of time.
When you are struggling with spending too much money and want to reset your wallet, then give up spending money. Period.
14. Join a buy nothing group
The buy nothing groups are a growing movement that started in order to help people cut their ecological footprint, save money, and break free of consumerism.
This is a great way to find things you need as well as declutter your house.
15. Negotiate everything
The key to successful negotiation is preparation.
Research the company’s past sales, price changes, and discounts offered in order to get a better understanding of what you’re negotiating for.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
What is the worst thing that can happen when someone says no!?!
16. Refinance Your Mortgage
It is never too late to refinance your mortgage.
In fact, it might be a good idea if you’re in the market for a new home or refinancing your loan on an existing property.
You must weigh the costs of refinancing to how much you will save over the time period of the loan.
Ask around for mortgage broker recommendations and get at least two quotes.
17. Downsize your Home
Downsize your home is the term for reducing a residence in size. This can be done by either moving to an apartment or buying a smaller house. There are many benefits of downsizing, including living a more affordable lifestyle and having less upkeep.
Downsizers use their homes as investments and save money on rent or mortgage payments.
18. Cut the cord
With the internet becoming accessible to everyone, people have started cutting their cable and watching shows online. People can save up to $500 a year by cutting cable from their bills.
Cut the cable & stop watching TV!
19. Learn about Finances
Ask for help.
If you are struggling, there is no shame in asking for assistance from your friends or family members.
The goal is to get ahead with money and not keep digging further into a hole.
Check out any of our courses to help you.
20. Save for What You Want
Decide what you want most and work towards it with the money you have now, instead of waiting for a windfall or a large inheritance.
This may mean setting aside $200 a month.
For example, as a reminder of your long-term goal of buying a beach property, you may buy something you would hang in the new place. Every time you see it, you will be reminded of what you are saving towards.
Financial hacks are not unusual.
Since it is so easy to overspend, you must know a few budgeting hacks ahead of time.
21. Need vs Want
A want is a desire for something, while a need is something that fulfills the requirement of your body like food or shelter.
When you think about buying something, ask yourself if it is a want or a need.
By uncovering needs vs wants, you are quickly able to find ways to spend less and save more.
22. Avoid Temptation
To avoid temptation, it is important to maintain a healthy amount of physical and emotional distance from the things that tempt you.
Sometimes, spending triggers are easy to avoid but other times they’re not.
However, people should always be aware of their temptations and try to stay away from them because it will lead to unnecessary debt or stress in the long run.
23. Practice the 30-day rule
Many people wonder what’s the 30 day rule with money…
The 30-day rule is the principle that states that you should practice a new habit or stop an old habit for at least thirty days before expecting success.
When it comes to your money, it means to wait thirty days before making big purchases or changes.
24. Keep a Budget Binder
A budget binder is an important tool that helps people keep track of their finances.
The binder can help people plan out their finances by providing a place to record expenses and income.
Keeping a budget binder is an effective way to track your spending and keep yourself accountable.
By keeping it, you can easily plan for future expenses in advance as well as see what money could be saved or spent on different items over time.
25. Get a spend tracker and use it regularly
Track your spending for 30 days. It can be a good idea to track your spending for at least a month to get an idea of what you’re spending and where.
A spending tracker is a tool that helps people keep track of how much they are spending on a certain item. It is important to use this tool regularly in order to be able to see patterns in your spending.
Then, review your spending. Share it with a trusted friend or family member to come up with some goals to reduce expenses in order to save money.
26. Create a budget
Create a budget, and follow it.
When you schedule your spending, make sure to leave room for savings. This is the easiest way to ensure that you can stick to your budget.
Find more budgeting resources on our site.
27. Pay Bills on Time
This should be a simple statement that we all know. However, life can throw curveballs.
Try to pay your bills on time and in full every month, and make sure all of your bills are paid each month.
This will show lenders that you are responsible and that you are taking care of your credit. Plus you don’t rack up those pesky late fees and high interest rates.
28. Avoid Missed Payments
Don’t miss any payments, and pay off your balances each month to avoid paying high interest rates or fees on late or missed payments.
Read again… do not miss paying your bills.
29. Reconcile Your Checking Account
Balance your checkbook monthly. Okay, no one really uses a checkbook anymore, but you can still do this with pen and paper.
Even better, use Quicken as a simple way to balance your checking account. Read my Quicken review.
This is a great way to check for being charged too much or find a subscription you don’t use anymore.
30. Avoid Summer Budget Busters
Avoid spending money for the summer by just being conscious of your spending and reviewing what is different than the norm.
It is too easy to get into the trap of spending money because the weather is warm.
31. Review your Credit Card Statements
If you’re like most people, you probably review your credit card statements once every six months.
What’s the best way to go about reviewing them?
It depends on how often you use your credit card, how much debt you have, and what your credit score is. You should review your statements at least once a year if you’re carrying a balance on your credit cards.
If you use your credit card, then you should review your statements at least monthly.
32. Use the Cents Plan Formula
While the 50/30/20 budgeting rule is popular, our method of budgeting your money will be more helpful.
Learn how to divide your income into various categories.
Check out the Cents Plan Formula.
33. Use Cash
Use cash instead of credit cards to spend, which will make it easier to limit yourself to how much you can spend.
The envelope system helps you save money by only spending from one designated cash stash each month and withdrawing a set amount for different types of expenses (like groceries).
34. Spending Freeze
Implement a spending freeze, which helps you get used to not buying things for an allotted time so that when the freeze is over, it’s easier to buy what you want.
You will be surprised how much random online shopping you do.
Begin your spending freeze now.
35. Use a Budgeting App
Use your bank’s budgeting tools, like Quicken, which can help you track how much money is coming in and out of your account.
This is the simplest way to manage your money wisely.
Using a money app or a personal finance website can help you to stay organized and get more creative about your budgeting.
Check out this list of the best budgeting apps available.
Hacks to Make Money
Hacks to make money are a list of ways to generate income for yourself. Many ways to make money include blogging, affiliate marketing, or day trading. These money making hacks are great, but they can take more time and energy invested.
36. Use cash back apps
Cash back reward apps like Ibotta are a way to get extra money for your purchases.
They take some time getting used to and you only have access to partner stores that offer cash-back offers. It only takes a few seconds to make some extra cash.
Check out the best cash back apps available.
37. Ask for a Raise
A raise is an increase in pay for a job, labor, or service.
If you are concerned about asking for a raise, then you are missing out on lost money.
Your boss may be receptive to it, then try negotiating more money. Not only will this be good for your career, but also the relationship between you two can improve as well.
38. Get a side hustle
A side hustle is an additional job or career, usually, one that requires only a small amount of time and effort.
For example, someone who wants to work on the weekends might start a side hustle as a bartender.
Side hustles are a form of entrepreneurship that allows you to earn money and do little tasks. They are not difficult or time-consuming, but they can still help you make extra cash on the side.
Pick one of the best gig economy jobs.
39. Rent out a part of your home
A part of your home is often a room, which can be rented out on Airbnb.
Airbnb is the largest and most successful company in the world that lets people rent their extra space or properties. They are a well-known company that provides an easy way for people to make money from their extra space.
Use Neighbor to lend out your space in your home.
40. Declutter: sell your junk for cash
Decluttering is the act of getting rid of excess or unnecessary items.
In order to declutter, you must be willing to give up something that has been a part of your life for a long time. It is important to remember that decluttering does not have to be a quick or easy process.
Then, sell your stuff on Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, eBay, etc.
Learn more at Flea Market Flippers.
41. Earn Money While Watching TV
Although it is not a fast way to get rich, this can be used as a side hustle.
It’s better to use the money earned from watching TV or something else that takes up your time for other things like bills and groceries.
Survey platforms are online sites that allow people to earn money while watching TV.
The survey platform will send surveys through the mail or email, and then they can choose whether they want to take the survey for a set reward amount or if they would like cash back on their purchase.
One of these options is MyPoints, which allows users to earn points by completing tasks such as taking surveys and shopping online at specific retailers.
42. Maximize Your Income
Find ways to increase the amount of money you bring in, whether that’s through a side hustle, increasing hours at work, or asking for a raise.
In today’s society, there are plenty of ways to make more money.
Only you put a limit on what you are capable of earning.
43. Build Your Credit
Building your credit can be a long process, but it’s worth the effort. If you’re trying to establish or improve your credit score, here are some tips that might help:
Try to keep your credit utilization rate below 30% at all times.
Do not open too many new lines of credit in a short period of time.
Pay your bills on time.
This will help you avoid damaging your credit score.
Hacks for Free Money
Hacks for free money are a form of fraud wherein the perpetrator solicits payment via PayPal, credit card, or other methods in exchange for access to what they promise will be a legitimate business opportunity.
Hacking free money is a way to make more cash, fund your financial goals, or help you pay off debt. There are lots of ways that people hack their finances and use cash back apps for some extra income.
Other options include signing up for bank bonuses or credit card bonuses.
Honestly, real free money hacks are more likely to be scams. So, beware when searching online.
Money Hacks in the Kitchen
You can save the most money by looking at what you eat.
Typically, people waste over 25% of their grocery budget and throw out food. Would you willingly throw out $250 a month? Probably not.
So, learn how to stretch your money for food.
44. Start meal planning
Meal planning is a money-saving strategy that can help in the long run. It’s also important to eat healthily and reduce food waste when meal planning.
But planning ahead will help save on the grocery budget, and it’s not too late to start now.
Start meal planning by deciding what you want to eat for each day. Then, make a list.
45. Say no to prepackaged foods
Packing your lunch for work or school can be time-consuming, especially if you have a family.
Some people prefer to buy prepackaged foods because they save time, but this is not always the best option.
A better choice is to make your own food at home and pack it for lunch, which you can then eat in peace without worrying about what other people might be saying about the food you packed.
46. Eat at home
Eating at home is a way to save money. It may be uncomfortable for those who do not enjoy cooking as it requires extra effort and time.
Instead of getting food at restaurants, consider cooking your favorite meals at home.
You can save money and time by eating the same meal over and over again.
Learn about the frugal home must haves.
47. Grow your own herbs and food
The most common methods of gardening include container gardening, hydroponics, and both indoor and outdoor gardening.
Many people are growing their own herbs and food for the satisfaction of being able to eat something that was grown with their hands.
48. Take your lunch
If you are interested in saving money, consider taking your lunch. This will save you up to $1,000 a year on work lunches and make it easier to meet the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables as well.
“Take your lunch” is an invitation to eat at home. There are many benefits of eating out less often, such as saving money and gaining more control over food choices.
Travel Hacks to Save Money
The following are travel hacks that can help you save money on your next trip.
Some of these hacks include traveling during weekdays, using public transportation, staying at hostels and Airbnb instead of hotels, and using a travel credit card.
49. Use foreign websites for lower prices abroad
Foreign websites are websites that have been created by people from other countries, and they sell products in the language of their country. These websites often offer lower prices on products than what is offered in the United States.
If you’re traveling abroad and need to find a place to stay, there are plenty of websites that can help. A few websites have deals on places where travelers often stay while they travel internationally.
50. Stay for free or get paid to house sit abroad
A house sitter is someone who looks after someone’s property for a certain amount of time in exchange for the promise of payment.
House sitting is typically offered by homeowners to travelers and others who are looking to stay in a particular location for an extended period of time.
The main types of house sitting include:
– full-time house sitters, who are responsible for all aspects of the house and who are typically paid a monthly salary,
– part-time house sitters, who may be responsible for taking care of one or more specific tasks such as gardening or handling the mail
51. Hide your search
To avoid being taken advantage of by airlines, it is best to open a new incognito or private window between searches.
This will make sure that you are not tricked into buying tickets that may be significantly more expensive than they need to be.
Money App Hacks
Money app hacks are ways that people have figured out to make their money work for them in terms of saving and spending. These apps offer different features, such as budgeting, tracking your spending, and saving money.
If you want a simple way to save money, then any of these money apps are designed to find excessive spending.
This is a legitimate way to save money on monthly bills. Billshark offers you the opportunity to save up to 25% each month (when compared with regular bill payments).
All of this can be done for you by BillShark team, and there are no fees involved!
Try Billshark for free!
Review your spending habits to find what you can cut out, like subscriptions.
Find other ways to save by looking for ways to reduce costly bank fees or getting a discount on your cell phone plan. By using Trim, you are saving money and improving your financial health.
Sign up with Trim now.
Truebill can help you to track your spending, save money and get a clear picture of your financial life.
This helps you identify services that you are no longer using but continue to pay for. It will help save money by automatically negotiating prices with your service providers and receiving a refund of the money going to waste, which is free money.
Get started with Truebill.
Which Life Money Hacks Can You Start?
This is a lot to take in, but don’t worry.
Take the time to read through each suggestion and consider how you can implement it into your life.
The more hacks you try out, the closer you’ll get to a healthy financial mindset.
These are the life hacks to save money I have found to work for me and my family in order to reset our financial mindsets and grow our net worth.
Everyone will find their niche and what will work best for them.
Personally, you need to figure out how do I make more money. That will make the biggest impact the fastest.
What have you done with your money lately?
Know someone else that needs this, too? Then, please share!!
Editorial Note: Intuit Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted.
We think it’s important for you to understand how we make money. It’s pretty simple, actually. The offers for financial products you see on our platform come from companies who pay us. The money we make helps us give you access to free credit scores and reports and helps us create our other great tools and educational materials.
Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That’s why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates.
Of course, the offers on our platform don’t represent all financial products out there, but our goal is to show you as many great options as we can.
Have you ever gone over your budget only to find you’ve overspent on food? With food being the third-highest household expense behind housing and transportation, our food choices have a huge impact on our budget.
Learning how to budget groceries can help you save more to put toward your financial goals. Here are 28 ways to help you learn how to budget groceries.
1. Track current spending
Before you figure out what you should be spending on food, it’s important to figure out what you are spending on food. Keep grocery store receipts to get a realistic picture of your current spending habits. It might help to break down spending by category (via a spreadsheet or on paper), including beverages, produce, etc. Once you’ve done this, you can get an idea of where you need to trim down your grocery bill.
2. Allocate a percentage of your income
How much each household spends on food varies based on income and how many people need to be fed. Consider using our budget calculator if you’re not sure where to start. Try allocating 10% of your income to food as a starting point and then you can increase from there.
3. Avoid eating out
Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a 13% increase in food spending in the U.S. — a jump driven by rising purchases on dining out. Avoiding eating out where possible can help reduce your overall food spending. If you’re actively dating or enjoy restaurants with friends, be sure to factor eating away from home into your food budget — and stick to your limit.
4. Plan your meals
It’s much easier to stick to a budget when you have a plan. Plus, having a purpose for each grocery item you buy may help ensure nothing goes to waste or just sits in your pantry unused. Don’t be afraid of simple salads or meatless Mondays — not every meal has to be a gourmet experience.
5. Keep a fridge grocery list
Keep a magnetized grocery list on your fridge so that you can replace items as needed. This can help you buy food you know you’ll eat. Sticking to a list in the grocery store may help you stay accountable and not spend money on processed or pricey items.
6. Eat before you go to the store
If your mother gave you this advice growing up, she was onto something: according to studies, shoppers spend more when hungry. Eating before going to the grocery store may help you avoid tantalizing foods that can cause you to go overbudget.
7. Be careful with coupons
Getting 50% off ketchup is a great deal — unless you don’t need ketchup. Beware of coupons for items you don’t need. If the item isn’t on your list, you’re not saving at all, but rather spending on something you don’t truly need.
8. Embrace the bulk section
The bulk section of your grocery store may help you find inexpensive staples, discover new foods and bring variety into your diet. Take the time to compare the price of prepackaged goods versus bulk — bulk is likely cheaper.
9. Bring lunch to work
Picture this: you’re trying to stick to a food budget, and one day at work you realize it’s lunchtime but you forgot to pack a lunch. All the meal planning and smart shopping in the world won’t help if you don’t have food when you need it.
10. Love your leftovers
Instead of throwing your leftovers away, try to eat them to avoid wasting money. To keep things interesting, look for ways to repurpose foods — yesterday’s leftover taco meat can become today’s shepherd’s pie.
11. Keep an inventory
Keeping a list on your fridge of what you have on hand can help you avoid food waste and get creative when meal planning. And it’s a great way to get the most use out of grocery items that are sold larger quantities than you need for a single recipe. Not sure what to do with that giant bunch of celery or box of spinach you have left over from another recipe? Try out some online recipe blogs or sites that offer recipe ideas based off a few ingredients you input.
12. Freeze foods that are going bad
Another way to avoid wasting food is to freeze things that look like they’re about to go bad. Fruit that’s past its prime can be frozen and used in smoothies. Make double batches of soups, sauces and baked goods so you’ll have an alternative to ordering takeout when you don’t feel like cooking.
13. Use curbside pickup
About 29% of shoppers admitted that seeing an item that looked too good to pass up led to impulse purchases. Using curbside pickup can help prevent you from purchasing unplanned items.
14. Check the top and bottom shelves
Wise grocery stores know that eye level is where the most sales happen. In fact, consumers select about 80% more products at eye level than at the bottom shelf. So next time you’re out shopping, take a quick look up and down — you may find a better deal hidden out of sight.
Additional grocery saving tips
Need more ideas on how to save on your food bill? Here are some additional tips that can help.
Choose generic — One survey found that 50% of people said opting for generic products over name brand helped them save on groceries.
Drink more water — Recent data found that 17% of consumers cut back on purchasing beverages at the store due to rising inflation. Drinking more water may help you save what you would’ve otherwise spent on beverages.
Pay with cash — Try going to the grocery store with cash — and only what you’ve budgeted for. Leave your credit or debit card at home. After all, you can’t spend what you can’t pay for.
Buy what’s in season — Food prices can vary depending on whether they are in season or not. When foods are out of season, they may be scarce — and therefore more expensive. Try to stick to buying foods that are in season.
Grow your own herbs — Herbs at your local grocery store might sometimes be expensive. Growing your own is one way to cut back on your grocery bill.
Plan a meatless meal — Beef prices increased for three years straight from 2020 to 2022, and the USDA predicts other meat categories will rise in price in 2023. By planning a meatless meal every so often, you may be able to save some money on your grocery bill.
Buy cheaper cuts of meat — Not all cuts of meat cost the same. You may be able to save money by choosing chicken thighs over chicken breasts, ground chuck over sirloin and pork loin over pork chops.
Ask for a discount — This won’t always work, but if you notice your food is close to expiring, ask the cashier for a discount. You may be able to save yourself a few dollars.
Learn how to preserve food — If you have some fruit that’s going bad in your home, you may be able to preserve it by making and canning jam. Hopefully the more food you can save in your home, the less you’ll need to buy at the store.
Keep a running tally while you shop — Jotting down the prices of items you put in your cart or quickly crunching the numbers in your phone’s calculator can help you stay more aware of how much you’re spending.
Buy canned food — Canned food is often less expensive than fresh foods, so buying canned could stretch your food budget.
Shop sales — If you notice a food you often eat goes on sale, stock up if you have room in your budget. While you may spend more than you normally would up front, you’ll save yourself from having to purchase the item at full price in the future.
Use rebate apps — Some apps provide cash back on certain purchases. Check to see if the items you need to buy at your next shopping trip may qualify.
Sign up for your store’s loyalty program — Some grocery stores have points or loyalty programs that can provide you with extra discounts when you shop.
Sticking to a food budget can take planning and discipline. However, learning how to budget groceries by being resourceful and cooking healthily is a skill that can benefit you for years to come.
Earn cash back on select debit purchases with Credit Karma Money™ Spend.
Each payday you have great intentions. You swear that this is the month where you aren’t going to spend too much money. You are going to watch every penny and keep your spending under control. Before you know it, you can’t even afford to buy groceries. Is there an answer to your problem? Yes. STOP SPENDING MONEY.
Overspending is a problem which affects many people. Whether you are rich or struggle to make ends meet, you too might find that you spend too much. Some reasons are financial, and others are emotional.
The first way you can get spending under control is to take a look as to why you are spending too much. That is the first step. No one can answer this question but you.
After years of helping thousands of readers (just like you), I’ve compiled a list of the top 12 reasons that people overspend. You might find yourself in one, two or even more!
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE OVERSPENDING?
YOU’VE MAXED OUT YOUR CREDIT CARDS
When there is no room to charge anything on your cards, you might have a problem. In most cases, maxed credit cards signals you are living beyond your means. If you have to continue to charge because you don’t have money, then you are spending too much.
YOU CAN’T FIND A HOME FOR YOUR LATEST PURCHASE
Your temptation might be electronics or handbags. No matter what you love to buy, you might notice you are running out of room to store things. When the stuff takes over your home and is causing clutter, it is time to take a long hard look at how you spend money.
YOUR BUDGET NEVER WORKS
There may be months when you don’t have enough money in your budget to cover your mortgage or food. When you continually spend money on the wrong things, your budget will not work.
That means if you have just $50 for entertainment, do not spend $75. That other $25 has to come from another budget line.
YOU SPEND MORE THAN YOU EARN
Take a look at your credit card balances. You might be paying only the minimum balance because you can’t pay it in full. When you spend more than you make and continue to add more debt, take a look at what you are buying. It might be time to pull back and stay out of the stores.
HOW TO STOP SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY
Now that you can see how you spend your money, the next step is to make a change. You have to stop throwing it away. Right now. Here are the steps to take to control and stop spending money.
1. MAKE A BUDGET
I know, I know. I probably sound like a broken record as I keep bringing up this budget thing. However, it’s true. If you do not have a budget, you have no idea where you are spending your money.
A budget is needed so that you can direct your money where to go each time you get paid. It also helps you know how much you have to available to spend on groceries, clothing, dining out and even entertainment. When you know you have a limited amount to spend on specific categories, you are instantly in control of our spending.
Read more: How to Create a Budget (even if you suck at budgeting)
2. PLAN AHEAD
Meal planning is one thing many people don’t think about when it comes to overspending. If you don’t plan your meals (and stock your fridge and pantry accordingly), you are more likely to run out to eat for dinner. Doing this at $25 a pop 2 or 3 times a week takes its toll on your budget.
Creating a meal plan will not only help you control your spending, but you might also find that you eat (and feel) much better too.
3. USE A SHOPPING LIST
Before you go to the store, it is essential you make a list. Check your fridge, freezer, and pantry so that you are not purchasing items you do not need – especially produce.
There is so much waste of food that expires before you can consume it. That results in you buying items so that they can end up right in the trash can. Make sure you plan your shopping trip and then purchase just what you need, as well as what you can eat before you hit the store the following week.
4. STOP PAYING FOR CONVENIENCE
There is a quick fix for nearly everything. You can find dinners in boxes, small pre-packaged snacks, etc. Rather than purchase convenience items, buy the larger size snacks and then re-package yourself into smaller baggies. You will not only get more out of a box, but you can even control how much you put into each baggie.
There are other ways we pay for convenience. We pay for someone to iron our shirts, wash our cars and even mow our lawns. By doing these things ourselves, we can keep much more money and easily stop overspending.
Read more: How You are Killing Your Grocery Budget
5. STOP USING CREDIT CARDS
We live in an age where our money is all digitally tracked, be it on credit or debit cards. Yes, they are more convenient, but they make it easy to overspend. When you use cash, it is impossible to overspend. You honestly can. Not. Do. It.
I hear all the time that people pay off cards at the end of the month and that they don’t overspend, but that is not the truth for most people. You might think that it is just $10 a week. However, that $10 a week is a hit of $520 over the course of a year. What could you do with an additional $500 in your pocket?
Read more: How to Create a Workable Cash Budget System
6. PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME
We all have bills. We know when they are due. When you miss the payment due date, you get assessed a late charge. Pay them on time, so you don’t pay more than you need to.
In addition to late fees, not paying your bills on time can have an adverse effect on your credit score.
Learn how to organize your bills, so you never pay them late again.
7. DO NOT LIVE ABOVE YOUR MEANS
Few of us would not love new clothes or a new car. We all would like to make more money or get the hottest new device. The thing is, can you afford it? Is it a want or is it a need?
If you are using credit or loans to get items that you can not afford, then you are living beyond your means and spending money you don’t have. Scale back and make sure that you can honestly afford the house or the car and that it doesn’t ruin your budget and cost you too much.
Read more: Defining Your Wants vs. Your Needs
8. DON’T FALL FOR IMPULSE BUYS
Stores are sneaky about making us spend money. They use signs, layout, and even scents to lure you into wanting to buy more. The thing is, if you purchase something you did not intend to, then you are already blowing your budget and probably overspending.
Another way that you are spending too much is when you plan dinner but then decide at the last minute to go out to dinner instead. Why do that when you have food waiting for you at home (which you’ve already paid for)?
The final reason you may impulse buy is that of emotion. If you feel a rush because of that new item, you may purchase out of impulse and emotion instead of need.
Read more: Stopping Impulse Shopping
9. FIND ANOTHER BOREDOM FILLER
I remember being in an online forum when my kids were little, and we talked about our day. Many of the mothers went to the store every. Single. Day. They said they could not handle being in the house and just had to go somewhere. That resulted in them buying things they did not need.
If you are bored, find a new hobby. If you just need to get out of the house, why not go for a walk or play a game with the kids? Find a way to redirect your boredom so you stay out of the store and stop overspending.
10. USE FINANCIAL GOALS
When you do not have financial goals, you have nothing to work towards. You might want to get out of debt, or you may want that newer vehicle.
Take a look at what you are spending each week on non-essential items. What would happen if you would put that money into savings or paid off your debt instead? How much closer would you be towards getting that new car or being debt free?
Find a goal you want to achieve. Talk to your family and see if you have something you can work towards together. By setting a goal that everyone wants, you will all be more aware of your spending and will contribute towards reaching it more quickly.
11. STOP SPENDING MONEY WHEN YOU TRACK YOUR SHOPPING
I know many people who have tried to use cash, and they say it does not work because they spend it too quickly. There are others I know who spend too much on plastic each month. The reason is that they are not tracking what they spend, which is a reason why they overspend.
If you use cash, this is where the envelope system is most helpful. You will track your spending out of each one so you can see where your money is going. As the envelope amount gets smaller and smaller, you think twice before you pick up that item — because you may not be able to afford it.
You can do this same thing if you use plastic. There are all sorts of tracking apps to help you monitor what you are spending on all of your various categories.
No matter how you pay for items, make sure you are always tracking what you spend – you might be shocked to learn where your money goes.
Read more: Creating and Understanding a Spending Plan
12. DON’T FALL FOR THE SALES
When you walk into the store, pay no mind to the sales. Use your list and stick to it. Don’t fall for the fancy sales signs, smells, and flashing lights to lure you into buying something you don’t need.
Read more: Understanding the Tricks Stores Use to Get You to Spend Money
Before you can gain control of your finances, you need to figure out why you are spending more than you should. Simple changes to the way you view money can make all the difference.
Today, I have a great debt payoff story. I’ve known Lauren for years – pretty much ever since I started Making Sense of Cents years ago! She was one of the first blogs I read actually.
Lauren Mochizuki is an ER nurse, wife, and mother. She and her husband paid off $266,329.01 in 33 months. They also purchased their fixer-upper dream home, and renovated it without going into debt. Enjoy her story below!
Female, age 25, nurse, recently married, living her life with no regard to finances. Frequently dines out, goes to concerts, travels to foreign countries, never volunteers to work any extra shifts, lives beyond her means. Purchased a brand new Subaru Forester, husband also purchased a brand new car, lives in an 1,100 square foot condo.
Total debt owed: $266,329.01.
My name is Lauren, I’m a registered nurse, wife, mother, blogger at www.casamochi.com, and firm believer that you can live an amazing life within your means! I didn’t have a clue what budgeting actually meant.
When my husband first brought up the idea of budgeting, I was incredibly resistant. I thought that budgets were boring, restrictive, and I didn’t want to compromise my spending habits. I couldn’t have been more wrong about my ideas surrounding budgeting.
Looking back eight years ago, I realized that change is difficult, but the outcome was worthwhile. We are now debt free!
Other debt payoff stories:
Inspiration to Become Debt-Free
Eight years ago, we had some friends that were doing radical things to become debt free. We thought they had lost their minds. They were working lots of overtime, and paying down their debt. At the time, it sounded very extreme, and obscure.
Then one day, after reading Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” and having a long discussion with our aspiring debt-free friends, he said “I want us to become totally debt-free too.”
I was ready to give my husband a swift karate chop when I heard that. It never occurred to me that we had money problems. Our bills were being paid on time, we put aside some money in savings, but most of all, we were having so much fun with our money!
Our debt breakdown was:
Credit card bills: $1,871.31,
The balance owed for two new cars: $31,211.10,
Mortgage balance for our condo: $233,346.60.
Total Debt $266,329.01.
Figuring out my “Why”
My husband kept pitching the idea of “Financial Freedom” to me, and that sounded pretty amazing, and at the same time daunting. I wanted to support my husband, and if becoming debt-free was something that was important to him, and in reality important for US, then I decided that I should give it a try.
I went from 0-60 very quickly. I not only took on this journey of debt-freedom; I lived it, breathed it, and became incredibly passionate about it. I also read “Total Money Makeover”, which fired me up even more. It was an easy read, for a “free-spirit” like me.
My husband and I became budget accountability partners. He is the President of the Budget, and I’m the Vice-President.
Together, we make decisions about how our money is spent, our work schedules, family schedules, and our future. Having an accountability partner is something that is helpful for being successful on a budget. Whether it’s a friend, sibling, or coworker, find someone you trust, and respect, and most importantly hold you accountable for your decisions.
Establishing our Monthly “Budget” Meeting
At the end of each month, my husband and I decide how we are going to spend our money for the following month. We call it our monthly budget meeting.
For example, if we made $5,000 one month, we would assign each dollar to a budget category (examples: utilities, mortgage, toiletries, work expenses, groceries, savings, etc.) for the following month.
I am the social events planner for our family. During our budget meetings, I always have our monthly calendar open. This step is key to having a successful budget meeting. We check the following month events for birthdays, showers, events, or weddings so that we can budget appropriately. This helps to avoid any budget surprises.
We would also plan out all of the extra shifts we would be working during this time to cover these expenses.
It took us nearly 6 months to really get the hang of budgeting and tackling any issues that would arise. It felt like the first several months, we kept discovering new budget categories that needed to be added.
We also started planning for big expenses all year long such as: yearly memberships, property taxes, car and house insurance. We were also mindful of bills where a discount was given for yearly payments instead of monthly payments.
Special holidays such as Christmas, is a budget category that we allocate money to all year long. This allows us the freedom to enjoy the holiday without wondering how we are going to pay for it.
Establish Rainy Day Savings
Unexpected costs had occurred, and we weren’t prepared. Thankfully we had some money saved, but we realized it wasn’t easily accessible if we needed it for an emergency!
We quickly transferred that money into a different account (from a whole life insurance plan into a regular savings account) where it could be readily available to us. It’s a good idea to have 3-6 months in your emergency fund.
Reducing our Expenses
After reviewing our monthly mortgage payment, we decided to refinance. We changed our mortgage from a 30-year-fixed mortgage to a 20-year-fixed mortgage. This single-handedly saved us thousands of dollars in interest.
Next, we checked every single utility bill and figured out how to bring down the monthly costs. We were very successful with this process, by shopping around for utility providers, to decreasing our consumer habits (figuring out ways to use less water, electricity, etc), we managed to decrease most of our monthly utility bills.
Two other areas we changed to save additional money: meal planning and thorough review for big purchases. I started weekly meal planning, and I try to only grocery shop on a full stomach. Don’t allow yourself to waste food and money if there isn’t a specific meal plan in place.
If there were big purchases that my husband and I would want to make that were over $50, we would have a conversation with each other, and sleep on it. If we still wanted the item after a few days, and if there was money in the budget, then the purchase was justified.
We inadvertently had lots of no spend weekends. A really frugal, and fun weekend for us would include time spent with friends and family at the beach. Bonfire, barbeque or dutch oven meals would help reduce weekend spending, and they were delicious (my favorite are the dutch oven nachos)! A major discovery in this whole process was that time is one of our most precious assets, and spending time with others is priceless, and doesn’t require additional money.
Increasing our Income
In order to achieve our goal, we HAD to increase our income.
We were both incredibly thankful to have the opportunity to work extra shifts at our jobs. I acquired a second job as an emergency room nurse, and my husband and I worked as if our lives, our future, and dreams depended on it.
I’m talking: multiple 16 hour shifts a week for myself, and 60-120 hour work weeks for both myself and my husband (we were intentional to make sure that our mental and physical states were not in jeopardy). We were on fire for this “financial freedom” that we were working towards. As Ramsey would say, we were “gazelle intense.”
We attended money conferences (we saw Dave Ramsey speak several times), listened to financial podcasts (You Need a Budget), and read blogs (Making Sense of Cents, Mr. Money Mustache), and books (The Millionaire Next Door, Start, The Go-Getter) that would encourage, and inspire us to keep working towards a debt-free life.
Selling items also became a means to make more money. We had garage sales, and sold things on eBay, and craigslist. We wanted to be good stewards of our resources, and therefore sold items we no longer needed. For several months, we were living off of 30% of our household income.
The Visual Aid and Celebrating Milestones
My husband and my mother-in-law pulled their creative resources together, and created a visual aid! It was a picture made of felt material, of a mound of dirt, broken into many pieces that sat beneath the ground and a beach scene (our happy place).
We kept the visual aid in our bedroom. It would be one of the first things I saw every morning when I woke up, and one of the last things I saw before I went to sleep. It was a great reminder of our debt-free journey.
My husband and I created many different milestones to celebrate along our journey.
We celebrated every time we paid off $5,000, and we would remove a piece of dirt from our visual aid.
We printed out our mortgage amortization schedule, and celebrated every time we turned a page in our mortgage amortization schedule, and every time we saved another $5,000 of interest on our mortgage.
When the principal became greater than our interest on our mortgage payments, we celebrated. It felt like we were constantly achieving a different victory!
Every month after a budget meeting, my husband and I would take a picture with our visual aid, we would write down the month, and if we celebrated any milestones that month!
Our “celebrations” would include apple cider or champagne toasts, making a nice dinner at home, or simply reflecting on our goals accomplished that month.
After thirty three months, when we finished paying off all of our debt, I put all of the pictures together and made them into a photo album for my husband! It’s so rewarding to look back and reflect on all the sacrifices, and all that we accomplished together! I still get teary-eyed when I look at it, and enjoy sharing this book with our children.
This journey was one of the most challenging, and meaningful things we have ever done together.
Keep your eyes on the prize
Don’t play the comparison game. I was the most successful when I kept my focus on our own progress. It was very distracting when I looked around at what everyone else was doing. I kept reminding myself that I didn’t want to be like everyone else, I wanted to be debt-free!
This whole process was difficult, challenging, life changing, and incredibly rewarding! There were times when I felt like giving up, and just burnt out. When I felt like giving up, my husband would continue to encourage me to keep going. He reminded me what we were working towards, and that we were positively changing our financial trajectory forever.
Work Hard, and Stay the Course
Thirty-three months can seem like an eternity when you are in the thick of it. If you are living radically, any time spent during this season can seem like a long time.
We had a few months where life’s challenges happened, and things would get in the way of our goals. We didn’t let that deter us, instead, it gave us more motivation to continue on.
After a laborious thirty-three months, we became totally debt-free! We were also expecting our first child. I still remember the day we went to the bank to pay our final mortgage payment, and the day we called in to the Dave Ramsey radio show and did our “debt-free” scream.
One year later, we purchased our fixer-upper dream home in Orange County, California. We paid half of the total price of the home as our down payment. Three years after that, we completely renovated the home without going into debt. We have a mortgage now, but it is very reasonable, and it’s the only debt that we have. I no longer have to work full-time, but work per diem as a nurse, and my husband rarely picks up any overtime shifts.
We now enjoy spending lots of time together as a family.
Plant Seeds of Joy and Generosity
Maya Angelou once said “When we give cheerfully, and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
I would highly encourage being generous with your resources because it’s good for the soul, whether it’s writing someone a kind note, buying someone’s coffee behind you, or giving to a non-profit organization or church.
During our entire debt-free journey, we donated 10% of our income, and it was always the first thing we budgeted. This may not be for everyone, but we discovered that there is lots of joy to be had when things are given from a grateful heart.
We were first inspired to become debt free because of our friend’s story. We now share our story in the hopes of inspiring others, and that it is possible if you are willing to work for it. The timeframe for becoming debt-free might be long, and difficult, but it will definitely be worth it.
If you are thinking of becoming debt-free, find your passion, and don’t let anything stop you! As Colin Powell once said “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.” You can do this!
Author bio: Lauren Mochizuki is an ER nurse, wife, and mother. She and her husband paid off $266,329.01 in 33 months. They also purchased their fixer-upper dream home, and renovated it without going into debt. On her blog www.casamochi.com, she is sharing her home renovation story, encouraging others to become debt-free, and that one can live a great life while being on a budget.
Inside: This guide provides tips on frugal home must haves, so you can save money and live responsibly, while also enjoying a healthy environment and good health.
Are you looking for ways to save money and still have a clean and organized home?
If so, you are in the right place. In this blog post, I am going to share with you frugal home must haves that will help you save money.
But before we get started, let me ask you a question:
Do you ever feel like your home is a never-ending cycle of cleaning and organizing? That you use products that are for one use only and know there are better products out there.
If so, you are not alone. Most people feel this way at some point in their lives.
The good news is that there are ways to save money and start to incorporate bits and pieces of a frugal lifestyle into your life.
So, without further ado, here are 19 frugal home must-haves to help you save money:
What is frugality?
Frugality is the practice of being very intentional with your spending, prioritizing the things that matter the most to you, and cutting back on spending in other areas.
It doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing your favorite brand of cereal, living without napkins, or giving up on adventurous vacations. Instead, frugality is about making smart money choices and learning to live below your means.
It is not the same as being cheap, which involves saving money at the expense of others.
Rather, being frugal means being economical with your money, making it stretch further so you can do more with less.
Frugal living is a journey, not a destination, and it starts with creating a budget that you can live with and looking for ways to save money.
What are the most frugal must-haves for a home?
The most important frugal must haves for you are those that save you money and time.
As such, what you value the most will differ from me. However, there are some basic underlying frugal items that every house needs. So, we will cover those bloew.
More importantly, more individuals are looking to become frugal green to save the environment as well as money.
This post may contain affiliate links, which helps us to continue providing relevant content and we receive a small commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read the full disclosure here.
best frugal home must-haves for saving money
Home is where the heart is, and we want our homes to be clean, organized, and comfortable without spending a fortune.
However, sometimes it can be tough to keep up with everything – especially on a budget.
Here are 19 frugal home must-haves that will help you save money and make your life easier!
1. Microfiber Cloths
Microfiber cloths are a frugal home must-have for saving money. Yep, I drive my mother-in-law crazy because I do not use paper towels.
They are cost-effective as compared to disposable cleaning supplies and can be used for various cleaning tasks around the house. They are more effective than cotton cloths as they rarely leave smears and dry as they wipe.
Plus, microfiber cloths can be color-coded for different cleaning tasks. To ensure their effectiveness and longevity, microfiber cloths should be washed separately from other laundry and should not be washed with fabric softeners or bleach.
2. Drying Rack
Owning a drying rack can be a smart investment for those looking to save money and energy in the long run. There are many types of drying racks available, from outdoor rotary clotheslines to indoor airers.
Personally, we use our drying rack ALL.THE.TIME!
Plus, using a drying rack is an eco-friendly alternative to using a dryer, which can reduce your carbon footprint and help you live a more sustainable lifestyle.
This is the drying rack we personally own and love.
3. Instant Pot or Crock Pot
Move over crockpot, the Instant Pot is the hottest trend to stay! I’ll admit I was hesitant about owning an instant pot, but have decided it was well worth the investment for our frugal home.
An instant pot is a frugal must-have for any home looking to save money while still enjoying delicious meals. It is perfect for busy people who want to come home to a warm meal without the hassle of cooking.
Instant pots are not just about cooking one meal; they are perfect for batch-cooking frugal meals. This allows you to cook multiple meals in one go, freezing the extra for another day.
You can also use cheaper cuts of meat and tenderize them in the instant pot. Some examples of meals that can be made in a crock pot include soups, stews, chilis, and even whole chicken for homemade stock.
An instant pot is an efficient and cost-effective way to enjoy home-cooked meals without breaking the bank.
Here is the instant pot / air fryer combe we personally own.
4. Reusable Grocery Bags
Many states, including ours, now charge 10 cents per bag when checking out at any store!
By bringing your own bags, you can avoid the extra fees charged for plastic bags at many stores.
Additionally, reusable bags are sturdier and can hold more items, reducing the need for multiple bags.
Switching to reusable bags also helps reduce plastic waste, which is harmful to the environment. So, invest in some reusable bags and make a positive impact on your wallet and the planet.
5. Beeswax Wraps
Beeswax wraps are a fantastic frugal and eco-friendly alternative to plastic wraps.
Made from organic cotton and covered in beeswax, they are versatile and come in various sizes. They can replace both cling film and foil, lasting for a long time as long as they are not washed in hot water or put in the microwave.
These wraps can save money in the long run as they are reusable and can be used for a variety of purposes, from wrapping bread to covering bowls.
To care for them, wash them in cool soapy water and avoid hot water or the microwave. With beeswax wraps, you can be frugal and eco-friendly at the same time!
6. Charging Stations To Reduce Energy
Standby losses refer to the energy consumed by electronic devices even when they are turned off but still plugged in. For instance, a TV on standby mode, a phone charger left plugged in, or a coffee maker are all examples of appliances that contribute to standby losses.
These losses can significantly impact your energy bill and add up over time.
However, there are practical ways to reduce standby losses and save money.
Use an energy-efficient power strip to plug in multiple devices and switch them off in one go.
Invest in a “smart” power strip that automatically turns off devices when they are not in use.
By taking these steps, you can reduce standby losses and save money on your energy bills.
7. Glass Jars
Glass jars are incredibly versatile and can be used for storing everything.
Using glass jars is also cost-effective since they can be reused over and over again.
With their airtight seals, they are perfect for storing food items, and their clear glass makes it easy to see what’s inside. They are also great for organizing small items like pens, hair bands, and cut flowers.
Overall, using glass jars is an easy way to save money while keeping your home clean and organized.
8. Hot Tea Maker Electric Glass Kettle
This is the updated version of the traditional teapot due to its durability, versatility, and cost-effectiveness.
It can be used to make a large amount of tea at once, making it perfect for entertaining guests or for daily use.
Additionally, it is a one-time investment that can last for years, which saves money in the long run.
Also, by using loose tea leaves instead of tea bags, you can also save money and reduce waste.
9. Coffee Pot
If you’re a coffee lover, you know how quickly buying coffee on a daily basis can add up and become a significant expense.
However, there is a simple solution to this problem – investing in a coffee pot you love.
By brewing your coffee at home, you can save several dollars each week, which can add up to a considerable amount over time.
Moreover, if you’re someone who enjoys lattes, there are coffee pots available that can make lattes at home. This means that you don’t have to spend a fortune on lattes from coffee shops or cafes.
With a good coffee maker, you can enjoy the great taste of coffee at home while saving money.
If you invest in a single-use coffee maker, then make sure you are using reusable K-cups.
10. Laundry Bags
Seriously, this was the greatest idea I found out from a baseball mom. Never worry about mixing up clothes between family members again!
By using laundry bags, you prevent clothes from getting lost or mixed up in the wash, and can also help prolong the life of delicate fabrics.
To care for your laundry bags, simply toss them in the washing machine with your laundry and air dry.
11. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a frugal home must-have that can be used for cleaning and organizing your home in many ways.
It is a multipurpose cleaner and deodorizer that can be used to clean surfaces, carpets, laundry, even fruits and vegetables.
By mixing baking soda with water, you can create a paste that can be used to clean almost everything. It can also be used to deodorize your refrigerator, carpets, and shoes. Additionally, you can sprinkle baking soda on your mattress and vacuum it up to remove odors.
Overall, baking soda is a versatile and inexpensive household item that can help you keep your home clean and fresh.
Vinegar is an incredibly versatile and cost-effective must-have for any frugal home. It can be used for cleaning and organizing in a variety of ways.
Vinegar is effective in removing stains, cleaning surfaces, and freshening up the home. It is also safe to use around children and pets, making it a great alternative to harsh chemical cleaners.
For cleaning surfaces, vinegar can be mixed with water and used to clean windows, mirrors, and countertops. It can also be used to remove stains from carpets and clothing. In addition, vinegar can be used to freshen up the home by adding a few drops to a diffuser or spraying it in the air.
To incorporate vinegar into daily cleaning routines, it can be added to a spray bottle with water and used to clean surfaces as needed. It can also be used as a natural fabric softener in the laundry by adding a cup to the rinse cycle.
When using vinegar, it should not be used on certain surfaces such as marble or granite as it can cause damage.
13. Reusable Water Bottles
Using reusable water bottles is an important step towards a more frugal and eco-friendly lifestyle.
It can save money by eliminating the need to buy single-use plastic water bottles, and it also helps reduce waste and pollution.
When choosing a reusable water bottle, look for one with a filter to ensure fresh water anytime, anywhere.
Opt for bottles made from durable and non-toxic materials such as stainless steel or glass.
Keeping a reusable water bottle also promotes healthy hydration habits.
14. A Large Freezer
A large freezer in your home is a frugal must-have for many reasons.
Not only does it provide money-saving opportunities by allowing you to stockpile food on a budget and freeze extra portions from batch cooking, but it also helps you take advantage of great deals you find at the store.
With a well-stocked freezer, you can shop your stock first and freeze nearly everything you buy for later use.
Additionally, having a large freezer can help you save on your electricity bill by allowing you to fill it up to two-thirds capacity, which makes it more efficient.
Also, you may want to purchase this freezer lock to make sure it stays closed.
15. Reusable Food Storage Containers
Using reusable food storage containers like BPA-free plastic or glass containers is an effective way to reduce waste and promote eco-friendly living.
BPA-free plastic containers are ideal for those who have limited space for storage and prefer lightweight and durable containers. They are freezer, microwave, and steamer safe, making them perfect for storing and reheating various types of food.
On the other hand, glass containers are an excellent alternative to plastic containers. They are incredibly environmentally friendly and can be reused over and over again, making them an indispensable tool in your quest for simple and frugal home living.
Since they are also reusable, saving you money in the long run. You only need a few of them for your daily use.
16. Reusable Food Bags
Reusable food bags are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and be more eco-friendly in your daily life. These bags are made from BPA-free materials and are designed to be used over and over again, making them a great alternative to single-use plastic bags.
Here are the benefits of reusable food bags:
Versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes as they are freezer, microwave, and steamer safe, making them perfect for storing, heating, and cooking food.
Perfect for packing lunches and snacks, as they are lightweight and easy to carry.
Durable and long-lasting.
Ability to use them again and again, reducing the amount of waste that you produce.
Unlike plastic bags, which can easily tear or break, these bags are made from sturdy materials that can withstand daily use.
While the initial cost of these bags may be higher than that of plastic bags, they will pay for themselves over time as you won’t have to keep buying new bags. Plus, they are often sold in sets, so you can get multiple bags for a lower price.
17. Basic Toolkit for DIY Projects
A basic toolkit can be a valuable asset for homeowners as it can come in handy for simple home repairs and save money on professional services.
With the right tools and some DIY know-how, you can tackle many basic home repairs and maintenance tasks yourself, without having to hire a professional.
DIY tutorials are available online, and many of them are free. You can also attend community classes or evening courses at local colleges to learn DIY skills.
Also, you can look at sharing tools with neighbors or friends can help you save money and build a sense of community.
18. Storage Organization
Oh my goodness, there is no way I could manage without serious storage organization for our small house.
Thankfully, there are plenty of storage organization options to make sure you use optimal space in every single corner of your house.
Here are some of my favorite storage organization tricks:
19. Rotary Clothes Line
Owning a rotary clothesline is a must-have for frugal homeowners.
Not only is it a one-time cost that lasts for years, but it also helps save money on electricity bills as line drying reduces creases and eliminates the need for a dryer.
Additionally, a rotary clothesline takes up less space than a bulky dryer or indoor drying rack.
By using a rotary clothesline, you can enjoy the benefits of fresh, sun-dried laundry while saving money and space. It’s a win-win situation for both your wallet and your home.
20. Essential Oils
Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways, including for homemade beauty and cleaning products. For example, adding 15 drops of peppermint essential oil to a cup of baking soda can create a refreshing and invigorating scrub.
Essential oils can also be added to homemade shampoo and body wash recipes to provide a pleasant scent and potential therapeutic benefits. Some popular essential oils for these purposes include rosemary, lavender, and peppermint.
In addition to beauty and cleaning products, essential oils can also be used for aromatherapy purposes. Simply adding a few drops of essential oil to a diffuser or inhaling the scent directly can provide benefits such as stress relief and relaxation.
It’s important to note that essential oils should always be used with caution and according to their recommended guidelines, as they can be potent and may cause adverse reactions if not used correctly.
21. Rain Collector
Using a rain collector to water your vegetable garden is a great way to be eco-friendly and frugal at the same time.
This method can help you save money on your water bill and reduce your carbon footprint.
Rain collectors can be purchased for as little as $50 and provide a regular supply of free water throughout the year.
To use a rain collector for your vegetable garden, set it up in a location that is convenient for you to access and close to your garden. When it rains, the water will collect in the butt and be ready for use when you need it. You can use a watering can or attach a hose to the butt for easy watering.
Rainwater is especially good for watering vegetables because it is free of chemicals and additives that may be present in tap water.
22. Countertop Composter
A countertop composter is a great addition to a frugal home. It is a small, portable compost bin that can be kept on your kitchen counter, making it easy to compost food scraps and other organic waste.
By composting your food scraps, you can reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills, which is not only good for the environment but also saves you money on garbage bags and waste disposal fees.
Countertop composters are available in various sizes and styles, so you can choose one that fits your needs and budget.
Some countertop composters are made of stainless steel or ceramic and have a sleek, modern look that blends in with your kitchen decor.
Others are made of plastic and have a more utilitarian design.
In addition to reducing waste and saving money, composting also produces nutrient-rich soil that can be used to fertilize your garden or houseplants. This can save you money on buying fertilizers and improve the health and productivity of your plants.
23. Knife Set
Having a good knife set is essential in a frugal home because it saves money in the long run. Yes, I have proof of this as I replace my 15-year-old knife under warranty.
Investing in an affordable yet durable set can be achieved by choosing stainless steel or high-carbon steel, which are both rust-resistant and long-lasting.
When choosing a set, consider the number of pieces you need and the type of knives required for your cooking needs.
To make your tools last longer, hand wash and dry them immediately after use, avoid using abrasive cleaners, and store them in a knife block or a drawer with dividers to prevent damage.
But, to be honest, these are the knife set I own and I put them in the dishwasher all the time.
24. Streaming Stick
If you haven’t upgraded to a smart TV yet, I understand you are frugal. Then, you need to invest in a streaming stick.
This simple device can help you lower your costs spent on cable while still streaming your favorite shows on Paramount, Hulu or YouTube.
Nowadays, you can expect to spend less than $50.
25. Soda Maker
This may seem like a splurge, but we, frugal people need a way to treat ourselves.
Having your own soda maker can be a great way to save money in the long run. While it may seem like an expensive investment at first, the cost of making your own soda (or seltzer) at home is significantly lower than constantly purchasing soda (or seltzer) from the store.
In fact, making soda at home can cost as little as 25 cents per liter, compared to the average cost of $1.50 per liter for store-bought soda.
Another cost-saving benefit of having your own soda maker is that you can control the ingredients. You can choose to make your soda with natural sweeteners like honey or stevia, rather than high fructose corn syrup, which is commonly found in store-bought soda. This not only saves you money in the long run, but it can also be a healthier option.
What are some good tips for living frugally?
Living frugally can be a great way to save money and achieve financial goals.
Here are some practical tips for living frugally that you can implement in your daily life:
Meal planning and home cooking can save money on food expenses. Brown bagging or oven lunch boxing your lunch is also a great way to save money. Learn how to be frugal with food.
Wash your laundry in cold water and use natural homemade cleaners to save on household expenses.
Create a budget that you can live with and look for areas where you can cut back on expenses. Pack your own lunch and cut back on entertainment costs.
Travel frugally by traveling during the off-season and cutting down on eating out. Opt for a place with a kitchen so you can make some of your own meals and purchase discounted airline tickets or fares.
Have fun for free by doing activities such as going to the park, having a picnic, or having a bonfire. There are so many things to do with no money.
Try out a few frugal living tips at a time to find out which works best for you and don’t forget to access free courses and worksheets to help with your frugal living journey.
Remember, frugal living doesn’t have to be a sacrifice and can actually help you fully enjoy what you care about in life.
Start taking small steps towards a more frugal lifestyle and see how it can positively impact your finances.
There are many frugal home hacks that can help you save money and keep your home clean and organized.
Some practical and actionable tips include meal planning, home cooking, brown bagging your lunch, washing your laundry in cold water, and using natural homemade cleaners.
Before calling a handyman, consult YouTube to learn how to fix a leaky faucet or remodel your bathroom.
Examining your monthly bills for ways to save on electricity, water, cable, and even your cell phone can also help you save money.
By implementing these frugal hacks, you can make every penny and dollar count and stretch your budget further.
I always tell people to shop their own house first. Just because you don’t know where something is doesn’t mean you should go out and buy a new item.
Look around and see how you can reuse items.
Before heading out to the grocery store, look at your own pantry and freezer to see what you can use first.
Give these tips a try and see how much you can save!
Essential appliances and gadgets for a frugal, clean, and organized home include:
Which Frugal Home Ideas Will You Implement?
With a little bit of planning and effort, you can live frugally and still have a beautiful home.
One of the key points of frugality is buying quality items less often.
Too many times, people associate being frugal with cheap.
Being frugal means you are intentional with your spending on household items and prioritizing the things that matter most.
Plus, using frugal methods can be better for the environment and your health.
So what are you waiting for? Go out and buy some of these must-haves today!
Know someone else that needs this, too? Then, please share!!
Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further
The temptation to overspend is seemingly everywhere you go. Whether you’re at the grocery store, checking your email, or scrolling on Instagram, ads are everywhere you look. These days, targeted ads are getting better at stealing your attention and your budget. While shopping never goes out of style, you may be wondering how to stop spending money on unnecessary items. Luckily, we have a few tricks up our sleeve.
From becoming your own chef to creating and sticking to a budget, there are a few ways to avoid temptations to overspend. Not only does overspending impact your finances, it could hinder your chances of meeting your financial goals. Curb your temptation to spend money with our 13 budget savers below.
1. Know Your Weaknesses
While you’re gearing up to end overspending, first find out where you spend the most money. Look through your recent statements and highlight any unnecessary expenses. Where are you spending the most on items or services that benefit your finances, or steal from them? Once you’ve recognized your unnecessary expenses, limit your spending.
Bonus step: Create your ideal budget and set specific financial goals using the Mint app. Enable alerts to notify you anytime you’re nearing your budget’s limit.
2. Create a Budget and Stick to It
Now that you’ve identified where you overspend, it’s time to create a budget to keep your temptations at bay. As a general rule of thumb, you should follow the 50/30/20 rule — 50 percent of your income going to necessities, 30 percent towards extras, and 20 percent towards your savings.
After figuring out how much money comes in versus out, set your monthly budget goals. As each month may have different expenses, plan for the adjustments. Sit down at the end of each month to readjust your budget for the next month ahead.
Bonus step: Schedule budget check-ins once a month to hold yourself accountable.
3. Give Every Dollar a Purpose
When creating your budget, try budgeting to zero. When you have extra money laying around in your account, you may feel tempted to spend it on things you don’t need. Once you’ve accounted for your necessary expenses like rent, electricity, and WiFi, divide up your leftovers to put towards your savings, extra debt payments, and investments until you reach zero.
Bonus step: Set up automatic savings contributions to make sure your income is directly deposited where you want it to go.
4. Only Shop With a List
Write out a shopping list before you enter the store to ensure you get everything you need without any extras. While you’re shopping, only stick to what’s on your list. If it’s not on the list and you haven’t budgeted for it, put it down and just keep walking.
Bonus step: To avoid impulse purchases, unsubscribe from all your email newsletters and delete shopping apps from your phone.
5. Check Your Budget Before You Spend
If you do find yourself eyeing an item that you haven’t budgeted for (it happens!), check in on your bank account before making the purchase. If it fits your budget, ask yourself the hard questions. Do you really need this item? If so, how would it benefit you and your lifestyle? Could it save you time or money? If yes, follow through with the purchase while respecting your budget.
Bonus step: Wait three days before purchasing an unneeded item. After 72 hours, if you’re still interested and it fits your budget, go back and get it.
6. Invest In Multi-Use Products
While your monthly goal may be to save as much as you can, be open to higher-priced items that could help you reach that goal. For example, buying reusable paper towels means you’ll spend less on disposable ones over time. Another way to save on small expenses is to become your own barista, which can save you between $1,934 to $2,327 a year.
Bonus step: Consider adopting some minimalist lifestyle ideas to help spend less and declutter.
7. Ditch Food Delivery and Cook at Home
The average American spends $3,459 on eating out every year. Instead of ordering food for lunch every day, meal prep at home. You can work this into your weekly routine by designating a day for meal planning and a day for grocery shopping and cooking. Planning your meals saves you from overspending while still making your favorite gourmet meals. You can save eating out for special occasions.
Bonus step: Delete all your food delivery apps from your phone to avoid the urge to order a speedy, but expensive, meal.
8. Pack Leftovers the Night Before
When your calendar’s booked, you’re most likely looking for the easiest way to get food for lunch. Nix your takeout food budget and pack your leftovers from the night before. While some nights you may be booked with events or virtual get-togethers, meal prep once or twice a week to ensure you have food for lunch every day. Simple dishes like chicken and veggies are easy meals to make on a budget.
Bonus step: Organize a “lunch swap” with your coworker so you don’t get bored of eating the same meal.
9. Squash Sale Shopping
If items on your shopping list aren’t on sale, don’t go looking for unnecessary items on the sale racks. You may walk out of the store buying something you don’t need because “it was only five bucks!” Kick discount shopping to the curb unless the items you need are part of the sale.
Bonus step: Save time and money by avoiding discount catalogs and sale sections.
10. Opt For Generic Over Name Brand
While checking off your shopping list, see if there are any generic alternatives to big-name brands. Most big box stores make the same products at a discounted price in exchange for the branded packaging. Compare the ingredients of a generic item against name brand products to see if you can spot a difference. Purchasing generic food products alone could save you 30 to 60 percent.
Bonus step: Google online coupons at checkout to see if you can get an added discount.
11. Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions
While your gym membership and TV streaming system may have served you a few years ago, it may not now. Audit your expenses each month to see what you’re able to cut out. Instead of paying for a gym membership that costs on average $696 each year, purchase weights and a yoga mat for your own home gym. Not only could it save you money year after year, it could save you the commute to the gym and back.
Bonus step: As 65% of people don’t keep track of their monthly spending, schedule budget audits on your calendar every three months.
12. Challenge Yourself to a No-Spend Challenge
Participate in daily, weekly, or monthly savings challenges to make penny-pinching more fun. Ask your friends and family to join in on a no-spend challenge to up the stakes. Spark some friendly competition while giving back to your bank account. Once the month has come to a wrap, treat yourself to your favorite snack in celebration of your achievements.
Bonus step: Set an alert on your phone for a no-spend day each week. One New Yorker saved $18,432 in six months from having one no-spend day a week.
13. Set New Budget Goals and Repeat
Challenges help keep your eyes on the prize. Set differentgoals as you audit your budget each month. One month you may want to focus on contributing to your emergency fund, while the other you may want to increase your student loan payments. Get creative with your goals and set up budget alerts to ensure you’re meeting them.
Bonus step: Tell your friends and family about your goals each month to increase your odds of meeting them.
Invest Your Time and Money On Things That Help You Save
What else could you do with your money to earn more? Simply investing a hundred dollars in home gym equipment could pay for itself (and more) instead of purchasing an annual gym membership. Below are a few more options that could save you time and money year after year.
Make your coffee at home: Buy yourself a coffee maker and cup that you love. Use your machine and reusable cup every day to save hundreds of dollars on takeout coffee.
Become a beautician: Order hair shears, at-home dye supplies, and nail kits to save on the tremendous beauty industry markup prices. Ask your friend to do your hair or take it upon yourself to learn.
Use reusable products: Reduce your waste and purchase reusable products. Swap your paper towels for reusable towels to save the earth and budget.
Shop quality over quantity: For instance, invest in staple clothing pieces over fast fashion. You could save money and time on constantly shopping for new clothes.
Create an at-home gym: Purchase a few weights, a yoga mat, and a water bottle and get a sweaty workout done at home. You may even feel less stressed about beating traffic to make it to your fitness class on time.
Track your spending on the fly: Download our free app to track your spending habits, even when you’re out and about. Set up alerts to ensure you’re always on track with your budget.
Divvy up time for your passion projects: Say no to events that don’t benefit you and use that time to create passive income projects that last a lifetime.
Even though you may be looking to save more and spend less, you don’t have to cut all your favorite things out of your budget. Instead, practice spending with a purpose. Your weekly dinners out on the town may not as mean as much as they do when you treat yourself to a nice steak made at home. If you’re frequently tempted to spend your money instead of saving, create a budget to ensure you’re always keeping up with and sticking to your savings goals.
Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further
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