No matter where you are on your financial journey, you need to know that it’s possible for anyone to turn their financial life around. Sometimes all it takes is that first step in the right direction to get things moving in your favor. But, as with most things, sometimes that very first step is the hardest part.
That’s why we created this list of 100 ways to start saving money today. None of these tactics will be life-changing on their own, but they can make quite a difference over time if you’re able to implement more than one. Some of these suggestions take just a few minutes, while others require a bit of regular effort. Still, they’re all incredibly simple – anyone can do them.
Obviously, not all of these tips will apply to everyone. Just go through the list and find 10 or 15 that do apply to you and use them in your life. When you do, you may quickly find that you’re saving more money than you ever thought possible.
1. Turn off the television.
One big way to save money is to drastically cut down on the amount of television you watch. There are a lot of financial benefits to this: less exposure to spending-inducing ads, a lower electric bill (and perhaps a lower cable bill if you downgrade your subscription), more time to focus on other things in life — such as a side business — and so on.
Want to take things a step further? Consider cutting the cord to cable TV altogether.
2. Stop collecting, and start selling
There was a time when people thought their collections would bring them riches. Beanie Babies were a big fad at one time, as were Longaberger baskets. Now you can find those items on resale sites like Craigslist and at garage sales for a fraction of their initial cost, leaving many people who sunk thousands of dollars into their “investments” wondering what happened.
If you want to avoid that situation, don’t collect items of questionable value. And if you want to recoup some of the money you’ve already spent on collectible items, you can start selling them now and use those funds for any number of worthy financial goals. Read our “Guide to Selling Unwanted Items” for some simple strategies that can help you profit as much as possible.
3. Sign up for every free customer rewards program you can.
No matter where you live, you’ll find plenty of retailers who are willing to reward you for shopping at their store. Here’s the basic game plan for maximizing these programs: create a Gmail or Yahoo address just for these mailings, collect every card you can, and then check that account for extra coupons whenever you’re ready to shop.
4. Invite friends over instead of going out.
Going out to eat or “out on the town” has a way of completely destroying both your food budget and your entertainment budget in one fell swoop. And no matter what, it is always cheaper to stay in with friends and come up with your own entertainment.
Instead of hitting the town, host a fun pitch-in dinner with your friends. Play cards, sit around a fire pit, or watch movies with your guests. You’ll all save money – and have a blast.
5. Repair clothing instead of tossing it.
Don’t toss out a shirt because of a broken button – sew on a new one with some closely-matched thread. Don’t toss out pants because of a hole in them – put in a patch of some sort and save them for times when you’re working around the house.
Most basic sewing jobs can be completed by anyone, and a little bit of practice goes a long way. Learning basic sewing skills is a great way to save some money – and extend the life of your clothing.
6. Quit using credit cards.
If you have a habit of getting into trouble with credit cards, hide your credit cards and keep them in a safe place in your home, not in your wallet. If you need to keep a card for emergencies, that’s okay. Just don’t carry it around with you. If you’re often tempted to use it, keeping your card “out of sight and out of mind” might help.
7. Plan your meals around your grocery store’s flyer.
Instead of creating your meal plan out of thin air, plan all your meals around what’s on sale in your grocery store’s flyer. Look at the biggest sales, then plan recipes based on those ingredients and what you have on hand. Do that for a few months and you’ll find yourself with a much smaller food bill than you’re used to.
8. Do a price comparison – and find a cheaper grocery store.
Most of us get in a routine of shopping at the same grocery store, and we may not even realize that we’re not getting the best deal. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to find the cheapest store around. Just keep track of the 20 or so things you buy most often, then shop for these items at a variety of stores. Eventually, one store will come out on top for your purchases – just make that one your regular shopping destination and you’ll automatically save money.
9. When buying a car, look only at used models.
It’s hard to argue with the fact that new cars make terrible investments. Not only do they drop in value the moment you drive off the lot, but they continue dropping in value with each year that goes by.
If you want to save as much as possible on transportation, look only at used cars in relatively good condition. If you focus on cars that are only a few years old, you may also be able to find one within its warranty period.
10. Hit the library – hard.
Don’t look at a library as just a place to borrow books. Look at it as a free place to do all sorts of things. I’ve used it to learn a foreign language, meet people, use the Internet in a pinch, check out movies and CDs, grab local free newspapers, and keep up on community events. Best of all, it doesn’t cost a dime.