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Money saving tips that don't force you to live like a pauper.

Here at Dough Roller, we talk a lot about getting into the habit of spending less than you make.

You may be looking at your budgeting and thinking, “That’s impossible!” But the fact is that even the savviest spenders can often find unexpected ways to save.

And here’s the deal: this doesn’t have to hurt. You don’t have to go without TV or eat beans and rice for every meal to save money. Instead, start with just a few of these easy tips and tricks. Incorporate more of them into your spending plan every month. You could soon find yourself saving hundreds–or even thousands!–of dollars per month.

Have questions about these tips? Feel free to email me! Or continue the discussion in the comments at the bottom of this post.

Rebates, Coupons, and More

  1. Earn cash back on every online purchase: Ebates is free to join and easy to use. You can earn up to 10% cash back or more on every online purchase. Cash back is available from retailers as diverse as Amazon, JC Penney, Rite Aid, and even Walmart and Kohl’s.
  2. Get cash back every time you shop online: Swagbucks is a free site that enables you to earn gift cards whenever you shop online. It’s similar to Ebates, but you can also earn cash by watching videos, surfing the net, or taking surveys.
  3. Track your money effortlessly: Most of us hate to budget. I know I do. Now there are free online budget tools that can track everything from your monthly spending to your retirement accounts. You might be surprised how much you can save when you just keep a closer eye on your spending. Personal Capital has a free version and upgrade options and is our preferred platform for tracking your finances and investments.
  4. Send away for and follow up on rebates. After you buy a product with a rebate, send in the form that day. If you can, file the rebate online for easier processing. Then set a reminder on your calendar to follow up with the company if you haven’t received the rebate in a reasonable amount of time.
  5. Try haggling. It’s amazing what you can get discounted if you’ll just press the point. Sometimes, if you can’t get a lower price on a service or item, you can ask for additional perks for the same price. You’re still saving money!
  6. Save your change. It adds up surprisingly quickly. And if you rarely spend cash, you can save your virtual change using an app like Qoins.
  7. Price check. If you’re shopping for larger-ticket items, price checking comes naturally. But there are some great apps that let you do this in just a few seconds for everyday items, too. That way you can be sure to always get the best price.

Disclosure – Wikibuy compensates us when you get the Wikibuy extension using the links provided.

Wikibuy is a great price check app that can save you money in a couple of different ways.  Whenever you’re looking to buy something online, Wikibuy will quickly scour the web and will comparison shop for you.  They’ll also look to apply any coupon codes that have been successful for other Wikibuy users.

As an added perk, Wikibuy offers credits when you make purchases with select merchants that you can the use to purchase gift cards.  Three excellent ways to save/earn.

Save Through Good Management

  1. Improve your credit score. A good credit score can save you thousands of dollars in interest on everything from a home loan to a car loan to credit cards. If you’ve never focused on your credit score before, the place to start is to get your free FICO score. Once you improve your credit score, you can refinance your debts to save big money.
  2. Request a reduction in the interest rate for your home equity line of credit. I did, and my mortgage company agreed to reduce the rate by more than 0.50%. That doesn’t sound like much, but on a large loan, that can make a big difference in your monthly payment. And if you are looking for a home equity loan, Quicken Loans is a great place to check out available options.
  3. Transfer your credit card balances to 0% APR cards. Even if your credit score isn’t incredibly high, you may qualify for one of these 0% interest credit cards. Transferring your balances can save you a ton of money as you pay off debt. Another option is to ask your current credit card company for an interest rate reduction. As with a HELOC, it doesn’t hurt to ask!
  4. Refinance your mortgage. If you can reduce your interest rate by 1% or more, it is often beneficial to refinance. This is particularly true if you have a high rate because your credit score wasn’t great when you took out the mortgage. If your score has improved, you may qualify for a better rate. Start by asking your current mortgage lender about lower rates. Here’s a table of refinance rates that is updated daily.
  5. Don’t pay interest on credit cards. This is obvious, but as soon as you fail to pay off the credit card in full, the high interest payments start to eat away at your monthly budget. If the temptation to spend more than you can pay on a credit card is too great, get rid of the credit card (and ignore the previous tip!).
  6. Get organized to avoid missed payments. I’ve missed a payment or two because the bill got buried beneath a stack of papers. Get organized, and avoid those late payment penalties. Check out our picks for the 10 best money management apps. Some even have a feature to pay your bills straight from the app! If you do miss a payment, call your creditor, and ask to have the penalty removed. They’ll usually accommodate the request, at least the first time.
  7. Budget for regular maintenance of your vehicle, home, and appliances. When you’re on a tight budget, it’s easy to ignore long-term expenses like car repairs and appliance maintenance. But it’s much cheaper to pay for an annual tune-up of your HVAC system than to deal with major problems down the road. Likewise, keeping your car in good shape is much cheaper, in the long run, than dealing with big repairs that could have been prevented.
  8. Learn some DIY skills. Doing some things yourself–whether it’s growing veggies in your backyard, making cookies from scratch, or doing basic home repairs–can save you tons of money over time. Plus, some DIY skills can become a fun hobby or even a money-making side gig.
  9. Pay your mortgage payments bi-weekly, rather than monthly. This lets you painlessly make an extra payment each year, which can add up quickly in the form of home equity!
  10. Try to avoid the ATM. Or, at least, avoid other banks’ ATMs, which can charge you significant fees to access cash.
  11. Pay your bills online. Auto-payment helps you avoid late fees, and you save on envelopes and postage!
  12. Consider shopping in cash. You could take cash only to the grocery store, or use only cash for other specific purposes. Some people find sticking to a 100% cash budget is a good way to control overall spending.
  13. Limit your spending with an allowance. It’s fine to spend some money on random indulgences. But you can keep it from getting out of hand by using an allowance system where you get a certain amount of money to spend on a weekly or monthly basis.
  14. Keep your home organized. Sometimes you have to pay a bit up front to keep your home organized. But keeping things in proper places keeps you from buying more than you need.
  15. Automate your finances. Sometimes you spend money just because it happens to be in your checking account. Avoid this issue by automating your savings and putting a certain percentage of your paycheck into savings every payday.

Save on Health

  1. Get healthy. Your health will directly impact the cost of life insurance. Healthier people are likely to spend less on actual healthcare, too. And, in some cases, becoming healthier may reduce your health insurance premiums.
  2. Stop smoking. Check out your estimated costs of smoking with this calculator. Need I say more?
  3. Buy generic over-the-counter medicines. They are exactly the same as their branded counterparts and cost less.
  4. Shop around for healthcare procedures. It’s surprising how much variance there is in the costs of basic procedures like dental cleanings and optometry appointments. Even the cost of a major surgery can vary depending on where you go. If possible, shop around before you have these procedures done.

Save on Services

  1. Slow down your internet service. I went to the slower internet service option with my cable company and saved $15 per month. And I haven’t noticed a difference when surfing the internet. Unless you’re constantly streaming or playing high-definition video games, you probably won’t either.
  2. Request a discount on trash service. For some reason, this is a highly competitive business. If you get a better offer in the mail for trash service, call your current trash company and ask them to beat the offer. My trash service has reduced its rates twice in six months to match competing offers.
  3. Never pay checking account fees. I hate bank fees. With so many free checking account plans available, there’s no reason to pay a fee. And if the bank happens to charge you one, ask them to reverse the fee or take your business to another bank.
  4. Get a rewards card. Many reward cards that pay out in cash or points that you can redeem for travel or products. Many of these cards don’t have an annual fee. I recently traveled to my college reunion for free using points earned from a credit card. My favorite rewards card is Chase Freedom Unlimited. It does NOT have an annual fee. You can also check out my review of several travel reward credit cards.
  5. Get rid of your home telephone. This is a great way to save money. Many don’t do it because of the 911 service, and that’s understandable. But if you’re comfortable relying on a cell phone, there’s no reason to keep a landline. If you do, consider reducing your service to the minimum, and only use the phone in an emergency.
  6. Consider VOiP telephone service. We use Internet phone service and have saved substantial money over Verizon service. The phone service has been very reliable, and you’d never even know the signal was being carried over the Internet. Phone Power is a great option for internet telephone service. It costs as little as $8.33 a month.
  7. Eliminate some cable service. Note that I’m not recommending getting rid of cable completely, although that’s certainly a way to save money. If you must have cable, take a look at all the charges on your cable bill, and consider getting rid of some of the service. Try it for a month and see if you really miss those last 500 channels.
  8. Cancel the gym membership. This seems to contradict the previous tip, but evaluate how much you really use your health club. Less expensive options may include a gym at your work or a gym at your local parks and recreation center. Some offer pay-as-you-go options rather than monthly fees, which can be helpful. Or you can save altogether by working out at home.
  9. Pass on extended warranties. A $129 two-year warranty extension on a $300 product is just not worth it. Warranties are insurance, and we rarely need to insure something worth that little.
  10. Buy term life insurance. In the vast majority of cases, any other life insurance product is just not worth the extra cost.
  11. Consider MythTV PVR in replace of TiVo type service I just ran across MythTV and am still investigating it. I pay $15 a month to my cable company for a DVR box and would love to save the money. If you’ve used MythTV, let us know how well it works.
  12. Use open source software when possible. I use GIMP instead of Photoshop. GIMP is free; Photoshop isn’t.

Save on Insurance

  1. Double check your insurance policies. Don’t pay for more insurance coverage than you need.
  2. Shop your insurance policies around, and consider combining them. You can often save automatically by insuring your home and vehicles with the same insurer. But every year at renewal time, you should call your agent to see if they can offer you a lower price. If not, it’s time to shop around.
  3. Suspend your insurance coverage when you’re out of town. Are you going to be leaving your car to sit in the garage for a couple of weeks while you go on vacation? Ask your insurance company about downgrading your coverage for that time. You can drop your liability coverage and reduce your premiums for a short time.
  4. Pay your life insurance annually. Insurance companies charge you more if you pay monthly, quarterly or semi-annually. Pay once a year, and you’ll pay less in premiums.
  5. Pay car insurance semi-annually. At least with my car insurance, the company offers quarterly and semi-annual payment options. It costs more to pay quarterly, and twice a year is more convenient anyway.
  6. Increase insurance deductibles. Most of us don’t need to be insured for all losses over $100 on our car, for example. Although we wouldn’t want to pay a $250 or even $500 deductible, we could. If that’s you, find out how much you’d save from raising your deductible. I’ve raised my deductibles on my auto insurance and homeowner’s insurance and saved a considerable amount. Just be sure you always have enough money in savings to cover the deductible!
  7. Think twice before submitting an insurance claim. My rule of thumb is that I won’t submit a claim on a loss that is less than twice my deductible. So for a $250 deductible on an auto loss, I’ll pay out of pocket any loss up to $500. Why? The $250 I’d receive from my insurance company is not worth the increased premiums I’m likely to pay. You may want to call your insurance agent to find out how a claim will impact your premiums before filing the claim. 

Save at Home

  1. Get rid of Private Mortgage Insurance. If the down payment on your home was less than 20%, you are probably paying private mortgage insurance (PMI) as part of your monthly mortgage payment. Once you have 20% equity in your home, though, you should contact your lender to get your PMI removed. You can build up this equity either by paying down debt or if your home appreciates. If you have a newer FHA mortgage, you may need to refinance to get rid of PMI.
  2. Convert to a gas water heater. They are more efficient and will save you money in the long run, especially if electricity rates are increasing in your area. Plus, gas water heaters can still work during a power outage!
  3. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. These bulbs use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer. They do take some getting used to, and they won’t work in every light fixture. But use them where it makes sense, and you’ll save energy and money.
  4. Have an energy efficiency checkup on your home. Many local utilities companies will do this for free. They’ll check out your home’s insulation and let you know where you can make improvements to save energy (and money!)
  5. Add additional insulation. Even without an energy efficiency checkup, you can probably tell if your home needs more insulation. The most likely spot to need it is your attic. Additional insulation can pay for itself within a year or two, and then save you money every year after.
  6. Buy energy efficient appliances. Look for the Energy Star on appliances and consider the annual energy cost before buying. More efficient appliances cost more, but you make up the extra cost and then some over the life of the product. You can enhance this tip’s impact with super-efficient options like induction cooktops and high-efficiency washing machines, as well.
  7. Change your furnace filters. Keeping your furnace filters clean is important for maintaining your home’s air quality. It also saves money by keeping your system running efficiently. If you always forget to refresh your filters, consider having them automatically delivered by a service like FilterEasy.
  8. Wash your clothes on cold. Today’s detergents typically do just as good a job cleaning on the cold cycle as a warmer cycle. And, in fact, this might make your clothes last longer.
  9. Get a rooftop solar water heater. These aren’t very expensive and can pay for themselves in energy savings fairly quickly.
  10. Replace your paper towels. You can get super-cheap white towels for next to nothing from kitchen supply stores. In fact, many industrial kitchens don’t use paper products because they’d spend a fortune on them. Replacing paper towels in the kitchen and for cleaning can really add up.

Save on Food

  1. Prepare easy meals for just $5. I would have thought this was impossible until I met Erin. She’s the genius behind $5 Meal Plans. She’s been on the Today Show and Fox & Friends showing how families can eat good, healthy meals for a fraction of the cost.
  2. Take your lunch to work one more day a week than you do now. Eating out at lunch is fun, so I wouldn’t eliminate it completely. But taking lunch just one more day a week will keep money in your pocket.
  3. Drink less alcohol. It costs money and adds calories. When you do want a drink, learn to mix your own drinks at home to save big.
  4. Limit how often you grocery shop. Grocery shopping less often will typically lead to savings. Try to shop only once a week. If you often shop at warehouse stores, you can hit those up once a month and then just stop for your fresh items once a week.
  5. Buy the off brand. Many items are nearly exactly the same in off brand as in brand name. You can save a fortune by sticking with the off brands available at your local grocery store. You could save even more with options like Costco’s Kirkland brand or Aldi’s off brands.
  6. Skip the bottled water. Instead of buying a bottle of water every time you go to work, the gym, or wherever, buy a water filter and take your own water. You can save even more by making your own coffee to take along with you on the go!
  7. Use powders or concentrates for your favorite drinks. You can make tea or juice a lot cheaper at home.
  8. Cook from scratch. If you’re really busy, consider using your crock pot to cook from scratch but save a ton of time.
  9. Use a grocery couponing app. Instead of printing and clipping coupons, use an app that does the work for you. This gives you the benefits of coupons without all the time to organize them. Also read our Fetch Review to find out how to earn rewards for grocery shopping.
  10. Check out bulk stores for more savings. Many foods can be bought in bulk for way less. For instance, you can buy frozen vegetables really cheaply in large quantities. Or buy your paper goods from a bulk store to save.
  11. Shop your pantry and freezer. It’s really easy to forget about food stockpiled in your pantry or freezer. So before you go to the grocery store and wind up buying more of what you already have, dig around your kitchen and make a list of what you’ve got.

Save on Shopping

  1. Buy your next cell phone from Amazon: It may seem odd to buy a cell phone from Amazon, but they offer some of the newest phones from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. Amazon offers free 2-day shipping and low prices without the hassle of mail-in rebate forms. To check out the deals, visit AmazonWireless.
  2. Buy a refurbished Mac: I’ve written about this before because it is a great way to buy not only computers, but iPods and iPhones as well. You can check out the details on how to buy a refurbished iPhone. Just be sure you’re getting the product from a reputable company.
  3. Get your books from the library. I love books and read every day. While I buy some of the books I read, most come from the library. Simply put, it’s hard to beat free. Amazon makes it easy to get ebooks from a library directly onto your reader.
  4. Stream movies for cheap or for free. Make the most of your subscriptions. Instead of paying for a movie ticket, stream one from your Amazon, Netflix or Hulu accounts. You can also stream movies on demand with Redbox, some for as little as $1.99. Many libraries now have movies on DVD and Bluray that patrons can check out. If your library offers this service, it sure beats paying for a movie ticket.
  5. Subscribe to magazines or read digital copies. If you must have a certain magazine each month, subscribe. Subscriptions offer substantial savings over the cost at the newsstand. Amazon also offers some great deals on personal finance magazines and Prime members get access to a few magazines per month as part of the membership.
  6. Buy online when it saves you money. Services like Amazon’s Prime Pantry and Subscribe and Save services could save you tons of money on everyday essentials. There are tons of other newer services available, too, including Boxed, where you can buy in bulk online. Plus, there are plenty of great websites to buy clothes, toys, gifts, and more online at a steep discount.
  7. Go thrifting. Thrift store buys don’t have to look used, but they’ll be a lot cheaper. Stores like Goodwill and local thrift stores are great for finding kids’ clothes, adult clothes, home decor, and household goods like dishes and flatware.
  8. Use coupon searching add-ons. If you’re a frequent online shopper, you can save a fortune with coupon-finding extensions for your browser. Extensions like Honey will automatically try out coupon codes until they find you the most savings possible before you check out online.
  9. Shop outlet stores. Instead of back-to-school or holiday shopping in your typical retail stores, shop at your local outlets. You can get the same looks for way less.
  10. Use the 24-hour rule. Before you make any impulse buy, make yourself wait for at least one day. You’ll likely find that by the end of that waiting period, you don’t want the item any more.

Save on Gifts

  1. Agree to limit gift giving. At Christmas we tend to go overboard when it comes to gift giving. To cut back, we agreed in advance with extended family about gift limits, which really helps save money for everyone.
  2. Save ahead for the holidays. If you have to pay for Christmas gifts on a credit card, you’re much more likely to over-spend. Start saving ahead of time, and then commit to spending only what you’ve set aside.
  3. Buy gifts throughout the year. You can often get nice gifts for next Christmas right at the first of the year. Buying throughout the year can help you feel less pressure during the holiday season and can save you a fortune.

Save on Transportation

  1. Get tires from Costco or other wholesale clubs. Simply put, they cost a lot less than buying them at the dealer or even a chain tire store.
  2. Keep tires properly inflated. It keeps you safe and means your car is more fuel efficient. Make a habit of checking the air in your tires on a weekly basis.
  3. Drive your car longer. The buy new versus used debate often overlooks the most important factor–how long you own your car. Drive it as long as you safely can for substantial savings.
  4. Buy your car online. Search the internet for information on the car you want, and then send e-mail requests to dealers for the best price. Even if the dealer is located in another state, the cost to have the car delivered may still be worth it. I paid $500 to have a Honda Odyssey shipped 500 miles and still saved $1,000 over the best local price available.
  5. Ride your bike when you can. If you live nearby to your workplace or other places you frequent, consider investing in a bike. Riding even some of the time can save you serious cash on transportation.
  6. Learn to drive a manual transmission car. They tend to have lower-cost maintenance and use less gas.
  7. Use cruise control. Cruise control helps reduce wear and tear on your vehicle and can boost your fuel efficiency.
  8. Consider fuel efficiency when you buy a new car. This is especially true if you put a lot of miles on your vehicle, or if you are in consistent stop and go traffic. Saving a mile per gallon or more can really add up!

Save on Investments

  1. Learn about investing. The more you know about investing, the better choices you’ll make. This means you could make more from your investments and save money in fees.
  2. Buy low-cost mutual funds. This is easy to miss because the money doesn’t come out of your pocket each month. But keep an eye on the cost of the mutual funds in your 401(k) and other investments. My rule of thumb is that no fund should cost more than 1%. And the combined cost for all your funds should be less than 0.50%.
  3. Take advantage of employer 401(k) matches. If your employer matches 401(k) contributions, do everything you can to take full advantage of that match. Otherwise, you’re leaving free money on the table!
  4. Use flexible spending accounts. FSAs allow you to pay certain medical, dental and child care expenses using pre-tax dollars. If you’re not taking advantage of these accounts, you’re wasting money. Check with your HR department about enrolling in an FSA during your employer’s open enrollment period.
  5. Use a health savings account. If you have a qualifying high-deductible health plan, you can save even more with an HSA. These accounts set aside pre-tax dollars for health-related expenses. Find out more here.

Bonus Tip: Start tracking your investments. It’s easy to do with a free online financial dashboard offered by Personal Capital. I’ve used it for years, and it even comes with a recently added free retirement checkup calculator.

Author Bio

Total Articles: 1080
Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Article comments

Pinyo says:

Excellent list. In fact, I am going to write about my actual experience doing #1. It saved me a lot of money and I got better services out of the deal too.

Luke says:

What about:

-Make a budget and try to stick to it

-Walk or ride a bike when possible

Good article!

zh says:

Great tips! Here’s mine: Don’t go to the grocery store more than once a week. You always spend more than you need there. When you do go, make a list and *stick to it*. True, this is not always painless. But the extra money in your account is worth it.

David says:

Watch out for #1 – I did the math here in my city and it was almost twice as much as getting service from different companies!

B says:

When you have a baby (we have two):

Breastfeed – Breastmilk is always the right temperature (when given directly from the source), doesn’t have to be boiled or mixed, no bottles to wash, you’re taking it with you anyway.

If you can’t, use Kirkland Signature (Costco brand) formula, it’s many times cheaper than name brands with basically the same ingredients.

Frank says:

Awesome list!

I want to try Redbox, but unfortunately they are only in the bad parts of my town so far. 🙁

Matthew says:

I have a contention with the life insurance comment.

While Whole of Life and Endowment policies are next to useless, Trauma (Critical Illness) and Income Protection (Temporary Salary Continuance) insurance is invaluable to have.

Trauma insurance pays out in the event that you suffer a defined medical condition. The most common claims are cancer, stroke and heart conditions.

Income protection pays out if you are unable to work due to medical reasons, and provides 75% of your income.

Given the high cost of medical care, if you have a heart attack you might find yourself in a Simpsons-esque situation of having a second heart attack upon seeing the bill.

Asma Yaaqub says:

Really helpful article!!

Making your own smoothies at home helps a lot. We get our frozen fruit from Sam’s club.

Also getting powders/concentrates (nestea/fruit punches)instead of drinks and making the drinks at home saves us a lot of money

gusdo says:

buy a water filter and take your own water to the gym/sports etc…. bottled water is expensive, unessesary and bad for the environment

shawnchong says:

52. Pay your mortgage payments bi-weekly, rather than monthly. If you pay monthly, you’re only making 12 two-week payments (that’s 24 payments), but if you pay bi-weekly, that’s 26 payments! Two more payments a year adds up over time.

53. Buy an all-in-one video card (for maybe $80) and install it into your computer and plug your TV cable into it. Now, you can; record your TV shows onto your computer’s hard-drive and burn DVDs of what you’ve recorded. Some cards can also turn on and turn off your computer when the scheduled time comes up.

54. Go to the grocery store with your belly full. You won’t buy too many things because you just ain’t hungry.

55. Eat less! Sure, you’ll feel hungry quickly in the first few weeks… but eventually, you’ll get used to it and will start slimming down substantially (and without any effort).

56. Learn to drive a manual-transmission car. It’ll save you on gas and maintenance costs. (I don’t know about insurance, though).

57. Buy an Induction Cooktop! It’s 80-90% energy efficient compared to electric heat and even better than gas. It also won’t make the kitchen hot in the summer.

58. Invest in a rooftop solar water heater. At only a few hundred dollars… it’ll repay itself many times over in its lifetime.

59. Only turn off your fluorescent lights if you’re leaving the room for more than 15 minutes. It does use more energy to leave them on, yes, but turning them on and off reduces their useful lifetime. Sticking to the 15-minute rule means that you’ll save money on bulb-replacement costs, which will make up for the extra electricity costs.

60. Buy a flask and carry your coffee/tea to work with you. Coffee and tea only costs pennies to make yourself, but costs $1 or more elsewhere. (I myself can prepare coffee better than Starbucks at home… I start with whole-beans of course.)

Teo says:

For students, stay in relatives house. No rent to pay.
It is quite a pain though.
Thanks for the tips! I love my university library.

DR says:

To all, thanks for adding to the discussion with your great money-saving tips. I even had a co-worker give me a handwritten sheet this morning of tips he and his wife came up with while watching House last night! I will update the post with your ideas in the next day or so. And if you’ve got more tips, please let us know.

The Financial Blogger says:

Buy your car over the internet: are you talking about new cars? I did not know that you could simply order it through internet… that’s pretty cool!

DR says:

I contacted a dealer 500 miles away that had been active in a forum about Honda’s. They gave me a great deal, Fed Ex’d the paper work and financing which I signed and returned. Then they delivered the car on a flat bed truck to my front door! It couldn’t have been any easier.

Dividends4Life says:

TDR: What a great list. Thanks for sharing!

Best Wishes,

Adeem Zafar says:

These are VERY insightful tips! I can see how a lot of these would greatly affect one’s wallet for the better.

Bravewolf says:

How many women have you been married to for 19 years? 😉

DR says:

Bravewolf, that is a very astute question. As I note in my about page, however, just one. If you’d like to send in your condolences for her, I’ll pass them along.

Jessica Bennet says:


These are interesting tips indeed! One needs to follow such tips and save money accordingly for special occasions like the Christmas.

As for me, I do use a Christmas Club amount when I’d like to spend for the festive season. And, I simply follow some tips that I find extremely helpful to avoid overspending.

Merry Christmas in advance!

norah says:

I have two tips for you:

1. Record every purchase. A few years ago I decided to do this for one month, but I saved so much money that I stuck with it. No more impulse gum, coffee or magazine purchases, and it allowed me to both create and stick to an annual budget. Just buy a cheap notebook and stick it in your purse or jacket pocket. At the end of every month, add up all your purchases and compare them to your budget.

2. Get the barest amount of insurance you need. There are lots of recommendations on the list for various types of insurance, but don’t buy any of them if you don’t absolutely need them. That means no life insurance if you don’t have a kid or share a mortgage with someone. Even if you do, get the smallest policy possible–that money is supposed to keep them afloat if you die young, not pay for their Caribbean vacations.

DR says:

Norah, great suggestions. I’ve particularly focused on the cost of insurance, including raising deductibles to bring premiums down.

Mohit says:

Develop a hobby- You will save money you spent on leisure activities and will do constructive for your own development. Indulging in social activities is a great way to inner satisfaction too.

DR says:

Mohit, thanks for the tips.

sara says:

watch out for getting your company to pay part of your disability. If you do then you will likely have to pay taxes on the money. If you pay yourself, you can get the money tax free

cedella says:

Practical post. But maybe you should have categorized them. Kinda many to swallow. But nevertheless,very practical and realistic. My take, stick to your list of must- buys first.

George says:

A good tip for your clothes dryer:
Check the lint trap and clean it weekly.
The dryer will run more efficiently saving you money and energy.
But did you also know the built-up lint in your clothes dryer vent
is the second leading cause of house fires? So clean the lint trap regularly, it could save you more than just money.

mobajwa says:

TIP 51:

“Ive been married to the same women for more than 19 years”

hmmm..just curious…how many women are you married to 🙂

DR says:

mobajwa, now that’s funny. I guess I was typing too fast! I hope my one and only wife doesn’t see this one.

Lily says:

Don’t buy packaged cookies and treats. Make cookies with your kids on Sunday and they’ll last all week. Marshmallow treats are quick and easy. Don’t buy candy. A bag of chocolate chips is much cheaper than a bag of chocolate candies. Instant pudding is sooooo easy to make and much cheaper than prepackaged.

Ltlgypsy says:

Before buying or replacing healthy, beauty or cleaning products, consciously put yourself in “Use It Up” mode. By finishing up partially used containers of lotion, shampoo, cosmetics and cleaning items you’ll free up space and feel good knowing you didn’t throw away money on unused products. Once they’re gone you can happily buy the latest and greatest product – if you still want it!

Pussums says:

Visit the thrift shops frequently (Goodwill, hospital auxiliary, etc.). It’s amazing the wide variety of good useful items, many of them near new or brand new, for just a couple dollars.

Chris says:

Print out grocery coupons online at smartsource.com and coupons.com.

Also when making purchases check a store’s online price before you go in to the store. Sometimes the online price is cheaper than the store price. So just have the store match their online price.

thehungrydollar.com says:

I decided a while back to discontinue my magazine subscriptions (I spend more time reading articles on the internet anyway) and was amazed by how much money I was spending every year! It really does add up!

amber says:

Don’t buy fast food, or waste your time on impluse buys. Think about it, could you live with out it? If you even have to think about it then don’t spend money on it.

Joan Wade-Keszey says:

There are a couple of things I do that seem as a reward in themselves: Save all change. Adds up quickly.
Clip coupons. It’s worth organizing them and holding onto to few of them until a sale comes up-then you save even more money. I’ve save hundreds of dollars a year doing this, and it feels so good to know how much I’ve saved. (I even put the “saved” money in the change jar). Every so often we empty the jar take a fun day trip/have a nice dinner/etc. without using credit cards or cutting into our budget.

DR says:

Joan, thanks for the tip. I’ll add it to the list.

Vortex Energizer says:

From water filters to purifiers to energizers, its this level of collective water appreciation that hopefully will flow upwards to spark more global change. Still, water at its deepest level is not fully understood. If it was then the way governments treat it would change quickly. I suspect it will be the same process as spirituality as seen. A slow recognition of our deeper selves which allows for more appreciation of each other

lisa the great says:

great site!

my tip?

only wash with cold water. the detergent does the cleaning, not the temperature of the water. if you have heavily soiled items, just soak them in detergent BEFORE washing.

DR says:

Lisa, thanks for the tip.

Mystic Kalsi says:

We keep saying lets do something about nature. How about not using any paper products , helping nature and saving a lot of money. Use handkerchief instead of paper tissues, to clean counter tops as well as your nose. Also you can still keep using toilet paper, but don’t feel tough when you go to countries where its just you and your hand and water to clean. Avoid using plastic cups, glasses, plates, spoons instead use steel glasses, utensils . They clean easy, never break and are reusable till you get bored looking at them, eventually never. …. Carry water from home never buy (mineral) water . Cause thats also H20. Being in best country of this earth i guess we have acess to one of the purest water on earth available to man kind.
While driving use cruse and pay respect to Hanry Ford(inventor of automobile), respect to your car( no wear tear, best mpg), and best of all respect to your family, whom you would always see after a soothing drive back home cruising. More such advice to come….

Tom says:

Great list!
When I stumbled upon it I was expecting another one of those crazy penny pinching lists about turning off the lights when you leave the room. Many of these suggestions are new and most can amount to some good savings if followed.
Two Suggestions for the List.
#1 Replace expensive hobbies with cheap ones, or better yet figure out a way to make extra money doing what you love to do. I used to play golf, but figured out that what I liked the most about the game was the exercise and being out in nature. Now I hike with my wife and dogs. Way cheaper and it has improved my marriage (#51).

#2 Spend time learning about investing, and always keep control of your investment decisions. Knowing how to invest the money you save can be just as important as saving it in the first place. You will save tons of money if you are financially savvy and have a proper asset allocation for your goals in life. Even if you hire a professional money manager, you will be way ahead if you understand what he is up to at all times, and monitor his decisions to make sure they are in line with your instructions. The one absolute rule about any investment is the higher the potential reward, the higher the risk period. If any one tells you they have a risk free way of making outsized return, run. They are either an idiot or a crook.

Karen says:

I run a home based childcare. My food expenses are quite high on a monthly basis. To save money on baby food I do not buy the prepackaged serving size baby foods in the baby food aisle. Instead I buy canned fruits and vegetables and fresh fruits bananas, and puree (or chop) these in a food processor. (depending on the age of the baby) I then pour the food into ice cube trays and freeze them. After they are frozen I place the food cubes in a ziploc bags for storage. A can of vegetable can cost me 35-50 cents on sale. One single serving of pre-packaged baby food is about 45 cents. From one 16 oz. I can easily get 12-16 servings of home made baby vegetables or fruits for the infants in my care. Doing on line searches for home made baby food can be helpful, especailly for thos that like to follow a “recipe”. Good luck. I hope this helps at least one other person!

DR says:

Karen, thanks for the tip! I recall so many years ago spending a fortune on baby food.

Al says:

I sell cable. I always have to convince people how we can save them loads of money. Many do and I save the average family $30 per month from their cable, internet and phone bills.

Holly says:

Shop the outlets. Also, check online because sometimes you can get coupon books from the outlet itself – my friends and I live near Clinton outlets in CT and we printed out their online coupon and went to their office and got a coupon book that saved us 10-20% off at almost every store we went to. I got T-shirts at the Gap for 50% off, plus 10% off that – 6 T-shirts for $35. I’m set for summer. Also, ask the sales people – they can turn you onto the good stuff that’s a great deal.

Food. I’m single and live on my own… but I buy chicken in big family packs. When I get home, I open the package and put all the breasts into individual sandwich bags and freeze them. Then I just take a breast out and put in the fridge before I leave for work in the am. It’s thawed & ready by the time I get home.

DR says:

Holly, thanks for the tips. We have outlets near where we live, too, so your suggestion will come in handy.

lisa the great says:

i recently visited a commercial kitchen, and they DON’T USE PAPERTOWELS! apparently, they’d waste tons of money if they did. instead, they use these cheap, plain white dishtowels for everything.

well, what’s good for the goose … i have now stopped using papertowels … bought the kitchen towels in bulk, and not only do i save money, but i also help out the environment with less waste (i went through a TON of paper towels …)

Chris says:

I’ve thought of a new way to save more money at the grocery store. Before when I would find a coupon online, I would print it and use it. Recently the bright idea of printing the coupons and then copying them came to mind. Most websites with grocery coupons will only let you print them once and then you’ll have to wait until they say you can print again. Well now, I print the coupons and make a couple of copies for the next time I need them and keep them till they expired. I make copies of the coupons for things I buy everytime I go to the grocery store and that way I can compound my savings. Last week I saved $18 dollars off my grocery bill. Not much but I’d much rather have that money in my pocket than in Wal-mart’s.

Daveman says:

Great tips! Thank you and I will certainly use them. One thing I always do is when purchasing something online, I always do a quick google search for coupon codes for that website or that product. Or, if there are multiple sites which offer that item, I will search for coupon codes for each of the sites and figure out what the best overall deal is (based on base price and any discounts, if available).

Austin says:

Great tips! Thanks for sharing.


Marcie B. says:

Shop at home before you go: Before you write your grocery list, dive into the freezer, pantry or wherever you hide the things you bring home from the grocery or drugstore. It’s surprising how many of us duplicate purchases without realizing it, and there is some satisfaction to be had from actually using up those frozen or canned goods befoer buying more. While recently helping my father reorganize, we came up with four jars of peanut butter and three of mayonnaise, which in their house will last about two years!

DR says:

Marcie B, that’s great advice. I’m constantly finding food at the back of the frig or cabinet that we had completely forgotten about.

Twinkle says:

I work for a national insurance company. When you are going to be on vacation or are not going to drive a vehicle for a few weeks for some reason call your insurance company and suspend the coverage on the vehicle. Hardly anybody knows they can do this. Insurance companies earn the premium you pay up front during each day the policy is in force. When coverage is suspended they do not earn any premium for those days … your money is still there when you reinstate the coverages and you only pay for the days you’re using the vehicle. You can keep the comprehensive coverage and suspend everything else – you’ll still be covered for theft, vandalislm, etc. if something happens to your car while you’re gone but you don’t have to pay for liability. DON’T PAY FOR SOMETHING YOU’RE NOT USING.

Twinkle says:

To save money and still give nice gifts for birthdays and occassions throughout the year I do all my gift shopping at the after Christmas clearance sales. I purchase several items and store them in rubbermaid totes in my storage room. I shop with family members and close friends in mind as well as purchase several toys for the age/sex of each of my children to use when they are invited to birthday parties. Throughout the year I have nice gifts to give at 75% off what I would pay if I waited. It’s not all glittery reindeer sweaters either! LOL!

kevin_g2975 says:

here’s a great cost savings tip! call 1-800-411-SAVE for all you directory assistance needs. It’s completey free and you get to speak with a live operator! they have business and government listings as well as home numbers. how cool is that? ^_^

Debbie says:

Great tips, thanks so much!

Just a couple more to add to the list. Check your fuel efficiency on your vehicle, particularly if you drive extensively. With gas prices the way they are, purchasing a vehicle that allows you to get 10 or more mpg more than your current vehicle will quickly pay for itself.

Also, be mindful of your ATM usage. Try to go to your own bank’s ATM as much as you can. If this is impossible, get out more money at each transaction, reducing your frequency of ATM visits. It’s amazing how much you can pay in bank fees each month if you don’t bank wisely.

DR says:

Debbie, thanks for the tips!

Annie says:

We started tracking our spending 6 weeks after marrying and moving in together in 1970, then finding we still had no cash! None of the tips shown here are new to us. We managed to educate our two children right through to a law degree and a history degree on our savings, despite being relatively low paid public sector workers. Trouble now is – with food suddenly up 20%, fuel up 50%, and having retired: there are few budgets left for being frugal. And the kids still need a little help because the housing ladder is so hard to get onto. Guess we’ll just have to grow more food, make my own clothes, knit….!! More ideas?

Ida says:

I have saved money on many services (auto repairs, dog grooming, locksmith, etc.) and some purchases (tires, floor models of items, etc.) by haggling. My dad suggested it to me and I am always surprised how well it works. Sometimes the people you deal with are a bit surprised, but it works frequently. I have had the greatest success with service providers, but I have gotten great deals on items as well. I have done best with local companies rather than big chains, because the employees have a greater stake in company success and you’re more likely to be dealing with the owners.

DR says:

Ida, nice tip. My dad was a great haggler, a trait he didn’t pass down to me.

Cookie says:

I Love the “writing” Down purchases!!! and Cold Water Wash!!(saves the fabric)
My best tip is never to spend a $5 Bill that comes into my possession. I can’t say I don’t ever spend them, but with a kid in college, high gas & grocery prices I always have an envelope with some cash in it!!! And at the end of the month I deposit at least $50 into my savings account.

Rebecca Oulton says:

To Karen who runs home-based daycare:

When I lived in England there was a tragedy when a baby accidentally died during the night. The parents (vegans) did the same thing you mentioned. The autopsy found a fatally high level of sodium which was traced back to one of the products the parents had pureed. It’s worth a few extra cents to buy the sodium free products. Or use fresh ones that are on sale; try going to the farmers’ market one hour before closing time and take advantage of their bargains. By the way, the freezing the puree’ in ice cube trays is a stroke of genius.

ARock says:

I think the easiest, most painless money saving tip there out these is to save money first. Have it directly taken from your paycheck to a savings or 401k or whatever, If you don’t see it, you can’t spend it. You’d be surprised how easy it is, and how you really won’t even miss the money you are putting aside. Especially if you put it in a pre tax savings like a 401k. If you are in the 25% tax bracket like most Americans are, and you put away $100.00 a paycheck to a 401k, you’re really only ‘missing’ $75.00 because Uncle Sam didn’t get his hands on it yet.

Shara says:

Thanks for the tips! Every little bit helps. Making your own household cleaning supplies is also helpful. I love making my own laundry soap!

Laura George says:

A lot of good tips here..I’d like to add…pay your bills online to save on postage. Steer clear of McDonald’s, Star Bucks and the frozen food section of the grocery store. It is easy to whip into a fast food place when you feel a hunger pain but if you can hold off ’til you get home it will save you about eight bucks(I carry a package of cheese cracker that cost 25 cents) And the frozen foods although convenient are way more than if you cook the food yourself. Keep up the good work!

*Sh* says:

My 2 young kids and I love juice (and I only give them 100%), but it can be expensive at the grocery store, especially when your family drinks 3 large bottles per week! I have started buying the store brand frozen concentrate. It has saved me lots over the years, plus my kids are getting the extra flouride in the tap water that isn’t in the bottled juice.
Another good idea is only take a certain amount of cash to the grocery store. And leave the credit or debit cards at home! I bring a cheap calculator or just paper and a pencil with me and my little girl loves to keep my running total! She is learning about math and how to be responsible with money at the same time! It never too early to teach your children about personal finance!!

phil2009 says:

If you want one more painless way to save money, 1-800-411save is also worth trying. It has live operators no matter where you are in the US and Canada, and no matter what time of day you call.This provides the best quality of service for your business customers’ employees.

Kishore says:

If you live in a house with a lawn, cut your own lawn. It is great exercise and saves you about 20 bucks a week in general.

Kishore says:

Track your expenses for free from various bank, credit, mortgage, car loans etc at http://www.mint.com.

It is free and have intuitive user interface.

Brenda says:

I have heard of Mint.com a couple times before, but havent gotten the chance to check it out. I guess if i keep hearing good things its worth a shot right?

Clare says:

We have four sons and people constantly tell us that “you can’t exist on one income”. Lol
We’ve never received welfare and we have zero debt.

We own our home. We own our car. That’s right. Paid off. I’m 36 and my hubby is 42.
We don’t have a McMansion or a newer model vehicle. As a matter of fact, our 1600 square foot is on the market and people who have one or two children say it’s too small for them. lol And our new home that we’re getting is 800 square feet. An elderly couple is pursuing the purchase of our current home.
I have homeschooled our children for the past 15 years. I use cloth diapers. I breastfeed. We use the library for entertainment. My sons and I all cook from scratch and from basic whole foods. Reference an old children’s book to see our grocery list. (Milk, flour, honey, eggs, cheese) Our babyfood? Home-made. Don’t think I can’t see those carts full of pre-cooked chickens, pepsi that’s still more expensive than gasoline, chips, tv dinners, cracker snack-packs, and even pre-cut apples!
We hang out the wash. We garden every year and preserve. We have one car that we use to get to and from work and to consolidate errands along the way. We refuse to waste money on heating and cooling that runs all day. We’re rarely inside our house because we study primarily out of doors anyway.
We buy our clothing at second hand shops and because we dry them naturally, they last forever. We haven’t owned tv in 20 years and our children’s SAT scores were coming in stamped post high school by the time they were in 5th grade. we use 4-H for Public Speaking Club, Chess Club, Photography, etc. If we want bottled water for trips, we buy a reusable bottle and fill it. lol why are Americans throwing away their money, eating fattening junk that’s far more expensive than the healthy food I’m buying and then telling lies about it?
The king is naked.

Clare says:

p.s. My husband and I didn’t come from families that lived frugally or did anything for themselves.
We left behind our parent’s lifestyle of the rat race and learned from the library every single thing that we’re doing.

The savings accounts are beautiful and freedom is niiice. My husband does not make much money at his job, but the key to financial independence is simply “living within your means”. I feel sorry for the current generation.

William says:

If you have ADT or Brinks look into another monitoring provider. There are several that will monitor your system for $10/mo, which is a $20-$30 dollar savings. You have to wait till your current contract is up… but hey.

I’m not suggesting cancling it however. I live in LA, and it’s stopped people on two occassions.

courtney2011 says:

All these are truly helpful But guys, let me add something. We people, are burdened because of very high charges when we call for directory assistance. We use this most of the time. I just discovered a phone number to call so we can cut this expense on our phone bills. 1-800-411-save is amazing. You can get a phone number free of charge. You just have to listen to a vey short advertisement. Aside from that they’re agents are live and not a recording. By using this service, I guarranty you that you dont just save money but you also save time and energy!

Chris says:

Two words to remember when buying something online: “Promotion Code”. Google the name of the vendor your buying from and add in the phrase “Promotion Code”. E.g., Google “Famous Footwear” “Promotion code” There are dozens of websites that track promotions from vendors. Even when I buy on sale (which is always) I can almost always find a promotion code that will take an additional 10-25% off or free shipping or both. The only thing better than buying on sale is buying on sale with an additional percentage off and free shipping.

Fletcher says:

What about making sure that when you buy something on the internet you receive cashback using cashbackchart.com

Kelsey says:

There are plenty of ways to get gently used and even sometimes unused items for free.

An organization called Freecycle has different groups all over the country. You’re even likely to find one right in your hometown. You sign up through Yahoo, but it’s all e-mail based. I reccomend creating a new e-mail address for this because you usually get quite a few e-mails a day. If you are looking for something specific you can send a mass e-mail out and ask if anyone has the item. Or if you’re looking to get rid of stuff you don’t use, rather than throwing it away send a mass e-mail out offering the item to anyone that wants it.
Everything is completely free, advertising garage sales or requesting money is off limits. You do porch pick-up as well but if you’re uncomfortable with someone knowing where you live you can request something else. I just got a great new charcoal grill for free!!!

There is also a FREE cetegory on craigslist.com under the For Sale section where you can basically do the same thing.

Samaya says:

Chris, i always look for a Promo code any time i buy something online. I usually get free shipping and sometimes a couple dollars or percent off, but that has definitely saved a good amount of money over the past year.

Germaine says:

Great tips.
We save water by running the cold shower startup water into a gallon container. By the time the jug is full the water is comfortably warm for a shower. We use the saved water to take care of plants or add it to the laundry water. We also dump the water from the dehumidfier into the washer. A little bleach keeps it fresh until we do the first load of whites or the really grubby work clothes.

Here’s a rhyme that my depression savy grandparents lived by:

Use it up, wear it out, make do, do without, can your borrow? can you rent? then consider buying

DR says:

Germaine, nice rhyme! I think you and your family taking money saving tips to a new level!

money-saving-tips says:

Great tip on “slowing down” your internet service. I have bought the lower-speed service over the years on DSL, Cable, and specialty services like FIOS and Uverse.

The so-called slow-speed was always just fine, no issues.

Jennifer says:

After spending entirely way too much money on groceries for our family of four, I sat down and devised these strategies:

1.- Money is wasted when spent on items never used. I only go to the grocery store every 10 days (unless I run out of something of necesity, like milk) and before I do, I make a detailed list of what we will eat each of those ten days. Breakfast is usually one of 4 things to eliminate over-buying: pancakes, eggs and potatoes, oatmeal, or cold cereal. The eggs come from my own chickens, which eliminates one less thing to buy. Lunch is almost always leftovers from the night before because I always cook enough to cover both meals (I have found that it is quicker and more convenient to heat up leftovers than to run to the nearest drive through). If leftovers arent available, then PB&J sandwhiches or hot dogs are on the menu.

2.- Dinners almost always contain one element of the next night’s dinner, to save time and money. For example, Last night we had pork chops, scalloped potatoes, and asparagus. Tonight I made a stir fry of leftover pork,a bag of frozen mixed veggies, egg noodles, topped with cheese. The bag of noodles that I have been using came from a store that sales in bulk, and I have been using it for a couple of months. Thus, the only thing that actually was not left over was the bag of veggies.

3.- Buy in bulk! I just spent $12 for a 5 pound bag of cheese, and the expiration date is not until February. Vegetables can be bought freshly frozen which eliminates the waste of them going bad, anddrastically reduces the amount of sodium you would get from canned veggies. Works great for making your own baby food! I am also a fan of buying extra products on sale and then freezing them so they dont go bad. This works with bread, meat, veggies, some cheeses, even some entire meals.

It might take a little extra time, but probably not much more than you spent reading this!

Happy budgeting!

thordog says:

Came across this list when I searched Google for “money saving tips”, you were #2! Thanks for putting this list together, its a great list and very helpful. I just created a new website called saversecrets.com that lets people share money saving tips as well and track how much they are saving. Check it out, I’m sure our members will be consulting your list.

fwiki says:

Do take advantage of those 0% credit cards, but read the fine print. Sometimes it only applies to transfers, sometimes only for a limited time, etc.

Great list of tips.

Cindy says:

Just a note-be careful with not washing sheets in hot water. To kill dustmites (which most are allergic to) you need a high temp. otherwise you just give the critters a bath and put them back on your bed!

Dina says:

You can call 1-800-goog-411 and get connected to any business free. That’s 1-800-4664-411. They ask for city and state and you say it out loud. Then you say the name of business or category and if you are just looking for a general thing like a restaurant it will give you a list to select from! Free and awesome.

Jonez says:

When you have an impulse to buy some thing, give your self 24hrs before buying it, in 24 hrs you still really want it and its worth going back then fine, but if its not necessary and it was just an impulse thing, chances are 24 hrs later you wont want to go back to get it!

Sarah says:

As far as the home phone for 911 service goes, I’m a 911 operator and, at least here in Florida, you don’t need service to call 911 from your house. You can just plug a phone into a wall and you’re good to go. We’ll get your address, we just can’t call you back.

Vicki says:

Here are some of the things I do to save money (I’m single, a homeowner, and have had my mortgage for 8 years now; I’d be interested, Clare, in how you & your husband were able to pay off your mortgage early? I’ve used mortgage calculators online and I can’t find a way to do it on my income in under 10 more years, ugh…)

1. Bring your lunch to work, don’t leave midday to go home or to a restaurant. I used to go home to eat lunch every day. I have cut my commute in half by not doing this any more. I save a lot on gasoline. I never ate out much before, but I’m economizing on lunches by purchasing those bags of bean burritos in the frozen section at the grocery. They come to about 75 cents per lunch that way, I’ve not found a cheaper way to do lunch yet. I am getting a bit tired of burritos though.

2. Don’t have a credit card. Period. See Dave Ramsey’s books “Total Money Makeover” and “Financial Peace Revisited” – your public library will have them.

3. CANCEL cable tv and internet at home. Access the internet from work or the public library. Watch your favorite tv shows online, or rent the DVDs when they come out from your local video store. Sign up to get emails from Redbox. They send out a coupon code every monday for 1 free rental.

4. Use sites like Dealtaker.com to shop around for good deals. You can even post a request on their message boards for help in finding a good deal on just about any item you can buy on or off line.

5. If you need furniture, buy dorm furniture from a discount store like Target or KMart. Also, my local Habitat for Humanity runs a resale store and sells lots of furniture and other household items people donate to them. Find out if your local Habitat For Humanity runs a shop also.

6. Shop where the illegal immigrants shop. Seriously — don’t laugh! The most discounted discount grocery store I know of is located in the heart of my town’s immigrant district.

7. Get athletic shoes at a discount store like KMart. I read a consumer reports article some time ago that stated there basically isn’t any difference in quality between the $500 athletic shoes and the $10 ones, so why pay more. I saw ladies’ jogging shoes at KMart for $9.99 just the other day.

8. Always wear comfortable shoes. If you wear crummy shoes with no support, or expensive shoes that put your feet and spine out of whack, you will spend way more money on medical bills when you blow your knee out or sprain your ankle or your back. Save money by taking really good care of your feet. I found that out the hard way, wearing cheap flat slipon sandals to work every day, and ended up blowing out my ACL just on an ordinary day, climbing a flight of stairs. At $180 per hour, physical therapy was expensive, and my insurance only paid HALF that. If you are trying to save money, save yourself $80 per hour out of pocket by avoiding injuries: wear good shoes!!! (see #7 for a tip on how to buy *good* shoes cheaply).

Vicki says:


1. I only shop for clothes once every 6 months or so. I go to the Goodwill Store at that point and outfit myself completely for under $40.

2. Don’t go to the mall for “fun”. Replace shopping as your therapeutic activity with some other hobby, like walking (if you live in a safe neighborhood), or writing or yoga or join a reading group or club.

3. Always wash clothing in cold water. Cold water gets clothes cleaner, and gets stains out better. Only wash sheets in hot water, to kill dust mites. There is never a reason to wash clothes in hot water.

4. To reduce Christmas expenses, suggest to your family that everyone just exchange names and buy one gift this year. My family does this. For adults it’s fine. For the kids, we still each buy them a gift, but we don’t buy presents for each and every adult any more. Everyone is getting married now, and our family is growing more quickly than our budgets! Holidays are more about spending time together anyway. Who really needs or wants all that stuff?

5. Buy children’s toys at discount stores like Big Lots — they get lots of items at deep discounts. Also, use Dealtaker.com to shop around if there is one particular item a child really wants.

DR says:

Vicki, thanks for the great money saving tips!

Catherine B says:

shop at the dollar store ~ only buy what you need !

shop at the bread outlet for bread deals & stock up

look for reduced priced meats

read the newspaper ads and stock up on loss leader sales at the grocery store

cook from scratch, use your crock pot !

barter services with neighbors and friends

limit yourself to a weekly cash allowance for your treats ~ alcohol, cigarettes, McDonalds or whatever it is that you crave

rent out a room in your house

Hollie says:

this cost money, but in the long run can save you money. If you are buying a major appliance, or electronics, get the extended warranty. I bought a computer and a flat-screen TV and within 6 months of the manufacturer warranty expiring, both needed costly repairs.
I paid 1/10 the price of the electronics for the extended warranty. That warranty has covered 2 motherboards and 2 system fans for my computer, and is replacing basically the brain to my flat-screen TV. So I paid roughly $175 for the extended warranty, saving the cost of replacing both my computer and TV.
Did I mention the problem I had with my washer right after the manufacturer warranty expired?

realle says:

I buy extra large pizza on 2-for-1 Tuesdays, then bag up at least a dozen $2.00 lunches and freeze them.

Also, try taking enough cash from your account to last you the week without using your ATM card. You’ll be surprised how soon you’re out of cash, and soon you’ll find yourself cutting out the little extras that have been costing more than you realized.

David Starkey says:

Kishore, good point – I use Mint.com too to track my daily expenses. I also use Billsback.com for my online shopping – the best cashback site I’ve found on the net so far.

Shevaun says:

Another great money saving tip–instead of using 411 for information, call 1-800-FREE411. They give you all the same information for FREE! You listen to 2 advertisements, but its worth it to save $3 each call

Rosina says:

Instead of exchanging Christmas gifts with everyone you normally do, sponsor a child through a local charity. It is better for your budget, better for the environment, and will help someone who really needs the help. (Who really needs all the stuff they receive at Christmas anyway?)

Frank says:

Yeah, I find that staying on top of my credit card payments each month and sticking to my budgets by scrupulous monitoring allows me to lead a balanced life. It’s amazing to see where your money goes once you start monitoring it! It’s all those little things…

Greg Hency says:

Skipping Starbucks has saved me a lot of money. I make my own lattes now. I started with a $10 Mr Coffee Espresso Machine from a garage sale, and then I learned the technique.

Lookingtosave says:

I make coffee at home now saving on average of $3.00 per day.

Richard says:


Burritos every day can be boring. For me, lunch for the week is what ever was on sale in the frozen food isle last week. I eat a lot of hot pockets. I watch for them to go on sale and stock up on a variety of flavors, and I almost always get a store coupon for them which makes the next batch cheaper. This means Monday may be barbeque beef, Tuesday is ham and cheese, Wednesday is chicken fajitas and so on. When they are on sale for 5 boxes for $10, you are only paying $1 per serving. Stick with the lean hot pockets to help reduce calories.

I also recommend checking out the cafeteria at work. They may have some freebies to add to what you bring from home. I get free fruit and free coffee.

Richard says:

One tip for clothes shopping. Find a good store and make friends with the staff. Learn about the sales they have. I bought three suits for the price of one that way. Its more expensive then shopping at goodwill, but I was able to three different suits that will last me years. Rarely will goodwill have that great of a selection.

DR says:

Richards, nice tip. I’ve done that at Brooks Brothers (I buy the “cheap” suits there) and saved money, too.

AmandaB says:

Two tips, one big and one small …

Big: We just learned that today’s gasoline contains far more alcohol which causes it to degrade in as little as three to four weeks! While it is unlikely to stay in your car long enough to do damage, it may be in your lawnmower, leafblower or snowblower for that long. As it degrades it ‘enamelizes’ (gunks) the inside of the engine and build-up can cause serious damage. So, to SAVE THE COST of having a big repair bill or buying a new machine, use only the gas you need and run out the rest. We were told Shell and Marathon were the best gasolines to use, as they use less alcohol than most others. (We’re in Ohio.)

Small: I collect all the partly used little shampoo bottles from business travel and use them in our liquid soap dispensers. They work great and smell nice too. Saves a lot of money over time.

And P.S. Shopping at Goodwill? I’ve found designer label clothing with the original price tags still on them!

DR says:

AmandaB, great tips. And if you don’t use all the gas in your mower, you can always add some gas stabilizer.

Coupon shipping says:

Nice list! Good advices! Keep the good work!

rb says:

Don’t take the kids grocery shopping.
Clip coupons, but only buy items that allow you to cook from scratch. Forget the coupons for prepakaged foods. (i.e. jello in cups)
Cancel the gym membership and get outside walking, running, biking, playing with the kids. get cheap dumbbells from a garage sale and do your own wt training this way.
Always bring your lunch and drinks to work.
Don’t be a sucker and buy whatever the kids are selling for clubs and school.
Talk with extended family members and stop buying x-mas gifts for everyone.
Call the cable co, internet provider, etc and ask for the discount new members are getting.
Cut up the credit cards.
Have a potluck and movie night with friends instead of dinner out and a movie.

DR says:

rb, thanks for the great tips to help folks save money!

Betty says:

Just wondering why tip #7 says ask for a lower rate on your credit cards, but then tip # 19 says you should pay your balance each month. If you in fact pay the full balance each month, why does the interest rate matter at all?

DR says:

Betty, it is best to pay your balance in full each month. But the reality is that not everybody does that. If you do carry a balance, asking for a lower rate or switching to a lower rate card can save a lot of dough.

lovingkindness says:

I’m glad to see Freecycle mentioned, but surprised to not see Craigslist.com. Craig’s operates all over the place now and I’ve sold and bought things, given things away free, and worked out barters through it.

Clothing: don’t buy clothes that require dry cleaning. Eliminating cleaning costs will save a bundle. Many items that are tagged as dry clean only can be laundered. I bought a linen blazer with some makeup on the collar; paid maybe $2 for it at Goodwill (discounted because of the makeup). I pretreated the stain, washed it by hand and it was as good as new. Same for most silk. It can be hand washed unless it has complicated interfacing or lining. Things that must be cleaned–like winter wool coats–can often be spot-cleaned, brushed, and aired out to avoid a full cleaning.

Appliances: I’ve bought most appliances from the Sears Outlet that handles things that may have a dent or scratch, or were just returned because someone didn’t like them. The discounts are usually significant and they carry standard warranties but you will need to pay for delivery or transport them yourself.

DR says:

lovingkindness, thanks for the tips. By the way, Craigslist is noted in an update to this article which you find here: https://www.doughroller.net/smart-spending/painless-ways-save-money/

Kaoje says:

Nice advice guys,really thrilled cos kinda drink a lot and tend to spend more when drunk.Need to drink less.lol

Leslie says:

Perfume……..everyone loves a good perfume. If you can’t afford a bottle of perfume (or even if you can), ask for samples. Anytime I’m at Shopper’s Drug Mart, or London Drugs, I ask for samples of whatever they have available. They’re great for a few reasons. One, you will smell great. Two, you can try many different kinds. Three, they’re the perfect size for carrying in your purse.

You can also do this with facial creams, soaps, etc. Don’t be shy, the samples are there for you to try!

Amy says:

These are all valid tips. Just days before finding this site, I did a few of the following and have saved over $100 a month on my bills with NO noticeable difference:

1) Called my cable company and ditched 100 channels I never watched and got a “slower” internet connection (which I don’t even notice)
2) Paid my auto insurance for 6 months and got a discount for being a homeowner
3) Turned off lights in rooms I’m not hanging out in. Saved over $25 on my last electric bill!

My next goal is to track my spending every day and see where my money really goes.

Wanda says:

Great site

melissa says:

I was just laid off and my boyfriend and I are thinking of new ways to save cash. We don’t go out too much because it’s way more expensive. I try to make home made meals in bulk, especially for lunches. Home made chicken soup, chili etc saves money, is healthier and tastes better! You can even buy organic produce and it costs less than buying prepared foods all the time. I started buying meat at costco, I don’t eat much of that, but he does… and splitting up the packages and freezing. Wayyy less expensive and doesn’t lose quality.

MrsKimball says:

It’s a good list, and I just emailed my life and auto insurance companies to see if I can get an annual discount, thanks! Now, I know this doesn’t seem like an option for a lot of people in the US, but living with relatives is extremely common in other countries, and for most of my adult life I’ve always had either my brother or my husband’s sister living with us. In the current economy, we now live with two of his siblings. Thankfully we all get along well, and they’re wonderful people. Monetarily speaking, we are three households under one roof now, with only one cable bill, one electricity bill, etc. and it is SUCH a relief.
With years of experience under my belt, I strongly recommend schedules regarding shower times and chores, and a lot of love and patience, but it definitely can work.

Swap Savers says:

Thanks for the tips. I agree with the on-line tip and I would also add
Check the Internet Price Before purchasing an expensive item at a retail store, check the Internet price. Stores such as Best Buy and Macy’s have different Internet prices then their retail stores but they will match their Internet prices if you ask and you without paying shipping costs.

Jesse says:

For guys and gals who use razors regularly, extend their life!!!

Unlike annoying and super obvious “behavioral” ways of saving money, here is one with direct use-value. Take a small glass jar, fill it with a half-inch of mineral oil (available at your local pharmacy), and keep your razor in it when not in use. The end!

For dupes like myself who buy the higher end razors (mach III’s and the like), at twenty bucks a pop for a tiny “bulk” pack of razors, this will save you a ton. The reason it works so well is because razor wear is caused by corrosion, NOT USE. Now go look at the ingredient label on your shaving cream/gel: the first primary ingredients are all corrosive acids. Go figure, because the companies that produce shaving cream are also the same collection of companies who produce razors!

This really works. I do some light machining, and machinists always store or use their tools in conjunction with oils in order to keep them sharp, and one day it just clicked. I’m an every other day shaver and I used to go through blades about every ten days before they’d get coarse. Now I’ve been using the same blade for over two months now. I was thinking of turning this into a product, but there are pre-existing patents, and I’d just like to help others save money anyway. It’s a free tip, so enjoy!

-A note on use: for sanitary purposes, change the oil once in a while. Also, when done shaving, blow as much water droplets from your razor as possible because they will cling to the razor even in the oil, thus negating the benefits. And before shaving, give the razor a good rinse to remove as much mineral oil as possible. When there is still a lot of mineral oil on the blade it can give you kind of a weird, “un-close” shave because of the lubricating properties of oil. Other than that, fill out the details for yourself. And if you don’t like the look of a sauce jar on your shelf, just find a suitable vase, and there ya go.

Robert says:

There are three great ways to save money.

First learn to do minor repairs for yourself, use professional has become far to expensive nowadays. If you do not know how you can findout quickly on the internet, and there are even instruction videos.

Second is cooking from scratch which is not that hard. The key is to start off with simple meals and then move on to fancier ones as you gain experience. The surprise is that most of the foods you and/or your family will enjoy the most are amongst the easiest to make.
Third is to eliminate wast from your life.

While cutting our family budget we also cut back on the amounts we prepared. Guess what we still eat as much as we want, but we throw away very little. In fact the amount of garbage we produce was cut if half by being more careful in preparation, and by cooking from scratch.

A fourth lesson we can learn from dogs. Instead of going to a gym try going for walks and playing in the yard or park. While looking after a dog for six months I lost more weight just walking him then I ever did through any exercise program. Dogs instincts push them to walk and play, and if you let them do it they will be in great shape. So why not try it yourself I did and it as alot more fun then any gym.

Tesla says:

Hey , here’s a way I’ve been cutting down on bills …check this thing out .. I saw it on ctv news … you can make UNLIMITED FREE LONG DISTANCE CALLS to Canada and the US .. it’s a little usb device with a phone jack and you talk over your internet connection … I bought it actually works… I cancelled my phone service with shaw .. which was around $100 or so a month … this only cost $39 CAD and it’s good for a whole year .. after that it’s only $19.

Paul says:

I don’t understand #26. If your deductible is $250 but you’re willing to pay $500 out of pocket, why wouldn’t you just get a $500 deductible and lower your annual premium?

I agree that you have to weigh the benefit of making a claim vs. the possible cost increase over time, however.

shubham says:

great contents for saving bucks……….:)

Becks says:

1. I used to print and use lots of grocery coupons from the intenet, but last time I tried to use them the grocery store wouldn’t accept them. The checker told me they stopped accepting online coupons because people were making copies and using the coupons over and over again. So, before you waste a bunch of ink printing coupons, make sure the store you shop at will accept them. Check out thegrocerygame.com or thecouponmom.com–both of these sites provide lists of sale items at several grocery stores so you can use coupons from the Sunday paper in conjunction with the sale prices and get groceries for super cheap–some times you can even get stuff for free.

2. If you live in a place that has an HOA find out if there are any positions available on the board. I’ve heard of people having their HOA fee waived when they serve as an officer (i.e. secretary, treasurer etc.) on the HOA.

3. If you rent, find out if you can get a discount on your rent by taking a job cleaning common areas in the complex (i.e. laundry room, clubhouse etc.) a couple times a week. I had friends who did this in college and it took very little time and effort for them to get a good discount on their rent.

Seth Wright says:

Hopefully no one has sent this one in yet – Cut back on car oil changes- follow the manufacturers recomendations as written in the owners manual – our Hyundai manual recomends 7k miles between changes not the 3k that all the oil change places tell you, I trust the engineers who designed the car more than I do the Jiffy lube folks.

grtgrl says:

FYI – Company policay at Macy’s is they DO NOT match internet prices, but they do usually match competitor’s prices (as long as you can prove it with an ad and it is exactly the same).

INTERNATIONAL CALLING – skype.com is free (also have some plans you can pay for) and great for international calling. Many students and military use this while in a foreign country. It is through the internet (so you are talking on your computer). There is almost no delay and you can hook up a webcam as well which is nicer than just talking on the phone.

HAIR CUTS – Men’s hair is REALLY easy to cut (if you like it short – I’ve cut my husband’s hair for years) a kit at Walmart cost about $20 the same or less than it costs to get one haircut. The kits are very easy to use and come with attachments to make your hair the same length all around.

Women, if you have long hair it is also REALLY easy to cut. To cut the hair in the back, bring it around to the front and notice the angel at which the hair rests, cut it at this angel (double check in the mirror. TIP1: It is a good ideas to cut a little less than you are intending to leave room for error. TIP 2: check your hair again in 2 days to make sure it is still even after shifting, etc.)

TRASH – use plastic grocery bags as bathroom trashbags (I like using re-usable bags, but I still have some plastic bags around from when I forget to bring my own).

If you get the newspaper, use the plastic bags that protect the newspaper for car trash, umbrella sacks, etc.

NAME BRAND CLOTHING – I have been employed by two different high-end retailers at different points in my life and I know (especially in this economy) that EVERYTHING eventually goes on clearance (as long as there is some of it left). Some name brands or designers do not allow their merchandise to go on sale or be bought with coupons, but department stores will still put them on clearance. I would NEVER buy anything at a department store that wasn’t at least 50% off and usually you can get it for 75% off. The key is looking semi-frequently, but you do need some self control. so if it just cuases you to buy more, only look when you need something.

Good Luck!

Heather says:

I have stopped using my dryer to dry our clothes. I do about 10-12 loads of laundry in a week for 5 people. Hanging our clothes up in the basement (because its too cold hang them outside) has saved us about $60 a month on our electric bill. Also get a blanket for your hot water heater to keep the heat in and switch to a low flow shower head to save on water.

Thanks for all the great tips!!!

Annette says:

Absolutely love Red Box, nice to see it listed here. It typically cost my family of 5 about $50 to go to the movies. We started doing Red Box and it’s a $1.09 for the whole bunch now! Pop your own popcorn and it’s an even better deal! We have one in our local Albertson’s and reserve the movie online and then just go pick it up!

Speaking of Albertson’s, they just love me…I’m the coupon queen. They accept all other store’s coupons so on Sunday I look through the adds and use a store coupon with a manufaturer’s coupon for the same item and they honor both of them. This method can really save big bucks! I also look through their adds and use coupons plus their own sale to save even more. I don’t buy prepared foods and cook from scratch though you can’t beat this for hygiene or household items. I go every Thursday after breakfast and with $100 in cash in my pocket to spend. I also use Costco for meats, you just can’t beat the quality or price, and freeze in seperate portions. We must be doing something right with our frugal life since I’ve had the pleasure of being a stay home mom and a paid off mortgage since last year! P.S. also been married to the same great guy for 19 years!

John says:

We saved about $30 a month by switching to a new phone provider. We use Elevate Communications (www.GoElevate.com)

When you order your phone if you enter JL3 as the rep code it will knock off all of the initial start-up costs and give your unlimited phone service for $29/month.

King says:

I have few tips ..
1. Get prepaid phone if you don’t use your cell phone often..Like for a family plan if you pay $10 for extra line each month..$120 for year. I have Tracfone prepaid phone for 3 years and have not paid that much till today. There are coupon code available online, so use it whenever you recharge for those extra minutes comes a long way. ( I pay $19.99 for 60 min card with code there is another 60 min free , so 120 min and 120 days expiration days will cover 3-4 months )
2. Redbox or DVDplay alos has coupon code. I use them all the time to save.
3.I buy Entertainment Coupon book and it has regional coupons, so while we eat out there is always B1G1 coupons waiting.
Restaurant.com site offers 80% off coupons for the participating restaurants.You can get gift certiifcats for $2 ( worth $10 which is good for $25 menu price ).
4.I do all of the shopping ,and recently I started “SAVE FIRST and SPENT REST” motto .So every month I would get cash from my husband account and put it in an envelope and seal it .
On top I would write how much we saved and date it.Now 3 months later we still manage to pay all bills on time and spend with the remaning and my saving grows..
I greatly agree with ARock ” we dont spend it if we dont see it “..

Jesse says:

@ Seth, re: oil changes

DO NOT go 7k before changing your oil. There really is no measure for how often you should change your oil; it depends on the oil (synthetics last the longest, about 5K), how you drive, the condition/mileage of your car, and atmospheric conditions (dusty area? cold? hot?). You can certainly usually go beyond the 3k oil change suggestion, but check it often to make sure it isn’t just black tar in there. With a decent car and normal driving, I’d only suggest changes every 5k-4.5k. But the best way to save money is just to do you own oil changes–you can use the money you saved to buy better, longer lasting oils and filters.

Emma says:

I have spent the past year travelling the world using money I’ve saved by living below my means, but still taking part in a wide range of activities. I have the following tips to help you save more while still enjoying life:

– House share with other people to reduce your rent and you can live in a better neighbourhood for less.

– Save money on transport. If you need a car, then buy one with a small engine and use less gas. I rely on walking, cycling and the bus for my day-to-day transport and rent a car for weekends away or special trips

– Before you spend money on a big purchase (furniture etc), check and see if you can get it second hand for far cheaper (look at craigslist, thrift stores or yard sales)

– Don’t get into the habit of regularly spending money on convenience foods. Take-out coffee, buying your lunch every day and pre-packaged meals are bad for you and a waste of money. It does not take long to pack a lunch of fruit, leftovers or a sandwich, or make a basic dinner from scratch.

– Before you go grocery shopping, check what you still have left over, and make sure you use it up. Don’t waste food and money by letting it go bad.

– There are numerous ways to save money when taking vacations. hotwire.com is an amazing website where you can book hotels for around $50 a night. When you arrive in a new destination, take a shuttle or transit to your destination. Consider what you’re getting if you take a tour. I recently looked into city tours in my current location – and I could either spend $67 on the city tour, or $7 on an all day bus pass and see all of the same places.

– Think about how you socialize. Instead of going out for dinner with the girls, meet at someone’s house for a potluck. If you want to have a few drinks and watch the football with the guys, have them over and pick up some beer from the liquor store – far less expensive that paying bar prices! Catch up with a friend by going for a walk together, rather than out for coffee. Pay attention to offers in your area. Next week I am going snowboarding for free (well, free other than a small donation) because a mountain near me is having a charity event.

– Learn how to do minor repairs around the house. Often a small problem can be fixed without calling a repair company. Search on the internet for advice.

– Base your wardrobe around good quality neutral pieces and accessorise with fasionable items from chain stores, rather than buying new clothes to meet each new trend.

– Borrow and lend things with friends. There is little reason to own something that you don’t often use. Camping gear, books, and tools are some examples.

– Make the most of training opportunites offered to you by your employer. Extra skills you gain now = extra salary later and more opportunities to sell yourself and gain a better job.

– And what to do with all this extra money you’ll now have floating around? Keep a close watch on interest rates for savings accounts and make sure you’re making the most out of your money.

Gena says:

When it come to online shopping, I always check and compare those Cash Back sites first, such as ebates or fatwallet or sharemydeal.com, You can then use their link to the store, it will help you with some cash back anywhere between 1%~20% off each purchase, sort like a credit card rebate, you pay the full price to the store, but get a few bucks from the cash back site later, not much but it adds up and better than nothing.

Actually sharemydeal.com is pretty good, I actually made a few bucks by forwarding some of their deals, but that would be a different topic.

Lise says:

(I skipped all the above comments, but I wanted to add…)

My husband and I use MythTV, and it works great once it’s configured. I will add, however, that setup is not for the faint of heart. You need to first be fairly competent with computer hardware, especially video hardware, as you will likely have to build your own box with (ideally) two or more video cards. Then, since MythTV only runs on Linux (AFAIK – we use a Fedora distro at home), you have to be pretty comfortable with Linux administration.

The only problems we’ve had is that sometimes we’ll lose reception on a show we’ve recorded because the video cards have come unseated. Given that we stomp around playing DDR and Wii Fit in the same room, that’s not unusual.

So yeah, if you’re a computer geek already, it’s a great solution. Otherwise – attempt with care.

Save Few Bucks says:

Fantastic Article.. You would have definitely put in lot of research to gather all these tips. Thanks Buddy

Rachel says:

I have to second the comment about skype. Whenever we are out of the country, we travel with a small laptop and use skype for $0.02 a minute to call home. I think it is free within the US.

Also, when we travel (out of the country, especially), we always book budget hotels that offer free breakfast. We eat as much of this free breakfast as we can, and then we snack for lunch. Usually, we’re having too much fun to stop and eat for an hour or two. Then, in the evening, we have a nice meal and having wine or beer with dinner, because we’ve literally spent next to nothing on food the entire rest of the day.

I have to disagree with those who said to cut up your credit cards. We have 4 credit cards, not counting the store credit cards you can get. Yes, I said 4. We use each of them for a different reason and get cash back on every single one. This only works, however, if you can pay your montly bill each month. We have personally never accrued any interest on a credit card and they have never made a penny off me. One card we use only for gas, because we get 5% back on gas purchases. Another card, we earn points that can be turned in for a vacation or just a check. After two years of using that card, we got a $350 check that we used on things for our new house. The third card offers 5% back on special kinds of purchases each quarter, so we use that for whatever is 5% back that quarter. The fourth card we only use out of the country, as it has NO currency exchange fee, which saves us quite a bit. This also has a cash back function, I believe. I realize that some have trouble using credit cards correctly, but if you can, be smart about which cards you get because if you’re going to charge some things anyway, you might as well earn free money.

I also have to disagree with the life insurance tips. We have a life insurance policy that is not term. Yes, we are paying more now and will pay more for several years, but it is an investment, and once we are done, we are done. The term life policy we had we paid about $20 a month for 2 people and it would have expired in 20 years. Over 20 years we would have paid $4800 and at the end of 20 years, we had to be reevaluted healthwise. We would have been in our mid-40’s and our monthly payments to continue the insurance would probably have been more like our payments for our other llife insurance now. The life insurance we have now is more like an investment in that it is put into mutual funds and stocks, etc. and if we need the money for our care when we are older, we can pull some of that out early so that our children can help us without having to use their own money. If we kept term life insurance until the day we died, we would end up paying more for that insurance in the end…

Stephen says:

Buy the rechargeable batteries. They may seem expensive but you save month after month.
Get the sunday paper and look for the cupons they save too.
You can also go to the thrift stores you get gently used stuff for only dollars.
Lastly grow your own fruits and vegetables. Growing them makes you have a sense of accomplishment also they are healthy and good for your body.

Kevin says:

My site, FroogleSpending.com, was created to offer people weekly and monthly coupons for everyday living. The idea is to help people live a frugal lifestyle in a looming economy without sacrificing quality of living. I hope this helps someone out there!

Lynn says:

Great ideas. Another site that might be usefula is ManyMoneySavers.com. Has tips on how to save money and earn money and info on how to find lots of free stuff online.
I hope you enjoy.

Bell says:

ok so I may be 20 years old, but I am in the military with a steady job. My best way of saving is this: STOP SPENDING ON USELESS STUFF.. I paid a school loan from college 2 years ago that was $2600.00 by paying with extra money I recieved. Instead of paying 300/month, I was able to pay 500/paycheck. If you KNOW that you will have a bonus, or in my case, deploy and KNOW that you will be getting money.. act like you don’t have it, and put the money on a debt you need to get rid of. That way, when time comes to pay bills, you will have ONE LESS THING to worry about.

Also, you know that you have to pay bills monthly. If you get paid bi weekly, calculate how much you get each paycheck. THEN calculate the bills for the month. DIVIDE by two, and pay half the first half of the month, and half the second half of the month.. If you find yourself paying $400 dollars in full on ONE bill on the 15th of the month you are WRONG ladies and gentlemen.

As some military members say, “work smarter, not harder!”

Helen says:

Every Sunday cut out coupons even the coupons you don’t need at the time, but, will in the future. Always take coupons with you when you go shopping. Everytime you go shopping check out the items that you always use to see if it’s Buy 1 Get 1 free and buy it even if you don’t need them. Walgreens has a booklet with in store coupons. You can use these with the other coupons at the same time and I use both of these coupons for a Buy 1 Get 1 free I’m smiling for the rest of the day.

Greg says:

Today saving money by shopping at Garage Sales is the new thing and its really paid off for me.

Steven F says:

A lot of great ideas on saving money!

Track It – Know where your money goes. I charge everything and get 1 – 5 percent cash back and pay the ballance in full to avoid finace charge.

Reduce the biggest expense! Food was mine. Restraunts, Fast Food and Grocieries. If Fast Food accepts cc I charge it (extra cash back).

Portion control – It is good to cook in large portions, then divide into smaller portions and freeze. For example, I make enough caserole for 16 servings and divide them into 4 cup glass containers. I have a caserole for that week and one for the next three weeks.

Gilmore says:

A great way to reduce telephone bills is to merge your cell phone and house phone. You can do this through prepaid phone plans like TracFone and Net10. You pay only for the minutes you use and can use the phone to text as well. Since I switched to prepaid, I have save over $30 a month on my cell phone bill. I would recommend this to anyone who is in the need to save money.

Brian Gould says:

A trick that I dont hear many people speak about is cutting your own hair. I was a miltary guy so I am used to having my hair short and getting it cut every 2 weeks. I am saving $30 a month which means $360.00 a year I can put towards other things. Not a good option for women but I plan on cutting my kids hair until they get older. It is a good bonding expierence…haha

Grandma says:

Best idea is the one about staying married…it takes sacrifice, and HUMILITY…but it’s worth it!

Dave says:

RE #29: Shut vents in unused rooms. This isn’t advisable if you have forced air heating, but shutting vents in unused rooms can save on your heating and cooling bill.

99% of the time, you have vents because you have forced air system. Actually, strictly speaking in terms of HVAC, a vent is something you must always keep open, because it accepts used air from the house. A register is something that heated or cooled air is forced from. Technically, you can close the registers to a room or two (depending on your home) without much damage. You’ll want to watch so your furnace doesn’t overheat – which ruins the furnace itself. To do this, find the max temperature the furnace can be at in your owners manual and grab an IR thermometer. Shut the register and check the temperature of the air coming out of the furnace. If there is extra heat buildup, you’ll see it in the temperature reading.

Generally speaking, you can safely shut a room or two in a moderately sized house. this is because most of the time the HVAC system is configured for a temperature a great deal lower than the max design temperature of the unit.

Dave says:

One more I didn’t see: Turn down the thermostat in the winter, and turn it up in the summer to save on heat and A/C costs!

Chris says:

Those are some great ways to save and as a collage student I need to save money left and right.

Another way I found to save money was to get a prepaid phone. Net10 have a flat rate for minutes. Only 10 cents per minute and 5 cents for text. For college student that 5 cents a text is great, i know most services charge 10 cents, so its like half over. There are no activation fees or anything and the service charge averages to about only 7 dollars a month. Plus they have service on over 60 countries and for 15 cents a minute for international calls i get to keep in touch with my family in Italy.

Jack says:

Chris, I just switched to Net10! When I did my research, I found out that it has the BEST OVERALL VALUE. I can’t wait to get started using it.

Emmalee says:

Unplug cell phone iPod and camera chargers sun when they are not in use.
Also don’t buy bottled water it is just as easy to fillbone up than to grab a plastic one.
Go online and check all possible stores prices before buying any electroncs.
Go to trade schools to get some services done. Most the time they are half the price and you cannot tell the difference.

Jody says:

A totally free prescription discount card. No registration required! No pre-existing conditions! Save between 10% to 85% on most brand name and generic drugs. The card is accepted at over 80% of all pharmacies in the US and its territories. Card can be used over and over, covers all family members, and does not expire. You can print a card for instant use as well as order a plastic coated card to be sent to you at NO CHARGE.

Caren Adams says:

Robo Jack Phone is only $19.95/year.

Carl says:

Instead of buying a refurbished MAC just buy a cheaper brand new PC that will have more capabilities. Everyone who has jumped on the MAC parade is stupid!

jane says:

i know everyone is chiming in about dumping the home phone or combining your cell/home phone, and i couldn’t agree more. we got rid of our home line ($42 or so a month) and also got rid of our cell contracts. We don’t use Internet on the phones, so we don’t need anything too fancy. We don’t use prepaid but use a no contract cell company called Pure Talkusa – $10/month for like 100 minutes and a free phone. I usually use about 300 minutes a month, but the minutes roll over and it is only another $10 whenever i need more. My husband upgraded to a razor phone b/c he does text more, so that was like $50 or $60, but we still save at least $20 and sometimes $40 each month for each of us, so $40-80!

sean thompson says:

T-Mobile offers a home phone for 10.00 a month!! it runs off the internet and also turns your house in to a wifi hot spot. the router is only 39.99 and if you take advantage of the wifi calling feature then you get unlimited calls from your cell phone when it runs on wifi. (its called UMA calling) so you can reduce your cell phone bill as well because of the less minutes used when on UMA

DR says:

Sean, thanks for the tip.

Christine Simiriglia says:

Big tip: Brew your own coffee in the morning. Simple, huh? Make your morning coffee at home. If you need to, get a pot with a timer and set it up in the evening so your coffee is ready when you step out of bed (I do). Use a travel mug if you need to carry it with you to work. I have favorite brand of coffee. I buy it on sale with a coupon and stock up at $3.99 for 10 ounces. I get 4 really huge cups out of a pot (I know the pot say’s its 12 cups but really, who drinks that small a cup?) and about 10 pots per bag. That’s 40 cups for $4 or 10 cents per cup. Add the cost for 1% milk and Splenda and we are looking at 25 cents per cup. Beats the hell out of a $3.50 latte. Do the math… you can save $800 per year on coffee.

Save Money Hound says:

A great list to get you started. Had a good laugh with Tip No 51!
Another good tip is to let the natural light into your house before automatically turning on the lights.

Julie G says:

buy used clothing – not just thrift stores, but often you can find current styles at consignment shops. If you don’t have one, start a clothing swap. This is especially helpful for kids, who outgrow their clothes constantly.

MArk LePera says:

Businesses pay for customer loyalty. I have certificates for 2 -$25 visa cards for 10 or 20 months. Just send in reciepts from stores and gas stations you already buy from.

Michael says:

I work for a “tire chain” and I have to say that although I agree with the theory of the tires being cheaper, in the long run they’re not. For instance my store offers Nitrogen inflation for free, as well as other incentives that save you money. My recommendation for “chain stores” is HAGGLE HAGGLE HAGGLE when a customer comes to me if they’re polite, I have the power to negotiate. On a 150 dollar tire I can sell it for 60 dollars. That is your savings.

Natalie says:

If your trying to save money but would like a new family pet, go to your local SPCA or look in the free section or your news paper, instead of buying from a breeder.

Bonnie Crouch says:

Ok i am a [email protected] mom, so some of these ideas might not sit well with career minded people. Ok here it goes, I use the plastic bags i get from stores for cat litter,doggie poo pick up,trash liners for bathrooms,pick up vomit,(i know but ihappens), Take em on vacation to carry all your winnings at the amusement park. I recycle water bottles, i use em for putting milk in to fit in the camper fride, i refill them for kids, my girls make bowling pins outta them, we reuse zip lock bags, i wash em out, reuse em for sandwiches, snacks, etc, I empty the ceral boxes in a container and use the wax paper inside for opening up on my kitchen counter and making dough on it for dinner or making biscuts, I also use it for wrapping stuff up, save those bread bags also, you can store stuff in them, for camping, for the freezer, for extra dounuts left over. I wash out all my ketchup bottles and mustard bottle and etc, for girls to play with in bath tub or pool, save all shampoo bottles also for that fun,, I cut my milk containers inhalf and use as a water bowl for pets, or a catch all in the kitchen,for scraps to throw in my garden. Yes don’t for get those peelings for your garden and egg shells also,,

Tina Rae says:

Thank You Bonnie! Im a stay at home Grandma at 38 years old! All the money I can save is crucial, as my husband and I are raising our Grandson!!!!! Any more tips you could give would be greatly appreciated! You sound alot like me, cutting corners when possible! Keep it comin’ girl!!!!!!!!!!

zuzubird says:

Recently I stopped buying paper towels. I never used them before I met my husband, and also I hated squinting at those tiny “price per 100 feet” labels and trying to figure out if they were accurate (such a difference in the prices, one gets doubtful). More than that, I hated shelling out $9 to $13 or whatever for something that was of questionable value to me in the first place! Now we keep clean rags from the cellar rag container up in a kitchen drawer. We use those to clean up messes off the floor, and throw them away. For other types of clean-ups, I’ll put the rag in the wash and use again.

Pat Pinchpenny says:

I’m with you, zuzubird, I haven’t used paper towels in years.

tara says:

Kill your television! Seriously, who needs cable tv or satellite dish? Don’t have to do it forever, just till you’re out of debt and back on your feet.

zuzubird says:

GREAT idea. We can’t get cable or satellite where we live (the mountain is in the way of dish reception), and we haven’t melted or burst into flame without television. Can’t imagine how much money we save.

Aaron says:

Really! What is the point of cable nowadays? My suggestion is to stick witha reliable internet provider. I just learned about a great site, http://www.hulu.com. It has just about every show you could want to watch on cable available for free. Plus, if they don’t have it, they often link you to a site that does. More convenient than cable, too, in my opinion.

beau says:

Thanks for a very good article and thanks to everyone for all the tips.

Gwynn says:

A good way to save money on cleaning is to use things most people already have on hand, like vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, and lemons. You can mix your fabric softener with the vingegar to stretch it out and the vinegar also helps get rid of extra soap residue. You can also use a combination of vinegar and baking soda instead of laundry detergent. Look up how to use these things, there are so many household uses for all of them. You will save so much money and be helping the environment.

CU Guy says:

Bank at a Credit Union. Lower fees, better rates and treat you like a person unlike banks that treat you like another number.

Barbara says:

What ever happened to clipping coupons? I thought that would be the first thing on your list. You can also get coupons online. Speaking of online, I use it all the time to find phone numbers. If you don’t have a phone book handy, it is a lot cheaper to go online to get the numbers than to pay to use 411 or 555-1212 information services. For a cheap lunch, try Ramon Noodles. They are really good and come in a lot of different flavors, generally less than $.20 per pack. You might also try picking up things at Auctions. You can usually get a much better price at auctions than at retail stores. Goodwill and Salvation Army are also good places to pick up good used household items as well as clothing, shoes, purses, furniture, exercise equipment, bicycles and just about anything you could want. You could also check at salvage yards for good used auto parts rather than buying new parts for an older car. You might also find good deals on eBay or Craig’s List on just about anything. One of the best deals I have found is buying a (Fund Raising) chocolate candy bar for $1.00 and getting a $2.00 coupon on the wrapper for Pizza Hut. You not only get the satisfaction of a $1.00 donation to a worthwile organization, but you also get the candy bar and $2.00 off on your next pizza. To me, that is a dollar well spent. I could go on and on about ways to save money, but I’ll give other people a chance.

zuzubird says:

Yes, Goodwill is awesome. I bought my beautiful wedding dress there, and also all my business suits (Talbots, Jones of NY, etc.). I do have a quibble with the Ramen noodles. Four hundred ugly calories in one little serving, plus horrendous amounts of sodium. Pasta would be better . . .?

Arnett Banks says:

I took a time share in June I took the whole family it was great we only paid $200 for 2 nights 3 days stay at Myrtle Beach SC we had an Ocean front room. We had to agree to a 90 MIN tour as they call it basically they walked us around this resort and tried to up sell us the resort was nice and I would have got into it but my budget for this year would not allow me I found out about it by googling Myrtle Beach getaways a couple of sites came up like expedia and travelocity but I wanted a time share about half way down the page was a site called vacation bailouts they was great easy to book I was on my way that following week might even be easy to google the name of the company sorry not sure about the URL.

Beth Chaffin says:

Use your slow cooker. Especially in the summer. It doesn’t heat up my kitchen as much as the stove and oven. I can also use cheaper cuts of meat. They come out very tender and flavorfull. I have been able to turn two chicken breasts into a complete meal for my family of 5. Add a can or two of any “cream of” soup, ( I use the store brand) and 1/2 bag of frozen veggies. When I put the rice on to cook, I take out the chicken and chop or shred it and put it back into the slow cooker. When the rice is done, pour the chicken mixture over the rice and servce. Even my kids love it. Use the leftovers for chicken and rice cassarole the next night. Or freeze for the next week.

zuzubird says:

Yes, the slow cooker is great. You can also use it to make your own beans, garbanzos, all those dried peas and beans, cheaper and better than canned. Just throw them in there, add lots of water, put it on “low”, and go to bed. You can add whole onions, molasses, meat, whatever pleases you, too.

Aaron says:

Beth, that reminds me of a little trick my mom used to do. In the cold winter months, if she happened to cook something in the oven, after it was done, she’d leave the oven door open to let out the excess heat into the house. I wouldn’t suggest this if you have small children, of course, but it could allow you to rest the thermostat a little bit during those cold months!

Nancy K says:

Even better than a slow cooker, try a solar oven.

sue rufener says:

to lower electric bill; go through your house and unplug everything that is currently not being used. Most people leave thing plugged in when not in use; I cut my bill by almost 40% this way. Microwaves are usually left plugged in but really it isn’t hard to plug it ion when you need it.(you only use at a few minutes at a time). only have chargers plugged in when charging things; use your car charger for your cell phone . start washing clothes in cold water and hanging most things up to avoid many dryer bills.

AmandaBarnes says:

This is a great site i found for coupons, thought I would share.. You can save money shopping at hundreds of sites online and you don’t have to sign up unless you want to.. I love it.

Evelyn says:

Amanda, you did not include the name of the web site. Can you sent it to me?

Jack says:

You have provided many great tips. Some of these will work great for my family.

Anthony says:

Water Conservation. No bricks in tank. 1 liter bottles full of water capped off helps with old toilets to cut down flushes. Regular 12 or 16oz. bottles filled will work as well and add more until regular waste is fully flushed.
Electrical Conservation. Lower wattage bulbs. One bulb to room vs. multiple bulbs. Solar powered lighting for outdoor usage.
Worst times of utility usage. Hot climates during summer, plan visiting family and friends, work at the office, or even nature walks to refrain running the AC. Cold climates are almost the same. If at home, dark/black drapes or light/white during summer. Flannel bedding. Clothes drying during the coldest times during the winter.
Entertainment. Movie night on regular TV. Date night with no lights, possibly candlelight with $1.00 popcorn and a can of soda to enjoy your movie. With almost everyone with cable and a nice TV, come closer to the one you love with enjoyment of the movie or time.
Food and Water Needs. Water filter or just straight tap can be cheaper than bottled water. Can foods last longer and if the frig goes out not to worry. Frozen pizza over take out.
Everyone can find ways to pinch a penny here or there, these are just someways that I find to save. It takes some time to change a little but I am beginning to enjoy life a little more by enjoying my family and friends a lot more. I am open to other suggestions so email me if something that works for you. Thanks for listening. Michael Anthony

Alison says:

Understand the difference between a need or want. This was my problem….

zuzubird says:

This is so true, Alison! Big difference between “need” and “want”, isn’t there? We’re fortunate to have such a high standard of living here, but we also start thinking that we have to have this, have to have that, until we run into money problems, and also problems maintaining all our stuff and figuring out where to store it. I’m far from perfect, but I’ve lived my whole life with one rule–I live below my means, always. I’ve never had debt, except a mortgage in the past–no credit card debt, ever. It just isn’t in my personal mental makeup. If others would think this way, their lives would be so much easier.

Terry says:

Alison thank you thank you and thank you….. I am currently going through the need vs wants. so I made a list of needs and a list of my wants LOL it didn’t take me long to figure out what I needed to do, also I have a 9 year old who has a lot of wants, so I sat her down with bills in hand and explained to her about our needs and wants. This has been so helpful she saves all her money, and when she has a want or a need she talks to me about it and we figure out together what we’re gonna do. zuzubird thank you also for the information as well.

Nadia says:

There is a great new website called ‘Medtipster’ that saves you money on you and your family’s prescription costs. Medtipster allows you to locate low-cost generic prescriptions from reputable pharmacies in your area. Once on Medtipster’s homepage, all you have to do is type in the medication you need, the dosage and your zip code and the site will direct you to the least expensive retailer. It’s easy, quick, and saves you money. Google search “Medtipster” and check out their site.

Jerry says:

We turned off the power strips to our entertainment system, which consists of a DLP projector, surround sound, and XBOX360, every night for the last billing cycle for our electric. (Luckily, I saw the meter reader, so I knew when to start.) Just cutting the “stand-by” power on those devices reduced our electric bill by nearly $50 dollars in one month.

I’ve also installed motion sensor light switches in hallways and bathrooms to prevent the kids from leaving the lights on all the time.

As far as television, we dropped satellite TV and opted for Netflix, which has thousands of titles that can be watched instantly over the XBOX360. That dropped our TV expenses from over $100/month to about $8/month.

We’ve also talked to our kids about what to expect (and what not to expect) this Christmas, because it’s better to set those expectations as early as possible.

There are some real easy ways to save money, but you have to be willing to change certain habits and cut some things.

Diane says:

Lower the home thermostat by 2-3 degrees in the winter or raise it 2-3 degrees in the summer. Use ceiling fans to keep air circulated and you’ll never notice a differnce in your comfort level.

mike says:

All great tips on saving money. Times like today, everyone could use them.

Pat says:

When I bring a bag to donate, about once a month, I do a little shopping at Goodwill. I am always looking for little presents for the kids in my life and am never disappointed. We got our halloween costume components there.
I like the idea of shopping once a week to limit waste. My daughter and I share a pound of sliced roast beef for two or three meals with a side of veggies and some brown rice. Nowhere near as expensive as eating out.
We make our own dogfood, which really keeps the dog healthy and saves a ton at the vet on rashes, itchiness, and tummy trouble. (Oatmeal, canned chicken, peas, carrots, green beans and olive oil + a vitamin and flaxseed oil capsule)
It’s not cheap, but the dog is much healthier.
Drop the collision on the car after it is 7 years old and put the money for repairs aside, especially if there are several cars in the family.
Buy the best tools you can afford to make home repairs and gardening easier so you are not tempted to farm these chores out. Excellent, padded, battery powered, ergonomic.
Raise local plants that don’t need so much treatment. Knockout roses, dividable daylilies and hostas, self-seeding impatiens and cleomes, clover mix lawns, slow growing evergreens that don’t need so much pruning: save time and expense.
Plan a garden for next summer, millions are raising tomatoes, basil and zucchini. Plant a raspberry bush and nibble garden-ripe fruit on your way to do the other gardening chores.
My theory is if costco doesn’t sell it, I don’t need it. I don’t do recreational shopping at the mall ever.

Niche Topics says:

Great list, thanks! Go vegetarian for at least once a week; you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll save 🙂

Isaac Mukasa says:

Am a growing young businessman who have business ambitions and visions to achieve in a specific period of time, its going to be my pleasure to get connected to people like you who are equipped with such very important information which when applied in my business will definately succeed. May the lord bless you.

Karen says:

Receive an additional discount off on your online shopping at hundreds of your favorite stores by visiting mrrebates. Just register, shop and begin receiving checks in the mail. It’s that easy!! I save a ton of money around Christmas.

Nico says:

I got one that goes hand-in-hand with #27. Get a prepaid cell phone. There is one (Straight Talk by Verizon and Tracfone) that include unlimited talk and text and 30MB of data for $45 a month. You can also transfer your home phone number to a prepaid cell phone. This way, you wouldn’t need to worry about going over your minutes. It’s also great because there are no activation, overage, or cancellation fees AND it’s on America’s most reliable network. Great, huh?

Pat Pinchpenny says:

Drink water. Except for individual bottles, water is nearly always cheaper than any alternative. Our local, state and federal governments spend millions to make sure we have clean tap water to drink. If you truly can’t trust the water at your home, filter it. Still cheaper than soda, juice, milk, beer, etc.

At restaurants, order water with lemon and save 20%-30% on your luncheon tab versus ordering iced tea. If you’re afraid to drink the water served at the restaurant, consider that they are preparing the food in the same water.

Marina says:

Dollar Tree is the best! Also, My boyfriend loves going to the movies. Now I always go on ebay.com and search for fandango movie tickets.! I bought four movie ticket codes for only 6.00!!! This would have cost me well over 30 bucks alone for the [email protected]!!!! I just thought it was really cool to learn that trick. I paid 3.00 for both of us together to have a datenight and went home and had dinner! loved it!
Also be careful on ebay, there are so many fees asociated with selling. Better sell on craigslist.com for free! i have found many many great deals and have sold many unused items as well!

hope this helps! 🙂

Erik Olson says:

Also see 222 ways dot com for a funny story about saving money and a book which contains 222 money saving tips

candlesrmee says:

To help save money on candles and gifts, I teamed up with a candle company (link: candlesrme.com). There are two programs Associate or Candle of the Month which allows me to purchase at distributor prices for candles. It saves me money on candles, gifts, and the empty jars for storage.

Alex Newman says:

Really good list! Apart from the CFL tips, which everyone touts. CFLs are toxic, LEDs are the future.

Jessica says:

Great tips – except for #13. Reading magazines at the library or online is a nice option but is contributing to the dimise of the industry. Instead, purchase a subscription to your favorite publications and help keep the industry alive. You’ll save a lot of money – and ensure your favorites stay on the newsstands.


Melissa says:

I agree. I subscribe to a magazine and on the stands it sells for between $3 and $4 an issue but with the subscription it’s only $16 a year! Thats a very good savings.

Tabatha says:

I am one of two working parents in a family of four. I map out my meals for two weeks and go shopping accordingly. I normally spend under One Hundred dollars (with help from coupons) with my meal planner. I spend about two hours every Sunday that now has become routine on precooking meals and deep freezing them until needed. It saves many uncertain “What’s for dinner” nights. It also saves money on those nights when fast-food sounds like an easier plan. I figure a couple of hours in one day is better then 30 to 45min. a day and saved trips to the store. If you have children and they are willing to help, they are usually excited to eat what they helped prepare as well.

Best wishes to all…Tab

Sandy says:

I do the exact same thing – cook on weekends and freeze – but because I’m a single empty-nester. I think people waste more money on excess clothing and ill-thought-out meal planning than anything. A friend of mine estimates she and her husband spend thousands of dollars a year in restaurants – that’s just crazy. I have delicious home-cooked meals almost every night and take my lunch to work every day. My food bills are very modest. I eat out once a month with my book club and another time a month with a group of girlfriends. That’s plenty.

eneida f says:

would be good idea to get information!

Sektor says:

Save on your Direct tv bill. Call them up and have them provide you with a discount. Simply mention that say… $78 is too much for cable… The usually give you a $10 to $20 credit. It worked for me.

Jai says:

Put your hand near your electrical outlets on the outer walls of your home. You will feel cool air coming in around the outlets. Go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and get little foam outlet pads that go underneath the cover itself. Unscrew the cover, place the foam pad over the hole and screw the outlet cover back on. You would be surprised how much cool air gets into the house that way! Also if you have an attic fan, cover the grate that the air goes out of the house in. It is usually in a hallway and goes into the attic. That grate is a major warm air waster too!

SisterGeek says:

*Go to your local library and check out their movies. * Pay your bills online with your bank and save stamp money and P.O. time! * Shop for fresh veggies at your local food coop or farmers market.*…

Jenn says:

1. Swap movies with friends, neighbours. Same with board games and kids toys.
2. Purge! Hold a garage sale (or 2 or 3…), or sell stuff online. Just get rid of everything taking up space in your life. In addition to making a little cash, you may find your house is bigger than you thought and you don’t need to move up. Or, that your house is actually too big and you can downsize! At the very least you may find you don’t need more furniture/storage shelves to organize your junk. With less stuff you may already have plenty of storage.
3. Get your car expenses under control: If you have two cars, can you make do with one? If you have one, can you get by with public transportation and rent when you want to go away for the weekend? At the very least reduce usage whenever possible by combining errands, using public transportation and carpooling. Buy used cars and drive them until they die. Our “new” cars are always at least 3yrs old. We’ve driven them until they are as much as 13yrs old before repairs made it more cost effective to replace rather than repair. Take a basic car maintenance course (or ask a friend to show you). Changing oil, filters, spark plugs etc doesn’t require a professional. Hire your kids to wash the car, buff the rims etc. They’ll like the pocket money, you save money on the wash and the gas required to drive there.
4. Plan meals in advance and as much as possible based on coupons or weekly sales at your store. Shop from a list and go no more than once a week which will help you avoid impulse purchases. Once in a while try to live off your freezer/pantry for a week and reduce the stockpile before things expire.
5. Find free cheaper entertainment: go for a family hike and pack a picnic, fly a kite in the park, plan a weekly game night and take turns being in charge of selecting the game and planning the homemade snacks. Invite friends over for a movie night rather than meeting going out. Make it a regular potluck event to distribute the costs over a group. At our last gathering we supplied the burgers (ground beef was on sale that week) and our visitors brought salad and desert. Next time we’ll be doing homemade pizzas (toppings based on that week’s sales).
6. Clothing really only needs to be replaced when it wears out or no longer fits. We try to stick to the one in one out rule to avoid accumulating too much stuff. As the kids outgrow things they move on to the next batch of hand-me-downs from cousins or older siblings. For any gaps we go to the Salvation Army, consignment shops, and as a last resort a store with a good sale. Stick to basic colours for the main clothing items and keep the trendy colors to hair accessories, socks, shoe laces, etc. I do the same thing with my wardrobe. Lots of basic black, grey and white with a few scarves in many bright colors. Everything must mix and match.
7. Brown bag your lunch. We intentionally cook extra at dinner and then afterward the leftovers go straight into containers to take the next day. Many of my coworkers buy lunch in the cafeteria each day. I just eat my packed lunch with them. My lunch costs far less and is way lower in fat and salt.

Will says:

I like to check http://camelcamelcamel.com/ to view the price history of products before I purchase them. Retailers are always raising prices right before putting things “on sale”, so why not try to outsmart em? :]

Money Saving Mom says:

I recently came across this service that has 18 or more of the household names we all are already using bidding against each other for your business and boy has it saved me money .

Saveology.com allows you to comparison-shop and buy home services including cable, satellite television, Internet, phone service, home security and warranties, moving services, and insurances.

Love it!!!

Sue Ryan says:

Never get an upgrade when your mobile phone contract is up,just change networks, and to get you on board they will give you a brilliant deal!

David P says:

Good list! Most are common sense, but we don’t always think of everything we know when we need it. A few exceptions, though. As an engineer turned builder 2 decades ago, I can tell you that turning off stand-by power devices like phone chargers and dvd players won’t make a difference in your monthly electric bill that will buy you a $1burger at the local drive thru. But now, the stop using the appliances themselves is a different matter. Older TV’s (the ones with the picture tubes), toasters, toaster ovens, leaving the coffee pot on for 2 hrs, anything that produces heat – turn these off and you will see a difference.
And on turning off heat/cooling vents in unused rooms – this will actually cost you more money unless you live in a house with no insulation. On insulated homes, when you turn off heat/cool to a room, that space will soon get close to the outside air temperature. Now you have an un-insulated wall separating this inside and outside temps instead of an insulated one. Insulation doesn’t heat or cool – it just slows down the passage of heat. And when it comes to home insulation, more is always better than less.

FRANK says:


Vince Minster Smeth says:

For the smart traveler TRIPDIO offers the best prices on the web. This site is 5-20% less than other travel sites.

S N says:

Tip # 44 is ill advice. Every money saving tip sheet has this and will cause more harm than anything else. Generic medicines are not FDA approved and are not tested. To save $5, nobody would like risking their lives or having to spend to recover from a serious side effect of the generic drug.

DR says:

S N, I’m going to have to disagree with you here. By law generic drugs are exactly like their branded counterparts. From the FDA: “A generic drug is identical–or bioequivalent–to a brand name drug in dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics and intended use.” Source: http://www.fda.gov/drugs/resourcesforyou/consumers/questionsanswers/ucm100100.htm

codsWallop says:

I can’t believe nobody has mentioned The Freecycle Network!

@Freecycle says:

We agree with codsWallop! http://www.freecycle.org is definitely worth a visit to help save money and the environment!

Jan says:

I use the plastic bags that my newspapers come in for doggy pick-ups. They work great & you can tie the end of the bag. I stick my whole hand in & turn the bag inside out. You never have to actually touch the poo.

Clay says:

Great article, thanks. One way I found to save a lot of money is the auctions. I didn’t know much about them and was afraid of them pretty much. I found a great book by Oliver Phipps and it can be read in a few hours. After learning about the actions I have bought a great Maytag washer for my family for $35.00 and also a Magnavox 40″ T.V which we have been using for several years now for only $40.00. I found out that Oliver does not sell the printed book anymore but you can buy the ebook on Amazon for $3.95 which is less than the paperback was. Anyway it’s worth it.


Emily says:

wow! great ideas! my husband and i are pretty proud of our ability to live “close to the bone”. these are some ideas we have implemented that i believe save us money in the long run. some are pretty far out there for the average family, but it’s just the two of us so they’ve worked great for us!

loosing the paper towels has been fantastic! we bought some good dish towels and stick with that. when they get stained or too worn we retire them to the cleaning rag basket. we keep one roll of paper towels under the sink for the really nasty messes and it lasts us close to a year! same with paper napkins and dish/cleaning sponges, wipes and throw-away cloths. good rule of thumb to consider: if it’s “disposable” it’s most likely more expensive, by far.

we do the bottles in the toilet tank. we also (brace yourself) don’t flush every time (if you go #1, someone can go on top of yours – maybe twice). we installed a low-flow shower head but found one with a toggle that can turn off the flow while you’re soaping up, etc. then you turn it back on to rinse and the water temp is still the same. and one more “out-there” step we took was building an outdoor shower. this really only saves money if you have a second h2o meter for your outdoor water use (get one!!!! no charges for the sewage part… just water usage) and during the hot months we enjoy a shower outside.

washing clothes in a front-loading washer saves money on water and it spins them dryer so that your dryer works less to get them dry. another thought, loose the fabric softner/dryer sheets. if static is a major issue, “line dry” the synthetic clothes. they dry fast on their own and they are what cause static cling.

as for the thermostat, if you’re wearing shorts and a t-shirt comfortably around your house in january, you could be saving a whole lot of money by putting some clothes on and lowering your thermostat. put an extra blanket on the bed and kick down the temp at night. turn it to 60 degrees or less while you’re gone. leave the curtains open during the day to let the sun heat the house in winter but close them in the summer during the day to keep the house cooler. the over door trick works great too.

we’re dropping cable. try it. you can get by with less tv then you think. and the above mentioning of hulu.com is a great thing. i love it and watch all my regular shows that way.

and last but not least: shop not only auctions but estate sales!!!! the first day is usually full price but sat. and sun. everything gets marked down! by the end of a three day sale almost everything is 1/2 off!! the biggest hurdle i see for people in this, is our society’s habit of instant gratification of an exact desire being met in one trip or one “click.” if you make a mental list of things you would like or need, shop estate sales regularly, and wait for those items to appear at a great deal, you can save a lot of money. craigslist.com and freecycle.com are also fantastic. and when you do buy in stores, buy only what you need (like they said above) but we have found it’s rarely necessary to buy name brand in this day and age. if you have kroger or walmart stores near you, buy their brand. it’s better than coupon prices almost every time and we don’t miss the name brands at all!

Mary says:

Ways to Save
Are you getting the best rate on your cell phone? Do you stop at the cheapest gas station? Could you be earning a better interest rate at another bank? The answers to these questions are just a few clicks away. For the website that can help you save tune in tomorrow morning on News4 Today your NBC-Washington news.

Deb says:

Home made microwave popcorn… brown paper lunch bags,or save paper bags from fast food. add 1/8 to 1/4 cup of popcorn to bag… remove air, fold over top edge of bag and secure with masking tape. pop in microwave, cook until it almost quits popping. meanwhile melt butter in seperate container and pour on after removing from microwave..be careful air in bag will be hot. This so much cheaper than pre-made microwave popcorn. I buy pasta in bulk when its on sale then cook a large pot of it.. drain, seperate into single or double serving sizes and freeze. I throw them into clean margerine tubs until frozen then put into a ziplock freezer bag. take out amount needed and throw into boiling water, takes just a few seconds to heat.. same for sauce if you want. If you have a sunny window.. spray paint some clean, empty soda cans flat black. Fill with sand and seal witha piece of duct tape. line up on inside window ledge, as many as you want. They will absorb heat during the day and let off heat during the night. Or you can make a wooden box, paint inside of box black or line with aluminum foil and fill with the painted cans, and make sure they are in the sunshine during the day. Then move it where you want the heat at night.

Lynneth says:

Hey talk about savings! CrazyBidNow.com just launched and the prices are incredible. I left the room for 5 minutes and missed a Sony 52″ HDTV that sold for 86 cents. A Toshiba laptop went for $2.59. Amazing deals – you just have to be patient and smart as to how and when you bid. Good luck. .

susan says:

Love #51:) Great, sound advice.

Ellie says:

Im a stay at home mom too. I save money by staying home because it costs more to work and have someone watch 3 children fulltime. I use a site that has a bunch of wholesale, discounted webshopping, with coupons it shows you, things are up to 95% off. Enough to sell the stuff and make money. Also places you can sell your books. Anyhow the site gets paid for the product amount you spend and they give you back 100% of that in rewards. The rewards go towards your own business. Now I can make money and stay home, risk-free. It’s great.

Ellie says:

Im a stay at home mom too. I save money by staying home because it costs more to work and have someone watch 3 children fulltime. I use a site that has a bunch of wholesale, discounted webshopping, with coupons it shows you, things are up to 95% off. Enough to sell the stuff and make money. Also places you can sell your books. Anyhow the site gets paid for the product amount you spend and they give you back 100% of that in rewards. The rewards go towards your own business. Now I can make money and stay home, risk-free. It’s great.

mario says:

if you’re big on shopping online a something ive come to love is google. you can google and find pretty much anything. for example if you want to buy from bjs wholesale before you click that checkout button open up a tab and google “bjs online discount codes” this works for pretty much any online website. anything from 30% off to free shipping. i cant tell you how much money ive saved on pretty much anything from plane tickets to sandals.

mike says:

These are all great money saving tips. I never buy extended warranties on anything.

mario says:

extended warranties like most other money saving tips should be weighed by the individuals needs/circumstances i.e. my girlfriend has had horrible luck with her tires and getting nails in her tires was a monthly occurance. although they could be patched and she could roll on one day she got a nail that was not patchable thanks to the #40 warranty that she bought her $180 tire only cost her $40 to renew her warranty. warranties should be evaluated on a person to person basis. some retailers offer very inexpensive warranties. i agree $129 warranty for a $300 item is excesive however Target offers warranties for $29 for a $300 item. so when microsoft wouldnt cover my xbox 360 when i got the “3 rings of death” the $29 dollar service plan did and i didn’t have to pay the $150 microsoft wanted or the $300 for a new system. for most people service plans may not be used but this is definately something to look into and a way to save money that you would potentially spend later.

Hana says:

Buy the Sunday paper, which have a lot of coupons for grocery.

Billy Washington says:

Save your change-u can invest in change rollers and take it to the bank to deposit into your savings account.
Buy food in bulk-u usually save more if when u buy in large amounts. Just make sure u need the items.
Think of a saving goal-why r u using every saving tip possible to save money? Knowing this will give u a sense of purpose to ur saving and keep u on track to reaching ur goal.

_sorry so short and to the point but i’m sure u have so many emails to read. Hope u like, thanks.

amanda says:

You might be able to skip the change rollers. I take my change bucket into my bank. They have a machine that counts it for free too so no more expensive Coinstars!

Nakawombe Annet says:

thats an interesting idea

Nick says:

Hello, I started filling a change jar with any leftover coins and 1 dollar bills I had in my wallet and over time I counted it an had 900 bucks. It was a nice little payday.

chad says:

Let me get this straight,,,, get a credit card????

a rewards card???? was this written by a credit card company


Budget all your money before the month, save, eat at home, cut up all your credit cards, use cash to pay for everything but what comes out each month automatically, cancel useless cable, spend time with your family, working, being productive, or reflecting on how lucky you are! And on top of it all, use common sense! Save Save Save!

get a rewards card,,, yah right,,,, do that,, and see how well it worked 5 years from now when you earned a free sweater but bought a whole load of sh** you did not need

Evelyn says:

You can use a rewards card to pay for essentials like groceries and gas. If you faithfully pay off the card every month, you’ll get the rewards. My husband and I use our reward card for everything, including his company expenses. Every three months or so I redeem the points and get about $500-600. And I pay no annual fee. Try it.

Damion says:

I couldn’t agree with you more Chad!!! saving money is a way of life!!!

Kristie says:

By reward card he means a card like Sears and Kmart give you free that you swipe before you pay for your purchases and you earn bonus points for shopping at these stores. The card also serves as a way to look up your receipts from those stores (now that Sears owns Kmart) so you can take something back and not have to keep up with the receipts. I use this rewards card and get bonus coupons for $5.00 off purchases when I build up points. Since I shop at Kmart anyway, it is a great deal for me.

Bill says:

If you can’t control your spending, then don’t own a credit card. But if you can control your spending, you already use a card, and you pay it full every month, then at least use one that gets you something. Failure to do that is like not signing up for your company’s 401K match. You’re missing free money. I use an Amex cash back card with no annual fee, and I never ever pay interest on it. I use it for my business travel, pay my utility bills, lots of stuff. I get $1,000 back every year. It makes sense.

Sandi says:

My Discover card has been paying ME money and makes nothing off of me for years now. I pay the full balance on time every month and sign up for their 5% cash back deals. Then every couple of months or so, the rewards pile up and I redeem them for credit against my open balance. Wa la. They pay ME. It’s awesome! Free money is always awesome!

Sheri says:

Our rewards card is actually my bank’s ATM card (Fifth Third Bank). If I use it as a Mastercard, there is no fee for use, and it is just like using cash only easier–I actually SAVE money by not carrying cash because I don’t fritter it away like I do cash!
Additionally, we have some buyer and theft protection, unlike cash!

L says:

That was the best advice I ve heard in a long time maybe you should put it on a billboard.

ukhotdeals says:

This article should be nominated for blog post of the year, really and should win of course. I don’t have words, just amazing. Great work!!! Congratz!!!

Paul Velez says:

Don’t buy music. I’ve pi$$ed away thousands of dollars during my life with music purchases, many of which were impulse buys that collect dust.
Download “Frostwire”. I’ve been using it for months now and it is AWESOME!
You can download music, video (haven’t tried video) and more here for FREE.
Download songs, burn them to cd, or not, enjoy them for free.
Also try PANDORA radio ( www pandora dot com).
Not only can you listen for free (you’re not allowed to type in a specific due to copyright issues, only an artist or album) but when you “create a station” (which is their version of “search”) Pandora will play random music in a similar style and this is a great way to find artists you’ve never yet heard.
Lastly, I use YouTube as a radio. The audio quality is not high usually, but it can help you scratch that itch. Also, like Pandora related searches will show up and expose you to new artists/ideas.
So you can scratch your itch for free and keep yourself from throwing money away on music.

Brian says:

Nice tips!
but to buy good cars you have to ask in indoor parking lots.. ask the security guys, they know which car owners change their cars often and use them once a week… pay in cash, make the guy your business partner… and you’ll get a brand new car for the price of a used one. Car dealers know the business and you’ll never get and edge over them… and internet pictures? oh my, you’ll never see what it is broken or about to broke.

Gary McKee says:

Bottled water…are you kidding me! Purchase a filer for your faucet and it will be as pure as any Spring Water you will be in a bottle. Then purchase several reusable plastic containers that will fit in your car drink container per family member. Always have them filled and in the refreigerator closest to the car. This has saved my family on the average 2 bottles per person or 8 bottles per day. It also saves on the enviroment with many of the plastic containers ending up in the landfill.

Gary says:

The best one of all is to methodically work off all of your debts by paying the smallest one off first. Ex. Credit Card. Then roll what you normally would pay for that into your next largest monthly bill (marking double or Triple payments)….ex. Car. Then while you are riding that car for 8 to 10 years until the wheels fall off (you roll all of those payments you would be paying on all of those previous monthly bills ex. Credit Card/Car etc.) and you double pay your Mtg. It sounds too good to be true but I am about 2 years away from paying my house off and I only began this process 2 years ago with Credit Cards, Car Payments and 18 years left on the mtg. YES, you do have to suck it in for a while but my family is still going on the normal vacation and we are replacing things as needed BUT we just are not buying the un-necessary items. EVERYONE can do this if they are disciplined….No $3.00 coffee etc.

Gary says:

Never buy a new car. Yes, I can easily afford a new car but when you know that you loose 20% of the value of the car by just riding it off of the lot. It is CRAZY not to buy a 1 year old car that looks brand new at a 20% reduced price.

Also, does that $500 repair bill on the old car sound large. To put things into perspecive how would that monthly $500 car payment EVERY MONTH look. Keep the car on the road as long as it is safe.

Trevion says:

ummm… it said 75 painless tips and there are only 51

Charlie says:

It’s always nice to see people helping other people, especially in these hard times. I try to do this myself by offering free information through my site as well. Good Job and keep up the good work.


John says:

#51, stay married, haha. Makes sense.

#44. It’s amazing how much cheaper generics are, and that doctors don’t seem to do this automatically.

Jack says:

Gotta love #51. Haha.
#27 getting rid of the home is good idea as well but not for everyone. For those who mainly use the home phone and only use a cell phone for an emergancy a prepaid cell phone is a cheap alternative, net10 offers a flat rate for minutes and texts and has cheap phones.
And all the tips about energy efficieny its important not only to save money but the planet as well.

Kristie says:

I love tip 51. Congrats on the 19 years of marriage. Here is another tip for you, unplug the appliances you are not using and you will save up to 30% (at least that is what the commercial says) on your electric bill. I am going to try that one out and I will let you know the outcome.

claire says:

I only use half a bottle of hairdye for root touch ups ,more than enough ,and save half of each unmixed solution till next time.I store in a sealed container and by doing so have halved my hair colouring costs.

Betty Davenport says:

completecase.com is a way to file for a divorce online and save attorney fees. The cost for their service is $249, vs. spending thousands on attorney fees.

Emily says:

Invest in energy saving power strips. I installed one for my entertainment system and home computer and saved $40 in one month. These power strips have a “master” plug which controls the power to the other plugs. For example, I have my TV plugged into the “master” slot and the Wii, XBox, DVD player, and surround speakers plugged into the “child” slots. When the TV is off, the strip cuts power to all other plugs so those devices aren’t sucking power 24/7.

Nancy Coney says:

use an on demand water heater instead of heating water constantly and letting it sit. use cold water for most laundry. Showers and dishwasher are the only major hot water uses. The down side is that you have to run the water a short time to get hot water, instead of instantly

Steven Jones says:

It does say 75 tips! rotflmbo

Josh says:

Great tips.

A few others:
-do your own taxes – many benefits including really learning how to be strategic about taxes.
-homeowners should use the $1500 tax credit for energy efficiency improvements (30% back on $1500). It expires this year, and probably won’t come back.

premium finance says:

thanks for Painless Money-Saving Tips!! people really need this!!

premium finance says:

These are great tips. I would also like to add that you can try paring for your bills and bank dues online. This way you save on gas, transpportation fares, as well as stamps and paper you use when filling up forms.

John says:

Hi, I thought this article was very useful. Recently I have been strapped for cash and been trying to cut down my spending. These tips will be very helpful. One way I have been thinking of is buying things on sale. So I have decided to start a free newsletter sending out upcoming sales on major stores and e-retailers.

Bob Johnson says:

The title is 75 painless ways…You only listed 51..where are the other 24??

collegegirlFL says:

Great list and I’ll add prepaid cell phone carriers to that list. While I was preparing to graduate last year, I realized I was putting out more than $110 a month on my cell phone bill and my budget couldn’t handle it. So I decided to switch to Net10 prepaid and the savings have been huge – more than $70 a month back in my pocket. Over the next two years, I should be saving more than $1,600 with Net10 and I don’t have to worry about contracts or hidden fees. Net10 is totally about savings and flexiblity in terms of plans and phones – phones range as low as $29 and top out at $79 and you can buy minutes as you go or pay month to month. Not to mention while I’m shopping at Target or Walmart, I can actually buy my phone and minutes or re-charge mintues directly from the phone itself. If you’ve ever been skeptical about prepaid, Net10 will make you a believer.

Lovely says:

I think most people would agree that saving money is something “easier said than done”. Personally, I believe it’s a mind-set that needs to be developed by creating good money-saving habits.

Here are some things I’ve done to help change my spending habits:

– Cooking more at home  Eating out is very expensive especially if you do it a couple times a week
– Shopping online  You can find better deals than in the store and you save on gas
– Paying the full balance on credit cards each month  Interest charge is like giving away free money
– Don’t forget to pay yourself  Set up an online savings account (they pay higher interest than a normal savings account)
– Setting a budget and goals  It’s good to have your goals written down so you see them everyday and don’t lose focus on your ultimate objectives

Again, saving money requires a lot of patience and hard work. However, you’ll thank yourself later on in life. Good luck everyone!! =)

Lovely says:

I think most people would agree that saving money is something “easier said than done”. Personally, I believe it’s a mind-set that needs to be developed by creating good money-saving habits.

Here are some things I’ve done to help change my spending habits:

– Cooking more at home ? Eating out is very expensive especially if you do it a couple times a week
– Shopping online ? You can find better deals than in the store and you save on gas
– Paying the full balance on credit cards each month ? Interest charge is like giving away free money
– Don’t forget to pay yourself ? Set up an online savings account (they pay higher interest than a normal savings account)
– Setting a budget and goals ? It’s good to have your goals written down so you see them everyday and don’t lose focus on your ultimate objectives

Again, saving money requires a lot of patience and hard work. However, you’ll thank yourself later on in life. Good luck everyone!! =)

marc says:

Save on laundry soap too. Most are concentrated and instruct you to use way to much. Usually you can use 1/4 to 1/3 of what the instructions say. To test if you are using to much grab a clean large towel and throw it in the washer with no soap, let it fill up and and agitate, then open it up. Are there suds? If so you using to much and ruining you laundry and the washer itself.
We’ve been using less for a while now the clothes are still clean and they feel softer too!

Amer KEpler says:

get the over counter generic drugs instead of brand name drugs

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