This post includes 101 practical ways you can save money now. All of these might not apply to your life. That's okay. Skip those. Only use the tips that apply to you.
This list is broken out into broad categories: food, utilities, insurance, transportation, entertainment, housing, travel, shopping, personal finance, health and personal care, gift and hosting, and dating and relationships.
Basically, we've covered your large life categories. Take what you want and leave the rest. Not all of these will work for you.
Let's get started.
Eat home-cooked meals more often. It costs 3x as much to eat out as it does to cook at home.
Buy meat only when it's on sale.
Swap meat for eggs, beans, or tofu.
Swap beef for less expensive meats, like pork or chicken.
Portion control. Eating less means spending less.
Eat your leftovers. Repurposing leftovers is my spiritual gift.
Buy generic brands instead of name brands. The only exception is Hellman's mayo. You know what I'm talking about.
Meal plan. Planning what you eat will cut down on grocery purchases, spontaneous trips, and wasted food.
Check out ethnic grocery stores. We have Indian and Chinese grocery stores around here that have great deals on some amazing food.
Plan your meals around grocery store sales.
Price compare between your regular grocery stores and the other grocery stores in the area. In Massachusetts, I regularly ask people why they're not shopping at Market Basket or Costco. They're such a great deal!
Swap your daily coffee out for a daily coffee in.
Make tea at home. It’s so easy and inexpensive!
For foods you eat pretty often, check out online bulk stores like webstrauntstore.com. They might have better deals for bulk foods than you can find at your local store.
Get a chest freezer or deep freeze. You can use a giant freezer to store sale meat or fish, frozen veggies, bread, really nearly anything that's on sale, even avocado!
Bring your lunch to work. Stop buying lunch or snacks out.
Use a lower-cost cell phone service like mintmobile.com.
Cut your showers shorter. Less hot water means less work for the water heater and less water you're paying for.
Hop from internet provider to internet provider when your promotional rate increases, if you have multiple choices at your residence.
Keep the thermostat low on cold days and high on hot days.
Use a space heater intermittently in a small, enclosed room and keep the rest of the home much colder (but above 50 degrees F).
Turn off lights when you're not using them.
Turn off your computer, phones, and tablets when you're not using them.
Fix any water leaks you might have. Those leaks cost water money!
Wear your clothes more than once before running the laundry. The same goes for towels - use them more than once before laundering.
If weather permits, hang your wash to dry. Driers take up a lot of energy.
Change your outdoor water meter to an outdoor-specific meter. Check with your town to see if they have specific outdoor garden water rates and a different meter for you.
Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.
Use cloth towels instead of paper towels.
Check with an insurance broker every 6 months or 1 year to see if your auto and home insurance rates are still the lowest you can get.
Get renters insurance if you're renting. Accidents happen and it'll save you tons of money if you're properly insured.
Drop insurances you don't need. Drop gap auto insurance, phone insurance, child's life insurance, among others.
If you have a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), make sure to save money in your Health Savings Account (HSA). You don't have to pay taxes on the income you place in an HSA.
Swap your expensive whole life policy for a term life policy.
Swap your expensive lease for a much lower cost car. Who are you trying to impress?
Buy used cars instead of new cars. Buying a new car is like throwing hundreds or thousands of dollars out the window as you drive off the lot.
Use Waze or Google Maps to get you to your destinations in the least amount of miles. The less you drive, the less gas you'll use.
Swap toll roads for toll-free roads. Those tolls add up quickly.
Make sure to keep your car maintained. Regular maintenance will keep it from breaking down as often.
Change your own oil.
Swap your car for public transportation.
Stop using Lyft or Uber. Plan ahead to get yourself where you need to go, so you don't start relying on expensive transportation apps.
Buy (and sell) your used car off Carvana.com if you're looking for an easy and trusted car buying experience.
Ditch cable. You can usually find what you want to watch a much less expensive way.
Use Truebill to find all of your subscriptions. You probably don't need them all. Dump the subscriptions you could do without.
Use an electric antenna to pick up local stations. You don't need to pay for those stations.
Download your library app, if they have one. You can rent out ebooks, videos, and music right off the app!
Check out books, movies, and music from your library in person. They're friendly people, those librarians.
Use Spotify's free version and put up with the ads.
Use YouTube for music.
Go outside more often. It's better for you, anyway.
If you find yourself frequenting a museum or zoo, get a membership and go there even more often. The kids will love it. Ours did!
Find a roommate to help with your rent.
Move to a less expensive abode.
Buy a house with 20% or more down to avoid PMI (private mortgage insurance).
Save on property taxes by declaring your house a homestead or farm (see town or county regulations for this one).
Buy a fixer-upper and fix it up yourself, instead of paying a higher premium on an already-nice house.
Find deals on flights by using Kayak.com.
Use travel deal websites like www.travelzoo.com. Some of our best vacations were from TravelZoo.
Make sure to enroll in each airline's points system. Some airlines, like JetBlue, have points that don't expire. You can also pool your points, which we've done before.
Use GoogleTranslate when you're in a country and don't speak the language. It'll help you find the local deals and be able to eat at the local restaurants.
Shop at discount clothing stores, like Marshalls. Search Google for "Discount clothing stores near me" to find your options.
Use Facebook Marketplace to find unique gifts for friends and family.
Use Facebook Marketplace for furniture as well! It feels better to spend $15 for a bookshelf you're about to poke holes in than $100 for a bookshelf you're about to mangle. True story.
Craigslist is a gamble these days. Only use Craigslist if you can't find what you're looking for on Facebook Marketplace. You can still get some great deals off Craigslist, though!
Peruse those weekly print ads. Don't just throw them out! There could be some useful coupons in there.
Couponing is still alive and well. Online coupons exist at coupons.com.
Find the best deals and savings using couponing mobile apps like Honey, Ibotta, and FreeStuffFinder. Honey is a browser app and mobile app that helps you save money. It also tracks the price of items on Amazon, so you can check to make sure you're getting the best deal. I use Honey every single time I shop online now.
Stop buying things you don't need.
Uninstall the Amazon app from your phone. You don't need it.
Unsubscribe to all those websites that send you enticing emails. You don't need 70% off at Ann Taylor. You're not even going into the office anymore!
Return items you didn't end up using or wanting.
Don't buy things just because they're on sale.
Reuse grocery bags as little trash bags.
Bring your own grocery bags, so you can avoid that little plastic or paper bag surcharge.
Personal Finance Savings
Start a budget and track every penny. You'll be surprised what you're spending when you see it all in one place.
Use mint.com to automatically track each transaction online. It's helpful to see what you're spending right when you're spending it, so you can track to your budget.
Pay off your credit cards. That interest is interested only in your money.
Put your credit cards in the freezer. Literally, submerge them in water and freeze them, so you don't use them. Buying things with credit cards causes you to spend 20% more money. Don't do it.
Use a free tax filing system if you make $72,000 per year or less. Find more information at irs.gov.
Keep at least the minimum amount in your checking or savings accounts to avoid a banking fee.
Health and Personal Care Savings
Stop smoking. Those cigarette costs add up.
Workout at home. Stairs, planks, squats, push-ups, and other home exercises can work wonders. There are tons of free exercise videos on YouTube to take advantage of. Try searching for Bollywood aerobics. It's a hit in our house.
Never pay medical bills on a credit card. You end up paying tons of interest.
Call your doctor or hospital to see if paying your bill in cash results in any savings. Sometimes they'll knock a percentage off your bill for paying in full.
Use regular liquid hand soap to make foaming soap. Find out how from this YouTube video.
Swap expensive shampoos and conditioners for lower-cost alternatives. TRESemme is pretty good!
Cut your family's hair. A good pair of hair scissors and a YouTube video will do the trick.
Give yourself a manicure and pedicure. You can do it. I know you can.
Gift, Party, and Hosting Savings
Start making gifts for your friends and family. We made peach preserves one year. They were a hit!
Start a family gift swap. I have 7 brothers and sisters, their spouses, their kids... you get the picture. We organize a family gift swap, so each adult gives to one adult and two children. The gift quality is much better that way as well.
Buy holiday gifts all year long. When you see a sale, snag that perfect gift!
Wrap gifts in newspaper instead of wrapping paper.
Make your get-togethers a potluck. We use email to coordinate a potluck (or did, pre-COVID) once a week. They were a hit. We all pitched in and loved dinner.
Get reusable party decorations and birthday candles. Reuse them for birthdays, holidays, and any other celebrations you're having!
Make your own birthday cakes. It's not hard. Just follow the directions on the box.
Dating or Relationship Savings
Plan free or almost-free dates with your significant other. They're just as fun as an expensive night out.
Learn your partner's love languages. Your budget gets more personal when you learn that your partner feels love a different way than you do.
Saving money doesn't need to be rocket science. It's 20% knowledge and 80% behavior.
If you're struggling with the behavior aspect, reach out. You're not alone. About 78% of households in the United States are living paycheck-to-paycheck. It's easy to fall into the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. A Financial Coach can guide you to a life full of financial peace.
Book a complimentary consultation with me today. Let's get you to the life you know you can live.