Best Practices

101 Money Savings Tips from an Expert

by Jim Hughes   March 1, 2018

Check out 101 money saving tips from an expert. Plan for a brighter financial future with advice on how to save big on just about everything. 

How to save money on things.

I’ve always been a thrifty soul, even as a child. During my adult years of writing professionally for the financial industry, I have learned even more ways to save money. Most of these things are such a big part of my life that they have become second nature.

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Although saving money has always been my habit, not everyone knows how. To help you save money, below are 101 tips that I’ve developed and learned over the years. Try a few and keep more money in your pocket.

  1. Don’t go out for coffee. Make your own coffee at home.
  2. Eating out is expensive, especially if you do it a lot. Save money by eating out less and cooking for yourself.
  3. Don’t shop at the mall. Shop at discount stores instead.
  4. In a grocery store, the pre-packaged, processed foods are usually in the center. Not only is this food more expensive, but it’s also bad for you. Shop around the edges of the store to save money and eat healthier.
  5. When you stop for gas, don’t buy anything extra – no drinks, no snacks, nothing.
  6. Wear your clothes for longer before buying new ones. And when you need new clothes, visit thrift stores before going to retail stores.
  7. Learn to cook.
  8. Spend money on things you need, not things you want.
  9. Stop using paper napkins, paper towels, and paper or styrofoam plates. Invest in cloth napkins, cloth kitchen towels and real plates which last for years and save you loads of money.
  10. Take shorter showers.
  11. While you’re at it, don’t flush your toilet every time you use it (“if it’s yellow, let it mellow …”).
  12. Make your own ________ (there are many things you can put in this blank).
  13. Join a warehouse club and buy non-perishable items, like toilet paper, in bulk.
  14. Stop using kleenexes and buy reusable, washable cotton handkerchiefs.
  15. Improve gas mileage and save money on fuel by keeping your vehicle’s tires inflated to the proper pressure.
  16. To prevent unnecessary vehicle repairs, perform regular maintenance and tune-ups on your car as recommended by the manufacturer.
  17. Buy used tires for your vehicle.
  18. Shop around for less expensive auto, homeowners, and renters insurance.
  19. Don’t pay for money. For example, never pay for a gift card. If giving a gift, give cash or a check.
  20. Plan ahead.
  21. Instead of buying ‘brand name’ foods, medications, or household products, buy generic brands or store brands.
  22. Never pay retail for anything.
  23. When shopping online, take advantage of free shipping.
  24. Grow your own food and herbs.
  25. Don’t buy books, ebooks, music, and movies. Borrow them from the library.
  26. When shopping for new clothes, look for sales.
  27. Cut the cord and get rid of cable or satellite TV.
  28. Unless you really need a home phone, get rid of your landline. Buy a cheap mobile phone to use as your home phone or use an inexpensive VOIP (voice over internet protocol) service.
  29. Walk, bike, or take public transportation sometimes if you can – even if you own a car.
  30. Don’t use ATM’s or ‘cashback’ options that charge fees.
  31. Downsize your home.
  32. Movie lovers – be selective of the movies you watch on the big screen. Then wait to watch others on Blu-Ray, DVD, or streaming video.
  33. If your state or county has a “sales tax holiday,” wait until then to make bigger purchases.
  34. Unless there is a desperate reason to buy a brand item new, buy used and secondhand goods.
  35. Never buy a brand new car. As soon as you sign the papers and drive it off the lot, it has already lost a large percentage of its value.
  36. Take lunch to work instead of buying lunch.
  37. Buy a house or rent a home that you can afford.
  38. Don’t hire someone to do something you can do for yourself. If you can clean your own house, don’t hire a maid service. If you can cut your own grass, don’t hire a lawn service.
  39. However, if you don’t know how to do something (like replace a broken toilet), sometimes it is cheaper not to do it yourself!
  40. Carpool.
  41. Save money on interest by paying off credit card balances on time, every month.
  42. If you are having trouble paying unexpected medical bills, you should negotiate a better price.
  43. When buying a car, don’t pay sticker price. Be willing to haggle a little (or a lot).
  44. Choose a “staycation” over a vacation.
  45. Stop buying all the latest electronic gadgets. It doesn’t really matter if your TV or mobile phone is two or three years old.
  46. When grocery shopping, buy items that are on sale. 
  47. If you need a tool, check with friends and neighbors first to see if you can borrow it before buying it.
  48. If a store has a BOGO (buy one, get one) sale, you can often buy only one of the items for half price.
  49. Pay short-term loan payments on time, every month to save money on extra fees and interest.
  50. Get a “family plan” for cell phones and mobile devices. It is sometimes is cheaper than individual plans.
  51. Turn your AC up a couple of degrees (warmer) in summer and your heat down a couple of degrees (cooler) in winter.
  52. Shop at thrift stores instead of retail stores.
  53. Resist impulse buying and instant gratification. If you want something, wait anywhere from 48 hours to 30 days. If you still want it after waiting, great. If not, you’ve saved yourself some cash.
  54. Make a shopping list and stick to it.
  55. Instead of going out with friends, invite them over.
  56. If a shirt or pants have a small hole or are missing a button, don’t get rid of them. Learn to make minor clothing repairs.
  57. If you have kids, buy fewer toys. Or, even better, make them play outside.
  58. If you have a credit card balance on a high-interest card, do a balance transfer to a card with a lower interest rate. You may even qualify for cards with 0 percent introductory rates.
  59. Drink more water and less soda, energy drinks, and other drinks.
  60. Don’t spend unnecessary money on convenience. It is more convenient to buy fast food than to make a sandwich. But a sandwich you make at home costs a fraction of the cost of a fast food meal (which is already cheap).
  61. Stop smoking (or at least smoke less).
  62. Save electricity and money by turning off lights that you aren’t using.
  63. Use coupons when grocery shopping. Some stores even double coupons.
  64. Many appliances passively use electricity even when they’re idle. Unplug appliances like toasters or coffee makers when not in use.
  65. Switch out incandescent bulbs for LEDs or compact fluorescents.
  66. If credit card overspending is a problem, get rid of them. Use only a debit card or cash.
  67. Trade services and favors with friends and neighbors. For example, if you and friends both have kids, offer to swap babysitting.
  68. Invest time in learning how to repair things – you can find out how to repair almost anything through online videos and DIY guides.
  69. If you rent, find a cheaper place to live.
  70. Look for free events and activities. Go to the park, visit the local library, or join a group of people with similar interests.
  71. Give yourself a haircut or let someone in your household cut it for you.
  72. When taking road trips, pack your own drinks, snacks, and meals.
  73. Make your own cleaning supplies like window cleaner and all-purpose cleaners with water, dish soap, washing powder, and white vinegar.
  74. If you have a job with benefits, take advantage of as many of them as possible.
  75. Slow down when driving on the highway. These days, most cars get their best gas mileage at around 60 mph. Not only does slowing down save money on gas, but it is also safer.
  76. Eat less meat.
  77. If you have student loans, choose an automatic payment plan.
  78. Plan your meals for the week, shop accordingly, and stick to the plan.
  79. When on vacation, choose to lodge somewhere with a kitchen or kitchenette. Even if you only make sandwiches or heat up cans of soup, preparing some meals saves money and gives you more to spend on other fun things.
  80. Instead of buying gifts for loved ones, make gifts.
  81. Don’t try to “keep up with the Joneses.”
  82. Attend a class or seminar on money management or personal finance. Even if you have to pay for the class, it will teach ways to save money during your lifetime.
  83. Ask your physician to prescribe generics.
  84. Set financial goals and track them each month. The more specific the goal, the better. For example: ‘buy a better car’ or ‘take a dream vacation.’
  85. Grocery sales are a great time to stock up on things you already use – canned vegetables, pasta, cereal, coffee, etc.
  86. If you are a veteran or a senior, ask for discounts.
  87. Many people don’t know how much money they spend or what they spend it on. Be informed by making a monthly budget AND tracking your expenses.
  88. Open a savings account or retirement account. Then set up automatic deposits for the account.
  89. Set a concrete and achievable savings goal, such as “Save $25 each month.”
  90. Instead of looking at how much items cost, think about how long you work to pay for them. If you make $12 an hour and you want a phone that costs $250, you’ll work over 20 hours (over half the work week) to pay for it.
  91. Pay your bills on time. Or even better, don’t wait until the due date, but pay bills before they are due.
  92. When birthdays, Christmas, and other holidays come around, set a budget and stick to it.
  93. If you use a lot of prescription medications, compare prices at different pharmacies.
  94. Invest in a programmable thermostat. If you already have one, program it so your AC or heating won’t run when you don’t need it (like when you’re asleep or not at home).
  95. If you use credit cards, choose cards that give benefits like cash back or other rewards.
  96. Make your home more energy efficient. Do simple things like find air leaks and seal off drafty spots. Or, replace older windows with newer ones.
  97. Stay healthy by eating well and staying active. Over the long haul, being healthier saves money on doctor visits and medications.
  98. Better credit gets you favorable rates on financial products like a cash advance. If you have Poor, Fair, or Good credit, work hard to improve your credit score. 
  99. Give yourself a modest monthly allowance to spend on non-essential items. Once you’ve spent your allowance, do not spend any more for that month.
  100. If your bank charges fees for holding your money, leave! Switch to a bank that charges fewer fees or no fees.
  101. Don’t keep paying for a gym membership even though you haven’t been in two months. Cancel memberships or subscriptions you don’t use.

Final Tips for Saving Money

Even though the goal of these tips is to help you save money, don’t be too cheap. Look beyond the price tag to the value you get for your money. Sometimes buying the cheapest item means you’ll need more money to replace it. And sometimes spending the least amount of money means spending more later to correct shoddy work.

Your goal should be to spend less money. However, you also want to get the best value for the money you do spend. Learn to be smart with your money so you can keep more of it in your pocket.

Jim Hughes   OpenCashAdvance Marketing Manager
Personal Finance
Jim Hughes remembers checking his first email on the original BlackBerry 850 nearly 20 years ago. It was spam, and he fell for it. Even so, he’s been on the beat every day since, following the ebbs and flows of financial technology. Look to Jim for insider exclusives on shorter-duration loans, installment loans, and other popular products in fintech today.
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