56 Almost Effortless Ways to Save Money
How to be cheap without really trying.
Separate your bananas
This keeps them yellow longer. Bananas produce ethylene, a gas that causes them to ripen, and separating the bunch can slow down that process. Here are 10 creative ways to save money that you never thought of before!
Extend the life of your razor
Shake the excess water off your disposable razor, then dip it in rubbing alcohol and store it in a dry place (do not leave it in your shower). This will clean the blade, stave off rusting, and add weeks of shaving life. (Try these 12 tricks that every great money saver uses!)
Flip and rotate your mattress
Flip your mattress and rotate it every three months to extend its life span. As for couch cushions, don’t just flip them—swap them with one another so they don’t become molds of your family’s backs and butts.
Avoid the dryer
Unplug your dryer. That lint you see is from your clothes slowly being disintegrated by all the tumbling. Stick with our gentle friend the clothesline. If you do use a dryer, zip up metal zippers, before they mug other garments. (Don’t miss these incredible ways to save money without feeling the pinch!)
Save your lipstick
Scoop out that remaining bit of lipstick from the tube with a lip brush. You’ll be surprised at how many applications remain.
Air your soap
Do you air your bar of soap before using it? Many frugalistas swear this will allow it to harden and last longer, without affecting the lather.
Be a rewards hog
Sign up for free custom rewards programs. No matter where you live, plenty of retailers offer rewards and discounts by earning points on purchases, saving you big bucks even when you spend. (Here are 20 things amusement parks won’t tell you about saving money!)
Cook in bulk
Make double, triple, or even quadruple servings of your favorite recipe and store it in the freezer. When you need a quick meal, just heat one up. Plus, buying food in bulk will be much cheaper in the long run. (Try these tips from restaurant workers for how to save money dining out!)
Turn your lights off during the day or when you are out of the room. Keeping them on wastes energy and sends your energy bill soaring through the roof. Don’t miss these 11 genius tips for saving money on every household bill.
Care for your car
Clean or change out your car’s air filter every few months. A clean air filter can improve your gas mileage by up to seven percent, saving you more than $100 for every 10,000 miles driven in an average vehicle.
Shop the sales
Plan your meals around what’s on sale at your local grocery store. After a few months, you’ll have a much smaller food bill—and a fuller stomach. Steal these 19 money-saving tricks every frugal shopper uses at the grocery store!
Keep your hands clean
Washing your hands frequently—especially after you’ve used the bathroom or handled raw foods—will help you avoid all kinds of viruses and bacteria, saving you hundreds in medical bills.
Don’t store your credit card online
Take your credit card information off of your online accounts. It’s much harder to shop and spend money online when you have to enter your card number and expiration date again and again.
Make your own gifts
Save money on gifts by making your own, or by giving friends a certificate that offers a night of free babysitting or a free week of watching the dog while they’re out of town. Because these gifts are personalized and heartfelt, the receivers will be sure to appreciate them all that much more.
Buy generic brands of medications, toiletries, or foods. They are just as good as the name brand, and the few cents they’ll save you will add up to big bucks almost instantly.
Check your tires
Make sure your tires are inflated to the correct levels. For every two-PSI of air pressure under the recommended level in your tires, you lose one percent of your gas mileage. And since most people’s car tires are five to 10 PSI below the normal level, that could add up to improving your mileage by five percent. (Home Depot employees share their secrets for how to save money on your next home project!)
Cut the fat from your phone bill
Comb through your phone bill and make sure you aren’t paying for any services you aren’t using. Cut them, or switch to a smaller company that offers you the same service for less. Save even more money by ditching your landline in favor of your cellphone.
Become a part-time vegetarian
Cut down on eating meat and opt for protein-packed alternatives like beans, eggs, or nuts, which cost far less per ounce. (Make sure you know these 10 easy tricks for saving even more money at Target!)
Get coupon savvy
Create an email account to use exclusively for printable in-store coupons, online coupon codes, daily deals, and other special savings offers. Once a week, comb through them and select the best to use at your next visit to the grocery store.
Make your own java
A homemade morning cup o’ joe will save you an average of four or five dollars a day (sorry, Starbucks!), which adds up to hefty savings in just a month. And try buying your coffee beans in bulk rather than in individual cups—it’s a cheap as well as environmentally friendly habit.
Go cold turkey on cable
Cancel your television and cable bill. With services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, you can now watch almost anything immediately, and for a fraction of the cost of cable TV. Plus, you’ll avoid all of the ads for products you don’t need. Check out this list of 7 great cable TV alternatives.
Plan your meals
Every Sunday, make a list of the meals you will eat for the entire week. Planning your meals in advance will keep you from spending extra money at the grocery store, since you won’t be purchasing food that will eventually go to waste when it spoils.
Skip the dry cleaner
Dry clean your delicate clothes at home using Dryel, a do-it-yourself kit that will save money and time by avoiding a trip to the dry cleaner’s. (Check out these 17 totally legitimate ways to get free money from the government!)
Try a virtual workout
Online fitness classes can save you big bucks on a gym membership. You can stream anything from yoga to Zumba to kickboxing—all for the low price of free.
Brown bag your lunch
Since dining out is the number one expense for most households, opt to bring a brown bag lunch two to three days per week, instead. You’ll be doing your waistline and your wallet a huge favor.
Make your own air freshener
Save on fancy, fragrant aromatic sprays and make your own air freshener using baking soda and an essential oil of your choice. It will smell just as delightful as the real thing, without the extra buckaroos.
Catch the matinee
Going to matinee movies instead of evening ones will save you a few bucks on tickets. Plus, don’t be afraid to smuggle in a few snacks to avoid splurging on over-priced popcorn and candy (come on, everyone does it).
Snack before you shop
Eat a snack before you start grocery shopping. Studies show that a rumbling tummy will encourage you to put more food in the cart than you actually need.
Stop wasting food
Know your expiration labels; by tossing food away before it’s truly expired, you could be adding unnecessary costs to your grocery bill. Perishables are often still safe to eat beyond the “sell by” and “use by” dates, as long as they’re stored right.
Lighten up your trunk
The junk in your trunk is taking a big hit to your gas mileage. An extra 100 pounds in the car cuts fuel economy by 2 percent, while ditching the weight of all those empty water bottles and fast food bags could save nearly $40 a year.
You don’t have to eat instant, preservative-ridden food to have a long-lasting meal. When stored in a freezer, fresh bites like vegetables, bread, and meat can last up to two years.
Read grocery prices like a hawk
Always make sure you compare the “unit price” stickers of items at the grocery store, and you could get more bang for your buck. Even though the overall price of a product may be higher, you may be getting more of the item by purchasing the more expensive one.
Don’t pay for things you don’t use
Cancel any memberships that you’re not using, including magazines, online subscriptions, and gym memberships. Now you can use that savings on activities you truly enjoy.
Try home remedies
If you’re feeling under the weather with a minor cough or nausea, home remedies like honey and ginger could do the trick. It will avoid the costly visit the doctor, as well as all of those pricey medical bills. (Here are some tips for making a budget and sticking to it.)
Remember that television, computer, stereo, blender, toaster, and coffee maker that you leave plugged in all day? They’re all sucking energy from the wall without using it, which is sucking money from your wallet. Unplug these items when you’re done using them, or use a power strip that you can easily turn off with a single button.
Take advantage of your library
Reading provides an easy, cheap vacation (without leaving your front door). Renting books from the library are even better, making your next adventure cost absolutely nothing.
Save your loose change
Save your loose change instead of always tossing it in a tip jar; you now have a guilt-free fund with which to splurge on that pumpkin latte.
Look for low-cost activities
Take advantage of free or inexpensive events in your community. Local newspapers and websites often highlight free or low-cost parks, museums, upcoming film showings, sports events, and other places to gather with friends and family for a fun (and cost-effective!) night out.
Reuse grocery store bags
Grocery store bags make great trashcan liners, especially for small bins; they save some money while reducing your environmental footprint.
Plan out your cash spend
Withdraw a specific amount of cash each week, according to what’s comfortable in your budget. Not only will you avoid being sidelined by ATM fees, but you won’t overspend your budget once you run out of cash.
Stick to water
Drink water instead of buying sugary, expensive drinks like sodas, juices, and beers. It will be good for your health, your waistline, and your wallet. Save even more money by using a refillable water bottle instead of the plastic ones. (Don’t miss these 15 tricks to save money on your energy bill!)