Updated July 3, 2018

100+ Ways to Save Money, Starting Today


Does it feel like no matter what you do, you don't have much money left over at the end of the month? Here are real tips, broken up by category, to help you save money.

© CreditDonkey

Whether you're saving up for a vacation or trying to build and emergency savings fund, this guide can help.

All of these savings steps help you save money today. Some of these saving steps are easier than others, but all are doable. These are practical suggestions that will help you save more of your money.

In this article, you will learn how to:

These changes range from easy to difficult.

"Take a look at your favorite activities and see how you could tweak them to save yourself some extra cash," suggests Sarah Hollenbeck, a savings expert with Offers.com. "Whether that means canceling the gym membership in favor of YouTube videos or heading to the library to rent the latest books and movies for free, there are always opportunities to save. Make it a goal each month to retool one habit or hobby, and you'll have money saved up in no time."

How to Save Money Fast

© CreditDonkey

  • Ask for a break.
    Call your credit card companies and ask if they will lower your rates or fees. As long as you're a good customer and always pay on time, they may be willing to lower your rate by several points. This will be a huge savings if you carry a balance (which we don't recommend, by the way!). Even if you don't carry a balance, it never hurts to ask if your annual fee or other fees can be reduced or eliminated! Over 80 percent of credit card companies will lower your interest rates or fees if you just ask.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Focus on your debt.
    What type of debt do you have, and what are its interest rates? Awareness is power. Focus on paying down your highest-interest debt, which is usually credit cards. If you have an ongoing balance, always pay more than the minimum balance. Set out a payment plan that will wipe out the debt within a specific period of time.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

    Paying only the minimum balance on your credit cards could cost you thousands of dollars in interest. Worried that you can't afford another large payment? Try even $1 extra each month. It could save you as much as $20 or $30 in interest, depending on the balance and interest rate.

  • Make a new deal.
    Interest rates have been very low for years but this isn't expected to last much longer. See if you can get a better rate on any of your loans. Would you be better off buying a new car with a low rate today than continuing to spend money on your clunker? Could you refinance your home for a sweet rate? If you have equity in your home, would it make sense to take out some cash to pay off high-interest credit cards? (This is only recommended if you are carrying lots of credit card debt.) Be sure to do the math; you don't want to wipe out any potential savings you could get with the amount you have to pay in refinancing costs or transfer fees.
    Difficulty level: Tough

    Tip: Here's a quick way to determine if your new loan will save you money. Figure out the break-even point. Divide the loan's costs (refinance costs) by the monthly savings. For example, let's say a debt consolidation loan costs you $3,000 in fees. If the new loan will save you $100 a month in credit card costs, it would take 30 months to break even. With the break-even point, you can determine if the new loan is worth the cost. Sometimes it makes sense to pay more towards your debt on your own. You'll save on the closing costs and may even pay your debt down faster.

    Tip: If you have student loans, think twice before you refinance those loans. Refinancing student loans could cause you to lose certain benefits. Read more about how to pay student loans off faster in '23 Best Ways to Pay Student Loans Fast.'

  • Make a balance transfer.
    This is an example of spending some money to save a lot of money. By signing up for a balance transfer (which usually comes with a fee), you can move your pricey credit card debt onto a card with a lower interest rate (or even a temporary 0% rate) and make fast inroads on getting your debt down to zero. Make sure you'll be able to pay down this debt before the temporarily low balance rate expires and increases!
    Difficulty level: Mini Challenge

  • Stay on top of when a "promotional period" is over.
    If you're on a "no interest for X amount of months" plan with a credit card or other lender, make sure you write down the exact date that the promotional period ends and interest comes due. If you haven't paid off your debt by then, you're going to be looking at a high APR, so save money by paying things off before interest is due.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Sign up for alerts.
    Set up alerts so your bank warns you if your account gets too low and you might overdraw. Always get alerts for your credit cards when payments are due - so you never end up paying a late fee.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Take a hard look at your utilities.
    Maybe you went green and stopped getting your bills in the mail long ago. Utility companies like it that way so you don't scrutinize all their charges. Get in the habit of logging in to your accounts or asking for those paper bills again, and take a hard look at where your money is going. Did you get trigger happy with the on-demand shows last month? Do you have international calling privileges but know no one outside the United States? Did your electric bill shoot up compared to the same time last year? Got a subscription you don't even remember signing up for? Time to call up those companies and ask for better rates, or cancel altogether. Don't be afraid to negotiate. Using a line similar to 'I want to see how I can lower my bill, or I may have to leave the company,' usually gets the conversation going.
    Difficulty level: Mini Challenge

  • Shop around.
    We're giving you permission to go shopping - but not at the mall or Amazon. Shop around to get a better deal on your homeowner's insurance and car insurance. Usually these policies are renewed annually as long as you don't make any claims, but other companies would like your business, too. See if you can do better and open up some more savings for you every month.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Get rid of old stuff you're not using.
    Look into trade-in programs and selling opportunities for getting some cash back for things you aren't using, including phones, tablets, and ink. Tech hobbyists are willing to hand over cash for parts. For unused clothing and household goods, consider selling them to a consignment store.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Use or cancel your gym membership.
    You might have had great intentions at the start of the year when you purchased a gym membership. But if you've forgotten about that recurring payment, take advantage of the facility to get yourself in shape. Alternatively if you have the ability to cancel without paying early termination fees, you can bike ride or jog for free.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

    Tip: Are you considering ditching the gym membership? You aren't alone. Read our article '23 Gym Memberships That Will Astound You,' to see just how many people cancel memberships. It may just make you feel better about ditching your own membership.

  • Check your insurance for a gym rebate.
    Some insurance companies give you a rebate (usually at least $100) for keeping yourself in shape. Some employers offer gym discounts as a perk too. No one is going to remind you about this - so check and see if yours offers it.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Make the most of gym offers.
    Many gyms will offer a free week to try it out, and others will give temporary deals to friends of their members. If you're willing to drive around to try out different places, you can get a stream of free exercise opportunities.
    Difficulty level: Easy

How to Save More Money Each Month

© CreditDonkey

  • Switch to a checking account that sets up an automatic savings plan.
    You can set up a repeating automatic deposit from your checking to your savings, which is a great way of saving without having to do anything past the initial setup. Many banks waive the checking account fee if you set up a monthly automatic transfer of at least $25 - saving you even more cash.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Use inertia to your advantage.
    In some instances, doing nothing can work in your favor if you're trying to increase your savings. Sign up for auto-increases with your employer's 401(k) plan. These will increase your savings rate by 1% per year - you probably won't even notice it. This is one of the only times you'll hear that being lazy works to your advantage!
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Create obstacles to draining your savings.
    These days, with ATMs located on just about every street corner and credit cards, it is easy to spend money any time you want. While this makes life easier, unfortunately it also makes saving harder. Make it harder to spend by moving your savings to an online bank, putting it into a CD, or leaving your ATM or credit card at home.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

    Tip: Aim to create an emergency fund for your household. Start small, with a goal of setting aside 3 months of household expenses. Once you meet that goal, stretch it out to 6 or 9 months. You can base how much you need on the likelihood of replacing your income. If you would be able to find new employment quickly, 3-6 months of expenses should suffice. If, however, you work in a very specialized field where it could take as long as a year to find a job, consider increasing that emergency fund even more.

  • Invest in budgeting software.
    Budgeting software has become easier than ever. It'll keep you in line and your spending in check. Not sure where to start? Try a site like Mint. They offer free budgeting software with bill reminders and due date alerts. You'll have all of your bills in one place, so you can see where your money goes. As you categorize your spending, you can determine where you should cut back to save the most money.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Record where your money goes.
    People have all sorts of excuses as to why they don't keep track of what they're spending. "If you aren't aware of how much money you're spending, you are more likely to make impulse purchases and blow your budget," says Andrea Woroch, a consumer-savings expert and TV personality. "By tracking each and every dollar you spend, you will hold yourself accountable to your shopping habits and make better buying decisions." Once you actually see the numbers in black and white, it'll be an eye-opener that shows you where you can save if you're overspending. Set a time, like a Sunday evening, to look over the past week's expenses and see what you've purchased. If too much of your money is going to iTunes or Starbucks, reassess your music and caffeine needs.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

    Tip: After tracking your spending, consider automating your payments. Work with your creditors to adjust your due dates to your pay schedule. Try combining your due dates as much as possible to eliminate spending too much time on bills. Too many due dates also leave you at risk for making late payments. After consolidating your due dates, set up automatic payments with your bank. Now you know your bills are paid on time.

  • Free yourself of fees.
    Many checking accounts charge fees if you fall below a certain balance or you don't keep a minimum combined balance. You could easily be handing over $180 a year on this one bank fee. And stop using ATMs that aren't in your network, as you can be charged $5 each time you take out $50! That's money wasted for absolutely nothing. Consider switching to a free checking account, like Capital One 360, where there's no minimum requirement, or look for banks that will waive a monthly fee merely by setting up direct deposit from your employer. And make sure you either use a bank that doesn't charge ATM fees or you live and work close to ATMs in your network. See Top 5 Best Online Checking Accounts for some ideas.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Make the maximum contribution to your 401(k).
    If you're fortunate enough to work for a company that will match your 401(k) contribution and you can afford to contribute the max, do it. Not only will you be saving money - but your employer will be saving it for you as well. See Understanding 401(k) Investing for more tips.
    Difficulty level: Tough

  • Up your 401(k) contribution every time you get a raise.
    Keep an eye on how your funds are growing and increase the percentage you set aside when you get a raise or switch jobs. In addition to saving for later, you'll save money now by reducing your taxable income.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Consider small investments.
    Many online brokerages, such as OptionsXpress or TradeKing, have either no minimum or a small minimum to start. Look into investing in some mutual funds or ETFs, which are a way to watch your money grow without picking individual stocks. See How to Invest and Make Your Money Work for You for ideas.
    Difficulty level: Tough

    Would you rather invest in stocks than mutual funds? Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a lot of money to start. With as little as $100, you could make yourself a stockholder. Invest in dividend stocks and you increase your investments without putting another dime of your own into the stock. Read 'How to Invest in Stocks With Little Money,' for more great tips.

  • Check your data usage.
    If you're paying for an unlimited data or voice plan and only using 10GB or 100 minutes a month - it's time to re-assess. You're overspending, and you'll save quite a bit by downgrading your plan.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Go on a cell phone family plan.
    Make sure your plan includes all your family members - and if you have a parent or child who doesn't live in the household, consider putting them on the plan too, and save even more money for you AND them.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Be willing to make a switch.
    TV and cell phone providers offer promotional deals all the time. If you've been a loyal customer and inquire about such a deal, threatening to leave if you don't get a break, they may take you up on it. You may also find that it's worth breaking ties for a year or two to get the savings.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Consider leasing your next phone.
    If you like to switch carriers for the best deal and you don't have money to put down on your next phone, leasing is a fairly new option that could save you money in the long run.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Be a cord cutter - or not.
    Decide what you're going to do and stick with it. Do you have cable, a streaming service or two, and occasionally download movies? Mixing it up and being glued to the TV at all hours will cost you money. Either cut cable or cut the additional streaming services and extra downloads.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Change your viewing habits.
    Streaming services are so convenient. It's just too easy to buy a movie at a press of a button. Watch fewer movies, and never purchase them. Be patient and wait to rent it or limit yourself only to whatever movies are playing on your favorite streaming service. When it's time to splurge at the theater, only go to matinees.
    Difficulty level: Tough

  • Refuse to play games on your phone.
    Imagine this: Playing games that don't demand extra money from you when you want more coins or strategies. Unlike apps, board games are one-time-only purchases that you can play over and over again. The temptation to constantly buy isn't there.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Check your doctor's billing.
    Sometimes it can get confusing, especially with all the medical lingo. Make sure you're being charged for tests you actually had or medications you were actually prescribed. If you're unsure, call your doctor's office for clarification. You can ultimately save a ton of money if you were inadvertently billed for a procedure you never had.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Buy generic prescription drugs.
    Most generic drugs are just as good as the name brand. Even if you have insurance, generic drugs have a cheaper co-pay - and if you don't have insurance, name-brand drugs will cost you a fortune. Ask your doctor if you can take the generic, and you'll save a ton of dough.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Buy prescription meds through your insurance's mail-order program.
    Most major insurance companies have mail order programs that will give you the drugs you need at a discount.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Rethink your money mindset.
    Do you think of saving as impossible? How you think about money plays a big part in shaping your savings skills. And it all started years ago. Your "attitudes toward money began with your childhood experiences. It all ties in to how you handle your finances as an adult. If you struggle with saving, here's the good news: it is possible to change the script. Stop telling yourself you'll never be able to save.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Write your goals down.
    Make a savings goal. Once you've set your sights on a particular goal, jot it down on paper. The simple act of putting your savings goals in writing makes them more real in your mind, thus increasing the likelihood that you'll be able to achieve them. In one study, 61% of people who wrote down their goals reached their objectives, compared to 43% of those who only thought about what they wanted to do.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Use actionable language when describing your goals.
    It's great that you're talking about your goals. You can improve how you talk about them too. Try saying "I am saving money because of X" instead of "I will save money." This tiny shift in language will help you achieve a higher level of success.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Keep your goals focused.
    Setting goals is a good thing, but having too many can actually be counter-productive. A Canadian study found that those who had a single goal in mind were ultimately more successful at hanging on to their money than those who were juggling multiple objectives.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Picture yourself saving more.
    Here's a simple secret of highly successful people: They visualize their success. If you're having trouble saving for a particular goal (such as retirement), spend a little bit of time every day imagining your future self achieving it. This can motivate you to change your behavior so that it becomes reality. That's right - daydream your way to success!
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Focus on the "why" instead of the "how."
    It's easy to become super focused on how you're going to save money, but don't forget the reasons why you're doing it. Maybe you're saving for the arrival of a new baby or for your dream vacation. Use that goal as your motivation. Focus on the image of you on a safari ride in Africa, rather than thinking about cutting off those daily Starbucks lattes.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Make it part of your financial routine.
    Building the savings habit takes time and a shift in mindset. Don't think of saving as this thing you are doing for the sole purpose of reaching a fixed goal. Instead, make it a part of your regular money management practice, and it'll be much easier to stick with it.
    Difficulty level: Tough

    Tip: It's never too late to consider the benefits of renting. It may be the American Dream to have the perfect house with a white picket fence, but who wants that kind of debt? Renting may seem like a waste of money, but there are many surprising benefits. Read about them in '23 Reasons Why Renting is Better.'

How to Save Money on Groceries

© CreditDonkey

  • Eat where you live.
    American households spend an average of over $250 eating out on a monthly basis, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Chances are you spend much more than that, when you consider your date nights, lunch breaks, plus whatever your spouse is eating when you're not together. Commit to cooking at home more often, and you'll see at least an extra $100 in your wallet every month. You'll also learn an important life skill: How to cook!
    Difficulty level: Tough

  • Build your weekly menu based on the supermarket flyer's front page.
    The real sales are on page one. Supermarkets deeply discount one or two meat items a week and entice you with a few other product deals. Build your main dishes around those offers, and you'll save big week after week.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Get in the "rhythm" of your local stores' deals.
    Store deals are cyclical - the same discounts usually roll around again after a couple of weeks. If you know you use a certain item - especially if it's something that can be frozen - wait until it goes on sale again. Then buy enough of the product to tide you over until the next sale.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Look for discount days.
    Some grocery stores offer deep discounts on certain days of the week (e.g., Safeway's "$5 Fridays"). So stay one step ahead of the game and you'll save money when you buy the items you use on those days.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

    Did you know: Friday nights are the best time to grocery shop. Using a store savings card allows the store to send you coupons for items you'll actually use. Click over to 'How to Save Money on Groceries' for even more money saving tips.

  • Think outside the grocery store box.
    Your local grocery store is usually your best bet for produce and meat, but you could find better prices at another store that's nearby. Dollar stores get attention for tchotchkes, birthday party decorations, and paper goods, but you could also pick up deals in their grocery-related aisles. "Your local dollar store is home to many name-brand products (beauty, cleaning, canned goods, etc.) for much less than other retailers, helping you save money without sacrificing quality," Hollenbeck says.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Shop all at once.
    Making multiple trips to the store during the week is not good on your wallet. The more times you walk by that tempting display of soda cans you really don't need, the harder it is to not grab a case. Make a list, go shopping once, and stick to the list.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Be boring.
    Variety is not the spice of life when it comes to keeping your budget. You're more likely to overbuy when you try new recipes each week, buying a variety of new ingredients with every meal. Limit the new meals and rotate in some go-to simple meals that don't cost much, like pasta nights.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Find the real (not advertised) deals.
    If you're spontaneous and willing to search, you can find produce, bread, and meat marked way down because they're about to expire. Your best bet is to look for these small displays of "on sale today" offers before the new flyer comes out (when stores try to offload food that they bought too much of).
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Stick to in-season produce.
    Your food will be yummier and less expensive when you buy only what's in season. This means no strawberries in winter.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Buy generic.
    Supermarket brands have come a long way, and nowadays generic items taste the same or even better than the name brand. All it takes is a simple side-by-side comparison to see the big price difference, and you'll find your taste buds will be more open to the idea.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Shop with one hand.
    Grocery shoppers who have taken up the habit of shopping with a device in one hand see sweet savings. In-store scanners can give you access to one-time savings, and mobile apps can give you access to coupons that don't require scissors. Some apps, such as Ibotta, let you get money back after you've made your purchase. You scan your receipt and they will deposit cash into your account based on whether you bought certain brands. Once you reach a $20 credit, you can request the money via PayPal. Bonus: Ibotta lets you save on many mobile shopping apps and even Uber, too!
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Compare size/weight of items.
    Manufacturers play games with you. They keep their box and bag sizes the same, but not the content inside. Food sizes are shrinking. It's a good idea to see how many ounces or pounds you're getting for the price you're paying - and when you compare two similar items side by side, go with the one that's less expensive per ounce or pound.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Check square footage of paper goods.
    Don't judge paper towels or toilet tissue by the number of rolls they offer. Judge it by the square footage, listed right on the front of the package, or unit price per square foot. Some stores even have the price per square foot listed so you don't have to bring a calculator and do the actual math. Those 10 rolls of 200 square feet of towels at 10 bucks aren't nearly as cost-effective as the 6 rolls of 350 square feet at 10 bucks. You'll pay 5 cents per square foot for the 10 rolls vs. 3 cents per square foot for the six rolls.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Be smart about buying in bulk.
    If you have the storage space and the need, it's almost always cheaper to buy in bulk. But always be strategic about your purchases - you won't save money by buying something you're never going to use. It's mostly smart for non-perishables such as canned goods and paper towels.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Pay attention to expiration dates.
    Dairy products such as milk, cream, and eggs with close expiration dates are usually put at the front of the shelf. Reach further back and check the expiration date - it will usually be later than the products at the front. You'll save money by not purchasing items that will go bad within days. At the same time, don't fear expiration dates - "sell by" dates are for the retailer, not you. You get a few days after that date before you need to throw away the item.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Stick to the perimeter of the store.
    Supermarkets stock their deals at the front of their aisles. You can build your weekly menu by what's offered in the weekly flyer or shop along the edges of the store for the healthiest and best priced items.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Put up your blinders at the register.
    Temptation really digs in by the register - and stores know it. Look at anything but the racks of gum and magazines. Be strong!
    Difficulty level: Mini Challenge

  • Never shop on an empty stomach.
    Go in with a list and make a beeline to all the items on it. If hunger is guiding you around the store, you're going to make some impulse (and likely pricey) purchases.
    Difficulty level: Easy

How to Save Money on Electric Bill

© CreditDonkey

  • Be willing to be a little cold.
    Here's a tip that can be harder for some people than others. Try to take shorter and slightly cooler showers. Those steamy, relaxing waterfalls every morning are costing you money you don't need to spend every day. Also cool it with the thermostat in the winter, layer up, and you'll be able to cut back on your heating costs.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Act like an old-timer.
    People who lived through the Depression held onto their need for frugality. Pick up their habits and you can save as well. This means, among other things, turning off lights when you leave a room, unplugging appliances when not in use, and air drying your clothes.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Give your home an audit.
    No, we're not asking you to become an accountant. Check your windows and doors for heat escapes - and see if your energy company will help you out. Some states offer 0% loans and free assessments to get your energy savings in check. This could mean a new boiler, insulation, or simply ideas on how you can stop wasting money by letting your heat - a.k.a. your paycheck - seep out of your home.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Give your appliances some love.
    Don't run out to upgrade your fridge just because it's no longer modern looking. Be diligent about giving your appliances a cleaning and they'll reward you by running more efficiently and lasting longer. Filters are there for a reason - be sure to replace them when their time is up.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Look for rebate programs.
    If/when you need to purchase new appliances, consider rebate programs for energy-efficient ones. There's a good chance your local utility company will offer you a rebate in the form of cash back or a discount on your bill if you send in your receipt and the proper form. So do your research through energy.gov/savings - even before you buy - for a great way to keep cash in your wallet.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Buy gas appliances.
    In most locations in the U.S., natural gas is cheaper than electricity. If/when you need to purchase new appliances, see whether gas is cheaper in your 'hood. If so, go with gas and save money.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Do less laundry.
    Unless you have a newborn baby who's constantly spitting up or has an issue with exploding diapers (and what infant doesn't?), there's really no need to do laundry more than once a week. You'll save money on detergent, electricity, gas, and water when you only run full loads.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Pay your high utility bills with a cash-back credit card.
    Most people pay their monthly utility bills via check or a debit card. A great way to save - and make money - on your utility bills is to pay with a cash-back credit card each month. Many credit cards offer 2-5% cash back. You get something in return and a little bit of room to pay off what you owe. Just make sure you're paying off your bill in full every month.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Invest in an automatic, programmable thermostat.
    If no one's home all day, there's no need for the air or heat to be on (unless you have pets and it's unbearable). Program your thermostat to go on only when you're in the house or when your home reaches a certain temperature, and you'll watch your heating and air bills go down.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Use your fireplace.
    A wood- or gas-burning fireplace will not only save on your heating costs, it's beautiful to look at, and a great way to spend time with loved ones. And if you have an open wood-burning fireplace, consider adding an insert, as explained at BobVila.com, which makes it more energy efficient by preventing much of the warmth from escaping through the chimney.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Monitor your own usage.
    While you can't possibly know every kilowatt you use, you should know if you used a lot of air conditioning or heat the prior month. Billing errors are made all the time, so be aware of what you're using so you know if it jives with what you're being billed.
    Difficulty level: Easy

How to Save Money on Gas and Your Car

© CreditDonkey

  • Upkeep, upkeep, upkeep.
    Oil changes, tire rotation, belt and routine checks. That's all it takes to save you money down the road.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Check the air pressure in your tires.
    When tires aren't properly inflated, fuel efficiency goes down. Save money on gas by monitoring your tires.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Lighten your load.
    Check what's rolling around in the back of your trunk and try to clean it out. The point is to stop carrying excess weight around every day, which increases your gas use.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Consider your deductible.
    Your insurance premium will go down when you raise your deductible. So if you'd like to keep some extra cash in your pocket and you know you'll have enough to cover the deductible, then this is the way to go. But if you're a bit accident-prone and a high deductible will hurt you in the long run, then lower your deductible and pay the higher rate now - which can save you thousands later.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Slow down when driving to work.
    If you wake up and leave a little earlier, you won't have to rush to work and you can reduce your speed, enabling you to save on gas. Plus, you can invest in a cash back card that gives you a high percentage back on gas purchases, saving you even more on fuel costs.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Take advantage of gas rewards programs.
    Many grocery chains offer discounts of up to 20 cents per gallon at specific gas stations just by shopping there and being a club member. So if it means driving a minute or two out of your way to go to the fuel station with the discount, it's well worth it.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Don't trade in your car.
    Everyone knows that a car dealership will low-ball you when it comes to trading in your car - or if you don't know that, you do now. If they won't give you what you think your old car is worth, take it to CarMax or a similar car-buying service, as the latimes.com reports. You'll usually get more money for your car and will save money on your new car by using it for the down payment or cap cost reduction.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Bring someone who knows how to negotiate when buying or leasing a car.
    Many people find the car-buying process extremely intimidating. If that's you, don't go alone - bring someone who's been through the process before and is a good negotiator. Trust us, you can save thousands of dollars that way.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Consider car leasing instead of buying.
    While many think leasing doesn't make sense, it often depends on your needs and your desires. If you know you're not the type to keep a car for long, consider leasing. You won't own it, but your monthly payment will be lower than if you purchased the car - and, if you're savvy, you usually will only pay drive-off fees out of pocket.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Buy or lease a pre-owned car.
    The second you drive a new car off the lot, it depreciates. You can save thousands of dollars by purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, which may be only one or two years old. Many of these cars come in as lease returns, so they're low in miles and kept up very well. Plus, there's usually more room to deal on a used car, saving you even more.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Keep valuables out of sight.
    Thieves are more likely to break into your car when they see something like coins or electronics in plain sight. Even items such as phone chargers and Apple USB cords are hot items to steal - so hide them in your glove compartment.
    Difficulty level: Easy

How to Save Money on Amazon and Other Shopping

© CreditDonkey

One of the best ways to save money on Amazon is... to not spend money on Amazon! We'll give you some tips on how to avoid spending, as well as how to spend less when you really need to buy something.

  • Pay attention to which credit card you use.
    Some cards will give you as much as 5% cash back on certain types of purchases. Others have special rewards that you'd only know about if you visit their website. As you review your credit card statements, also get in the habit of checking the latest offers for current card holders. If they have a deal related to a purchase you need to make anyway, you'll pocket some extra change next month.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Go shopping without spending.
    Get some friends and neighbors to gather up their gently used clothes, jewelry, and knickknacks and have a swap party. Trade in a great dress with a friend who just returned to work after maternity leave. Offload that soft throw that's just not the right color to a neighbor who wants something cozy for his couch. You'll get the thrill of the spend without the hefty bill.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Act old-school with your gear.
    Technology moves at a fast pace, but unless you're a tech geek or programmer, tech gear doesn't become outdated that quickly. When you truly need something new, go for "new to you" rather than "all the latest bells and whistles." Time your purchase right, go after last year's model, and be open to "gently used." Timing is everything. For TVs, for example, the best time to buy is January and February for two reasons: the Super Bowl, and current year models come out in March. See if you can buy floor models and "manufacturer refurbished" items.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Stay away from warranties (usually).
    When you do need to make a purchase, consider not adding on a warranty. They are rarely worth the price that's tacked on. Whatever you're buying will likely last longer than the warranty period. Plus, all four major credit card networks - Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express - offer extended warranty protection for up to a year when you use the card to buy eligible electronics.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Make your own stuff.
    Anything you can make yourself is cheaper. Mega corporations don't want you to know that the pricey cleaning products they make can be made cheaper (and greener) in your home. Check out this list of nearly 70 do-it-yourself cleaning products.
    Difficulty level: Tough

  • Log out of your favorite accounts.
    The reason your Amazon orders have grown so big and your iTunes account is out of control? It's so easy to buy. When you're logged in and your credit card info is on file, transactions go through in seconds - before you get a chance to feel any regret. Make it a bit harder on yourself (build in some time to question your purchases) by making yourself log in every time to the places you like to shop the most.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Limit your book and magazine purchases.
    If you're a constant reader, set up a book budget (perhaps one Kindle purchase a month), and go to the library for the rest of your entertainment. You can access ebooks for your Kindle, borrow the latest bestsellers, and read the latest magazines. You can even get free passes to nearby museums simply by having a library card.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Always comparison shop.
    Impulse buying is for non-savers. Before you add anything to your shopping cart, do a Google search or look at your favorite shopping app to see if you can get a better deal.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Look for a gift card before you buy.
    Many people received gift cards they didn't want and are selling them at a nice discount. If you plan to go to that particular retailer anyway, you might as well get some dollars off your purchase.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Avoid temptations.
    You can't save money if you're constantly spending it, and that's exactly what junk mail wants you to do. All those tempting catalogues, coupons from your favorite retailers and local shops are sugar candy to your wallet. Take the little bit of time it takes to opt out of junk mail and call the numbers on the catalogs. If you must stay on top of the latest deals, sign up for email subscriptions but filter them out of your inbox so you look at them only when you have spare change.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Always shop with a basket.
    There's a reason some stores offer you big shopping carts - they want you to fill them up. Stick to a basket whenever possible so you can only buy what you can carry.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Read care labels before you buy.
    Are you a sucker for how a shirt looks online but ignore the material? If you're not careful, you could end up with big dry cleaning bills or clothing you only wear once because you didn't wash it correctly.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Do the "did I remember" experiment.
    When you spot something you're convinced you must have in a store, make a mental note to come back to it after you've done your shopping. If at the end of your visit, you've forgotten about it or you're no longer as interested, it was truly an impulse buy and not something you really need.
    Difficulty level: Tough

  • Be aware of your mood when spending.
    We've probably all needed "retail therapy" from time to time. This is because buying new things makes us feel good when we're having a particularly bad day or week. But have you ever convinced yourself that this one item will totally cheer you up, only to end up regretting it later? Shopping as a pick-me-up may provide temporary gratification, but you may just end up with an empty wallet and shoes you'll never wear.
    Difficulty level: Tough

  • Never go shopping to feel better.
    As deal hunters, we know shopping can be really fun and it can make any day feel better, to be honest. But when money is tight and saving is a top priority, shopping should only be done when you truly need something. Have the right motivations, and you'll find you'll get better at saving money.
    Difficulty level: Tough

  • Shop with a purpose.
    Be mindful as you shop, and avoid throwing things in your cart you don't need. "Take inventory of your closet, your home, and other areas for all the things you own and stop buying similar items or replacements for things that work perfectly fine," Woroch suggests. Whatever you're shopping for, walk into the store with a clear idea of what you need and what you want to spend. This ensures that you get in and out without dropping more cash than you need to.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

How to Save Money on Kids

© CreditDonkey

  • Donate your time instead of your money.
    With so many cutbacks, schools often ask for monetary donations from parents. Consider donating your time to your teacher's classroom or to the office instead of writing a check. Your time will probably be more valuable to them than your cash.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Keep track of the money you do donate.
    Any time you give money to a tax-exempt organization like a school, it's a tax deduction. This will both bring down your taxable income and minimize what you owe the IRS.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Look into classes offered by your local rec center or library
    Many recreation centers and libraries offer free or low-cost sports programs and classes. These can keep your kids occupied and productive without you having to pay through the nose.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Avoid the back-to-school craze.
    Back-to-school time is big business, and these costs can really add up. But seriously, how many pencils does your kid need? Your child probably has many markers and pens they've barely used. Instead of buying them a brand new set because it's on the teacher's list, just use the ones from last year.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Don't bring kids on expensive vacations when they're too young to remember.
    If you've always wanted to see Paris, then let the grandparents watch the kids while you and your spouse have the time of your life. There's no need to spend extra money on vacations for children who are too young to remember or appreciate the location. That includes you, DisneyWorld.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Bring your own snacks to movie theaters.
    Some theater owners frown upon this, but if you can put some healthy kale chips or gummy bears in your purse for you and the kids, it's much cheaper than spending the high prices on movie theater snacks.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Keep away from brand names when your kids are young.
    There's plenty of time for brand-name clothing and shoes when your kids become teens. Save yourself a ton of cash while they're young and don't know the difference between Target and Tommy Hilfiger. You'll be spending the money on designer jeans soon enough.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Don't feel like you have to buy something from every co-worker selling something from their kid.
    Girl Scout cookies, magazine drives, wrapping paper, chocolate - all schools have fundraisers. Most parents want to see their kid achieve a prize by selling the most. Decide how much of your money will go toward such causes per year - and then stick to it.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

How to Save Money on Pets

© CreditDonkey

  • Find a neighbor to care for your pets while you're away.
    It's very expensive to board a pet. So if you're taking a vacation or will be gone for several days, it's worth it to see if any of your neighbors would be willing to care for your pet for you. Offer to help them out when they go away. You can offer to pay them a stipend - which will still be cheaper than boarding them.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Research veterinarians.
    There are low-cost veterinary clinics out there that do great work. Since vet fees are very high, do some research in your area and see if there's a low-cost vet nearby.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Be nosy at the vets.
    Of course we love our pets, but vets can get be very expensive, and you might not be too keen on paying 300 bucks for your pet's physical. Make sure the vet is only ordering tests that your pet needs on your visit. Ask to see a cost breakdown of the exam or test they're performing before you agree to anything. And as the Humane Society reports, you can often negotiate a payment plan with your vet.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Do your research on pet insurance.
    If your dog or cat is still young, then it might be cost effective to purchase pet insurance, because it can really help with expensive emergency bills and save you a ton of money in the future. But if your pet is older, the premium will increase, so consider skipping it now and paying for possible out-of-pocket costs later.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Don't overfeed them.
    If you're at work all day, you might consider leaving a large bowl of food for your pet while you're gone. But if you have the kind of animal that tends to overeat, you'll be causing more health problems for them (which will cost you in the future).
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Take friend's hand-me-downs.
    If a friend just purchased a new cat tree or dog house, ask them if you can have their old one. These are expensive items that will save you a fortune if you just take a hand-me-down.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

Other Ways to Save Money

  • Stem pricey envy habits.
    Trying to keep up with the Joneses is a fool's game and could be the quickest way to a depleted savings account and mounting debt. "Don't fall into the habit of comparing yourself to others," says Syed Irfan, growth marketing manager at Ridester, a ride-sharing resource. "Remind yourself that all that glitters is not gold and that all that is gold doesn't glitter." Drop the jealousy and focus instead on what matters to you and those closest to you—not trying to live up to someone else's ideals.
    Difficulty level: Tough for most people

  • Become a student of YouTube.
    If something breaks down, it might just be an easy repair. You'll be amazed at how much info you can find on YouTube - often with step-by-step guidelines. That garbage disposal issue might be a simple fix instead of a $100 service call. The best part is, building these home-repair skills gets easier over time, and the rewards keep getting bigger!
    Difficulty level: Tough

  • Become an experiment.
    If you live near a trade school, you could get your haircut, makeup and even car repair at a serious discount - or even for free. As long as you're not a stickler for perfection, this can be a fun and rewarding way to save some dough.
    Difficulty level: Easy

  • Watch your credit score.
    Many credit card companies will share your latest credit score for free, so take advantage. Also sign up for the free site CreditKarma, which provides your score and ways to lower it. Lower scores mean having to pay higher interest rates on car loans, a new mortgage or even your next credit card. The higher your score, the more creditworthy you are, and future lenders will reward you with lower interest rates.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Develop a December fund.
    Are you on a good track with your savings for most of the year and then December comes around? That's when spending can easily get out of control. Entertaining and gift buying during the holidays plus high heating charges add up to a difficult January and February when the bills come due. You can level out your cash flow by setting aside some money all year long to prepare for the December cash outflow. And of course, try to rein in your spending that month as much as you can. Consider setting up a separate savings account for this purpose.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Turn your next party into a pot-luck.
    Everyone likes a party, but not everyone can afford to throw one. If you're willing to open your home and buy a few snacks, most people will be willing to bring the booze or a side dish in order to chill with their friends. You'll have a great get-together without having to foot the bill yourself.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Look at your parents' savings habits.
    Physical characteristics aren't the only things we inherit from our parents. Scientifically speaking, your DNA accounts for about a third of what influences your spending and saving choices. But don't blame your parents! Take a look at what financial missteps your parents might have made, and see if you can avoid repeating them in your own life.
    Difficulty level: Tough

  • Book vacations way in advance.
    The further out you book a vacation, the less you'll pay on airfare and hotels. So if you want to keep money in your pocket, plan way ahead. And use a helpful travel site, such as Hotels.com or Google Flights.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Go camping.
    Imagine being one with nature and not having to spend a whole lot of cash to make that happen. Sleep under the stars in your own tent instead of an expensive hotel room. You'll appreciate not only the outdoors but the cash that stayed in your pocket.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Give yourself a curfew.
    The later you stay with friends or coworkers, the more you'll spend. The best way to keep money in your pocket is to manage your time effectively - both work and play.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Don't go to clubs that have a drink minimum or cover charge.
    This is money down the drain, especially if you don't drink alcohol and you have to pay seven bucks for a club soda. Consider going to clubs that have free entry and a "pay-as-you-drink" policy.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Have cash-only nights.
    It's easy to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of night life, especially when a credit card may tempt you into buying a round of drinks to impress your friends. Credit cards have their place, but only when your judgment is at 100% capacity. When you know you're going to have a long, fun night, decide how much you're willing to spend. Stick to cash and leave the credit cards at home.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

  • Be thankful.
    Expressing gratitude on a regular basis is a healthy habit to have, and it can also help you make progress towards your savings goals. When you have a thankful attitude, you're less likely to want immediate gratification in the form of money. In one study, participants who demonstrated a thankful attitude more frequently opted to delay gratification to score a higher payday.
    Difficulty level: Mini challenge

Cynthia Cohen is a retail analyst at CreditDonkey, a stock broker comparison and financial education website. Write to Cynthia Cohen at cynthia@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped investors make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy financial decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

More from CreditDonkey:


Creative Ways to Save Money


Best Online Savings Account

How to Invest Money

How to Invest Money

More Articles in Money Tips


Articles on 100+ Ways to Save Money, Starting Today

    Average Cost of Car Insurance

    It's not unusual to spend $1,000 - $4,000 per year on car insurance. Young drivers and poor driving records tend to send the prices soaring.

    Average Cost of Life Insurance

    Life insurance can cost you an average of $2,000 - $7,000 per year. You could pay that amount for the next 15-30 years too. Is life insurance worth the cost?

    Average Cost of Dental Insurance

    Dental insurance can cost a single person on a group policy $366 per year. Family coverage can cost as much as $680 per year. This is nothing compared to the average cost of dental procedures, though.

    Average Cost of Clothing Per Month

    Spending $161 per month on clothing and services is average for adults. Middle-age adults spend about $50 more per month. They also make more money, so they have more to spend.

    How Much Should I Save

    For good financial health, you should aim to save 20% of your income. But even if you can't, every penny counts. Read on for tips on how to achieve that.

    How Much Money Should I Have Saved

    Are you on track financially at 30? Learn how much you should have saved towards retirement goals. Not there? Don't worry, there's time to catch up.

    How to Save $100000

    $100,000 may seem like an impossible number, but it's not. With a smart strategy and the right discipline, you can save $100k fast.

July
06
2018

Best Robo Advisor

The best robo-advisor offers low management fees, low minimum investment requirements, and daily account monitoring. Read this list of top robo advisors before you invest.
More Articles in Investing










About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a stock broker comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.