A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned – 100 Ways to save money!
August 30, 2017
There’s a lot we could learn from the generations before us. Frugality was best practiced by the generation that lived through the great depression. We have many tools now to help us expand on that, however, I think it kind of takes us away from some of the basics. I have compiled a list of 100 ways to save money both old and new. After all “a penny saved is a penny earned.”
Don’t run your dishwasher or washing machine until you have a full load.
Hang the clothes out to dry vs. drying them in your clothes dryer.
Grow a garden
Shop the advertised specials at your local grocery store.
Create a budget (after all, if you don’t tell your money where to go, it might tell you)
Create a meal plan (some people do this as a once a month plan, I do 10 days to go from one grocery trip to the next-either way it saves you time, money, and frustration).
Don’t be afraid to try off brand or store brand foods (sometimes they are made in the same factory as the name brand stuff).
Cook from scratch
Visit the farmers market for fresh produce that will last longer.
Shop at Aldi’s, they have a wonderful selection of organic foods too!
Buy in bulk if you have money up front, and storage space Sam’s Club and Costco’s are great for savers clubs, or you could use some online options as well like boxed or amazon (and have it delivered to your door).
Don’t eat out (we live in a country where eating out is so common, people want something with less work and faster than cooking a home cooked meal. Those meals can really add up, and so can the calories). Try preparing ahead instead, so you can pull something out of the freezer and throw it in the oven or the slow cooker.
Have a leftover night once a week (we do every 4-5 days, just so we don’t waste food).
Shop bent and dent—both for groceries and larger purchases. If you purchase something that is slightly damaged, it can save you a chunk of ching.
Sign up for loyalty programs.
Use the last of everything, and only use the recommended amount (dish soap, liquid soap, detergent, conditioner, shampoo).
Eat before you go grocery shopping, it is true, if I haven’t eaten my stomach tries to negotiate with my mind.
Make a grocery list and stick to it
Have breakfast for supper once or twice a week. My family loves breakfast any time of the day, so this is not an issue for us.
Learn how to preserve food (canning and freezing fruits and vegetables).
Drink water vs sugary drinks, and use a reusable water bottle.
Contact companies to have bills lowered. Shop around for car insurance, cable, internet,etc.
Turn off the dry cycle on the dishwasher, and instead just open the door and let them air dry overnight.
Cancel your home phone service if you have a cell phone with service (we don’t have this option yet, but hoping someday we will).
Turn off lights when you leave a room, and unplug items that are not being used.
Unplug your cell phone and tablets when they are done charging (this includes unplugging the chargers themselves from the wall—eh hem).
If you have credit cards, try to get your interest rate reduced.
Instead of cable, use a streaming service, like amazon, Hulu, Netflix, or Roku.
Install storm windows
Turn clothes inside out before washing to help them last longer.
Hang thermal curtains.
Utilize LED lights
Get a programmable thermostat
Seal cracks around windows and doors, and replace the window stripping.
Change the furnace filter often.
Use a surge protector
Run appliances at night (dishwasher, washing machine, dryer).
Weatherize vehicles and change air filters, make sure you are up to date on regular maintenance. This will help with fuel efficiency and it will help your vehicle last longer, and save you money in the long run.
De-scale your water heater.
Use ceiling fans (flip blades during winter months—reversing their air flow).
Use vinegar, baking soda, and citrus (like lemon or oranges) to clean.
Wash clothes in cold water.
Use rechargeable batteries.
Cancel magazine subscriptions and use your library instead.
Install dimmer switches (a little note here-some bulbs do not allow you to use the dimmers-check into it before purchasing your bulbs).
Go paperless-online bill pay or auto pay. Saves you on late fee’s and sometimes you get a perk in return.
Use cloth napkins and towels vs paper
Invest in energy star appliances
Utilize thrift stores
Check out Buy Sell Trade pages
Re-purpose old furniture and clothing
Habitat for Humanity Resale shops
Use the price match option at most of the big box stores
Repair clothes instead of throwing them out. Learn to sew a button or small seam tear.
Barter or haggle, an asking price is just that, it is okay to offer less to save money.
Hit up the free section on Craigslist
Shop end of season closeouts and clearance racks
Make your own gifts and décor
For family time pick a free activity like going to the zoo, going hiking, walking through a festival or fair, swimming at a lake, fishing, playing cards or board games, watching movies at home, going to a park for a picnic.
Take lunch to work vs. eating out. Better planning for your lunch saves money and saves the waistline.
If you pay outrageous money for lab work through your insurance or maybe your insurance doesn’t cover lab work, contact the labs directly. They will usually offer a cash discount for a fraction of what you’d pay. I haven’t been in this position, but know a couple of people that were only charged about 20% of what they were paying, so it was well worth it for them.
Your prescription eyeglasses needing to be replaced? If you like your frames, keep them and save yourself a pretty penny.
If prescriptions are expensive and you cannot afford them, check with your pharmacy. They may have a prescription club or they may be able to get you contact information for a representative with the drug company.
For maintenance drugs like blood pressure, allergy medication, anti-inflammatory medications, use your mail order pharmacy option. Many times you can get 2 months for the price of 1.
Use the last drop of everything. When your hand soap gets down to like 1 pump and it isn’t coming up, add a little water. Same with shampoo and conditioner. Hey you can get another use out of pretty much anything by just adding a little water.
Make your own laundry detergent
Host a swap meet. Have a group of friends over to do a clothing swap or purse swap. It’s fun, and you get to update your closet without spending a penny.
Don’t be afraid to borrow from a friend or neighbor. People used to practice this all the time. Lend a cup of flour or an egg, I just think we have all become chained to social media we have become less face to face social. I too am guilty of this.
The average college student spends $1200 per year on textbooks. My daughter was told to plan for $1040 per semester. Absolutely ridiculous right??? So before you just buy from the school book store, get the ISBN #’s and look them up on amazon or eBay. We saved a ton!
When you are looking to make any online purchase, comparison shop. The internet is a powerful tool—USE IT!
Never make a big purchase on impulse. Always sleep on it!
Kids want a new toy? Or video game? Have them sell their old ones, so they can use that money to put towards the new one.
Don’t be afraid to ask people to bring a dish to pass at a family gathering, or for that matter to bring their own drinks or tableware.
Use Blankets, sweaters, and long underwear before turning the thermostat up.
Skip the salon. My wonderful husband and children purchase gift certificates for me for special events like Birthday’s, Mother’s Day, and Christmas, so once a year I get a special treat, but in between I color my own hair once or twice on my own.
If you feel a cold coming on, or if someone in your house is sick, increase your vitamin C and zinc. It will help boost your immune system to prevent illness. This will help prevent you from having to lose time at work.
Pay yourself first-put $10 per week automatically into your savings (direct deposit from your payroll).
Skip the gym-memberships are expensive. Find a workout buddy instead. Resistance bands, exercise videos ,and a good old fashioned walk will work too and are a lot cheaper.
Don’t forget to ask for your discount. Many places offer discounts to Senior citizens, college students, and military.
Cut down or out the pet grooming. We have a Yorkie who needs regular grooming, so when her hair gets long or nails need to be trimmed, I will crack out the trimmers and do it myself. Granted once a yearfor her birthday she gets the full pampering treatment professionally.
Vet fees, if you own an animal then regular care is necessary, but if you are good about preventative care (flea and tick collars and heart-worm prevention), you can opt for a skip year on their blood-work. They have their blood drawn every other year so long as their prevention is up to date. This cuts your vet bill by nearly half every other year.
Stretch your makeup budget. If I am just running to the market or post office I will go with only my sunscreen on. You can also stretch your foundation by adding sunscreen to it. This is also better for your skin.
I purchase most of my makeup online or on occasion at the dollar tree (I feel far less guilty purchasing it there than anywhere else). Nail polish and manicure sets are also only $1.
Let the sunlight in. Especially in the winter months, the sun is a great way to warm the house up and cut down on heating costs.
Use reward sites: I use; swagbucks, inboxdollars, iBotta, & Checkout51. A combination of these helps me pay for Christmas gifts every year.
If you can afford alternative energy it is totally worth investing in wind turbines and solar panels. Not only do you not see an electric bill most months, but sometimes they even pay you 😉 How great is that?
The largest bill you probably have is your mortgage, so don’t be afraid to check into refinancing. You can save hundreds of dollars each month, or perhaps you can use the money to pay off some of your consumer debt, and save you both on your monthly budget and on your credit score.
Another large bill that most of us have is our auto loans. Did you know you can also refinance your auto loans. Sure you can! Hey even if it saves you $20 a month. It’s still savings right? Some people save up to a couple hundred dollars a month. That is huge!
Do you have good credit, but have a bunch of high interest rate credit cards? Well many credit card companies offer a 0% introductory interest rate and balance transfer. So you can transfer your other cards to this one, and save money, and then you’ll have 12-18 months to pay down your debt without it collecting more interest.
Turn your water off when you are not using it. It uses more water and more electricity by turning it off, you are saving money, and saving the environment.
Did you know you get the best fuel mileage on your vehicle at 60 mph? So long as you maintain proper tire pressures, that is the optimal speed. For every 5 mph above and below 60 mph you lose fuel efficiency.
Cut dryer sheets in half or use a static ball. The only times I don’t cut them in half is when I am drying towels or bedding.
Plant fruit trees and berry bushes. They don’t really take a ton of maintenance, and they will help you to be more self sufficient. I seen a post once that someone felt we should have the government plant fruit trees along the sidewalks in cities where there is homelessness, so they would have food to eat. Other than cleanup being a potential issue I think it is a great idea for every city. A community growing opportunity.
Use your slow cooker. You can get less expensive cuts of meat, and make them part of a wholesome tasty meal, and even though the slow cooker uses energy all day, it still uses less than the oven, not to mention it is a time saver. Can you tell I love my slow cooker?
In addition to getting less expensive cuts of meat, how about using meat as an accent to your meal rather than the main course. Add a small amount of chicken to a stir fry, or a small amount of hamburger to some pasta. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your plate gives you more of what you need and less of what you don’t.
Use a sandwich box instead of sandwich bags for your lunches. They are reusable, better for the environment, and better for your wallet.
Okay, some of you may be grossed out by this next money saving tip. I drink a fair amount of coffee. I drink a couple cups in the morning before work, and a couple of cups mid day. So when I make the mid day pot of coffee I re-use the coffee grounds and add only half a scoop of fresh grounds. The coffee is still flavorful, and it saves me one pot of coffee’s worth of grounds every other day.
Car pool! For work, school, after school activities. You will save money this way, and leave a smaller carbon footprint on our world.
Do you have a cat? Or, multiple cats. Did you know that the fragrances and dyes in the cat litter are actually bad for them? Since they groom themselves, it is like licking your arm after putting cologne or perfume on. The positive side of this is that the cat litter with no dyes and perfumes can be found in store brand cat litter, and is a third of the price of the premium brand. That is good for all of you 😉
Don’t be afraid to swap services. For example plumbing for electrical, or babysitting for baking.
Make greeting cards. Have you seen how they are priced lately? OMG! The last time I went in and found a greeting card for someone I about fell over at the $7.99 price tag. Why pay that when you could use that money towards their gift, so personalize their card and save money.
Hopefully you find a few of these tips helpful, and I will post new ideas as I find them. Please check out my other financial posts:
I’m April, a wife and mother of two. Since the end of 2010 I have been battling autoimmune diseases: and facing those have left me with limited physical abilities, limited energy, and limited funds; so I created this blog to document my journey : to simplifying my life, hopefully finding tips and tricks and resources to help save me time, money, and energy. I am hoping not only to share my journey, but to inspire others with similar challenges. Personally I think everyone would welcome ways to save time, money, and energy, but to some it is imperative. The content you can expect to see includes life hacks, organizational and time management resources, tips and tricks to saving money, ideas and resources for making money doing simple tasks or passively, and simple inexpensive gift giving ideas. To those of you who may be concerned that this may just be one big pity party, I want to be clear. I have conditions that have altered my abilities, but this is about taking as much control over my life as I possibly can, and to make it a positive experience. I will not however, turn anyone away if they ask about my illnesses specifically. Perhaps they are newly diagnosed, and need some advice that I haven’t shared. I encourage those individuals to contact me any time. I want people to be able to positively bounce ideas off of one another to make it a blog that everyone can benefit from.