50 Creative Ways To Save Money

Last Updated: November 29, 2020   MoneyHacker

Let’s take a look at some practical and creative ways to save money. You’ll notice we talk about spending habits a lot. As we all know, a habit can be either good or bad. Making good habits and ditching unhealthy ones is one of the most effective ways to save money in the long run. Need some ideas on ways to do this? Take a look at our 50 creative ways to save money.

1.) Eat ugly foods. Misfits Market Box and imperfectfoods.com are Just two of the companies that offer imperfect produce boxes. The companies rescued produce, package it into a box and ship it to you either weekly or bimonthly. Typically, you’ll receive an entire box of organic produce for under $30- A deep discount from organic produce that may be found in your grocery store.
2.) Meal planning for the week. Sporadic trips to the grocery store add up. Meal plan what are you going to eat that week for breakfast lunch and dinner and then go out and buy exactly what is on your plan.
3.) Meal prepping one day a week. If you’re prepping for the meals that you’ve planned, it will mean that you have exactly the ingredients that you need when it comes time to cook those meals. This helps to take the guesswork out of what to eat, saves time, and ensures that your meal planning time that you spent did not go to waste.
4.) Shop for seasonal produce. I love purchasing produce in the summertime as zucchini and other summer squash is our abundant and cheap. The same can be said of vegetables any time of year. The vegetables are cheaper when they are in season and they taste better when they are seasonally and locally grown anyway. It’s a win-win.
5.) Don’t be afraid to shop at a budget grocery store. Stores like Save-A-Lot and Walmart do you offer some great deals on organic items. Save-A-Lot is great for canned foods and Walmart is great for organic deals.You may need to shop around but the savings can be worth it.
6.) Eat less meat. We agree that meat is tasty and always exciting to have on a plate. However, we don’t actually need a lot of meat to get the amount of protein that is required to keep us going. Try going meatless one day a week and then maybe going meatless a couple of days a week and seeing how you feel. Not only that, but you’ll be helping to save the planet as well.
7.) Check out your grocery store’s mid-week ad. The advertisement at your local grocery store typically comes out on Wednesdays. Along with it announcements of deep discounts on some of your favorite grocery items. Sometimes, you can even find some really good deals through paper coupons. We know that’s kind of old school, but then again weren’t your grandparents great at saving cash at the grocery store?
8.) Grow your own food. No, we don’t expect you to grow everything that you eat, but growing your own food especially in the summertime can greatly save on your produce costs. Not only that, but you’re probably gonna grow something that tastes even better than what you might find in the grocery store. Try got growing tomatoes, squash, beans, and other summer vegetables.
9.) Eat everything that you buy. More often than not produce goes bad before you eat it. Does that sound familiar? Try purchasing only enough produce for the week and getting to it right away. We know it’s tempting to open up the preserved bag of potato chips that you grabbed as a last minute choice but seriously though we need to stop wasting produce. One thing that we like to do is to keep our produce on the top shelf of our refrigerator so we are always reminded of what we have in stock.
10.) Bring a calculator with you while you’re shopping at the grocery store. If you add an item to your cart, add the number to your calculator. Before heading to the checkout tally everything up and be sure this is a number that you’re comfortable with and that you have budgeted for.
11.)Delete all options to use “one click” spending. Slowing down before spending will help you save a lot of cash. Giving yourself a little bit of time before clicking “Buy Now” will help you to discern whether or not you truly need that item. Not to mention, it’s good executive functioning. Impulse purchasing is not a good practice and can lead to serious credit card debt.
12.) Unfollow all shops from your Instagram account. Instagram has a really strong pull and the type of tactics used to engage their users and can encourage people to actually change their behaviors inside the home and outside the home. One of the things that’s happened over the years is that more and more brands are selling their items on Instagram. We highly recommend that you unfollow all accounts that are there to sell you something. Seriously though why are you following That Company on Instagram? Is it because they offered you the chance to win something for free? The reality is that you signed up to spend your time and money on their product and page. Don’t be pawn. Unfollow those fools.
13.) Shop for things used. When it comes to fashion of course it’s tempting to dive into the latest fashion. Here’s the thing, fashion trends fade and old ones return just as quickly. These days you can shop for clothes online without breaking the bank and without further hurting the environment. Purchasing clothes secondhand can be done through websites like poshmart.com.
14.) Pay off your credit cards. Paying off your credit cards will save you money in the long term. Those extra percentages of interest really add up and can seriously ding your credit score to boot. Paying off your credit cards is a fantastic way to help you get ahead financially.
15.)Identify your triggers. Triggers can be anything from a poor nights sleep to reading some bad news to seeing something your friend has bought on Instagram and wanting it too. Triggers can be big or small. Just knowing what your triggers are will help you to figure out ways to avoid reacting to them. When we react less we save more money.
16.)Try downloading a budgeting app such as Mint to your phone. If you have never been good at budgeting or maybe you’ve never even tried to create a budget then Mint might be perfect for you. Mint is best used on the mobile phone and is browser-based. Mint will help you sync your accounts, track your bills, and check your credit score. Just be aware that Mint uses ads to remain free.
17.)If you are looking to purchase a big ticket item, you may want to set a Google Alert to let you know when your item has gone on sale. From there you can compare prices and determine exactly when you will be purchasing that item
18.)Set aside a specific dollar amount each day. Whether that’s one dollars or five dollars overtime setting aside this amount can be a fun challenge. Challenge yourself further not to count how much money you have saved. Pick a time at the end of the calendar year to count all of your cash. You might have enough to go on a vacation or you may want to put this money aside for something even more substantial.
19.)If you’re tactile do something tactile. Tactile spenders really need to feel the cash and see the cash to understand their budgets. If this is you don’t fret but do adapt to your needs. Try using envelopes to keep your cash in. You can label your envelopes. For example, one might say “rent” the other might say “gym membership” the other “groceries” and so on. Once you have the cash you need for that item place it in the envelope. It is that simple.
20.)Spend some time at thrift stores. Be warned shopping at a thrift store can lead to impulse purchasing. We think that a little of that might go a long way and so sometimes it may be OK to impulse purchase a cardigan or two at a thrift store. Another way to use a thrift stores is to make very specific purchases that you don’t need right away. For example, are you looking for a really nice short black skirt? This may be the item that you want to look for at a thrift store. Since you don’t need the item right and that way you won’t need to make a purchase until you’re satisfied with the item. You may come up empty-handed. That is OK. Use the money that you would’ve spent and save it. It’s good practice.
22.)Revisit your budget every quarter. Are you sticking to your budget? Is your budget really practical? What can you do differently to ensure that you do stick to your budget? These are the types of things that you want to address when revisiting your budget.
23.)Invest in a filing cabinet. If you don’t have a filing cabinet it may be time to go and purchase one. Your filing cabinet can help you stay on track of bills that you need to pay and bills that you already have paid. You can use your filing cabinet as a way to track your progress.
24.)Look at your energy expenditure. Are you keeping lights on? Are you keeping the thermostat up or down? The amount that you spend on energy each month likely varies depending on the season. However, there are a number of hidden ways that we increase our energy spending. Do you have appliances plugged in that don’t need to be plugged in? Has your coffee maker been on for more than 12 hours now? Occasionally do a quick scan around the kitchen to see if you have anything plugged in that needs to be unplugged.
25.)Avoid ATM fees. These days most places will take a card, but ATM fees are still real. If you’re going to use an ATM make sure to use one that is in network and does not have a hidden fee. You should not be paying extra money to access your own money.
26.)Use a reusable water bottle. Purchasing water bottles and other single use plastic’s should be a thing of the past. Using a reusable water bottle will save you a lot of money and time recycling to boot. Not only that, but it is much better for the planet.
27.)Cancel all of those subscriptions. Do you have some reoccurring subscriptions that you never seem to use? You’re not alone. Take a day this month and set aside some time to cancel those recurring subscriptions. You may be surprised to find a $100 savings or more each month.
28.)Remove paper products where possible. Typically we use paper towels in the kitchen for just one simple still. Paper towels add up and not to mention excessive use of paper towels can hurt the environment. Switch to cloths or sponges for your cleaning needs.
29.)Do not sign up for a store credit card. It may be tempting to get the discount in the moment but signing up for a store credit card is a slippery slope. More often than not you’ll be spending even more by going to that store again and again which is exactly what they want you to do. So the next time the store offers you a 10% discount on signing up for their store credit card say no thanks and continue on with your day.
30.) Make your coffee at home. These days coffee costs way more than two dollars. In fact most coffee purchases are between three and six dollars maybe even more if you’re getting a fancy latte. If you make your coffee at home think of the savings. You may save upwards to $100 a month or even more. Not only that but making your coffee at home is likely a healthier option.
31.) Stay healthy. Your health is your wealth. Medical insurance and doctor bills are extortionate. Avoid constant medical bills and visits to the doctor by staying healthy to begin with. Engaging in regular exercise and eating plenty of vegetables and fruits will help you to stay on track.
32.) Declutter your space. It may seem counterintuitive that throwing things will actually save you money but Less things give you a better appreciation of what you have and encourage you to keep it that way. Once your space is decluttered you are less likely to engage in impulse purchasing. Impulse purchasing is something that can really create problems in the long term. Mindfulness practices and mindful spending are always a good idea.
33.) Do your own repairs. Repairing your car and repairing your sink may seem daunting but can be liberating for you and your wallet. Learning how to make your own them repairs empowers you to learn how to do other things independently. While hiring help is a nice convenience it certainly does cost quite a bit more than learning how to do it yourself. If you own a car learn how to take care of your car so that it doesn’t break as much. Be sure to get regular oil changes and service your car once a year.
34.) Start biking to work. Biking to work is a fantastic way to stay fit and to save money. Not only that, but a number of studies have shown that biking leads to better moods and better mood regulation abilities. Feeling stable helps you to avoid things like impulse purchasing and making other costly decisions.
35.) Use reusable storage containers. These days you can find a number of silicon base storage containers instead of Ziploc bags. You can purchase glass or stainless steel containers that are free from BPA’s and other harmful chemicals too. This saves you from having to purchase these materials like plastic wrap again and again.
36.) Invest in things you love. The world is so tempting these days. Online advertising and social media encourage you to purchase things right away. However nothing quite beats making the purchase that you’ve been saving up for and that you’ll love for years to come. Instead of purchasing a number of small items invest in things that you know you will love. Purchasing items only occasionally makes that occasion special. Not only that but you’ll have an item that you truly treasure and there’s something extremely special about that.
37.) Take a few days off of spending. Perhaps you’ve been sitting around inside trying to socially distance and you found yourself impulse purchasing more than normal. Try taking a hiatus to get yourself back on track. On that day maybe declutter your home, do some laundry, or listen to some good music that you forgot about. Take some time to write in your journal and highlight the goals that you have for your financial future.
38.) Quit smoking. Smoking is an expensive habit and it’s getting more expensive each year. If you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day in you’re likely spending close to $10,000 a year on cigarettes. Not only that the cigarettes are bad for your health and can cause serious health problems. These health problems lead to medical bills and more visits to your doctor. You get the picture, it’s time to quit smoking.
39.) Cancel your gym membership. Are you going to the gym three or four times a week? Or, are you going to the gym three or four times a year? Chances are if you’re in the latter category then it’s time for you to cancel your gym membership. Here’s the thing, there are a number of ways to work out for free online with websites like fitnessblender.com and others. If you get into the habit of working out every day then it may be all right to go ahead and join the gym again. However if you’re not in that habit than what I pay for it?
40.) Learn how to make something special. This may seem vague and in a way it kind of is. However once upon a time we all used to know how to make things and create things for our families. What happened to those days? Maybe you have really enjoyed making sourdough bread or perhaps you’ve tried your hand at making candles. Whatever it is make that your special thing. You’ll save money overtime and you’ll have a hobby that you can do for life. Not to mention you’ll be really popular at parties.
41.) Find inexpensive or free ways to entertain your kids. There are a number of things you can do to keep your kids busy. Playing with a ball in the backyard can keep children busy for hours. In fact, children often make toys out of things that they find around the yard or the house. You don’t need to purchase electronics or other expensive items in order to keep your kids occupied and entertained. Most children really want to be spending time with you so, do you need to do some laundry? Make a game out of that with your kids. Do you need to make some lunch? Show them what they can do to help.
42.) Go alcohol free for a month. Getting drinks at the end of the meal or with friends is a fun Way to hang out with friends but sometimes it’s the only way that we hang out with friends. Try a month without alcohol. If you’re struggling to do it, maybe ask a friend if they wanna do it along with you. Find other freeways to hang out. Go for a walk in the park, Make some thing together, watch the film at home, cook dinner together without the wine. A challenge like this may feel daunting but achieving it will help you to understand your boundaries and may be even save you a couple hundred dollars in one month alone.
43.) Batch cook your food. When cooking dinner why not make enough for four nights instead of just one night? Having this food ready in the refrigerator saves you time down the road and will save you money on groceries. Buying just the amount of items that you need to make one meal encourages needless spending.
44.) Install energy efficient lighting. LEDs or CFL have a longer life than normal incandescent bulbs and use a lot less energy to boot. LEDs are more expensive however they last longer and are getting cheaper as time goes on.
45.) Use creative materials to make your budget. Earlier we talked about tactile individuals using the envelope system to save money. Tactile individuals would also benefit from a creative journal such as a bullet journal to help them save money and stick to their monthly budget. Do you have a friend that’s really good at budgeting? Maybe ask them for advice and some pointers when creating your budget.
46.) Eat an apple right before you go out to dinner. Studies show that if you eat an apple which is effectively 95 cal then you’ll eat upwards to two or even 300 cal less at dinner. This means you’ll likely order less when you go out.
47.) Rarely go out to eat. Americans go out to eat more than 50% of the time. Going out to dinner used to be a special occasion however now people go out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner most days of the week and purchase ready-made foods when it’s time to eat at home. This habit can be very expensive and very bad for you as dinner at restaurants tend to be at least double the amount of calories sodium and other things that you wouldn’t typically eat if you were cooking for yourself. Keep going out to eat a special occasion.
48.) Engage with mindfulness exercises. We have been talking about mindless spending and impulse purchasing. In fact, impulse purchasing is probably one of the largest culprits with regards to overspending. Mindfulness is hip for a reason. Engaging in mindfulness practices such as deep breathing clearing your thoughts and watching your stress float by like a cloud will help you to make wiser decisions when making any purchase and help you engage with coping strategies essential for other aspects of life.
49.) Buy in bulk and freeze. The fewer trips to the grocery store the fewer times you will be tempted to impulse purchase. Having a number of items ready to go in the freezer may be a great option for you and your family. You can invest in a separate deep freezer and store in your garage. Just make sure to get into the habit of checking it!
50.) Live in the country. The city is a dazzling place to live. You can go out and hear live music. You can go to bars, you can go see plays, you can do a lot with your money when you live in a city. That being said, cities are also extremely expensive places for rent and other expenses. Living in the country is not for everyone but may be a great option for you. There is often a lot to do in the country such as starting your own garden, going to potlucks with your neighbors, mountain biking, hiking, and so much more. If you are ready to switch it up making a move out of the city to the country can be one of the biggest ways that you save money.