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1. Get a Cash Back Credit Card
We could all use a little more money. If you’re tired from living month-to-month off of your paycheck, or just want to build up your cash, there are simple steps that you can do right now to save extra money.
These 101 steps don’t require you to dramatically alter your lifestyle and are very simple to implement.
Most credit cards these days give you cash back, anywhere from 1% – 5% at restaurants, movies, groceries, Starbucks and much other places. It may not seem like much at first, but it slowly adds up. I usually save around $500 or more annually by using these cards everywhere I go. Here are a few cards I recommend to get started:
2. Cancel Your Gym Membership
Find yourself having a gym membership but only going a few times a month? If you can’t make time to go to the gym or can find an alternative at home, it may be best to cancel your membership to do other forms of exercise. If you must use a gym, we suggest getting a pass to all of them in your area with ClassPass.
3. Cancel Cable Television
It’s always nice to relax in front of the television, but with Netflix and streaming television that we have today, there’s really no need to pay for cable television. One popular website to watch TV online that’s free is Hulu.com.
4. Stop Downloading iTunes songs
I’m not saying that you have to download songs illegally, but purchasing a bunch of songs really adds up fast at $.99 cents a piece or more. There are great alternatives for listening to music such as Pandora, Youtube or Spotify.
5. Turn Out the Lights
When you leave the home, make sure to turn out the lights. Even if you’re at home, but find yourself having a light that’s turned on that is not necessary, turn it off, and you’ll quickly notices a difference in your power bill.
6. Cook at Home
Going out to eat with friends can both be appetizing and entertaining, yet also very expensive. Try cooking at home and inviting your friends over to eat for social interaction. You can learn a new skill and save some money.
When I was cooking at home for a month straight, I averaged $3 a meal. At a restaurant this would have cost me double or triple that amount.
7. Make Your Own Gifts
Homemade gifts also come with a personal touch that will make you seem more sincere. Simple objects that can be made at home are cards, candles and crafts.
8. Don’t Go to Starbucks as Often
This may be difficult for you Starbucks lovers, but making coffee at home every once in a while wouldn’t hurt your wallet. If you buy one tall coffee everyday for a month, that’s a minimum of spending an extra $90 a month.
9. Switch to a Bank that Doesn’t Charge Fees
Check your bank transaction history and make sure there aren’t any fees imposed. Sometimes banks will even charge you a couple dollars per month just for having money in an account or being below a minimum.
Many banks will accept your money, so don’t be afraid to cancel an account and switch. In fact, sometimes banks will even pay you to open a new account with them.
10. Stop Buying Bottled Water
Get a Britta instead and filter it. If the safety of your water is really bothering you, filter the water then boil it. You should be okay after this.
11. No Need to Buy Luxury Brands
Luxury items such as Pradda an Gucci or other expensive clothes can hold up just as well as other, more economical brands. Clothes are always getting damaged or stains, casuing them to often be replaced.
What if your new $300 purse has been ruined, but you just spent so much money on it? Save yourself the hassle and the money by going with a cheaper, more reliable option.
12. Buy Bar Soap
Much cheaper than body wash.
13. Don’t Buy Junk Food
Junk food not only is more expensive than regular food but is bad for your health. Improve your body and your wallet by not buying it anymore.
14. Downgrade Your Cell Phone Plan
You have unlimited texting, internet, 3000 minutes per month, but your cell phone costs you $50 a month. Get a new plan or downgrade your current one.
I currently have internet, unlimited texting and 500 minutes for about $30 dollars. If I need to use more minutes, I just use Skype for free.
15. Unplug Appliances Not in Use
There’s a silent killer that lurks among us called “vampire energy.” Vampire energy is the power that is drained from appliances that are not in use and plugged in. Make sure to unplug more appliances when not in use and right before you leave home.
For more information on vampire energy, check out this article – There’s a Deadly Killer in Our Homes: Vampire Energy.
16.Use Less Air Conditioning
I know the summer can be hot and brutal, but turning off your A/C for just a few hours a day can work wonders. Buy a fan at night when your sleeping and use the A/C only during the hottest part of the day.
Even better is going to a public library or a coffee shop and using their A/C while yours at home is turned off.
17. Buy Used Books
I never buy new books anymore when I can get used ones for almost a third of the price. Check out half.com for a great place to buy used books.
18. Eat Less Meat
One of the more expensive items on your plate as well. If you find yourself eating a lot of meat, eating less will also be healthier and your body will thank you for it.
19. Cancel Your Magazine Subscriptions
A lot of times we can find our favorite articles online or by reading blogs. There’s no need to have a magazine delivered to our homes when we can print it from our computer.
The library is also a great resource for finding magazines and newspapers.
20. Apply For Rewards Programs
When you go to check out your groceries next time you go shopping, ask the cashier if there are any rewards programs and what benefits they offer. It could be a gateway to cash back on your purchases.
Ebates is a website that gives you cash back for making purchases. You don’t even have to sign-up for a credit card.
They have over 3,000 retailers and can save you from 1% – 20% depending on where you shop at.
If you want more information, read my Full Review on Ebates.
22. Stop Going to Bars
I always find that drinking at home with friends is much more entertaining and saves me lots of money buy buying alcohol at the supermarket.
23. Pay Off Your Credit Card Bill
With interest at 18%, your credit card bill can quickly skyrocket. Make it a priority to pay this off first.
If you feel like you can’t pay it off immediately, apply for a new credit card that charges you no interest for the first year and does a free balance transfer. Just make sure to work on paying it back.
24. Ride a Bike
Even if it’s only a couple of times to work a week, riding a bike is more economical and environmentally friendly. Instead of going to a place that’s far away for fun, go to a local park and ride your bike there.
25. Plan Vacations in Advanced
Instead of buying a plane ticket a week before you go to Hawaii, try a few months beforehand.
26. Don’t Try to Keep Up With the Jones’s
Don’t try to impress your friends by buying expensive items. If they’re your true friends, they’ll appreciate you for who you are, not what you have.
27. Get a Health Savings Account
Directly deposit money from your paycheck tax-free into a health savings account (HSA). Ask your Human Resources Department at your work for more information.
28. Get Tax Credits for Reducing the Energy Used in Your Home
By using certain products in your home that are energy-efficient, you can get money back off of your tax statement. Check out energystar.gov for more information.
29. Never Pay for ATM Fees Again
There are now debit cards that reimburse you for all ATM fees, even international ones.
30. Pay for Bills Online
No need to buy envelopes or postage stamps.
31. Repair Damaged Clothing
Don’t throw away an article of clothing just because there’s a small hole. Try to patch it up or sew a new thread instead.
32. Go to Local Events
If you’re looking for something fun to do, check the local newspaper for events in your area. These type of activities are usually free. No need to go to an expensive amusement park every other weekend.
Our local museum is free the first Tuesday of every month.
33. Ask For a Lower Interest Rate on Your Loan or Credit Card
Have a high-interest loan and don’t want to switch credit cards? A simple phone call and asking for a lower rate can get it reduced.
34. Avoid Overdraft Fees
Sometimes we all make mistakes, but try to keep track of how much money is in your bank account. If you do make the mistake once or twice a year, banks will usually refund you for making the overdraft. Don’t be afraid to ask and make sure to be polite.
I once asked for my overdraft fees to be removed from 2 months ago, and they were more than happy to do so.
35. Look What’s in Your Closet
Not so you can sell it, but so you know what you already have. Sometimes we forget past purchases, so always check before buying the same item again.
36. Order Water at Restaurants
If you decide to go with a drink while eating out, just get water. A drink can run you anywhere from $3 to $5 dollars!
For more information about saving the most at restaurants, check out 10 Steps to Save 20% Dining at Any Restaurant.
37. Quit Smoking
Easier said than done, smoking at over $5 a pack can be very expensive. Try electronic cigarettes for a great way to quit.
38. Look for Sales
Does your favorite grocery store have a discount on Wednesdays? Check flyers, brochures, the newspapers or coupons for the best way to save money.
39. Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
The normal bulb that you are used to using is an incendescent light bulb, which is the most expensive and by far drains energy. Consider getting a CFL or LED bulb instead.
Here’s a chart from eartheasy.com that shows the price comparison chart between the three bulbs.
40. Connect All of Your Devices to a True Smart Power Strip
These power strips run a little on the expensive side from $30 – $40, but can dramatically cut down your power bill. They work to find the best way to reduce the amount of energy in use.
They even shut off the energy when a device isn’t in use. Search for True Smart Power Strip on Google to quickly find one. Here’s one on Amazon for $28.00 with free shipping.
41. Sharpen Your Razor Blade
Don’t ever buy another cartridge again. This guy found out how to use his arm to sharpen his razor blade.
Find out if your co-workers live close to you or not and offer to carpool. It’s also a much more entertaining way to get to and from work.
43. Don’t Buy a $50 Haircut
In two weeks it won’t look the same as it did when it was just cut anyways. Might as well get a $20 one that will look just as good.
44. Grow Your Own Food
Planting seeds and starting a garden is a great way to save money. Furthermore, the crops you grow are fresh and organic, unlike most of them at your local grocery store.
45. Change the Way You Drive
Did you know that by slowly accelerating to increase speed instead of quickly can result in saving gas? I didn’t either. Change the way you drive and how you spend money on gas. The less recklessly you drive, usually results in less money spent on gas.
Check out my Gas Frugality Guide for tips to save on gas.
46. Bring Your Own Lunch to Work
Stop eating out all of the time and cook at home. You can even cook 3 days worth of lunch in one sitting to save time if you don’t mind eating the same meal too often.
47. Reevaluate Your Insurance
Look at your current car insurance bill and look for a cheaper rate. Better yet, ask your insurance company right now if they can currently lower the rate since you’ve been a loyal customer.
This applies for health insurance, life insurance and any other types that come across your mind.
48. Buy in Bulk
Costco is great for buying in bulk. Even if you may not need something right now, the fact that you will use it a few months down the road still means that you will use it eventually.
If you don’t want to spend money on a Costco membership, ask to go with a friend who has one.
49. Reuse lunch and grocery bags
Either wash them or reuse them. No need to buy paper bags when you get them at grocery stores.
50. Buy a Tote Bag
This is for those of you who live in an area where grocery bags charge you roughly 5 cents for each plastic bag. Instead, save yourself some cash by getting a tote bag. This can also be used as your lunch box.
51. Happy Hour
Drinks and appetizers at happy hour can be up to 50% off. Ask the restaurant if they have a happy hour and when it starts.
52. Turn Down the Thermostat
Put on long pants and a sweater to save on your heating bill. According to Alliance to save, each degree that you turn the heat down saves you an extra 5% on your energy bill.
53. Buy Store Brands
They’re usually the cheapest.
54. Don’t Sleep in a Hotel
Going traveling? Don’t bother staying in a fancy hotel. You can use CouchSurfing to find a host with couches to sleep on for free. What a nice, adventurous way to explore a new city. Just make sure to read their references first. Airbnb also has great options.
55. Buy Packaged Deals
This may seem ridiculous, but sometimes adding that extra line to your cable and internet bill can save you money overall. Ask your internet company what packages they offer and see if it’s cheaper than your current monthly bill.
56. Take Shorter Showers
You could probably finish a shower within 5 minutes.
57. Change Residencies
If your current rent is too expensive, consider looking for a new apartment.
There is a fee for breaking the lease early, so you can either way until your lease has expired or calculate how much you’d save minus the fee for breaking your contract. See if it comes out to be a positive number.
58. Don’t Dirty the Carpets
Don’t eat over carpets and don’t wear your shoes on them either. This can save you money on vacuuming and cleaning.
59. Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
Here’s a great guide at http://www.instructables.com/id/E4EH7NBVFZEYF7J31L. It only costs a couple of dollars to make.
60. Don’t Leave the Water Running While Brushing
Make sure to turn of the tap when brushing your teeth or anytime you’re not washing your hands.
61. Check All Airlines For a Plane Ticket
I usually go to www.kayak.com to search for the cheapest tickets, but will also go directly to an airlines page to check for specials. Make sure to shop around.
62. Read More
One of the cheapest hobbies out there. Buy books online at half.com for a cheap price or go to your local library.
63. Buy a Used Car
As soon as you take a new car off of the parking lot, it goes down in value immediately. Save yourself a couple thousand dollars when you’re looking to purchase a car by buying it used.
64. Pay Down Your Mortgage
Stop paying interest on your mortgage and pay it off faster. Better yet, call whoever is supplying your mortgage and ask for a discount. They’ll usually be kind enough to give you a small discount if you’ve made all of your payments on time.
65. Don’t Change Your Oil After 3,000 Miles
It is the recommendation, but completely unnecessary. The reason that we have this as the current standard is because older cars needed to change their oil every so often.
For any car past the year 2000, you’ll be more than safe changing your oil after every 5,000 miles instead.
66. Don’t Pay for Education
Thinking of taking a class in a local college that you never took when getting your bachelor’s degree? AcademicEarth.org is a website that records videos of professors at Ivy League schools teaching classes.
67. Dumpster Dive
While it may not be the most dignifying, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
This one is especially important for either renting a car or buying a car. It never hurts to ask for a discount on places in which the prices are flexible.
69. Avoid Extra Fees When Purchasing an Airline Ticket
When you go to purchase your airline ticket online, there will be other things that they try to make you pay for that are already check-marked. Some of them are insurance, an extra bag or a meal. Be sure to look out for these.
Sometimes volunteer organizations will give you free lunch or other free goods for helping give back to the community.
71. Wait for Technology to Go Out of Style
The iphone 6 just came out and you need it now! Wait an extra few months before the price drops or consider buying the iphone 5. Each new version usually means a drop in price for lower versions of the time item.
72. Shop for Clothing at a Thrift Store
I’ve found some of my best outfits here for a fraction of the price.
73. Attend Yard Sales
Look in the local newspaper or on craigslist for garage sales in your area. Usually there will be more in the same area. If you find an item you want, ask for a slightly lower price from the owner.
74. Get in Good Shape
Eating well and daily exercise will save you money down the road when it comes to seeing the doctor. They say that exercising helps prevent depression, and if you start under 30 you won’t get back pain when you’re older.
75. Look for Furniture on Craigslist
Sometimes you can even find a free mattress!
76. Inflate Your Car Tires
If your car tires are under-inflated, your car has to use more gas to keep going. Make sure that the PSI is up to where it needs to be.
77. Stop Taking Vitamin Pills
Stop spending money on pills. Scientific Journals state that there is no scientific evidence that taking supplementary vitamins actually improve your health. Here is an article that states these claims. You’d be better off eating right.
78. Put a Brick in Your Toilet
Put a brick or something heavy in the water in the tank of your toilet. It will reduce the flushing power, but save you money on water.
79. Don’t Wash Your Pants Every Day
If your pants don’t need it, try to wash them only a couple of times a week.
80. Eat Before You Go Grocery Shopping
If you go while hungry, you tend to put things in your cart that you don’t need.
81. Never Purchase Car Insurance When Renting
Visa has a hidden benefit that if you use a Visa credit card when renting a car, auto-insurance is automatically included. Read here for more information on rental car savings.
82. Buy Frozen Vegetables and Fruit
They last a long time and still provide good, nutritional value.
83. Wash Your Own Car
All you need is a bucket, soap and water. There’s $8 saved.
84. Get a Roommate
Living alone can be a blessing at times, but if you don’t mind the extra person try to get a roommate to reduce costs. It can also bringer closer (or farther away) to that other person.
85. Reuse Gift Bags
When you receive a gift, don’t throw away the gift bad. Put it in a drawer for later use. My mother has about 100 in her drawer at home.
86. Use Cold Water to Wash Clothes
Heating up water costs a lot of money, almost an extra 50 cents per load. Save by using cold water if you can help it.
87. Air-dry Clothing
Don’t waste energy using a clothes dryer.
88. Find Deals on Groupon
89. Get a Free Teeth Cleaning
Dental colleges are looking for patients and will often clean your teeth for free. Groupon often has deals for as little as $20 for a new teeth cleaning provided that you’re a new customer.
90. Don’t Gamble
It is a way to make a quick dollar, but with high risks it’s usually not worth it. Most people end up losing money at the casino instead of winning.
91. Move Closer to Work
If you find yourself driving to work for an hour one-way, consider moving closer. Not only will it save you extra time, but will also save you on gas as well.
92. Cut Back on Alcohol
It’s not good for your health and it’s one of the most expensive drinks out there. If you have to go for a drink, at least buy the least expensive one on the menu.
93. Stop Buying Lotto Tickets
It is a way to win money, but the odds of you winning are slim to none. Millions are wasted every year on purchasing lotto tickets.
94. Avoid Extended Warrenties
Appliances these days are more durable than ever and can last up to a long time. If it needs to be replaced soon in the first place, it’s not usually worth buying.
95. Drink Water Before Each Meal
It will make you more full when you start to eat. As Americans, we tend to eat more than we really need. Drinking water beforehand will help reduce our appetite.
96. Do It Yourself
If you have the necessary skills, try considering making something yourself before going out and purchasing it.
97. Fight Traffic Tickets
Going to court for traffic tickets can usually get them reduced or written off. It really depends on why the ticket was written and previous offenses.
98. Pick Up Your Food Instead of Delivery
You pay the delivery fee plus the tip for the delivery man. Save a few bucks, don’t be lazy, and drive over there.
99. Eat a Vegetarian Meal Once in a While
With the expensive price of meat, eggs are a great substitute to get your source of protein.
100. Frequently Check Our Hot Deals Section
Our Hot Deals Page keeps you up to date on all of the hot deals going on from technology to groceries.
101. Apply for Free Samples
Free Samples are very abundant offered almost every day, especially simple products such as shampoo, soap etc. Sometimes you can even get free food!
If you have any more suggestions, leave them in the comments below! Thanks for reading.