Are you looking for easy ways to save money? Here are some of my best money saving tricks!
Save money on entertainment
1. Save money eating out
Restaurants can get spendy. If your favorite restaurant doesn’t offer any specials or coupons, don’t fret. Simply going there for breakfast or lunch can get your bill down and still let you enjoy your favorite place. If that doesn’t work, you can always go searching for a new favorite restaurant or hit up a local happy hour to satisfy your cravings. Still need to hit the restaurant during prime dinner hours? Try ordering a cheaper appetizer and sharing a entree. You’ll still leave full and your pocket book will thank you.
2. Get reacquainted with your local library
When was the last time you stopped by your local library? My library carries thousands of books, DVDs, even music CDs. They also have an option to borrow electronic copies of my books that I can access directly through my kindle or iPad. Sure, you may already have Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu, but my local library carries titles I can’t find anywhere else; all for free.
3. Check out community events
Local community events are a great way to save money on entertainment costs. Our local zoo offers free or reduced cost admissions for various events throughout the year. There’s also a program that offers free admission to many museums on certain days of the year. Check with your local museums, zoos and other community locations to see what types of specials they offer and save some serious dough.
4. Celebrate holidays before/after the “real day”
We’ve had a rule in our house for many years that we don’t go out on Valentine’s day. We go the weekend before or the weekend after, whichever aligns with our schedule that year. Why? To save money! Ever go to your favorite restaurant and find the “special holiday menu?” It’s always limited to a few choices and a much higher price tag. No thanks, I’ll skip the crowds, the waiting and the over-priced menus.
5. Share your favorite video streaming service with your friends!
Before you jump to the wrong conclusion I’m not advocating sharing your username/password with your friends and family. What I am suggesting is a friendly pot-luck gathering with your favorite friends and a binge-watching night of your favorite shows together. Not only do you get to spend time with people you care about, you get to share in the costs of having a Netflix viewing party. Take turns having your friends sign up for the subscription. Maybe you end up paying for two months a year and share the rest of the costs with your friends. Win/ win if you ask me.
Pro-Tip: Are you thinking it’s not realistic to share streaming with your friends? Instead, sign up for 3-months of the year when you’re the least busy and binge-watch away. You get to enjoy 75% savings and still watch your favorite shows on your own schedule.
6. Wait to purchase new video game systems
Do you need to buy the newest PlayStation the moment it comes out? Can you wait a year until the price comes down or even 2 years after a new one comes out? If you can skip one cycle of gaming, then every time a new one comes out you can buy the version before it. The games will still be just as amazing and you get to relish in all the money you’ve saved. Even better, get your friends on board the same plan so you all enjoy it at the same time.
I’m the only entertainment you need.
Save money at home
7. Trim down that electricity bill
Is your home as energy efficient as it can be? Even if you can’t afford to buy new energy saving appliances until your current ones break, there are many other ways you can trim down your bill. Change out all your light bulbs with the energy efficient versions. The up-front costs are a little higher, but you’ll be saving money in the long term with lower energy usage. Also try unplugging your appliances when you’re not using them. There is always a certain amount of power used while something is on “stand-by.” How much you’ll save depends on how many things you have plugged in, however the Department of Energy estimates an average household loses 5-8% of their home’s annual usage. If you pay $100 per month in electricity, you could save $60- $96 a year!
8. Save 15% or more on cable / internet
If you’re not calling your cable and/or internet provider once every 6 – 12 months (depending on how long your contract is), you are leaving serious money on the table. A quick phone call to your local company can save 15-25% of you bill and likely get you some new channels for your trouble. Most times you don’t need to threaten to quit. Just ask about any specials they might have to bring down your cost or compete with other offers you have received from their competitors. Can’t be bothered to call yourself? There are multiple companies popping up that will do the work for you. Check out Trim or billfixers.
9. Declutter your house
Clutter can have a negative effect on saving money. Ever think you were out of toothpaste, proceed to over-pay for a tube at the local grocery store in a pinch only to come home and find 3 tubes on standby? Too much clutter leads to buying things you don’t need.
10. Sell your stuff
All that clutter you just found in your home? Why not sell it? You get some extra cash and may even find you enjoy spending time in your home now that your house is clutter free.
Save on Groceries
11. Cash in on grocery rewards programs
Signing up for rewards programs is like finding free money every month. Once $Maverick and I started using the shopping apps, we saved 15-30% of our monthly bill on groceries. The average grocery bill for a family of 4 is around $800 a month. Even a 15% savings could save over $1,500 a year which is a big chunk of change.
12. Buying in bulk
When things go on sale, it’s best to stock up. We keep a running list of the things we purchase most often, including a price range of when we know it makes sense to buy. For example, we know if pineapples are going for $3.99. we wait. Anytime they drop below $3.00 we pounce and get a couple of them. Other good items to consider? Pasta and rice boxes frequently go on sale, sandwich meat in the deli and of course ice cream. Want to learn more? Read more about how to save money by buying more here.
I always get my cheese.
13. Stick to your list and never go hungry
Before heading off to the grocery you need a plan. It’s not enough to say you’ll stay away from the cookie aisle where the Oreos will plead to you from the shelves to take them home. You need to have a plan of what you’re getting, what you’re not getting and stick to it. Even just one exception of an item you forgot quickly turns into a open spigot of over-priced and unnecessary items sneaking into your cart. Stay strong and be sure to eat a snack before you hit the store. You don’t want to end up at the hot counter grabbing take-out chinese food or a cooked chicken because you are famished and can’t possibly go home and cook.
14. Cooking in bulk
Making meals in advance and in bulk can save you piles of money. You get the benefits of having a freshly made home-cooked meal that is cheaper and healthier than anything you’re likely to find at nearby restaurant. You also get to save the time and effort of cooking throughout the week. Even better? You might be able to resist going out to lunch during working hours and bringing a delicious brown-bag lunch from home.
15. Switch to the generic brands
Have you tried any generic brands lately? I can’t tell the difference between many of them in the store. If you’re willing to pay for the extra cost of the marketing, so be it. I’ll stick to my generic canned tomatoes and store brand pasta. Are there exceptions? Yes, but not many.
Find me generic brands of Mimolette and Montgomery’s Cheddar immediately.
16. Save money on your insurance bills
When was the last time you called and got a new quote from other insurance companies? If you’re not calling at least every two years (and preferably every year), you could be leaving hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the table. Call your insurance agent and simply ask them to get you another quote, or go online and get some online your quotes by yourself. It’s worth it.
17. Take care in using your credit cards
Credit cards are great and dangerous at the same time. If used correctly, you can save up points for cash back, travel benefits or special offers at local businesses which can lead to hundreds in savings every year. Use them incorrectly and you’ll pay back more than you’d ever gain in the form of interest and fees. If you pay off your balance every month and use credit (and rewards) wisely, you’ll come out ahead and save beaucoup bucks.
Save money on transportation
18. Price shop between Uber & Lyft
Need a quick ride and looking to use ride share? The coverage between Uber & Lyft in different cities can vary widely. Not to mention different times of days. Always pop open both the Uber & Lyft apps to check which one is cheaper for you at the very moment you want to travel. You might be surprised at what you find. I consistently save 5% or more by taking the extra 30 seconds to check both.
19. Start a carpool to work
Do you live nearby your coworkers? Kill two birds with one stone and organize a carpool. Not only can you take advantage of less gas and wear/tear on your car, you can all chip in and save on expensive parking costs. Bonus: many parking garages offer discounts for carpoolers or your job may offer a subsidy for participating. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get to collaborate on a project, hear the latest gossip or get an early tip off of a job opening that is about to come out.
20. Start a ride-share with other parents to drop off the kids
Need a break from taking your kids to after school practices at two different places? Why not try organizing a ride-share with other kids in the program. Not only do you get a night off once in a while, your kids get extra social time and you get to save on gas.