40 Simple Ways to Save Money

by Tess

Creative Commons License photo credit: dno1967

Being frugal is in. Due to economic times many people are being forced to live on less. Let’s look at how we can feel empowered by shifting our attitudes about spending and buying less.

Instead of feeling like a victim, poor me, I can’t have this, I can’t have that…I tell myself I’m learning a new way to live that will enrich my relationships, my savings account and myself. We are taking back our freedom. This is our chance to get creative and make it as much fun as we possibly can.

Some of the methods I suggest may have been said before. But have we put them into practice?
Some are  new ideas or a twist on an old one. Hopefully what you read will inspire you to act and create even more ways to save.

1. Grocery shopping. Limit your time in the store. Plan your meals. Bring a list and stick to it. Do not bring your children with you and don’t shop when you’re hungry.  Shop for food once per week. If you run out of something put it on your list for the following week. Learn to improvise. Also check your reciept to make sure you haven’t been over charged for anything.

2. Purchase generic store brands. Buy in bulk. Join a food co-op. Stock up on ceral, rice, beans pasta, soda, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, bathroom tissue.

3. Use coupons. go to www.coupons.com and www.couponmom.com. Purchase what is on sale for the week. Choose apples on sale and purchase the full-priced when they go on sale.

Teach your children to be frugal. Challenge them to find coupons for things you need.

4. Brew your own coffee and tea. At the same time give yourself permission to treat yourself once in a while. Get a large jar and put your change in it that you’d normally spend on coffee or other fancy drinks. Label the jar “Money I Didn’t Waste.” When the jar is full deposit it in a special account. If your latte costs between $3-$6 each time, imagine the savings over 10 years.

5. Pack a lunch for work. Gather a group of coworkers that want to do the same. Each person can take a day to make sandwiches for everyone. Then you only have to do this one time per week. Make it fun. Ingredients for sandwiches should become a household staple.

es and bring them along when you are on any road trip over one hour. Always be prepared.

6. Avoid all vending machines. End of story.

7. Be prepared with snacks.  Carry healthy snacks in your purse and car at all times especially if you have children. Buy in bulk if you can, then divide into servings and put in ziplock baggies. Get the kids involved. Always have drinks in the car as well. Then you don’t have to stop and shop at convenience stores.

8. Cook at home. If you don’t know how to cook, learn. Prepare meals together on the weekends. Make large batches and freeze what’s left over. You can also purchase a crock pot so your meal is ready when you return home.

9. Go out to eat during happy hour. Happy hour usually has appetizers half price. Order soda and you can get free refills. If alcohol is your choice that is discounted as well. You can also find deals at www.restaurant.com.

10. Purchase gifts for your children on birthdays and holidays only. You are teaching them to live on less. They will grow up without a sense of entitlement.

11. Go to the matinee.If you go prior to 6 pm tickets are discounted. Treat yourself to ice cream prior to going and avoid spending money at the consession stand.

12. Purchase less music. Listen to your old stuff.

13. Watch less TV and you and your children will view less commercials.

14. Cut your cable bill, look at basic options.

15. Avoid late fees by paying your bills on time. Pay your bills on the same day and at the same time so it becomes a habit.

16.  Practice gratitude when you pay your bills. Be grateful for every service and product you purchase. You will change your attitude and energy. It doesn’t have to be an unpleasant task.

17. Examine your credit card bills to make sure you aren’t charged for something you didn’t purchase. Do the same for bank and phone statements. It’s amazing how often we find errors.

18. Eliminate your land line if possible. Hook your internet via cable.

19. Seek out and get your hair done at an education beauty institute or learn to do your own,

20. Do your own manicures and pedicures.

21. Purchase used books, discounted books or go the librabry. Teach your children to do this as well.

22. Buy pre-owned cars that have low milage and are only a few years old. Find a knowlegable person to help you make the purchase if needed. A new one depreciates the minute it’s off the lot. Always negotiate the price, always. Be willing to walk away.
23. Care for your car and keep it as long as possible. When you are finished paying for it put it put the monthly payment in your savings account.

24. Purchase an online DVD membership. Netflix is cheaper than renting or buying videos. You can also get them at the library.

25. Purchase appliances that are dented or scratched.Sears put theirs on sale. We have purchased them for our cottage and havesaved a significant amount of money.

26. Do your own landscaping.

27. Grow your own food if possible. Get your famiily involved.

28. Do your own house cleaning. Involve your entire family in the process. Choose the same day and time weekly.

29. Unplug electric apliances instead of just turning them off. Turn off lights and fans if you aren’t in the room. Lower your thermostat in the winter and wear a sweater.

30. Carpool and/or use public transportation. If you did this regularly you could save a lot over the years.

31. Ride your bike if possible to work or to run errands.

32. Travel closer to home. Learn to camp and enjoy the outdoors. You can take more trips that are less extravagant. Check for online bargains and discounts.

33. Entertain at home. Invite everyone to bring a dish to pass and play games or cards.

34. Purchase gently used clothing. Go to thrift shops and garage sales. Grab a friend or two and make it fun.

35. Partner and share babysitting services with family and friends. 

36. Stop all memberships. Exercise at home instead of joining a gym. Give up online memberships as well. Give up your country club.

37. Don’t allow emotions to control your money. Never shop when you’re bored, sad, cranky, angry or in a bad mood. Find other ways to uplift yourself.

38. Shop thrift stores, flea markets, and garage/yard sales to decorate your home.

39. Avoid purchasing brand name shampoo, conditioner and body wash and other products

40. Barter services. Organizing, painting, cleaning, automobile repairs and other talents and jobs can be bartered with friends, neighbors and families.

Bonus: 41. Quit smoking. Get help with addictions. They rob you of more than your money.

Please leave a comment and tell us how you are being frugal or in 2009!

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    { 23 comments… read them below or add one }

    Daphne January 21, 2009 at 7:42 am

    Hi Tess,

    This is a very useful list! I’m tweeting it now!

    Daphne’s last blog post..How Does Your Life Script Read?


    Tess January 21, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Thanks Daphne, I appreciate your compliment and glad you think it worthwhile.


    Stacey / Create a Balance January 21, 2009 at 10:14 am

    I’m stumbling! During the month of January I have been trying to eat mostly organic food and have been shopping at Whole Foods most of the time. I am realizing that buying healthy organic food is twice as expensive as my regular groceries (that may be covered with toxins).
    I’ll be working through my thoughts in an upcoming post.

    Stacey / Create a Balance’s last blog post..Oprah Inspired Life Balance Products Are Here (With a Free Giveaway)


    Neil January 21, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Wow! Great list! Not only will this list help easy any financial burden or difficulties it will also shrink your waistline and teach you and your family to be more gracious and appreciative of all that you do have. Thanks for sharing Tess!

    Neil’s last blog post..Hope


    Jannie Funster January 21, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Bold One! How come you didn’t run for president??!?!

    Hope you will send this post to the White House so it can be required reading by EVERYBODY?

    Jannie Funster’s last blog post..And the ukulele song winner is…


    Lance January 22, 2009 at 4:26 am

    Hi Tess,
    What a great list! We can all probably find something on this list we can benefit from. I’m taking the snack in ziplock baggies – about being prepared with snacks. This is good, and is also a good way to pack healthy.

    #31 I love – I do this one during the nicer months of the year. Not only is biking good for saving money – it’s also good exercise, and good for the mind and soul as well. I find that biking to work is also the perfect time to really do some good thinking. I’m not distracted by the radio, other drivers, etc.

    Lance’s last blog post..As Real As It Gets


    V. Higgins January 22, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Great post! People forgot how much little things add up. As my friend said “No single raindrop thinks it’s responsible for the flood”.
    One point on #11 – theaters are on to that and some (i.e. AMC) are changing their mantenee times to earlier, like 4:30 or so; read your fine print!


    B J Keltz January 22, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Way back when I was expecting my first child, my mother in law gave me a stack of coupons. She was so disappointed I didn’t use them…but the store brands were less costly than the name brands WITH the coupon! I finally got her hooked

    The only thing I don’t skimp on as much is bread. It has to be healthy, hearty (and more filling) than white fluff. Consequently we eat less…which is good for the waistline. :)

    B J Keltz’s last blog post..Zap!


    AJ Kumar January 22, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    I love happy hour!

    Great list thanks!

    AJ Kumar’s last blog post..Courage. Do You Have it or Do You Want it?


    Amy Jewell / Cirklagirl January 23, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Great list! It is encouraging to know that I do most of these but it is always a treat to find new ways to save. I did gleam a few ones from this post though. I will have to try out that coupon site. Thanks for a great post, Tess!


    Tess January 24, 2009 at 9:44 am

    I hear you on the bread! Growing up (10 kids) we always had the white fluff and I understand why. Don’t eat it anymore. Like you only the great stuff!

    We went every weekend to happy hours when our kids were young and never felt cheated. Just happy we could afford it. We knew every place in town and what food they was on the menu!

    Sounds like you are smart with your money. We work to hard to let it free fall from our hands! Thanks for your compliment. I appreciate you stopping by.

    Tess’s last blog post..40 Simple Ways to Save Money


    Ruth January 24, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Great list! I’m shocked by how much I’d have to pay for lunch if I wanted to eat in any of the little restaurants near my work. $6 minimum, which is $30/week or $120/month. That’s if I don’t buy a drink or sides. That’s twice as much as my commute costs! Most meals cost more like $10 each.

    So I pack a lunch, bring a couple energy bars and some fruit for the day and the whole thing costs $3 or less, depending on what I’m having.

    Ruth’s last blog post..Could I Get More Obsessed With My Own Life?


    Jannie Funster January 25, 2009 at 7:39 am

    You’ll be very happy to know I ate at Happy Hour on Friday! Margarita — $3.50 with free chips, queso, bean dip and savory ground beef crumbles – as much as I wanted of all the food. Whee-hoo!!!!!

    Jannie Funster’s last blog post..Sunday May 10th 7:30 p.m.


    Tess January 26, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Amazing! Guess what. My daughter worked at Fridays for seven years and on “Fridays” of course that was our place for happy hours for 7 years.

    You rock Jannie!


    Carla January 26, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Great list! My favorite one is shopping at thrift stores. I have found some of my best articles of clothing there (and consignment stores).

    Carla’s last blog post..Is it too late?


    Barbara Swafford January 27, 2009 at 12:32 am

    Hi Tess – What a fabulous list. I’m frugal, but with the recession, have made me even more “tight”. Taking care of the car we have is a great tip. I love the fact I don’t have a car payment and can save on insurance, too. Plus, I love to run errands in circles so I don’t backtrack,

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..How To Lose Blog Visitors


    Tess January 27, 2009 at 6:42 am


    I need to pay more attention to not backtracking. However my ADHD makes it challenging!


    easy ways to save money February 8, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    nice post
    Everyone can save money in small and seemingly insignificant areas if you know how and where to do it.
    These are all great ideas
    Great tips! I’ll be coming back to learn more about saving money!


    How-to-Save-Money February 10, 2009 at 6:50 am

    Great list, particulary like this one:

    “Brew your own coffee and tea.”

    There’s a calculator here: http://www.hughchou.org/calc/coffee.cgi that shows exactly how much that daily Starbucks is costing you. Eye-opening!

    How-to-Save-Money’s last blog post..How to Apply for the Bridge Card in Michigan for EBT Food Benefits


    cj April 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Tess this was a realy great post and most helpfull. Good practical ideas many I hadn’t thought of! your good :>


    Confused? March 5, 2010 at 7:33 am

    Some top money saving tips, thrifting can be used for lots of items. Shopping like this takes a longer time, but the savings are so worthwhile. you can pick up some real bargains if you search hard enough.
    .-= Confused?´s last post…The art of Thrifting…. =-.


    hassanelaorf April 16, 2011 at 3:20 am

    great list thank you


    Jimmy/Life Architect September 24, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Hi Tess,

    I love this list. So many ideas that we can implement to save more pennies for the future. In particular, I have made #4 and #5 my daily habit at work. From where I come from, a cup of morning coffee at my local coffee shop is one dollar. When I buy sachets from the supermarket, it is 4 dollars fro twenty packs. Thats a 16 dollar saving for 2 weeks supplies. Lunching out at work cost about 8-10 dollars easily these days at food courts. Packing my own lunch which usually consist of left overs from dinners will mean I get to save at least 200 dollars a month. I have also extended this to newspapers. I don’t buy newspapers anymore since we can get news on the internet. Besides most news are negative energy anyway.

    I have one challenge on being frugal for all of us to consider though. How can you still live it up and still remain frugal? For me, recently, I discovered the concept of Groupons. With these, I still get first class eating and pampering and holidays at more than half the price. Not a bad way to live in luxury and being frugal right.

    Jimmy/Life Architect´s last post…Becoming a Better Person Through Blogging and Writing


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