According to Statistic Brain, 42 percent of people who made resolutions last year vowed to get their finances in order. That made personal finance the second most common New Year’s resolution. Since most of us could benefit from setting aside a little extra cash, I want to share 103 ideas to help you save more this year.
Last year I wrote a series on personal finance in which I shared the secret to financial freedom. Spend less than you make! The more margin you have here, the greater freedom you’ll enjoy now and in the future. There are two ways to increase that margin–increase your income and decrease your spending.
Since decreasing expenditures is something nearly everyone can do immediately, that’s where I want to start. Here are 103 ways to can save extra cash, starting today.
103 Ways to Save Piles of Cash This Year
1. Create a budget and stick to it.
2. Limit impulse purchases. Grabbing a soda at the drive through and gum at the gas station add up to big money over the course of the year.
3. Set parameters for needs versus wants. When it comes to wants, only spend on things that bring you joy.
4. Buy the store brand for household essentials, beauty items, and food products.
5. Shop at private label stores such as Aldi and Trader Joe’s.
6. Compare price per unit.
7. Buy in bulk, but only if you’ll use it. Items such as potatoes and onions are almost always cheaper in a five-pound bag than per piece.
8. Don’t forget the frozen food section. Frozen fruits, veggies, and meats may be less expensive than their fresh counterparts.
9. Check your store’s weekly ad before heading out and plan your list based on sale items.
10. Stock up on sale items. For example, if you use canned pumpkin year-round, buy 12 months’ worth when it’s on sale in November. Again, make sure it will all be used and not wasted.
11. Plan a menu, create a list, and stick to it.
12. Shop less often and use what you have on hand before running to the store.
13. Use a slow cooker or Instant Pot to batch cook and freeze meals.
14. Shop the bulk bins for dry goods and spices. Buy only what you need.
15. Go direct to the supplier. This is a great way to get quality meat on a budget.
16. Cut back on meat and other animal products. Try Meatless Mondays or go vegetarian.
17. Eat real food! The only time of year we buy processed food is in the summer for camping. These few purchases increase our grocery bill by about 50 percent those months.
18. Don’t buy sliced, shredded, or individually packaged foods. Instead, consider a good quality food processor and reusable zip-top bags.
19. Grow your own food and shop farmers markets.
20. Eat seasonally.
21. Understand expiration and sell-by dates.
22. Deep freeze for a longer shelf life.
23. Eat most meals at home.
24. Pack lunches for work and school.
25. When you eat out, look for specials and happy hours.
26. Cut back on alcohol.
27. And if you still smoke, today’s a great day to quit–for good!
28. Drink mostly water.
29. Buy a good quality reusable water bottle.
30. Cut K cups and other single-use beverages.
31. Speaking of coffee, skip Starbucks and make your own specialty coffees at home.
32. Eliminate unnecessary beauty products and use what you already have such as honey and coconut oil.
33. Consider student services for haircuts, teeth cleanings, and massages.
34. Swap services or barter with friends.
35. Minimize cleaning products buy buying all in one products. Use what you already have on hand such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon oil.
36. Cut or limit disposable items such as paper products. Always buy select-a-size products when available.
37. Get rid of a vehicle and use public transportation or bike to work.
38. Move to an area that’s walkable.
39. Can’t walk, bike, or use public transportation? Find some carpool buddies ASAP.
40. Pay cash for cars. Interest and lease fees are budget busters.
41. Learn to DIY simple auto repairs like oil changes.
42. Find a trustworthy auto shop for other repairs. Even if you pay a little more on the frontend, you’ll save a lot over the long haul.
43. Use apps like Gas Buddy to find the cheapest gas.
44. Forgo the hotel and get a room or apartment through Airbnb.
45. When traveling, look for lodging that offers a private or shared kitchen so you can prepare your own meals.
46. Consider camping for your next family vacation. Check Craigslist and garage sales for quality used gear at low prices.
47. Use aggregators, such as Kayak, to search for and track travel deals.
48. DIY travel-sized toiletries.
49. Sign up for a cash back debit or credit card.
50. If you lack control with cards, only spend cash.
51. Review your bank statements and retirement accounts and eliminate high fees.
52. Credit card balance? If you can’t write a check to pay it off today, call to negotiate your interest rate or look into a balance transfer. Then shred the cards and stick to cash. (Learn more about slashing debt here.)
53. Pay insurance biannually to avoid convenience charges.
54. If you have a whole life plan, call your agent and switch to term life insurance today.
55. Take full advantage of memberships such as AAA or Costco–buy gas, book travel, and shop for insurance.
56. Compare rates for insurance annually.
57. Learn about natural remedies for health care. Epsom salt and organic apple cider vinegar are miraculous and just pennies per use.
58. Look for free and inexpensive activities for date night and family fun day. Picnics, museums, and hiking are low cost and healthier alternatives.
59. Check for free days at local museums and attractions.
60. When going to movies, choose matinees and second run theaters.
61. Wherever you go, eat before you go and bring your own snacks.
62. Take turns hosting dinner parties, happy hours, and wine tastings instead of expensive nights on the town with friends.
63. Consider mystery shopping to get free meals and maybe even make a little money.
64. Use the library. Libraries have gone beyond books and now offer music, movies, and even digital downloads.
65. Cancel magazine and newspaper subscriptions.
66. Move to a smaller space. Not only will you save on your rent or mortgage, but other bills like heating and cooling will decrease as well.
67. If switching to a smaller space isn’t doable, rent your unused rooms on Airbnb.
68. Learn to DIY home repairs. Both YouTube and hardware stores are great resources.
69. Save on interest by paying your mortgage biweekly instead of monthly.
70. Use a kitchen timer to cut back on water usage in the shower.
71. Install low flow showerheads.
72. Install low-flow toilets.
73. Build rain barrels to collect water for your garden and indoor plants.
74. Plant low maintenance landscaping and ground cover to reduce water and chemical usage.
75. Only do laundry when you have a full load.
76. Install a clothesline and dry your clothes outside.
77. Downsize your trash bin and compare rates for trash removal.
78. Recycle and compost everything you can.
79. Turn down the heat and AC when you’re away from home and sleeping. If you have a regular schedule, consider a programmable thermostat.
80. Turn off lights when leaving a room.
81. Install CFL or LED light bulbs.
82. Unplug appliances when not in use.
83. Get a home energy audit. Check with your county or utility company for free or reduced rates.
84. Lower your water heater’s temperature to 120 degrees.
85. Call your internet provider to renegotiate your rate.
86. If you pay a modem lease fee, figure out the breakeven point for buying a modem.
87. Review your wireless plan to make sure you’re using what you pay for. At the same time, make sure you are never paying for overages.
88. Cut the cord and ditch your cable or satellite provider.
89. Minimize your wardrobe to a few classic, high quality, coordinating pieces that will last for years to come.
90. Consider buying clothing from thrift shops and check their sale schedule for discount days.
91. Repair or alter clothing instead of throwing it out.
92. Buy used. Check Craigslist or Nextdoor for furniture, household items, fitness, sports equipment, and much more.
93. Go on a spending freeze.
94. Commit to never pay full price.
95. Shop online.
***BONUS TIP*** Go sign up for Ebates right now!
96. Avoid temptation and unsubscribe from all online shopping newsletters. (This one’s for my husband. Ahem, Competitive Cyclist. 😉 )
97. Cancel your gym membership and buy some kettlebells and hand weights.
98. Reconsider unlimited passes and memberships. Only pay for what you use.
99. Make homemade gifts and give experiences such as massages or a home-cooked meal.
100. Don’t get a pet.
101. If you do have a pet, buy supplies in bulk and DIY everything you can, such as treats.
102. Get rid of clutter and storage units. If you’re not using it, you probably don’t need it. Plus, you could even make some extra cash selling your unused items.
103. Just say no!
Maybe some of the things on this list aren’t for you. That’s okay. Pick a few that you like and start today. Remember that you don’t have to do it all at once to be a rock start saver. Most importantly, have fun with it.