101 Ways to Save Money in Your Everyday Life

Tiny leaks and evaporation put a constant drain on your resources. As discussed in our previous post, From Pennies One Million Dollars Grow, a few cents saved here and there can add up to be a significant amount. Here we offer 101 suggestions for plugging expenditures in various aspects of your life – around the house, in your personal care, transportation, recreation and more. Most of these ideas we currently use or have applied in the past.

101 Drops in the Bucket

Saving on Utilities

  • Minimize electricity use during peak hours (weekdays during work hours). Do laundry, use hot water, etc. in the evenings.
  • Cook enough for several meals at once.
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.
  • Turn off shower when shampooing and soaping.
  • Work or read in the same room with family members or roommates to consolidate light usage.
  • Take advantage of natural daylight to get your work done. Sleep when it’s dark, get up as soon as it is light (before sunrise).
  • Hold off on personal phone calls that can wait until evenings and weekends when rates are lower or free.
  • Wash things on the lawn to water the grass at the same time.
  • Water the lawn or garden in the early morning or after sundown. Skip watering on windy days.
  • Use curtains to keep your house cool in summer and warm in winter.
  • Keep thermostat lower in the winter and wear extra layers.
  • Don’t separate colors in your laundry; instead, hand wash items that bleed. This way, you can reduce the number of loads. Saves water, electricity and soap.
  • Keep thermostat as high as can be tolerated in summer without harming your pets, antiques and musical instruments.
  • Drink lots of cold water to keep cool and reduce need for air conditioning.
  • Turn off air conditioning in late afternoon, open doors and windows and turn on fans.
  • Using ceiling fans in summer and winter (reverse directions to push warm air down).
  • For laundry, set a shorter dryer time. It’s better to have to do a touch up instead of using unnecessary gas or electricity. You’d be surprised how little time some clothing need to dry. If taken out still warm, damp things can still air dry quite quickly.
  • Cancel cable, purchase a few DVDs a month (which cost less than cable and leave you with an asset) and watch current shows online at Hulu or network channel websites.

Saving on Food and Health

  • Eat smaller portions to avoid waste and overindulgence.
  • Eat foods of substance that hold you over longer (i.e. proteins).
  • Take baking soda instead of over-the-counter antacids (unless you have other health conditions that are affected by sodium intake).
  • Put away leftover food immediately to prevent spoilage.
  • Do not overfill refrigerator as food goes bad faster due to poor air circulation.
  • Do house and yard work for exercise.
  • Get an exercise bike for $150-$200 or pedal exerciser for under $20 and some hand weights instead of a gym membership.
  • Water down juice to reduce caloric and sugar intake as well as make the juice last longer.
  • Make a pot of tea with a teabag instead of just one cup.
  • Opt for stainless steel silverware and cookware without plastic parts as they last indefinitely.
  • Use a hand whisk instead of electric egg beater to burn calories and save money.
  • When baking – cakes, casseroles, etc. – use a cookie sheet instead of aluminum foil to cover the pan or casserole dish.
  • Combine a box of Jell-O with a pack of unflavored Knox Gelatin for lower sugar content and cost.
  • Buy quart-size yogurt instead of individual serving cups. They often cost $2.00 per container and save a lot.
  • (Cont. from #78) When finished with the yogurt, save the container for storing food, cut fruits and leftovers, or use for various projects around the house such as mixing paint.
  • Bring treats home. For example:
  • (Example 1 for #80) Instead of going out for ice cream, buy a gallon and a pack of cones and enjoy several ice cream cones at the same cost.
  • (Example 2 for #80) Instead of ordering delivery pizza, bring home a frozen pizza. The most deluxe frozen pizza such as Freschetta still costs a lot less than delivery plus tip.
  • If you cannot decide between a low-carb and low-fat diet, low-fat is usually cheaper.

Saving on Household

  • Use old clothing to make rags, pillows, blankets and pet beds.
  • Use a home dry cleaning kit instead of a professional dry cleaner.
  • Use less laundry detergent unless your clothes are very dirty to extend the life of your clothing.
  • Turn clothing inside-out when washing to preserve the appearance.
  • Use rubbing alcohol to sanitize doorknobs, exercise equipment, refrigerator handles, etc.
  • Hold the insecticide. When you see an ant or other little bug, wipe it away with a soapy sponge and discourage further visits by cleaning thoroughly and caulking any cracks and entry points.
  • Use rubbing alcohol to kill insects such as ants, spiders, gnats, silverfish.
  • Use vinegar to kill tougher and larger insects. Vinegar in a spray bottle is also the best and cleanest fly swatter.
  • Use vinegar in place of more expensive cleaners.
  • When the oven is on, set dishes or other items to dry on top of or near the oven (keep safety in mind).
  • Repaint or varnish furniture you already own for a new look or to give it second life.
  • If throwing or cutting up old clothes, salvage buttons, zippers, drawstrings, bows and re-usable trims for mending other clothing.
  • Rinse dishes before soaping to save dish detergent.
  • When doing dishes, put the dirtiest at the bottom so that soap and water can run over them while you’re washing other easier dishes first.
  • If you dry your hands or face on a paper towel, set it aside for cleaning floors and other things.
  • Use cold water to clean on hot days to prevent getting overheated and save electricity or gas.
  • Follow the The Life Stages of a Dish Sponge not only for sponges, but towels, clothing and anything else that applies.
  • Use plastic shopping bags instead of buying trash bags. The small size will also encourage you to take the garbage out more often.
  • Use small holiday buckets that can be purchased half-price (around 25¢-50¢) after a holiday for trash cans/waste baskets or cleaning buckets. These small buckets can be set on the counter near the kitchen sink to keep dogs out of the trash.
  • Water down dish and hand soap. You often pump out more than you need.
  • Learn to perform minor repairs around your home such as lighting a pilot light, replacing a thermocouple, etc. (We once saved $70 by changing the thermocouple on our water heater ourselves instead of calling a repairman.)
  • Redye color-worn clothing to give a second life. Fabric dyes can be purchased in the laundry section.
  • To save your septic system, instead of pouring cooking oils down the drain, pour them into empty glass or plastic bottles, close tightly and throw away.
  • To extend the life of your septic system and reduce frequency of pumping, throw toilet paper in a trash can lined with shopping bags (and take it out everyday).
  • Instead of replacing your pillow, launder in hot water and dry on thoroughly on high heat (to kill dust mites). You can even cut one seam open, fluff the material by hand, and sew it shut. No one will notice if your stitching is untidy. Consider a pillow cover if you suffer from allergies.
  • Use pillow and mattress covers to prolong the life of your bedding and facilitate easier cleaning especially if you have pets or children.
  • Use a push reel lawn mower. It is cheaper to buy, efficient to store, requires no fuel, has fewer parts to maintain and repair, and provides for refreshing and fun exercise.
  • Use a wind-up clock instead of a battery or electric clock.

Saving on Personal Care

  • Opt for a low maintenance and shorter hair style to save on shampoo and hair products.
  • Make bar soap last longer by unwrapping and letting it dry for about a week before using it. (You could set it in your closet during this time to make things smell fresh.)
  • In personal grooming, wherever practical, pluck instead of wax as a one-time purchase of a good pair of tweezers lasts for years.
  • While using a facial scrub, exfoliate your hands (and maybe even your elbows) before rinsing off.
  • Accept free samples of products that you use and would purchase – soap, deodorant, shampoo, lotions, etc. – so long as it doesn’t require you to pay money or register for some sort of membership. A sample is usually enough for several uses and can put off need to purchase them.
  • Dry your hair naturally to save electricity, heat damage to hair, and sweating. In cooler weather, wear a small towel, scarf, or flannel cap until hair is almost completely dry.
  • Curl your hair without electricity. Cut rectangular strips from an old t-shirt, roll up sections of damp hair and tie in a knot. This method has been used for many centuries and gives a very charming style of curl. Mousse can be applied before curling if desired.
  • Keep good quality ribbons from gift wrap and packaging (such as for candy, food, and cosmetics) and use these as hair ties for securing the ends of braids, tying a bow over a plain rubber band, or stitching hair styles on your head (with a blunt needle).

Saving on Hobbies, Recreation and Entertainment

  • If there are 2 or more of you, wait for the DVD release of a film instead of going to the theater, especially if you like to watch a film more than once. The purchase of 1 DVD is less than the cost of 2 movie tickets.
  • Buy DVDs instead of renting. You may see fewer films in a year, but will have assets to reuse or resell.
  • If you have a piano, consider learning to tune it yourself, which can save about $160 a year. The one-time purchase of a good tuning kit and manual is about $110. Tools could be had for less, but good tools will better prevent damage. Refer to: Tuning Your Own Piano: A Skill With Many Unexpected Benefits
  • Use the library to borrow books, audiobooks and music and rent movies for $1-$2 a week. See The Library Card: Your Other “Rewards Credit Card” for more ways your library can save you money.
  • Buy a small potted Christmas tree instead of a large “dead” one. When Christmas is over, plant it in your yard to increase your property value or keep it for next year.
  • If you need paper for crafts and projects, request paper at the grocery store checkout. We used to use paper bags for testing clothing sewing patterns. Horse feed bags are great for patterns, too.
  • Use reading as a frugal leisure activity that will improve your writing, grammar, and vocabulary which is advantages in all walks of life. The Frugal Literate’s Guide to Affordable Reading.
  • Stop paying for classes, lessons, and activities if you or your children do not attend, practice, or enjoy them enough. A break might revive motivation or provide a chance to discover new interests and talents.

Saving on Shopping

  • Shop online whenever possible and take advantage of free and low shipping costs to save gas and time.
  • When shopping, always check unit prices. Don’t be deceived by packaging size.
  • Don’t buy junk food if you’ll regret it eating it.
  • Use cash back rewards credit cards wherever and whenever you can.
  • Try to limit purchases to things of lasting value such as books, classic literature, reference books, classical music, conservative fashions and acoustic instruments instead of electric.
  • Purchase furniture made of real wood and not laminate or particle board. If items contain particle board, at least make sure the framing is constructed of solid wood. Particle boards will bow, causing shelves to collapse, and swell and become permanently damaged when wet.
  • Choose latex and rubber toys for your dogs. They outlast plush toys by several years and are more sanitary.

Saving on Miscellaneous

  • Use online postage printing and carrier pickup for mailing packages.
  • Turn of wrist watches when not wearing them to save the battery.
  • Pick up all loose change.
  • Use open source software.
  • Resist pressure from peers and solicitors to donate to causes you do not feel strongly for or cannot afford.
  • Close your bank account and open a credit union account with higher dividends, no minimum balance, unlimited free teller visits and checks, and fee-free accounts. Why Credit Unions Instead of Banks
  • Choose credit cards with no annual fees. You could be spending or earning interest on that money.

Saving on Transportation

  • Walk wherever and whenever you can.
  • Consolidate errands.
  • Plan your route to avoid left turns when driving.
  • When driving, take your foot off the gas when anticipating a stop ahead.
  • Park in the first vacant space you find.
  • Plan downhill routes to and from your destinations. ;-)

Hurrah! We made it!

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18 thoughts on “101 Ways to Save Money in Your Everyday Life”

  1. There’s not much we can do about the current world-wide crisis, but there’s plenty we can do to help get a solid footing on our personal situation. Nice list!

  2. One other biggie that I’m surprised you don’t mention: pay off your credit cards!! Every dollar you pay to finance consumer debt is a dollar you can’t save. For many people, this is the biggest financial gift you can give yourself.

  3. 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!

  4. Since I live in Australia I’ve found that changing where I buy electronics can have a big effect on the amount I end up paying.

    For example when the Aussie Dollar was almost equal with the US dollar I could get electronics at almost 50% off by importing them from the States. Now it’s not as cost effective, but with current exchange rates you can still save 10-20% by importing from the US :)

    Great post.

    Stuart

  5. Great tips. I found that when you have more to spend, it is so easy to spend more. Almost ten years ago I had to keep an eye on things as the electricity bill, just from necessity. Now I can afford to spend more, I also use more electricity. I feel that I’m working for a more comfortable life and my appliances are part of that life.

    It’s great to be reminded to living a bit more frugal.

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