How to Save Money: 25 Simple Tips
Are you worried saving money means making so many sacrifices you won’t have fun anymore? Don’t be! You can change your spending habits and still have fun. Yeah—some money-saving tips are super intense, but others are just about small changes that can make a big impact.
Overall, saving money comes down to this: You’ve got to start long-term planning with short-term tactics. Budget, learn how to manage your money, and spend your money more wisely. But what does that look like in action?
Here’s the lowdown on saving money and 25 simple tips to help you right now and well into the future.
Why Should You Save Money?
Get-rich-quick scams are just that—a scam. They don’t work. The results don’t last. If you want to have more money for emergencies now and financial security for the future, you have to work at saving money. If you want to really crush your money goals, live on less than you make (aka save money).
How Do I Save Money?
We have a quick note about getting into the habit of saving money. It’s time to start shifting how you think.
Being intentional is the only way to save more money (and spend less!) each month. Because you know the money isn’t really the muscle, right? You are. And when you’re intentional in your spending, your money isn’t achieving new and wonderful things. You are!
So, getting intentional is the first shift you have to make to start saving money. And you do that by budgeting—aka creating and living on an intentional plan with your money. Budgeting isn’t restricting your spending. It’s taking control of it! And getting on a budget is how you’re going to make every single one of these tips actually happen.
Save Money Long Term
To save money, you have to think both short term and long term. Let’s start by digging into ways to save for the future. These long-term tips will help you get set up for financial security for years to come.
1. Wait before you buy.
Did your parents ever tell you to sleep on a big decision before making up your mind? It’s a great practice to give a choice a couple days’ thought before you follow through. The same goes for your money! You should spend time checking prices, weighing the pros and cons, and thinking over if you really need a big item before you buy it.
Sure, you wanted that new, genuine leather, flannel-lined laptop case the moment you first laid eyes on it. But will you still want it six months from now? Impulse buying can be expensive. Practice a little patience before making bigger purchases. You can save money by finding a lower price during that research time—or by deciding not to buy after all.
2. Ditch your credit cards.
The best way to get ahead? Stop getting behind. Sounds logical, right? So, apply that logic to your money!
Using credit cards gets you behind in your finances because you’re still paying for your past. Instead, ditch the credit cards, and you can start owning for real. You can shift those debt payments toward your savings goals. Not only is it an empowering life change, it’ll also end up saving you so much money in the end.
3. Get out (and stay out) of debt.
While you’re ditching the credit cards, keep it going and ditch all your debt. Pay off the car loan. Destroy your student loan debt. Pay back every personal loan. You get the picture. And here’s why—you can’t get ahead with your money with debt is holding you back. Kick all your debt to the curb—goodbye, see you never. Then your income is really yours to make the life you really want.
4. Refinance your mortgage.
Refinancing your mortgage could save you money by bringing you a lower monthly payment or interest rate—or a quicker payoff date. It’s no magic trick. You won’t snap your fingers and pull a more budget-friendly mortgage out of a hat. And it doesn’t make sense for everybody. But you should consider it if:
• You have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)
• Your loan is interest-only
• Your interest rate is high
• Your mortgage is more than a 15-year term
If you want to know more, or you’re ready to refinance right now, connect with a trustworthy mortgage pro to talk it over.
5. Start a retirement fund.
You should start investing in retirement once you’re ready for what we call Baby Step 4. After you’ve paid off debt and set up a fully funded emergency fund, you’ll want to invest 15% of your household income into retirement savings, starting with your company’s 401(k), if you have that option.
This is one of those long-term savings moves you really can’t afford to put off just because retirement feels so far off—like something you’ll deal with “one day.” Hey, one day’s coming! Start talking to an investment professional now so you can be financially ready for it!
6. Talk to a financial coach.
While you’re at it, get all-around money direction from a financial coach. Not just an opinionated neighbor or family member—but a legit, highly trained coach. They’ll help you create a personalized plan based on your life and your goals. Because it’s way easier to save for the future when you know where you’re headed.
7. Set savings goals.
Speaking of goals—you need them. Not pie-in-the-sky dreams or scribbles of “save more money” in your journal. You need measurable financial goals with set time frames. Talk them out. Write them down. Find someone you trust to help keep you accountable. Then get on a budget, use all these tips, and crush those goals one by one.
Save Money on Monthly Expenses
Monthly expenses are those things you spend money on, well, monthly. So, this is an incredible place to start saving money, because the rewards will keep rolling in!
8. Check in on your subscriptions.
Do you really need multiple television and music streaming services? How many subscription boxes or magazines show up in your mail each month?
We aren’t out to bash these services. Some subscriptions are truly life changing, and others are how you want to spend your fun money because you simply enjoy them. That’s totally fine! But take some time to think about the stuff you don’t really even use, watch or read anymore. If you’re trying to save some extra cash, cutting out that subscription box or magazine you never even open anymore could be just the thing.
9. Evaluate your TV choices.
If you’re paying high prices for your cable package but watching very few of the channels, you aren’t alone. Plenty of people are realizing they can save money and still get all the shows they want (and more!) by switching to other choices.
Look into YouTube, Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. Try watching recently aired episodes online. Or use that library card! You don’t have to jump back to medieval days where your only entertainment was watching the knights joust. Just trade that cable bill for a lower-priced—but still awesome—option.
10. Go green(er).
Green is our favorite color. Have you noticed? But in this case, we’re talking about making more energy-efficient life choices. Some of these are investments up front. But they all pay off in the end.
For example, you can save on home expenses by turning off the lights when you leave a room, buying light bulbs that have earned the Energy Star, purchasing a programmable thermostat, or taking quicker showers. Green changes like these can add green to your wallet.
11. Save on insurance.
You might be paying too much for your car, homeowner’s, or renter’s insurance. Plenty of commercials warn you of this, right? But they’re all pointing you to a specific company who’s thinking about that bottom dollar in their own wallets. What you need is an independent insurance agent who will shop around and get you the best fit and rate for where you are in life. Someone who’s looking out for your bottom dollar. You can save hundreds a year on insurance with very little effort. That’s one of our fave ways to save.
12. Download money-saving apps.
You can save money on the stuff you’re already buying every month with money-saving apps. Just tap-tap-tap your way to coupons or cash back by downloading awesome apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51 or RetailMeNot. And let Honey and GasBuddy tell you about the best prices available on items in your wish lists and gas for your car.
Don’t forget to download the apps for your favorite stores. You can check out sales, join rewards programs, and score coupons. Just be careful and don’t give into the temptation to online shop when Target, Walmart or Amazon are there every time you open your phone.
13. Work out online.
Some people need that pumped-up atmosphere of the gym. Others just want to get fit without the membership, personal trainer or class fees. If you’re ready to burn calories without burning through your paycheck, check out exercise streaming services and even free YouTube videos. Plenty of fitness gurus have realized people need stay-at-home, non-DVD options, and they’re putting out high-quality content that you can get fit to any time of day from the comfort of your own living room.
Save Money by Spending Less
When you cut back on your spending, that means you’ve got more of your income to put toward other things—like your savings goals. Here are some great ways to spend less.
14. Plan creative dates.
Myth: Spending a lot of money on dates will mean securing the love of your life.
Truth: You can have fun and fall in love while still being thrifty. Fill a picnic basket with popcorn, apples, an assortment of cheeses, and chocolate (of course)—then take it on an enjoyable hike. Bring home Chinese takeout and eat straight out of the boxes while streaming your favorite show. Browse the aisles of a used bookstore before grabbing coffee and dessert. Enjoy the quality company more than the cost.
15. Search for free entertainment.
Free entertainment is bad when it’s tickets to a subpar comedian performing at a shady club in the bad part of town. But free entertainment is great when it’s books, audiobooks, e-books, movies, story times and presentations or performances from talented artists. Where can you get hooked up with that kind of loveliness? At your local library. So, if you don’t have a library card, get one right now!
There are tons of other ways to have fun without spending money. What parks and playgrounds are in your area? Are you close to a farmers market? What community events do the local churches offer around the holidays? Keep your eyes and ears open, and keep money in your pocket.
16. Enjoy the great outdoors.
There’s a whole world out there, and it’s just waiting to be explored on the cheap. Hiking. Biking. Kayaking. Backpacking. Corn-mazing. Stargazing. Get out and save up.
17. Brew your own coffee.
If you’re spending around $4 a day on your favorite barista blend, that adds up to $28 a week and around $120 a month. Instead, you could spend around $20 a month brewing your own coffee and put that $100 into savings, your vacation sinking fund, retirement or whatever money goal you’re wanting to knock out.
18. Drink more water.
Not only is this tip good for your wallet, but it’s also good for your body! So, ordering water when you’re eating out and using your refillable water bottle throughout the day will save you the cost of sodas and keep you hydrated.
19. Be more intentional when eating out.
The best way to save money on restaurants is to stop eating out. (Radical? Maybe. Worth it for a period of time? Totally.)
When that season is done and you do go out, take advantage of happy hour specials. They aren’t just for drinks anymore. Let that half-price appetizer fill you up so you can buy a smaller entrée. Or eat apps only!
You can also sign up for emails from your favorite restaurants, and you’ll get coupons and promos for some great deals. Be sure to follow them on social media to find even more savings! (While you’re at it, unsubscribe from any restaurant or store emails that tempt you to overspend.)
And don’t forget about those surveys at the bottom of your receipt. You can earn discounts or free food in exchange for a couple minutes of your time. When you’re crunching that complimentary chips and queso, you’ll know it was worth it.
20. Sell stuff.
Clutter can give us a false sense of fullness. But mostly it just overwhelms every closet, drawer and corner in your house with stuff.
You can cash in on the clutter in your life by selling your stuff! Post things online, take things to a consignment shop, or have an old-fashioned garage sale! Getting rid of extra stuff will help you create calmer surroundings and make some extra cash in the process.
21. Buy used.
Use common sense on this. Don’t buy used tires, toothbrushes or tacos. But if you’re in the market for a car, tools, baby clothes, video games, books, or a pet (shelter fur babies for the win!), then you can save money by purchasing gently used items instead of new ones.
22. Buy generic.
You don’t need brand-name everything. You can splurge on a few items—that’s your right as a shopper. But look into generic medications, trash bags, basic pantry items, cleaning supplies and more. This is a quick and incredibly simple way to save money every time you shop!
23. Make shopping lists.
Just like you need a plan for your money (a budget), you also need a plan for your shopping (a shopping list). Start by meal planning—decide what you’ll eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks throughout the week. Then make a list of all the things you need to make those meals happen.
Stick to the list! It keeps you from forgetting things and from overspending each month on your grocery budget line.
24. Hit up those BOGOs and weekly ads.
Stores with BOGO (buy one, get one) offers are basically begging you to save money. They’re setting out their best offers so you can sweep in and grab them. How about following this money-saving move? Make those meal plans based on your grocery store’s sales. You can even stock up the pantry and freezer for the future. Just make sure your purchases fit your budget, never buy stuff just because it’s on sale, and don’t forget what you’ve bought when you’re making meal plans weeks later. Wasting isn’t saving.
25. Remove your debit card info from websites.
One of the quickest ways to spend money these days is by saving your debit card info on your favorite sites. When it only takes one click to make a purchase, it’s way too easy to overspend.
Instead, take the time to find your wallet, get out your debit card, and enter all those numbers. While you’re doing that, think about whether you really want that red leather moto jacket (when you already have a black one). Imagine the money coming out of your checking account. Is the purchase worth it? And is it in your budget? If you say yes to both of those after thinking about it for a few extra minutes, then go ahead and buy it. But if you realize it isn’t worth getting off the couch in the middle of watching your favorite TV show to go get your debit card, then don’t buy it.
Start Saving Money Today
We said it before, and we’ll say it again. The most important thing you need to do to save money in the short term and the long term is . . . (drum roll please) . . .
Get on a budget.
That’s right! Never forget the single most important money-saving method out there: budgeting. You’ll never meet those money goals without a budget. EveryDollar’s the best budgeting tool for the best budgeters around.
And guess what? It’s free. Seriously. You can sign up for an EveryDollar account today—at literally no cost—and set up your first budget in around 10 minutes.
When you start budgeting, you stare your finances in the face and tell them you’re ready to start saving smarter, you’re in charge, and you’re going to make these money goals come true.
Yes. You. Are.