Kathy is a freelance writer who worked as a financial advisor in a large Canadian bank for almost 15 years.
Are you struggling to make ends meet? Maybe you'd love to take a nice vacation but don't ever have any money available for travel. Perhaps you have a lot of debts that you want to pay off. There are many financial goals you may have. By finding simple ways to reduce your monthly expenses, you will free up some money that will help you reach these goals faster.
Please read on for 101 money-saving ideas that you can start implementing today. The more of these you can implement, the faster the savings will add up!
Small Savings Categories
- Eating out
- Entertainment and recreation
- Bills and monthly expenses
- Health and fitness
- Travel and vacations
Save Money on Groceries
1. Start a vegetable garden to grow some of your own vegetables.
2. Buy meat in bulk and repackage and freeze for future meals.
3. Buy a chest freezer and stock up on meats, bread, and other items when they go on sale.
4. Make your own stock from vegetable scraps for use in soups and recipes.
5. Reduce the number of convenience foods and processed foods you buy. Cooking from scratch is cheaper and much healthier too.
6. Prepare freezer meals to reduce your likelihood of eating out or getting takeout.
7. Use dinner leftovers to make lunches the next day or freeze for future meals.
8. Collect coupons for products that you regularly purchase, and take them with you when shopping.
9. Read the weekly store flyers and use them to plan your weekly menu and shopping list.
10. Buy spices at the bulk food store.
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11. Buy generic products instead of name-brand items.
12. Buy cheaper cuts of meat and marinate them or use a slow cooker to make them tender.
13. Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season.
14. Drink less juice and soda and more water.
15. Grow your own herbs.
16. Make your own tomato sauce in the fall and freeze or can it for use all winter long.
17. Bake your own muffins, cookies and squares and freeze some for lunches and to have on hand when company's coming.
18. Cook a whole chicken instead of buying chicken breasts, and save the carcass to make homemade stock or soup.
19. Find creative ways to use up extra food and leftovers to avoid wasting money on food that gets thrown out.
Cut Down on Eating Out
20. Make your coffee at home or work instead of buying one at the coffee shop.
21. Bring snacks and drinks from home to work or on long car trips.
22. Bring your lunch to work more often.
23. Eat breakfast every morning at home to reduce the temptation to snack later in the morning.
24. Make homemade pizza instead of getting takeout or delivery.
25. Have potluck dinners with friends or family regularly.
Save Money on Entertainment and Recreation
26. Borrow books and movies from friends or the library instead of buying them.
27. Instead of going out for dinner with friends, have a potluck at someone's house.
28. Plan inexpensive get-togethers like a board games night or card tournament.
29. Look for free events in your community, such as concerts in the park, free lectures or workshops, art shows or festivals, musicians performing at local bars or coffee houses, or family events.
30. Cancel your newspaper subscription and get your news online instead.
31. Review your magazine subscriptions and cancel any you no longer regularly read or that you can read online.
32. Offer to be the designated driver when going out with friends to save the money you would have spent on alcohol.
33. Ask your gardening friends for seeds or cuttings from their gardens to expand your flower garden at no cost to you.
Save on Banking
34. Switch to a low-rate credit card if you don't pay off your balance every month.
35. Renegotiate your mortgage rate.
36. To reduce interest costs on your mortgage, consider increasing your payment frequency, reducing your amortization period or making lump sum payments on your mortgage.
37. Switch to a no-fee bank account.
38. Avoid using other bank's ATM machines to save money on banking fees.
39. Consider a debt consolidation loan to pay off high-interest rate loans and credit cards, to reduce interest costs and pay off the debt faster.
Reduce Energy Costs
40. Unplug appliances and devices when not in use.
41. Use a programmable or smart thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically at night and when you're away from home during the day.
42. Use ceiling fans in the summer to reduce the need for air conditioning.
43. Switch the light bulbs in your home to energy-efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
44. Use caulking and weather stripping to stop energy leaks around doors and windows.
45. Ensure your attic is properly insulated.
46. Fix leaky faucets and toilets.
47. Install water-saving shower heads.
48. Take showers instead of baths.
49. Wash clothes in cold water instead of hot.
50. Use rainwater barrels to collect water to use for watering your garden.
51. Use the energy-saving cycle on your dishwasher or wash dishes by hand.
52. Change your furnace filters frequently (quarterly or even monthly) to keep it operating efficiently.
53. Keep your blinds or curtains closed in the summer to help keep the house cooler, and open them on sunny days in the winter.
54. Wrap your hot water heater and pipes with foam insulation.
55. Clean your refrigerator coils regularly to keep your fridge running efficiently.
56. When boiling water, put the lids on pots to prevent heat escaping and to bring it to a boil faster.
57. Switch to energy-efficient appliances.
Lower Your Monthly Expenses
58. Shop around for lower rates for your car insurance, home insurance and life insurance. Be sure to review your coverage and rates every year at renewal time.
59. Increase the deductible on your home or car insurance to lower your monthly premiums.
60. Review your cable or satellite TV packages. Cancel any channels or services that you don't need.
61. Review your cell phone bill and cancel any unnecessary features or services. Your cell phone provider will often reduce your monthly bill if you ask them to or indicate that you are considering switching to another provider.
62. Ensure you pay all of your bills on time to avoid penalties or interest charges.
63. Use Skype to chat with friends online instead of making long-distance phone calls.
64. Compare prices with other providers for your gas and electricity. Switch if it makes sense to do so.
Save Money on Shopping
65. Always look for coupon codes when shopping online.
66. Join your local freecycle group.
67. Make greeting cards by hand or on the computer instead of buying them in a store.
68. Borrow or rent tools or equipment that will only be used infrequently.
69. Shop at second-hand or consignment shops for sporting goods, clothing, household items, toys or games.
70. Barter with friends or neighbours for services such as babysitting, home maintenance or repairs, gardening, cooking, auto service or painting.
71. If you often go shopping when you're bored, find some other cheaper hobbies to occupy your time, such as walking, doing volunteer work or meditating.
72. Stock up on toiletries and paper goods when they are on sale.
73. Try to combine sales with coupons for the greatest savings.
74. Make your own gifts for birthdays, Christmas, showers and to give to teachers.
75. Save money on gift wrapping by using eco-friendly gift wrapping that reuses or recycles items you already have.
Saving Money on Health and Fitness
76. Cancel your gym membership and work out at home.
77. Find inexpensive ways to get exercise, such as walking, hiking, running, swimming, yoga, pilates and plyometrics.
78. Stop smoking.
79. Practice regular dental hygiene to avoid costly (and painful!) trips to the dentist.
80. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get a good night's sleep to stay healthy. This will save you from having to spend as much money on cold medicines and flu remedies.
Reduce Your Transportation Costs
81. Carpool, walk or bike to work if possible.
82. Take public transportation instead of driving to save money on gas, parking and wear and tear on your vehicle.
83. Maintain proper air pressure in your tires to improve gas mileage.
84. Replace your car's oil filter regularly.
85. Turn your car off instead of letting it idle if you are going to be stopped for longer than 30 seconds.
86. Combine trips when running errands.
87. Avoid weighing your car down with heavy loads whenever possible, as this greatly increases your fuel consumption.
88. Take your bike or walk instead of driving to the store, library, school and while running errands.
89. Rotate your car tires regularly.
90. Maintain your vehicle in good condition to avoid unnecessary increased gas consumption and costly repairs.
Save Money on Travel and Vacations
91. Instead of paying for expensive flights, hotels and car rentals, consider possible vacation ideas close to home.
92. When booking flights, remember that direct flights are usually more expensive than ones with connecting flights. Be open to booking a non-direct flight to save money.
93. Use credit card points to pay for hotels, car rentals or flights.
94. Search for coupon codes online before booking a rental car.
95. Book a hotel room with a kitchenette or kitchen so that you can buy groceries and make some or all of your meals instead of eating out for every meal.
96. Joining a hotel's loyalty program is usually free and can include free perks like free breakfasts, free Wi-Fi or free in-room snacks.
97. Depending on the distance involved and the amount of time you have available for travel, instead of going by plane, consider taking a train or even a bus instead.
98. Taking public transportation like the bus, streetcar or subway will always be cheaper than a taxi ride.
99. Avoid booking travel on peak holidays and try to be flexible on travel dates.
100. Travel off-season whenever possible to save money on flights, hotels and tour prices.
101. Compare prices for hotels or flights online.
Save Money on Travel by Taking a Staycation
- 10 Easy-to-Plan Staycation Adventures
Here are ten ideas for easy to plan adventures to make the most of your next staycation.
- Things to Do on Winter Break - 25 Staycation Ideas
Use these 25 fun ideas to keep your kids busy during their winter break from school.
Inexpensive Ideas for Family Fun
- Fall Fun for Kids of All Ages
Here are some fun, inexpensive ideas for fall activities for the whole family.
- Winter Fun: Top 5 Cheap Outdoor Activities for Families
You don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun with your family this winter.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2012 Kathy Sima
Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 04, 2013:
Thank you FullofLoveSites. I think saving money is something that's on a lot of people's minds these days. I'm glad you found these ideas useful. Thank you so much for sharing. Happy New Year!
Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 04, 2013:
Thank you Lisa! It's great that you're already doing so many of them but managed to find a few more to try this year. All the best in 2013!
FullOfLoveSites from United States on January 03, 2013:
Really practical and even creative ideas. We need them especially in these hard times today. Good thing after the celebrations, it's time to scrimp and save! Voted up, useful and shared. :)
Liz Rayen from California on January 02, 2013:
Kathy, this is such a wonderful hub filled with excellent advice and tips. I am happy to say I do follow about 2/3 of them, but of course there is always room for improvement and I intend to add a few more to my list thanks to you! God Bless and Happy New Year!---Lisa
Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 07, 2012:
I'm so glad to hear that you found some new money saving ideas to use Green Art. Thanks for letting me know!
Laura Ross on December 06, 2012:
I found quite a few ideas here that I already do, but even more I certainly can start doing! Thanks for taking the time to write a very useful hub:)
Esther Strong from UK on November 02, 2012:
Booking a hotel with a kitchen is a really good one - thankfully we did this when we went to Paris a couple of years back and saved a bomb.
I think there's something here for everybody. I will certainly bear these in mind. Thumbs up etc.
Arwen Hann from New Zealand on November 01, 2012:
Great hub. I'm saving it to read again later. We already do some of these things in our family but I've spotted some other ideas I'd like to try.
Miss Mimi from On the road again on November 01, 2012:
Wow, I though when you said "101" I thought it was just a figure of speech! What an awesome, comprehensive list full of great ideas. There was so much common sense in this article, but so much of it is stuff you might not necessarily think of! Thanks for sharing, voted up!
Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 01, 2012:
What a comprehensive list! I love how you broke the ideas down into different categories. It is not hard for most people to pick at least one or two ways to save money from the different aspects of their lives, which can still make a big difference.
Tony Capon from Upminster, Essex, United Kingdom on November 01, 2012:
I'm from the UK, so I might have different ideas/cultural focus from those from the US. However, would proffer and recommend the action of cutting-up the credit card(s). This will induce a life style change of not spending what you haven't earnt.
It seems to me that the fasted way into debt is to be hoodwinked into thinking the financial institutions are providing credit for your benefit-they are not! I've heard all sorts of arguments as to why credit is good. I don't believe any of them! Tony
Betty (Alawine) Overstreet from Vacaville, Ca. on November 01, 2012:
loved your ideas and time spent putting all this info together. I never dreamed when I started this how much time it could take to put a good hub together.
I just refied my home and am amazed. Changed from a 30 year to 15 with 3% interest. I will pay $65 more each month and my home will be paid off in the 15 years. Now I need to try some of your ideas!!
Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 31, 2012:
Thanks Bill. We shall see ;) I appreciate your feedback, as always.
drdspervez: Thank you for the reading my article and rating it. I appreciate it.
Pstraubie48: Ching ching - I like the sounds of that! I hope this helps those savings add up for all of us!
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on October 31, 2012:
This is being bookmarked as I will be coming back to reread and reread. Everyone will flock to read these tips and all of us will hear ...ching ching as we pocket our savings. Thanks a lot. ps Voted up
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 31, 2012:
Well that's about all anyone would ever need to save money right in one nice, neat hub! Great job of research and presentation. My goodness, if this doesn't garner hub traffic I don't know what will.