33 Ways to Save Money and Live Simply

Updated on January 8, 2019
Madeleine Clays profile image

Madeleine Clays enjoys living a simple, minimalist lifestyle so that she can focus on the things that really matter in life.

Saving money is a habit you can develop if you set your mind to it.
Saving money is a habit you can develop if you set your mind to it. | Source

Are You Serious About Saving Money?

It’s amazing how much money we can save if we’re willing to be a little uncomfortable, at least temporarily.

Whether you are on a shoestring budget or simply desire to live more frugally, these are some practical ways to save money. I have applied all of these tips and as a result, I currently live debt-free and have a much higher quality of life than I ever had before.

Once you realize how easy it is to save money by applying some of these tips, you’ll be motivated to start applying a few more. The best part is that eventually, you'll reach a new level of comfortable you never knew existed, while saving money at the same time.

Some of these tips are not for the weary. But if you are serious about wanting to save money, read on!

Are you willing to be a little uncomfortable in order to save money?

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31 Ways to Save Money and Live Simply

  1. Stop using the dishwasher. Wash dishes by hand. I personally find this to be extremely relaxing. Plus, I love seeing my dishes sparkly clean right away rather than waiting for the dishwasher to finish its cycle.
  2. Keep your thermostat at 63 degrees F or lower in the winter (don’t set it too low or your pipes may burst). Wearing a sweater and snuggling up with a cup of warm tea or mug of hot chocolate can be good for the soul.
  3. Move into a smaller home. How many of the rooms in your home are used regularly? Keeping them full of clutter/hoarding doesn’t count! Think of how much money you could save on your rent or mortgage just by living in a smaller place.
  4. Sell items you don’t need on craigslist, ebay or amazon.
  5. Consider temporarily renting a room out in your home or getting a housemate. Word of mouth is the best way to find somebody who might be a good match.
  6. Stop buying retail. Shop in consignment stores, thrift shops, and online.
  7. Stop buying new cars. The value of a new vehicle depreciates 20% the moment you drive it off the dealer's lot. Buy a used reliable vehicle with low mileage. Ask for a history of repair and maintenance invoices. A used vehicle also means lower insurance rates and lower registration renewal fees.
  8. Stop buying things you can easily borrow or get for free. Go the library for books and music rather than purchase them. Check out craigslist for free items. Many people are desperate to get rid of items fast when they move. They’re usually left on the curb and up for grabs.

Learn to enjoy the simple things in life.
Learn to enjoy the simple things in life. | Source

9. Stop picking up coffee through drive-throughs. Get a home coffee maker such as a Nespresso. I use the Nespresso Essenza, along with the Nespresso milk frother for making cappuccinos and lattes. Average price? 70 cents per cup.

10. Hang your clothes to dry instead of using the dryer. Not only will this significantly reduce your electric bill, it will also make your clothes last longer.

11. Take care of your shoes and garments. Spray your shoes with several layers of weather protector each winter. Remove the lint from your sweaters regularly. The better you care for your clothes and shoes, the longer they will last and the less often you’ll need to buy new ones.

12. Don’t buy anything that requires dry cleaning. This includes not just clothing, but also blankets and quilts. If it’s not machine washable, don’t get it!

13. Stop paying for some of the services you can do yourself or learn to do yourself such as: manicures, pedicures, oil changes, coloring your hair, washing your car, bathing and grooming your dog. Even if you start doing one or two of these things yourself, you are on your way to saving money.

14. Enjoy fun activities in town. Have a picnic in the park. Make popcorn and watch movies at home. Visit residents in a nursing home or volunteer in a soup kitchen. Learn to enjoy the simple things in life.

15. Become an Amazon Prime member and start buying household items through Amazon Prime. With all the online deals you can get for everyday household items, the membership fee pays for itself. As an Amazon Prime member, you can find not only thousands of items at bargain prices, but also streamline hundreds of videos and TV shows at no additional cost.

16. Always price shop online for products and services. Most stores will price match another retailer's lower price for the same item because they don’t want to lose a sale. If a store won’t price match, buy the item online where you found the better deal, as long as it’s a reputable site.

Hint: Petco pet food is often less expensive if you buy it from their website, but Petco stores will price match their online prices.

Drop your gym membership in favor of exercising in the great outdoors.
Drop your gym membership in favor of exercising in the great outdoors. | Source

17. Always get your gas at gas stations that participate in the point system with your grocery store.

18. Stop buying paper products (they are crazy expensive) except for toilet paper. Use cloth napkins and terry towels to clean up spills. Then wash them and reuse them. If you really want to go the extra mile, stop buying tissue boxes and just use toilet paper. Replace sponges with small towels for washing dishes. Sponges can’t be reused, so you end up paying for new ones.

19. Unless you use your home printer regularly, stop buying ink cartridges. Use the printer at your local library—you often get a certain number of free printed pages per day, or you pay a few cents per page.

20. Drop your gym membership and start jogging, walking, or riding your bike. Purchase dumbbells and a bench for a home gym. Consider buying a used exercise machine at Play It Again Sports or on craigslist.

21. Do all your errands on the same day and plan your itinerary so that you drive from one location to the next in the most efficient manner, in order to consume the least gas possible. Another option is to do your errands throughout the week, as long as they’re on your way to and from work.

22. Stay up to date with car maintenance so you avoid sudden surprises resulting in high expenses later.

23. Stay up to date with dentist and yearly doctor check-ups, blood work, etc. so you can avoid sudden surprises resulting in high expenses later.

Have a concrete plan of action for saving money each month and stick to it.
Have a concrete plan of action for saving money each month and stick to it. | Source

24. Keep your pet up to date with yearly vet appointments and vaccinations to avoid sudden surprises resulting in high expenses later.

25. Instead of eating out with friends, have a buffet in your home. Ask your guests to bring a dish, side dish, or dessert. Allow everybody to take home leftovers for their lunch the next day.

26. Have a definite plan of action for saving money. Decide how much money you’re going to save per month, and where it's going to go (saving account, IRS account, etc.) Then treat that amount of money as a monthly bill. In other words, you must pay yourself, just as you must pay your electric bill and your phone bill.

Dave Ramsey's book, Total Money Makeover, was a total game-changer for me. It provided me with a smart and doable plan of action for saving money.

27. Use organic products for cleaning. Do you know that you can use white vinegar and baking soda to clean just about everything in your house? Not only is it free of toxic chemicals found in most cleaning products, it is also much less expensive! I clean my kitchen, bathrooms and vinyl floors with white vinegar diluted in an equal portion of water. Baking soda is excellent for removing coffee and tea stains off mugs. Sprinkle it on the stains, let it sit for a few minutes, and rub it off with warm water.

28. Use organic products for your skin care. Several years ago, I gave up Oil of Olay face products for coconut, mango, and shea butter oil, and my skin has never looked or felt healthier.

29. If you have a cell or smart phone and haven’t already given up the land line, do it today.

30. Buy food such as oatmeal, nuts, and rice, in bulk. It’s always much less expensive than buying it prepackaged.

31. Always reuse tin foil and any kind of plastic bag.

32 Always pack your lunch and drinks for work.

33. Grow some of your own vegetables and herbs. Start small, such as by growing tomatoes (super easy to grow) and garlic (or another herb you like). If you don’t have a yard, use your balcony or windowsill. Gradually add another vegetable and herb, then another. You will soon see your grocery store bill plummet, especially if you eat lots of veggies.

14 Store Bought Vegetables & Herbs You Can Regrow

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Madeleine Clays

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      • Madeleine Clays profile imageAUTHOR

        Madeleine Clays 

        9 days ago

        Thanks for stopping by, Jonah. Your additonal tips are very helpful. I have been wanting to get chickens, but don't have a yard. Once I do have a yard, I'll still have to reconsider because I'm afraid my dog would bark at them and frighten them. But I do love the thought of having an ongoing egg supply in my own backyard.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        10 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Great advice, Madeleine. I do a lot of these already e.g. don't have a dishwasher, never have and only use a clothes dryer if it is raining. Investing in solar power or hot water is also a good money saver over time.If you have enough room a regulations allow get chickens. Hens will provide you with a regular egg supply and more than pay for the cost of feed.

      • Madeleine Clays profile imageAUTHOR

        Madeleine Clays 

        11 days ago

        Thanks for your comments, Jeff. Those are great additional tips for saving money!

      • Erudite Scholar profile image

        Jeff Zod 

        11 days ago from Nairobi

        Hi Clays,

        I have really enjoyed reading your article on frugal living. This tips are very pragmatic and useful for students and people living on shoestring budgets. I use some of the tips e.g. borrowing books.

        There are many more tips that can be added to your list:

        1. Paying credit card debt earlier and making more payments than required.

        2. Swapping items with friends.

        3. Using vouchers when shopping.

        4. Sharing rides with neighbors and co-workers.

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