Robert Sullivan is a self-published author, blogger, social media manager, and more.
Learning the best ways to save money can be better than making it, provided you save enough. That's why I'm offering 33 tips for cutting costs in the kitchen, around the house, on the go, and when you're out shopping.
In the Kitchen
From changing drinking habits to buying produce from independent vendors, there's a lot to be saved in the kitchen.
33. Ditch the premade drinks and drink water, or at least tea or coffee.
Water is cheap; Starbucks is not. If you are used to buying one $4 dollar drink every day, then making this switch could save you over $1400 a year. That’s quite a bit considering just how little you might have thought about it. If you just can’t kick the habit, then at the very least, make it yourself. One pound of coffee goes a long way at a fraction of the cost.
32. Use sealed containers for dry goods.
Dry goods don’t last forever, and the main reason is that they absorb moisture from the air. Buying a couple of airtight containers can keep your flour good for a lot longer. Also, it’s pretty nice when you go to get sugar, and it’s not a clumpy mess.
31. Buy fruit and veggies from roadside vendors.
If you live in (or at least near) the country, then you’ve probably seen roadside vendors selling fruit and vegetables. Trust me on this: Stop in and get used to buying from them. They typically sell the same or better produce than you would get in the supermarket for a huge discount.
30. Get meat from a ranch, and pay a butcher to do his thing.
Speaking of farms, talk to some local ranches if you want to save some serious cash on meat. You can buy half a cow, have it professionally butchered, and sometimes save over a dollar a pound for the same exact meat.
29. Use green bags for produce.
These bags make produce last twice as long in the fridge. Buy them, reuse them, and save lots of money; it’s that easy.
28. Learn how to pickle.
Pickling is kind of a lost art. It was one of the most important things people could do back in the day to preserve food, but now with modern technology, it’s kind of rare to see someone pickling their vegetables. Still, it’s a great and very cheap way to make produce last for years instead of weeks.
27. Buy groceries Sunday through Tuesday.
On Wednesdays, grocery stores typically start sales for the week. And on Sunday, they tend to release coupons. Take advantage of both at the same time to get the maximum discount on your food.
26. Keep extra money on you in the grocery store.
This might not be the best idea if you are impulsive, but if you have a handle on it, then when you see a particularly valuable sale, and you know the product won’t expire (think toilet paper), then having 60 extra dollars on you can save a ton of money in the long run.
25. Watch for manager’s specials.
There are tons of reasons why a grocery store may discount an item, and manager’s specials are usually a great buy. This is why you should keep an eye out while you are shopping.
Around the House
Purchasing self-care products and paying steep membership fees for gyms can quickly add up.
24. Make your own soap.
Soap may seem cheap until you look into making it yourself. It turns out that soap is actually quite heavily marked up, and you can make soap at home fairly easily. Plus, you can scent it however you like.
23. Restore old furniture.
Don’t buy new furniture when stuff from the thrift store can be just as good. Just take a look at this tutorial on how to refinish furniture.
22. Ditch the gym.
Don’t spend money at a gym to get in shape. At least not when there are tons of other options out there and plenty of home-based exercise equipment that actually works.
21. Save an emergency fund.
Having an emergency fund is going to save you a lot of money if you can keep your hands out of it. Instead of paying for unforeseen problems with a credit card or loan, you can just pay for it with the money you already have and avoid costly interest. Try to make a habit of keeping this money ready to go whenever you need it, and replacing it when it gets used.
20. Get some blinds or curtains.
Windows let in or out a lot of heat; if you want to seriously cut down on your cooling bill, then get some coverings. Blinds and curtains can cut your bill by more than you think.
19. Buy some LED bulbs.
LED lights used to be extremely expensive! The keyword here is used to be. Now they’re actually quite affordable. They use a small fraction of the energy that incandescent and CFL bulbs do and last ridiculously longer before they need to be replaced.
18. Get your AC condenser cleaned.
Air conditioners are not cheap to run, and they are even worse when they haven’t been maintained. Cleaning the condenser and straightening out the fins can save you 60 bucks a year. Not bad for ten minutes' worth of work.
17. Close off rooms from the heater/air conditioner.
If you aren’t using it, then don’t pay to control the temperature in there. Storage and guest bedrooms can cost a small fortune to keep comfortable for people who aren’t even using them. Do yourself a favor and shut off the vents in those rooms.
16. Make your own washing detergent.
Washing detergent is extremely overpriced considering what it takes to make your own.
15. Adjust your thermostat.
Get used to it being a bit hotter or cooler. Remember just 5 degrees makes a major impact on monthly energy bills.
14. Learn to sew and fix clothes instead of tossing them.
You can make clothes last a whole lot longer if you learn how to sew and patch them correctly. And you can get even more bang for your buck if you make your own clothes all together!
13. Clean your lint trap every time you wash a load of laundry.
I have a dryer where the load comes out damp and has to be run again if you don't clean the trap each time you do the laundry. If this is such a problem that a smaller unit can’t handle it, then how inefficient is it to dry clothes with it all clogged up?
12. Clean dryer ducts.
Dryer ducting gets clogged over time, which takes more energy to force the air through and out of the house. Make sure to clean it out every six months or so. As a bonus, you’ll notice your dryer works much better.
11. Install a water heater timer.
If you have an electric water heater but really don’t use it at night, then see to it you get a water heater timer. You program it so that it only keeps water hot when you use it and not while you’re sleeping.
10. Install an attic fan.
If you want your house to be 10 degrees cooler in the summer without even noticing a difference in your power bill, then you need to install an attic fan. I just put a new one in my house, and it made such an incredible difference that on the cooler days this summer, I don’t even have to run the AC.
On the Go
9. Save big on flights.
Here’s a great tip if you can bear a little bit of waiting. Airlines don’t lose much money on weight, but they lose big time on empty seats. If you’re willing to be a bit patient, you can save a fortune by going to the airport and waiting on standby to get a flight where you’re going. My brother did this alongside a courier job to make it home to California from Texas for only 50 bucks! Of course it only works well if your destination is high traffic airport. Otherwise you could be waiting for weeks.
8. Use public transportation.
Busses and trains are incredibly cheaper than using your own car. And they can even be kind of fun sometimes too. Especially if you like to people-watch.
7. Walk or ride a bike when you can.
Walking and riding a bike are both free, compared to all the costs of keeping a car running. If you live close to something you regularly frequent, then make a habit of walking or biking instead.
6. Use Groupon.
Who likes saving money and buying the same things they were going to anyway? Yeah, pretty much everybody. With Groupon, you can often find deals for the things which are part of your everyday life, so you can save money without doing anything different.
Shopping and Haggling
Getting creative with your shopping habits isn't just good for your pocketbook—it can also be fun.
5. Use Flickr for free photos.
If you’re running a business and need stock photos, go onto Flickr. If you put commercial use allowed in the filter, then all you have to do is attribute the picture to the user and do a few other things. Pretty nice, huh?
4. Read local classifieds.
It’s surprising to me how many people forget to actually read through the local classifieds when they are looking for something. Sometimes you get the absolute best deals out of these.
3. Raid yard sales.
Yard sales are hit or miss, but you can almost always get a good deal if you look through enough of them. Make a habit of checking them out.
2. Buy business cards online.
Never ever buy business cards from a print company in town. You can get dirt cheap business cards online.
1. Buy glasses online.
If you have to wear glasses, here is what you do. Go get a prescription, then go online, enter the info, and buy cheap glasses. You can save hundreds of dollars this way, at no loss of quality.
I hope this article helped you with a few ideas you can do to live a little easier. If you have any questions or tips of your own, please leave them in the comments.