32 Simple Ways to Save Money

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Do you ever think about how nice it would be to save more money? Or to spend less money? Or both? Think about how your life would be if you had thousands — or even millions — of dollars in savings.

What kind of freedom would that offer you? How would that change your outlook on your job? How would that change your ability to help others?

What would you do if you were truly financially free due to a massive savings account balance? How would that change your career path? Would it help you be able to consider some dream careers?

I’m going to share a list of many different ways you can save money. Some involve learning to spend less. Some involve hidden tricks to save more. Both get you the same result: more money in the bank.

Interested? Let’s go!

Top Ways to Save Money

When I first started reading personal finance blogs, I was in a desperate place. I had no savings and thousands of dollars worth of consumer debt.

What was worse was that I had no idea how we had gotten into that much debt. We weren’t going on vacations. We didn’t shop at high-end stores.

I assumed the problem was that we didn’t make enough money. After all, we were a family of six making well below $100,000 a year. That certainly wasn’t enough to survive on, right?

After months of (and still continuing) education, I realized there was a lot we were doing wrong with our money. I didn’t think we could spend less, but soon found out we could spend much less.

Here are some ways you may be able to save more money by spending less. I’m going to start with four tips that might throw you off a bit.

This is because they’re more about the mind than the money. However, they will establish a foundation in you that will very likely affect how you handle money. Ready?

1. Track Your Spending

I always tell people that tracking my spending literally changed my financial life. Yes, I know it seems like a tedious and boring task that will accomplish little.

But trust me when I tell you it likely will change your life as it did mine. I challenge you to write down everything you spend for 30 days.

Now, you can’t change your spending habits for the sake of the challenge. Just spend as you normally do, but write everything down.

I’m old-fashioned and use an Excel spreadsheet to track my family’s daily spending. If that seems like too much work, you might want to get Empower’s free financial software.

It will track your spending for you, help you keep track of your net worth and more. Here’s what spend tracking did for me: It helped me see the truth about our family’s spending.

2. Practice Value-Based Spending

I’m a big believer that good money management has quite a bit to do with mindset. If you can train your mind to think of money differently, you can learn to handle money better.

Once I started tracking our family’s purchases, I saw that we were making many small, insignificant purchases. The problem was that the small purchases were adding up to big debt.

Then I learned about value based spending. Value based spending involves analyzing your purchases to determine if they’re really worth it to you.

Considering whether a purchase is worth your hard-earned cash before you make it will get you thinking differently about expenditures. Another example is how much we spend on cell phones. Nowadays there are great options on prepaid services versus contracts.

If you decide to switch your cell phone provider, just know that it can be possible to cancel your cell phone plan without paying fees.

And a value based spending mindset will be even more motivating if you precede it with this next step.

3. Make a List of Your Financial Goals

Have you ever made a list of your financial goals? Do you have any idea what your financial goals are? Many people don’t.

Instead, they just work to make it through the month, pay the bills and hopefully be left with something in the bank.

Yet having a list of financial goals can help give you a big picture perspective on your money. I recommend having a list of short, medium and long-term financial goals.

Short-term financial goals are goals you can accomplish in a year or less. Medium-term financial goals are goals you can accomplish in one to five years.

Long-term financial goals are goals that will take you five years or longer to accomplish. Here are some examples of short, medium and long-term goals that may help you create your own goals list.

Short-Term Financial Goal Ideas

Medium-Term Financial Goals

  • Pay off all consumer debt
  • Save up $15,000 to buy a new-to-me car
  • Establish an emergency fund containing six months’ worth of expenses

Long-Term Financial Goals

  • Pay off my mortgage in 10 years
  • Save $1 million in retirement funds in 20 years
  • Save $100,000 to fund kid’s college expenses in 15 years

You get the idea. Just take a few hours one afternoon to think about what’s really important to you. What really matters to you as far as money is concerned?

4. Save Money by Living With a Budget

The fourth part of the mindset money game involves living with a monthly budget. You’ve got your spend tracking plan in place.

You’ve learned about value based spending. And you’ve made a list of financial goals that matter to you.

Learning how to create and live on a written budget every month will help you reach those goals. A budget will help you establish a foundation that will direct your spending.

I used to think of budgets as restricting. I hated the idea of having a piece of paper that dictated how I could spend — and how I couldn’t.

But it wasn’t long before I came to realize that what a budget really gives you is freedom. A budget gives you a plan for your spending that will ensure you really do reach your financial goals.

It’s like your money’s BFF — always there for you to help you take another step toward a great financial life.

If you’ve already got that down, head over to get Well Kept Wallet’s free starter budget form and make your budget.

Save Money on Housing

Housing is one of the biggest expenses a person or family can have. Here are some ways you can save money on housing.

5. Don’t Spend as Much as Your Mortgage Rep Says You Can

I worked for a national mortgage company for five years. I can tell you that they often approve people for mortgage payments that are quite high for their income.

When you start thinking about buying a home one of the first things you should do is get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Do yourself a favor and don’t spend as much as your mortgage rep says you can. You’ll appreciate the extra wiggle room in your budget during tight money months.

6. Plan Ahead for Large Expenses

One way home ownership can get really costly is due to repairs. Roofs, furnaces and siding can be quite expensive to repair and/or replace.

Don’t get stuck having to put large housing repairs on a credit card. Instead, sock away a bit of cash each month in a savings account designated for home repairs.

Just make the monthly amount a part of your budget and have the money automatically deposited to the savings account.

That way when the big expenses come, you’ll have the cash and won’t be forced to get into debt.

Another way to save money on housing is to keep an eye on utility usage.

Running water with reckless abandon, insisting on a perfectly comfy house temps and leaving lights on in unused rooms will cost you money.

Take a hint from your parents and start being mindful of utility usage. Here are some tips to help you save money in that area.

7.  Be Mindful of Water Usage

Turn the water off when you brush your teeth. Run the water with less force when you’re doing dishes.

Set the clothes washer water level to the size of the load you’re washing. Don’t water your grass if it’s forecasted to rain during the week.

Install low-flow toilets and shower heads. All of these little moves can add up to big savings on your water bill.

8. Save Money on Heating and Air Conditioning

Energy bills can be high when you own a home. Here are some tips for saving money on energy.

Turn the heat down (or the AC up) when it’s nighttime or when you’re gone for the day. Make sure to turn the lights off if no one is in the room.

Keep shades open in the winter to allow the sun to heat the house. Keep shades down in the summer to help the house stay cool.

Have an energy specialist come and evaluate your home for energy leaks. Many energy companies will do this for free.

Little moves that decrease utility usage will add up to big savings over the long haul.

9. Spend Less on Housing Repairs

We’ve already talked about the importance of saving up for housing repairs. There are also ways you can spend less on house repairs when they do come.

For instance, consider doing repair or remodeling jobs yourself. Little jobs like fixing faucet leaks or replacing a linoleum floor can be easy with a little training.

Check out YouTube videos or visit your local home improvement store for instructions on making smaller repairs yourself.

If you have to hire out for a repair, get recommendations from friends and do comparison shopping. Don’t spend any more than you have to in order to get the job done right.

10. Rent Out Rooms in Your House

Another way to save money on housing is to rent out rooms in your house. You can rent them out all year round and have roommates who will pay money to use spare bedrooms.

Or, you can use Airbnb to rent rooms out to business and leisure travelers. You can choose how and when to rent out rooms in your house with Airbnb.

Check out this article on how our friends Steve and Annette make over $1,000 a month renting out with Airbnb.

Are you a renter? Don’t worry. There are ways you can save money on housing costs as well.

Related Article: 15 Best Places To Hide Money Around Your Home

11. Find a Cheaper Apartment

If you’re spending more than you’d like on your rented apartment or home, check around for cheaper places. Use Craigslist or other venues to see if there are nearby places renting for less.

12. Be an Apartment Manager

Some apartment complexes will allow tenants to live in an apartment for free if they take on some management duties.

Those duties sometimes involve helping other tenants with basic problems. You might have to call the repair service for a leaky faucet.

Or you might have to help a tenant replace a lost key. Management duties vary with each rental property but they can all save you money on rent.

13. Trade Work for a Rent Reduction

If you rent a single family home, your landlord might give you a rent reduction for work performed on the property. For instance, you might be able to get a discount on your rent if you mow the lawn each week.

Or, you could get a discount for performing basic remodeling or repair, such as painting. Talk with your landlord about options for doing so.

Next, we’ll talk about ways to save money on transportation.

Save on Transportation

Transportation is a must-have in most areas. However, there are ways you can save money on transportation. Here are some ideas.

14.  Don’t Fall for the New Car Lure

Car dealerships and banks make it tempting to get a new car every few years. They lure you with new and shiny vehicles and 0% financing.

But even if you get a 0% loan, you’ll still have a large payment looming over your head each month.

And your new car loses value the moment you drive it off the lot. Consider buying a reliable used car and paying cash instead.

As someone who’s been without a car payment for several years now, I can tell you that it’s a wonderfully peaceful way to live.

Related Article: 4 Ways To Get Out Of A Car Lease Early

15. Use These Great Ideas to Save Money on Getting to Work

Most everyone has to work, and that means transportation of some sort is a necessity. However, you might be able to save money by finding alternative methods of transportation.

For instance, you could carpool with someone who lives nearby. Or you could take the bus. If you live close enough you might be able to walk or bike to work.

Another idea: See if your boss will let you work from home a day or two a week. Then you don’t have to drive in to work at all on those days.

16. Live in a Walkable Community

Walkable communities are those where many everyday things you need are within walking distance. The grocery store, the library and the local doctor are all located within a couple of miles from your home.

Many communities today are being planned to make walking a viable transportation option for residents.

If you don’t live in a walkable community, consider moving to one if it makes sense for you. One bonus is that walking will help keep you in shape for free.

Food is another big expense for people and families. Here are some ideas for saving money on groceries.

Cut Your Grocery Bill

There are several ways you can save money on groceries at home. These tips can work whether you’re living a single life or raising kids.

According to the USDA, the average family of four spends between $644 and $1284 on groceries each month.

As a mom of four kids, my grocery budget never exceeds $600 a month. Here are some tips on how I reduce my grocery costs and how you can too.

17. Use a Menu Plan

One of the ways I save big money on groceries is by creating a weekly menu plan. I decided on seven dinners for the week. Then I shop for the ingredients I need to buy to make those dinners.

Lastly, I add breakfast and lunch foods to my grocery list. Making a weekly menu plan will help ensure you never end up ordering takeout because there’s nothing to eat in the house.

18. Create a List of Cheap Meals

I try to spend an average of $5 on dinners each night. Some nights we have expensive dinners like steak. Some nights we have super cheap meals like buttered noodles with veggies.

Creating a target dollar amount for meals will help you to keep your grocery budget low yet still have more extravagant meals on occasion.

19. Grow Your Own Food

If it’s possible, grow a garden in your yard or participate in a community garden. Vegetable seeds are very cheap, and the yield return is often very high.

20. Buy Local

Buying from local farmer’s markets and farmers can help you save money on groceries as well. For instance, we buy our beef from a local farmer here.

We usually buy a quarter of a cow at a time and pay $4.50 a pound for grass fed beef.

That’s much less expensive than what we’d pay for grass fed beef at the market.

21. Buy In Bulk (When it Makes Sense)

Buying in bulk at warehouse clubs can save you a lot of money — sometimes. There are two key questions that will help you determine if warehouse clubs make sense for you.

The first is whether or not you’ll use the quantity of food you’re buying. The second is whether the money you’ll save on food and other items at the club makes up for the cost of the membership.

I’d suggest doing a one-year test run at your local warehouse club, or a trial membership if it’s offered. In my personal research, I’ve found warehouse clubs seem to be most cost-efficient for larger families.

22. Be Mindful of Food Waste

The USDA estimates food waste at between 30% and 40% of the U.S. food supply. That’s a lot of money going into landfills.

You can save money by following these tips to cut down on food waste in your home:

  • Use leftovers by eating them at lunch or using them for the next night’s dinner
  • Prepare smaller meals
  • Make a weekly menu plan so you’re only buying what you’ll use
  • Don’t buy things your family doesn’t like to eat
  • Have a leftover night once a week to clear the fridge of leftovers

Cutting down on food waste could save you hundreds of dollars each month. Next, we’ll cover some ways to save money on entertainment costs.

Save Money on Entertainment

Do you spend a lot of money on entertainment such as trips to the theater and eating out? Here are some ways to have fun for less.

23. Have Movie Nights at Home

Cut down on trips to your local movie theater and have movie nights at home instead.

Turn down the lights, pop some popcorn and hit the couch with your favorite flick. It’s a whole lot cheaper than visiting the theater.

24. Find Free Ways to Entertain Yourselves

There are many ways to have fun for free. Here are some ideas:

  • Go for a bike ride
  • Take a hike at a state or county park
  • See a free concert in the city
  • Google “free things to do in” followed by your city’s name
  • Get together with friends for a BBQ or potluck
  • Play card games or board games with loved ones
  • Go for a walk
  • Create a triathlon for family and friends

If you’re willing to get creative, you can do many things for free. You can even go to a restaurant where kids eat for free if you want to go out and stay on a budget.

25. Eat Out When You Can Get A Good Deal

Did you know there are several holidays where you can always get something to eat for free or at a discounted price?

Here are some holidays and special days to eat out for less:

If you plan to eat out on these occasions, it can help you spend less and still enjoy great food.

Save on Health Expenses

Try out these tips for saving money on taking care of your health. You might be surprised at how much money you can save.

26. Focus on Prevention

As with most things, prevention is often cheaper than the cure. Get your annual doctor, dentist and vision checkups. Avoid activities or habits that are known to be harmful to your health. Some examples are smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

Exercise regularly and eat plenty of green veggies. Be conservative about the consumption of sugar and processed foods. Take good care of your health to help prevent costly medical expenses.

27. Contribute to a Health Savings Account

If you’re eligible, consider making regular contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA). A Health Savings Account involves saving pre-tax money that can be used to pay for medical procedures and products.

For instance, you can use HSA monies to buy contact solution. Talk to your employer for more information on HSAs. Note that you must have a high-deductible health plan in order to be eligible for an HSA.

28. Work Out for Free

Instead of spending money on a costly gym membership, consider working out for free. Design a workout plan you can do at home. Or walk, run or bike on local paths or at nearby parks.

Workout to exercise shows you find on TV, or buy a DVD set that focuses on your favorite exercises. Exercise with a friend or loved one to make working out for free more enticing.

Now let’s talk about some ideas for saving money while raising kids.

Save Money Raising Kids

There’s not much debating the fact that raising kids can be expensive. Here are some ideas for spending less as you raise your children.

29. Be Choosy About Extracurricular Activities

Instead of enrolling your child in every available extracurricular activity, be choosy. Let them choose one or two activities each year that are important to them.

Doing so will help you save money as well as time.

30. Get Creative About Clothing Expenses

It can be tempting to buy expensive name-brand clothing for your kids. When your kids get to be teens they might insist on it. Consider the following options for saving money on kids’ clothes.

  • Buy used at thrift stores, Facebook Marketplace, eBay or other sites
  • Get clothing at the end of the season on clearance and buy a size too big
  • Consider working at your child’s favorite clothing store to get a store discount

This article on the Best Places to Sell Clothes Online will show you where to buy and sell used clothes to save money.

31. Plan Ahead for College Expenses

One of the most expensive costs associated with having kids is that of college expenses. Here are some ways you can save money on college costs.

  • Research several colleges to find the most cost-effective choice
  • Save money for college in a 529 College Savings Plan
  • Have your child attend a community college for the first two years

32. Implement a Challenge-Everything Budget

Using a challenge-everything budget can be a great way to spend a lot less money.

The concept is simple: You take every line item in your monthly budget and find a way to reduce or eliminate that expense.

See our article on The Challenge-Everything Budget to see how this revolutionary budget plan can get you more money each month.


I hope some of these simple ideas to save money will help you improve your financial situation. With a little creativity, there are a lot of ways to save more money.

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  1. Seleman Muyomba says:

    Thanks for this 33 ideas. I tried only one and then, Oh it was hard to me. Money is a problem to many people.

    1. Jess Nardini says:

      I encourage you to keep trying them out! Having savings, especially for an emergency fund is very important! Keep up the good work!

  2. Mark | Moneymink.com says:

    Thanks for sorting these out! It really helped me track my expenses. Now I always monitor each buck that comes out of my pocket. I also started reading on another topic regarding passive income ideas. Thank you!

  3. I am very happy to have come across your website. As a rule, I usually don’t find many with the straight up talk I’ve found here. I just retired this year from a life of being a waitress and a bartender as well as a few factory jobs along the way. Needless to say, my retirement check is not big enough to live on, especially if I was to try it on my own. So, I’ve been rolling ideas aimlessly around in my head to come up with ways for making a little more. Well, I just want say I’m so inspired now and totally excited to use your website as a tool and for guidance in my endeavors to make some supplemental cash. This is awesome and I’m happy to be a subscriber.

    1. That’s great, Cindy! I hope you are able to use some of the information we have posted on this site to grow your retirement income. 🙂

  4. I’ve recently come across apps that round up purchases and put the difference in an account. For example, you bought something for $157. The app would round it up to $160 and put the $3 difference into an account. So, that’s a good way to save too.

    1. Yes it is. There are several apps out there that will do that for you. It’s a great way to save without really feeling it. A few dollars here and there is less noticeable to your wallet, but can add up significantly over time. 🙂

  5. Sammy White says:

    Modern marketing can make anyone purchase more. If you have been told that your salary will be paid soon, do not throw money around before receiving it. Do not take debts or loans. All received finances should be properly distributed. For example, one part of the earnings will go to pay utility bills because they are worth paying on time.
    Many people are used to paying for all their purchases with the help of various gadgets and devices, which often has negative consequences. By paying all bills using the same bank card, we do not notice the amount of money spent. It is necessary to abandon it, try to calculate and plan each of its expenses. At first it can be hard, but over time you get used to it.
    If you are planning to buy a thing that you have long wanted, think about whether you will become happier after the purchase. Try to understand yourself and make the right decision. If you accept the answer as “no”, then deep down you really do not want to buy this thing thereby reducing the level of internal alarm.

    1. I agree that current marketing trends target us and make us want to buy more. You are right that you should not spend money before you have it and pay the necessary bills first. Thanks for your comments!

  6. These are nice step by step descriptions. Each and every point gives a different idea. Thanks for sharing such a nice article.

    1. Your welcome! I’m glad you find it to be helpful.

  7. Josh Steinberg says:

    Hey Laurie,

    I like how you break up these ways to save money into different subcategories. It really shows that you can save money in every aspect of your life!

    My favorite way to save money is to automate my paychecks. As soon as I get paid, a portion is put into a savings account.


    1. Laurie A Blank says:

      Thanks, Josh! Automating savings is one of the most powerful steps you can take to build your net worth up–way to go!