50 Ways to Save $50
Each of these tips could save you $50 a month!
Just think, if you did each of these ways to save $50 a month, you would save hundreds each month and thousands each year! Honestly, some of these things may even save you a lot more than $50 per month.
A few years back, we told you about this book by Robert G Allen, “Multiple Streams of Income.” In his book he highlights 50 Ways to Save $50 a Month. We love saving money and want you to be able to save too, so here are the 50 ways (with a few adaptations) and our two cents about each one!
1. Shop with a list and stick to it!
Gone are the days of picking up random clothing items or movies that are cheap. When we shop we stick to our list, essentially keeping us from spending more money!
2. Just say NO to ATMs with fees….plan ahead for your cash needs.
You can always get a fee free transaction if you use an ATM at your personal bank. Also remember that many stores will give you cash back on an ATM card purchase and that is FEE FREE!
3. Does your bank charge high fees? MOVE YOUR ACCOUNT.
There are plenty of banks that have FREE checking accounts. Don’t pay for yours! Pay attention to rates too. We moved our savings to a money market account that gets a much higher return than the savings account our bank offered.
4. Pay off that credit card balance!
We pay off our credit card each month. We don’t ever charge more on the card than we have cash for in the bank. If you carry a balance or balances, start paying extra on the smallest balance each month until it is gone, then use that same money toward the next balance until you are debt-free!
5. If you must carry a credit card balance, shop around for a card with a lower rate.
Credit card companies want you and may be willing to negotiate. Then go back to #4 above!
6. Look for lower premiums on your insurance policies.
Even if you got a low rate when you originally bought the policy, you may find a lower rate if you check into it once every year or two. I recently changed my auto insurance – now I’m saving a couple hundred a year and my coverage is still great.
7. Consider higher deductibles for your home and auto insurance.
You may have to pay a higher deductible, but it will most likely be worth the money you saved paying a lower monthly payment! Try to keep enough money in your emergency saving account to cover at least the deductible. Our old truck only has liability insurance because if we crash it, it would likely cost us more to fix it than it is worth.
8. Do you have private mortgage insurance? If you have built up 20% equity in your home, you can cancel it.
Private Mortgage insurance runs about $100-$300 a month depending on the amount of your loan. It would sure be nice to knock that off your bill. You can if you have 20% equity! Even if you have to pay to get your home appraised, it is worth it in the long run if you are able to stop paying the mortgage insurance.
9. Use a mail-order pharmacy for long-term prescriptions.
They tend to be less expensive and will save you the gas, hassle and potential of buying other things in the drug store.
10. “Doc, can I get that as a generic drug?”
Most prescriptions have generics that are the exact same drug, just less expensive. You are not getting a higher quality if you choose Vicodin over hydrocodone + acetaminophen. They are the exact same chemical compound. One just has a brand name on it and a higher price tag.
Also when buying over the counter meds look for generics. Ex: Tylenol=Acetopminophen, Bayer=Asprin, Advil/Motrin=Ibuprofen, Aleve=Naproxen Sodium. See more about how to save on prescriptions.
11. Check all medical and hospital bills for errors….many insurance companies offer rewards.
I have never heard about rewards, but I have had many, many times when I have found that I have been over-charged or my insurance payments were not credited. Computers and people make mistakes, so check your bills carefully to avoid paying more than you should. Also, on larger bills, sometimes you can get a discount for paying the balance in full. It is worth asking!
12. Rent, never buy, something you’ll only use a few times.
We love to snowmobile, but we do not own our own. We would much rather pay a couple hundred dollars a year to rent instead of thousands of dollars to buy them and then have to pay to maintain and store them.
13. Turn your yard into a department store – have a rummage sale.
We have some experience in selling used items to earn money. You can do it too! It is really easy now days with online classified ads, local Facebook groups, and more in addition to the classic yard sales. Remember to use safe practices when meeting up with strangers for transactions. See also: Tips for Hosting a Garage Sale and Garage Sale Power Shopping
14. Switch cell phone or landline phone plans.
Many phone companies offer incentives to switch to them. Be aware of your contract, the quality of service, and the needs of your family.
15. Cancel those add-on phone services you don’t need.
Those little charges can really add up. Consider getting a less expensive cell phone plan if you really are not needing all of those minutes, data, or features.
16. Go digital – save on postage and more.
You can save money on postage by emailing friends and family instead of mailing. Think of how many stamps you wouldn’t have to pay for on Christmas cards! Granted, there are some things that may be special to you and worth the stamps, so do what you must. 😉 Many companies offer ways to pay bills online for free too. No stamps or checks needed.
17. Skip the movie theaters, rent a video instead.
I love using VidAngel for streaming movies (read my VidAngel review)! Not only can I do it for $1-$2, it’s convenient! Plus it’s more fun to snuggle up on the couch than trying to snuggle in the movie theater! 🙂 If you have Amazon Prime, you can stream lots of shows and movies free of charge. See why we like Amazon Prime and how it may even end up saving you money in the long run.
18. Dine out? Eat in.
Eating at home costs much less than going out. Sure, it is fun to go out every once in a while, but you have to pay for the gas to get there, the food, and sometimes a tip too. This is one of those things that can really be cut back or cut out all together if you need to spend less. Set a budget for eating out and stick to it. See our favorite recipes!
19. Lunch is “in the bag”, or it should be.
I have talked about this before. Do you want to know how much this can save you in a year? Check out my Free Lunch Post for the answer. We have tons of great ideas for packing a lunch too – it doesn’t have to be just for kids or students!
20. Exercise your library card.
We love the library! The library has so many wonderful FREE programs, books, movies, music and much more. Check out what our local libraries have to offer!
21. Free up space in your mailbox, cancel that magazine subscription you never read.
You can get magazine subscriptions for cheap, or even free sometimes, but be aware of automatic renewals. Don’t keep getting it if you don’t even read it anymore!
22. Watch a parade or have a picnic – free entertainment is often the best.
The newspaper or the city’s Facebook page are great sources to find out about local free events!
23. Turn your car into a “chat room.” Carpool to work.
Traveling is always more fun with friends, and you will probably save a good amount of money on gas if you rotate who drives!
24. Join the “bus crowd” and avoid cab fare.
Cabs are very expensive and bus fares are usually inexpensive! If you usually have to pay for gas or parking, taking the bus could save you a lot.
25. Buy airline tickets in advance, and always stay through Saturday.
You’ll have more fun and it’s a lot cheaper, too! Here are more tips on how to save on airline tickets.
26. Quit that health club, join the local gym instead.
There are small, local gyms in many areas that charge a lot less than the big health clubs for use of the facility. If you want to work out at home, your library is a great source for work out videos. Or you can find highly-rated exercise & fitness DVDs on Amazon for a lot less than a gym membership. Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred is a classic one!
27. Spend less on groceries.
Combining a coupon with a sale price is a great way to buy food. Stock up on what you use regularly when it is a great price. Even if you don’t use coupons much, you can save a lot of you only buy when the price is low. Know your price points for the items you use! Here’s another way to save at the grocery store.
28. What is in a name? Buy generic instead.
Another way to possibly save at grocery stores is to buy the generic brand. Compare the price per unit to know if it is really a better price. Some generic items are just as good as the name-brand and some are not, but most of them are worth a try if the savings are there. 🙂
29. Skip the paper towels, wash your cloth ones instead!
We use a lot of paper towels, so this is one I could really start doing better to save some money. Of course, I only buy paper towels when they’re on a good sale. 😉 Anyway, I do think that microfiber cloths are the best for dusting, cleaning walls, stainless steel and more. Wash cloths are great for cleaning other surfaces. Here’s a quick way to sterilize a dish cloth.
30. Watch out for “convenience” foods, they can be expensive and not as healthy for you anyway.
Sometimes the easiest way is not the best way, in more than one way. 😉 I like to get some of the higher quality convenience foods when they are on sale for a great price, but we don’t eat pre-packaged processed foods every day. Homemade is often cheaper and healthier! I think this often applies to healthy things too, which can be more expensive when some of the work is done for you – like whole carrots or cheese instead of pre-sliced, or a whole head of broccoli instead of the pre-cut florets, etc.
31. Join a warehouse club.
We love Costco! There really are some great deals on certain things that make the membership worthwhile. Plus, if you want to use some of your eating out budget at the food court, you can stretch it pretty far. Here are 5 tips to shop smart at Costco.
32. Scan those scanners and receipts, mistakes do happen.
When I shop, I carefully watch the screen. There have been many times when a coupon has beeped but not actually affected my total. Sometimes I have been double charged for items. Always pay attention and check your receipt because mistakes do happen!
33. Avoid pricey specialty stores.
You can often find comparable items at different stores with much better pricing!
34. Comparison shop online.
Perfect, I do not have to waste gas running all over town? I almost always check Amazon before I make a purchase to be sure that they aren’t selling the same item for a better price. Plus, there are stores that will price match online prices – Best Buy, Target, Walmart, etc. This could really save you some time and money!
35. Gotta trunk? Buy in BULK.
Sometimes bulk packaging offers a better price per unit for the item. When we buy a lot of something, we call it building your stockpile. When you find an item at a good price, buy 3. If you find and item at a great price, buy 10! You will save money in the long run if you do not have to pay full price for the item later. If you stockpile, you will not have to run to the store and pay full price for something like a cake mix, because you will have 5 in your pantry whenever you need to bake a cake.
If bulk is an awesome price, but you are not sure that you’ll use the entire quantity, see if a neighbor or friend will split it with you! We often buy bulk meat from Zaycon.
36. Premium gas for your car?
Most vehicles run just fine with out it, so you can stick to the cheaper gasoline. Check your manual to be sure. Here’s another way to save on gas.
37. Forget the words “automatic car wash” – do it yourself and get some fresh air.
With practice and maybe a helper, you can get really fast and make those quarters count (or tokens, credit, or whatever the local DIY car wash accepts in your area). I remember my Dad always recruiting one of us to go help him at the car wash and we got pretty good at it. Better yet, do it yourself at your home!
38. Use that quick-change oil and lube service on the corner instead of a full service garage.
Always ask if there are coupons or specials too. Sometimes they’ll help you out even if you forgot to bring your coupon. If you have a DIY guy, like I do, you can just have him take care of it for even less! See how much you can save if you change your own oil.
39. Never pay extra for service contracts or extended warranties, the manufacturer’s warranty is usually sufficient.
Sure, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For the most part though, the extended warranties are a waste of your money.
40. Cancel that premium channel you never watch, or cancel cable TV all together.
My husband always begs me to get cable when BSU football season approaches. Anyone want to have us over for the game when it is on ESPN? We really save money without it, and we really do not need it. I grew up with it because my dad worked for the cable company, but I really do not miss it much. I have an HD antenna right now, so we get some great local channels for free!
41. Don’t touch that thermostat, put on a sweater instead.
I have friends who wear wool socks, beanies and sweaters in their house during the winter. I’ve heard it said that you start saving money at just two degrees in whatever direction uses less energy. Sounds doable, right? Can you convince the rest of the family? Here are some tips about how to save money on air conditioning.
42. Take a shower instead of a bath.
Keep your shower short too! You will use less water and save yourself some time. Another idea is to bathe your young kids together, or one after the other in the same water. (Depending on how many kids you have, of course. That water could get real dirty if you have more than 3 or so! Also, if you go this route, let the girls go first.)
43. Only run a full dishwasher.
Washing dishes by hand may save you even more on water and electricity. I am okay with going the full dishwasher route though. I am too busy or lazy to wash more than necessary by hand!
44. Have an energy audit done on your home – some companies do them for FREE.
When you can save energy, you can often save money too. You can even do an audit yourself! Check it out.
45. Never pay extra for car rental insurance.
You may already be covered by your credit card or usual car insurance. Check into it before you sign up for the rental.
46. DON’T PLAY THE LOTTERY – the odds of getting hit by lightning are better than your chances of winning.
Buying lottery tickets not only wastes your money, but it entices you to pick up other items at convenient store prices.
47. Time to refinance your home? Keep an eye on interest rates.
1% point on your interest rate will save you about $100 a month on your mortgage for every $100,000. If you have a $200,000 mortgage, 1% will save you $2,400 a year. If you have that mortgage for 10 years, you will save $24,000 during that loan period. Keep it for 30 years, save $72,000. See my tips for improving your credit score… the better your credit score, the more opportunities you’ll have!
48. Pay yourself first – set aside a dollar a day.
If you put that $1 a day into a fund that earns 10% you will earn $25,000 in 20 years. If you do the same thing for 54 years you will grow 1 million dollars. Now that is assuming we can earn an average of 10% interest. That might be hard to come by these days, but you get the picture, right? The younger you are when you get into the market, the younger you will be when you accumulate your million. So start now.
49. Get a “piggy bank” for all the spare change you keep finding in your couch.
I love to use my change for garage sales! Coins can add up!
50. Don’t spend your next pay raise – INVEST THAT MONEY INSTEAD.
That is a great time to start investing. Your budget will not miss the money! We like to invest the maximum allowed in our 401K plans.
For more great money-saving tips and advice, we highly recommend Dave Ramsey too! Seriously, such a smart guy when it come to finances, and more. I’ve been to one of his events and read some of his books. Good stuff!