Everyone can always use extra money. Having more money tops the list of every New Year’s Resolutions. Most people don’t realize the extra money they need may already be within what they already earn. It’s just a matter of re-thinking how you spend it. If you want to save money now, here are 60 ways to help you find more money for saving, investing or buying more preps.
1. Bake your own bread. Store bought bread runs about $2.00 – $3.95 a loaf. Homemade bread typically costs about 60 cents a loaf. Plus, it is much healthier for you.
2. Learn to make soups, stews and casseroles using cheaper meats or no meat at all. All can be frozen and made in large quantities for leftover meals for days. Very economical and healthier way to eat.
3. Buy in bulk quantities and learn to cook from scratch. The combination of these two can literally cut your grocery bill in half or more. Once you build up a repertoire of meals from ingredients you buy in bulk, your monthly grocery costs will dramatically decrease.
4. Go without a vehicle. Walk, ride a bike, carpool or take public transportation instead.
5. Set up “averaged” utility payments. Just contact the utility service and ask to be put on “averaged” billing each month. They will take a year’s worth of your bills and average them, and you will be billed that amount. This will eliminate the highs and lows of your bills, making it easier to see how much you are really saving when you take steps to eliminate energy waste at home.
6. Trim and/or cut your own hair, or cut down on the number of trips to the hair salon/barber.
7. Start a garden. Not only will you get the satisfaction of this wonderful skill, you will literally be making food for yourself and your family at pennies on the dollar. Start small, and keep a log of all you do. That is the best way to learn what works and what doesn’t each growing season to growing season. Use heirloom seeds and you will never need to buy seeds for the next crop ever again.
8. Learn to preserve food. Dry canning is the easiest way to start and will make your food budget smaller.
9. Eliminate or cut down on eating out.
10. Instead of Starbucks, make your own coffee.
What to Eliminate and Make to Save Money Now
11. Eliminate cable/satellite or reduce your monthly bill by getting a cheaper package deal.
12. Read more. Use the local library for books and magazines. Also check out their DVD movies and audio books.
13. Make your own cleaning products. There are many You Tube videos that show you how by combining low-cost ingredients to do the same or better cleaning job than what you spend on brand name cleaners.
14. Make your own beauty products. All quality beauty products use the same raw materials. Watch You Tube channels that show you how to acquire these raw materials at low cost, and how to make your own beauty products.
15. If you must keep a car/truck/van, learn to repair it yourself. At least learn how to do your own oil changes and tune-ups. This could turn into a side-line business for you.
16. Find a cheaper housing option. If you’re single, rent a room, or get a roommate, or rent out an extra room if you have one. If you like living alone, find a much cheaper place to live. For some in order to save money, they move into an RV, van or even their car. Weigh all the options and decide what you are willing to do to lower the largest item on every household budget: the cost of a roof over your head.
17. Don’t buy anything new. Look for good quality used items first at thrift stores, on Craigslist or eBay. Make sure it’s still a bargain if you have to pay shipping. If you can’t find an item you want this way, ask family or friends for it as a gift for your birthday or Christmas.
18. Cancel unused subscriptions. Read current issues at the library or ask for new subscriptions as a gift.
19. Buy generic. If you can’t part with your favorite brands, at least try to buy them in bulk or in multiples at wholesale or reduced prices.
20. Shop for new insurance. Once you find a better price for the same or comparable coverage, contact your current insurer and ask them to price match it. Most often than not, they will. What have you got to lose?
What to Change to Save Money Now
21. Turn down your thermostat. Why pay for heating or cooling while you are away from home and at work or on a trip?
22. Lower your cell phone’s data plan or get a new cell phone provider that has a way better deal.
23. If you have an emergency fund already saved, then increase your deductible on car insurance. Make sure you always have enough to cover any unforeseen repairs or accidents.
24. Take advantage of free or low-cost health screenings at your local clinic/hospital and those offered through your health insurance plan. This can save you additional thousands of dollars later and may detect anything serious before it gets much worse.
25. Quit smoking. Yes, Virginia, there are people who still smoke cigarettes. Add legalized marijuana now to that list. Quit this stuff! Your overall health will improve and you will save a bundle on more than just shelling out for another pack of smokes. Your health insurance costs will also go down for each year you remain a non-smoker.
26. Learn simple sewing to repair your own clothes, instead of buying new. Start small: learn to darn a hole or repair a tear by hand, using a needle and thread. For more substantial repairs (hemming, new edging, or making your own clothes), get a sewing machine. Look for a top-quality used machine on Craigslist/eBay or ask for a new one as a gift.
27. If you own a vehicle, inflate your tires. Did you know for every 3 pounds per square inch (PSI) that your tires are below recommended levels, you’re losing 1% in fuel efficiency? This is a common problem especially during the winter, when tires are more prone to leaking. By keeping your tires properly inflated, you could save up to $65 per year on gas. This will also extend the life of your tires by over 1,000 miles, so you won’t need to buy new tires as often.
28. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. According to the Department of Energy, LEDs, halogen, incandescent, and compact fluorescent lamps use between 25% and 80% less electricity than traditional light bulbs. This can add up to a savings of $75 per year. Additionally, energy-efficient light bulbs can also last up to 25 times longer, so you won’t have to replace them as frequently.
29. Turn off lights when you leave a room. Why pay for energy you are not using?
30. Start a “no spend” day habit. Select a day each week where you spend no money on anything. Can you do it? If you can stick with it, you may be able to expand the “no spend” concept to more days each month.
Learn to Save
31. If you own a vehicle, find the best gas rewards card available in your area and sign up for it. Be careful to compare apples to apples! A Sam’s Club membership of $250 may not save you money if you don’t buy at Sam’s Club often enough to justify the expense.
32. Learn how to feed yourself and your family on a tiny budget. There are several You Tube channels devoted entirely to feeding a family of 6 on $42 or less a week!
33. Ask for generic prescription drugs. Branded drugs cost more than their generic counterparts. If you take more than a few prescriptions each month, you could save hundreds, even thousands of dollars per year just by switching to generic drugs.
34. Buy a water filter instead of buying bottled water. Low-cost filter pitchers (like Britta) or a gravity-fed filter can save you money by eliminating bottled water purchases.
35. Use a clothesline instead of the dryer. The more clothes you can drip dry at home equals more money saved in electricity or at the laundromat. If you rent, you can hang up clothes to dry over your bathtub, or in a utility space with the floor covered to handle the drips.
36. Exercise on a regular basis. Do it from home and save the cost of a gym membership. This will reduce your cost of healthcare, and improve your overall sense of personal accomplishment and satisfaction.
37. When exercising at home, use canned fruit or vegetables as hand weights, eliminating the need to buy them. If you get heavily into weight use, look for a local used weight set on Craigslist or at a thrift store and don’t buy brand new ones.
38. Buy Forever Stamps. The cost of postage seems to rise just when you need a stamp and now your old ones are not enough. Buying Forever Stamps means that you can use them without having to pay extra when the price of stamps goes up.
39. Scour the dumpsters around a carpet store for used sets of carpet samples. These typically come in large enough swatches so they can be used as door mats and car mats, and under pet bowls. Sew four together and make an area rug or bathmat.
40. Scour the dumpsters by fabric stores. They will often contain swatch books of fabrics in large enough sizes you can re-purpose as clothes patches or quilt blocks. If you don’t need them, you can re-package them and sell them on eBay, Craigslist or at flea markets to those who do use them.
Dig a Little Bit to Save Money Now
41. Oftentimes behind stores in strip malls are store fixtures to be thrown or hauled away. You can find scrap metal to sell, or items which can be re-purposed to use in your home. I once found a bakery shelf used to sell local baked goods, which now works as a linen shelf in my bathroom. Before taking anything, always ask permission!
42. Learn to make your own furniture or refinish furniture for your own home decorating. What starts as a simple home project could become a way to earn extra income.
43. Rent certain items instead of buying them. This is especially a good idea if you only occasionally use power tools. If you use an item only once or twice a year, rent it instead of buy.
44. Ask for discounts on any service you use regularly. For example, if you visit a hair stylist frequently, ask for a discount on the price. Explain you may have to cut back on the number of visits unless you get a discount. Tell them you will also recommend them to others.
45. A frequently overlooked deep discounted food source is a local country or ranch feed store. For example, they sell oats in 50 lb bags that are the same kind of oats humans consume, at a much lower price than charged at grocery stores. What you don’t use immediately can be dry canned and stored in jars or food grade buckets. The savings to you can be substantial.
46. Another source of discounted food is a local market garden that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to area restaurants, often at significant savings compared to grocery stores. Find them and negotiate a frequent purchase of those items you use. What you don’t use, you can can for use later.
47. Go to U-Pick farms and harvest your own corn, apples, green beans, berries, nuts, etc. Can what you don’t immediately use for future consumption, sell it to friends and neighbors and recoup your cost.
48. Another variation of this, is to find the local produce wholesaler (those that sell fruits and vegetables) and open a commercial account. Consume what you buy, can extra for later but make sure to include bagged apples, oranges, pears, etc. Then sell those to friends and neighbors or other groups you belong to at a discounted price from the grocery store price, in order to earn back what you spent on the food. I know someone who does this and markets bagged fruit to people in RV campgrounds and parks and makes a tidy income for themselves, in addition to getting their own produce paid for by others!
49. Learn to make your own fast foods. Start with breakfast bars and branch out. People usually spend way too much money on convenience and fast foods when they think they don’t have the time to make them. Set aside one afternoon a week to bake/cook for the rest of the week. This is one of the fastest ways I know to learn and improve upon new cooking skills that will save you a bundle every month.
50. Downsize! Start with selling off all the unused items just collecting dust in your home. You will be surprised at how much money is just waiting to be found sitting in closets, in boxes and on shelves. You may discover some long-forgotten item that could be given as a gift, sparing you that cost outlay later. Did you find old magazines? Bundle them and sell them! People have also found vintage advertising or photographs in magazines and placed them inside frames to decorate their own homes or to sell to others. Don’t just sell everything on eBay, either. If you suspect you have a vintage item, do a little online research and find out what it is truly worth, then sell on the best platform to get the highest price for it. Even old clothes that no longer fit you can be sold on Poshmark, eBay and Etsy (if it’s vintage) for big bucks.
Be Creative to Save
51. If you live near a college or university, mark when semesters end on your calendar and dumpster dive by the dormitories during finals week. You will find scads of barely-used bottles of laundry detergent, plus plenty of other items like ironing boards, mini-fridges, small tables, folding chairs – just about anything that can’t be fit into Mom and Dad’s car when going home. I know a gal who literally finds a half-year’s worth of laundry detergent this way. What you can’t use, you can still sell.
52. If you own a vehicle, make it a good used truck or van. You get the benefit of having a means of transportation, plus a way to make extra income by renting out the use of your truck for moves. If you don’t want to offer a full-service moving service, then you can help people save money on their move by paying you to drive the truck while they load it. Charge by the size of the job or how many trips it will take back and forth to their new residence. You can also advertise for free that you will take loads to the county dump for people. They load, you haul and you get paid. You may need to get comprehensive vehicle insurance, but take all your costs involved when you set your prices. If you are making payments on your vehicle, your goal should be to earn enough money to cover your loan payment every month. With just a little hustle, your truck or van could be earning a sizable second income and pay for your vehicle.
53. Make notepaper out of junk mail. Everyone needs notepads in various places around the house, but why pay for those? Take the junk mail you get, and recycle the blank portions of the envelope or inside papers and use them as notepads. I’ve seen people take small boxes, cut them down to be a tray to hold all the re-purposed note paper they salvage from their junk mail.
54. When you rent a carpet cleaner machine for a day, offer to do someone else’s carpet the same or the next day. Charge them less than what the pros would charge, but more than what the equipment rental fee is to you. You just got your own carpets cleaned for free and you made a bit extra to boot!
55. Save all the little slivers of used bar soap. At the end of the year, shred them using a grater and place the shreds in an old pot, melt them on a medium heat on the stove. Using silicon or metal molds (like candy molds, muffin tins), lightly spray the molds with cooking spray and fill with the melted soap. Let it cool down and harden, then pop out your new soaps for use.
56. Buy clothes in neutral colors. This will actually allow you to create more outfits based on your existing basic wardrobe. You can change the look of an outfit by incorporating less expensive accessories (scarves, belts, vests, sweaters) in brighter colors giving you more variety for less cost.
57. If you have room, buy a freezer. Low-cost used freezers can be found on Craigslist or in local classified ads. New freezers can be purchased for about $150 on up. Owning a freezer allows you to stock up on perishables when they go on sale, saving you money overall. This is especially important for you meat-eaters! The money you save will more than pay for the freezer.
58. Use online garage and estate sale reminders when looking for particular item(s). Sign up for free at several of these type of websites, including: https://garagesalefinder.com ; https://www.yardsalesearch.com/ ; https://gsalr.com ; https://www.estatesale-finder.com ; https://www.estatesales.net ; https://estatesales.org/estate-sales, to name a few of such services. You can set up your search for particular items in your area, and set your search area to how far you are willing to travel to such a sale. This is a very good way to find quality goods at low cost. Be prepared to haggle!
59. If you do not have a will, but do not want to pay the high attorney fees, in some states you can create your own will and have it notarized for free at your bank or credit union. If you are unsure how to go about this, ask at your local bank if they offer a notary service and if they have any will forms. They should be able to help you.
60. Use the money you save or earn by using these techniques by starting a new savings account with a local credit union. Credit unions are great places to do business because they typically offer lower-cost accounts and loans at lower interest rates than banks. You may not need all of their services now, but perhaps in the future they will save you money. So start that relationship now, by socking away all of your “found” dollars!
You may not need to do each of these suggestions, but if you find a few to be useful, it will help you find the extra money you already have to save, invest or buy more preps.
This is a guest post by Dare Tuitt.