43 Creative Ways to Save Money: A Little Can Go a Long Way

There are many small, creative ways to save money each week–and you don't have to be reduced to dividing your 2-ply toilet paper in half or turning into the kind of extreme couponer that makes cashiers cringe when they see you coming to make it happen.

31 Creative Ways To Save Money

Just think: $20 per week savings could result in $1,040 by the end of the year.

Many times, when you're trying to save money, you look at the big things: the huge purchases you can skip making; the regular payments, like your cable bill, that you can cut; and other strategies that will save you big bucks overall.

Unfortunately, whether you're trying to get out of debt, avoid getting into debt in the first place, or save up for something big, there are only so many big things that you can cut. That doesn't mean, however, that you should give up!

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43 Creative Ways to Save Money: A Little Can Go a Long Way 6

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Try some of these creative ways to save money on a tight budget.

1.Paper Products

Toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, and other paper products can add up quickly–and they’re not exactly cheap. Instead of using traditional paper products, try using reusable ones instead.

For example, you can use cloth napkins, hand towels, and rags for cleaning instead of paper towels. You can also use a menstrual cup or cloth pads instead of disposable sanitary napkins.

Buy your toilet paper and paper towels from Amazon. The price almost always beats the store prices, even with coupons. See if the brand you’re buying offers Subscribe & Save, this saves you an additional 5%.

If you subscribe to 5 items in the same month, you’ll get 15% savings on each item! You can cancel your subscription at any time.

2. Turn Off the TV

And your smartphone. And your laptop. In fact, step away as soon as you finish reading this blog. No, it's not about the power drain! Instead, it's about the ways you can use that time to save your money–or make–money instead.

Fill out surveys for gift cards, try some DIY tasks, like making your laundry detergent or bread, and learn how having back the time you once spent mindlessly scrolling can transform into opportunities for saving money.

3. Have More Parties

Nights out can get expensive fast–for everyone involved! Instead, try having more parties at home.

Opt for a potluck: you provide a dish, friends provide a dish, everyone brings their drinks, and you enjoy each other's company instead of spending your evening seeing who can run through their budget the fastest.

4. Include Treats in Your Budget

One of the best tricks to save money is to treat yourself. Yes, you're trying to save your money, not spend it. However, if you leave no room in your budget for treats, you'll quickly become frustrated and be tempted to cheat.

When you do have room to indulge, you're less likely to make irresponsible decisions the rest of the time.

5. Do Some Spring Cleaning

You dread spring cleaning with a passion no matter what the time of year, but did you know that it can help you save your money? Your kitchen cabinets, your closet, and other areas of your home are filled with items that you need on a regular basis, but that you can never find when you need them.

How many times have you gone out and bought another spatula or grabbed another outfit because you couldn't make your existing possessions work?

Instead, take the time to look at what you've got, then organize it accordingly. You'll be surprised by what you won't need to buy when it's already in your home.

6. Become an Expert in Something New

When your dishwasher breaks down, it's time to become an appliance repairman (assuming that it's no longer under warranty). Are you having trouble with your computer?

Try some online troubleshooting before you take it into an expensive repair shop. If you have pets, learn how to handle basic grooming tasks and find affordable vet care.

You can even learn how to cut your own hair–or at least how to cut your spouse's or sons'. The more you're able to do yourself, the more money you can save on hiring other people to do it for you.

Even better, think of the feeling of accomplishment when you're the one to pry a sock out of the washer pump or figure out why the ice maker in the fridge is no longer working.

With a wide range of tutorials and videos available online, there are plenty of opportunities to learn anything you need to know how to do.

7. Shift Your Thermostat

A single degree on your thermostat can save you as much as 3% on your electric bill by the end of the month–a savings of 1% per 8-hour period every day that the shift is made. When you're looking at expensive electric bills, especially in the middle of summer or winter, that amount can add up fast!

If you're struggling to adjust your thermostat, consider investing in a smart thermostat that will optimize the temperature when you're at home, but allow it to change overnight or when you're at work. You'll still experience plenty of savings, but you won't be home to notice the shift in temperature.

8. Reduce Vampire Drains

This Is How To Save Money
Photo by Aaron Huber on Unsplash

No, we're not talking about creatures of the night that will come in and suck your blood. Instead, vampire energy drains come from devices that use energy merely because they're plugged in, even when they aren't doing anything.

By unplugging devices that aren't in use, from your coffee maker to your TV, you can significantly cut energy use throughout your home. Take the time to turn them off every evening before you to go bed or, even better, switch them off as soon as you use them.

9. The Best Way To Save Is To Pay Yourself First

One of the best ways to save money is to pay yourself first. What does that mean? It means that before you pay your bills, put money into savings.

You can do this by setting up a monthly automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account. Or, you can take a specific dollar amount out of each paycheck and put it into savings.

The key is to make sure that you don’t dip into your savings account, no matter what. Once you have the money in there, it’s off-limits until you reach your goal.

10. Save Money On Food

Wondering how to save money on food? Meal planning will keep you from hitting the drive-thru window again. A fast-food meal for two can easily cost $20 or more, but that same $20 spent at the grocery store could feed you multiple times. 

Print out this free meal planner and see what a difference it makes to plan. Use a grocery list at the store to avoid impulse buying.

11. Use Coupons And Discounts

One of the best ways to save money is to use coupons and discounts. This means looking for deals and offers before you make a purchase.

There are a few different ways to find coupons and discounts, but the most common is to use a search engine like Google or Bing. You can also check out websites like Rakuten or Ibotta for deals and offers.

Ibotta gives rebates for grocery and household items. Rakuten gives you cash back for most online purchases and some in-store purchases as well.

12. Save Your Money By Creating A Budget

One of the most important things you can do to save money is to make a budget. This will help you track your spending and figure out where you can cut back.

A budget doesn’t have to be complicated, and there are plenty of free online tools that can help you get started. Just make sure that you include all of your expenses, including things like entertainment, eating out, and clothes.

As Dave Ramsey always says “if you don’t tell your money where to go, you’ll be wondering where it went.” Print out a free budget planner and see how much easier it is to save your money when you have a plan.

13. Saving Money On Your Energy Costs

Energy-efficient light bulbs can last up to 20 years and reduce your electric bill. Adjust the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees or less to save even more.

14. One Of The Best Ways To Save Is To Avoid Fees

If you must use a credit card, choose one that doesn’t charge you an annual fee and gives you cash back. I have a Chase Credit card that gives me money back on my Amazon purchases.

Don’t use a credit card unless you can pay it off as soon as the bill comes; you waste a fortune by paying high-interest rates on credit cards.

Watch out for ATM fees; these add up quickly. A dollar here and 50 cents there doesn’t sound like much, but in a year's time, you can easily spend a hundred dollars or more in fees.

15. Delay Shopping

One of the best ways to save money fast is to delay shopping. Instead of ordering that thing that you have to have online, put it in the shopping cart and let it sit for a few weeks. If two weeks go by and you still really want to make a purchase, then go ahead and do it. 

Most of the time I never buy the things in my shopping cart, and I save myself a lot of money. I get to have a shopping experience without the expense.

16. Here's How To Save Money Each Month

You can save money each month by making purchases when things are out of season. Here are some examples of what bargains to look for by month:

  • January- Christmas decorations and bedding
  • February- Winter clothes, cell phones & tv’s
  • April- Sneakers and cruises
  • May- Mattresses and refrigerators
  • July- Summer clothes
  • August- Patio furniture

17. Give Thoughtful Gifts

Another creative way I save money is to make my gifts. People appreciate thoughtful gifts more than expensive gifts, make something yourself to show how much you care. Go to Google or Pinterest and search for homemade gift ideas.

18. Skip The Trip To Starbucks

Eliminate that daily cup of coffee from Starbucks, the energy drink from the convenience store, or the daily soda from the machine at work.

A daily coffee at $4 a cup is $1460 per year, a soda at $1.50 a day is $547, and an energy drink at $5 a day is $1825. Just giving up one of those habits for a year would give you a pretty good chunk of change.

Make your coffee and take it with you. I bought this 20-ounce travel mug from Amazon for my morning commute; it keeps my tea hot for hours.

19. Bottled Water

One of the best places to save money is on water. Buy a good water filtration system, and it will pay for itself in no time. Most Brita pitchers cost less than $20, and some people spend more than that in one month on bottled water.

20. Health Savings Account

A health savings account, or HSA, saves you money by allowing you to contribute pre-tax dollars to an account to cover your medical expenses.

Any interest you make on the account is also tax-free. If anything is left in the account at the end of the year, it is rolled over to the following year. 

21. Cleaning Supplies

Save Your Money On Cleaning Supplies
Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

Household cleaners are expensive, and some are pretty toxic as well. Making your cleaners is one of the best ways to save money and improve your health.

Common ingredients in homemade cleaners are vinegar and baking soda; both are pretty inexpensive.

22. Ditch The Beer And Cigarettes

Smoking a pack a day for 20 years will cost you upwards of $40,000. You could pay cash for a nice car if you could break the addiction.

23. Gym Membership

Wondering how to save money each month on a gym membership? Try a free app like The Nike Training Club to get a good workout. There are over 100 workouts to pick from, and the workouts adapt to you.

After each workout, you answer a few questions about the intensity of your workout, and then the app adjusts your next workout accordingly. You can even choose whether you want to go for a run or do exercises.

The app asks you what equipment you have before it puts together a plan for you. I love this app, no more struggling to keep up with the instructor or leaving the room feeling like you didn’t get much of a workout because it was to easy.

24. Dress Appropriately

How do I save money in the winter? When it’s cold outside, I put on an extra layer of clothes instead of turning the heat up.

I’ve had people come to my house in shorts and a t-shirt when it’s snowing outside and tell me that it’s cold in my house. If you want to be warm in the winter, wear some clothes, I’m not turning up the heat.

25. Air Freshener

Candles, air freshener, and plugins, all smell nice, but over time that cost adds up.

One of my favorite creative ways to save money and be healthier is to use air fresheners made with essential oils. I add a few drops of mint to a glass spray bottle of water to freshen the whole house.

26. Use Air Filters To Save Your Money

Replace the air filters in your furnace and air conditioner on a regular basis to keep them running as efficiently as possible.

A dirty air filter can lead to increased energy use, costing you more money in the long run.

27. Cut The Cord

This one might be a little harder for some people, but turning off the TV can save you a lot of money each month.

How much could you save? According to Business Wire, the average American household spends about $116 per month on cable or satellite television.

If you were to turn off your TV for just one year, you would save $1,392. That’s a lot of money!

There are plenty of other things you can do with that money instead. You could put it towards your debt, invest it, or save it for a rainy day.

For ideas on saving money on cable read 6 Money-Saving Alternatives To Cable TV. While you're at it, check into the multiple ways that you can get free internet.

28. Laundry

Use cold water for lightly soiled clothes to cut your energy bill. Try making your laundry detergent. One of the creative ways to save money that I use is ditching the dryer sheets; we don't even miss them.

29. Money-Saving Ideas For Your Car

Keep your tires properly inflated, change your air filter on a regular basis, and clean the junk out of your car. Take care of your vehicle to maximize your fuel efficiency. Use apps to find the best gas prices.

30. Clothing

Clothing can be a big budget buster–but it doesn’t have to be! You don’t have to give up your fashion sense to save money on clothing, you just have to get creative.

Check out secondhand stores, take advantage of clearance racks and end-of-season sales, and invest in versatile pieces that can be dressed up or down. You can also make your own clothes, which is a great way to save money and get creative with your wardrobe at the same time!

31. Watch What You Say

Never say anything about yourself that you don't want to come true. Stop the negative talk, if you go around saying “I'll never get out of debt,” or “I'll always be poor,” then you will be.

I know it sounds silly, but this was a big turning point for me when I stopped saying “I can't” and started saying “how can I” instead, I began to find a way to get out of debt, to create wealth, and have a happy marriage.

If you've tried everything else and you're still in debt and aren't making any headway in your finances, your words and thoughts could be the missing key.

32. Downsize Your Life

One of the most creative ways to save money is to downsize your life. You don’t need a giant house, a garage full of junk you never use, or a closet full of clothes you never wear.

When was the last time you used that blender from college? Are you ever going to watch all those DVDs? Downsizing can save you money in so many ways, from the initial cost of getting rid of stuff to the ongoing costs of maintaining and storing it.

33. Dump Your Monthly Subscriptions

Cancel your gym membership and start working out at home, cancel your cable subscription and switch to streaming services, or ditch your magazine subscription and read articles online.

There are so many creative ways to save money when you take a closer look at your monthly subscriptions and figure out which ones you can live without.

34. Tracking Your Net Worth

Your net worth is the value of your assets minus your liabilities. In other words, it’s what you own minus what you owe.

Tracking your net worth is a great way to see how you’re doing financially and where you need to make changes. You can track it monthly, quarterly, or yearly, depending on how often you want to check in.

There are a few different ways to calculate your net worth, but the most common is to subtract your total liabilities from your total assets.

35. Use A Cash-Back Credit Card

If you’re looking for a way to save money, using a cash-back credit card is a great option. These cards give you a percentage of your purchase back in cash, which can add up over time.

Just make sure that you pay off your balance each month so you don’t end up paying interest on your purchases. Also, be sure to choose a card that has a good rewards program and doesn’t have an annual fee.

36. Invest In Yourself

One of the best ways to save money is to invest in yourself. This means spending money on things like education, training, and professional development.

When you invest in yourself, you’re making an investment in your future. It may cost you money upfront, but it will pay off in the long run.

Consider going to the local library instead of the bookstore, or taking an online course instead of a traditional class. There are so many ways to save money while still investing in yourself.

37. Invest In A Retirement Account

One of the best ways to save money for retirement is to invest in a retirement account. There are a few different types of accounts, but the most common are 401(k)s and IRAs.

You can usually set up a retirement account through your employer, or you can open one on your own. There are a few different things to consider when choosing an account, but the most important thing is to start saving as early as possible.

38. Make A Debt Payment Plan

If you have debt, one of the best ways to save money is to make a debt payment plan. This means figuring out how much you can afford to pay each month and then sticking to it.

You can use a budget or online tool to help you figure out your monthly payments. Once you have a plan, be sure to stick to it so you can get your debt paid off as quickly as possible.

39. Live Below Your Means

One of the best ways to save money is to live below your means. This means spending less than you earn each month.

There are a few different ways to do this, but the most common is to create a budget and stick to it. When you know what you can afford each month, it’s easier to say no to things like expensive dinners out or new clothes.

40. Make A list

One of my favorite ways of saving money is to make a list. This means creating a list of all the things you need and then sticking to it when you go shopping.

When you make a list, you’re less likely to impulse buy or spend money on things you don’t need. Plus, it can help you stay organized and save time when you’re at the store.

41. Don’t Buy on Credit

One of the best ways to save money is to not buy on credit. This means only buying things with cash or a debit card.

When you buy on credit, you’re more likely to spend more than you can afford. Plus, you’ll have to pay interest on your purchases. So, it’s best to avoid this if you can.

42. Pack Your Lunch

Start saving money by packing your lunch. This means bringing your own coffee and food from home instead of buying it at work or school.

When you pack your lunch, you can save a lot of money over time. Plus, you can control what you eat and avoid unhealthy options.

43. Car Insurance

The best way to save money on car insurance is to shop around. This means comparing rates from different companies and choosing the one that’s best for you.

You can use a website like Insure.com to compare rates from different providers. Just enter your information and you’ll get quotes from a variety of companies.

Consider insurance costs before you get a car, as this will have a big impact on your monthly premiums. Different cars cost different amounts to insure, so you’ll want to choose one that’s affordable.

Consider a higher deductible if you want to save money on your monthly premium. This means you’ll have to pay more out of pocket if you have an accident, but it can save you money in the long run.

More Creative Ways To Save Money On A Tight Budget

If you're really struggling to make ends meet, you may be able to qualify for FREE energy-efficient appliances through a government program or try living rent-free.

Saving your money can be a challenge, but it's one that's well worth it! If you need more frugal living tips or help to find other creative ways to save money, leave us a comment below.