27 Experts Share Creative Ways To Save Money Each Month (On A Tight Budget)
Are you looking for creative ways to save money and cut costs in your everyday life? Identifying new opportunities to better manage your spending habits will be essential in reaching your money goals and making progress with your personal finances.
A small shift in your spending could be the difference between building an emergency fund, getting started investing or alleviating the stresses money can bring. Every dollar saved can go towards your more meaningful goals or needs.
However, saving money continues to be a problem plaguing so many.
Personal finances are personal. What works for one might not work for all. The same can be said for saving money. It too can also be difficult as life surprises you with new twists, turns and challenges. The common advice might not be feasible for everyone.
So what strategies are there to save money outside the box? How can we cut costs in our everyday lives in creative ways? Are there unique opportunities for the average person to spend and manage their money more mindfully?
I went looking for answers.
27 Personal Finance Bloggers Share Their Creative Ways To Save Money
I took to the Rockstar Finance Forums to get the help of some personal finance experts. What’s Rockstar Finance? A curation platform sharing the best in personal finance and money everyday with their website and email newsletter. However, there is also a Forum where members can discuss everything related to investing, retirement, saving money, making money, etc.
So here’s what I asked members of the personal finance blogging community:
What’s one unique or creative way you save money in your everyday life?
The goal was to identify actionable advice that would be applicable to everyday people. Whether it’s a quick win to help you save a little more money each month or a long-term shift to change your financial journey.
The responses cover a wide range of strategies to cut spending or alter your habits to help you save more and better manage your money.
Here are 27 creative ways to save money from personal finance bloggers and experts.
Going Green With An Electric Car
I drive an electric car which helps me save over $100 each month in gas. My Chevy Volt will go 50 miles on a single charge and has another 300 gas powered miles in the tank. This is the perfect commuter vehicle for those with electric range anxiety. My commute is 20 miles each way. As long as I keep the battery charged each night there will be no fuel burned that day.
I didn’t purchase fuel at all in September of this year but I drove 1,200 miles. Now that’s green!
- from the FIRE lane
Plan Ahead & Purchase Out Of Season To Save Money
The markup on seasonal retail items are nearly double what you’ll pay during the off season. Over the past couple years we’ve taken advantage of discounted products by delaying the purchase until there’s less demand in the market. Most consumers buy what they need, when they need it…but you can save 50% or more by planning ahead:
- Christmas wrapping paper and accessories in January
- Halloween costumes in November
- Back to school supplies in October
- Coats, hats, and boots in March
- Shorts, T-shirts and bathing suits in September
- Replaced our broken popup trailer with a hardshell RV in the fall
- Last year’s model phones, cars, etc. when the newest versions are released
Retailers need to clear their shelves to keep pace with what’s in demand. You can leverage this opportunity by avoiding seasonal consumer trends. Discover what purchases make you happy and then determine when such things will most likely be “on sale.”
- from The FI Way
Cutting Your Own Hair To Save Money On A Tight Budget
I cut my own hair. To be more precise, my wife shaves my head. I was a swimmer for many years and needed short hair anyway, so we just started shaving it at home. We’ve been doing it for 20 years or so now. If I got it cut every two months and paid $15 plus $5 tip ($20 total) that’s $2,400 over 20 years before investing it.
I know, not a fortune, but every little bit helps. For me the time savings is just as much a benefit. It takes us 15 minutes at home versus a drive to the barber, wait for the appointment, get hair cut, and drive home. Just think what I’ve saved in time and transportation costs too!
- from ESI Money
Lock Down Costs On Utilities
One unique way that I save money is by placing a lock on the thermostat at home. Since I live with two of my siblings, this prevents them from running up the electricity bill while I am not there.
A couple months ago, the electricity bill was higher than usual, and I sent a complaint to the owner, who is my mother. I felt that since I paid the majority of the bills in the house, that I should not be responsible for someone running up the bill.
So, my mom, being the creative person that she is, purchased a lock for the thermostat and gave me the key for it. When I received last month’s bill, I was pleasantly surprised that it was only $50, a couple hundred dollars cheaper than the previous month’s bill.
While I am enjoying a lower bill, I am cognizant of the fact that I have to let my siblings turn the heater on when it is freezing outside, which is rare here in Baton Rouge, La. However, it did snow here last year so who knows!
- from Jerry at Peerless Money Mentor
Spend With Intent & Track It All To Save Money
This is going to sound a bit like primary school but it works for me!
I have a chart where I put down everything I spend. Every day that I don’t spend money I get to color in a square. Every week that I spend money in 3 or less days I get to color in a silver square. This makes my spending INTENTIONAL and cuts down on lots of little purchases, which of course saves money.
In 2018, 28 weeks were ‘Silver’ weeks. Now the trick will be to increase that number in 2019!!
- from Frogdancer Jones of Burning Desire for FIRE
DIY To Cut Costs & Develop Skills
We have been able to save thousands of dollars over the years through DIY. Our default response when we need to install or repair anything is whether or not we can do it ourselves without sacrificing quality or safety.
Examples of DIY projects I have undertaken include building garden planters, painting, caulking, replacing toilets, rebuilding a grass lawn, and completely stripping and restoring our weathered deck.
It does not stop with just chores outside the house… I am also handy in the kitchen. I have learned to make all kinds of jerky, jams, kids snacks, baked goods, and more. By applying ourselves and learning new skills, we are able to save a significant amount of money every year.
- from Enoch at Savvy New Canadians
Stashing Rewards Points For A “Free” Christmas
The past few years my wife and I have paid for all of our Christmas shopping by using credit card rewards. We let our cash back build up throughout the year, and then redeem it in the 4th quarter to cover the costs of the Christmas gifts we buy for each other, our two kids, other family members, and friends.
The cost of Christmas gifts can really add up, so having a basically “free” Christmas the past few years has been really nice. Before we started doing this, I found that I typically used my credit card rewards for splurges that I didn’t really need, and wouldn’t have spent the money on otherwise. Using the cash back for Christmas gifts is definitely a more practical approach that has a bigger impact on our finances.
- from Marc at Vital Dollar
Use The Upgrade And Save Method
I try to think of ways to spend money today so that I save money in the future. Whether it’s buying higher quality or for greater convenience, there are ways where spending more now can help increase savings over the long term. I call it Upgrade and Save.
With my morning coffee, I have a Nespresso coffeemaker, which makes espressos using pods. It’s only slightly more expensive than a drip coffeemaker but it makes delicious espressos in thirty seconds and helps me avoid the temptation of visiting a coffeeshop.
- from Jim Wang at Wallet Hacks
Save Money Each Month By Reaping The Benefits Of Credit Cards
One frugality tip I’ve seen often is to avoid credit cards that have annual fees. Depending on your spending habits, I find the opposite to be true. My main credit card gives me 2% cashback, which ultimately makes everything an extra 2% off, which outweighs the fee I pay each year. That card also gives me 4 free airport lounge visits each year.
I have another card that offers 4% back on groceries, so I use that in grocery stores and again it outweighs the annual fee.
Finally, I have a credit card I use for booking flights. This airline card gives me an annual round-trip companion voucher and my checked bag is free on every flight. Either one of these perks pays for the annual fee and then some.
These three cards combined provide various amounts of insurance, price protection and extended warranty, adding further value to my net savings.
- from Tom Drake at MapleMoney
Discounted Coupons & Gift Cards To Save Money On Big Purchases
We just completed a remodel of our kitchen in our primary residence. While it’s hard to relate this in any way to saving money given the cost, we did want to share a tip for reducing expenses at retail stores.
If you go to eBay you can easily find 10% off coupons for Lowe’s, Home Depot, and other big box stores. If you find a seller who has online coupons they will usually be delivered almost immediately. You can then use the barcode right on your phone when making the purchase.
I’ve actually purchased these coupons sitting in my car in the parking lot before heading into the store to make my purchase. Taking a couple minutes to find these coupons saved us hundreds of dollars on our kitchen remodel.
- from Mark at Financial Pilgrimage
Take Part In The Pantry Challenge To Save Money & Reduce Food Waste
One of my favorite ways to save money on everyday spending is to do a pantry challenge. About once a year, for a month, I try to use up all the accumulated groceries I have in my fridge, pantry, and freezers. That way I can make sure nothing goes to waste, I spend a lot less on food for the month, and I learn useful lessons about our shopping and cooking habits that help me make better decisions for future purchases. (Turns out, I really don’t like granola bars, and I probably shouldn’t have bought a 20-pack on Amazon just because it was on sale…noted.)
I run a pantry challenge in a Facebook group every May (spring cleaning!). It’s a lot of fun. Join us!
- from Happy in the Hollow
Saving Money On Utilities With Minimal Time Invested
Energy providers make hefty profits from customers who stay for a long time without ever thinking about the costs. I have been saving between 200 and 300 dollars for years with the annual change of the electricity provider. I need about 15 minutes per year to initiate the change. Again, a little surplus in the wallet.
So what do I do?
- About 5 to 6 months before the minimum contract duration with my current provider is over, I check my favorite comparison portal by entering the zip-code, and electricity consumption.
- I chose the provider with the most significant discount combination with a maximum contract duration of 12 months.
- Entering my personal information and the new provider does all the paperwork for me.
Invested time: 15-30 minutes per year.
Savings: 200-300 dollars per year.
- from Alexander at DaytradingZ
Creative Spending To Save Cash
My approach is what I called creative spending. And here are few ways I do it. I practice creative spending by planning my errand effectively ahead to reduce cost of gas and cab. I pack my lunch regularly; make my coffee at home, instead of buying it each day. I can skip the soft drinks and the extras (dessert etc) and stick with water (good for my health). Switch from expensive boxed cereals to oatmeal, eggs and fruits. A dinner with my parents once a while goes a long way as they live close.
I use exercise videos or blogs instead of paying for gym. Plus set limits to spending on festivals, give homemade gifts or baked goods, rather than expensive presents.
Though the money saved from the individual item may be very little but when you add it up, it amounts to a lot of money.
- from Simon at Money Pedals
Buy Less House To Cut Costs Significantly
While I don’t think my savings advice is particularly unique, it does seem to go against the grain of the general population. One thing my family has done to save money is buying way less house than we could afford.
Our family of four lives in a 1400 square foot home, which is admittedly not tiny. But it’s also much smaller (and cheaper) than the average 3000+ sf suburban McMansion. I am constantly fending off questions of when we are going to “upgrade” to a bigger house in the suburbs.
I would estimate choosing to live in our modest home closer to the city and our jobs saves us at least $500-1000 per month over our peers who have the same income and bought a house based on what the bank said they could afford.
- from Andrew at Wealthy Nickel
Bartering Your Way To Saving Money
The most unique way I save money is good old fashioned bartering. I have used barting to save money on home improvements, web design, and even hiring a virtual assistant to help on Pinterest.
In a previous career I battered a discount on a product I was offering for a pet Sugerglider. The customer owned a pet store and needed the product I was offering, however price was a sticking point in our negotiations. Bartering, I was able to make the sale, help the customer, and got a cool new pet (we named him Captain Lewis).
If you have a skill or service that is in demand it’s is easy to offer coaching, or your service in exchange for sizable discount or even free goods and services. (it’s not really free of course because you are giving way your time, service or product).
When done correctly bartering can be a huge win/win for both parties.
- from Michael Dinich of Your Money Geek
Creative Way To Save Money On Sports & Entertainment
I purchase season tickets for our local, professional sports team, then sell the tickets for all the best games to cover the entire cost of the season. I can then take my kids to a few games each year for no cost. It’s a little bit of work, but it means enjoying fun things with my family without the cost.
- from Kevin at Next Level Finance
Snowball Cash Back To Save Money
I save money by using cash back rewards credit cards plus cashback apps at the most optimal level. I have several cards that will give me 5% cashback at certain stores. That’s not all, I can stack the cashback with rewards apps on top of that. Most times I’m saving in excess of 10% at the grocery store, hardware store, etc.
These are all routine purchases so I’m not spending additional money to save money. I use anything I save from these apps as a way to invest. Even if its only $50-$100. It’s small wins like these that go a long way.
- from Millionaire Mob
Buy Generic, Not Brand Name
One way we save money in our everyday life is to buy generic products. This applies to grocery’s and healthcare products. We don’t really buy brand names because the food is the exact same product. If the price is the same we will buy the brand name but usually we stretch our dollar and food supply by buying generic.
Same goes for healthcare products, the active ingredient is the same. We look closely at the label to make sure the product is the same and most of the time it is. If it isn’t the same it’s pretty close. Only when we are unsure or our health is in question will be “upgrade” to name brand.
- from Tim at Life For The Better
Take Advantage Of Grocery Pick Up Services
Use grocery pick up service. It is a great way to avoid impulse buys and save money. No extra charge and I don’t have to get 2 kids out of the vehicle and drag them around the store.
- from Peter Koch at Seller at Heart
When Eating Out – Eat Less, Save More
My wife and I have found that we can save considerable money by splitting an entrée at restaurants. The added benefit here of course is that we eat less too.
We picked this little nugget up when we were broke newlyweds. Although our budget isn’t that tight anymore, we learned a practical lesson in that we simply CAN split an entrée, so we still do occasionally. Relevant caveat; we are both very small at under 5’7” and 160 pounds. We can easily go to a steakhouse and split an 8 oz steak with two sides.
Now that we have a five-year-old (who is also under 5’7” and 160 pounds) we will usually spring for a larger entrée and an extra side.
- from Brandon Renfro, Ph.D
Learn & Build Skills To Save Money
Developing or learning new and relevant skills: this is for those who like to do things themselves or DIYs.
Think about it, why do you have to spend on shampoos if you can make shampoos? Why do you have to pay a web developer if you know how to design websites? Why do you have to purchase artworks if you can paint captivating art? Do you need a barber if you can cut your own hair?
- from Moneylogue
Creative Saving With Ultra Cheap Meals
One small tactic that has helped my wife and I cut our food budget by over 25% was creating a rotation of ultra cheap meals. Each of these cheap meals cost less than $2 a serving and have helped us average down our cost per meal while giving us some room in the budget to eat out and have some fun nights at home!
- from Rich at PF Geeks
Just Say No, A Creative Way To Save
Another extreme habit for saving money is turning down free items. I go by the rule that if I wouldn’t pay for it, then I don’t accept it.
For example, if I am at an event and they are giving away free t-shirts, I think to myself: “would I buy a t-shirt with a company’s logo on it?”. If the answer is no, then I refuse the item. But if they are giving away ice cream, which is always on my shopping list, then yes, I will gladly accept the offer.
So how does turning down free stuff help me save money? It helps me think about what I need and use. This practice helps counteract that consumerist mindset to which I’ve grown all too accustomed.
- from The Debt Shrink
Easy Way To Save Money With Digital Coupons
Coupon codes guys! Online shopping is huge now and I can almost always find a coupon code to a website simply by searching that “websitename coupon code”. It’s a super easy way to save money and many stores have them. Hell, sometimes we’ll be at a physical store like a Michael’s for art supplies and do the same thing to get a 50% off coupon on the phone.
- from Jay at Time In The Market
Spend On What You Value
I focus less on skimping and more on limiting spend to what I value. One of the key ways I do this is to observe what’s already collecting dust in my basement. If something similar is already there I shouldn’t buy.
- from Full Time Finance
Take Care & Maintain The Upkeep Of Your Vehicle
The big 3 of housing, food, and transportation are real.
I’m probably more unique in the PF community because we bought our two vehicles new and are insistent on taking great care of them. Covered parking or a garage, keep up with the maintenance and stay consistent with washing/waxing the exterior. When I really wanted to stream podcasts/music inside the car, I installed a $60 Bluetooth adapter with a friends help. We’ve then always lived close to one of our offices to keep mileage down. We’ve found some good mechanics and also use youtube to fix little things ourselves.
The savings are tremendous. It’s not just about “not having a car payment”. Every state we’ve lived in has annual personal property taxes. These are lower because of lower values. We also avoid carrying collision/comprehensive insurance. With the invention of Uber, the only time I’ve had to pull the vehicle to the side was an inconvenience.
- from Stop Ironing Shirts
Recycling & Refreshing Furniture For Long-Term Saving
I recycle old furniture and unused wood into new pieces. I’ve made a laundry bench out of an old desk, storage out of old fencing panels, etc. Wood can be sanded back, stained and varnished over and over again. So, one piece of solid furniture can be reused for decades.
- from The Flawed Consumer
Conclusion: 27+ Creative Ways To Save Money Each Month (On A Tight Budget)
There it is!
27 different responses on creative ways to save money and better manage your spending habits from personal finance and money bloggers. I’d never considered some of these strategies or tips before and others I’d heard only reinforce that they’re working for others too.
Every dollar you save can go towards your more meaningful financial goals.
Personal finances are personal. What works for these personal finance bloggers might not be exactly applicable to your life but the strategy and mindset applies to all of us. Keep looking for new ways to save money, make money, reach your financial goals and live a more purposeful life.
What creative ways do you save money in your everyday life?
Is there a drastic or unique way you cut costs and save more money?
Let me know in the comments below.
Here are some other posts on saving money that can help make progress with your financial goals:
- 40+ Money Saving Hacks: How To Save Money Each Month In Your Everyday Life
- Stop Wasting Money – 11 Bad Financial Habits To Stop To Help You Save More Money
- 17+ of the Best Free Apps to Make Money, Save Money, Invest & Get Cash Back