40+ Money Saving Hacks: How To Save Money Each Month In Your Everyday Life
Taking control of your money and life often starts with finding ways to save money based on your current spending habits. The money saving hacks discussed below touch on most aspect of your day to day life with the goal of helping you cut costs.
The one two-punch of saving and making more money will be the key contributor on your road to reaching your financial aspirations and continuing to move forward. Generally the saving money part is suggested to be the more accessible and fixable side of that equation to make improvements in.
However, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
According to a study from Bankrate.com via CNBC, 65% of Americans save little or nothing with the #1 reason for not saving more being expenses. So why don’t we try to identify some opportunities to save on those expenses?
Personal finances are of course personal and what works for one might not be entirely applicable to you.
But no matter how big or small the cost-savings might be or where you stand financially, there is an opportunity to reassess your current expenses. It might be a major life change or small shift in spending. The approach is to ideally make constant gains that continue to push you closer to your financial goals. Smart money moves and money saving hacks can help you accomplish that.
SETTING A FOUNDATION FOR SAVING MONEY
1. Track Your Money
“What gets measured, gets managed” – Peter Drucker.
The first step towards saving money is generally getting an understanding of where your money is currently being spent. It can be difficult to make changes and improve without the knowledge of the present situation with your personal finance.
Thankfully, the growth in FinTech and computing power has made that easier than ever. You can also do this manually with your own spreadsheet or system as well.
However, programs like Mint (free) and You Need A Budget (paid) are powerful resources able to track, categorize and analyze your spending habits. With a couple clicks and keyboard strikes you can be setup with either of these programs on your way to tracking the flow of your finances.
These services will help you establish your spending history and also monitor those habits moving forward.
2. Make A Budget
Based on the income you currently make and your required spending needs you can start to build out a budget. Saving money requires a spending plan so you can begin to best understand where it’s going (above) and a new model of where it should be going (a budget).
Essentially you’re just trying to formulate your cash flow from income to expenses.
This post will cover everything you need to know about building a budget that works for you so if you’re just starting to take control of your finances follow those steps. The combination of tracking your money and building a realistic budget should help identify areas of improvement (and the tips below will provide ways to ensure you do that).
3. Monitor & Adjust Your Spending
As you continue to track your spending and manage your budget, monitoring and adjusting will be key. If the goal is to cut costs and save money, understanding how progress is tracking will ensure you’re making improvements.
A monthly personal finance monthly status check can help you stay on top of your spending habits and overall money management. You need to have a system that works best for your lifestyle and financial situation.
4. Pay Yourself First
In order to save more money each month, the first priority for your finances should be you. This mindset essentially aligns to paying yourself first.
Investopedia, the Webster’s Dictionary of personal finance, defines pay yourself first as: “automatically routing your specified savings contribution from each paycheck at the time it is received.”
The first person or bill being paid when you receive incoming money is yourself and your financial goals. The money comes in and is automatically being distributed to exactly where you want it to go. That might be some combination of your 401k (RPP), savings account, student loans, mortgage, IRA/Roth (TFSA/RRSP), HSA, RESP, day-to-day chequing and other accounts.
Improving your savings rate and money management can be greatly supported by paying yourself first.
SAVE MONEY ON HOUSING
5. Be Realistic With Size & Space Requirements
Whether renting or buying, you need to have a realistic understanding of how much space you actually need (or might need when little ones join the brood).
Buying (or renting) bigger correlates to an increase in costs across the board. Higher housing costs, furniture costs, utility costs, taxes, etc. It can be tempting to push for more space to keep up with the Joneses but you need to do what works best for you not the ideal vision of Americana or societal pressures. Here is an interesting article from Financial Samurai on the ideal house size as he explores his own thought-process on the topic.
Forecast a plan based on your current living situation and what the future might hold in terms of kids, pets, in-laws and so on. Future-proofing with extra space is a smart move but with the range of realism and function should be the top priority.
6. Househack To Cut Costs
What is househacking? This househacking article and podcast from Millennial Money will outline everything you need to know.
The general mindset is you can live for free (or much less than traditionally) by having roommates pay you rent (that covers some or ideally most of the mortgage). Another strategy is you purchase a duplex and live in one unit while renting out the other to offset a large portion of your mortgage costs.
The househacking approach allows you to use money from renters (or roommates) to pay down the mortgage and eventually reap the appreciation value.
7. Negotiate Your Rent
Depending on the demand and rental markets off your area, you could wield the power to negotiate a more favorable rate or scenario.
- Offer to pay the first 2 months upfront for a lower rental rate over the remainder of the year
- If there are application fees as part of the process ask for those to be waived
- Your security deposit could be another negotiable option
Landlords and rental companies are looking for respectable, dependable and consistent renters. So it never hurts to open dialogue and see what might be doable.
All you have to do is ask. The worst case is they say no and you move forward as originally budgeted and planned for. The best outcome is you’re able to secure a discounted rate and save yourself hundreds of dollars annually.
EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON UTILITIES
8. Turn Off The Heat Or AC When Not Home
If you (and your family) are out of the house from 9-5, why keep the heat or AC set to your normal temperatures?
This article with from an HVAC technician states that “the cost of running an air conditioner can go well over two dollars per hour”.
Maintaining that perfect level of heating or cooling for an empty house is essentially throwing dollars bills away. This is especially true if you’re living in a full-size home and pumping out warm or cool air throughout the day. Plus if you live in an apartment or condo you can likely heat or cool your space in a matter of minutes after getting home from work.
9. Flick The Lights Off To Save On Monthly Bills
Another one of the simple money hacks is to flick the lights off. This holds especially true if you purchase energy efficient LED bulbs (noted below).
Depending on the type of bulbs, size of your home and other factors, the cost to light your home generally represents 20% of your electric bill. An article from Mr. Electric helps dig deeper on the cost of leaving on your lights.
10. More Tips To Save On Monthly Utilities
- Switch to energy efficient LED bulbs
- Invest for the long-term in higher quality, energy star certified appliances
- Install a reduced water usage shower head
- Get a smart thermostat
- Change the filters on your vents and ducts to ensure optimal airflow
- Use your dishwasher as opposed to hand-washing
- If it isn’t dirty or needing a wash, don’t throw those clothes into the laundry
- Ensure your windows and doors are properly sealed
SAVE MONEY ON SUBSCRIPTIONS & SERVICES
11. Use The Trim Financial Manager App
Trim Financial Manager is an app that helps you save money on your subscriptions, bills and recurring expenses. It’s like an automated savings assistant that reviews your services to identify cost-saving opportunities.
Some examples of the free services it provides to help you save are:
- Subscription Analyzer
- Bill Negotiation
- Deal Finder
- Price Protection
Trim is a free tool and their users saved over $1 million in the last month. It looks to identify inconsistencies or areas of overspending based on your habits and the current trends in the market on those products or services.
Sign up today for free to review your own spending habits and subscriptions.
12. Negotiate Your Services & Subscriptions
Your life time value as a customer to these companies is worth tens of thousands or more. Giving you $10 off your cell phone bill or Internet subscription to keep you as a long-term customer is worth it to them.
This negotiation guide from Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich includes a collection of tips on how to handle these discussions, scripts for what to say to the customer service agents and a ton more.
A quick call to any of your service providers can save you hundreds annually. You’d be surprised what you can get if you just ask. Give it a try, the worst thing that can happen is they say no and you’re in the exact same spot as before the call.
13. Cut The Cord To Save Money On Entertainment
Cutting the cord has never been easier thanks to the amazing streaming services and customized (often free) options available to consumers. The days of paying for a cable package with 900+ channels you don’t need are over. According to Marketwatch, over 5 million more Americans will cut the cord in 2018 (with 8.6 combined already doing so in 2016-17).
You could potentially save over $100 monthly depending on the current cable package you have. Here are a couple articles to help you cut the cord and still get access to the media you want:
SHOP WITH THE BEST CASH BACK APPS TO SAVE MONEY
14. Ebates – Save Online With 1000’s Of Retailers (Free $10 or $5 Welcome Bonus)
Ebates is the most popular of the cash back platforms in terms of total users and familiarity in the marketplace. The Ebates website, app and browser extension give you access to almost every major online retailer (2,500+ stores and counting). Including Amazon, eBay, GroupOn, Expedia, etc.
You aren’t changing your shopping habits or spending any more money, just clicking through your Ebates account before shopping online.
15. Swagbucks – Digital Rewards Platform (Free $5 Welcome Offer)
Swagbucks is one of the bigger digital rewards platforms to make (and save) money. You earn cash by taking surveys, using the Swagbucks search engine, playing games, discovering deals, buying gift cards and watching videos.
Plus they offer an extensive network of retailers to help you get cash back on online purchases. To date they’ve paid out over $306 million to their members. The Swagbucks website, app and browser extension helps make sure you can access their services from anywhere.
You won’t get rich or save life changing sums of money but you getting cash back on money you’re already spending is a simple money saving hack. Sign up today and get a FREE $5 welcome offer from Swagbucks.
16. MyPoints – Online Cash Back Leader (Free $10 Gift Card)
MyPoints is another solution to help you earn free cashback on your normal shopping habits. They have relationships with over 1,900 different retailers to help provide you money saving opportunities across every category.
If you sign up for all 3 of Ebates, Swagbucks and MyPoints you can easily price compare between retailers. Their discounts, cash back rates and special offers vary so a quick search on each could help save you even more.
Get a FREE $10 gift card with MyPoints after making your first purchase online.
17. Download Paribus To Monitor Your Purchase History
Paribus is a free service that can save (and make) you money by monitoring price changes on your recent purchases.
Most stores offer a price match within a specific time period should they drop the price of an item you bought. However, tracking and keeping up to date on that can be difficult. That’s where Paribus comes in.
To date they’ve helped members save over $15 million. It’s free, easy and a simple money saving hack to put cash back in your pocket.
You can sign up today for free and let Paribus go to work for you on saving you money.
APPS TO HELP SAVE MONEY ON GROCERIES
18. Checkout 51 – Save On Groceries (Free $5 Welcome Bonus)
Checkout 51 is an app to help you earn cash back rewards for grocery and household item purchases. They include a wide-range of product offerings all with a set cash back value and also release ongoing weekly promotions and one-off deals to help you push your earnings further.
Browse the deals, do your normal shopping and once home, upload a photo of your receipt with your phone to earn cash back.
You can get $5 FREE when you use this link and upload your first 3 receipts with Checkout 51.
19. Ibotta – Popular Grocery Cash Back App For Americans
Ibotta is another popular cash back app that helps you make money on your grocery shopping. Their partner network of stores is extensive and they have new timely offers to keep you earning cash back.
They have paid out over $438 million to their members.
Get the free Ibotta app and start to make money from your phone today.
20. SavingStar – Digital Savings On Groceries
SavingStar can help you make money from your phone by earning you cashback on groceries. No coupons or printouts, they offer hassle-free digital discounts at over 70,000 stores.
Similar to Checkout 51, after you’ve completed your grocery shopping you just need to upload your receipt through the app or website to earn free cash back. It’s one more option to have you putting more money back in your bank account for free.
Sign up today and start saving money with SavingStar.
TIPS ON HOW TO SAVE MORE MONEY ON FOOD
21. Make A Shopping List & Stick To It
Another easy money saving hack to cut costs on groceries is to make a plan and shopping list…then stick to it. Based on some of the offers through the rewards and discount providers Checkout 51, Ibotta and SavingStar, that can help give you ideas on what to build your list around.
Plus you should do a quick inventory of your pantry, fridge and freezer to see what items you still have around the house.
Map out your breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for all the different meals you (and/or your family) will need for the week. There are a ton of free printable templates available for meal planning and grocery lists. Here are 7 different free meal planners.
22. Don’t Shop When Hungry
It’s an old saying but it’s true; don’t shop when hungry.
You will be much more inclined to get those unnecessary unhealthy and costly items or over shop on what you actually need. It’s also easy to succumb to the tricks of the grocery store merchandisers who selectively place those oh-so tasty treats right by the checkout.
23. Meal Prep & Bulk Cook To Help Save Money
Another common recommendation, that works, to save money and make best use of your time is the meal prep and bulk cook. Based on the groceries you purchased, you can set aside time to prepare a handful of meals to cover your lunches at work, quick dinners once home or healthy snacks.
Why do people recommend this?
- Helps you avoid expensive takeout after a busy day at work knowing you have a ready-made meal at home
- Reduces time during the week you’re having the prep and worry about food – focus your time on your side hustles, family or something beneficial instead
- You built a grocery list with specific ingredients based on your plan – put it to work!
Oxygen Magazine touched on 7 benefits of meal prepping including big time and money saving gains.
24. Keep An Eye On Expiry Dates
Any of the savings you’ve achieved will be all for not if you’re having to throw away a pack of chicken, head of lettuce or tub of yogurt because they’ve spoiled or passed their expiration date.
One solution is a “front of the line” approach – the produce, meat or perishable food items that are closest to expiring or spoiling are closer to the front of the fridge or cupboard. If anything is able to be frozen, toss it in there and store it for future use.
25. Use Everything In Your Freezer, Pantry & Fridge
You should also try to clear out your food supplies once a month to avoid re-purchasing items you already have plus help your budget stretch further. You’d be amazed at the types of meals you can make by combining a few of your remaining supplies.
Test this process out and see what you can come up with:
- Take everything out and put it on the counter
- Go to MyFridgeFood.com
- Plug in some logical combinations of supplies you have into their ingredients tracker. Hint: use “CRTL” + “F” to search for the items you have or you could be scrolling for a while.
- It will generate some meal ideas – edit as you see fit by altering ingredients or make note of that 1 key item you’re missing that you think would take the meal to the next level and make sure you purchase at your next grocery stop
Here are 13 easy ways to save money on groceries including many of the topics discussed above.
TIPS TO SAVE MONEY EATING OUT
26. Stick To Water To Save On Liquor
Wine is majorly marked up, a glass of beer is triple the cost of the same one at the store and a couple ounces of mid-shelf liquor is exponentially increased in cost per ounce.
While it’s not as festive or fun, if you’re looking to cut down on costs a simple switch to money is an easy win.
In terms of money saving hacks to help you cut back on drink costs when eating out:
- BYOB(W): Find local spots that let you bring your own beer or wine
- Happy Hour: Track down the best happy hour deals close to your intended restaurant and stop in for a quick one (or two) before dinner
- Home Drink: “Pre-game” at your house with a nice drink alongside family, friends and loved ones before going out.
27. Get Your Hands On Discounted Gift Cards
If there are restaurants and takeout spots you frequent often, search to see if they have discounted gift cards on some of the aggregator websites. If you aren’t sure where to look, check out the best places online to get discounted gift cards, including providers like Gift Card Granny, Swagbucks, Raise and more.
Depending on the time, site and restaurant, you might be able to get anywhere from 5% – 60% off gift cards.
28. Check GroupOn For Great Offers To Save At Restaurants
One of the best money saving hacks in terms of entertainment, restaurants, activities, etc. is GroupOn. It’s not the sexiest look to bust out that printed PDF or scan your app but when it means extra money saved in your pocket…who cares?
GroupOn has tailored offers with dozens (if not hundreds) of restaurants in your neighbourhood. It’s a simple solution to help you save money each month and still get the benefits of a night out or unique activity.
29. Get To Know The Happy Hours & Local Specials
As you become accustomed to the offerings in your local area, you’ll be able to save money eating out taking advantage of happy hours and specials.
It might be discounted drinks or a special cost-saving meal on a set night.
You can build your nights out around these different options. Eating out doesn’t need to be something you remove entirely but one of the best ways to keep that part of your routine is to make use of your dollars as effectively as possible with these types of offers and specials.
WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON TRANSPORTATION
30. Run The Numbers Of Buying New vs. Used Vehicles
It’s an age old debate and point of contention; should you buy used or new? Of course, every situation is unique and the different options will depend on a number of factors.
This post from NerdWallet on comparing the costs of buying a new car vs. used helps shine the light on this decision.
Leaning towards a dependable, well-maintained used car is often the recommended route to pursue. However, Ramit from I Will Teach You To Be Rich counterpoints that with 9 reasons why you should buy a new car. The article also digs deeper into the old vs. new decision plus shares reasons supporting buying old.
One framework to consider how much vehicle you can afford is the 20/4/10 rule:
- Putting a 20% down payment on the vehicle
- Going with a 4-year car loan or less
- Ensuring only 10% or less of your gross income goes towards all car expenses (insurance, gas, parking, etc.)
31. Stay On Top Of the Maintenance And Upkeep Of Your Vehicle
Whether it’s oil changes, spark plugs, tires, transmission fluid or any traditional vehicle upkeep, it can be tempting to try to push it further than suggested in order to spend that money in the future as opposed to today.
Here are 74 car maintenance tips to extend the life of your car. These are applicable to both used and new vehicles.
32. Call Your Insurance Provider To Save Money
Similar to the negotiation tactic with your subscription and services, the same can be feasible for auto insurance. The first step is reaching out to competitor insurance companies to get quotes for their services based on your insurance record.
Take those quotes (if they’re less expensive) and reach out to your current insurance provider. More often than not they will compromise with you and adjust your rates to match the competitor. Your lifetime value to them as a customer is worth the slight change in price if it will keep you onboard.
34. Carpool and Rideshare With Coworkers
An opportunity to save money on transportation is to ride with coworkers or neighbours. If you live in the general vicinity of one another and head to same central location, build a system where the driving duties rotate.
Come up with a balanced schedule and system that works for everyone.
Everyone will save money on gas, parking and wear-tear on their vehicles plus alleviate the stresses that can come from driving in rush hour or hectic morning traffic.
35. Walk To Work Or Take Public Transit
If you live within walking distance to work that’s an amazing opportunity that will help alleviate stress on your wallet and waistline. This post outlines the benefits I’ve seen from walking to work for 4 years straight and the impact on my finances, health and wellness.
The other option is taking public transit if you have easy access to a train or subway station around your home and work. Whether you need a vehicle at this stage of your life or walking/taking public transit just helps save on gas, parking and wear, consider all your options.
In all likelihood you’re going to be working for a number of decades and figuring out ways to save money on that commute can put back life-changing sums of money into your hands.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON TRAVEL
35. Understand The Concepts Of Travel Hacking And Resources Available
Have you heard the term travel hacking before? Travel hacking is the practice of accruing points from credit cards and other rewards programs to travel for much cheaper (or free). This could also include taking advantage of discounts, special offers and other tricks of the trade to save money on travel.
So where do you start? This travel hacking 101 post hits on 70+ resources, tip and tools to help you travel the world at a discount.
Dive into that and build an understanding of the avenues available to you to save money on travel.
36. Save Money Using Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Travel rewards card are a powerful tool when wielded correctly to help you save money. However, there are some basic rules to doing this. You have to pay off the balance in full each month, ensure you aren’t overspending outside your normal habits and also have a strong credit score.
The whole goal is to take advantage of credit card rewards and bonuses to earn travel points. These points then help you see this amazing world for less. Thankfully, there are dozens of cards available to let you do just that.
To better understand all the benefits available to you check out this overview on 21+ of the perks your credit card offers. For Canadians here are reviews of two of the top rewards cards: the American Express Cobalt and the Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express.
37. Take Advantage & Save Money With Discount Airfare & Hotel Aggregators
There are some amazing flight and hotel aggregating services on the Internet to help us track down the most optimal flight and accommodation deals for our travel hacking efforts.
Here are some of the more popular discount airfare and hotel listing platforms:
There are a dozen more services just like the above out there. Whenever searching for flights and hotels, check multiple websites and make note of the prices. They will vary from site to site and that extra effort of a few minutes searching might save you $100+++ easily.
38. Use Airbnb To Save On Accommodation
One of the most disruptive and beneficial companies to hit the market over the last decade has been Airbnb. The service sent a ripple through the hotel and travel accommodation industry which in turn benefit the consumer.
Airbnb has made travel more affordable and truly created a money saving hack for vacations, work trips and even staycations.
Long gone are the days of paying top dollar for run of the mill hotel rooms. Airbnb hosts give you access to living like the locals, a wider range of accommodation types and even more money saving opportunities by taking advantage of kitchens.
If you are new to Airbnb, you can use this link to get $45 in free travel credit for your first trip.
EVEN MORE MONEY SAVING HACKS TO CUT COSTS
39. Use Your Local Library To Save On Books
This is an area I need to improve on with my own life. I love purchasing books, reading them, sharing them, rechecking certains stats or quotes and eventually displaying them proudly on a shelf.
However, I know it’s costing me money that I don’t necessarily need to spend.
The library is an amazing resource to help you save money and continue to push your personal development. This article outlines the 5 simple ways you can be saving by visiting your local library.
If you’re an avid reader, it’s a cost-saving opportunity to consider.
40. Buy The Store Brand
Whether it’s food, clothing or household items, sometimes the difference between the store brand and bigger, more recognized names is minimal. The cost difference though might be quite substantial.
Business Insider published a post in 2014 that gives insights on when you should be buying store brand food. The top items recommended include pantry goods (salt, sugar, etc.), dried or frozen fruits and canned veggies, spreadables, bread and cheese.
41. Unsubscribe From Retail Newsletters
Whether it’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day, Valentine’s Day, Start of Summer Sales, Back To School, etc., it’s safe to say your inbox is being hit all year long with offers.
A simple money hack to help you save money is to unsubscribe from these retailers email newsletters. Remove the temptation to click and browse or be hooked by their creative headlines, discounts and graphics.
42. DIY To Save Money
One more money saving hack that could help you keep cash in your account is to DIY certain projects. When things break or go wrong the automatic response might be to call for help, search a local repair person or buy a new replacement.
However, as I’m sure you’ve experienced sometimes DIY can be an easy, cost-saving solution. Plus thanks to YouTube and online communities, it’s never been easier to access the proper information to help you DIY.
Want some inspiration? Here are 50 different money saving hacks for DIY tricks to save you cash.
43. Take Advantage Of Your Building Amenities & Services
If you live in a condo, apartment or townhouse complex with a variety of amenities and support services, take advantage of them. Depending on the scope of what’s offered, you could easily save more money each month.
Some potential cost savings are:
- Eliminating the need for a gym membership
- Having access to free coffee
- Using the party room to host people rather than eat out
- Annual duct cleaning and other maintenance
Conclusion: Best Money Saving Hacks To Cut Your Everyday Expenses
Personal finances are personal and the same can be said in regards to money saving hacks. The opportunities to alleviate spending and save money are unique to your situation.
However, one thing that holds true is the potential to cut costs on your everyday monthly expenses. Whether it’s housing, transportation, food, services, subscriptions, entertainment or other budget categories, there are ways to save money.
The key is finding what works best for you and delivers the most effective results.
What money saving hacks help you most each month?
Are there any unique ways you save money each month?
Let me know in the comments below
Here are some other posts to help you save money:
- 89 Personal Finance Tips – Budget, Save, Make, Invest & Better Manage Your Money
- Save Money On Groceries – 13 Easy Ways To Save On Food
- Building Good Money Habits – Make Your Own Money Momentum
- 17+ of the Best Free Apps to Make Money, Save Money, Invest & Get Cash Back
- How To Eat Organic Food On A Budget: 6 Tips To Eat Healthy & Save
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