I spend hundreds of hours researching and testing so that I can provide you with the best money saving tips. I am supported by our readers and may earn a commission if you buy through our Affiliate Links at no cost to you. Thank you so much for your support. Read More
Are you a penny pincher?
1. Spend less than you make.
Living within your means is an attitude and a lifestyle. It makes sense to spend less than you make and stop living paycheck to paycheck.
2. Know how to budget.
Budgets are great for understanding your financial situation. They help to refine cash flow and plan for the future.
3. Have a solid plan to get out of debt.
A goal and a disciplined method to get out debt works much better than hoping for the best.
4. Save for retirement religiously.
Understand the time value of money. Saving years ahead of retirement takes advantage of time. Starting early means you don’t have to save as much as someone who starts later.
5. Take homemade coffee to work and skip the coffee shop.
If you invest in the right coffee equipment, you can make coffee as well as a bistro. Pay one time, then pocket the savings from expensive coffee.
6. Shop around for the least expensive no contract cell phone plan.
Getting locked into long term plan only helps the carrier. Turn the tables and use cheap no contract plans.
7. Rent movies instead of going to theaters.
You can rent premium movies for less than popcorn and soda at the theaters.
8. Carpool to work.
Carpooling keeps getting easier and easier. Use an app like Scoop to take the hassle out of carpooling.
9. Buy everything in bulk.
In general, buying in bulk is far less expensive than small quantities.
10. Cancel cable and downsize to one or two streaming services.
You don’t need every channel in expensive packages. Identify your favorites and ditch pricey cable.
11. Order take out so you don’t have to tip.
Not tipping for takeout is less offensive (or not at all) than not tipping at a sit down restaurant.
12. Fix your own car.
There are many things you can do yourself even with today’s modern cars. Use an OBDII scanner to dig into those error codes.
13. Avoid eye contact with sales people.
High pressure sales techniques often work despite resistance. Sometimes it’s better to avoid sales people entirely and skip the tactics. No need to be rude. Any direct eye contact will surely lead to an inquiry.
14. Know how to build your own house.
Not for everyone, but there are some that are trained in the trades that can build their own home.
15. Ride your bike to work.
Automobile costs not only upfront, but on a per-mile basis. The less you drive, the more you save.
16. Mow your own lawn.
These days you can buy an inexpensive electric mower that hardly needs any maintenance at all. They always start and you get good exercise by mowing your lawn yourself.
17. Make your own garden fertilizers.
There are several fertilizers that you can make at home. Vermicomost is an example. Once you get setup, it’s free since the worm eat your kitchen scraps.
18. Cook at home instead of eating out.
By reducing the number of times you eat out, you can easily slash food bills. Cooking at home taste great too.
19. Grow your own food.
Even those living in apartments can grow some food on the balcony. Use whatever space you have to offset grocery bills.
20. Buy generic OTC medicine instead of name brands.
This one is dramatic. OTC medicine is a fraction of the costs of name brands.
21. Find ways to work out to avoid paying gym fees.
There are many ways to workout without a gym. Buy a workout video, ride your bike, practice yoga, or go for a run.
22. Make your own compost.
Even if you don’t’ want to get and red wrigglers, you can compost at home instead of buying from the nursery.
23. Can or freeze food before it goes bad.
Buying in bulk makes sense, but you have to have a plan for the excess. Home canning is easy and less expensive than you can buy.
24. Understand how to properly store fruits and vegetables.
Avoid wasting money due to simple mistakes. Learn the tips and tricks to storing perishables.
25. Own a deep freezer.
Deep freezers are efficient and store food longer than upright freezers. They are cheap and last for ages.
26. Fix everything instead of buying new.
Don’t toss things when a part breaks. Fix them instead.
27. Wear your clothes until they are worn out and wear shoes until the soles are gone.
I’ve patched my jeans, shirts, and shoes for as long as I can remember. The longer you can wear something, the less it will cost.
28. Clean your own house.
We get it, you are busy. But cleaning your house instead of using a service is easy on the budget.
29. Make your own yogurt.
You can easily make any kind of yogurt at home. You don’t even need a yogurt maker.
30. Re-purpose all glass containers like jam and mason jars.
The food we buy in glass jars everyday is a free source of storage containers. Soak the labels first in soapy water before attempting to remove. To get the glue off, use rubbing alcohol, then toss in the dishwasher.
31. Rotate your own tires.
If you are handy enough, you can save some money by performing this task at home.
32. Take no-spending holidays.
Sure you need to buy food, but you don’t have to buy souvenirs or frivolous things.
33. Drive your car until it dies.
Eventually they wear out and cost more to fix than to replace. The old bathtub curve. Learn how to gauge when the curve starts to rise. Until then, you are saving more than you are spending.
34. Buy a car that’s one to three years old instead of new.
As a car is driven off of the lot, it loses money. Let someone else take that hit and buy a nearly new car instead.
35. Take staycaytions.
Not every vacation should be far from home. Plan ahead so you are taking a vacation, but do it at home instead.
36. Plan your meals for a week or more ahead of time.
Last minute meals can wind up costing. Through proper planning, you can make the most out of your weekly food budget.
37. Run a fan instead of the AC.
This works great when the temperature has not risen too far. Use the fan as long as possible to save the most on energy bills.
38. Use coupons and digital offers.
Coupons are free money. If you are buying the item anyway, why pay more?
39. Search the clearance racks.
Take advantage of inventory reduction by finding deep discounts on new items.
40. Scan for in store offers like buy one get one free.
These are listed on the shelves and sometimes not advertised. The more you hunt, the better your chances to find a good deal.
41. Take surveys on receipts to get things for free.
Many fast food restaurants and grocery stores place deals on the back of receipts. Sometimes all this takes to get something for free is visiting the site online to take a 2 minute survey.
42. Wash your car at home instead of the car wash or expensive services.
It’s not that difficult to wash your car in the driveway.
43. Take advantage of free grocery store club cards.
Why not? Grocery stores are willing to discount if you join their programs.
44. Make large batches of food.
Cooking single meals is time consuming. It’s easier and more cost effective to make large batches, then portion out for later. Freeze some so that it can be used at a moment’s notice.
45. Shop thrift stores and flea markets.
There are some serious treasures to be found at thrift stores. From suits to appliances, there are rock bottom deals waiting to be found.
46. Buy at the $1 store.
Sure not everything there is even worth a $1 but thrifty things can be found.
47. Use the library for other things like free music and movies.
The library is not simply a place for books. I’ve checked out all kinds of things, even art to hang on the wall.
48. Know how to do a cost benefit analysis.
For big purchases, take the time to perform a cost benefit analysis. This detailed look into the total cost of ownership help to make the right decisions.
49. Avoid making impulse purchases.
Practice patience and self discipline. Don’t give in to buying without thinking.
50. Shop the $0.99 movies on Itunes.
These are not prominently listed at the top of the screen. Look down near the bottom for some high quality movies.
51. Wait to see top flicks until they are available by streaming service.
These days even box office hits are coming out early via streaming. For just a few bucks you can enjoy the best of the best.
52. Buy used books, CDs, and DVDs instead of new.
As long as the CDs and DVDs don’t skip, you can save big on entertainment.
53. Know how to barter.
Sometimes it’s best to trade instead of buy and sell.
54. Know how to negotiate.
Excellent negotiating skills really pays off. Even new items can be discounted when you know how to negotiate.
55. Use Craiglist.
It’s one of the largest directories of used things. Some are even free. Don’t let this resource go to waste.
56. Scour the internet to purchase software instead of using a subscription.
More and more developers are moving to subscription services. Buying once up front almost always pays off.
57. Understand the concept of compounding.
Consult with a financial analyst or certified advisor and invest for your future. Savings that are reinvested, accumulate over time.
58. Know the pitfalls of the latte factor.
Don’t think your daily run to the donut shop matters? Think again. These seemingly little things add up over time.
59. Wait to buy until end of season.
Timing is everything. With proper planning, you can take advantage of off season sales for the next year.
60. Know how to calculate the cost per unit, ounce, or pound.
Is a $12 package of pasta weighing 8.8 lbs cheaper or more expensive than a $2 package that weights 17.6 oz? Convert everything to ounces to calculate the cost per ounce. Hint: the $12 package is less expensive.
61. See right through useless add-ons like rust proofing.
Up-selling is a penny pincher’s nightmare. Added fees for useless services need to be understood for what they really are.
62. Pack light for plane flights.
Avoid baggage charges by learning how to travel with one bag. Use techniques like rolling clothes and use local laundry services to travel with fewer clothes.
63. Buy efficient, smaller cars and trucks.
Bigger is not better. Smaller makes more sense because of the reduced weight and air resistance.
64. Make extra cash on the side.
There are many ways to bring in some extra income on the side.
65. Resist buying the latest, greatest smart phone.
Do you really need to stand in line for a $700 phone? Exercise some patience. Buy the previous generation refurbished for half price.
66. Buy groceries once a week instead of daily.
Each trip cost valuable time and money. Shop efficiently instead.
67. Use price comparison websites.
Take traveling for example. Spending just a few minutes using tools like Travelocity can save big time on travel fees.
68. Buy older but usable groceries.
Grocery stores frequently discount things like meat and mark them as “manager’s specials”. If used promptly, this is an effective method to buy for less.
69. Understand when to pay for warranties.
Certain warranties like for tires make a lot of sense. If you pay a little more, you can get free tires in the event of damage.
70. Learn to accessorize instead of buying extra outfits.
Tired of wearing the same set of clothes? Color coordinate different clothes and accessorize so that it does not look like you are wearing the same old thing.
71. Throw potluck parties.
It’s no big deal to ask your guests to bring one item. If everyone pitches in the cost of a large party is minimal.
72. Brew your own beer.
Once I learned how to brew my own beer, I was appalled by the retail cost. The secret is to learn how to do it right and remember that sanitation is the key to success.
73. Build a kegerator.
Even if you don’t brew your own beer, you can still save big. Convert an old refrigerator into a kegerator and buy beer by the keg.
74. Borrow instead of buy.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve borrowed a tool instead of buying a new one. Sometimes we need something for one time only.
75. Create fun activities instead of buying.
Do you really need to pay entrance fees to some event? It’s ok to do this once in a while. Instead of paying, learn how to do fun things with the family that cost nothing. Free parks, museums, and outdoor concerts are a great way to have a good time on a budget.