Are you looking to learn new ways to save money? Here are 37 hacks to save more money with real tips from real people.
In today’s article, I asked my readers and some of my personal finance expert friends for their best tips on how to save money.
I love finding out how people are saving money. There are so many creative and resourceful people, and learning how they are saving money can be very motivational.
Whether you want to save money each month because you are saving up for a big purchase, want to retire early, have recently lost your job, or simply realize you are spending too much – there are ideas in this article for everyone.
From getting free houseplants, cutting your own hair, DIYing things around your home, to analyzing your spending and negotiating your expenses, there are many ways that you can save money. Plus, you can see the exact ways that people and households save money, and how it has impacted them. The responses I collected are quite detailed, which I love.
The money saving ideas in this article are strategies that real people use – some seem very simple, while others take a more complex strategy – and you will read about it in their own words. And trust me, you will be surprised by some of the ideas in this round-up.
If you are looking to save money, I recommend looking over this list and finding a couple of ideas on this list that seem realistic to you.
Not every idea on this list is going to help you save thousands of dollars a month, but every little bit helps.
Plus, seeing the difference that one or two of these money-saving ideas makes on your budget may give you the motivation to try more and really change your life for the better. That might mean paying off your debt faster, improving your financial habits, helping you reach your dream sooner, and more.
Like I said, learning how creative others get when it comes to saving money is very motivational. And if you are already creative with how you save money, you’ll be reminded that what you are doing isn’t “weird” at all – finding ways to save money is completely normal.
You are going to love the hacks, rules, tips, tricks, and strategies that are on this list, and I can’t wait to hear how you are saving money each month.
You can read my past article 60+ Extreme Things People Have Done To Save Money for even more ways that people like you and me save money.
37 Hacks To Save More Money
Get free houseplants. “There are many ways to get houseplants that don’t require you to spend any money. Get in touch with a local Buy Nothing group on Facebook or join a local Facebook plant community. Both of these types of Facebook groups offer free plants and you get to meet houseplant hobbyists. You can find local plant groups on Facebook by searching ‘your city + houseplants’ and depending on how big your city is, a few groups should pop up. I’ve personally had a lot of success with plant swaps. Local plant groups often throw plant swap events where you can get plants for free. A plant swap is where you bring plants of your own in hopes to trade for plants you’ve been wanting. I recently went to a plant swap and brought 25 cuttings of different plants and traded every single one. I came home with a wagon full of cuttings and even full plants in pots. The best part was I didn’t have to spend any money.” – Alexis
Cut your own hair. “When I was in university, getting my hair done at the beauty salon was very expensive, and I didn’t have the budget to pay over $200 per month to get my hair done. So I decided to take action and started browsing ways to style my hair on YouTube. After countless hours of watching hair tutorials and trial by error, I taught myself how to style my own hair which is thick and curly. Now I can braid and do other complicated styles on my own, which has been a huge saving for me. People saw my hair and loved it and even asked me to style their own hair as well, it even became a small side hustle!” – Jodi Smith
Contribute to your savings regularly. “Have an investment savings plan that you contribute to monthly. This could be a 401k, an IRA, or even just a savings account that you designate for investment purposes. By having this plan in place and contributing to it regularly, you’ll be less likely to spend your money on unnecessary things because you’ll have specific goals in mind for your investments. I invest 40% of my monthly income into my investment accounts, which allows me to save money for retirement, accumulate wealth, and sleep well at night knowing that my future is taken care of.” – Amira Irfan
Invest in a high-quality capsule wardrobe to save money. “I used to be a sucker for buying a lot of clothes, handbags and accessories, which many ended up going to donation with tags on them. When I realized I was wasting thousands of dollars each year, I turned to building a capsule wardrobe with timeless and high-quality items. This helped me downsize my closet to 30-35 pieces that I actually love and wear. By investing in quality and going for neutral colors, I didn’t feel the urge to buy new (or trendy) clothes for 2-3 years unless I needed to replace something. Not only did I save $300 to $500 per month, but I also saved SO much time! I no longer scramble or stress about what to wear because almost every item – from casual and cozy to formal and classy – can be formed into many different outfits with the same piece of clothing. Not to mention, being intentional with your spending on clothes also reduces waste, which is environmentally-friendly!” – Ling
Don’t touch your savings account. “I have a savings account called ‘DON’T TOUCH 100K’ in which I save money every month. With this account, I have two rules. The first rule is not to withdraw cash from this account ever because if I do, I lose interest for the month. However, I’ve had some months where I had to dip into this account. So, I have a second rule that I must DOUBLE the amount I put back with my next paycheck. For example, if I withdraw $300, I have to put the $300 back plus an additional $300 as a ‘punishment.’ And I can honestly say that this has seriously prompted me to NOT touch my savings account.” – Kristin Brause
Wait for electronic devices to break down before buying new models. “It sounds simple enough, but it takes a lot of discipline. Every time a new model of phone, computer, or whatever comes out, there’s always some new must-have feature that has everyone drooling and throwing away good devices that still work fine. But if you can hang on a little longer, eventually, that device will break down somehow. And then, when you buy the new model, the old one is discounted because it’s not the latest hotness anymore. For example, I used a Samsung cellphone for nearly five years; the gadget saw the good and the bad years. I did not buy a new device until the phone battery wouldn’t last more than an hour after a full charge and the phone’s screen started to ink out. That’s how I roll! It’s not a flawless approach, but the savings count. You may only have to wait a few months/years on occasion.” – Olu Ojo
Save money by going to a medical school. “Have kids who need braces? Crooked teeth aren’t just a cosmetic issue. Tooth alignment is actually very important for overall health and long-lasting teeth. We’re saving about $2,000 per child by bringing our teens to an orthodontic school that accepts our dental insurance. After a modest down payment of a few hundred dollars, our monthly expense with the school is only about $50 per month per patient, interest-free. For big savings on other health needs for your family and even your pets, see if your community has schools such as medical schools, chiropractic schools, veterinary schools, homeopathic schools, massage schools, etc. You can even donate your body to science through a medical school which can save from $600 to $3,000 in cremation expenses.” – Eileen Hubler
We buy meat from a local farm and store it in our deep freeze. “Not only do we get better quality meat, but we are able to save money because of buying it in bulk. At our local farm, we are able to get our meat for about 1/2 the price of other grass-fed options we have available at our grocery store. You can even look into purchasing a whole cow or part of a cow for bigger savings.” – Erin Nutter
Start meal prepping. “Meal prepping can be a huge money saver – if you’re someone like me who hates making time to cook during the week, you probably end up spending a lot of money eating out or on pre-made grocery store food. Once I switched to meal prepping for the week (every Sunday), I started saving up to $50 a week on food and got the added bonus of incorporating a much healthier diet into my life.” – Clair
Grocery shop online. “I love online grocery shopping! It has saved our family of 3 so much money since we started. I don’t have to worry about impulse buying because I can take my time and add things to my cart only when I need them. And if I’m ever worried about going over budget, I can always look at my cart and remove items accordingly. I always hated wasting so much time at the store too so online grocery shopping has not only helped save money but has saved us valuable time each week too!” – Mia
Beginning of season sales/shopping. “Many people are aware of end-of-season sales/shopping, but I prefer beginning-of-season shopping. I shop before the season starts because most people are not thinking about that season at that time. I always buy things when they are not needed the most. The rule of when demand is high, prices are high is applied here too. For example, school supplies shopping can be done in early July instead of waiting till August. If you wait till August, you will miss out on the bargain on school supplies. The bargain sale month for school supplies is in July.” – Mina Miller
Make your own homemade cleaners. “Instead of using store-bought cleaners, I like to save money by making my own homemade cleaners. I can easily make my own in minutes and use ingredients I feel comfortable with for my family. For example, my countertop cleaner costs me less than $1 to make versus $5 or more for a countertop cleaner in the store ” – Julie Sellers
Cut unnecessary spending. “One of the things that has helped me save money (especially during those early debt payoff years) was cutting most unnecessary spending from my budget. Instead of telling myself that ‘I can’t afford that’ or ‘I can’t have any fun,’ I told myself ‘not yet.’ I knew that cutting back on restaurants and shopping was temporary, so it didn’t feel restrictive. I had a strong ‘why’ and built in rewards along the way (i.e buying a new outfit or going out to dinner for every $X amount saved). Keeping some fun spending in my budget and understanding why I was doing what I was doing helped me keep a positive mindset around my finances and it was sustainable for the long term. And at the end of the day, I realized that I didn’t really like shopping every weekend or going to the bar every Friday night with people I barely knew! I was able to save money and hone in on the things that are really worth spending on to me!” – Megan
Go to the library and start thrifting. “I actually have two money saving tips. For context, I homeschool my kids, and we read a LOT of books and play a LOT of board games. Tip 1: Use the library! Our library had a little blurb at the bottom of the receipt when we checked out, saying how much we saved by using our library. I think we easily saved $5,000 a year, if not more (I don’t remember exactly, but did enjoy checking out that number each time). Tip 2: Thrifting! Many of our board games I purchased from the thrift store, as well as really good sales (Miniature Market had a sale and I got a giant box of games; most were just $1), good deals on FB marketplace, even our Buy Nothing group. I have no idea how much this saved us, but probably thousands.” – Ashley Wright
Participate in a no-spend challenge. “One of the ways I save money is to regularly get my family to participate in no-spend challenges. Every time I feel we are falling behind, or we have unexpected expenses come up, my family tries to go a set amount of time without spending any money, other than bills and normal expenses. Sometimes it’s a week long, and sometimes it’s a 30 day challenge. This really helps us reset and get caught up.” – Kayla
Save money with your fish tank. ” I added snails and shrimp to my 20-gallon fish tank. I used to spend a good amount of money on products to keep my aquarium maintained so that my fish could thrive. After several months, I decided to add a few ghost shrimp and nerite snails. Since these help with algae control, debris removal, and getting rid of dead plant matter, I don’t need to clean my 20-gallon tank nearly as often as I used to. I now only spend half of the money I used to spend on aquarium-cleaning products, since these invertebrates do most of the work. Suffice to say that the community in my aquarium (and my wallet) is quite happy!” – Brett Schiller
Carpool. “My money saving tip is to try and carpool to save gas! I do it all the time with my husband, and it saves me gas. If you can get a group of coworkers in on it, you can save a lot of money! Each of you can take a week of driving and with 4 weeks in a month, you may only have to drive once a month, to the office.” – Rob Flood
Review your spending. “It’s much easier to save your hard earned money if you know where it’s going. About a year ago, I went through my credit card statements and found some charges for automatic payments for apps I wasn’t using. I stopped those payments and deleted the apps. I also started to write down, by hand, all of the transactions that came out of my bank each month. This really helps me see where I’m spending money, going out, household frivolous items, even how much I spend at the grocery store. When you take the time to sit and review your spending, it’s easy to cut back and put money into savings.” – Melody Kenoyer
Plan your meals around what you already have. “Instead of making a grocery list of the food you want each week, plan meals from sales and food that’s in the house. Stock up on your favorites when they’re on sale and at their lowest price. Also, look for additional markdowns on discontinued items or fresh foods like meat, dairy, and vegetables that are about to expire. This grocery savings strategy saves my family over $2,000 a year.” – Jennifer Messineo
Dine out less. “Dining out is insanely expensive and it’s hard not to eat out especially when you work at a demanding 9-5 or 9-9 job. A single meal can easily cost $12 to $20 depending on what you buy. And let’s not forget that when you go out with friends to eat at a decent restaurant, your bill could cost over $50 per person, including drinks, tax and tips. So you can imagine how crazy food costs when you don’t cook at home. Given how busy our lives are, this problem can be solved with meal prepping and building a system. To save money and eat healthier on a busy schedule, I have meal prepped for years to save at least $8,000 annually, which is almost $700 per month! You may think this number is out of the ordinary but I encourage you to go through your credit statements to see how much you’re really spending at restaurants. Those numbers may come out and bite you.” – Rui
Eat cereal and ramen. “Groceries and eating out can add up. When I was in college, I cut grocery costs to the bone by eating cereal for breakfast almost every day. A cereal box and a gallon of milk were only a few dollars each and could last all week. I was just as thrifty for lunch, mainly eating ramen and sandwiches. Bread, cold cuts, and cheese are inexpensive, but ramen is even cheaper. A case of ramen is several bucks and has 12 packages. You can add whatever you want to boost the nutrition and protein content.” – Prakash Kolli
Negotiate your monthly bills. “Most people don’t realize that they can negotiate with the providers of things such as cable, internet and cell service. It takes extra time on the phone, but it pays dividends! Asking to speak with the Customer Retention department at the beginning of the call will help to bypass the people who do not have the authority to give customized discounts, thus reducing the time on the call. I put the call on speaker and do computer work or other productive tasks during hold time. When I get to Customer Retention, I explain that I enjoy their service but will have to switch to another provider or eliminate the service entirely if we can’t negotiate a fee I can afford. Companies will do almost anything to keep a customer. It’s cheaper to keep a current customer than to constantly look for a new one. That’s just common sense. In the past, I have negotiated my bills with DirecTV by half, reminding them that I have been a loyal customer for years. After those two year promotion rates end and the bill goes up, the rates can be negotiated back down. They don’t want to lose the customer to another provider who has a two year reduced rate intro. Every time my new negotiated rate goes up, I call and renegotiate. Setting a reminder on my phone a couple of weeks before my current promotion ends helps me to never see a price hike after the fact. Also, many people qualify for a government credit on their cell phone and internet service when they use their household income to qualify. There are tables to check before going through the application process.” – Jamie Howell
Hide money from yourself. “My best money-saving tip is to hide money from yourself. I’m not talking about digging a hole in your backyard to bury money or anything. However, with technology today, it’s easy to immediately move your money into savings or investment accounts without ever seeing it in your primary account. We do this by setting up a separate bank account and having money from my paycheck deposited directly. This method is called the “pay yourself first” approach to budgeting. Out of sight, out of mind. You’ll be surprised how fast money can add up in a separate bank account when you aren’t tempted to spend it regularly.” – Mark
I buy my skincare and beauty products from private label manufacturers. “I’m also creating my own skincare brand using private label products. I have found that many skincare brands don’t actually formulate or make their own products. They buy white label/private label products from manufacturers and put their own branding and labels on the products. You can go direct to the manufacturer and purchase products for your own personal use. Each manufacturer will have its own minimum quantities, so search for one that will meet your needs. I have saved thousands of dollars by purchasing serums, eye creams, exfoliators, masks, and more, all with cosmeceutical-grade ingredients, from private label manufacturers.” – Kylie
Try housesitting to save money on travel. “There’s no question that one of the biggest expenses when traveling is accommodation. It can really make or break the decision of where you can afford to go – and that’s even if you avoid pricey hotels in the center of town. However, one great option that you may have heard of but not given much thought to is house sitting. It’s a fantastic way to stay somewhere for free that may not necessarily be in the most touristy spot in a city, so it gives you the chance to live like a local and save a ton of money. I tried this myself by staying in a beautiful place in Stavanger, Norway while pet sitting someone’s two cats. As a big cat fan, this hardly seemed like work, and it meant that after a long day of visiting the most spectacular fjords you’ll ever see, I got to go home to my (free!) accommodation and join the cats on the warm couch. There are some downsides to this, such as that you may need to factor in a slightly longer travel time to see the main sights, given that you likely won’t be right in the middle of the city. You also do have to be a bit flexible to match the homeowner’s schedule. However, overall, I would definitely recommend this as a way to see some new corners of the world while massively reducing your travel budget.” – Astrid Thornton
I stopped buying milk. “I stopped buying milk completely. There are a couple of reasons for this. I was having health problems at the time and was surprised to learn that conventional dairy had a lot of problems. Also, I discovered that many people with chronic illnesses or even hormonal problems get much better if they cut out dairy (or at least minimize it). Not all milk is bad, but the healthy kind was unavailable to me. (I basically would have had to raise a cow and milk it myself!) I still buy grass-fed butter to help my kids avoid cavities, but I have saved a lot over the years by not buying milk!” – Kristie
Throw away junk mail. “When retrieving the mail from the mailbox, do NOT walk back into the house with all of those catalogs, ads, and flyers to spend. Walk straight into your garage and proceed directly to your recycling bin and deposit all of the spending LURES into the bin.” – Donna Brophy
Only check out your Amazon cart once per week. “I am so guilty of making MULTIPLE Amazon purchases throughout the week, especially when insomnia hits at 3 am, and I find myself browsing Amazon. I now only check out ONCE per week. I add to my cart throughout the week but pick one day a week to sit down, evaluate my cart, and decide if I really need everything or if I can remove some of the impulse purchases.” – Kelly Anne Smith
Get discounted gift cards. “One of the ways I love to save money is by using my credit card points to triple-dip. Chase often offers discounted gift cards each month in their Ultimate Rewards Store. This allows you to redeem your points for a gift card but it ‘costs’ less points that it normally would. My favorite thing to do is to use my points to get Home Depot or Lowes cards when they’re being promoted for 10% fewer points. Using this strategy, I’m able to get $100 gift cards for $90 worth of credit card points. When my husband and I want to work on a project around our home, we use those gift cards to purchase items that are also on sale at the store to further boost our savings!” – Kristin Stones
I buy ETFs. “Most financial bloggers love ‘index and chill’ investing because it guarantees decent returns. Most fund managers can’t beat the benchmark anyways, so if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right? Well, in my taxable brokerage account, I level up my savings even more by making sure that whenever an index fund has an exchange-traded fund (ETF) version and a mutual fund version, I buy the ETF. Why? The short version: ETFs don’t generate as many ‘taxable events’ as mutual funds, so if all else is equal – the funds are built the same way – the ETF version of an index fund will cost me less in taxes than the mutual fund version. And money saved is money earned.” – Riley Adams
Save $200 in a mutual fund every month, no matter what. “We save $100 every two weeks from one paycheck totaling $200 a month. Though it might not seem like much, it is adding up. My husband and I started doing this together ten years ago. If we have more to save, we do. It has been an easy way to accumulate wealth we don’t have to think much about. We have a financial adviser select the best funds based on our level of risk. Pretending like we don’t have the money is an easy way to save money!” – Ashlee Fechino
Start using your credit card smartly. “When I was 25, I was against using credit cards but one day I started reading about the rewards and discounts I can avail on it. Since then, I realised how much you can save with these cards. The only caution – be responsible. I started using credit cards to pay for most things to gather points. I was able to fill a full tank of fuel almost 2-3 times a year which took care of my road trips. Similarly, we’re planning to use the rewards on our next luxury stay at Oberoi. At the points we have collected, we’ll get almost a $100-$120 discount. Besides this, I’ve also used offers on it. For example, we recently watched Top Gun. On a Citibank card, we had a ticket free on purchase of one ticket. This helped us save money and we were able to spend that on food instead.” – Chhavi Agarwal
Purchase discounted gift cards on Raise. “One of my favorite hacks to save money is to buy discounted gift cards from Gift Card Granny or Raise. You can often purchase gift cards for more popular retailers for a few percent discount; however in some specialty stores, you can save 10 percent or more. Additionally, you can stack discounted gift cards with coupon codes and/or cash back apps. With a little bit of strategic planning it’s not uncommon to save 6 percent or more on your purchase. It might not sound like a lot, but dollars are the sons of pennies, small bits add up over time. My son needed a new Xbox controller, so we purchased a digital gift card from Raise at a 6 percent discount which we were able to combine with 5% percent cash back from Rakuten. Combined we saved over ten percent, and with prices constantly rising every little bit helps.” – Michael Dinich
Restrict access to funds. “As someone who tends to spend readily available funds, I have found that keeping money in limited or no-access accounts helps greatly. I have a fixed savings account where the bulk of my savings goes until a predetermined time. I also have a flexible savings account I can fall back on if I run out of disposable funds. Here’s a breakdown of my accounts to facilitate saving: 1) A disposable account for paying bills and miscellaneous spending. 2) Accessible savings account for saving and backup funds. 3) And a fixed savings account with no access to funds. Keeping these three accounts has helped me organize my spending and improve my saving habits. Since it works for me, I’m confident it might work for you too.” – Jude Uchella
Save money while traveling. “My family and I have been able to save hundreds/thousands of pounds (or dollars) since the summer by house and pet sitting. We only say in houses we really like and in areas we want to explore/travel to. These are houses we would have booked as airbnb, but now stay in them for free saving us thousands. We’ve spent the last 5 weeks in luxury homes for free and have more homes scheduled for the rest of the year. With this, there is no need to pay for accommodation when traveling and you can find a house to sit literally all over the world. You can run a quick google search for local house sitting opportunities, or join larger international services like https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/” – Eunice Asante
Earn bonus money on your emergency fund. “I safely earn over $3,000 yearly by strategically signing up for bank bonuses and depositing my emergency funds in that bank. The ROI for only a few minutes of work is high, and my emergency funds are earning 8-10% FDIC insured with no risk. Banks routinely offer a bonus to open new accounts and have attractive promotions such as ‘deposit $5,000 and get $1,500 bonus in 3 months.’ Your local credit unions to larger National banks like Chase, Citi, and Wells Fargo offer these bonuses. You can switch to another bank (to earn the next bonus) as soon as the promo period (3 to 6 months) is over.” – John Dealbreuin
Save money on your wedding. “Seek out alternatives to the standard products and services you’d use for events such as a wedding. Instead of going with a traditional wedding-specific option, if you can find comparable services or products from a more general supplier, you will likely save money! For example, instead of hiring a professional to arrange flowers, you could opt for faux flowers for your wedding bouquets. Doing things yourself is also an option, especially if you have more time than money to spend!” – Jessica Bishop
What do you do to save money? Which of the tips above is your favorite?