How would you feel when you have money left in your bank account at the end of the month, instead of the other way around?
You can achieve that every month by using these tips on how to save money! There are tons of ways to save money. I listed my best tips for you to take control of your finances.
My posts usually contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and signing up or making a purchase, I will sometimes receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Sometimes you even get a discount or a bonus by using my links. You can read my full disclosure here.
Saving money can really make a difference, for example:
- Pay off your debt fast
- Become a stay at home mom or stay at home dad
- Never stress about money again
- Become financially independent
- Travel the world
I tried to make this into a very complete list with tips on how to save money, hopefully you can benefit from it!
Change your money mindset
Your money mindset is extremely important. If you change the way you think about money, you are already halfway there! You can change your money mindset by doing things like this:
1. Master the 24-hour rule
For everything you want to buy, think about it for at least 24 hours. This will reduce impulse buying drastically.
2. Wait 30 days to decide on a purchase
If you master the 24-hour-rule, you can even take it up a notch by waiting 30 days before buying. After a month, you usually don’t even want or need the item anymore. Maybe you found another solution or you realized that you actually didn’t need it anyway.
3. Think before buying
Ask yourself questions like:
- Do I really need this?
- Can I afford this?
- How do I feel? Do I want this just to make me feel good?
- How many hours do I need to work to earn the money back?
- Can I borrow this from a friend instead of buying it myself?
- How much interest can I gain if I invest this money (and reinvest!) instead of spending it?
- What happens when I don’t buy this?
4. Do a “buy nothing challenge” for a week, a month or even a year
My husband and I are doing a buy nothing challenge for a whole year. In the first month, I already noticed that my mindset was changing so much! Why do I need all this stuff? It only means more clutter in the house actually.
A whole year might be a bit too ambitious. You can also do a “no spend month” or a “no spend week”.
5. Pay yourself first
Most people pay their bills, buy all kind of things and at the end of the month, they check if there is anything left to save. If you pay yourself first, you will save a lot of money.
Save money by following these steps:
- Write down your income and your expenses.
- Calculate how much you can save every month.
- As soon as your salary comes in, pay yourself first by putting your calculated amount on your savings account.
- Since there is less money on your bank account left, you can’t buy unnecessary stuff. This way you will save money every month.
6. Become more financially literate
To understand more about managing your money, you can start to read books on personal finance. A few good ones to start with are:
- The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley & William Danko
- Rich dad, Poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki
- Your money or your life by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez
- The richest man in Babylon by George Clason
- Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
There are lots of other great finance books. I will add more books when I personally read them.
Save money on groceries
Groceries are necessary but also cost a lot of money. They are a lot of ways to reduce the amount you spend every month:
7. Plan your meals ahead
If you plan your groceries a week ahead, you only need one trip to the supermarket every week. This means you shop much more efficiently. The temptation of buying extra’s is smaller if you visit the supermarket less often and stick to your list. Also: never go hungry to the supermarket!
8. Plan your meals around your grocery store’s flyer
What’s on sale this week? Plan your meals with those ingredients this week. If you need inspiration, you can google the ingredient to find recipes with it.
9. Grow your own herbs or vegetables
If you grow your own herbs or vegetables, you save a lot of money on those items. You even learn a new skill, gardening, and being busy outside is always good for your health, so it’s a win-win!
10. Buy vegetables while they’re in season
Vegetables are cheaper when there are plenty of them, so buying vegetables when they’re in season can save you a lot of money. You can buy vegetables in bulk when they are cheap, blanch them and put them in your freezer.
11. Have a left-over-day every week
At the end of the week, you can have a left-over-day. When you cook, you will end up with a half of this and a half of that. If you don’t use it, you end up trowing it away, which is such a waste. Instead you can easily turn all the leftovers into a good meal.
12. Clean out your pantry every other month
Before you make your groceries list, check out your pantry and try to clean it out. This probably means you don’t have to buy a lot of new groceries, plus you make sure that you use everything before it expires.
13. Buy in bulk
For items that don’t expire or can last very long, it’s a good idea to buy large packs or stock up when on sale. Things like toilet paper, diapers, meat (can be stored in the freezer for about 3 months), canned goods and toothbrushes are ideal for this.
14. Do a price comparison
Compare the prices between a couple of supermarkets and go for the cheapest one to save money every week.
15. Pick cheap brands
You don’t need the big, famous brand. Less known brands are usually a lot cheaper and the taste isn’t that much different. You will also get used to a different taste in time.
Save money on household expenses
There will always be monthly expenses for your home, car and more. But there are numerous ways to lower the bills:
16. Move to a smaller house
If you live in a smaller house, your mortgage or rent will probably be lower, but it also saves you money on energy and other utilities and since there is less room for furniture, you can sell some of it.
17. Move in with your parents
If you live with your parents, you can share a lot of the costs, like the rent or the mortgage and food for multiple persons is always cheaper than just for one.
And if you’re lucky, your parents (especially moms…) still take care of you even now you’re an adult, which means less household chores ;)
18. Get a roommate
If you’re single and you’ve got a house that can easily fit another person, you could look for a roommate. He or she will pay rent and you can share other expenses as well.
19. Get rid of your storage unit
A lot of people have a storage unit which they pay money for every month. In most cases, the storage unit contains stuff people don’t even need or simply forgot about. Clean out your unit and get rid of it.
20. Switch insurances
Once in a while we check all of our insurances to see if there are cheaper options available. We have insurance for example for our healthcare, our cars, our house and for travelling. There are lots of insurance companies, all with their own packages. Check what you really need and look for the best options.
Also think about the insurances you’ve got. Do you really need it, or can you save some money in case something happens instead of paying a lot of money every month for something that might never happen and doesn’t cost you tons of money if it does happen?
21. Refinance your mortgage
If the interest on your mortgage is higher than the current interest rates, you can check with your financial adviser if you can refinance your loan to lower your monthly payments and save a lot of money on interest.
22. Repair things yourself
If something breaks, you don’t have to hire someone to come and fix it for you. YouTube is full of videos to fix just about everything. Check it out, learn new skills and save money in the progress!
23. Cut cable
When we moved last year, we decided to cut cable TV and the home phone. Now we only pay for internet. We already didn’t watch much TV as I always forgot to tune in on time. So I ended up watching most things online anyway. Since we live here, we don’t miss cable at all.
Cutting cable doesn’t just save money, it also saves you tons of time. Plus you’re not exposed to all those commercials which makes you want to buy stuff.
24. Share a Netflix account
You can share a Netflix account with a friend to save money. You can choose the version where you can watch on two screens at the same time, so you and your friend can both watch something whenever you want. It’s still cheaper than having your own account.
25. Put solar panels on your house
If you invest in solar panels, you will lower your energy bill big time. It takes only a couple of years to make up for your investment and solar panels last way longer than that.
26. Insulate your home
By insulating your home, you can save a lot of energy. You can insulate your roof or your walls or you can fill up cracks to lower draft in your house and keep the warmth inside.
27. Change energy supplier
Compare electricity and gas suppliers in your country and see how much you can save each month on your utility bills by switching to a cheaper one.
28. Turn off the lights / Use LED
Make it a habit to turn off lights every time you walk out of a room. For the rooms that you use a lot, like the living room, change all the lights to LED.
29. Unplug appliances
Electric appliances still use electricity when they’re on standby. If you unplug them, especially when you’re going away for a few days, you will lower your energy bill.
30. Lower the thermostat
If you set your thermostat back a few degrees, you will save a lot on your energy bill. Put on a sweater instead of increasing the temperature. When you’re away or asleep, you can even set it lower. A programmable thermostat can do this for you, so you don’t have to remember it.
31. Look at energy efficient appliances
If you need a new appliance, for example a new washer, dryer, freezer or dishwasher, look at how energy efficient it is. An efficient one can save you a lot of money every month. Especially with appliances that run all the time, like a freezer, it can make a huge difference.
Cancel subscriptions to save money
People tend to have lots of subscriptions and sometimes they don’t even know they’re still paying for something they haven’t been using in ages.
32. Unsubscribe from catalogs
Every time I get a clothing catalog in the mail, I’m like ohh, that’s nice, I want that! Catalogs are made to make you buy just about everything. If you don’t have a catalog, you will avoid the temptation.
33. Unsubscribe from commercial mails
Flyers and commercial emails are trying to make you buy things you don’t really need. Next time you receive a commercial email, hit the unsubscribe button to stop the temptation.
34. Cancel subscriptions
Check your subscriptions on things like lotteries, magazines, Spotify, Netflix or whatever you have a membership for. Cancel everything that you don’t use on a regular basis. If you do miss something after a while, you can always subscribe again.
Make sure to check your bank account a few times a year to make sure there are no subscriptions that you forgot about and never use anymore but are still paying for.
35. Quit your gym membership
If you want to save money, you don’t really need a gym membership. Most people don’t even use it, but pay big bucks every month. You can easily work out for free by walking, running or talking your bike more often. Also take the stairs instead of the elevator.
36. Cancel magazine subscriptions
Do you get magazines every week or month and they all end up in your “to read pile”? Cancel your subscription! You still have plenty of magazines to read laying around. And if you do end up reading them all and still want to read more of them, you can always subscribe again.
You can also share a magazine subscription with friends or neighbors.
37. Cancel newspaper subscriptions
The news is everywhere nowadays. You can watch it on tv, on the internet or you can use an app to keep up with the news. Who needs a newspaper these days?
Debt & Bills
Even when you’re in debt, there are ways to save money:
38. Pay off your debt with the avalanche method
With the Avalanche method, you will pay off your debt with the highest interest rates first. Everyone seems to favor the snowball method, because you will pay off your smallest debt first, which gives motivation as you can easily see progression. But personally, I think the snowball method is the wrong method.
If you pay the debt with the highest interest rate first, you will save tons of money on interest! You can motivate yourself by checking how much less interest you will pay. If you can save thousands of dollars in interest, you must be crazy to NOT use this method!
39. Pay your bills on time
When you pay your bills in time, you avoid additional fees for paying too late or the costs for a collection agency. If you change to auto-pay, you might even get a deduction.
40. Refinance loans
If you’ve got a lot of debt with high interest rates, it might be a good idea to check if you can refinance your loans to a lower interest rate. This will save you money on a monthly basis, which means you can pay off your debt sooner and you will pay a lot less interest over the years.
41. Have an emergency fund
If something breaks down, like your car or your washing machine, you want to be able to fix that immediately. If you have an emergency fund, you don’t have to take out a loan to get your car fixed or buy a new washing machine.
An emergency fund of € 1,000 is enough to start with and can stop you from going into more debt.
42. Always pay your credit card bill in full each month
To stay out of debt and avoid high interest rates, you should always pay off your credit card every month.
43. Quit using credit cards
Credit cards are easy. The problem is that if you use it without thinking and without making sure you’ve got enough money, you won’t be able to pay off your credit card bill every month. This means you will get charged high interest rates.
If you know you are easily tempted to buy things, cut your credit card in half and start using your debit card.
44. Start using cash
It’s so much easier to keep track of how much you are spending if every euro goes trough your hands. If you take out a certain amount of money each month to pay your groceries, you simply can’t overspend. Make a plan, calculate what you need every month and stick to it.
Save money on everyday stuff
You can save money on most things, here are some tips for everyday items:
45. Plan gifts ahead
During holiday seasons for example, gifts are more expensive. Also, things aren’t always on sale when a birthday is coming up. My sons birthday is coming up and I’ve been buying things for him all year. If you know your children, spouse or friend will still like something in a few months from now, you can just go ahead and buy it while it’s on sale.
To give you an example: We are starting to build a collection of Lego for our two boys. And while Lego is pretty expensive normally, I found some little boxes on sale last year, so I just bought them already and saved it for their birthdays.
46. Give gifts that don’t cost you anything
Do your friends have children? Offer to babysit a couple of times or even a whole weekend. Or maybe your friend has pets and needs a place to bring them once in a while. Offer to take care of their pets while they’re on a day out or on a holiday.
You can also offer other services if you have certain skills, like repairing clothes or fix things around the house.
47. Make your own gifts
Another option to save money on gifts is to DIY. If you’re creative, you can build something yourself, which usually will be a lot cheaper than to buy the same thing in the store. Plus it’s a much more personal gift.
48. Holiday shop after the holidays
Have you noticed that things like Christmas decorations are always on sale after Christmas? Plan ahead and buy your decorations for the following year right after Christmas.
49. Buy secondhand
In addition to buy stuff in advance, another way to save money on just about everything, is to buy secondhand. Secondhand things are usually way cheaper than new items. So always check for secondhand instead of new things, to save lots of money.
There are some things I would never buy used, like a mattress or underwear, but most items are just fine secondhand.
50. Stop buying expensive toys
Children don’t really need lots of expensive toys. They can be so creative with things likes cardboard boxes and other simple materials! Check out this video of a nursery that does an experiment where they replaced all of their toys with everyday things.
51. Ban new clothes for a year
Instead of putting a ban on just about everything, you can do the challenge for one specific item, like clothes.
If you go trough your wardrobe, you will probably notice that you have a LOT of clothes and you could easily go without buying new clothes for months or even a whole year.
You will get more creative and start mixing and matching a lot more.
52. Buy clothes that match well
If you do need new clothes, make sure to buy something that can easily be matched with the other items in your wardrobe. You actually only need a couple of basics to be able to mix & match and make a lot of different outfits.
53. Repair clothes
Did the zipper on your favorite trousers just broke? Go to the market for the supplies your need and repair your own trousers. Also holes can easily be fixed by yourself.
If you don’t know how to do it, search for it on YouTube. You can also look for a repair shop in your neighborhood. Getting something repaired is still a lot cheaper than buying new clothes.
54. Take your own lunch to work
Lunch may seem to be a small amount of money, but if you spend it every day, it really adds up. If you spend $5 every day at lunch, that means it’s about $100 a month or $1200 a year!
If you make lunch at home and take it with you, you will probably spend less than $2 a day, which means $40 a month or $480 a year. That is a massive $720 that you saved in just one year by changing one simple thing!
55. Cut your own hair (or your kids hair)
Are you handy with scissors? Check out some tutorials on YouTube and try to cut your own hair or your kids hair. Of course you can also just shave your hair off as that’s easier to do on your own, but it’s a bit extreme, especially for women ;)
56. Swap babysitting
Do you life in a neighborhood with a lot of children? You can swap babysitting to save money on a babysitter. One night you take care of the children of your neighbor and the next night they will do it for you.
57. Buy inexpensive hygiene products
Do you really need shampoo, deodorant or conditioner from that premium brand? Less known brands are usually just as good, but way cheaper.
58. Find a more affordable cell phone plan to save money
How much do you use your cell phone? How much data do you need and how much do you call? Personally, I almost never call people (I don’t like calling), I use Whatsapp a lot for example. Plus I don’t need a lot of internet as I’m home a lot and then I’m on my WiFi. So my cell phone plan only costs me about € 10 each month.
Some people pay € 50 or even € 100 a month, which to me sounds very extreme. Okay, when you’re a always on the road and really need to be online all the time and call all days, I can understand that you need a more expensive plan. But most people don’t need it.
Don’t watch YouTube videos with your data, watch that when you’re on WiFi. Check what you actually use every month and see if you can switch to a cheaper plan. Different providers also charge different prices.
59. Do a maintenance run on your appliances
Check your appliances for things like dust or filth or clean your dishwasher once in a while to remove chalk. This way you will keep your appliances in good condition and they will probably last longer.
60. Let the sun dry your clothes
Do you have a dryer? Dryers use a lot of electricity. So using them less often will save money on your energy bill. Is is sunny outside? Why don’t you hang your clothes outside and let the sun do the drying for you?
61. Wash your clothes in cold water
Even in cold water, most clothes will get clean. For some fabrics it’s even better to use cold water. A good article with more information on this can be found here.
Change your habits
Habits, especially bad ones, can cost you a lot of money:
62. Stop smoking
Did you ever calculated how much you spend on your bad habit?
A pack of cigarettes is about € 7 in the Netherlands. If you smoke one pack every 1-2 days, you end up buying 4 packs on average every week. That adds up to € 28. If we look at the annual costs of your bad habit, you spend € 28 x 52 weeks = € 1,456 a year on cigarettes!
Even if you smoke less (or cheaper cigarettes) and only spend € 10 a week on cigarettes, you still spend more than € 500 a year!
63. Stop drinking
Most people like to drink alcohol and while a drink once in a while is not a problem, it can become a bad and expensive habit if you drink multiple glasses every day. Drink less alcohol or stop drinking it all together to save a lot of money.
64. Stop buying lottery tickets, you’re buying a dream.
How many people do you know that actually won a big prize? Personally, I know none. The lottery is like buying a dream. The chance that you actually win is close to nothing. The chance is about the same as getting struck by lightning or getting hit by a plane falling out of the sky.
65. Eat out one less time each month
Do you eat out a lot? Try to lower the money you spend on eating out by going less. You can invite friend at home (and have them bring something) to have just as much fun, but pay a lot less.
66. Walk or take your bike
Instead of using your car for everything, it’s cheaper to walk more often or take your bike. If you outside the city and need to bike a couple of kilometers for groceries, you can see it as working out while doing something that has to be done. Plus it’s better for the environment as well.
67. Work from home
If you have a job that can also be done from your own home, it will save you a lot of gas and it saves you time as well.
68. Sell your car
You can also switch to a job you can do from home to avoid the need of a car all together and sell your car. This will not only give you a nice amount of money, depending on what kind of car you sell, but it will also save you on gas, upkeep and insurance.
69. Negotiate your car insurance
If you do need your car, you can still save money by looking for cheaper options for your car insurance. What options do you need on your insurance? Are there companies with cheaper insurances? Compare everything and pick one with good reviews.
70. Don’t speed
If you drive too fast, you use more gas, thus money. You also have a chance to get a ticket for speeding, which is just a waste of your money.
71. Drive a more affordable car
Look for a car that doesn’t use tons a lot of gas. A smaller car is usually cheaper, not only on gas usage, but also in upkeep and of course when buying the car itself.
72. Only buy used cars
New cars are actually really bad investments. The moment you buy it, the value already drops a lot. And it keeps dropping every year you use the car. A used car isn’t so expensive, which means you are more likely to be able to buy one without putting yourself in debt.
73. Check your tires
Did you know that if your tires have low pressure, you use a lot more gas? It’s also unsafe if the pressure is a lot lower than it should be. So check your tire pressure every month to save money and avoid accidents.
Fun & holidays
Entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive, there are a lot of things to do without a lot of money:
74. Visit the library for free books
The library is a good place to read books for free. If you also want to take books home, you probably have to pay for a membership. This differs per country. In most libraries you can also lend ebooks, audiobooks or dvd’s.
Instead of going on vacation, you can also do a staycation. A staycation is staying at home and doing fun things in or around your home (within driving distance). There are a lot of advantages, for example:
- It’s a lot cheaper
- You don’t have to pack (and unpack, sometimes multiple times)
- No plans have to be made or tickets to be bought
- You don’t have to drive for hours or sit for hours in a train or a plane
- Everyone can sleep in their own beds
- You don’t have to wake up in time for breakfast
My husband and I usually do a vacation one year and a staycation the year after. If we do a staycation, we are both free for a week or two weeks and we just relax at home and go on several daytrips during the week.
76. Go to a Bed & Breakfast instead of a hotel
Hotels can be very expensive, but a Bed & Breakfast can be found for a lot less. You also get to talk to the owner and they usually can tell you a lot about the area and give you tips on what to do and what to avoid.
A good option to look for a Bed & Breakfast is Airbnb. If you register trough my link, you will get € 25 to spend on your first trip.
77. Invite friends instead of going out
Instead of going somewhere, invite your friends and hang out in the garden.
78. Have fun for free
Going to the beach or the park is free and can be a lot of fun. Take your picnic blanket and basket filled with food and drinks and enjoy! Grab a ball for the children or something to play with on the beach and they will have a great time, all for free.
79. Volunteer at festivals
Volunteering at festivals often comes with free entrance to all of the acts or things to do on the festival. So if you like a certain festival, check out if they need volunteers.
80. Free events
Most cities, especially bigger ones, have free events every month to enjoy. Look at the local paper or online to find out what you can do in your town for free.
81. Pack food for day trips
If you go on a day trip, you can make it expensive by buying everything on the road, like having lunch somewhere, stop for coffee or go to McDonalds. You can also make some sandwiches at home and take drinks along with you to save lot of money.
Some final tips:
82. Don’t let your emotions manage your spending
If you feel sad or bored, you might go shopping to avoid the feeling. It’s like with eating, a lot of people want chocolate when they feel sad (including me…). Other people want to spend money when they feel sad.
Find a way to deal with your emotions to stop your emotions from managing your spending.
83. Buy quality stuff that lasts
If you always buy the cheapest items, they might break a lot and you end up buying new ones multiple times a year. If you look for something that’s a better quality, it may be more expensive, but if it lasts multiple years, you will spend less in the end.
84. Make a collage with your goals and dreams
To remind yourself what your goals are, like getting out of debt, going on a trip around the world or become financially independent, find pictures that represent your dreams and make a collage out of them. Hang it on a spot you see every day, like on the fridge or above the TV.
85. Do a savings challenge
Start doing a savings challenge to make saving fun. I made a bingo challenge for you to save € 1,000 in a year.
“Stop spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like!”