Who could say no to more cash in their pocket at the end of the month? Here are the top 50 money hacks to help you easily save more money without feeling like you are sacrificing any fun!
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50 Money Hacks to Save More Money
1. Believe you can save money
Before you start saving money, take a good hard look at your money beliefs.
Are you the type of person that believes money will always be tight and nothing good comes easy? Do you find yourself repeating idioms such as, “Money is the root of all evil?”
In my YouTube video on the top 20 money hacks, I shared a story about The Elephant and The Rope; this folk tale highlights the power of belief and how limiting beliefs can hold us back.
So it makes sense the greatest step you can take towards saving money is simply believing that you can.
2. Identify needs vs wants
We tend to use “want” and “need” interchangeably in today’s society when in reality they are two very different things.
What is a need?
A need is something that you absolutely must have in order to survive and exist, like food, shelter, or water. These are the most basic of human needs
On the other hand, what are wants?
Wants are things we desire or crave but don’t necessarily need. For example, you don’t always need to upgrade your iPhone to get the latest model if the old one is perfectly fine.
When you find yourself thinking about buying, ask yourself if it’s a want or a need – you might be surprised!
3. Budget your money
If you want to save money, you need to know where your money is going each month.
It’s important to track your spending and having a plan for your monthly income, which means you need to create a budget.
4. Set SMART money goals
Did you know that people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them?
But don’t just write down any old goals – your goals need to be SMART!
- S = specific
- M = measurable
- A = attainable
- R = relevant
- T = time-based
Let’s compare a SMART goal to a non-SMART goal:
- Non-SMART: I want to save money.
- SMART: I will save $5,200 by the end of the year, or $100 a week.
Clear goal setting is an important step to creating a financial life plan for yourself. You can read more about how to write SMART goals here.
5. Make saving automatic
A lot of people focus on saving what money is left after spending, but that’s actually backward.
Instead, focus on putting away as much as possible before you even have the chance to spend it.
Plan a set amount to transfer and stick to that when you get paid by transferring it out right away.
PRO-TIP: Earn more money back by using high-yield savings account like CIT or American Express High-Yield Savings Account.
6. Prioritize paying off debt
If you have debt, especially debt with high interest rates, it makes sense to pay the debt off FIRST instead of simply saving.
This is because paying off debt means you’re not wasting money on interest rates, and it’s also a good idea if your credit score has taken a hit.
It may be tempting to use that extra cash for something else when eliminating an expense this large, but really think about how much more the payoff will add up over time!
If you have lots of debt there are plenty of personal finance books that focus on hammering away at your debt fast, like Dave Ramsey’s snowball method.
You can read more about how we paid off $250,000 debt in 5 years by clicking here.
7. Avoid money temptation
Everyone has certain spending triggers – do you know yours?
Maybe it’s the dollar aisle at Target or the clearance rack at your favorite mall store – it could even be going hog wild at the thrift shop!
If you know you are likely to overspend in a certain environment or around certain people, try to avoid or work around those temptations.
Sometimes it’s easier to simply not go than it is to say no!
8. Practice The 30-Day Rule
What is The 30-Day Rule?
This simple “rule” is an effective way to be more intentional and stick with your resolutions and savings goals by making it easier for yourself.
The 30-Day Rule works like this: if you want to buy something or spend money on an expense that is not listed in the “needs” section of your budget (e.g., groceries), then you need to think about it for at least 30 days.
(I do this by keeping a running list in my phone’s notes!)
If 30 days pass and you still want to buy the item, then you can go ahead with your purchase.
An easy and clever way to curb impulse spending.
9. Turn clutter into cash
As a recovering emotional hoarder turned minimalist mom, I can honestly say selling clutter helped me in so many ways.
- It helped me make extra cash – $50,000 of it, in fact!
- It helped ease my financial guilt.
- It helped me ensure my items were finding a happy home.
You might have tons of money sitting around your home that you didn’t even know about. I sure got a huge surprise when I found out how much my grandma’s head vase was worth!
10. Downsize your home
This isn’t a necessity, but many people find that after decluttering their home they no longer require as much space.
Along with food and transportation, housing is one of the “Big Three” expenses and therefore downsizing can be a great way to save money on rent and mortgage payments.
Try asking yourself these questions when deciding if downsizing would work:
- Do I have any unused bedrooms?
- Would my family benefit from a smaller home?
- If I had less space to clean and maintain, would I be happier?
There are even people who move into tiny homes or travel the world instead of buying!
You might be surprised what kind of lifestyle attracts you after you start saving money.
11. Find free ways to have fun
Who says you need to go to the movie theater to watch a movie, eat expensive popcorn, and drink costly (and unhealthy) sodas?
There are plenty of free ways to have fun, like renting free movies at your local library, playing a game at home, or going for a nature walk.
Sure, going out to dinner is romantic, but so is cooking dinner together – here are 35 cheap and easy dinner ideas to get you started!
12. Avoid the comparison trap
Nothing can kill your money-saving motivation quite like comparing yourself to someone else.
As Teddy Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Face it, there is always going to be someone who has more than you, but that doesn’t mean they are happier.
True happiness is being yourself and having gratitude for what you have.
13. Find free or cheap swaps
Why pay for bottled water when you can drink perfectly good water from the tap? Even if you have hard water you can buy a Brita water filter like this one that will give you clean water for weeks, and all you have to do is replace the filter now and then.
Other free or cheap swaps include:
- Swapping reusable bags for plastic at the store
- Ride a bike instead of driving your car (even just here or there)
- Change regular bulbs to high-efficiency LED lighting
- Buy reusable straws instead of plastic
- Make your own natural cleaning products at home
14. Shop secondhand
The word is out, secondhand shopping is hot, hot, HOT!
Nowadays you don’t even have to go to an in-person thrift shop, flea market, or resale store to score a great deal — you can simply grab your smartphone!
If you love thrift shopping locally, of course, you still can, but don’t forget that online thrift shops open you up to goods from all over the world.
If you have trouble finding your size locally (my plus-size and petite friends complain to me about this often) resale apps and websites can help you expand your reach — try it, I bet you’ll love it!
15. Mind your health
Your health is your wealth; heed this advice!
The time and effort you put into nourishing your body properly will pay off later in spades!
At a bare minimum you need to:
- eat healthy food
- drink enough water
- get enough sleep
- exercise 2-3x a week
16. Start meal planning
Have you ever forgotten that something was in your pantry, only to rediscover it after it had long expired?
Or grabbed an eggplant with the best of intentions, only to have no idea what to do with it and ended up throwing it away?
If you make a meal plan at the start of each week, you will know exactly what you want to buy at the grocery store, what meals you are going to make, and how to cook them and store them for maximum efficiency.
I have more blog posts on this topic planned, so stay tuned.
17. Save powerful money ideas
If saving money is in the back of your brain it’s going to be a second thought.
On the other hand, if you surround yourself with powerful money quotes, images, and money-saving inspiration you are going to be more likely to keep saving and making money!
- Save your favorite money ideas to Pinterest
- Make an inspirational quote on your phone’s home screen
- Create a vision board (here’s my 2021 vision board!)
- Read books on personal finance
- And more…
18. Start a side hustle
If you are an extremely frugal person, you already know this; there’s only so much you can cut from your budget before there’s nothing left to cut!
Starting a side hustle is one of the best money hacks to save more money because it allows you to earn extra income.
A little-known side hustle benefit is that it offers more flexibility than most jobs – you can do as much or as little as you want!
Many people find that they are too busy with their day-to-day work lives to commit to self-employment or go back into school for an advanced degree, but that a side hustle can fit nicely into their busy life.
- 10 Hottest Side Hustles of 2021 (Make an Extra $3,000 a Month!)
- 21 Genius Ways to Make $100 a Day (Who Knew it Was So Simple?)
- How to Sell on eBay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making $1,000 a Month
19. Say no to prepackaged foods
Convenience is costing you big money!
Buying pre-made food is convenient, but the price per unit of energy and nutrients you get out of it isn’t worth it.
You’re paying for packaging and advertising instead of real ingredients. The best way to save money with your grocery shopping is to buy raw (or even in bulk, when possible) or and DIY your meals at home.
20. Eat at home
Speaking of eating at home, consider this; you can often prepare meals for an entire week with the money that you spend eating out in the city.
Before we had kids, my husband and I could EASILY spend $100 on a single meal and drinks — or we could take that $100 and eat at home for a full week!
Make going out a once-in-a-while treat instead of a habit and learn to make your favorite meals at home and you are in for BIG savings!
PRO-TIP: Sign up for a FREE 2-week trial of Skillshare Premium and you can learn how to cook anything your heart desires at home, from the best sourdough bread to sushi!
21. Take your lunch
Again, convenience is costing you. Each and every Starbucks coffee, bagel, and Chipotle lunch you grab on the go is costing you.
Get some Tupperware and take your lunch to work!
Also, it’s not just about saving money – we all know that eating out on a daily basis can be seriously bad for our health, so this will also help YOU save your waistline.
22. Grow your own herbs & food
No matter if you have a full yard or just a balcony, there are always ways to grow your own foods and herbs to save money at home.
It’s really satisfying to eat food that you’ve grown with your own hands, and if you have too much you can also pickle and can your own foods.
So many possibilities!
23. Shop by season
It’s cheaper to buy vegetables and fruits by season; berries in the winter are more expensive (and often lower quality) than berries in the summer.
Shop by season and you’ll save a ton of money!
Don’t worry, you can still eat a healthy and well-balanced diet by choosing foods that are in season.
24. Eat less meat
Let’s face it, meat is expensive.
Just by reducing the amount of meat you eat each week you can significantly slash your spending and increase your savings!
In addition, if you buy it on sale then your savings will be even greater (just freeze the extra.)
You don’t have to give up meat entirely but cutting down a little goes a long way in saving more money.
25. Plan around sales
Every grocery store has weekly ads that let you know what is on sale.
You can often find these:
- inside your mailbox
- on the online website
- in an app on your smartphone’s app store
Once you know what is going to be on sale you can look at purchasing items at a discount and meal planning around those. Supplement sparingly with non-sale items and you have a full week’s meal plan!
26. Challenge yourself (low buy, no buy, no spend)
If saving money feels like a chore, you might not want to do it.
But if it feels like a fun game? Sign me up!
You’re more likely to stick to your budget if you are enjoying challenging yourself, and there are all sorts of saving and spending challenges you can participate in to help you maximize your moolah.
Common challenges include:
- No-buy challenges
- Low-buy challenges
- No-spend challenges
These challenges can last anywhere from one day to a full year or more, and each has its own set of rules and goals.
Run a search on Google or YouTube and prepare to get inspired to save!
READ MORE: Find out more about the NEW & improved 30-Day Minimalism Challenge (and how it can change your life.)
27. Beware sneaky price fluctuations
Stores are notorious for hiking the price before running “sales” so that you end up saving the exact same amount of money that you would have pre-sale.
I like to use CamelCamelCamel to check and make sure I am really getting the best price possible before I buy – it’s saved me tons of money on Black Friday!
28. Earn cashback every time you shop
Cashback sites can be a great way to save even more money. I like Rakuten, aka Ebates, because it is the easiest one to use.
On this cash-redemption website, you’ll find tons of stores and deals just waiting for your purchase--and with every transaction, you get back a percentage.
How to start earning cashback immediately with Rakuten:
- Sign up for Rakuten here with this special link
- Create a secure account, with email and password
- Install the Cash Back button for your browser (Safari, Chrome, etc)
- When you go to your favorite stores, cashback offers will show
- You can also go to Rakuten’s website and check current sales
- You’ll get $10 FREE cash back after you spend your first $30
- Refer a friend you’ll both get $30
29. Use coupons when you can
You can go as crazy as you want with couponing, but you can also just carry around any coupons as you get them in your wallet.
Before making an online purchase, see if there are any current discount coupon codes for the website you are shopping at, you can often find 10%, 25%, and free shipping codes for your favorite stores.
30. Keep a budget binder
If you are tracking your budget (and you should be) you might want to create a budget binder.
That way, at the end of the year you can look back at what you’ve done, what worked, what didn’t and plan your financial goals for the next year.
31. Drink more water
Got your Brita filter or clean tap water?
Great – time to drink TONS of water!
Swap water for carbonated, caffeinated, and sugary beverages and both your wallet and waistline will thank you.
Of course, it’s okay to have some of those things – many of us can’t function without a morning cuppa, after all – but nothing better than water.
32. Shop with a list
Make a list before you go shopping and stick to it; when you have a plan you are less likely to make impulsive purchases that you will regret later.
(And don’t go grocery shopping hungry. Just don’t. Bad idea.)
33. Do a weekly financial check-in
Take some time during the week to review your expenses, savings goals, and spending habits.
The more you know about where your money is going, the better decisions you can make on how it should be spent in order to reach those goals.
You can do this alone or with your partner; it’s great when everyone knows what page they are on, including yourself!
34. Try the cash envelope system
If you are someone who can’t have a credit card without going into debt, consider trying the cash envelope system.
This is an old-school rule that can be really helpful in the digital age because it limits spending on impulse items.
You basically put your grocery budget, gas money, entertainment allowance, etc., into separate envelopes and then take only what’s needed – when it’s gone it’s gone, that’s it!
35. Find a supportive community
There’s a saying that goes, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with every day.
If you have supportive and financially secure people around you, that’s great!
But if your family or friends don’t see eye-to-eye with your financial lifestyle, such as your gift-giving practices or how many toys your kids have, you might do well to look for communities that can support you.
Here are a few ideas:
- Join a sub-Reddit forum
- Find a group on Facebook
- Look for local clubs (like free activity clubs or societies)
- Follow YouTube creators that you love and comment frequently
36. Join a buy nothing group
Have you ever heard of Buy Nothing groups?
These are communities of people who come together on places like Facebook and Freecycle to exchange unwanted goods and services for free.
This helps a large group of people save money and reduce environmental impact en masse.
You can search for Buy Nothing groups in your area with the keyword “buy nothing” and your zip code on Google and Facebook.
37. Negotiate everything
Don’t just assume that you have to pay the listed price for any given item or service; in fact, nearly everything is negotiable!
Negotiating is a skill that can be learned and perfected.
You can negotiate childcare rates, home renovation costs, car and life insurance rates, and so much more.
Don’t be afraid, the worst that can happen is someone says no, but often you’ll get a yes!
38. Have fun at Happy Hour
You can save money by going to happy hour instead of regular dinner and drinks.
Happy hours times vary from location to location, but typically happen in the early evening, so you have plenty of time to enjoy your tasty drink or two before heading home for the night!
If you still want to eat out every once in a while happy hours are a great way to splurge without spending too much.
39. Cancel subscriptions you don’t use
If you’re not using your subscription, it’s time to cancel.
Some subscriptions are worth keeping because they’ll provide useful resources for a low monthly fee (think things like Netflix or Amazon Prime). Others can be cut off at the first sign of inactivity.
It’s hard, but if you have a bunch of services you aren’t using that are costing you big bucks every month, it’s time to cut the cord.
40. Share housing costs
There are so many ways to save on housing.
You can get one or several roommates, and share the cost of one rental, rent your home as an Airbnb while you travel, or you could look into property investing and buy a duplex.
If you get it at a great price and renovate, you can often live for “free” by renting one half of the duplex for the full monthly property fee to someone else while living in the second half yourself.
This strategy has been dubbed “house hacking”.
41. Ask for a raise
Asking for a raise can be scary, but there are also a lot of benefits for both you AND your boss.
You benefit by negotiating more money without having to find a new job.
Your boss will benefit because it’s often more costly and time-consuming for an employer to find and train new personal than it would be to simply raise your salary, so keep that in mind.
Start by researching what other people at your company are getting, if possible, and come prepared with data that justifies a pay increase, such as experience, recent credential changes, and exceptional performance.
42. Contribute to your 401k
Contributing to your 401k can help you save more than just the money that gets put into it.
Many employers offer an additional matching contribution for every dollar you contribute, and these contributions often go straight into a retirement account with significant tax benefits.
43. Automate payments (no more late fees!)
Nothing burns my britches more than banking late fees!
You work so hard to live minimally and save money, and the same banks that give you a piddly yearly interest rate charge an exorbitant amount of late fees – like $30! – for one late credit card payment or overdraft fee!
And it doesn’t stop at banks; tons of places change late fees (yep, even the free public library.)
If you can, automate your payments so that you never have to worry about being late and incurring late fees ever again.
(Just make sure to check in on a weekly or monthly basis to make sure everything is going according to plan.)
44. Become a DIY master
DIY is all about saving money. Period.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you can replace your plumber with duct tape and caulk…but there are plenty of things that you could do yourself instead of paying someone else to do them for you.
My husband has revealed himself to be a DIY superstar, and he’s installed light fixtures, fixed grout, and even installed a small hot water heater in our kitchen himself.
Yep, it came without hot water — that’s 100-year-old home life in Germany for you!
The more you DIY the more you save, and there are so many free resources online nowadays you can basically teach yourself anything.
45. Take care of your stuff
I like to call this “preventative maintenance”.
Take care of your home and the things in it now so they last a long time and will be less likely to break down or need to be replaced sooner rather than later.
A small amount of effort now can save you lots of time and money in the future.
46. Kick bad habits
Good habits will slowly compound to good and better results and bad habits will slowly compound to bad and worse results.
If you tend to spend too much when you are stressed out, go back and put that 30-Day Rule into practice to try and curb this bad habit.
Bad habits like smoking and driving can also cost you big — and I’m not just talking about money, here, friend – there are things much, much worse that can happen to you besides spending too much money.
As someone who has lost multiple friends and family members, including my father in his early 50’s to alcoholism, please remember that the habits that you have now compound over time.
And it’s not just you that may suffer the results. 🙁
47. Hang clothes to dry
Hang clothes to dry-it’s a good way to save money and reduce energy wastage.
How much can you save?
One website found that you can save an average of $100 a year with this one money hack.
48. Exercise at home
Bye-bye, gym, and hello to Chloe Ting!
Save money on gym memberships by exercising at home.
Exercise equipment can be expensive, but you may already have what you need at home. You can use cans instead of weights and do tricep dips off your stairs.
There are so many creative ways to stay in shape without expensive gym memberships. All you need to do yoga is your body — even a yoga mat isn’t necessarily a requirement.
Even if you wanted to buy equipment, you can often save money by shopping locally second-hand. You also have the option of reselling it yourself, if you find the equipment you purchase isn’t getting used enough.
49. Keep lights off during the day
Keeping your lights off during the day is a good way to save on electricity and lower your utility bill at the end of the month.
This is easy when you have good natural lighting, but harder if you don’t.
Even if the natural light in your home isn’t amazing, there are still ways to save.
Only use light in the room that you are currently in, and make sure to keep the lights off in the other rooms of the home when you aren’t using them.
LED light bulbs can also help with savings!
50. Continue to educate yourself
Knowledge is power
There is always more you can learn, more you can do, and new skills to develop.
The more you know about personal finance, the better your chances of success with money in the future.
I know this was a lot of information, so make sure to pin this post to remember and come back to in the future!