30 Tips to Save Money and Boost Your Net Worth $300k!April 15, 2021 July 23, 2023 /
These 30 tips to save money can earn you $343,758.16 and an income of $13,750.33 a year!
With these 30 tips to save money, you’ll spend less money and be able to put more of your hard-earned money to work supporting the things you value in life. You can strengthen an emergency fund, set money aside for a vacation, or invest more and let the magic of compound interest propel your net worth.
You may already be saving plenty of money for your financial independence. But, it never hurts to take a closer look at your habits. You don’t know what you don’t know.
That’s where this list of tips to save money comes in.
This list was crowdsourced from members of the Financial Independence Community. No matter where you find yourself on the frugality spectrum, you are sure to discover at least a few new ways to save money not previously considered. Just wait until you read what Steve has to say about pretzel salt.
I’ll attempt to assign a savings amount to each of the tips to save money. My monthly estimate is meant to be conservative. At the end of this list, I’ll project how, if invested, these savings can grow over time and shave years off of your working career and/or increase your income when you choose to no longer work for money.
Enjoy the tips to save money below then leave a comment below with your own tips.
We are all in this together.
30 practical tips to save money
1. Make your dog’s food.
I’m no vet but it seems there are many money saving recipes for making your dog’s food. Just make sure you do your research. We love our pets and want to make sure we provide them all the nutrients they need to remain healthy.
Stacy feeds her pup, Lexie, commercial dog food once a day for the vitamins and minerals. Her other meal is a combo of pork or chicken, rice and spinach. She also adds a little cottage cheese for calcium.
If you don’t have a pet at all, and therefore don’t incur any of the many expenses that come along with being a responsible pet owner, you have already taken advantage of some tips to save money!
Monthly Savings? Too many unique variables to determine.
2. Use your public library resources.
Books, television, movies, games, and music all usually go under the “entertainment” line-item in our budgets and that is usually the first one that is cut. Thankfully, Mike informs, you can access all of those library resources for free at your local public library with a library card. Each library will be a little different, some even have 3D printers, but the basic resources are fairly universal. Find a library nearby. Perhaps it is time to give it another look and see what you’ve been missing.
Monthly Savings? $10.00
3. Explore Happy Hour Options.
Who doesn’t love a good happy hour? It’s tough to find good sources for the best happy hours but Justin recommends finding an Instagram account that’s local to your area and then creating a list of places to check out in Google maps to reference whenever you are in the mood for an early evening meal and beverage.
Monthly Savings? $20.00
4. Cut your own hair.
Before you go Da Vinci on your dome, definitely check out some YouTube videos on how to cut your own hair. I’ve seen this tip work out in some cases, and in other cases, not so much.
Amberly, who recently cut her bangs said…
Here’s to continued success Amberly!
Monthly Savings? $35.00
5. Pay your auto insurance 6 months in advance.
Many insurance companies will provide a discount for insurance premium payments made prior to the official due date. In one instance David G. had the option of paying $892.00 every six months when paying by monthly installments or to pay for all six months at once for $697.00. He decided to pay the lower amount in a single payment, saving almost $200.00 over the same six-month period.
It’s a good idea to shop around for the latest insurance rates once a year. If you do decide to switch for savings, compare the policy characteristics. You want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples and thoroughly understand your policies.
Mindy suggests you contact your insurance company and ask for any discounts for preferred payment methods.
Monthly Savings? $33.00
6. Increase deductibles on auto and home insurance.
While you are on the line negotiating your auto insurance, you might as well ask about increasing your auto and home insurance deductible. This generally means that you will have to come out of pocket more money up front in the event of property loss or damage before the insurance company will consider paying a claim.
If you already have a comfortable amount of liquid savings and understand the tradeoff, then requesting a higher deductible up to the max limit allowed by your state and insurance company, you can reduce your monthly insurance premiums.
Bonus savings: If you invest in rental properties, you can do the same and reduce your monthly insurance premiums.
Monthly Savings? $20.00
7. Decrease your data plan on your cell phone.
Many of us are spending more time at home. While this social isolation may not be ideal, it is an opportunity for us to save money. Check your cell phone service plan. If you haven’t reduced your data plan, you may be able to now because you are tethered to your WiFi and no longer reliant on your cell phone service provider’s data services.
Oriana reduced her cell phone expenses by shifting from a $70.00/month plan with Verizon to a $15.00/month plan with Xfinity because she is always on WiFi now.
If you are still paying outrageous cell phone bills, check out Lower My Cell Phone Bill and Increase My Net Worth!
Monthly Savings? $55.00
8. Hang dry your clothes.
Depending on where you live and the amount of laundry you do each week, hang drying your clothes could save you between $4.00 and $40.00 a month. Other benefits of hang drying clothes include getting outside, less chemicals in the clothing, less ironing, better for the environment, and you even get a little exercise.
Monthly Savings? $20.00
9. Reuse food packaging.
Alright, I know some may draw the line here. Do you wash and reuse your shredded cheese zip bags, your yogurt cups, or your peanut butter jars? Not sure how much money this saves but I can appreciate the idea of getting more use out of plastic products before they go into the trash.
Becky reported washing a single shredded cheese zip bag more than twenty times over a six-month period.
Talia reuses peanut butter jars, sour cream containers, bread bags, and other containers until they break somehow.
Monthly Savings? No clue
10. Ask for a cash discount from your dentist.
Many dentists offer a discount for paying with cash or debit. They do this because it saves them time processing insurance paperwork and allows them and their staff more time to interact with clients. Just try and ask for the cash discount.
Tommy negotiated his bill down to $600.00 just by asking politely. He then took advantage of a $30.00 discount by paying cash.
Most don’t take a monthly visit to the dentist so I’ll keep this estimate conservative.
Don’t forget to ask for a discount on those braces. Oriana asked and she received a $350 discount on her child’s braces. Multiply that across her three children and that will be more than $1k saved. Well done Oriana!
Monthly Savings? $5.00 (more if we are talking braces)
11. Use a bidet to reduce toilet paper usage.
Statista reports that in 2019 the average household spent about $10.00/month on paper products like toilet tissue, napkins, and paper towels. Using a few assumptions about the “regularity” of a #1 vs #2, and that one third of the household paper costs go to toilet paper, it is reasonable to expect toilet tissue usage to be reduced by 75%. A bidet on Amazon can be purchased for about 40 bucks. Tommy says it takes about fifteen minutes to install. Call the purchase price “a wash” after about a year. After that, the savings should be about $30.00 per year.
Monthly Savings? $2.50
12. Sell a rarely used or unnecessary vehicle
By default we usually have at least two cars per household. Do you have more? Do you need all that you own? We keep some cars for sentimental reasons. Maybe it was given to us by a grandparent or parent. If you value it, definitely keep it. But, if you have a desire to simplify and shift a little more value to the other side of the ledger, getting rid of unnecessary vehicles including motorcycles, RVs, etc. may be a good choice.
When you sell an extra vehicle, you get a lump sum you can use to pay down debt or invest immediately. In addition, you spend less in ongoing DMV, insurance, and maintenance costs.
Monthly Savings? $100.00
13. Cancel your gym membership
Most of us don’t go to the actual gym as often as we think we should. And even if we did, we would likely be able to get a decent enough workout if we prioritized working out at home or outside. A gym membership, depending on the type you signed up for, can be fairly steep with the monthly recurring charges, the annual gym maintenance fees, and buying that energy drink from the cooler when we enter.
I’m no Arnold Schwarzenegger but I do enjoy going to a real gym. If you are more motivated by walking into an actual gym, just make sure you are going often enough and getting the results to make it worth the expense. If you are committed to working out in a gym, many employers have agreements with national gym chains. Do an internet search or ask your employer if they offer such deals.
Monthly Savings? $30.00
14. Buy a pre-owned timeshare.
Blanket advice to avoid owning a timeshare is justifiable. However, if you decide a owning timeshare is something you want to pursue, and you can’t be talked out of it, you can purchase timeshares at a much discounted purchase price.
There are third-party sites that connect buyers with existing timeshare owners.
But, instead of going that route, try this first. Ask the company/resort directly for a list of “for sale by owner” units. Using this tactic, Taryn purchased one timeshare for $50.00 and a second timeshare for $1,500.00.
Monthly Savings? Probably a lot, especially compared to those who purchased at full price. There are many stories of regret surrounding the timeshare business.
15. Shop the Aldi/Walmart/Costco rotation for groceries.
Point taken. Why pay more for food when you don’t have to? Fruits and vegetables might be stacked a little neater at the more expensive stores. But is that visual perk worth the few extra bucks you could be using for something you and your family really values? No. No it isn’t. Just shop the lower-priced options.
Monthly Savings? $100.00
16. Ask for a discount.
Simply ask at the register. What does it hurt? The worst they can say is no.
Oriana called Comcast and asked how they could lower her bill. She ended up saving $35.00 per month.
Monthly Savings: $50.00
17. Let items remain in your online shopping cart.
Whenever you are shopping online, try to get in the habit of not purchasing something immediately if it isn’t a desperate situation.
William maintains a policy of letting items sit in his shopping cart for at least a day or two, ideally a week, before checking out. This helps reduce impulse buys and gives you time to find alternate sources for the items at a cheaper price. You may find just what you are looking for cheaper, or free on Facebook Marketplace or a local buy nothing group.
Monthly Savings: $50.00
18. Upgrade to LED bulbs.
Incandescent light bulbs create heat, wasting energy. Those in the Financial Independence Community love efficiency and replacing household bulbs with LED definitely scratches that itch. According to this Washington Post article, the average American household would spend $600.00 less per year on electricity with LED bulbs in comparison to incandescent bulbs. The higher up front cost of each bulb can be mitigated by shopping around. There are vast price variations on LED bulbs.
Bonus Savings: If you are a landlord, replace all bulbs with LED between tenants. I prefer the daylight style LED bulbs by ecosmart. You can pick them up at Home Depot for a decent price. The benefits of putting these in your rental properties is you don’t have to buy and replace a third of the bulbs each turnover, your tenants save on their electricity bill, and the daylight version has no amber in the tone so the home will be brighter.
Monthly Savings after initial purchase: $50.00
19. Design a capsule wardrobe.
Take a good look at your closet. Whether you are male or female, you likely have clothes that you no longer wear, that you have grown out of (damn that father time), or that you can’t just seem to let go for whatever reason (that muscle shirt tank top from 25 years ago when it was okay for guys to wear them).
If you are looking for a way to add efficiency, and style, to your wardrobe, consider a capsule wardrobe.
Marcela describes using a capsule wardrobe as the practice of owning 1-3 pieces of essential clothing; pants, shorts, tops, dresses, shoes, etc. The idea is to pick pieces that transcend seasons and trends. It also encourages you to pick a color scheme that suits you and that you can easily mix and match. Essentially, you end up scrutinizing everything in your closet, keeping the clothing that you really enjoy and that are practical in your life. Since you have less pieces to choose from, you can get dressed quickly and avoid the stress of trying to coordinate a lot of clothing.
Marcela chose a color scheme for her capsule wardrobe that is on the darker side as it flatters her skin tone the best. This is an added benefit for her because on laundry day, she doesn’t have to separate whites, lights, and darks. Everything goes into the washing machine at once and she’s done in half the time. You can save money and time with no sorting, less water use, and only one load to wash instead of several.
For even more guidance on building your own capsule wardrobe, check out this article explaining your capsule wardrobe checklist.
Monthly Savings: $50.00
20. Buy items second hand.
If you are in the market for any larger items, meaning larger in both size and in price, consider purchasing it second-hand. Thanks to Macklemore, it is now completely acceptable by society to shop secondhand at a Thrift Shop.
Be it musical instruments, a side table and a lamp, or kids’ bicycles, you can likely find exactly what you’re looking for when shopping secondhand at the fraction of purchasing new at retail stores.
So, before you hit buy on Amazon or head to the strip mall, take a look at Facebook Marketplace or your local Goodwill Store.
Monthly Savings: $50.00
21. Sell items second hand.
You can embrace the minimalism movement and add value to the income/savings side of the net worth equation by getting rid of things you no longer need or find valuable. Juan says to sell these things on Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, or other credible websites.
Monthly Savings: $50.00
22. Cut the cord and rotate streaming subscriptions.
Cancel your traditional cable tv service now! You think you will miss it, but you won’t miss it ever again in your life. (If I’m wrong and you do end up missing it, then just start paying for it again.)
Steven recommends installing an HD antenna. You’ll be surprised at the number of free TV channels available, especially if you live in the vicinity of a larger town. You can cancel all but the subscription tv service you want to watch right now.
Deborah rotates her tv subscriptions. She’ll watch Netflix for a month, then shift to Hulu. Currently she subscribes to Showtime to binge watch Billions. Even better, you may be able to take advantage of introductory, returning customer, or free trial offers each time you switch streaming services.
Monthly Savings: $100.00
23. Make your own cleaning products.
Much of what we pay for when we purchase name brand cleaning products is the marketing and packaging. We may not even be aware of the effects the chemicals can have in our homes.
Try and make your own cleaning products. Jennifer recommends using baking soda as a scrubbing agent and vinegar to clean glass and surfaces. Do NOT mix the two as they just neutralize each other.
Check out these 19 DIY Cleaning products.
Monthly Savings: $5.00
24. Make your own coconut butter!
If you like coconut butter and don’t want to spend $11 – $14 a jar, Rebekah encourages you to make your own.
Fill your food processor with shredded coconut and blend for 4-10 minutes, depending on the strength of your processor. You can add salt, vanilla, cocoa, etc. but you don’t have to. The type of coconut matters as some brands don’t blend as smoothly. Rebekah likes the Let’s Do Organic™ brand and gets the 25lb bag off Amazon.
Surely this doesn’t apply only to coconut butter. Look for other ways to make your favorite foods from the base ingredients and save money.
Monthly Savings: $10.00
25. Organize your pantry.
What benefits does organizing your pantry have? Nick, an expert in home organization, reports saving over $1k per month from decluttering and organizing their kitchen pantry.
Nick’s family reduced their monthly food spending from $1,600 to $600 per month. Two added benefits included reducing the amount spent eating out and the amount of food being eaten, contributing to a healthier lifestyle.
Monthly Savings: $1000.00
26. Compare price per ounce when grocery shopping.
How many of us actually look at the price per ounce on the tab on the shelf in the grocery store? If you do, you’ll be able to compare the price per oz for the same or similar products.
Larry says larger packaging doesn’t always mean lower prices. There may be the same products located in different parts of the grocery store. For example, there is a normal spice section with all the major name brands. Before picking up your favorite spice, check out the ethnic foods sections. You may find more of the same spice for a fraction of the cost of what you’ve been paying.
Monthly Savings: $10.00
27. Shop at the edge of the grocery store.
Okay, I didn’t know what this was either. But if you don’t know, this simply means to focus your shopping primarily on the “edge” sections of the grocery store. Think fruits, vegetables, etc. The basic idea is to stay away from the more processed foods.
Processed foods can be more expensive and less healthy. For additional savings and potential health benefits, Dani recommends reducing or eliminating meat and dairy.
In 2020 Dani purchased a huge freezer. She keeps it filled with 80% fresh veggies, 10% frozen fruit, and 10% comfort food. If you have the space, consider this to increase the health and efficiency of your food habits.
Dani’s family food bill went from $150 per week to $70 per week.
Monthly Savings: $320.00
28. Drink tap water instead of bottled water.
If you have quality tap water, drink it. I’m not quite sure how we have advanced so far down the bottled water road. The obvious issues of unnecessary plastic bottles and the purchasing of something that is currently readily available for nearly free makes this a no-brainer.
If you want to feel cool while drinking water, splurge on a fancy water bottle and keep it, and your pockets, filled.
Thanks Dorothee for the tip!
Monthly Savings: $15.00
29. Split full-sized meals.
The portions can be significant at our favorite restaurants. I don’t know how many leftovers get thrown away but I think we can all agree we don’t need to stuff ourselves on full-sized dinner entrees.
Consider asking for meals split “out like two” when ordering. If the staff won’t split the meal for you, just ask for an additional plate and take care of it at your table.
If you have a child, Mary-Ellen says to order a full-sized burger and split it. You won’t feel stuffed and you can save the extra seven bucks from the kid’s menu.
Monthly Savings: $28.00
30. Make purchases using a rewards credit card.
If you currently carry balances on your credit cards, this tip is NOT for you. If you pay off your balances in full every month AND only make purchases that you otherwise would, then this tip to save money can be very useful.
Rewards credit cards come in many shapes and sizes (companies and perks). Do your research and ask your smart money friends about what cards they recommend and why. Then make purchases using your credit card rather than your debit card. Then pay off the entire balance when due, or before.
Travel rewards, including airline and hotel, and cash back cards represent most of what you’ll find. For more, check out the travel rewards lesson on Fiology.
Monthly Savings: $100.00
5 bonus tips to save money
- Stack coupons.
- Buy dried beans instead of canned.
- Grow your own food.
- Save paper plates and napkins for when you have more people than real dishes. Otherwise, use real dishes.
- Use rags and cloth napkins rather than paper towels and paper napkins
The most unique tip to save money
Alright, Steve, you know who you are.
Brave Steve submitted the weirdest tip to save money.
Steve uses the leftover pretzel salt in the bottom of the bag and mixes it with those tiny pepper packets from to-go meals. He creates a spicy salt seasoning in a spice grinder for his meals.
Give that a minute to settle in. Given deeper consideration, it makes logical sense.
He realizes the silliness but it keeps him thinking about cost per meal. It keeps him thinking about efficiency in cooking. He says it’s not the micro-cents saved, it is the chain-linked thought process created. And of course he likes the spicy salt.
Thanks Steve for putting this one out there. We are each weird in our own ways.
How can these tips to save money add up to $343,758.16?
If you were to total the monthly savings for each of the tips to save money above, you’ll get a total monthly savings of $2,318.00. Of course not every line item will apply to your situation.
So, let’s look conservatively. I think it’s fair to say that if we took a good look at our monthly spending and incorporated what we could from these tips to save money, you could save a quarter of the savings in the list.
Incorporating these money saving tips, you can conservatively expect to save at least $579.62 per month.
What are you going to do with that money not spent? You’ll invest it of course. Probably into something like passive index fund investing where you can reasonably expect a return of about 8% a year.
What does that look like compounded over a 20-year working career? Of course this is oversimplified but I think the math reveals just how our monthly money decisions can impact our futures.
Investing these monthly savings once a year ($579.62 x 12 = $6,955.44) at 8% annual return for 20 years, as shown by using the moneychimp compound interest calculator, results in an additional net worth of…
But what does that amount translate to your lifestyle in twenty years? Using the 4% rule, which states that you can withdraw 4% of your portfolio each year and it will likely last as long as you need it to, with a $343,758.16 nest egg, you can withdraw…
Note: this is an oversimplified gist of the 4 percent rule. You can learn more from The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement by Pete Adeney.
Because you read this very long article, you love money stuff. It intrigues you and you will likely have done many things right over the course of your life. These numbers don’t include real estate holdings, your normal retirement accounts, or if you are one of the lucky ones, your pensions.
It is one thing to think about long-term retirement planning but it is important to think about our daily and monthly spending habits. It is the small things that truly do add up. Determine exactly what values you want to spend your money on and cut on the other things. Invest what you can and over time you will be handsomely rewarded.
Submit your own tips to save money
This is a 4300+ word article about how to save money every month. But I know you have your own tips to save money that I missed here. Share yours in the comments below and let us know how much savings it provides you each and every month.
By David Q. Baughier of fiology.com