Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

“A simple fact that is hard to learn is that the time to save money is when you have some.” —Joe Moore

Don’t we all want better ideas of how we can save our hard-earned money? Wouldn’t we like to learn new tips that we may not have considered?

Saving money always begins with a choice and a decision to begin. And, it can actually be a lot of fun once we get rolling especially when we can get creative and challenge ourselves to try new ideas and explore new ways of doing things. Below are 17 ways to save money. I hope you will find them inspirational  and hopefully they will lead you to other ideas as well.

17 Ways to Save Money

1. Increase your Income

A side hustle is any activity that you do on the side (apart from your main job) to earn some extra money. Often side hustles are done for enjoyment. Even if you already have an acceptable income, having a side hustle of some kind can help you to target your financial goals. That extra little bit of cash could give you some leverage to put away some savings. Besides the monetary benefits, there are personal benefits as well. Having or developing (a business) a side hustle can open you up to more connections and more business opportunities. It can also help you to develop new skills.

2. Do a Needs-Wants Check

Sometimes it is difficult when we are out  shopping to stick to what we need. We can easily be lured in by all that is out there in the marketplace (online and inshore). It is always good to be proactive and have priorities that dictate our expenses. Even before going out to the “market place” (shopping centres or shopping online) we should have a list of exactly what we need and why we need these items. We should run any item we want to buy, through the needs vs. wants filter to determine if we actually need to buy it or if we need to buy it right now. Often by waiting we discover that we didn’t really need it at all or that we can wait until the item comes on sale.

3. Create a Budget

This is the very foundation of financial management. But if you have never given yourself a budget before (many despise the idea of having a budget), it can be tricky as to how to do it.  The easiest way is to use a budget app. I personally use Home Budget and have been using it for several real years.  You can set up spending categories and a budget for each category to hold yourself accountable. Budget apps make the whole budgeting process easy and gratifying.

4. Pay Yourself First

This is the very first “expense” that should go into your budget and I do mean expense since it is considered a “bill” payment. It needs to be recorded as an expenditure every bit as much as a car payment or credit card payment. But don’t leave this payment in a bank account that will give little in return. Reinvest this money into higher return vehicles. It can be easy to forget this pay-yourself-first bill, so one idea would be to put it on automatic payment with your financial institution.  How much should you give yourself? A good percentage to go by, is 10% in your income after taxes.

5. Set up Automatic bill transactions

Getting behind on bill payments is an easy thing to do especially if we have to do it manually for each bill. If you don’t want to have to think about this each month, put bill payments on automatic payment. This way you don’t have to worry about getting behind or having to pay late fees.

6. Do a weekly spending inventory

Set aside 15 minutes a week and review your weekly spending.  If you are using a budget app, and recording your spending diligently, it is easy to scan your expenditures for the week according to categories. Doing this will allow you to see your areas of non-necessary spending (your spending weaknesses). Do a “needs analysis” in this spending area to see if you can cut back here. Set yourself weekly goals to target and track spending patterns.

7. Set up savings accounts for your goals

You can use your online banking account to create financial envelops for reaching financial goals. Maybe you want to save up for a trip, build an emergency fund or pursue any other goal you might have. By using your account as an envelop system, you can visually see and keep track of the money going into each envelop. Just remind yourself (maybe with a cell phone reminder) to make deposits regularly in order to reach your goals.

8. Give yourself a weekly budget

What do I mean by a weekly budget? Well, some might call it a weekly allowance, an amount you allow yourself to have each week for spending. This is a financial boundary that you set up for yourself that helps you to say no to any spending that goes beyond this amount. It holds you accountable to yourself and helps you to meet your monthly budget goals.

9. Curb shopping addictions

Everybody has some kind of addiction that makes us feel good (hopefully). Of course I am not talking about the serious and very dangerous addictions, but again, any addiction can get out of hand if we let it. Shopping can be an addiction. It is so easy to shop online, making purchase after purchase in moments of boredom  or while surfing the internet. It is the some way when we are shopping in a physical place. Shopping brings instant gratification, but the feeling disappears after a while and then we look for a new stimulation and shop some more.  Here is where it is important to have a weekly accountability system – the weekly allowance discussed above.

10. Go minimal with the cell phone

Cell phone bills can easily add up if we are not careful. We may think we need all the ‘”bells and whistles” offered by increasingly “smart” smartphones, but do we really? We need to evaluate why we need the phone in the first place – that is to say, what specific uses do we need it for?  Do we actually need  a premium data plan just so that we can watch videos or surf the net anytime, anywhere? Is there anyway we can change our habits so that we don’t have to spend money unnecessarily on expensive plans?  I am not saying that we shouldn’t have a phone, but simply that we should evaluate our needs objectively.

11. Thrift shop

Thrift shopping can be a lot of fun if you give yourself the time to do it well.  Amazing bargains can be had, but it takes time to search for them. Of course, like regular shopping, it is good to know what you want (need) ahead of time otherwise, you may end up buying items that you don’t need or even want just because you found bargains. A bargain is a waste of money if you don’t need it or will never use it. True story: I have done this many times.

12. Grocery shop strategically

You have probably heard all the smart grocery shopping tips, so I will just highlight some useful ones. Know what you need before you go to the store (even the number, for example, the number of bananas or avocados). If you don’t know, you will end up buying what you don’t actually need and may have rotting fruits or vegetables that you will have to throw out. Grocery stores are sensor aril enticing places. It is food, after all. So it is a really good idea to not go there hungry, because, believe me, you will end up buying items you don’t need just because you listened to your stomach. Try to limit grocery shopping to once a week to avoid going over your grocery budget and again falling into the above-mentioned trap.

13. Buy or sell used online

Of course, this is a no-brainer. It makes sense and many people are doing this. But, for al intents and purposes, let’s look at the monetary advantages.  Every time we purchase something, the minute we use it, it becomes a used item, right?  So why not see what kind of deals you can get buying used online. Probably, if you look hard enough, you can find some amazing deals for very good quality items. On the flip side, you probably have items around the house that are taking up space and not paying rent. Selling them can get them out of your space and make you some money.

14. Borrow what you don’t need to buy

We always feel that we need to buy everything, even items that we may only use a few times a year. And then, of course, these items pile up in our houses, sheds, or garages, taking up much needed space (that is food for another article).  Why not see if you can borrow from others and offer the same service to them. It’s a win-win for everyone.  If you can’t borrow, consider renting what you need. You might find that even renting you will save more than buying the item outright (if you only use it a few times a year).

15. Cook with a plan

A great way we can save money is by being a savvy home economics manager in the food department. Doing kitchen and pantry inventory and planning ahead are two excellent ways to cut food costs. Overstocking our cupboards with doubles or triples of items as well as with food we don’t need are two ways money allocated to food can easily slip out of our pockets. Cooking with a plan means being strategic about planning meals, even cooking in bulk and multi purposing meals and food. It also means tailoring our grocery shopping to what has previously decided in our meal plan so that there is no waste of food and money.  Think of it this way, if you owned a restaurant, wouldn’t you want to make sure there was no waste and that your profit was not being eaten up in poor food management decisions?

16. Work out at home

For sure working out at a gym can be motivating especially if we are paying to use it.  But, if we look more closely, are we really getting our value for our money?  Some of us are. Some of us are die-hard gym fanatics who get maximum use, but most of us probably aren’t going enough to get our money’s worth. There are, most likely lots of times when we just “skip the gym” for whatever reason and pay anyway.  If we think about it, there are a lot of good exercise programs on you tube that would help us get our exercise done almost for free. The only cost involved is the cost of disciplining ourselves to get to it.

17. Carpool

Carpooling has a number of benefits that are not apparent at first glance. Of course, the obvious one is that you will be saving on fuel / maintenance costs since you are sharing expenses. Another way you are saving money is by the time (and stress) you can save.  You can use this time to check on emails, do banking or just use it to get a little period of rest before your day starts. These little time savers can actually help you to save money by freeing you up for more profitable work. Don’t forget that commuting time will also be less than if you drive alone, because, in most cities. carpooling allows you to use the accelerated lanes, bypassing a lot of congested traffic. Its a win-win for everyone.

Did you enjoy this post? Pleas leave a comment below.

Click and share


Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through