55 Best Ways To Save Money: Frugal Ideas From Our Readers

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2009-05-2669

To prepare for this post, I turned to my community to ask the question, “what is your favorite money saving tip”? And I was lucky to receive such awesome responses from all of you (our dear readers). It appears that a lot of you are true frugalists and have some wonderful insights on how to shave off the costs that are associated with many of your everyday activities.

So I thought that this would be a good time to share everyone’s favorite money saving tips here. After all, it’s been a while since I’ve compiled a giant list of frugal tips and frugal advice in one place; I figured, why not showcase all the wonderful, helpful and timely suggestions that I got on this occasion?


Check out our reader contributions in this list — which ones have you put into effect?

Best Ways To Save Money: Our Readers Share Their Favorite Frugal Ideas

  1. Make a budget. Getting the big picture on your cash flow and how your finances look is a good place to start. So it makes sense to use money management tools if you feel that these can help you control your spending better. There are actually some good free and low cost choices out there.
    If you want to find out more about budgeting software, check out our list of budgeting tools here.
  2. Keep money in a hard-to-access, high yield savings account so that the funds are harder to spend. Use your checking account for your everyday expenses but “hide” the rest of your money elsewhere, where you’re not tempted to use it.
    If you are inclined to look for new places for your savings, check our preferred list of high interest savings accounts.
  3. Set up automatic deposits between your checking account and your savings/investment accounts.
  4. Budget for emergencies and for impulse purchases to give yourself some slack.
  5. Use credit card rewards programs if you can pay off your monthly bill in full every month. One reader puts all the family’s expenses on their Discover credit card for the cash back rewards. This way, they rack up the 1% to 5% cash back and buy gift cards for holiday presents. Plus there are some added bonuses that a cardholder receives: rewards gift cards may actually be valued at a higher price than what one ends up spending for them in “cash back dollars” (e.g. get a $25 gift card for $20 in cash back dollars). This is actually an effective way to save, if you are careful about what you charge on your credit card and don’t end up neutralizing the savings effect by spending too much or racking up debt.
    If you’re in the market for it, then you may want to check out these ongoing credit card deals that can help you save in this manner.
  6. Brown bag your lunch and bring your own snacks to the office (which you’ve bought on discount).
  7. Get a roommate and share the rent.
  8. Use coupons and check out helpful coupon sites and deal sites. Be willing to shop online, often you’ll save more money this way. Try to get free shipping deals when you do shop online. Check local stores for pricing, then buy items online for less; as one reader points out, it’s almost always cheaper to buy stuff through the web.
  9. Have you tried Ebates yet? It’s one of our favorite sites that actually provide cash back when you shop.

  10. Walk more often and potentially save money on commute costs. If you work in the city, walking instead of taking the subway cuts down on your costs and is a pretty cheap way to exercise.
  11. Invest in a folding bike and adopt biking as part of your commute, if possible. We published this Guide To Commuter Bikes to cover this topic.
  12. Carpool with others in your neighborhood or use mass transit.
  13. Be creative with your exercises and you can avoid having to get a gym membership. Think about using makeshift equipment to exercise, but be careful what you do use: make sure the equipment is safe.
  14. Get cash back and save money when buying stuff at the drug store. You can join the CVS Extra Care rewards program for this purpose. Go to CVS.com for more information.
  15. Use synthetic motor oil if it fits your situation. You can then change your oil less often (once every 15,000 miles or once per year).
  16. Attend college online. Check out these additional cheap ways to learn.
  17. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need and avoid buying things you know you’ll hardly use.
  18. Be careful that you don’t buy the stuff you already have. How often is it that we buy things then realize later that we have those very items at home, buried under clutter, gathering dust?
  19. Pick up books and DVDs from the library instead of buying or renting these items elsewhere.
  20. Don’t be afraid to ask for something you need (or want). One reader received a large TV from a friend (who had a spare one around) upon making a casual mention of it.
  21. Apply the three day rule, which is something along these lines: when you’re thinking of buying something, sit on the idea for a while, say for at least 3 days. Many times, the desire to purchase something fades over time; by employing this basic frugal technique, you’ll be able to hold back on your spending a bit better.
  22. Use cash when you buy! There have been studies that show that consumers who use cash to make purchases save 18% more than their counterparts who use credit cards.
  23. Steal your neighbor’s newspaper (okay this is a nice, jovial wisecrack).
  24. Buy your gifts during after holiday clearance sales and you’ll save a ton on discounted items. Some readers stock up on gifts they give away during the year, which they buy during the cheapest time of the year.
  25. Watch for weekly ads and catch sales and discounts from your local paper (or other periodicals) for the best time to pick up items.
  26. Enter contests and giveaways to pick up freebies! ;)
  27. Cancel your cable TV and sign up for an online movie rental service like Netflix. Get a Roku digital video player to stream Netflix to your TV. A reader’s cable TV was costing him $50 to $60 per month, while Netflix only costs him $10 monthly. A Roku box pays for itself pretty quickly. Explore other ways to watch TV for less.
  28. Make cheap phone calls: drop your phone service and use Skype, Vonage VOIP or some other VOIP service instead. Here’s more on lowering your phone costs.
  29. Check your Human Resources web site for employee discounts. Some companies have perks for their employees beyond the usual retirement plan or group insurance rates. One reader’s company offers employee discount programs for cell phones, groceries and other products where he saves at least %10 off retail.
  30. Eat out less and cook your meals at home more often. Precook food and freeze it for later consumption.
  31. Eat your leftovers, or recook leftovers.
  32. Buy in bulk when it makes sense! Get a membership to wholesale shopping clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club for the discount shopping experience.
  33. Use will power.
  34. Look online for sales and discounts before making a purchase. For example, use travel sites like Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity or Airgorilla.com before checking an airline’s own site so that you can make some comparisons. As mentioned, make online price comparisons whenever you can.
  35. Map your grocery shopping route and have a shopping list before setting foot in a store.
  36. Get double savings by pairing a manufacturer’s coupon with other sales, discounts and coupons available at your local grocery stores.
  37. Drop junk foods and sodas from your grocery list. The empty calories cost extra.
  38. Don’t shop while hungry.
  39. Skip the lattes and that extra cup of coffee! Order only water instead of expensive drinks or sodas when dining out.
  40. Hang clothes on the line instead of putting them in the dryer.
  41. Save money on used items at auctions, garage sales, flea markets, farmer’s markets and at sites like Craigslist or eBay. Pick up secondhand items instead of buying brand new, but use your best judgment.
  42. Comparison shop for big ticket items such as home and auto insurance coverage, health insurance policies, cars, appliances, etc.
  43. Move to a new country or a new location where the cost of living is cheaper. Depending on where you relocate, you may also discover that you are able to eschew consumerism more easily.
  44. Find cheaper alternatives to everything.
  45. Find creative ways to cook your meals using cheaper or fewer ingredients.
  46. Become a vegetarian: beans and whole grains bought in bulk are a third of the cost of meat. Or if you can’t become a full vegetarian, limit your meat intake. You can find great easy veggie versions of popular dishes like chilis and casseroles on websites like Epicurious.com, Allrecipes.com and VegWeb.com.
  47. Live and enjoy a simple lifestyle.
  48. Consider using restaurant discounts, dining coupons and gift certificates for the savings. Check out Restaurant.com or the Entertainment Book to see what kind of deals they can offer you.
  49. Save all your change and deposit your savings into your bank account every few months. Your change adds up!
  50. Keep your pantry, fridge and freezer well stocked so that you don’t end up buying things on impulse when you’re out shopping. By being organized with the supplies you need, you’ll be more prepared with a sales/coupons/savings strategy when shopping for groceries.
  51. Learn how to cook, then learn how to prepare tasty meals for less.
  52. Create your own 100-calorie packs by buying in bulk and dividing your large packs into smaller ones yourself.
  53. Do it yourself whenever you can. But make sure you can successfully take on a DIY project on your own, otherwise you’ll risk calling on an expert (and spending money) to fix any problems you end up causing.
  54. Think about how much money drains can cost you.
  55. Avoid stores and shops where you know you’ll end up spending more than you’d like.
  56. Have potluck dinners once a week instead of dining out! You can socialize with friends and family while cutting down on what you spend on restaurant meals.

Phew! That is one long list! If you’re so inspired, please don’t hesitate to pass along any more money saving recommendations in the comments below.

For additional ideas, you can check out the Wise Bread team’s book called 10,001 Ways To Live Large On A Small Budget. This book was a great hit with the money saving crowd as it was full of ideas to help us cut back.

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris May 26, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Just to be an @ss, I hate number 45! Humans are omnivores not herbivores. My favorite though is my buddy has his paycheck deposited directly into his high yield savings account and sets up auto withdrawals to his checking for his bills. Brilliant as he actually has to pull money out instead of always trying to put money in. Pays him first!

Scott May 26, 2009 at 11:17 pm

You can also keep 2 liter bottles of water in your fridge if you don’t have it full of food. Having it full reduces the thermal loss when you open the door to get something out.

You can also convert a deep freeze into a very high efficiency fridge if you want to do some work on your own!!

Data Entry Services May 27, 2009 at 4:33 am

Good suggestions and I think they all point to one thing – self control!

Manshu May 27, 2009 at 7:06 am

This has got to be one of the best list of money saving tips that exists anywhere on the web.

Todd @ The Personal Finance Playbook May 27, 2009 at 7:44 am

Great list – including 45;)

Lynn May 27, 2009 at 9:53 am

My two cents:
Plant a vegetable garden. If space is limited, container garden. Check out your local library for books on gardening/gardening in containers. There are many websites that you can browse that have excellent information for gardening [Google it]. If you have no room to grow, check out you local farmer’s market. The food is fresh, organic and will out last any produce you buy from the supermarkets and that means big savings for you. Not to mention you will be supporting your local farmers while also helping save the planet!

Silicon Valley Blogger May 27, 2009 at 10:23 am

My favorite tip is to defer any unnecessary spending and purchases till you can afford to pay it in full. By following this tip, our family has been able to cut down our budget by 30% compared to how it’s been in previous years.

However, at some point, I’m seeing that we may need to pay the piper one day and start needing to open our wallets again. I’m referring to the repairs, home maintenance, travel, maybe even car maintenance tasks we’ve decided to skip for now but will have to deal with eventually. Some of these projects we try to take on ourselves these days, but to to be honest, we end up procrastinating on these things more than we should!

Fred May 27, 2009 at 10:36 am

You can also sell gift cards online. Getting cash for your gift cards is better then feeling the need to go buy something when you do not want to. I sold two gift cards on Giftah this month and managed to capture 90% of the cards value. I used the cash to pay bills which was a much better idea then more mindless consumerism.

Bargain Babe May 27, 2009 at 3:42 pm

I treat groceries and food as a discretionary item, instead of a necessity. I must eat, but looking at the grocery store as discretionary helps me identify the luxury items inside! At the end of the month if I run out of money in my budget, I eat from my freezer and pantry. This saves me money and makes me relish the beginning of the month when I can buy fresh vegetables!

Beth May 28, 2009 at 10:37 am

Is there such a thing as a “high interest” savings account these days? Technically I have two of them — a few years ago when I opened them, they were paying 4-5%. Now they are paying 1%. They’re savings accounts, but I think they long ago lost the title of being “high interest”.

Money Magazine Hoss May 31, 2009 at 9:05 am

Wow that is a long list. Mrs. Hoss and I practice many of the above money saving tips. In particular, DIY. She is an excellent handywoman and does many of the household repairs. I am blessed.

Justin May 31, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Great post….always love new frugal ideas. Thanks for sharing.

Michael Sullivan June 3, 2009 at 9:36 am

Wow, Fred (comment #7) is dead on. I always assumed that I’d be taking a pretty large hit trying to sell gift cards online, but the stores whose cards I sometimes nab through rewards programs are selling almost at face value.

Tony June 3, 2009 at 10:34 am

Here’s a couple I try to use….

1) Eat at BYOB restaurtants, if available. They are all over the city in Chicago. HUGE savings!

2) Do not order appetizers or dessert. Likewise, only order a glass of wine as opposed to a whole bottle that you then feel the need to drink. Comes close to cutting your bill in half.

3) Try to only buy most grocery items when they are on sale. I have several bottles of salad dressing, bags of pasta, jars of marinara sauce, boxes of cereal, etc, in the pantry and lots of frozen chicken, beef and pork in the freezer, all purchased when they were really on sale. Again, huge savings.

ohmysky June 4, 2009 at 12:22 am

If you buy something that you have second thoughts on, don’t be afraid to return it! Even unopened food! I have impulsively purchased things in the past, had buyers remorse and returned them within a couple of days! Not a problem.

SuperSaver June 5, 2009 at 5:07 am

I use shower curtain liners as shower curtains. They’re a lot cheaper and work just as well. If I get the kinds that doesn’t have grommets and the hole on the end rips, I just take the scissors and make a cut from the hole all the way to the bottom, trimming off a strip. Shower curtains are too wide anyway and I can get as many as 4 trims on 1 shower curtain before it’s no longer wide enough. I’ve told friends about this idea and they love it!

SanAntone June 5, 2009 at 8:01 am

Number 22 is a joke, of course, but you can SHARE your neighbor’s newspaper. I like to relax and read the paper for local news and ads, but I don’t care if it’s the same day. So, I asked my neighbor if I could pay half of his subscription if he would throw yesterday’s paper over onto my yard when he came out to get the current day’s morning paper. I read the paper a day late and enjoy it just as much. (For immediate, up-to-date news, I use the internet.) Now we’ve started doing the same thing with magazine subscriptions. We get to read all of our favorite magazines at home for half the subscription price.

Nick June 6, 2009 at 8:36 am

Number 39 should read “Hang clothes on the line OR A DRYING RACK instead of putting them in the dryer.”

Lots of us do not have the yard for a clothesline. And then there is the winter and rainy days. I use this wooden clothes drying rack that has found a great spot right under my ceiling fan. The air movement keeps the clothes from getting crunchy.

Silicon Valley Blogger June 6, 2009 at 9:03 am

Nick,
As far as #39 is concerned, I try to provide the gist of the message. Yes, use a line or rack or something else other than the dryer to dry your clothes without having to use electrical/gas power. Typically, I don’t allow product links in my comments section either, but that wooden clothes drying rack you’ve linked to looks too interesting to pass over.

brennan June 11, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Do laundry more often rather than buying more clothes. Buy a few stylish outfits every Boxing Day and wear the crap out of them, then discard them a year later; this way you will always be wearing your most favorite, newest clothing, and need less closet space.

truc June 15, 2009 at 7:44 am

My list:

1. In everything you do — moderation.
2. Little things (good or bad) done consistently over an extended period of time, really add up.
3. There is no such thing as “good debt”.
4. Always plan ahead.
5. Enjoy your accomplishments as well as your plans.
6. Family wealth is to used to build upon — it is not to used up.
7. In many cases, spending boils down to immediate gratification verses deferred gratification.

Elliot June 16, 2009 at 6:01 pm

#46 should really be closer to the top of the list, since it seems to be the message behind most of what’s in your list. #32 is like a prerequisite for the rest. :)

Frugalgirl June 29, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Another option: try samples online. They’re free and you get a chance to try something risk-free. Be careful, though, since some websites are scams. Use common sense. Walmart has fresh lists of free samples all the time.

Another suggestion is: buy high-quality. I would do this for stuff that I know I would use a lot, like a brand new washer or running shoes. I know it might be hard to shell out a few extra dollars if there is a cheaper item is available. But, BE CAREFUL! Sometimes something cheap will cost you more. I learned my lesson when I bought an inexpensive bike thinking I would save money when it turned out that the quality was crappy and now I can’t even use it because all the gears are broken.

Ann July 9, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Today, we are living in tough times. The entire global economy is on a downswing and we must do what we can to save our money as much and as early as possible even if it means forcing ourselves to do it.

Ed July 28, 2009 at 2:57 pm

I’ve found another way to save is to shop for groceries at Aldi (if you have one near you). I save approx. 30 – 33% on my grocery bill by shopping there. I don’t mind bagging/boxing my own groceries.

Insurance NJ July 31, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Great advice. Helpful for anyone looking to save a few bucks.

Contractor NJ August 1, 2009 at 4:17 am

Great advice. Some of these costs can definitely be cut back without much effort!

Mike August 1, 2009 at 1:33 pm

#46 is one of the most important in my opinion!

Alex August 24, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Agreed, 46 is grand! Great post, some really good ideas.

keli October 7, 2009 at 6:00 am

i also agree with number 46….who really NEEDS the fancy crap!

Emil October 30, 2009 at 1:15 am

Today, we are living in tough times. The entire global economy is on a downswing and we must do what we can to save our money as much and as early as possible even if it means forcing ourselves to do it.

Craig October 30, 2009 at 1:16 am

Great advice. Some of these costs can definitely be cut back without much effort!

Corey November 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Use a spin dryer instead of a conventional tumble dryer. They are about 100 times as energy efficient as tumble dryers and much gentler on the clothes as well.

Lex December 13, 2009 at 5:11 am

Great list! I especially liked “Don’t shop while you’re hungry” – so true, you end up buying snacks and this costs more. Advance planning can save a lot of money on food.

MoneyJibe Personal Finance | Mark Minks December 13, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Another great way to save money is to haggle. You can often get a discount just by asking for one. I’ve asked for a discount twice at Discount Tire and each time got an additional 10% off. I blogged about my experience on how to Save Money Haggling At Discount Tire. Reader’s Digest also posted a great article on the subject of haggling titled How to Haggle Like a Pro.

Thelma December 25, 2009 at 1:19 am

I discovered that I can cut a lot from my energy bills by properly insulating my doors and windows. I usually thought some aluminum window blinds would be enough to provide me my privacy, but I was wrong. Thermal curtains can help keeping the air inside a room warm, because they prevent cold air that’s surrounding the glass surface to move towards the center of the room. My rooms are now warmer at less costs.

Hilary January 14, 2010 at 7:44 am

We make our dogs food to save money. High quality dog foods are very pricey and are necessary if you want to save on vet bills years down the road. Check with your vet to customize a diet for your pooch, but for our golden we use left over chicken from a roasting chicken, boiled eggs, carrots, celery, peas and sweet potatoes and plain yogurt. He loves this combo and receives a multi vitamin daily with his meal. This saves us a fortune on vet care as well as the crazy prices of dog food.

Marc January 19, 2010 at 7:38 am

I ride my bike every day to work and have been doing it for over 7 years. I don’t save any money over the costs of public transit in Boston. It is much faster and I save time, but I literally eat any cost savings.

Christine R January 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm

We have gotten and given everything imaginable on this website, while saving our planet doing it! You “recycle” useable items (each town/area has their own and the rules vary per site)..if you don’t have one in your area, start one! Also virtual flea markets are a great way to save too!

SVB: Yes, I love freecycle! :)

Nata February 10, 2010 at 6:59 am

I like 15, because that’s what I did. 16 is not an easy one though. :)

Jan February 13, 2010 at 8:42 am

I save money when drying clothes. For items that come out wrinkle free if you use the dryer, I’ve found I can put them in the dryer for a few minutes & the wrinkles come out. I then hang them up to finish drying. Works for sweaters & some jeans.

Ellie February 28, 2010 at 6:25 am

There is a site that picked a bunch of wholesale, discounted website shopping, makes notes of any coupons available as well and then on top of that the site gets paid 5-60% of the product price for recommending them and they pass it onto the purchaser in rewards. You can sell books, switch utilities. OH and meanwhile the rewards go towards starting your own business, so they go towards making you even more money.
Check it out, it is ireward.us.

23 is a great idea, I used to use it, but now I consider that money is worth more today than it is a year from today, AND most of those holiday items are not “needed”, AND they take up space that we don’t have and have to go into storage!

Anna40 February 28, 2010 at 9:13 am

I cut weekly groceries from $125 to $70 or less a week. First, shop at Winco (warehouse type grocery store, bag on groceries). Buy majority of food ONLY when on sale and stock up. Example, juice normally $2.75 but I stock up when its $1.88 and buy enough to last until next sale. I bake my own bread. I have recipe that is easy and delicious, not to mention much healthier. Cost is about .30 cents a loaf instead of over $2. Freeze leftovers for another day. Many foods can be frozen and you cannot tell when it is reheated that it was leftover. Garden – plant a container garden of tomatoes, potatoes, veggies and other things my family likes. Also, i get so many tomatoes that I can them. The rest of the year I don’t need to buy canned tomatoes or sauce. Dog food – my dog gets dog food only when there aren’t left overs that would normally be thrown away. Usually 2-3 days a week there is enough left over spaghetti, a piece of chicken etc, that I can give to the dog and save on dog food. Many areas to cut but I find my food budget is the biggest savings area.

nashielly March 21, 2010 at 12:23 am

Consider selling items that you no longer use, such as shoes, purses or even furniture; instead of spending the money, just deposit it into your bank account. It’s like extra money you didn’t expect.

Maroaima March 21, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Get rid of you rcontract cell phone and pick up a prepaid plan! NET10 has one of the best plans right now, especially if you’re not a heavy user. I actually got it for my mom and mom-in-law who only use the phone on emergencies or to let me know where they are. The calls are .10 cents a minute and texting (which they don’t use much) is .5 cents a text. The phone I got them is the basic LG300G, which is easy to use and only cost me $29. No contracts, no additional fees, no cancellation fees and the phone has service, at the same rate, anywhere in the nation. Monthly cost of each is about $15 – which is totally doable!

Shawn March 31, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Cooking your meals at home instead of going out not only saves money but is healthier. As for avoiding the shops where you know you are going to spend a lot of money — that’s easier said than done. And switching to a prepaid phone is a great idea. Net10 is good for the moderate user with its flat rate and cheap phones, for heavy users there are other prepaid options like straight talk that might be better. But for an emergency cell phone, net10 is the one.

Amanda May 15, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Another great way to save is to join a group like Freecycle. You can do so by going to yahoo and searcing for freecycle in the group secction. You can offer items you no longer need and request items that someone may have they no longer need. It is a good way to recycle and get things you need absolutely free. All it cost you is the gas money to pick it up.

Sunclair May 18, 2010 at 6:52 am

Nashielly just beat me to it. I was reading your article and thought: “You can also save money by selling stuff”. Everybody has stuff that they don’t use anymore, or have a lot of, like you pointed out. eBay is a great place to sell online.

And if you get the hang of it, you can look at flea-markets or yard-sales and go for the bargains which you can than sell again at eBay with profit.

Tom Smith May 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Wow, a big long list. Very nice tips to save money. Live and enjoy a simple lifestyle, that’s my motto.

Olga June 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Online money making is the best option for students who want to save money for their college fees. Good Way!

vegetable garden planning June 7, 2010 at 6:11 pm

By planting my own garden I have saved tons of money on cucumbers! also a great eco friendly thing is to used organic fertilizer and less pesticides. GO GREEN!

Joan June 18, 2010 at 1:53 am

Get a halogen oven. You can bake anything in it that you would in a normal gas or electric oven and you can save lots. We just got one and we are over the moon with it.

Yael Diamond July 19, 2010 at 6:51 am

Great post with some good ideas – did number 42 and it has changed my family’s lives.

Kyle246 September 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

Great tips. I have even more tips on how to save money in daily life!

Dee October 18, 2010 at 7:31 am

Go to the library and read the newspaper and write down the store sales, garage sales, etc. for free.

John October 26, 2010 at 8:12 am

One of the quickest ways to save money and get in shape is to get rid of your car. Of course not entirely practical, but I spent a summer without a car. I ended up walking tons, getting in great shape, and saving several hundred dollar every month.

sarah January 29, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I love the vegetable garden idea! Herbs are the easiest way to start! I started this year by switching from my height cell phone contract,to a prepaid. Took a leap of faith and went with a phone from Walmart. But to my surprise it has been the best thing I have done! Cut my bill significantly and like one of the suggestions reads to go on a flat rate plan for everything. I now have a flat rate of $45/month for unlimited everything. And got lucky that they are on one of the best networks, with Verizon. Yay for this good and smart buy for me:)

robin February 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm

When I dry clothes during the winter I turn the heat down on the thermostat/ gas, whichever applies to you and when the clothes are drying the house gets warm from the dryer. I know it sounds ludicrous but it works.

Andy February 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I just gotta throw in here and suggest that everybody on earth uses a programmable thermostat. It’s about the most no-brainer way in the world to save a lot of money on your heating and cooling bills without the hassle of constantly adjusting your thermostat. I saw a government study that said that installing a programmable thermostat saves somewhere in the area of 20-25%. I’ll do that all day long.

savyshopper February 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm

55 Great Ideas! I love the idea about having a pot luck. Great way to socalize, spend time with friends and have a large variety of food without having to cook it all.

I love blogs on saving money. I like this post – I’ll have to come back here again to check it out.

I don’t know the blogger but I love the blog everydayways.wordpress.com. That blog posts regularly on ideas on how to save money, be thrifty, cut back on expenses etc.

Steve February 24, 2011 at 6:15 am

Forget a high interest savings account – you will be losing money at today’s rate of inflation. Why not invest in fine wine instead? Fine wine has been returning around 40% year on year and in terms of it being harder to spend your invested money on a whim?…well although you can still sell your wine to release funds, it is not as easy as going down to your local bank and withdrawing everything!

Laura February 25, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Our Family tips:
Tip 1: We bought inexpensive terry cloth robes for everybody in the family! We wash them once a week and unlike reusing a towel you don’t have to worry about what unmentionable body parts you dried off on a spot of the towel, now drying your face! Towels can be very expensive to dry in a drier because they take forever to dry. You can line dry your robe and toss in the drier to fluff it if you like that softer feel.
Tip #2: Put a timer on your hot water heater…otherwise it constantly kicks on to keep that water hot. That can get very expensive.
Tip#3: When going to bed or out of town make sure to unplug items which continue to draw power, e.g., TV’s, clocks, anything with a clock like microwaves….just remember if it has a light it is using electricity.
Tip#4: never get in the habit of picking up sodas or other snacks at gas stations….they are way too expensive. It is best if you give junk food up, but if you can’t….buy in bulk at Sam’s and take them with you to work or on outings.
Tip#5: I drive a little extra to go into a nearby state that does not have tax on food versus paying 8.75% on food. To do this make sure your cost in gas is really going to save you money and stock up on non-perishables while you are there. I have friends there so when they see good sales in their local grocery we go for a visit…get to spend time with our friends and buy 4-5 months worth of rice, pasta, canned goods, and cereals tax free. Don’t dis me on not paying my states taxes because no state should tax food or prescription medications….that is a good way to starve some elderly person or make them have to decided between eating or taking their meds.

I have more tips, but no time…..happy savings!

Mike Maynard February 27, 2011 at 6:07 am

I’m in England, but they are still good tips. I have done all the applicable ones though! I’m blogging on the same subject and working my way through the alphabet of Frugal from A to Z :) I’m up to D so far. I do Frugal Friday tips every week. We are in a recession; it is a shame governments don’t understand frugal; they cut spending on essentials not luxuries; like themselves!

Silicon Valley Blogger April 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Very encouraging ideas. Recessions and downtrends encourage us to tighten our belts and develop stronger savings habits. But we all have short memories when it comes to our money! The key is to try to control outgo even when times are good — you can relax just a little bit and pamper yourself a little but don’t go overboard! I know some people who do the opposite — overspend even when times are tough. Seems like they are in denial about who pays for it in the end. But this attitude is pretty problematic over the long term and makes for truly hard times later.

Bill July 15, 2011 at 7:54 pm

First thanks for taking the time to list all those money saving ideas. I found some to be useful.

estelita manalo November 12, 2011 at 9:40 pm

My suggestions –

Live within your means and always recycle foods — leftover foods can be cooked as other dishes. A lot of people are starving as it is. Don’t throw away leftover foods.

Also, I always buy dresses from garage sales; the clothes are slightly used. Same thing with used appliances. This is how I save money!

shawndel December 28, 2011 at 7:03 pm

@ laura i am curious as to which state doesn’t have taxes on food.

Also for people further down south, the Aldi store referred to above is known as Save A Lot or Save U More.

Ron April 3, 2012 at 12:58 am

@Shawndel, Texas does not have a sales tax on groceries.

Terry May 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Great tips, thank you for sharing.

Anna40, you mentioned an easy bread recipe that costs about .30 cents a loaf instead of over $2. I would love to try baking my own bread. Can you share the recipe?

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