50 Ways to Save $1,000 a Year

2012-11-06T07:59:04+00:00Saving, Shopping|

Looking for ways to save money this year? Want to boost your savings in a tough economy with little effort or pain? Good. I’ve got 50 (fifty) ways to painlessly stash some extra cash without losing a limb or getting a second job.

Some of these tips will score you instant dough, while other money saving suggestions require year round strategies to amass the moolah. Not every tip will be applicable to your situation, so pick and choose which money saving tips and strategies are optimal to boost your savings by $1,000 bucks.


Here are 50 ways to save an extra $1,000 a year:

  1. Pay off Your Credit Card. Stop paying the bare minimum on your credit cards. Paying just the minimum (usually 2-3 percent) only prolongs the agony and increases the amount of interest paid to the bank. Save yourself over 20 percent in interest charges by fully paying off your credit card debt. Depending on your debt, you may add thousands to your wallet. Check out this handy Credit Card Calculator to calculate your interest payments based on your minimum monthly payment. Results will SHOCK you.
  2. Get a Better Credit Card. Not all credit cards are created equal. Choose a credit card with no annual fee, understand your credit card’s benefits and risks, know how your issuer calculates interest charges, and learn how to benefit from introductory rates. Reading the small print will help you to make the most of your credit card and keep fees and charges to a minimum, saving bundles of bucks every year. Try these Four Steps to Choosing a Credit Card and read 5 Ways To Screw Your Credit Card Company to payoff your debt faster.
  3. Watch Investment Fees. There are costs to investing your hard earned dollars. Learning how to minimize these costs can save you thousands in management expense ratio fees (MERs), trailer fees, and broker fees. Always read your investment fund prospectus to better understand how these hideous fees can eat up your fund portfolio returns year after year. If you’re investing in high fee mutual funds, consider a portfolio in index funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs) to better increase your returns and minimize your costs. Warning: These 5 Investing fees that devour your savings could cost you a huge fortune.
  4. Dine in. Eating out costs big bucks. Fatten your wallet by eating home cooked meals and you may just slim your waistline while you’re at it. Try these Cheap, Easy, and Healthy, Family Dinners for $5 to kick start your savings.
  5. Brown Bag It. Stop spending mega moolah muddling your midday meal munching on take out lunches. Bringing a brown bag lunch to school or work every day will save your thousands this year. Try these Five Frugal Lunches for some ideas.
  6. Latte Factor. Like a daily latte or coffee? These seemingly small drips of dollars can really add up! Forget the daily coffee break and make your own hot beverages to save lots of loot. Or drink homemade tea — 5 Gourmet Herbal Tea Infusions for Your French Press .
  7. Raise Deductibles. Get out your policy and raise the deductibles on your car and home insurance. You’re not likely to claim the small stuff so choose a $5000 over a $500 deductible to cut your insurance costs by about 40 percent.
  8. Buy a Cheaper Car. Pimping in a flashy vehicle? A smaller or less expensive model can save you big bucks and still get you from point A to point B in style. See How To Buy a Used Car (without sipping lemonade) to get your motor running for less.
  9. Lose the Extra Car. Get creative and optimize the usage of a single family car to save huge money on insurance, gas, and car payments. You may be surprised how much money can be saved by reducing the number of cars parked in your driveway. See How to Sell Your Used Car Online to raise some cash.
  10. Ditch the Car. Buy a Bike. Ride the Bus. Carpool. I did this years ago and lived to tell the tale. I guesstimate I’ve saved at least 5K a year by riding my bike to school and work. I tend to carpool or ride the bus on rainy days. Since I’ve been car-free for 12 years, that’s 60K saved! Ka-ching!
  11. Expunge Extended Warranties. Don’t buy extended warranties on inexpensive products like cameras and kitchen appliances. The only time a warranty makes sense is if a repair will devastate your budget.
  12. Avoid Unnecessary Insurance. Skip mortgage and accidental death insurance as it only covers you in specific cases. Get life insurance to cover you no matter the cause of death.
  13. Avoid Whole Life Insurance. Whole life policies are expensive for the policy owner and lucrative for the policy seller. Term policies, which cover you for a set period, are FAR less expensive. Here’s How to Buy Life Insurance Without Getting Screwed.
  14. Don’t Insure Your Kids. I love kids, but insurance for children makes no financial sense. Buy life insurance to replace the income of the family breadwinner(s), those you are dependent on. Not your dependents. Here’s why your kids don’t need life insurance.
  15. Get a High Interest Savings Account. Switch your savings account to a high interest account, like those offered through ING Direct. You can make 3-4 percent MORE on your savings a year, rather than the pittance most checking accounts offer.
  16. Look at Laundry Costs. Washing clothes is a repetitive task which can cost big bucks over the span of a year. When I stop to calculate the cost of laundry detergent, the power usage of clothing dryers, and the water consumption of washing machines I shudder at the total cost of cleaning filth. Learn How to Save Money on Laundry to minimize the expensive impact of filth.
  17. Banish Bank Account Fees. Minimum balances, withdrawal fees, checking fees, paying bills fees, fees, and more fees. Why are you paying so much for banking? I dare you to add up all those tiny little dings you don’t want to look at and see how much you pay for banking. Compare your banking fees to other bank accounts and switch banks. I’ve been using a no fee checking account with President’s Choice Financial for years, and love it. Find a no fee checking account in your state, province, or country and live bank fee free already.
  18. Axe ATM Fees. Getting dinged $1 here and there for withdrawing your cash can add up! Planning your cash withdrawals ahead of time can save you lots of dollar dings over the span of a year. Axe your ATM fees by sticking to your bank’s machine, only withdrawing cash a few times a month, and check your bank plan to see if there is a better fee structure for your banking needs.
  19. Eat Less Meat. Where’s the beef? To save thousands in groceries try eating less meat in your family meals. You don’t have to go vegetarian, just try some meatless dishes a few times a week. Switching from animal protein to bean protein is a wonderfully frugal way to add some dollars to you bank account. Try soaking dried beans to become the ultimate money saving bean counter.
  20. Pay Down Student Debt. New graduate? Finished your degree decades ago? Paying off your student loan is a sure fire way to reduce interest payments, saving you thousands. Try these 5 Tips for Paying Off Student Loans.
  21. Manage Extra Mortgage Payments. For most of us, the mortgage represents our biggest debt. If you can manage, try making an extra payment to help end the loan sooner. Use the Loan Amortization Calculator to see the impact of how much loan interest can be reduced by paying down your mortgage sooner. Need convincing? 6 Surefire Ways To Avoid a Mortgage Meltdown could save you some cash.
  22. Cut the Cable. Television is expensive. Especially if you have special packages, customer loyalty bundles, and fee hungry features. Cancel the unneeded extras to save, or just cut the cable completely to maximize savings. Television may seem like a nominal monthly bill, but try adding up this expense over 12 months. See Breaking up with a cable company is hard to do for my cable cutting story.
  23. Cancel the Cell Phone. Roaming fees, text messages, minute overages. Cell phones can cost you big bucks over a year. Reevaluate your cell phone plan to save, or cancel your cell package to maximize savings.
  24. Rent Less Apartment. Downsizing your rented apartment could save you money over time. Try renting a unit on a lower floor without a view, move to a building with fewer perks, or rent a basement suite. Renting a smaller place can also save you on energy costs.
  25. Get a Roommate. Got a multiple room apartment or house? Rent out a room to a student or a young professional to jump start some savings. Sharing space saves on energy costs too.
  26. Reconsider the Landline. If you have a cell phone, do you still need your landline? Many cell phone users work on the road or away from the home. Perhaps it’s time to ditch the landline to save on utility costs.
  27. Maintain Your Car. Routine maintenance can save you a bundle by preventing major automobile repair costs. Follow your car’s user manual to keep up-to-date with oil changes, new air filters, and regular tune ups.
  28. Save Money on Gas. Gassed by the high prices at the pump? Try these 10 Ways to Save Money on Gas to cut your fuel consumption.
  29. Buy a More Fuel Efficient Car. Perhaps it’s time to trade in the gas guzzling clunker for a more fuel efficient automobile. Try the Should You Buy a More Gas Efficient Car Calculator to determine the break even point of a new car based on gas consumption.
  30. Pass on Pets. I love my dog. But our fine furry friends can cost us a small fortune in food and veterinarian bills. If you need the extra stash of cash, it may be best to pass on pets. So learn about your pet’s annual costs before bringing fluffy home.
  31. Use Condoms. When it’s time for sexy time, consider condoms. Health costs and babies are expensive. Preventing sexually transmitted infections is key to keeping yourself healthy, wealthy, and wise.
  32. Negotiate Your Mortgage. Never settle for the bank or mortgage lender’s first offer. Always ask mortgage brokers for the best fees, terms and mortgage rate. Save thousands in interest costs. Try the Loan Amortization Calculator to see your savings.
  33. Negotiate Your Salary. Getting a job offer is fun and thrilling. But settling for your first offer may be a mistake. Companies exist by keeping their costs down, hence paying employees as little as possible. When you get an offer, try negotiating for a little bit more. Try these 10 Tips for Salary Negotiation.
  34. Plan a Staycation. Stay at home for your next family vacation and save on lodging, dining out, and traveling costs. Staycations involve visiting local attractions like museums, parks, festivals, and play grounds. Get to know your area and neighbors better by vacationing near home. Or Build Your Own Modified Staycation Vacation Package to get the best of both worlds.
  35. Switch to Exchange Traded Funds. When investing in your retirement, consider switching your mutual funds to Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). ETFs have lower management fees than mutual funds. The less money you spend in management fees the more you keep in your portfolio. Try the Portfolio MER Calculator to calculate your total investment costs. You many just be surprised how much these fees eat into your returns!
  36. Grow a Garden. Cut some cash from your grocery bill by growing your own food. Planting some common veggies can help save a bundle. Want some hard numbers? Follow J.D. Roth in his series: How Much Does a Garden Really Save? Don’t have space for soil? Learn How to Grow Vegetables in a Pot.
  37. Switch to Cloth Diapers. The number of diapers a baby and toddler uses until potty trained is staggering. Calculate the cash spent on your baby’s poopy disposable diapers and you may just s$it yourself. Consider switching to cloth diapers to save some bucks. The biggest money savings can be found if you plan to have multiple children or can buy used cloth diapers. Trent at The Simple Dollar discusses his cloth diapering thoughts.
  38. Buy Used. Need some furniture, books, or car? Why not buy used to save! Buying used goods not only saves on taxes, but saves you from spending top dollar on retail. Most of my furniture and nearly all of my books were bought used. It’s astounding the quality available if you’re willing to wait and buy used.
  39. Quit the Gym. Go for a Walk. What’s up with fitness club initiation fees, contracts, locker fees, and monthly rates? Joining a gym can be an expensive relationship, especially if your membership or contract is hard to break or goes on for years. Know your rights before joining a gym and be aware of the pitfalls. Before paying a gym, consider these 10 Free Ways to Get into Fitness to save a bundle, or just go for a walk.
  40. Love the Library. I love reading books. I love not paying for books even more. Save yourself on Amazon bills by going to your local library and signing out your books for free. Besides, the library offers more than just free books! Get access to videos, CDs, and audio books. Be sure to watch out for due dates and fines.
  41. Get a New Job. Changing careers or finding a new job can pay dividends in the size of your paycheck. Boost your earnings to save more bucks. Need resume advice? Download these free resume templates to help you find a better paying job sooner.
  42. Make a Shopping List. Curb impulse grocery spending by downloading the Printable Grocery Shopping List. A shopping list can help you stay on the frugal track and avoid expensively packaged foods, save time at the store, and helps you remember what healthy foods to buy. Easy.
  43. Switch Home Heating. Is heating your home burning a hole in your wallet? If you heat with oil, perhaps it’s time to switch to electric? Your state or province may offer rebates and incentives for switching to more energy efficient forms of heating. Try these 3 Attic Insulation Methods to Seal in Savings and Child Proof Your Electrical Outlets to Cut Energy Costs for additional savings.
  44. Sell Your Stuff. Are endless racks of CDs, videos, books, sports equipment, and stuff cluttering up your space? Consider selling some of your stuff to raise some funds and clear some space. Try selling through garage sales, local swap meets, and online through craigslist, Kijiji, and eBay.
  45. Stop Buying Crap. Do you really need the latest gizmo or gadget? Resist the marketing muckity muck when advertisers launch crap, unveil crap, and convince you to upgrade crap. Crap is expensive. Learn to Just Say “No” to Crap before your wallet gets whacked by needless crap.
  46. Leave the Liquor. Spirits can be fun. But lots of liquor can leave your pocketbook dry. Try drinking less alcohol to help boost your savings.
  47. Shop Out of Season. Save some serious dollars by buying goods out of season. Buy winter boots in the spring, get wrapping paper after Christmas, and buy a bike in the fall. Buying goods out of season means finding end of season sales, reductions, and clear outs.
  48. Shop In Season. Buying broccoli in January is crazy expensive. Buying fruits and vegetables in season keeps grocery costs down. Try shopping at local farmer’s markets and freezing perishables for the winter. Besides, food just takes better when it’s in season.
  49. Use Your Benefits. Does your employer’s compensation package include medical, dental, chiropractor, massage, and other physical therapies? Since you’re probably paying a fee for this health care you’d be silly to squander the benefit. Be sure to visit the dentist and fix all your ailments by using your benefits. A healthy smile is priceless.
  50. Claim Your Tax Credits. When doing your yearly taxes, don’t forget to claim your health expenses, child credits, and education amounts. Missing an exemption could cost you thousands. Collect all your receipts during the year so you’re not scrambling to prove your costs come tax season. I store my receipts in simple envelopes to help tame the clutter and confusion throughout the year.

Saving an extra $1000 a year is not impossible. It just takes some strategies, creativity, and patience to amass the moolah over time.

Your Turn! What are your ways to save big bucks every year? Share your thoughts!


  1. sundae1888 September 2, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Other suggestions, although some of them may not save $1000/year:

    – Cut down on internet cost by switching to a slower tier or sign up for an introductory offer at a competing ISP. The “basic” broadband at $15-20/month is suffice for most.
    – Buy a reliable car and keep it for 10+ years instead of leasing. Better yet, buy a used car.
    – Use regular gas, not premium, unless your car really needs it. That trims the gas expense by about 10%.
    – Take advantage of any and all benefits offered by your employer, such as employee discounts, 401k/RRSP match, health benefits, etc.
    – Avoid bank fees by switching to a no-fee bank account (or negotiate with your bank). Many banks charge extra for Interac transaction and ATM withdrawal, and withdrawing cash from ATM other than your own banks cost extra. Often the bank charges a per-account monthly fee for a handful of “free” transactions. And never, ever, let your account go into overdraft.
    – Quit smoking. Cigarettes are expensive on their own, not to mention the indirect health-related costs.
    – Eat more rice. Rice is generally cheaper per meal than potato, pasta and bread, unless you grow/make your own.

  2. Jules September 3, 2008 at 5:02 am

    51) Simplify your beauty regimen and/or use food products to keep your skin clean and clear (strawberries are a great astringent).

    52) Pet costs can be tempered by keeping Fido and Fluffy healthy, which means proper care, exercise, and food. Make your own pet food, learn to do your own grooming, and above all, shop around for a vet.

    53) Rediscover the holy trinity of cleaning agents: baking soda, vinegar, and Borax. In one combination or another, there is almost NOTHING these won’t clean.

    54) Wish lists: if you want something and it’s over your “fun” budget, put it on a wish list to save up for. Often, you’ll find that by the time you have the cash for it, you probably don’t want it any more. And if you still do, well, now you can afford it.

  3. David@My Two Dollars September 3, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Move. Moving 2 months ago to a cheaper town has saved us over $1500 a month in expenses! Great list, BTW…

  4. Roshawn @ Watson Inc September 3, 2008 at 9:20 am

    From a quick and dirty count, it appears that at least 7 of these 50 tips involve foods and drinks. It’s amazing what getting a handle on your grocery/dining out budget can do for your finances.

    Kind Regards,

  5. Sarah September 3, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Use gasbuddy.com to find the cheapest gas prices in your area.

    Switch newspaper subscription to Sunday only for the coupons.

  6. Dana September 3, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    wow! What a list!

    Today we sold our 2006 minivan.. we are now a one car family!!

    Here is something I need to do: quit drinking soda and only drink water.

  7. Scott @ The Passive Dad September 3, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    The latte factor was a big one for me. I managed to spend over $2300 a year on Starbucks. It really adds up quickly.

    Love you list and stumbled it.

  8. Rob Madrid September 4, 2008 at 9:25 am

    LOVE THE TWONIE (did I spell that right?)

    Not to often you see that!

    Got this idea from Frugal Trenches No Spend Days, I just started and it’s a great way to make your cash stretch further.

    If your interested in vegen than check out her blog, she lives in London an insanely expensive city yet manages to eat on less than £20 a week. Quite an accomplishment

  9. Canadian Capitalist September 4, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    I would add learn to invest your money. It’s not very difficult and you can save big. The usual charge for managing your portfolio is anywhere from 1% to 2%. Have a $50K portfolio? You can save $500.

  10. Beth September 4, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Tap water!
    Drink tap water not bottled water. Get yourself a nice BPA-free water bottle and fill up wherever you can. If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where tap water is drinkable, drink up! it’s good for you, it’s cheap, and it’s environmentally savvy too — why would you truck in water from another province or country?

  11. Jennifer September 5, 2008 at 5:12 am

    Hey! I love the tips, but I have a couple more:

    -Unless you were born with super oily hair, don’t wash your hair everyday. It is actually healthier for your hair, and reduces water (from the time spent in the shower), electricity (from blow drying and/or styling), and extends the life of your hair care products (using shampoo/conditioner half as quickly)
    -I have discovered Freecycle.org recently. Go there and find the freecycle group in your community. There you can get items that you may need and not spend a dime. I recently got mulch and a cute set of butterfly wings for a costume, and it didn’t cost me anything. Don’t forget to give too.
    – If you have the internet (a good connection), then forget about renting movies. You can watch a lot of tv, movies, and stuff for free on hulu.com or on many of the major network sites.
    -I like this site called eyeslipsface.com for getting makeup. Most products are $1 a piece and are surprisingly good. Bye bye $18 MAC lipstick.
    -Get crafty. If you can learn how to do simple things like basic sewing (the basics aren’t that hard) or how to get a little handy with glue, nails, and cutting wood, then you can save a LOT of money. I made a dog house for my dog using a free pattern on the internet, some scrap materials at a local hardware store and some mistint paint – spent about $10 on the supplies and have a great looking dog house (and the pride of having built it myself). Also, I will never ever buy another curtain. I have made all of the curtains in my house – I’ve gotten discounted or scrap fabric to make them. And when I wanted a really large peice of artwork to hang on a wall in my living room, instead of buying a $300 framed print that I wanted, I used a coupon and bought an extra large canvas for about $25, a little bit of paint, and used just basic lines of different colors to make “abstract art”. I figure that if they can do it on Trading Spaces, why can’t I?!

    I also think that if you aren’t as picky about certain things you can save a lot of money. The more flexible you are and willing to give in on things, the happier (and savvier) you’ll be. Sometimes if you get your heart set on a $200 trendy “it” bag that everyone else has, you’ll miss out on that cute little flea market find for $10 that everyone will ask you about. I always think its funny because the things that I get the most compliments on tend to be the things I’ve spent the least on. Like I bought this little cropped jacket off of a clearance rack at Walmart for $1 (yes, $1 for a jacket, brand new) – I get the most compliments on it…..and I love telling them that I got it for a dollar at Walmart!

  12. Al Pal September 5, 2008 at 6:07 am

    Make your own baby food. It’s easy, and you will know exactly what’s in it.

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  18. Zombie Money September 7, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Air dry instead of using a dryer.

  19. DRiPpy Chick September 7, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    51) Only buy the fresh produce you need. Some basic meal planning will minimize the amount of fresh produce that rots in the bottom drawer of your fridge. The fridge does not require a weekly sacrifice of celery and cauliflower.

    52) Learn to make preserves: buying fresh fruit in season and bottling/freezing it yourself can be a big moneysaver. Just make sure you use the preserves you make… no point making 14 jars of strawberry jam if you will only eat one in a year! (Makes good Christmas presents!)

    53) Learn to sew your own clothes. IF done right, the fit will be better, quality better and selection/design possibilities unlimited. And… if you get good at it, it can be a money making sideline.

    54) Avoid library late fees by keeping track of the due dates on your borrowed materials and getting them back on time.

    55) Switch to compact florescent light bulbs as your existing incandescents burn out.

    56) Use less laundry soap. You can get your clothing clean with half the recommended amounts.

    57) IF you drink wine, consider making your own

    58) Eliminate energy drinks and soda pop from your family’s diet

  20. RetiredAt47 September 8, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Great list – I love lists like this. One alternative I wanted to mention on #23 “Cancel the Cell Phone” – switch to a prepaid plan for emergencies only. For years I used Tracfone, which cost me about $100/year. I kept it for emergency use only, and never even came close to using up my minutes. Recently I switched to T-Mobile, and it looks like after the first year it will be even cheaper.

  21. Jennifer September 8, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Great list! Thanks!

  22. Sarah September 10, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Here’s a link to a list that Trent of the Simple Dollar wrote on this topic:


  23. Mr. Cheap September 11, 2008 at 7:48 am

    Really great list! I loved the link to the annual cost of various pets (I’ve been wanting exactly this info for a while).

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  25. SavingDiva September 14, 2008 at 11:48 am

    I save all of the little amounts that I earn online (selling on half.com or ebay, surveys, etc) in a separate account. I’m saving for a down payment on a house. My account is currently at $4k.

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  27. Until Debt Do US Part September 21, 2008 at 2:38 am

    Fantastic list!

    I think you have hit on some really good ideas. The point of getting rid of the car is a very valid one especially as the price of gas is high. Its not an option that most people would consider but it is probably one of the biggest things that you can do to save money. While its probably not suitable for everyone given that you need to be close to good transport links – it is something that should be considered by those who can.

  28. Tucson Bass Player November 16, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Love your list . One that I did this year was selling all of my CD’s. I just downloaded them to my computers and sold them on eBay and half.com. I made enough to pay all, and I do mean all of my expenses for almost 3 months. I figured they are going to be worth about as much as 8 tracks were, why not get ahead of the game.

    Great post!

  29. Jules December 17, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Awesome, comprehensive list.

    By the way (not related to this post, but in response to your comment on my site) — you should definitely give the Las Vegas Marathon a try! But don’t be fooled. October can be extremely cold… I once shortened a camping trip in the desert off of LV Boulevard (where part of the marathon takes place) in October, ironically, the morning of that race, because of being chilled to the bone. And, actually, it is currently snowing in LV… and school is canceled tomorrow!! So, definitely not as cold as Canada or other areas of the states (I went to grad school in North Dakota), but definitely not warm in the winter, hehe. So pack appropriately : ). And happy running!

  30. Antonio January 5, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Excellent post! I will add:

    51) Sell your stuff, if you are paying for storage, this can save a lot of montly expenses.

    52) Use coupons; my wife and I go to the supermarket and save up to 25$ per month; thats nearly 400 $ per year. On top of that you can use that money to pamper yourself.

  31. Donna Y January 9, 2009 at 4:52 am

    Roll your own change! While the counting machines are delightfully fast and easy to use, the percentage they charge adds up faster than you may think! Most banks will give you coin wrappers for free, too.

  32. Aman_S January 10, 2009 at 9:39 am

    1.get a Pc Mastercard with pay pass.
    every dollar gets you 10 points.
    every 20000 points gets you 20 dollars in free groceries.
    works out for me to be 20 dollars free every 2 months,savings of $120 per year- this amount can help you ditch your monthly plan cell for a pre-paid one.

    2. get a citi petro-points mastercard with paypass.
    (Paypass is highlighted for the level of convenience it offers)
    1 dollar on gas gets you 10 points plus 2 cent discount.
    15000 points gets you a “5 cent fuel savings card”.
    so by using citi petro and saving card , you save 7 cents on every litre.
    we have two cars, buying 200 litres every month.
    we save 200*7 cents=$14. $14 can cover your life insurance premium.

  33. terra January 16, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    lots of good tips!
    good to know that I am pretty frugal. me and my partner got pretty much all of our furniture for free, but we live in the free city (Victoria, BC), people advertise and leave things out on lawns. As much as it can be hard to make a dollar, we are living in these nations of excess stuff.
    XS Cargo by the way, a good place to buy cheap things.

    Also found out that if you do not make a lot of money, sometimes sucking it up and working more hours makes a big difference. Post-University is difficult when you are used to loans, and working little (of course many others work a lot). Working more has been my penance. It also rejuvenates all that discipline I lost hanging out in coffee shops poised with my big books (and no more hanging out in those money traps!)

    Also I find that staying in touch with community is really really key. Everyone is so talented out there, and the less you depend on society’s dictates of what is wealth, and help a neighbour/friend/family out, the more wealth that accumulates.

    Riding bikes, walking, the great outdoors, paying off debts, the crucial steps towards financial liberation!
    Oh, and cooking home meals, whole food meals (and let me tell you, working at a grocery store how much people spend buying bulk nuts and nutritional supplements/drinks/vitamins, when whole foods can keep them uber healthy. Buy items on the flyer! (eat grapefruit when its 10 for 4 dollars)! (Healing with Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford, very good)

  34. cc January 16, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    I love all these ideas -also, I’ve found that if you buy shampoo and conditioner for hair, they are really thick and strong. you can easily mix them with water -half and half. not only does it go farther, it’s less damaging for your hair.

  35. robyn January 22, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Our family makes a game of saving money. My hubby and I each get a cash “allowance” every week and the contest is who has the most left over at the end of the week. The money is saved for bigger ticket items like some piece of music equipment he wants or towards a family trip.

    Also, our family does “homemade or recycled” birthday and Christmas gifts. You have to acquire it used (garage sale, thrift store, auction) or make it yourself. Exceptions are made if something is found on a super-ultra-mega-clearance rack.

  36. pfincome January 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    I just started cutting out my McDonald’s $1.39 large coffee per day. While McD’s is a lot cheaper than Starbucks, it still adds up over the weeks and months. Thanks for the tips!

  37. Dana March 1, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Insuring kids: That article you link to no longer exists, unfortunately. And life insurance isn’t just about replacing income, in some cases. My daughter was born with vesico-urinary reflux (her pee went backwards up into her kidneys from time to time), on both sides and with an underdeveloped right kidney to boot. She had to undergo surgery at some point to correct the right side where the ureter went into the bladder. Understandably, as she wasn’t even two yet, I was freaked. And it occurred to me that if something happened to her on the operating table, I had no money for a burial.

    I haven’t rushed out to buy her insurance, mind you, but I’m thinking about it. I’m also considering that her condition is a risk factor for end-stage renal disease later in life; I’m not sure whether having had the surgery lessens that risk. So I’m thinking I might be better off getting her whole life now while she’s four, thus making her more insurable later on–at the very least she’d be able to keep a policy that I start now, as long as the insurance company doesn’t go under.

    An alternative, I know, is to sock as much money into savings for her as I can. It won’t be the be-all, end-all though, and I can’t sock much right now.

    Eating less meat: Forget it. I don’t eat a ton of it as it is, but replacing it with rice and beans or any other plant food combination would be disastrous for my blood sugar levels. Now, rice is a bit easier on me than, say, wheat–especially brown rice. But it’s still not great for me. I’m not diabetic yet, but I’m on my way to it and the longer I delay it, the fewer bills I will incur. I’d like to at least put it off until I can get my own health insurance again, if I can’t avoid it entirely.

    (By the way, telling a pre-diabetic “lose weight to reduce the risk” isn’t the whole story. We’re fat because we have insulin resistance. If we don’t lose weight in a way that compensates for the insulin resistance then it’s not going to do squat to keep us from developing the full-blown disease.)

    People give out the worst dietary advice in the name of “health” or saving money. Maybe I’m a freak, but my canine teeth and acidic stomach peg me as a non-obligate carnivore, just like a dog, and while fruits and vegetables do contain compounds that are healthy for me, going without animal foods for long periods is not an optimum situation.

    I’m reminded of a famous personal development blogger who is a vegan and who decided to go raw-food vegan for thirty days as an experiment. Despite the fact that he felt “high” at the end of it and his hands were cracked and bleeding, he decided it made him healthy. The bleeding hands, he claimed, were “detoxing.” For my part I decided that if no one had told him in thirty-plus years that it’s your liver that detoxes, not your hands by cracking open and weeping, there’s not much I can do for him. Poor guy, his body was starving for more fat.

    Do a web search on Vilhjalmur Stefansson sometime… his discoveries about the Great White North were historic, but what he found about human dietary requirements was interesting too.

    Someone who wants to save money in a way that’s not going to leave them screwed up later might consider cutting out processed junk, no matter how cheap it is. Pick a few dietary staples and stick with them most days of the week. I’ve got the old Sidetracked Home Executives book and they suggest setting up a menu plan where you have a certain type of dish each day of the week, with one day open for experimentation if you want. I.e., Monday night might be Leftover Night, while Wednesdays might be Casserole Nights. If you know ahead of time what you’re going to eat for the week then you can buy the supplies ahead of time when they’re on sale. This works whether you’re a vegetarian or a three-meals-a-day beef-eater. If anyone ever actually does the latter, I suppose it would still cost more than being a vegetarian (well, until you have to deal with medical bills–I’d love to see a comparison between, say, vegan and paleo eating rather than between vegan and Standard American), but as there are other ways to cut costs than starving yourself, I’m sure most people can compensate.

  38. Aman@BullsBattleBears March 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    just cutting back on a few trips to the coffee shops or one or two brown bag lunches really does add up to significant savings. It does not take much effort or sacrifice once you can get past the first week withdrawals.

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  40. […] around for auto insuranceDrop services you don’t really needInstall a programmable thermostat50 Ways to Save $1,000 a Year – Squawkfox offers ways to help you save on average a $1,000 a year. Sounds good right? Her tips […]

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  42. Gail May 22, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    I found that having our IRA go ‘paperless’ saved us $25 each IRA a year, every year from now on.

    Paying my Medicare supplement insurance as an automatic withdrawal from our checking account amounted to $50 a year saved.

    Several bills are no paid automatically or on line which saves $5.28 per year for each bill that needs paid on a monthly basis. At this point I have 6 being paid that way each month for a yearly savings of over $30.

    Automate little bits of savings this way and you begin to find that you are saving a couple hundred dollars a year, each and every year.

  43. dlm May 27, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Re banking in B.C.: While PC and Ing Banks are free, Canadian Western Bank is also free and pays higher savings interest rates, and the downtown branch is easier to get to and offers service by real bank people. Online transfers savings/chequing and bill payments are immediate.

  44. Paulie June 27, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Absolutely love, love, love your site. Loved many of the posted comments as well. Thanks. Here are some ideas.

    A. Track Your Money. We always get receipts and use a computer program (before we had a program, I used a simple spreadsheet with my own made-up spending categories). After the first month I was shocked by how much money we were spending on dining and utter CRAP. The hardest part I find is doing it every day. Just knowing that I have to enter an expenditure into the program (I’m pretty lazy), has helped me avoid many a purchase of garage sale fodder.

    B. Planned Meals. Our weekly menus (we have about five that we rotate) have saved us a bundle. We don’t buy food impulsively. We’ve virtually stopped dining out (saves cash BIG TIME!). We’re less likely to let food go to waste in the fridge (since we buy only what we’re going to use). We’re also eating much healthier.

    C. Grocery Shopping. We shop at two grocery stores. One where we earn points that are redeemable with more grocery purchases (Yay!). If we buy with “their” (NO FEE) credit card (which we pay off IMMEDIATELY, of course), we get even more points. At the second store we pay to be members (you know the one). We’ve done the math and our savings on things like dairy, meat, fruit and bread more than cover the membership fee.

    D. Eat Less. I try to focus on nutrient rich foods (veggies, fruit, etc). I’ve saved money and lost weight.

    E. Hair Clippers. I bought a good pair of hair clippers and never looked back. My spouse, who’s gotten quite adept with them now, gives me a quick trim every month or so. This has definately saved me $300 to $500 a year – works best if you’re not too concerned about your looks (at first) and already in a relationship 🙂

    F. Bus Pass. My employer has a deal with the local transit company where I can get a yearly pass. I’ve done the math and figured out that, even considering the month during the summer when I take my holiday, it’s still cheaper than buying a pass every month and way cheaper than buying bus tickets.

    G. Cable. I can do without cable, but it’s too much for my spouse to ‘cut the cord’ completely. We notice that we tend to watch tv less during the summer, so we have in previous years cut the cable just for a few months each year (she met me half way). Unfortunately the ‘connection fee’ can eat your savings if the cable company plays hardball in the fall. I’m going to try to negotiate a suspension of service this year so as to avoid the connection fee. I hope they go for it.

  45. Sarah July 7, 2009 at 7:37 am

    This is about the 10th time I’ve read this article. I keep coming back if I feel like I’ve been spending too much lately. Great article, thanks!

  46. Kerry July 7, 2009 at 9:17 am

    @Sarah So happy you’ve enjoyed this article enough to read it 10 times! Wow! (BTW: Since you like this article, my book could inspire you to save thousands and it costs only around $11.)

  47. Anna July 9, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Staycation?! Really, it sounds terribly boring 🙁

  48. dlm July 9, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Staycation — sound fabulous. I find travel to be an endurance test, exhausting and costly. Enjoying time off in your own area is what everyone did 50 years ago.

  49. Donna July 14, 2009 at 8:22 am

    For a 4 cup coffee maker, just add one scoop of coffee into the recently used grounds, and run another carafe of water through.
    This makes another pot of great coffee and saves on using another filter….plus you are using half the coffee.

  50. Marianne Edwards July 16, 2009 at 6:06 am

    A few more tips off the top of my head:
    Don’t throw out extra coffee or tea you’ve made. Add sugar while hot (so it disolves) then refrigerate. You’ll have iced tea and iced coffee ready to go for later in the day. (Keeps about a week.)

    Day old bread. Nothing wrong with it. Buy unsliced, spray with water and pop the whole loaf in the over at 375F for 8 minutes…just like fresh baked.

    Only need glasses for reading? Buy dollar store and keep them in a glasses container or on a leash around your neck so you don’t lose them and they don’t break as easily. Had my eyes checked by my (very good) optometrist who told me there’s nothing wrong with wearing dollar store because I only wear them for magnification (reading).

    Replace cable with a TV rooftop antenna – the small dish kind that’s easy to mount yourself on your roof costs about $150.00 at places like Radio Shack. We get about 6 local channels. We are waiting to see what will happen when Canada goes digital signal only next year but still saving money in the meantime.

    Axe as many monthly expenses as possible. One time purchase vs monthly fee almost always the way to go.

    Using an ink-jet printer? Don’t get fooled by a cheap printer where the ink cartridges will cost a fortune. Buy the kind where the three primary colors can be filled separately.

    Refill printer ink cartridges. Never had any luck with refill-your-own packages, but I take mine to a kiosk in the mall called Island Ink Jet…There are others offering this service. About half the cost of new.

    Also checked with them before I bought my last printer and decided what printer to buy based on refill costs, how much ink each type actually used per printed page,etc. Some cartridges can also be filled many more times than others. They know the answers and were happy to make recommendations. A Canon and Brother printer were their recommends to me but things may change from one make to another.

    Mix and match bed sheets and pillow cases in clearance bins. Buy separates in clearance bins, and have fun creating a “matched” set for cheap. For instance a plaid top sheet with a solid bottom sheet and another solid color (all that match colors in the plaid) for pillow cases. Always make sure your thread count is high (minimum 250) for quality sheets.

    Duvet covers cost a fortune. Make your own. Buy discount sheets, better if they don’t match so you have two reversable looks. Easy to sew. Very straight forward – sewing them together on three sides, and leaving a one or two foot wide opening on the bottom to stuff the duvet into it.

    Don’t print your digital photos unless you have a real purpose for it. Show them on your computer screen to share them. I don’t understand people who buy a digital camera, then still print every photo and put them in old-fashioned albums that take up tons of space on the bookshelf where they then collect dust.

    If you don’t print your photos, be sure to back them up to a cd or dvd regularly. I make a back up every time I download to the computer.(Use a dvd if possible because it holds way more photos than a cd) Keep backups in a safe dry place.

    When given the option, buying e-books rather than printed version will often save you money. Also an e-book often includes free future updates for life (as with my frugal travel guides) available through my website at

  51. Save Money Hounda September 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Thanks for the exhaustive list of tips. If you applied all these tips, saving $1000 should be easy. You could probably save a lot more than $1000.

  52. FinanciallySmart September 25, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Savings is an habit and if these tips are practice in one’s life then they will be able to save more than $1000. Wonderful article.

  53. queen of string January 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned making your own bread. I have recently used the “no Knead” method that can be found all over the internet and was lucky enough to receive “Artisan Bread in 5 minutes” as an Xmas gift. I’m currently working my way through it. It seems that you cna produce fabulous bread whilst preparing dinner, pretty much. My only concern is that you have to crank up the oven temp, but I guess it’s just for a few minutes. I tend to turn my oven off 10 mins before the end of cooking routinely anyway. The ingrdients are certainly massively cheaper than store bought bread and I would recommend experimenting with these new style recipes if you havent already

  54. Evie January 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Re #31: If you have a regular sex partner and health insurance that covers prescriptions, birth control is vastly cheaper than condoms…assuming you need them fairly often. ahem. You and your partner should both be tested for STDs anyway.

  55. Terry February 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    To save on ATM charges, when paying for your groceries with debit…. get cash back

    To further save, I keep a “soup” drawer in my freezer. leftovers go in there….the veggie discards…. bones from a roast or chicken….. and having the king of “I hate veggies”….. anything I don’t want him to see I puree to thicken my soup…. ie…. just bought a whole chicken on sale….. $5. (watch Loblaws)…. two meals + I picked the bones and then made soup…. 3 meals = $5.00. Just takes a little more work, but the savings add up.

    Cold water wash…. and hang to dry…. I have knocked my KW per day to 11. (OK, I do wimp out in the winter and use the dryer).

    I put my looney and twoney change in a jar…. it’s amazing how fast that adds up, and then I deposit to savings. And, when I get a reimbursement from our benefits provider, I put that in savings. If I already paid for it, then I hope at the end of the month I won’t miss it and the savings account will love it.

    I make my own bird seed cakes, but if I get caught short, go to the grocery store (I get these from Metro), the butcher grinds suet and binds it with birdseed. Those suet cakes you buy at the other stores (in the pretty square pack) are $3.00 each…. the Metro sells these for $1.60 – two balls and guess what, the squirrels don’t touch them.

    Florists – when looking for bouquets or been the recipient of bouquets? most florists will buy back or give you a credit for all those vases/containers…. you just have to ask.

    Wine…. if you’re not too snobby, go to a make it yourself establishment…. even choosing a nice grape keeps your cost to around $3/$4 per bottle.

    that’s all I can think of right now, but I know there’s more!

  56. MK February 28, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I have started my early spring cleaning by selling “stuff” I don’t use on kijiji… in 2 weeks I was $800 richer and my 1 bedroom apartment feels less crowded!

  57. Sam May 15, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    If you have a laptop and a desktop, use the laptop more; it takes less energy. And it will take even less if you charge it at work instead of at home if you can, so that its not on your electricity bill.

  58. mick May 25, 2010 at 10:31 am

    drink box wine, its way cheaper and keeps longer.
    shop at the walmart food store, ouch i hate saying that, but I went there on the weekend and items were up to a dollar cheaper.
    unplug everything you don’t need plugged in, ie. microwave
    kill all the energy vampires.
    keep any unnessary lights turned off, install motion sensitive lights outside.
    use a clothsline.

  59. Leslee King June 9, 2010 at 6:48 am

    I came across this website while searching for a sample list for “First Apartment Essentials Checklist.” I love this site. I have made the decision to leave my husband after 20 years of marriage and all of the information and tools have help me keep things in order. This has become one of my favorite sites. The practical advice provided on this site is so important. I have a daughter going off to college as well and I have shared the information with her as well. Thanks to all of you who contribute to the content and the discussions. You have all been a tremendous help in a very difficult and challenging time in my life.

  60. Sarah June 17, 2010 at 7:55 am

    You can buy refurbished iPods at apple.com for 100$ and free shipping.
    P.S. They work great. I’ve already bought 2 iPods.

  61. John O July 4, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Some additions: If you use fabric softener, white distilled vinegar works fine, maybe 1/2 a cup to a full load of clothes. Also I buy bulk even if it’s just for me, a 65 load bottle of detergent from a store like Sam’s club lasts me months.

  62. Carol July 22, 2010 at 8:22 am

    A lot of good suggestions on this list.

    Take advantage of free summer concerts and events offered in your community. i.e. Concerts in the Park; Doors Open Ontario, scheduled hikes/walks etc.

    I still buy a coffee a couple of days a week; it’s a treat but also an outing that can be shared with catching up with friends; it’s a lot cheaper than a meal out and you get out of the house for awhile, especially if you are an at-home mom or senior who benefits greatly from adult interaction if you haven’t opportunities to socialize often.

  63. Sylvia M August 12, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I live in New York City and movies are $12.50. If I go before 12 noon on weekends and holidays, the price is $6.00
    Now that’s a sizable savings. Especially, when you like to go to the movies.

  64. Fayrene August 13, 2010 at 8:46 am

    I can’t believe you don’t have recycling on your list! I have a large household and don’t mind buying the cheap store brands of soda for the kids. The adults usually drink bottled water, again cheap store brands, when we are working outside in the yard. From September to August we save every can and bottle. In August we turn them in for about $200.00.
    Also we save EVERY coin we get. Easy to do if you remember to empty out your purse or pocket at night into the change jar. We have several old jars and coffee cans we all use. From September to August we save. When we wrap the coins and turn them in, it’s usually another $300-$400.
    Then, at the end of August, we take everyone to the county fair. We go on the free entry day, can afford the wrist band for six kids to ride all the rides they want to, a few games, a few items for each child from the fair and dinner at McDonalds after the fair! This also pays for the gas to get there and back.

  65. Cheryl August 13, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    I would love to save by just having internet service. But where we live is a small town and if you want internet service, you have to get cable too. The cable company here is a monopoly. Then if you opt for a DSL provider, you need to have landline. But we have Tmobile and this comes out cheaper than having a landline that nobody uses. We are usually at work, school, etc when we get in touch with our immediate family (who lives with us).
    And when it comes to transportation, there is no public transportation except for the senior center bus (only for seniors). And since in our family,we all work at different hours and travel to different directions, we can’t carpool. We already downsized our home and we are still going to cut costs. Unfortunately with this extremely hot weather, my small red potato plants which I plant in a tub outside in a shaded area still won’t thrive. Not much room inside to grow plants on pots.

  66. janeqcitizen August 14, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    PLEASE-get life insurance on your children! Cut back somewhere else! Some friends of ours lost their daughter to a drunk driver. They had to mortgage their house to pay for her funeral, burial, tombstone & outstanding hospital bills.

  67. Morgan August 15, 2010 at 12:56 am

    First, establish a monthly budget and keep it rolling for at least a year ahead. Once you see things on paper (spreadsheet), things will start coming to light for adjusting and saving. If you don’t have this budget and stick close to it, you lose.

  68. Rob September 8, 2010 at 3:17 am

    I love #31. I remember vividly all those years ago when I was 18 and heard a report on CBC that it cost $100K to raise a kid from birth through university. Yes, that was 35 years ago, and it’s more expensive today. I decided right then I’d rather spend the money on myself and thus .. no kids.

    I switched to a vegan diet for my health a couple of years ago and was amazed at how cheap it is to eat. I buy “expensive” local and organic food and still don’t spend 1/2 of what a diet that included milk and meat cost me. Oh yes, and my health is much improved. Not going to the doctor is a huge savings.

    Along the line of not drinking lattes, how about re-evaluating anything you do on a regular basis. I’ve cut out alcohol except for special occasions. Doing so saves money and has the other benefit that your favorite beer tastes a *lot* better when you haven’t had it for a month or two. Also, in our drinking society people like to have 2 or 3 (or more) drinks. I’ve noticed that even the 2nd half of a drink tastes less interesting than the first few sips. The 2nd beer doesn’t taste all that good at all. One drink every few weeks is a lot cheaper than a regular (and more frequent) habit.

    One thing I didn’t see mentioned is “start your own business”. The business can pay for a lot of stuff with untaxed money that you may well buy anyway.

  69. Kim September 10, 2010 at 1:29 am

    Like what I have read. All are good ideas. My husband smokes. He has tried to quit but that is not always an option. To save money until he can quit, we roll our own. All tobacco shops carry machines and if you can get use to pipe tobacco, the cost is more than half what you will pay to buy per pack or carton. It may take some time each week but I have found some good conversation while we are sitting around the table doing them together.

  70. Honour Horne-Jaruk September 22, 2010 at 8:44 am

    If you are below the poverty level, or on any kind of public assistance that requires you to have few or no savings, there’s only one investment you can easily and legally use: Loss Leaders.
    _Keep a list_ of the best bargains you see on anything you buy often, especially non-perishables. Keep your most recent version of the list printed out and in your purse (car at the minimum). When an advertised price (or a wildcat sale, “Manager’s Special” or going-out-of-business, for example) dives below that level, it’s time to stock up, to the limits of your storage capacity for that type of item.
    Eight years ago, I bought twenty bottles of shampoo for 18 cents apiece from a failing drugstore. They’re still fine and I’m still using them. At that time, that shampoo was US $2.00 a bottle– a 180% return on investment. It’s now up to $3.20. I’ve done the same with canned goods, pillowcases, clothing (such as socks) that wears out before going out of style, even movie theater passes!
    Also make sure you connect up with your local Community Service organizations. There’s a huge variety of groups out there whose purpose is to give free help. Don’t deny others the opportunity to feel generous and useful.

  71. Rob September 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Regarding insurance and the cost of casket/funeral/tombstone/etc… for your kid/spouse/parents …

    What are people *thinking*? It cost me $1500 to have my father cremated. Actually, a little less as the funeral home gave me a cash discount. My father was a pragmatist and saw no point in spending money on him after he was dead.

    I *have* money and my will has my body turned into spare parts for other *living* people and/or a gift to the local medical school, and the money I have will go to helping people who are *alive* once I’m dead.

  72. Nadia September 28, 2010 at 1:00 am

    I use my mobile wisely. It’s a Nokia 6630. It’s my complete Digital Diary. I save my To-DO list (things to be done) in the form of daily/weekly/yearly reminders and I use the To-Do feature of my cell to prepare the lists of items to be purchased… a different one for different stores. As soon as something is near its end in my “stock”, I add it in the corresponding list, so after that, whenever we pass by that particular store, we do the shopping.
    (BTW, i’m a Huge Pro for Bulk Shopping of non-perishable items… shampoos, detergents, soaps, tooth brushes, steal wool, bed sheets, tissues, kids’ stationary, sanitary pads, cooking oil etc.) Some of these items even last for years…

  73. Nadia September 28, 2010 at 1:14 am

    It seems that i’m a Born-Saver. Without knowing all these things, I’ve been doing most of them since my school days.
    Keeping track of which thing got at best (lowest) price from which store also pays off (I agree with ‘Honour Horne-Jaruk’)… It’s something that i’ve been practicing since my marriage, and it gives sort of ‘Eternal Relief’ when you see the same thing being sold at higher price when you compare the prices at another store where you came to buy some other thing that is at its ‘best’ price at this very store…. confused wording… eh?
    And yes, you also save on car fuel when you don’t have to go to a particular store ‘specially’ for shopping. Rather you can leave half an hour early whenever you need to go to that area for some other task…..

  74. inspection building October 22, 2010 at 4:24 am

    Really good article. Lately I’ve been considering #22 (getting rid of my cellphone). Not sure if I’m ready to do that yet, but with each bill they send me, I think about it more and more. Lots of other good ones in here too. #11 is also a real eye opener!

  75. JaneGael November 6, 2010 at 5:15 am

    I just about choked when I read #30: Pass on Pets. Too many people will take this as “dump the pet.” Rescues and shelters are overflowing with abandoned animals because of the economy. Many thousands of pets who were loved are being dumped to die in pounds or simply dropped at the side of the road by people who think someone will magically pick up their pet and love it.

    How about ideas on how to trim pet care costs instead of making people think they would be better off without the dog or cat who thinks he has a home for life.

  76. Jen January 14, 2011 at 8:18 am

    If you can’t bear to cancel cable completely or have a spouse who won’t give up HD now that you have that BIG-screen TV, shop around with the providers in your area. Here in Ontario I was able to negotiate between Bell and Rogers…managed to bring my overall bill from $160/month down to $110/month without cutting any servies. This rate was guaranteed for one year, up for renegotiation at that point. Never hurts to ask!

    Note: includes cable (tv, HD, PVR), basic internet, and basic phone.

  77. Misty January 25, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Just wanted to share something I have just now figured out. I am the budgeting queen and have been working my tush off for the last year on spending less, cutting corners, finding deals and saving my little heart out! And as a result will be debt free in just 3 months!
    Today I learned that there was another way to ditch my monthly bank fees (other than going on a cash budget -which I did do, and trying to get a $2000.00 float in my account). It was simple. I add my grandmother’s name to my account and because she’s over 60 I get to change my account to the “60 Plan” unlimited transactions and NO BANK FEE’S!!! For me that’s $107.00 in my pocket instead of to the bank!

  78. Linda Jansen January 27, 2011 at 2:42 am

    I love purses,but never paid top buck for any of them. Just frequent the local consignment shop, and they are 25% of what you’d pay originally. This way you can recycle and sace tons of money. Also, for you Kindle lovers, shop the free Amazon Kindle down loads. I’ve got about 80 books on mine and they were all free.

  79. Laura February 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Cutting cost for pet owners;

    Check out the dollar stores. They have leashes, collars and toys all for $1. Don’t forget the treats.

    Check out a breed before obtaining the pet. What possible birth defects should you look for? ie. Pugs come with eyes that need special attention because they protude. Pokes require surgery and with other genetic tendancys go blind long before they are aged. Knowing these tenancys can help a prospective pet owner identify if the pet shows signs of the problem.

    Be sure you by from a good breeder. Poor breeders don’t care what they are selling/breeding and may be puppy farms on the small scale.

    Doing your own nail or wing clipping can be tricky but once someone has shown you how, it saves at least $5 dollars a trip.

    Chewers can be costly, replacing the things they destroy. Crate them when they are alonge or “splurge” on a training class.

    Declawing an indoor cat will save the furniture.

    Spade and nuter, need I say more?

    If going away, ask a friend to let the animal stay with them or have someone come in and care for your pet. Saves a lot on kennel fees.

  80. dlm February 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Declawing a cat is cruel: It’s the same as removing your fingernails. A cat can’t climb or balance with her nails.

  81. stu lach February 27, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Many grocers sell reduced price meats regularly.These are usually a day or two before the due date. They can be carefully wrapped,frozen and kept quite awhile. Using a grocery list is good but cruise the aisles anyway and look for sale stickers on things you use regularly. If it will keep then stock up on it.
    I keep a small notebook and calculator in my pocket when shopping. I keep updating lists of where the best prices are for grocery items we buy often.This way I know for sure if something really is a deal. By shopping the specials every week I’ve managed to save an average $120/mo for the last 9 months.
    Next up the other elephant in the room.. the cable bill.

  82. Tiff March 5, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Hi guys stumbled across this site yesterday and LOVE it!!

    My hint for those who want to save on groceries is to eat your cupboard bare- sounds silly right you will be suprised how creative you can become when is all you have got left is some noodles and beans and dehydrated broth mix!! I used to spend a lot more on the groceries befor i tried this and this only came about because the local store was doing renovations and i hated going in during this period – fresh milk, bread and veg are bought on the market, meat is bought in bulk from the butcher- we have cut the amount we buy down much to the disgust of my butcher, all cupboard items are used before i go to the store again we have saved money about 100 a month ( i have a big family) and our waist lines have slimmed too.

    So eat your cupboard bare.
    If you have kids make your own ceral/muesli bars, cakes and cookies for school lunches and throw in an apple and some carrot sticks – if they are hungry they will eat them.
    I also use a lot of generic brands – often they come out of the same factory as the name brand – check the addresses out!

  83. Bob March 9, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Try finding a non-ethanol gas station around where you live.

    If you drive 30,000 miles per year running the non-ethanol gas. You’re saving $900 per year. That’s counting the increased MPGs running on the non-ethanol gas and also accounting for the more expensive price of non-ethanol gas compared to the 10% mix.

    People across this country don’t realize that they are paying about $1,000 more per year with the decreased Miles Per Gallon from 10% ethanol mixed gas.

  84. Rob March 9, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I’d love to buy ethanol-free gas, but here in Colorado it’s just not available any more, even in the summertime. The increased expense makes it less appealing to the average person, so gas stations won’t carry it.

    I get at least 10% better mileage on “real” gas, as my car wants premium fuel, so I do feel kind of ripped off.

    Subsidizing corn farmers in the name of being “green” annoys me to no end.

    But if you can get it, non-ethanol gas is great. I was in Alberta a couple of years ago and all premium gas is non-ethanol, and my car was very happy.

  85. Bob March 10, 2011 at 5:02 am


    Here are 9 pure gas stations listed in Colorado:


    They might not be close to you though.

  86. Rob March 10, 2011 at 5:46 am


    Thanks. Indeed, all are far away from me. Thanks for the link, though!


  87. sharizat March 16, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    great list! not to mention all the comments! my philosophy is this: when i need something i first look for it around the house to see if i already have it; if not, i see if there’s a way i can make it; if not, see if i can do without; if all fails, i buy it but fist check it in thrift stores 🙂

  88. Edwin @ Save The Bills March 20, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Nice list, I especially agree with raising your deductible for your insurance. I’ve never actually used the insurance I pay for. Instead, I raise the deductible, get the lowest insurance I can and save my money.

  89. Karen March 29, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Here are some other tips on saving money. Instead of buying books,cd’s or renting movies, borrow them free at the library. Instead of taking a vacation down south, rent a cottage with other members of your family or friends for the week. (8 people = $100 each). Instead of going out with your friends for dinner, why not have a pot luck and make a night out of it (movie, or spa night with all home made products of course. If you have a spare room, rent it. Find a part-time job that pays cash! Clip coupons and use them. Unwanted clothes, bring them to a consignement shop. Trade services with friends. I found a hairdresser on the internet: $20.00 wash, cut, dry, and style!

  90. dlm March 30, 2011 at 2:49 am

    Where is your hairdresser? There’s a barber in Victoria who cuts men’s hair for $15, but I haven’t found someone for women’s hair — I cut my own, but it makes such a mess (do not try to vacuum cut hair off the floor — it will clog the hose). I tried hairdressing schools in the past but wasn’t keen on that, and you couldn’t get the same student next time.

  91. Josief April 22, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Excellent, I have been following most of these for my whole adult life. Well done, great list. One thing I would add to the other comments about hair – dye your own hair! I unfortunately have had to cover gray hair since I was 20 or so, and the salon charges for a dye job are ridiculous, so do it at home. Plus once you find the colour(s) you like, you can avoid the surprise of your stylist choosing something awful that they think will “look great on you”.

    Also – mix and matching clothes for work helps with the “need” to buy more up to date styles on a regular basis. Stick to the basics and change it up with accessories like scarves etc. I used to have friends the same size as me who would do clothes swaps as well, with your clothes you are tired of that would be “new” to someone else. Another thing I started doing was buying more expensive, high quality clothes, realising the that cost per wear was working out to be much cheaper than the clothes from the cheaper stores. Buying designer labels of great designs made from high quality fabric on sale is the way to go for me. Oh and my favourite, albeit perhaps not that easy for some – maintain your weight! Overeating itself is expensive, and if you stay the same size for the majority of your adult life (barring childbirth etc) you can wear your clothes for many years. I still wear good quality pants to work that I bought over 8 years ago…I am sure nobody can spot it either!

  92. Opsmgr June 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Great suggestions. Although we don’t agree with all of them, we wholeheartedly and unequivocally support number 22! Yes, especially 22.

  93. Benerese June 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Laura and dlm,

    Declawing a cat is a lot worse than just ‘removing the fingernails’. Because of the way a cat’s claws are attached to the skeleton, so-called ‘declawing’ is actually amputation of the first digit of the paws…. Imagine having the first digit of all of your fingers hacked off. Pretty horrifying!

    A more accurate phrasing would be ‘toe-amputation’. Not something to be done casually to save a few bucks on a good scratch-post.

  94. Observer July 5, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Lots of good tips, but at some point you have to live your life, which costs money.

  95. Tom July 5, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Regarding #6, you can make the best coffee in the planet using your French Press. This website lays out the financial side of it and also the brewing method involved. http://studyspice.blogspot.com/2010/08/french-press-part-ii-save-money-for.html

  96. rob July 6, 2011 at 7:09 am

    @Tom.. I love coffee, but after years of experimentation I have to disagree with the idea that the french press makes “the best coffee”. Not for me, anyway. I’ve found that very finely (almost espresso grind) coffee slowly watered with boiling water whilst sitting in a single-cup filter does it best. For me…. And even at $15/pound it is infinitely cheaper than going out for coffee!

  97. Lucy July 19, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Great list and not much to add, except join a credit union. They are more “user-friendly”, have a wide-range of products and services which are usually better than those at banks, their ATM network is extensive so you avoid ATM fees (some will even reimburse ATM fees if you have to use an out-of-network ATM), there’s free checking, higher paying savings rates, lower loan fees, and so much more. I happen to have a credit card which my sister and I share for maximum accumulated points. The points can be used for any number of things, including airline travel on ANY carrier with NO blackout dates. There’s a small yearly fee, but it’s worth it and costs less than similar, less extensive card programs. We pay it off each month, so never have to pay the late fees or interest, even though the percentage rate is lower than banks. We’ve taken several trips for free, excluding the yearly fee, and never had any trouble making a reservation for any date on any carrier we chose. Our separate checking accounts are free, and they earn a higher interest rate than even a regular savings account would up to $30,000. That, alone, puts an extra $60+ in my savings every month. There are requirements, but they’re easy to do: have at least one bill paid automatically from your account (why not? it saves time, postage, nerves of remembering/forgetting), have one direct deposit set up (most employers have this option for paychecks, which saves on gas and car use to/from a place to make the deposit, is immediately deposited and available, saves more nerves by not having to stand in line or worry that you’ll write a NSF check because you didn’t have the money in your account on time, etc.), you have to use your debit card at least 12 times during the month. I use the self-service lane at the grocery store and often put through 1 or 2 items per debit card transaction. I can finish up my 12 requirements in 2 or 3 trips to the store. You can complete a transaction pretty fast with a little practice — tee hee. On top of that, the grocery store where I do most of my shopping has its own “rewards” program that accrues points and offers rebates and valuable coupons based on your spending habits. Oh, I forgot to mention that the store’s rewards card can also be used for a 10 cent discount on gas!!!!! I’m a born saver, or at least learned at the knees of my parents, so most of the things on your extensive list and the added tips by posters sound like no-brainers to me. You just have to keep your eyes open, pick what works for you and make a few small changes. It’s almost a game. I will keep my old TV, which I rarely watch, until it gives out. It has a great picture and there’s no need to buy the latest super-duper wide-screen monstrosity. I get books from the library or a community lending library or trade with friends. I use a TracFone for emergencies and road travel only. Having to buy 60 minutes of airtime 4 times a year is pittance compared to what friends with regular cell plans spend. I’d love an IPhone or IPad, but do I really need one? No. I can do my computing at home and don’t like to be tied to any device when I’m supposed to be out enjoying myself some other way. Now, if I could only get rid of some of the stuff I’ve accumulated, I’d be happy. Right now, I’m doing the things that seem natural to me. To someone else, they may seem like a lot of work. Even small changes will reap rewards if you make them a habit or a game. I’ve cut my own hair since I was 15 years old, so don’t even have an idea of what it would cost to have it done. I do treat myself to a monthly massage, an occasional pedicure and do have high-speed fiber optic internet, but figure they’re paid for by what I save in other areas. Enjoy the game! It’s easier that way.

  98. Sourabh July 25, 2011 at 12:01 am

    some points in the list are just not practical.
    Example – cut down cable & cell phones is just impracticable.

    & cut ur Gym bill & start walking is impossible. cut Gym & what get obese, pay doctor fees cause u have diabetics & other desieses as a result of obesity. instead i will try a Gym which is more cheap.

    Although list is good, but not all points are worthy to give a try, i mention some not practical their might be other points u can find.

  99. rob July 25, 2011 at 7:31 am


    Cut down cable isn’t practical? You *need* cable TV to live?

    Walking is impossible, but working out in a gym is? In what way is walking impossible, if you’re not crippled.

    All your objections can be summed up in “But I don’t *want* to do these things”. The ones you mention in particular are wants, not needs.

  100. megan August 8, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Great List! One great tid-bit I’ve been given before is to take the amount you save, the 50 cents from a coupon or a few dollars from making coffee at home and actually put that amount in a jar. At the end of the month or every 3 months (whatever works for you) roll and the change and put it towards whatever you are saving for – debt repayment, trip etc. My husband and I are going to save for a year and donate the saving to charity (and next year we can add the tax savings to our new change jar!)

  101. Aunt Cloud September 12, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Drive within the speed limits and don’t break any traffic laws: tickets feel like a slap in the face, not to mention your budget.

    Establish a babysitting co-op with a friend whose kids you don’t mind watching once a month – saves on babysitting, never mind actually finding a sitter.

    Many of you will disagree on this one, but limit the number of activities your children are enrolled into, and limit the ones you decide are important into activities that are not too difficult to get to/from. In spring I see many frazzled, tired mothers hauling two, three or four kids from soccer to t-ball to swimming to dance recitals, and it’s obvious no one is having any fun. If your child is a prodigy who shows amazing promise in playing the harp or aerial acrobatics, by all means, do what you can to help them realize their potential; otherwise, if your goal is some physical activity, don’t spend your afternoons in the car (you’ll save on food bought on the run as well).

  102. JoeAverage September 13, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Want to save massive cash? Don’t have kids! (bear with me a little here) We had two children in daycare consecutively for ten years. It was about $4500 per year. $45K!?!?!?! WOW.

    No really, we’ve had ALOT of fun with our kids. Wouldn’t trade them for all our money of course. They are our greatest wealth.

    Saving money: learn to do basic maintenance on your car like oil changes. Drive it gently so it will last. Our CR-V has 222K miles on it. The repairs have been minimal (radiator $200 and water pump $75 and I did the work).

    You folks on the coasts and up north – wash the bottom and rinse out the fenders of your cars often to keep the salt from consuming your car. Learn to do brakes. Swapping brake pads and shoes are cheap but the shops are SO expensive. Just get someone to show you or take a basic maintenance course at your local community college.

    Mow your own grass. Ditch the gas mower when it wears out and buy a reel mower if you have a small yard. We love our’s. Quiet, no dangerous debris being thrown, no dust, very little maintenance, etc. Doesn’t work so well with an acre of grass. 😉 We have a small yard. Mow often. Not nearly as hard to push as the one my grandfather had. Depends greatly on how the cutting bar is adjusted against the reel. Doesn’t need to rub the bar hard to cut well.

    Ditch the cable and satellite in favor of a Roku-like device. Subscribe to Hulu and Netflix/Amazon On Demand. Buy an antenna for network TV. Helps if you aren’t married to a TV enthusiast who has specific “needs”. We have thousands of shows and movies to pick from but if you’re a person trying to watch a specific series with your friends on specific nights and discussing it over the watercooler the next day, TV on demand might not work for you.

    Roku = $100 or less and no subscription fees ever, Hulu/Netflix/Amazon = about $8 each per month. Lots of free content that you may or may not like as well on the Roku. We love the free music and there are UK channels there too sometimes.

    We were paying $40 something per month for Dish Network. Our local cable TV option was insanely priced so they weren’t even an option we’d consider. Our kids are watching individual shows and then turning off the TV rather than just leaving the Tv on all afternoon in the background. YAY! Some of their shows are 10+ years old but the show is new to them so who cares? our oldest is a big “American Pickers” fan now.

    I find that I watch a single TV show per evening now at most. Watch something, am satisfied, go do something else different. No commercials except on Hulu. Our youngest asks for fewer snacks while watching TV b/c kids’ TV commercials are all about junkfood these days! Older child is less of a consumerist with no commercials. YAY! We also only have one TV so we watch together most of the time.

    Subscription TV really ought to be ala-carte. We were paying for the 150 channel package from Dish and watching 6-8 channels. Wasn’t worth it.

  103. JoeAverage September 13, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Computers – switch from Windows to free Mint Linux KDE or Mint Linux Gnome.

    Don’t know what I am talking about? Cruise over to Wikipedia for a read.

    Linux is virus proof so you don’t need MacAfee or Norton or ??? antivirus subscriptions.

    Linux generally has lower hardware requirements so that same computer that is slow and frustrating? It might run Linux quite happily and fast.

    There are hundreds/thousands of applications in Linux and they are all FREEEEEE! So is the operating system (that replaces Windows). The software is compatible with Windows so you can run Linux, use OpenOffice or LibreOffice or Abiword to make MS Office files if you must. Rather than send out MS Office formats I use native Libre/Open/Abiword file formats and then send out a PDF to friends and family. Everybody can open a PDF. Last I heard there is a program here in Linux-land that allows me to install MS Office inside of Linux but I have not tried it. It is called “PlayOnLinux”.

    How do you get started? Do some reading. You’ll find that there is this whole parallel universe of computer users that use Linux and accomplish more than most Windows users can afford to accomplish because the Windows user has to buy expensive software.

    Let me aim you at Mint Linux. Go to their website and start reading the tutorials and the forum. Ask questions there. Don’t jump into Linux blindly. It’s not hard but I am trying to minimize your frustration. I was an advanced Windows user but a Linux newbie. Suddenly not knowing all the answers in Linux-land was both frustrating and exhilarating back in ~2000. I was suddenly free from the computer money machine and “virus proof”. All I had to do was get used to it. It’s like moving from Windows to a Mac. Things look slightly different but are not really any harder.

    Download open-source software and put it on your Windows computer. Get used to it so when you do the big switch to Linux you have some familiar touchstones. Use Opera or Firefox or Google Chrome for your browser. Use Opera mail or Thunderbird e-mail. Use LibreOffice or Abiword or IBM Symphony or OpenOffice for your office software. Use GIMP of F-Spot for your photoeditor. Watch tutorials on YouTube. Read tutorials on the project websites. I thought switching to open-source software was REALLY easy but some folks are intimidated when their icons change to a different theme of their computers’ colors change. I helped a very intelligent man use Firefox last week for the first time. He was a devout Internet Explorer user and his computer once again got a virus. We opened Firefox and his first question was – how do I get to XYZ website? The bovious answer to me was type the address into the address bar at the top of the screen JUST LIKE Internet Explorer. To him though he was looking at a completely different creature – like the difference between a sportcars and a camel. 5 mins later he was just as content with Firefox as he had been using IE. He just needed somebody to hold his hand for for his first steps.

    If people can survive upgrades from WinXP to WinVista to Win7 then they certainly can survive a switch to Linux! 😉

    Anyhow once you’ve used the freebies for a month or so in Windows then landing in Linux-land isn’t nearly as scary. You can download Linux Mint KDE and burn it to a DVD and then start your computer so that it reads from the DVD. About 5 mins later you can use Linux without ever changing your Windows computer. You can test your computer’s Wi-Fi, the video, the sound, etc. You can surf the web. With a little knowledge you could go into your Windows files and fix broken things there. When you’re done – reboot, take the CD or DVD out, and then you’re back into Windows. Think of it as Linux-temporary. The big word for it is “Linux LiveCD” or “linux LiveDVD”. Again – Wikipedia is your friend here. Look it up for a more complete explanation.

    Anyhow – the savings: No more purchasing upgrades to Windows or Office. Your computer should last longer (not go obsolete b/c it is slow). All the other software you use is free too.

    Side benefits: you’ll start questioning why our gov’t and schools don’t use Linux to save money. You’ll find that gov’ts and schools in other countries DO use Linux. You start complaining that you can’t buy TV ala-carte and about fact that the entertainment and movie studios networks are hostile to Linux though they use it. (Netflix currently will play on Linux powered devices but not on Linux computers… This is supposedly going to change soon. It is not because Linux is bad but because Netflix uses Microsoft software in the online player…)

    I’m going to estimate that the average family might save between $150 and $200 per year using Linux b/c ANY trip to a computer repair store for Windows virus delousing is going to cost $50 minimum. The annual anti-virus software subscription is going to cost about $30. Any software you buy is going to be $35 per title. Then there is the falling value of your computer as it slows a little each year b/c Windows just gets slower with age for whatever reason. I happily run an EIGHT year old desktop computer at home for e-mail, internet, pictures, etc. It uses Mint Linux KDE 8.0. I have a 700 MHz laptop that runs Mint Linux 10 LXDE that can also do the same functions. YouTube is pretty hard on it though b/c the Linux version of Flash is power hungry so I don’t watch YouTube on it. It does however happily play thousands of songs via RadioParadise and my local music collection.

    I have friends who replace their Windows every few years b/c these machines think they are out of date. No, it’s their store bought software that gets clunky.


    That shows desktops going all the way back to Version 1.

    You can also find screenshots of Mint Linux but the recent versions have adopted a default grey and black theme that is really dreary. You can change it and I do immediately after setting up a computer. The computers I set up are bright and cheerful.

    To Kerry – I’d be happy to help you elaborate on this topic in an article sometime. There are plenty of links out there to good tutorials – video and fixed text/pictures.

  104. Vic @ Business Tips Blog October 14, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I love eating at home. It will save us money, and it will also keep our body healthy and fit, avoiding any future medical expenses.

  105. CardiacRN October 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    A few tips to add:

    This year I saved money by switching my car insurance company. The yearly cost to insure my car is now $2500 cheaper. I have insurancehotline.com to thank for that!

    Take advantage of discount sites like Wagjag, Livingdeals, etc.

    If your employer offers employee discounts, use them! My work offers discount deals on electronics, entertainment, vacations, shopping and it has saved me money over the years.

  106. frugalfran November 20, 2011 at 7:36 am

    A few suggestions to reduce grocery bill:
    1. buy several rags and use them in place of paper towels
    2. make your own laundry soap
    3. make and freeze your meals

    A single suggestion to increase income:
    1. donate/sell your plasma

  107. Violet Lub November 22, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    also, if you live in BC, Coast Capital Savings Credit Union also have free chequing accounts. i switched from the big brightly-coloured provincial credit union (who shall remain nameless) and have saved $14/month ($168/year).

  108. Jessica December 26, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    My husband and I gave up cable back in 2009 and have not regretted it one bit. Fringe benefits include feeling better about yourself because the boob-tube isn’t there to tell you how to look, dress, or eat. I quit shaving my legs around the same time we gave up cable (another green saver), and the lack of razor commercials has helped me stick to my guns.

  109. JMK January 11, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    For many years we’ve been doing most of the items on the list (used cars, pack lunches, no cable, basic cell plan, meal planning etc). Our only splurge is a big family trip every other year. After cutting out all the obvious wasteful spending, we hit a plateau. Unless we were prepared to sell our home and really downsize, we seemed unable to find other places to save. I was certain there was more we could cut out, so we tried looking at our spending from a different perspective. Instead of how much more can we cut out, we tried working from the absolute bare minimum and seeing how little we could add on.

    Now if it’s not essential we don’t include it in the spending plan. As a result we’ve carved our basic expenses down to ~55% of our take home pay. The rest goes to retirement savings, extra mortgage payments, bianual trips and very occasionally, a totally nonessential purchase. The need for a monster emergency fund disappears when you can lose one salary and really not feel it. If one of us were laid off, we’d simply temporarily stop our retirement savings and extra mortgage payments. We definitely don’t live large like our friends and coworkers. We spend on our priorities, and ruthelessly cut out everything else. When it’s not your priority, you really don’t miss it.

    We plan out our essential, basic spending a year in advance. It’s easy to predict and allows you to see very clearly how much “excess” you would have IF you stuck to just the essentials. It’s a lot like the article on this site about getting married for $239 (licence and officiant) and anything more is unecessary and spent purely at your discretion. For the next year you can easily predict your mortgage/rent payments, monthly fixed items (cell, landline, internet, life insurance, property tax, etc). Based on several years of data, we know within a couple of dollars what we spend weekly on groceries and gas, so I put in a plug amount on the spreadsheet. As the year unfolds we replace the planned numbers with the actuals and the running balance updates. The big money saver is that whenever we do anything beyond the essentials, we have to add a row to the list in that week. Boy does that draw attention to any unplanned and therefore nonessential item. Rather than having $x in the plan for restaurants each week, we add the row IF we go to a restaurant. Mentally having given myself a preapproved amount to spend on entertainment, clothes, coffee etc, would just tempt me to do it since it was already planned. This way I know I should have $x of excess left on Friday after the pay arrives and all the week’s charges have been paid (all on the CC). Every Friday I then transfer out everything over ~$1000 and send it to our retirement savings or make an extra mortgage payment. If there is less than expected for the Friday transfer it forces us to face the fact that we consciously chose to go to spend that extra money and retire ____ days later. Since retiring early (without our mortgage of course) are our two big priorities, it sure shines a light on every non-essential purchase.

  110. JoeAverage January 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    JMK – That’s EXACTLY the kinds of details I wanted to hear. Great recipe for financial success.

  111. JoeAverage January 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I get sort of frustrated with articles about losing weight for example. My. Doe lost 65 pounds and kept it off by exercising more, eating better, and staying more active!

    I come away from the article not knowing what he eats three times a day (if three), what he does for exercise or for how long or how often, and what his daily schedule is to see if the guy sleeps 2 hours a night or if he gets a full night’s sleep but has a spare 7.5 hours a day b/c he is retired…

    Thanks again JMK, SquawkFox and all the commenters.

  112. Save Money in 2012 « JustMyPOV January 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    […] the topic and look what pops up. 5 Ways to Save $1000 a Year, Ten Ways to Save $1000, even 50 Ways to Save $1000 a Year. Saving money is definitely on just about everyone’s resolution list. Since it can be quite […]

  113. debbie February 8, 2012 at 11:14 am

    WOW…I’ve owned a house for 27 yrs and around here you have to have mortgage insurance to secure a mortgage (Ontario, Canada)..there’s no other way….disability attatched to the mortgage no, but basic term insurance to mortgage holder is required.
    Paying for life insurance on children is a decent investment unless you’re made of money to pay for a funeral and can afford to take months of if need be for grieving time. I still have that payout available now they’re adults to pay for funerals if it ever happened…that’s just bunk.

  114. Ruth Cooke April 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    1) Insurance of any kind IS NOT an investment. Any payout you get will be far below what you would get if you simply put that money into a decent savings account. And life insurance is to replace lost income, not to bury someone. Use savings for that, and there are many ways to keep expenses down and still have a respectful burial. Do your homework!

    2) You DO NOT have to have mortgage insurance in Canada IF your down payment is 25% of the purchase price or more. If you can save that amount of money for a down payment, I’d suggest opting for term life (NOT whole life) instead. That money pays out to whoever you designate as recipient, and they can choose to use it to pay off the mortgage if they want, or sell the house and use the money for something else.

    3) Re pets: I have, over the years, gotten far too many pets secondhand from students who either couldn’t afford to keep them, or who were moving at the end of the school year and couldn’t take them with them. Pets are a long term proposition, they’re expensive, and they’re living creatures deserving of respect. Do your homework before you get a pet, get one from a local shelter, make certain it’s vaccinated and spayed or neutered before you bring it home. Make certain it’s been with it’s mother long enough to develop properly. Very young kittens and puppies are cute, true, but if they’ve been removed too quickly from their mothers, they may very well develop life-long, EXPENSIVE digestive problems. NEVER adopt or buy an animal on a whim.

    4) Regarding saving costs on the gym and walking for exercise: I can go you one better! I got three (soon to be four) paper routs in my area. I get about 3/4 of mandatory walking six days a week, and I GET PAID TO DO IT! Considering I now take in about $120 a month, and I used to shell out $35 a month for a gym membership I didn’t use, that’s a savings of $155 or more each month. And I’ve lost about 15 pounds in the last six months, making no other changes.

  115. Margaret Hart April 24, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    When our son wore cloth diapers, the doctor recommended 1 cup of white vinegar in the final rinse – it got rid of the soap residue and he never had diaper rash again. Never thought to use it for the rest of the wash – thanks for the tip. Have put vinegar and bulk baking soda on my shopping list.

    If you want to avoid using dryer sheets, but hate using liquid softener, try this – wet an old face cloth, ring it out as much as you can, then pour some liquid softener on it, scrunch it up a bit to distribute it all over the facecloth and voila reusable dryer sheets. You use way less than if you were pouring it into your washer, and ultimate, into the sewer system.

  116. Rusty May 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I’m starting to realize (thanks to my son) that if I change our cell phone carrier (Verizon) I could cut my bill in half.

  117. Alice August 19, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Oh gosh on #10

    There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
    Ditchin’ bus on rainy days too, it saves a lot of money.

  118. silver September 23, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    The best way to save money is to sit down and calculate all of your earnings, spending, and savings. Make a budget on what you would like to spend for each category (EX: bowling, eating out, groceries, gas). When you get your check, withdraw the total amount and once completed, you will have $0. (Some can go into savings)

  119. Sue January 5, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Solar lights, bought at harbor Freight with a 20% off coupon used for on-sale solar lights.

    I buy as much solar as I can. I love it. My electric as about $25 a month.

  120. Nick @ BayCrazy April 14, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Great tips and well written.

    I particularly concur with the meat factor… good meat can add-up fast, but man… those porterhouse steaks are so good.

    My ruthless drug and gambling addictions probably don’t help when it comes to having enough to pay my child support either. Just joking! I don’t have kids. They died of starvation; from no food… as I gambled all their child support money. Okay no seriously now, that was funny.

    I don’t have a gambling problem, and I’d be willing to bet my house on that.

    No, hold the applause; I’m here all week.

  121. Stu (budget sheet) April 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Kerry, great suggestions. Under the heading of “woulda,coulda shoulda” I would suggest using the work benefits before retiring (ya I know this is a limited demographic). My regret is not using my dental benenfit to the max before my retirement. Also if you’re not on the road having a landline can be cheaper than the cellphone. I’m not so important I need to be available immediately so I rely on my home answering machine/landline for $20/mo versus $38-40/mo I was paying for my cell which I rarely used. On the shopping list, I agree but sometimes it pays to walk thru the stores looking at the unadvertised specials as I often find and stock up on items I need/use regularly. I shop the flyers weekly and after tracking the savings minus gas cost found I saved $100/mo (13 month avg) by hittng all our local stores on 1 trip.

  122. Alex Cruz August 29, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    #1 is a huge money saving tip. Paying the high interests rates can really eat up your income. I would combine this with your tip about searching for a credit card that can work for you. I personally have a Visa card through Bank of America that gives me back 3% cash back on gas and groceries. It gives me 1% cash back on everything else. I use this card to pay for all of my monthly costs and then pay it off in full at the end of the month. I personally wait until I have accumulated $500 cash back and then have it direct deposited into my bank account. I have a few friends who cash out every $25.. Either way… it’s a huge help.

  123. Saga September 25, 2013 at 1:17 am

    That’s a great list, I agree quit smoking should be on it.

  124. Dawn M October 31, 2013 at 3:33 am

    I love the list but disagree on one thing. The life insurance for your kids. You SHOULD carry just enough life ins if something were to happen to them. Do you really want to spend the next 10 years paying for your child’s funeral? My life insurance automatically insures both of mine for $10, 000 each. I know I could not bear the fact of losing a child so why make it harder on yourself just to save a few dollars a month?

  125. sarah February 15, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    I use tinfoil in the dryer to dry clothes.One big ball and it works great

  126. Liz January 28, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    I realize this is an oldie-but-goodie post – found it via your top posts lists. Love your site and have been poking around.

    Re #26 – the truly frugal choice is to reconsider the cell phone. Landlines are cheap – cell phones are expensive. Why do you think there’s a cell phone store on every corner in the city? They’re one of the few businesses that can afford the high rents because we’re enabling them. I have to have a cell phone for business but as soon as I can I’m ditching it and getting some cheap prepaid thing for emergencies. Cell phones are an indulgence in most cases – not a necessity by a long shot.

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