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277 Ways to Save Money

piggy bankWhen money is tight, it’s time to save.  Just about everyone can benefit from saving a bit, including many businesses.  Continuing with our personal development series and in support of Audio Transcription‘s many cash conscious customers and their businesses, I present the world’s longest list of ways to save money.

If you’re interested in how to save money, perhaps you’re interested in earning extra money, as well.  Here’s our how to make money guide, which contains 233 different ways to make money.

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Save Money on Groceries

  1. The cardinal rules of frugal grocery shopping: (1) Always bring a grocery list (and stick to that list), (2) never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry and (3) go grocery shopping when you’re in a hurry (this will ensure you shop deliberately and stick to your list).  All of these are good ways to save money and avoid impulse buying.
  2. Grocery stores put items with the nearest expiration dates near the front of shelves (i.e. milk, bread, etc.).  Always reach behind these items to find the items that will last longer.
  3. Visit bakeries/coffee shops right before they close. This is one of the best ways to save money. Some will offer whatever baked goods they haven’t sold at a steep discount.  Many others will give them away for free.
  4. Buy a hand soap dispenser and refill it with a larger (and much cheaper) bottle of replacement soap.  Additionally, hand soap is sold at very concentrated levels; go with a half soap/half water mix instead.
  5. Use grocery bags as trash bags. If this won’t work because you have a big trashcan, consider switching to a smaller one. This is one of the easiest ways to save money and, as a bonus, you’ll be forced to take the trash out every day, which will ensure your kitchen doesn’t smell.
  6. When you find a great deal on a non-perishable item, stock up. Do you always get the same shampoo?  Next time it goes on sale, buy five.  Not only will you “lock-in” the sale and save money, but you’ll also save gas and the hassle that comes with having to go to the store right when you run out of shampoo.
  7. Skip eating meat. Eating meat can be expensive.  Skip eating meat three times a week and you could save $25/week or $1,300/year.
  8. Before you buy inexpensive perishable goods at the store, check the expiration date. Though your item might seem like a great deal, it’s not if it expires tomorrow.
  9. Learn how this person bought groceries on $1/day for 100 days.
  10. Start a vegetable garden. If you are a nature lover, this is one of the most enjoyable ways to save money.
  11. Buy smaller plates. There’s research to suggest that you’ll eat less if you eat off of smaller plates.  It’s also safe to assume that you’ll waste less food (because you’ll serve yourself less) if you eat off of smaller plates.
  12. Refill ink cartridges. A new printer cartridge can cost $20-40 (some as high as $80).  Don’t throw empty ink cartridges out; refill them.  Here’s how.
  13. Buy a deep freezer. Doing so will allow you to buy meat and frozen goods in bulk at wholesale stores.
  14. Organize your pantry and cupboards by expiration date. There’s a reason grocery stores put items with the nearest expiration dates near the front of shelves: They want to sell the items before they go bad.  One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to organize your shelves this way, as you want to eat the items before they expire.  This exercise will also help you understand what food you currently have, as many people rebuy items they already have in stock (especially things like canned goods) because they were unaware that they already own them.
  15. Buy one-day-old bagels. Many bagel shops sell bags of one-day-old bagels at a steep discount (often something like $3 for a dozen).  Though they are a little firmer than freshly baked bagels, if you just put them in the toaster, they’re exactly like toasted freshly baked bagels.
  16. Only do your grocery shopping at supermarkets. Corner stores, general stores and pharmacies-turned-markets always charge a premium.  If your grocery store is far away, see if yours offers grocery delivery for a fee.  If you’re buying for a family, chances are this fee is less than the extra amount you’d spend if you shopped at the corner store.
  17. Always buy in bulk. Shopping at wholesale stores is one of the best ways to save money, especially if you can share the cost of membership.
  18. Don’t buy coffee from Starbucks, Peet’s, etc.  Make it at home or get it at the office.  At $3/drink, that’s $750/year if you work 5 days/week and 50 weeks/year.
  19. Ask yourself, “Do I need this?” When grocery shopping, one of the most effective ways to save money is to ask yourself, right before you put something in the cart and right as you’re taking it out of the cart, “Do I need this?”  Even better than running all of your selected items through this “Do I need this?” check while you’re waiting to check out, pull off to the side of the store before you even enter the checkout line and go through your items one-by-one.
  20. Buy fruits and vegetables at local produce markets. Vendors at local produce markets generally have lower overhead costs and thus offer cheaper prices.
  21. Buy vitamins. If you’re going to be saving money on groceries, you might be tempted to buy less healthy food because it’s less expensive (i.e. Ramen noodles).  Watch your diet carefully and consider supplementing your diet with generic vitamins.  Don’t sacrifice your health for a few dollars.
  22. Never buy bottled water. If you absolutely can’t drink tap water, buy a Brita filter.
  23. Buy generic items. Often generic items literally contain the exact same ingredients as their branded counterparts.  Medicines are a great example.  For some food items, generics might not be perfect substitutes, so it can make sense to avoid them, but certainly you can buy generic Swiffer pads, shampoo, etc.
  24. Use the promotional flyers that grocery stores send out to plan your meals for the week. This is one of the simplest ways to save money on groceries. For instance, if you see that chicken breasts are on sale this week, then plan a few meals that utilize the inexpensive chicken breasts.  Plan your entire week’s meals this way.

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Save Money on Electricity

  1. Air dry your clothes instead of using your dryer.
  2. Make sure your refrigerator is not next to your dishwasher or oven. Your dishwasher passes a lot of heat to your refrigerator (and then your refrigerator has to cool down).  Can you move them apart to save electricity and thus save money?
  3. Buy ENERGY STAR approved appliances. ENERGY STAR appliances are appliances that meet certain government standards for energy efficiency and make it easy to save money on electricity.
  4. Put all of your chargers on one surge bar (I don’t suggest using them all at the same time, though).  We tend to leave chargers plugged in at all times, which drains energy from your house even if you’re not charging a device.  By putting them all on a single power strip, you can use the power strip’s on/off switch and only turn the strip on when necessary.
  5. Buy more underwear; do fewer partial loads of laundry. What is the primary reason you do laundry?  You run out of underwear.  Those jeans can be re-worn, but your underwear can’t be.
  6. Turn your water heater down. This is one of the easiest ways to save money. If the maximum water temperature of your faucets is too hot for you to use, then you’re overheating your water and wasting energy.
  7. Turn off nonessential lights.
  8. Wash your clothes in cold water. Eighty five percent of the energy used to wash clothes in a washing machine is used by the water heater.  Washing your clothes in cold water is one of the simplest ways to save money on energy.
  9. Use energy efficient light bulbs.
  10. Use an ice cube tray instead of an ice maker. Turn your ice maker off and buy a $1 ice cube tray instead.  You’ll save a lot of energy and keep more cash in your wallet.
  11. Unplug electronics when you leave your house for long periods of time (i.e. on vacation).  Your appliances use a lot energy when they’re plugged in, even if they’re not actively “in use.”
  12. Insulate your water heater with a water heater blanket.  This will help your water heater retain as much heat as possible, meaning your water heater will waste less energy and you will save money.
  13. Clean your dryer’s lint trap. Do you have to run your dryer twice?  Clean the lint trap and your dryer will dry clothes far more efficiently, which will mean more cash will stay in your wallet.

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Frugal Cooking

  1. Don’t throw out overripe fruit; there are plenty of things you can bake that call for overripe fruit.
  2. Take your lunch to work instead of buying it on-site.  This is one of the easiest ways to save money if you’re already making lunches for your kids to take to school.
  3. Try hiring someone to cook your meals if you eat out often because you’re strapped for time. Erica at Erica.biz did this and got restaurant quality meals delivered to her house for less than the cost of going out.
  4. Next time you cook, double the recipe and freeze half of it for a future meal.  Not only will this allow you to buy ingredients in bulk, saving money, but you’ll also have a meal on hand that’s nearly ready-to-eat, which will greatly reduce the likelihood that you’ll eat out just to save time.
  5. Only wash full loads of dishes. This is one of the easiest ways to save money and energy.
  6. Don’t open your oven while cooking. A lot of heat is lost.  Instead, use your oven light.  You’ll prevent a lot of heat from escaping, you won’t need to reheat the oven, and you will save money.
  7. Buy spices (and/or Sriracha sauce).  Spices will allow you to modify your leftovers enough that you’ll actually eat them, meaning far less food will go to waste.
  8. Eat eggs for breakfast. This is one of the simplest ways to save money. There’s research to suggest that eating eggs for breakfast significantly reduces hunger cravings throughout the day, which means you’ll spend less on food.
  9. Don’t eat out as much as you usually do. Cook at home instead.
  10. Use SuperCook.com. Don’t let the items in your fridge go to waste.  Visit SuperCook.com, which is a reverse cookbook; you enter the ingredients you have and it tells you what meals you can make.
  11. Don’t buy a kitchen timer (or sell yours if you already have one). Save money by using an online kitchen timer instead.
  12. Most microwaves are far more energy efficient than stoves. Can you use your microwave for tasks that you currently carry out on your stove top?  Boiling water, perhaps?
  13. Never buy a cookbook. There are hundreds of thousands of recipes available for free online.  Just visit a site like AllRecipes.com.
  14. Make cheaper microwave popcorn with these simple instructions from the New York Times.

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Save Money on Gas

  1. Telecommute. Save money on gas by working for your employer from home.
  2. Buy the cheapest gas your owner’s manual recommends. Most cars don’t need anything more than that.  Different grades of gas were far more relevant in previous generations of cars.
  3. Use cruise control. Maintaining a steady speed will lead to much more efficient gas usage, meaning you’ll save money.
  4. Organize carpools for your kids. The is one of the best ways to save money and time, and it has the added benefit of making your kids’ commute to school more exciting.
  5. Trade in your vehicle for a more fuel efficient car.
  6. Find carpool or rideshare options by visiting eRideShare.com, Craigslist’s rideshare section and/or CarpoolWorld.com.   Even better, here’s a directory of national and regional rideshare websites. This is one of the best ways to save money because it also allows you to meet new people and decrease the stress of commuting.
  7. Calculate the savings associated with buying a more efficient car. When you’re comparing cars, compare fuel efficiency, but actually calculate how much extra money you’ll spend on gas if you buy the car that has worse gas mileage.
  8. Take items out of your car’s trunk and off of your roof rack. Doing both will increase your gas mileage and help you save money.
  9. Make sure your car’s tires have the right amount of air. Underinflated tires cause lower gas mileage which means you’ll spend more on gas.

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Frugal Shopping

  1. Almost never buy the extended warranty on an electronic device for these reasons.
  2. Throw catalogs out the second you receive them. Make it a rule.  Don’t open them… ever.
  3. Buy online instead of in stores. If you see something you love in a store, copy important details about the product and see if you can find it for less online later.  In addition to allowing you to comparison shop, shopping online will let you view product reviews and search for coupon codes, both of which are covered in this list.
  4. Buy gifts from the “Bargain Books” sections of Borders and Barnes and Noble. These sections often contain coffee table books, photo books, book gift sets and cookbooks.  You can get brand new hardcover photo books for $3-$10, marked down from $50 in many cases.
  5. Buy irregular or overstocked items from TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
  6. Join a number of group buying websites. Sites like GroupOn.com and LivingSocial.com send one daily deal to your email.  This is one of the best ways to save money and learn about new businesses in your area. If over a certain amount of people buy the deal, then the deal is active and can be used (i.e. you can buy $30 worth of cookies at a local bakery if 100 people purchase the deal for $15 — a 50% discount — as long as at least 99 other people buy the deal as well).  If not enough people buy the deal, then your money is refunded.  Here is a list of over 115 group buying sites, but GroupOn.com and LivingSocial.com are by far the most popular.
  7. Buy group buying coupons from aftermarket sites. Groupon coupons and other coupons from group buying sites help you save money, but you can get these coupons even cheaper than you can from the websites themselves.  There are two group buying coupon aftermarkets that allow you to buy group buying coupons from other people, often at a steep discount.  They are: CoupRecoup.com and DealsGoRound.com.
  8. Coordinate with friends to make bulk purchases. Do you have a small family?  Don’t miss out on being able to make bulk purchases; just do so with friends or neighbors.  If there’s a great deal at your local wholesale store on packages of 40 rolls of paper towels, buy the paper towels, take 20 rolls each and split the costs.
  9. Use your partial gift cards on retailers’ websites. A lot of stores will only let you use one payment method, but websites often let you use a gift card and then a credit card for the balance that the gift card cannot cover.
  10. Buy cheap pet food. I find it shocking how much people will spend on “organic pet food,” etc.  Not only is there no conclusive evidence to support the belief that more expensive pet food is healthier for your animals, but at the end of the day, your dog is a dog.  It might be wonderful, but it drinks from the toilet; it doesn’t care how much its food costs.
  11. Make your own gifts. If you want to give a gift that will really be remembered, this is one of the best ways to save money. Just be careful to ensure that the cost of your supplies is less than the cost of buying a gift.
  12. Always ask for refurbished models when buying electronics. Refurbished models are models that have been sold, returned (sometimes because of a defect, sometimes because of a change in preference), restored to the quality of a regular model and offered at a steep discount.  They are often sold with warranties that resemble those of their brand new counterparts.
  13. Visit Woot.com. Woot.com offers one daily deal, often at a really steep discount.
  14. Reframe purchasing decisions for luxury goods in terms of expensive necessary goods. How many diapers is that new pair of designer shoes?  How many school lunches for your kids is that new set of golf clubs?
  15. Before you go into a store to buy an appliance, an electronic device, etc., make a list of the features you need. Much like sticking to your grocery list (covered elsewhere on this page), stick to your list of features.  Don’t let the salesperson convince you that you need other features.  If you’ve made a list of features ahead of time and you’re very honest with yourself about what you really need, you’re bound to save money.
  16. Always ask to see last year’s appliance models. Though you might only see this year’s washers and dryers on the display floor, there are sometimes older but still 100% functional models in the back.
  17. Get coupons for free from Coupons.com or CouponCabin.com.
  18. Visit FreeStuff.com for, just as the name suggests, free stuff.
  19. Join a FreeCycle.org group (there are +4,000) and get free stuff from people in your city or town.  As the site says, “It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.”  There’s no cost to be a member.
  20. Use FreeShipping.org. This is one of the easiest ways to save money. Before you buy anything online, search FreeShipping.org for a coupon code that will get you free shipping.
  21. Don’t buy designer clothing. Is the difference in quality between a $300 pair of Gucci sunglasses and the $15 pair you pick up on vacation really worth the $285 between them?  I didn’t think so.
  22. Don’t buy designer sunglasses. It turns out 70% of designer sunglasses brands (i.e. Ray-Ban, Oakley, Bulgari, Dolce and Gabbana, Prada and a lot more) are actually manufactured by the same Italian company.
  23. Use coupon codes and promo codes when shopping online. Before you buy anything online, search the retailer’s name and the phrase “coupon code” or “promo code.”  Many online retailers have discount codes for various promotions (like Free Shipping Fridays) and there are websites that aggregate these codes so you can take advantage of them even if you didn’t see the original promotional materials.  You can go straight to the biggest coupon code aggregator — RetailMeNot.com — but I recommend just searching in Google as I described here, as often RetailMeNot.com will come up in the Google results anyway.
  24. When shopping for furniture or appliances, buy the display model. If shopping for an in-demand appliance or piece of furniture, see if you can buy the display model.  Sometimes salespeople will sell it to you at a discount.
  25. Don’t buy a calculator. Save money by using this web-based scientific one or this web-based basic one.
  26. Do your holiday shopping early. If you wait, you could be left paying full price and/or paying for very expensive overnight shipping.  If you’re naturally a procrastinator, try Stickk.com, an anti-procrastination tool.
  27. If you buy an item that has a mail-in rebate form, fill it out and send it immediately. Manufacturers that provide mail-in rebate options do so to put obstacles between you and the low advertised price.  Many people don’t fill these forms in and send them at all, which is what manufacturers count on.
  28. When shopping online, sort search results so that the top-rated products are displayed first. By sorting product search results by the quality of reviews, you can be sure you’re not going to buy junk.  Without product reviews from other customers, your assessment of quality isn’t really based on much.
  29. Avoid expensive delivery fees for large items. If you’re buying a large item like a piece of furniture, you can avoid furniture/large item delivery fees by ordering the item to your local store (usually free) and having someone from TaskRabbit.com or Craigslist drive the item(s) to your house.
  30. Buy clothing at consignment stores. This is one of the most time-honored ways to save money. Shop for clothing, costumes, furniture, etc. at consignment stores.
  31. See if you can get a discount if you pay with cash. When buying something from a small retailer, always ask if you can get a discount if you pay cash (because if you pay by credit card, the retailer has to pay fees to the credit card company).
  32. Will last year’s gadget suffice? If you’re going to buy electronics, always ask yourself if you could use last year’s model.  Compare the features of this year’s model to last year’s product and compare the prices.  Ask yourself: “Are those new features really worth the difference in price to me?”  Additionally, right after a new model of a gadget is released, you can often find 100% functional older generation models on eBay at huge discounts.
  33. Research information about major purchases ahead of time; don’t get information at the store. Before buying any major appliance, do your research.  How long will it last?  How much energy will it use?  How much does it cost at other stores?  Don’t get this information from the salesperson; get it from the Internet ahead of time.
  34. Buy a book about negotiating strategies. It’ll pay for itself on your first negotiation victory.
  35. Buy used DVDs. If you’re going to buy a DVD, save money and always buy it used.  There is absolutely no difference between a used DVD and a new DVD unless you’re giving it to someone as a gift.
  36. Comparison shop using ComparisonShop.com. You could use comparison shopping sites like Shopping.com, Google Product Search, Shopzilla.com, NexTag.com, PriceGrabber.com and others.  Or, you could use ComparisonShop.com, which searches 10 different comparison shopping sites at the same time.
  37. Don’t buy thank you cards one at a time; buy a whole pack. To the extent you can do this with other types of cards (like birthday cards), do so.  The average price of a card if you buy it individually at a pharmacy is around $3.  For about $5, you can sometimes find up to 25 cards of the same type.
  38. Keep a list of all items you need to buy (like a grocery list, but not just for the grocery store). Make sure you put everything on there (everything from cheap pens to an expensive pair of shoes). Not only will seeing the large number of upcoming purchases all in one place naturally cause you to reduce your list, but adding this step between buying impulse and actual purchase will allow you to think about whether or not you actually need this item.  TaDaList.com is a great free online to do list tool that works well for this.
  39. Use Swap.com. Trade nearly anything (books, video games, CDs, movies, etc.) on Swap.com.
  40. Never be among the first people to buy a new electronic device. This is for two reasons: (1) The price of electronics almost always drops significantly after just a couple of months and (2) the first generation of any electronic device almost always has bugs (you’ll get a much better product and save money if you just wait until the second version comes out).
  41. Buy rechargeable batteries. If you insist on using regular batteries, freeze them once they’ve “run out” and they’ll usually work again (although they won’t hold a charge as long as they originally did).  The same freezer trick works for glow sticks, by the way.
  42. Don’t buy a cell phone at full price. Either buy a used one off of eBay or get a free or reduced-price one when you sign up for a new cell phone plan (normally, cell phone service providers will give you a new phone for free if you sign up for a two-year plan).
  43. Start a “gift drawer.” Do you have little kids?  Chances are they attend a lot of birthday parties and need to bring gifts.  Start a “gift drawer,” which you fill with an assortment of gifts for little kids.  When you find a cheap little kid gift, buy a number of them and put them in the drawer for later.  Not only is this one of the best ways to save money, but it’ll also save you a lot of time and stress, as you won’t have to constantly run out to the store to pick up birthday gifts.
  44. Ask salespeople for open-box items. When shopping for items, always ask for open-box items, items that have been returned after being opened for no other reason than a change in preference.  These are normally sold at steep discounts.
  45. Check Walmart.com before visiting your local Walmart. Before you buy anything that you could buy at a Walmart (which is nearly everything), search for it on Walmart.com, as Walmart.com often has free or 97 cent shipping.
  46. Buy overstocked items from Overstock.com.
  47. Sign up for store loyalty cards. Don’t get store credit cards, but always get free store loyalty cards, cards that provide you with discounts (stores offer these discounts because they learn a bit about your consumer habits as you use the cards).  Loyalty cards are very popular at supermarkets.
  48. Negotiate all the time, but especially when it comes to prices for mattresses, cars, tires and services. The prices of mattresses, cars, tires and most services (including bills for medical services) are almost always negotiable.  In fact, almost everything is, but these items are particularly known to be negotiable.
  49. Don’t buy a printer (or sell yours and stop buying ink). When’s the last time you needed to print something.  Unplug and hide your printer for a month and you’ll be surprised how little you actually need it.
  50. Don’t buy an alarm clock (or sell yours). Save money by using your phone’s alarm or OnlineClock.net.
  51. Rethink your Christmas shopping. The standard might be for every person in your family to buy a gift for everyone else.  That’s a lot of shopping.  Try a Christmas name raffle instead.  In this scenario, everyone draws another persons’ name out of a hat and each person is only responsible for buying a gift for the person whose name they draw.
  52. Before you buy a major item, see if another store will match or beat the coupon you have. If you are going to buy something expensive in a store and you have a competitor’s coupon, see if the store will match or beat the competitor’s coupon.
  53. Set price alerts, so that you know when the price of the item you want drops (i.e. you really want a book on Amazon.com, but it’s too expensive, so you set a price alert so you’ll get an email if the book’s price drops by 30%).  There are a number of sites that can help you do this.  Here are three: PricePinx.com, WishPot.com and ShoppingNotes.com.
  54. Buy your holiday cards for next year right after this year’s holiday passes. This is one of the easiest ways to save money. Christmas cards, for example, can drop in price by up to 90% in the week following Christmas.
  55. Get free stuff from Craigslist. Get free stuff (furniture, etc.) from the Craigslist “Free” section.

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Save Money on Bills

  1. Get your fees waived if you’re late on a bill payment. This is one of the best kept secrets about how to save money. If you’re late on a bill payment, call the company and ask for any fees, associated interest rate hikes, etc. to be waived.  Many companies will do this if it is your first time being late.
  2. Know if it’s cheaper to rent your home or buy your home. Here are two great rent vs. buy calculators. Calculator 1Calculator 2
  3. Share a wireless Internet connection with a neighbor, especially if you live in an apartment building.  Be sure to ask them first. :)
  4. Downgrade to a cheaper apartment. Use PadMapper.com to find cheaper places to rent in your area.  It’s one of the best housing sites out there.
  5. Pay your bills online and sign up for automatic payments. Both of these actions lower your chance of accidentally missing a payment and incurring fees and/or rate increases.
  6. Bundle your cable and Internet (and landline if you must have it).  This is one of the quickest ways to save money. Bundling is when you purchase multiple services from the same company and thereby pay a lower price per service than paying for them individually.
  7. Consider moving to a less expensive neighborhood, city or state.
  8. Don’t hire a contractor for small home repairs. Instead, if you feel confident, save money and do it yourself (DIY) using resources such as DIYNetwork.com and DoItYourself.com.
  9. Provide your roommates with services in exchange for cheaper rent. Broker a deal with your roommates in which you do the cooking, cleaning, make the coffee, etc. in exchange for cheaper rent.
  10. Get rid of your cable contract and sell your TV. Chances are you won’t miss it when it’s gone, but, if you do, there are plenty of free ways to watch TV online.  Try Hulu.com, CBS.com, ABC.com, Fox.com, ComedyCentral.com, etc.
  11. Complete home improvement projects for your landlord in exchange for cheaper rent. If you have home improvement skills, this is one of the best ways to save money.  Consider brokering a deal with a landlord in which you do improvement projects in exchange for reduced or free rent.
  12. Consider retiring abroad. Here are five inexpensive foreign retirement locations.
  13. Drop your gym membership/sell your treadmill; pick up a running habit — it’s free!
  14. If you are planning on joining a gym, always try to negotiate the initiation fee. This is another great secret to saving money. One gym in San Francisco has an initiation fee of $750, but they will waive it if you make a $25 donation to the Red Cross.  That tells you that they don’t actually expect to collect it from most members and they only state that there is a fee so that they can waive it.  Always, remember that the marginal cost to the gym of adding another member is almost zero dollars (basically, it cost them next to nothing to allow you to join), so most gym rates (including initiation fees) can be negotiated.

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Save Money on Insurance

  1. Go back on your parents’ health insurance. If you’re under 26 years old and live in the United States, you can likely go back on your parent’s health insurance plan.  Here’s more information.
  2. See if your income qualifies you for state-funded health insurance or free or reduced price lunches for your children at their school(s).
  3. Call your home insurance company and see what you can do to reduce your premiums. Can you remove your pool’s slide?  Can you install better fire detection equipment?
  4. Use a service like NetQuote.com to compare insurance rates from different companies before purchasing an insurance plan.
  5. Consider bundling your insurance policies. Some insurers will offer large discounts if you buy multiple policies from them.  For instance, you can sometimes get a large discount if you buy both car and home insurance from the same company.

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How to Save Money in College

  1. Apply to inexpensive colleges. First of all, before you even attend college, make sure you’re applying to inexpensive colleges.  This is one of the easiest ways to save money. You can find plenty of lists of low tuition colleges via Google.
  2. Consider a post-college career path that might offer student loan forgiveness. For instance, if you’re planning on becoming a teacher in the United States who works with low income students, it might be possible to have your student loans deferred or canceled via the U.S. Government.
  3. Save for college while shopping with UPromise.com and/or BabyMint.com. These are networks of merchants that have agreed to deposit a small percentage of each purchase you make into your college savings account.
  4. Consider transferring to a less expensive college.
  5. Save on college by graduating in three years instead of four. You could also save money by going to community college for two years and then transferring to a university for two years.
  6. Rent textbooks from Chegg.com instead of buying them.
  7. Share textbooks with friends instead of buying separate copies.
  8. Always apply for financial aid, even if you don’t think you’ll qualify.  All a college’s financial aid department can say is that you don’t qualify.  Incidentally, financial aid doesn’t just mean difficult-to-receive grants; it can be creatively-structured loans, including subsidized loans.
  9. Save money on tuition by applying for scholarships. This is one of the best ways to save money without sacrificing your education. There are really two different types of scholarships: Restricted scholarships (money that can only be used at a particular college) and unrestricted scholarships (money, generally from corporations or associations, that can be used at almost any university).  Restricted scholarships are generally larger than their unrestricted counterparts and they can be found by searching the names of the schools you’re planning on applying to with the word “scholarship.”  Unrestricted scholarships can be found by going to scholarship aggregator sites like Fastweb.com and Scholarships.com.

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Save Money on Utilities

  1. Use this amazing energy cost calculator to understand exactly how much money turning off different appliances for different amounts of time will save you.  For instance, do you know how much turning off the ice maker in your fridge and just using an ice cube tray will save you?  Do you know how much it costs you to leave your microwave plugged in when you go on vacation?
  2. Identify which items of clothing can be worn multiple times before going in the wash. Jeans?  Sweatshirts?
  3. Use low-flow shower heads. You’ll use less water and save money.
  4. Don’t wash partial loads of laundry. Only wash full loads.  You’ll save money and a ton of water and electricity.
  5. Use a shower timer. Take shorter showers using a shower timer.

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Save Money on Taxes

Before making any tax decisions, you should always consult a tax professional.

  1. Get professional tax help. Though this might not intuitively sound like one of the smartest ways to save money, spending a little money at an H&R block will pay for itself many times over as soon as your tax representative finds a deduction you otherwise would have missed.
  2. Search Google for popular tax credits. These change frequently, so searching online is a good bet.
  3. Consider donating an old car to a registered non-profit as a tax write off. You’ll save money and help a worthy cause.

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Frugal Travel

  1. Use LastMinute.com. This is one of the easiest ways to save money. Look for last minute deals on flights, hotels, car rentals, vacations, tickets, etc. on LastMinute.com.
  2. Use Kayak.com’s Explore tool. Visit Kayak.com/Explore, which lets you enter the amount of money you are willing to spend on a plane flight and it’ll show you on a map where you can go.
  3. Get travel deals from Travelzoo.com, a website that aggregates travel deals and sends them to your email (you can subscribe to deal newsletters for particular regions).  Travelzoo has over 21 million subscribers.
  4. Visit Kayak.com/Deals for deals to a variety of cities.  You can also search for deals by theme (i.e. beach, family, golf, etc.).
  5. Visit Washington, D.C. If you are interested in politics, history, or natural history, this is one of the most enjoyable ways to save money. You can visit a lot of the museums, nearly all the memorials and get a tour of the U.S. Capitol from your Congressman’s aide for free.
  6. Before you visit any hotel, visit TripAdvisor.com. There, you can see hotel reviews, which will help you make sure you get exactly what you’re paying for.  I consider saving money (getting a good price) and not wasting money (getting the quality you’re paying for) very similar and sites like TripAdvisor help you do both.
  7. Before you go abroad, make sure you know, according to local customs, if you’re supposed to negotiate over prices in the country or countries you’ll be visiting.  Also, make sure you know whether or not you’re supposed to tip.
  8. If you are planning to visit Los Angeles or live in the area, sign up for On Camera Audiences’ email lists. On Camera Audiences is a group that aggregates free tickets to tapings of TV shows in Hollywood, including American Idol, Hannah Montana, America’s Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance?  Somebody has to sit in the audience.
  9. Go camping, one of the least expensive vacations possible.
  10. Negotiate the price of hotel rooms. I’ve already covered the importance of negotiating prices, but I have to point out hotel rooms in particular.  If you walk into a hotel in the evening, always ask how many rooms remain.  If a large number are available, request a lower price, as assuming you’d leave and go to a different hotel if you didn’t get a price reduction and assuming the price you’re quoting the hotel’s staff exceeds their costs, they’d be foolish to reject your offer.  Even if they can’t rent the room for its retail price that night, they’ll still make more than they would if the room remained empty.
  11. Purchase overnight train tickets. In a foreign country?  Don’t care where you travel to?  Save money by getting a train ticket that’s about eight hours long and sleeping on the train overnight.  You’ll skip having to pay for another night in a hotel.
  12. Don’t use a travel agent; book your own travel package online. In fact, you can even order travel brochures and recreate the packages using cost comparison engines online.
  13. Take a vacation to America’s national parks. A lot of them are free.  Most of them are at least cheap.   Nearly all of them are great.
  14. Visiting New York City?  Here are two ways to make your experience cheaper: (1) Visit TKTS, which offers last minute tickets to Broadway and off-Broadway shows at 25-50% off and (2) use Bolt Bus to travel regionally to/from Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore and elsewhere.  Bolt Bus was created as an alternative to Chinatown buses, which are inexpensive but not particularly comfortable.  For the same prices as Chinatown buses ($10 -$25 per trip), you can ride on a comfortable bus with Internet access included.
  15. Before any trip, pack plenty of snacks. This will help you avoid having to buy snacks in costly airport stores or at roadside rest stops.
  16. Stay in hostels while traveling. If you are interested in meeting people from around the world, this is one of the most enjoyable ways to save money.  HostelWorld.com and Hostels.com are really great aggregators of hostels.
  17. Travel using CouchSurfing.org, a network of people who will let you crash on their couches for free.  Another option (that’s a little more expensive than free) is AirBnB.com, a website that allows people to rent out rooms in their houses like hotel rooms.
  18. Book red eye (overnight) flights. You can spend one less night in a hotel by booking a red eye flight and sleeping on the plane.
  19. Use Hotwire.com, a service hotels use to fill their unfilled rooms.  Hotwire explains, “When 3- and 4-star hotels have unsold rooms, they use Hotwire to fill them, so you get them at prices lower than any other travel site, guaranteed.”
  20. Swap houses with a friend for a cheap vacation. Instead of paying for a hotel, save money by coordinating with a friend to trade homes for a few days.

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Save Money on Heating

  1. Leave your oven door open after you cook. If you’re already using your heater, after you cook, leave the oven door slightly open so the heat can escape.  That will allow you to turn your heater down a little bit, which will save you some money.
  2. Make sure your home is air-sealed so that air you’ve heated or cooled cannot escape to the outdoors.  This involves caulking and weather-stripping.
  3. Install energy efficient windows.
  4. Use a fan instead of an air conditioner when possible.  It’s much cheaper.
  5. Use your fireplace instead of using a heater when possible.
  6. Have a programmable thermostat installed. That way, you don’t have to heat or cool your house the entire day, but you can still come home to the right temperature.
  7. Insulate your attic to reduce your energy bills.  A lot of heat escapes through attics.  Insulating your attic will mean that you won’t have to spend as much as you currently do on heating your house.
  8. Install heavy blinds. This will help to keep sunlight out, which will keep your house cool without having to use your air conditioner.
  9. Paint your roof white. A white roof absorbs significantly less heat than a darker roof, which means you’ll have to spend less money cooling your house.

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Save Money on your Mortgage

  1. Refinance, if appropriate. This can be one of the easiest ways to save money. Make sure you have the best available mortgage rate.  If not, refinance.
  2. Don’t just pay the minimums on your mortgage. Pay a little extra every month and you’ll save a bundle in interest over the long haul.  Use this mortgage payoff calculator to figure out exactly how much money you can save by paying a little extra every month.

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Save Money on Airfare

  1. Use Bing.com/Travel, which is an airfare price predictor. It’ll tell you whether or not you should wait to buy the ticket you’re interested in and help you save money.  Though it’s generally true that the cost of a plane ticket increases as you get closer to departure date, that’s not a rule that’s true 100% of the time.  As a result, sometimes if you wait a day or two, the price of your plane ticket could decrease (the price of plane ticket is often based on +20 variables).  Bing.com/Travel tries to make sense of all of that math and tells you whether you should buy now or wait.   The Bing website states, “According to a third-party audit of our predictive technology, we’re about 75% accurate and on average, customers will save over $50 on a typical round-trip transaction.”
  2. Sign up for Southwest.com‘s emails about travel deals (and enter your home airport and favorite destinations so that you get relevant deals sent to your inbox).
  3. Visit Kayak.com/Buzz, which lets you enter the maximum amount of money you’re willing to spend on a plane flight and where you want to go without setting a date, and it’ll tell you when you should fly to get the minimum price possible.
  4. When you book a flight, always enter your frequent flyer number (get one if you don’t have one).  That way, after awhile, you’ll get a free flight.
  5. Use Priceline.com. Priceline.com is a website that lets you bid on travel expenses including flights, hotels, rental cars, vacation packages and cruises.  Even better, there’s a website called BidOnTravel.com that explains the best Priceline bidding strategies.
  6. Always look at the price of your flight +/-3 days. StudentUniverse.com (just for college students, faculty and staff) and Kayak.com allow you to indicate the ideal dates of your flights and then can show you prices for all combinations of three days before and three days after your indicated dates.  Sometimes, if you change your departure date or arrival date by just a single day, you can save a lot of money.
  7. Read Kayak.com’s list of seven steps to finding the lowest fare possible.
  8. When buying a plane ticket, always use a website that searches hundreds of airlines at the same time like Kayak.com, Fly.com or StudentUniverse.com (just for college students, faculty and staff).  In fact, one of the the best ways to save money is to use all three.
  9. Use Kayak.com’s price alerts to know immediately when the price of the plane ticket you want to buy drops below a certain point.
  10. Always try to book your plane ticket as early as possible. It’s not an absolute rule that the price of a plane ticket increases over time, but it is quite common.  If you’re not going to use a flight price predictor (described elsewhere on this list), then booking your flight early is a good rule to go by to save money.
  11. When booking a flight, always go directly to the website of the airline if you find the flight you want on an aggregator website (described elsewhere on this list).  Doing so means that you’ll save money by cutting out any commission that any other person might be making.
  12. Fly within Europe using Europe’s discount airlines, RyanAir.com or EasyJet.com.
  13. When booking a flight, do it online. Not only will you be able to see more options, but many airlines charge a phone booking fee if you call-in your purchase.
  14. Factor the cost of checking bags into your airline ticket purchasing decision. For instance, Southwest doesn’t charge to check bags (at least at the time this was written).  Thus, if Continental is offering a flight for $200 but you plan to check a bag for a $15 fee and Southwest is offering the same flight for $205, then it still makes sense to buy the more expensive Southwest ticket because you’ll save money overall.
  15. If you’re looking to purchase a one way ticket, check out Southwest.com. Southwest Airlines prices each leg of its flights individually (so the sum of the legs should equal the price of the round trip ticket).  Many other airlines, however, price one way tickets differently (and more expensively).  Often, one way tickets from other airlines can cost more than half the price of a round trip ticket to and from the same location.  Sometimes they can even cost more than an entire round trip ticket.

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Save Money on Clothes

  1. Rent otherwise expensive dresses from RentTheRunway.com instead of buying them.
  2. Take a vacation to China. Are you planning on buying a new wardrobe or a substantial portion of a wardrobe?  Take a vacation to China (not kidding). This is one of the best ways to save money while seeing the world. You can get an entirely tailored wardrobe, plane ticket and the cost of a few nights in a hotel for less than the cost of a non-tailored wardrobe in the United States or Europe if you’re buying a few suits.

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Save Money on Credit Cards, Banking and Loans

  1. Pay off your credit card with the highest interest rate first while paying the minimums on your other cards.  As soon as you’ve paid off the card with the highest interest rate, pay of the card with the second-highest interest rate while continuing to pay the minimum payments on any other cards.  This method of paying off credit cards minimizes the size of the finance charges you’ll have to pay.
  2. Consider getting a loan through LendingTree.com, a site in which lenders compete against each other to offer you the lowest rates.
  3. Find cheap credit on Prosper.com, a peer to peer lending network.
  4. If you’re going to use a credit card, use a cash back credit card. You can compare different cash back credit cards here.
  5. Do you make impulse buys with credit cards?  Here’s one way to stop doing this. Fill a cup with water.  Put your credit card(s) in it.  Freeze the cup.  That way, the next time you feel like you “need” your card, you’ll have it — you’ll also have a lot of time while the ice is melting to think about your potential purchase.
  6. Never pay for a credit report. If you live in the United States, you’re legally entitled to three free credit reports per year (one from each of the major credit reporting agencies).  You can get your free credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com.
  7. Consolidate debt (especially with low or no-interest balance transfers) to your lender with the lowest interest rate.
  8. Try using only cash and checks for a year. You’ll spend significantly less (not only will you pay less in finance charges, but there’s research to suggest you’ll actually buy fewer items).  Can you do it?
  9. Never — really, never — get a payday loan or cash advance.
  10. Call your credit card companies and ask about these two things: (1) Promotional interest-free balance transfers and (2) whether or not they can reduce your credit card interest rates and help you save money.
  11. Look for credit cards that offer 0% APR balance transfers.
  12. Never get a credit card that has an annual fee. There are 1000s of different kinds of credit cards, most of which don’t have annual fees, so you always have options.
  13. When paying a credit card bill, do so online. Many credit card companies charge a fee if you call-in your payment. Paying your bill online is one of the easiest ways to save money.
  14. Only withdraw money from your checking account when you can do so without fees. Most banks won’t charge you ATM fees if you have an account with them and use their ATMs.  Some banks will waive ATM fees for all ATMs (try to open a checking account with a bank like this).  Those convenience store ATMs always have hefty fees.
  15. Set a personal rule about the minimum amount of money you’ll have in your checking account at all times unless your bank has cheap overdraft protection.  That way, you can be sure you’ll avoid accidental overdrafts and those awful fees.  When coming up with this number, be sure to consider all of your recurring automatic payments.  Also, a lot of banks will allow you to set an email reminder so that when you have less than a certain amount in your account, your bank will automatically send you a warning.
  16. Pay off debt as quickly as possible (after establishing an emergency fund). If you can get an interest-free loan from a family member to pay off your high-interest debt quicker, do it.  Not only will this save you from having to pay interest, but it’ll improve your credit score, which means you’ll have cheaper access to money if you need it.
  17. Use BankFox.com to search for a bank that offers checking accounts that pay interest.

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Save Money on Books

  1. Borrow books from the library. Don’t buy them unless you absolutely have to. This is one of the easiest and most time-honored ways to save money.
  2. Use AddAll.com, a book price comparison search engine.
  3. Use LibriVox.org for free audio books. Before you buy an audio book, see if it’s available for free and legally on LibriVox.org.  If you’re going to buy an audio book, Audible.com is one of the most popular online retailers.  Audible.com books are much cheaper, though, if you search for the audio book on Amazon.com (affiliated with Audible) first and then click on that link over to Audible.com.
  4. Never buy a new book, unless it is a gift. Instead, once you have the book title, save money by comparison shopping between Half.com (eBay’s used books website that frequently has books for sale for just $0.75), Amazon.com’s used books section and AbeBooks.com.  If you still like browsing through books in a bookstore, visit the store, find books that look interesting, write their titles down and then buy them online.  Even better, check them out from the library.
  5. Buy children’s books at garage sales. Twenty-five cents per book beats $10-$15/book and it doesn’t matter at all if the books aren’t in the best condition if you’re just going to read them to your own children (as opposed to buying them as birthday gifts).
  6. Trade books on Swap.com or PaperbackSwap.com instead of buying them.
  7. Before you buy an “old” book, check to see if it’s in the public domain (after a certain time period, a book’s copyright expires and the book’s contents enter the public domain).  The text of many classics can be found for free legally online.  In fact, many of these classics have been recorded by volunteers and made available as free audio books on LibriVox.

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Save Money on Transportation

  1. Can you get rid of one of your family’s cars? If you can, you’ll save money on maintenance and insurance payments and you’ll even likely save money on gas because you’ll carpool more often.
  2. Rent a car cheaply instead of buying one. Rent a car cheaply from sites like Zipcar.com, RelayRides.com or WhipCar.com (the last two let you rent a car from a neighbor).
  3. Use public transportation as much as possible. This is one of the best ways to save money and spare yourself the stress of fighting traffic.
  4. Use your bike as your primary form of transportation. Not only can you save money on gas, but you can get some great exercise.  More exercise means more energy and more energy means less need for sleep, which is great when you’re looking to earn extra money.

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Save Money on Entertainment

  1. Cancel your magazine and newspaper subscriptions. All of that info is available online.
  2. Familiarize yourself with these two lists of inexpensive dates: List 1List 2
  3. Have a picnic in a park.
  4. College student centers/college bookstores sometimes sell reduced price movie tickets (though you might need a student ID to purchase them).  These are not reduced price tickets to a particular movie, but instead are reduced price tickets to a particular brand of theater (i.e. you’d buy a 5-pack of $6 tickets to Regal movie theaters instead of buying $11 tickets individually at the theater).
  5. Stream music instead of downloading it. Don’t pay to download music (I’m not saying you should download it illegally); instead save money by streaming music for free from Pandora.com, Musicovery.com, GrooveShark.com, etc.
  6. Visit Meetup.com, a site that helps groups of like-minded people coordinate gatherings and events.  There are Meetup.com groups for nearly everything, and many of the groups organize inexpensive entertaining events, like hiking or reduced price wine tastings.
  7. Borrow CDs and DVDs from your local library. Many people don’t know that local libraries often have much more than books and they can be utilized like a free Blockbuster.
  8. Use Restaurant.com to buy huge restaurant coupons for restaurants in your area.
  9. See what your local college has going on for entertainment (performances by student groups, visiting lecturers, other public speakers, etc.).  Many of these events will be open to the public.
  10. Don’t buy fast food. It’s not a meal out in the sense of “going out” (both the quality of the food and the atmosphere are subpar) and, as cheap as it, it almost always costs more than preparing your own meal.
  11. Host a potluck. It’s possible to entertain on a budget; hold a potluck dinner, a dinner in which each guest brings a dish and all of the dishes are shared. This is one of the most enjoyable ways to save money and bring people together.
  12. Visit your city’s website, particularly at the start of the summer, to see if there are any festivals/concerts in the area.  Festivals and concerts planned by municipalities are generally quite cheap and often free.
  13. Don’t buy an individual copy of a magazine (like Glamour for $4-5).  If you’re going to do so a few times a year, just get a subscription… but don’t do that either; all of that information is available online for a much lower price (free).
  14. Don’t buy a TV (or sell yours if you have one and get rid of your cable contract).  You can get most of your favorite shows for free and legally on sites like Hulu.com, CBS.com, Fox.com, ABC.com, NBC.com, MTV.com, etc.
  15. Evaluate the costs of your hobbies. There isn’t enough time for all the things we’d like to do.  With that in mind, choose those that you’d both like to do and are cheap.  Go hiking, visit national parks, visit museums, etc,
  16. Before you go to any restaurant (or really any store, doctor’s office, etc.), always check Yelp.com, a site that aggregates consumer reviews of restaurants.  That way, you’ll be sure you’re really going to get the quality you expect.
  17. Alternate babysitting with a friend instead of hiring a babysitter when you go out.
  18. Rent movies from Netflix.com. Don’t rent more expensive movies from rental stores like Blockbuster (in addition to higher prices, renting from stores like Blockbuster will cause you to spend money on gas going to and from the store and you’ll occasionally incur late fees).
  19. Use StubHub.com. Buying cheaper sports, concert and theater tickets from other fans on StubHub.com is one of the easiest ways to save money.
  20. Large wholesale stores like Costco often sell reduced price movie tickets. These are not reduced price tickets to a particular movie, but instead are reduced price tickets to a particular brand of theater (i.e. you’d buy a 5-pack of $8 tickets to Regal movie theaters instead of buying $11 tickets individually at the theater).
  21. Rent video games from GameFly.com instead of buying them. GameFly is often called the “Netflix of video games.”

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Save Money on Phone Calls

  1. Use Skype for phone calls, especially international calls. There’s no need to ever buy phone cards or an international calling plan again.
  2. Join someone else’s cell phone plan as an “add-on” phone. It’s always cheaper to join someone else’s cell phone plan as an “add-on” phone than it is to get your own cell phone plan.
  3. Consider getting a prepaid phone (a phone without a contract). Most people with cell phones sign up for long term, expensive contracts.  If you don’t use your cell phone often, though, could a prepaid phone be for you?
  4. Get rid of your landline telephone. One of the simplest ways to save money is to use a cell phone exclusively (and Skype and/or Google Talk while at home, as mentioned in this list).
  5. Use GetHuman.com. Spend less time on the phone (and thus use less of your cell phone plan’s monthly minutes) by using GetHuman.com, a website that details which numbers to press in order to bypass the automated portions of customer service lines.

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Save Money on Medical Expenses

  1. Use PriceDoc.com. PriceDoc.com lets you bid on medical procedures, like teeth whitening, breast augmentation, LASIK, etc. It’s often described as “Priceline.com for medical procedures.”
  2. Always buy generic medicine, if possible.
  3. Considering traveling to other countries for major medical procedures. This is known as medical tourism and is an increasingly popular tactic for saving money.  Here is a list of what different medical procedures cost in different countries.
  4. When your doctor prescribes a medicine, always ask for samples. The samples won’t be enough to save you from having to fill the prescription, but they can certainly buy you enough time to visit a lower cost pharmacy.  Sometimes, they can even be enough to prevent you from having to get a refill of the prescription.

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Save Money on Software

  1. Use a free online photo editor instead of using expensive image or photo editing software.  Here are 10.  You can also use GIMP, which is the open source version of Photoshop.
  2. If you’re in college, call your college’s IT department before you buy any software (anything from antivirus software to quantitative modeling software).  Universities and colleges often have special licenses and make free or reduced price academic software available to students.
  3. Use open source software (software that groups of people develop and release to the public and can be used for free).  SourceForge.net and Osalt.com are great resources for open source software.
  4. Use OpenOffice.org instead of Microsoft Office.  Microsoft Office is anywhere from $100 to a couple hundred dollars while OpenOffice.org is completely free.  There are some things OpenOffice.org won’t do that Microsoft Office will do and vice versa and there are plenty of online guides that discuss the differences.  Here are two: Guide 1Guide 2
  5. Before you buy any software, see if there is a free and legal version on Download.com.
  6. Use Mozilla Thunderbird (a very popular email and calendar program) instead of buying Microsoft Outlook.  It’s open source and thus free.

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Other Personal Finance Tips

  1. Always be aware of and understand the termination fees before you enter into a long term contract.
  2. Create a budget. This is one of the absolute best ways to save money. You can either create a simple 10-minute budget using this guide or you can use Mint.com (a free online money management tool) to keep track of your money.  Here are 12 ways budgeting can improve your life.
  3. Never buy a lottery ticket. No exceptions.
  4. Always examine your monthly checking account and credit card statements for fraudulent activity and charges that are larger than they should be.  Call your bank and/or credit card company if you find something that doesn’t appear as it should.
  5. Start building an emergency fund now by putting just $30 aside every month.  How can an emergency fund help you save money?  The next time you need to replace a crucial appliance or pay a surprise medical bill, you won’t have to do so with a credit card.
  6. Avoid rip-offs on this huge list (compiled by the users of Reddit.com).
  7. Quit smoking. It’s one of the best ways to save money.
  8. Declutter/get organized. You’ll avoid accidentally buying items you already own.
  9. Set financial goals and then stick with them using Stickk.com, a website that lets you put a contract on yourself.
  10. Consider using LegalZoom.com for simple legal needs. If you have fairly standard legal needs like creating a will, changing your name, drafting a living trust, etc., save money by using LegalZoom.com, a site that lets you just fill in the blanks on fairly standard legal documents for a fraction of the cost of hiring an attorney.
  11. Realize that the true cost of a purchase is not just the value of the item and the interest on the loan you have to take out; it’s also the forgone retirement savings, because you can’t invest that money (this is called an “opportunity cost”).  Here is a great opportunity cost calculator.
  12. Get to know your neighbors. Not only do you stand a good chance of finding that your neighbors are great people, but those relationships can be mutually beneficial in far more practical ways too.  For instance, your neighbor can watch your house for free while you’re out of town and you can, of course, borrow items from each other (i.e. tools) instead of buying them.
  13. It’s a bit quirky, but design certain “rules” that help you save. For instance, every time you find a $10 bill in your wallet, you could instantly put it into an untouchable savings account (or a drawer in your house until you can later put it into your actual savings account).
  14. Send holiday cards via email instead of on paper. Send out stylized holiday emails use a simple email marketing program like Constant Contact.  You’ll save money, time, and stamps.

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What’d I miss?  Please let me know in the comments.  Also, if you enjoyed this post about how to save money, you might want to check out my post about how to make money (I’ve included 233 legitimate ways and I’ll be adding more over time).

Find cheap credit on Prosper.com.
If you’re going to use a credit card, use a cash back credit card.  You can compare different cash back credit cards here. (http://www.creditcards.com/cash-back.php)
Do you make impulse buys with credit cards?  This is an easy problem to solve.  Fill a cup with water.  Put your credit card(s) in it.  Freeze the cup.  That way, the next time you feel like you “need” your card, you’ll have it — you’ll also have a lot of time while the ice is melting to think about your purchase.
Never pay for a credit report.  If you live in the United States, you’re entitled to three free credit reports per year (one from each of the major credit reporting agencies).  You can get your free credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Consolidate debt (especially with low or no-interest balance transfers) to your lender with the lowest interest rate.
Try using only cash and checks for a year.  You’ll spend significantly less (not only will you pay less in finance charges, but there’s research to suggest you’ll actually buy fewer items).  Can you do it?
Never — really, never — get a pay day loan or cash advance loan.
Call your credit cards and ask about (1) promotional interest-free balance transfers and (2) whether or not they can reduce your credit card interest rates.
Look for credit cards that offer 0% APR balance transfers.
Never get a credit card that has an annual fee.  There are 1000s of different kinds of credit cards, most of which don’t have annual fees, so you always have options.
When paying a credit card bill, do it online; many credit card companies charge a phone booking fee if you call-in your payment.
Only withdraw money from your checking account when you can do so without fees.  Most banks won’t charge you ATM fees if you have an account with them and use their ATMs.  Some banks will waive ATM fees for all ATMs (try to open a checking account with a bank like this).  Those convenience store ATMs always have hefty fees.
Pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate first while paying the minimums on the cards.  As soon as you’ve paid off the card with the highest interest rate, pay of the card with the second-highest interest rate while continuing to pay the minimum payments on any other cards.  This method of paying off credit cards minimizes the size of the finance charges you’ll have to pay.
Unless your bank has cheap overdraft protection, set a personal rule about at least how much money (i.e. $300) you’ll have in your checking account at any time.  That way, you can be sure you’ll avoid accidental overdrafts and those awful fees.  When coming up with this number, be sure to consider all of your recurring automatic payments.  Also, a lot of banks will allow you to set an email reminder such that when you have less than a certain amount in your account, your bank will automatically send you a warning.
Pay off debt as quickly as possible.  If you can get an interest-free loan from a family member to pay off your debt quicker, do it.  Not only will this save you from having to pay interest, but it’ll improve your credit score, which means you’ll have cheaper access to money if you need it.
Use BankFox.com to search for a bank that offers checking accounts that pay interest.

3 Comments to 277 Ways to Save Money

  1. Jon's Gravatar Jon
    September 21, 2012 at 2:25 am | Permalink

    This is easily the best list I have come across on the entire internet.

    Thank you so much for putting this together!

    Cheers
    Jon


  2. CouponLawn's Gravatar CouponLawn
    December 1, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Great list! thanks for the share


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