Trying to save more money but left feeling frustrated? Read on for 20 simple and creative ways to save money right now!
If you’re struggling to save money, you’re not alone! Most people struggle to save money each month, and it can feel frustrating when you just can’t seem to get ahead. Finding creative ways to save money can make a big difference.
Saving money sounds like such an easy concept, right? “Just don’t spend as much!” But we all know that saving money can be so much more complicated than that. We are bombarded every day with distractions and opportunities to spend more!
Saving money is so vitally important when it comes to your personal finances. From paying off debt to saving for that incredible beach vacation, the money you save can make a big difference!
Think of it this way: just saving $10 each week adds up to $520 in a year. What could you do with an extra $520?
Saving money doesn’t have to be hard! Read on for some fun and creative ways to save money and cut costs.
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20 Creative Ways to Save Money Right Now
Struggling to save money and cut costs? Frustrated that you haven’t found something that works? Try these simple and creative tips and tricks to save money!
1. Create a Monthly Budget
Let’s tackle the biggest one first: creating a monthly budget you actually want to stick to. Creating and using a budget that works for you and your life is a huge key to being successful with saving money, and an easy way to get started.
Creating a budget allows you to have a clear idea of where your money goes, how much you can afford to spend and possibly places to trim expenses. The most effective thing I’ve found to help actually saving money is just sitting down and making a budget! For a long time I convinced myself that it was unnecessary but guess what: when I actually sat down and took a hard look at where my money was going, I was SHOCKED.
Creating a budget doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming. Head over to this post on creating a monthly budget and some extra budgeting tips on getting started.
Once you’ve got your budget ready to go, here are some of my favorite pretty printable budgets you can use to stay on top of it every month, too!
2. Automate Your Savings
Are you getting to the end of every month and realizing you have nothing left to put into savings? Struggling to establish an emergency fund? It’s time to re-evaluate HOW you’re putting money aside to reach your savings goal.
Automating your savings is a game changer! There are two ways that work really well:
- Put a set amount into your savings account immediately after you are paid each month with an automatic transfer. If you get paid on the 1st, have an automatic transfer scheduled to go into your savings account on the 3rd! You won’t even miss the money.
- Use an automatic savings app. There are multiple apps out there that are set up to help you crush your savings goals, like the Qapital app. You can choose how much money for them to deposit into different goals automatically each month, trigger deposits for guilty pleasures (like when I make a Target run) or round up your spare change from day to day shopping.
The Acorns app is another great way to automate your savings. Acorns connects to your bank account and will round up the spare change on your purchases and invest them! It’s 100% hands-off, and you aren’t investing a significant amount of money, so it’s a great way to start investing and working to accumulate even more savings.
3. Try a Money-Savings Challenge
If you’re looking for a fun and creative way to save more money, you’ll love the 52-week money savings challenge! Not only is it a great way to kick start your savings, but by saving a certain amount each month you’ll start making it a habit to prioritize savings.
Check out this post about how to do a 52-week savings challenge, with three different savings goals and fun printable planners included!
4. Meal Planning Can Help You Save Big
Tight budget? By planning your meals in advance for a month or even just a week, you not only know what you are going to eat, but you can plan your meals around saving money!
Not only does cooking meals at home save you big versus eating out or ordering delivery, but it’s also a great way to reduce waste and one of the best ways to reduce your expenses.
Meal planning is essential when it comes to saving money on food and groceries. By utilizing a meal planner, you can also craft your meals around what’s on sale at your local grocery stores, helping you save even more money! Meal planning can also help you avoid those nights where you aren’t sure what to make for dinner (or don’t have the energy to come up with something on the fly), so you resort to eating out.
If you’re new to meal planning or struggle to stick with it, check out this post on budget meal planning to help you get started.
5. Cut Out Subscriptions & Memberships You Don’t Need
Raise your hand if you’ve ever checked your bank statement and realized you’ve been paying for a subscription or gym membership you completely forgot about? We’ve all been there!
Going through all of your subscriptions and memberships is a creative way to save money easily. Have a gym membership for a gym you never go to anymore? Belong to multiple streaming services you don’t actually watch? Cancel them!
By getting rid of memberships and subscriptions you don’t use or even need, you can save a few hundred dollars each year!
6. Use Money-Saving Apps to Save Even More
I LOVE money-saving apps that give me cashback for things I’m already doing! When you’re working to save money, every little bit helps. These apps give you cashback for daily shopping you’re already doing at a ton of places, including grocery stores, big box retailers and even online.
Here are a few of my favorite money-saving apps to check out (and by the way, they’re ALL free):
Ibotta: Ibotta is a great way to earn cashback from your regular shopping! You can either use the app or install a browser extension for online shopping. Ibotta offers cash back on a huge variety of products, and it’s super user friendly. Click here to get Ibotta.
Rakuten (formerly Ebates): A lot of people already know about Rakuten’s easy to use web app, but they also have a mobile app that works the same way! This is one of the best android apps to make money.
Rakuten gives you cash back just for shopping at your favorite stores. You’re even able to combine their deals with store-specific coupons and discounts, too. Plus, if you join with my link, you get a $30 bonus! Click here to join Rakuten and get your $30 bonus.
7. Take Advantage of Your Local Library
Your local library has so much more than just books. In fact, the library can be a great source of free entertainment! Once you get a library card, you can save a lot of money on buying books, grabbing the daily newspaper, or even buying DVD’s. Your library location might also give you the option to check out passes to museums, the zoo and more.
Prefer to hang onto books longer, but need to cut back on the expense of purchasing new hardcover or paperback books each month? Consider investing in a Kindle. You’ll have access to a huge library of both super cheap and free ebooks to read!
8. Use Coupons
Coupons can save you even more on shopping trips, and are an easy and creative way to save money. Check out online coupon sites or your local newspaper for physical coupons for in-store shopping. You can also install browser extensions like Honey to help you snag digital coupons for online shopping!
No time to clip coupons, or find that you forget frequently to use them? No problem! Just take advantage of the money-saving apps above like Ibotta and Rakuten, which give you cash back. It’s a very similar concept!
9. Check out Store Loyalty Programs
See if the stores you shop at the most often offer loyalty programs. Our local grocery store has a great one that not only gives you extra discounts while you shop, but also sends additional coupons our way. Plus, we can earn points for discounts on gas when we need to fill up the car!
What are fun ways to save money?
Check out these creative ways to save money, and get excited about finding fun ways to have more!
10. Buy Secondhand
Secondhand shopping doesn’t mean just your local thrift store anymore! You can now purchase secondhand items in a variety of great places, including Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, Mercari and more!
I love find gently used (and sometimes brand new!) items on these sites for a fraction of what they would have cost brand new. From kids toys and clothes to household décor, you can save big by purchasing items secondhand and it’s a creative way to save money while also gifting yourself something 😉
11. Use Cash as Much as Possible
There’s something that’s a little too easy about spending money using a debit or credit card. How many times have you swiped your card thinking you had more in your account than you already did?
By using cash instead of a card, it becomes much easier to stay on budget because once you use up that cash, it’s gone! Set a budget for spending, withdraw just that allotted amount, and use only that cash.
12. DIY and Save
Looking for a creative way to save money? DIY is it! By doing it yourself when it comes to things like fixing a leaky toilet or doing your own nails, you can save money AND learn a new skill.
Not sure where to start? Check out YouTube to learn how to do practically anything by watching a video!
13. Follow the 24-hour Rule
The 24-hour rule is a simple way to curb impulse spending. If you are shopping and you see something you want, don’t buy it right away! Instead, wait a full day (AKA 24 hours) and see how badly you want it then.
Impulse spending is a big way people ruin their budgets. By making yourself wait and really think about the item, you’re likely to realize that you don’t actually need or want to spend the money on it.
14. Try a “No Spend” Challenge
Our family kicks off every new year with a month long “no spend” challenge. The concept is that you challenge yourself to not spend any money for a specific time. Exceptions are of course made for things that are vital to survival, like groceries, bills and medication.
By forcing yourself to not spend any money for a specific period of time, it not only helps you save more money, but also helps you be more mindful about what you’re spending money on moving forward. Personally, I’ve found it helps me a lot with thinking before I make those impulse buys.
15. Choose Generic Items
Did you know that many generic and store brands are identical to the national brands?? Buying generic can help you save money easily! From pancake mix to cold medicine, and everything in between, many stores stock generic options at a reduced price as cheaper alternatives.
16. Negotiate everything
Want a lower rate for your cable, internet or car insurance? Contact your service providers to negotiate a better rate on your contract. You can use comparison websites to compare prices on everything and find the best rates on your contracts. Many companies are more than willing to make changes if you just reach out and ask.
Many times you can also negotiate a lower interest rate on your credit card too, just by calling and asking.
17. Detox Your Inbox
Unsubscribe from retailer emails, so you don’t get tempted to make impulse purchases every time they announce a sale and send you an email. And trust me, it really DOES help, and you don’t need those 85 subscriptions clogging up your inbox anyway 😉
18. Freeze Your Credit Cards
Struggling with overspending? Consider freezing your credit cards! Many banks now offer a very simple to use “lock” feature that allows you to make your card unusable. Then just store it in a place you can’t easily touch it, like your safe.
Need even more help? Freeze them in a literal container of ice. I’m not kidding! This is one of my favorite creative ways to save money on this list. Getting them out of the frozen block will be enough of an inconvenience that you’ll think twice about whether or not you really need to use them.
15. Organize Your Bill Due Dates
Does having spaced out due dates stress you out? Call your providers and ask to move your due dates so they are all around the same time. Many providers are able to make accommodations with a simple request.
Need more help organizing your bills? Check out this post on the best way to keep track of bills.
16. Pay More than Your Minimum
Credit card debt can be crippling, especially if you have a higher interest rate. Paying more than the minimum monthly payment towards your debt can help accelerate your debt payoff, saving you big in interest in the long run. As you have extra money, put it towards those outstanding debts and principal balance to help you pay them off faster.
Plus, paying off your debt faster will help improve your credit score as you work towards your financial goals.
17. Find Free Fun
Looking for a creative way to save money? Going out and having a good time can get costly quickly. There are a ton of free options to check out! The easiest way to find them? Head to Google and enter “free things to do” plus the name of your town.
Put the extra cash you save from these free activities towards your holiday season savings, paying off debt faster or saving for a family vacation.
18. Cut Down on Bank Fees
Are you paying bank fees regularly, like a monthly account maintenance fee? You don’t have to! There are many banks and other financial institutions that provide basic checking and savings accounts with no fees involved. Check your local credit union, too.
Accidentally overdraft? Call your bank ASAP, explain the situation and ask for a refund of the fee. Many times banks will refund the overdraft fee, especially if it’s your first time or it doesn’t happen frequently.
19. Make Your Own Coffee
I know, I know, people have been saying this for years, but it’s because it’s truly an impactful and creative way to save money. Let’s say your regular Starbucks coffee costs $6, and you grab one 3 times a week. That’s $936 a year you’re spending at the local coffee shop!
Brewing your own coffee at home, even if you splurge for higher quality beans, is a HUGE savings. Plus, you can snag a fancy coffee maker to take it up a notch. I got this Ninja one last year and I’m obsessed.
20. Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
Electricity is a huge money hog! If you’re struggling to cut your electric bill even with being more mindful, consider swapping out your light bulbs for energy-efficient lighting like LEDs. LED bulbs like these use 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. They also last significantly longer, meaning that you don’t need to replace them as often!
Creative Ways to Save Money Can Make a BIG Difference
No matter what your financial situation looks like, I hope this list of 20 creative ways to save money helped inspire you. Cutting expenses and choosing a few of the ideas on this list can help you build up your savings account, pay off debt faster or have more money to put towards things like the holidays.
Implementing small changes with the clever ideas on this list can help. Choose one or two to start, and build from there. These 20 ideas are just a small selection of creative ways to save money. There are so many other ideas out there too!
Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite, and if you found this article helpful please help us reach more people by taking a second to share it, too.