If you were a fly on the wall at our house you’d probably be bored stiff by our dinner conversation. A lot of our conversations revolve around money. We talk about sales, upcoming purchases we need to make, budgeting, ways to save money and retirement. Yup, we’re that couple. Exciting stuff right?
Recently, I asked Mer to thumb off the top ways to save money in anticipation of writing this post and he legitimately looked at me dumbfounded. Yup, he could hardly come up with any ways to save money.
I know right?
The thing is, I have to consciously think about the ways we actively save money too. We’ve become so used to living a frugal lifestyle that we hardly notice that the things we do on a day to day basis are actually frugal living efforts.
Get what I’m saying?
The truth is, we’re so used to living this way that we hardly if ever think about the fact that we are making conscious daily efforts to save money and be intentional with our spending.
If you’re new here, we haven’t always lived this way. Quite the opposite actually. There was a point in time where we were extremely irresponsible with our money.
We managed to take control of our finances and get our financial life in order by completely overhauling our lifestyle. We prioritized saving, stopped spending unnecessarily and embraced (although not by choice at first) a frugal lifestyle which has allowed us the privilege to live a very comfortable lifestyle as a one average income family.
Frugal living is awesome folks. I know that I say it often but it truly changes your outlook on so many aspects of your life. But, knowing where to start and making those small changes that will add up to substantial changes over the long term can seem like a daunting task am I right?
Making frugal lifestyle changes don’t have to be drastic. Instead, small actionable things that you start doing consistently today will add up to big changes over the long-term. If you’re unsure where to start or if you’re looking for some easy ways to save money on a day to day basis here is a pretty comprehensive list of things that we do to save money.
These are all money saving strategies that we’ve incorporated into our lives to save money which have become pretty much ingrained into our day to day life. So, I wanted to create a handy series that could be referenced by anyone looking to find new strategies and ways to save money.
99 Crazy Easy Genius Ways to Save Money
1. Use Every Last Drop
Every product in our home gets used until it is completely finished. Whether that be dish soap, laundry detergent, tooth paste, cleaning products, condiments, ingredients. We use it all. Every single time.
Adding a small amount of water and giving a good shake to your shampoo, laundry detergent and cleaning products will help you get every tiny bit out.
Image courtesy of Tradesy.
One hack that we use with toothpaste is to use a professional grade hair dye key to roll the tube. We inherited a key from my mom and it helps express every last bit of toothpaste. If you don’t have a key handy you can always cut the tube open and use the last of the toothpaste that way.
FYI that key in the above photo is for illustrative purposes only. It’s a $200 Tiffany & Co. Toothpaste Key. Crazy right? The $5 dollar option I suggested above works equally well.
2. Save Your Plastic Grocery Bags
Although most grocery stores in this area have transitioned to reusable grocery bags some still provide you with the plastic variety at no cost. I always gladly take the bags because we use them as trash can liners in our washroom and kitchen.
We live in an area where trash needs to be placed in plastic bags and then dumped into a larger bin. These small bags are perfect and is one of the ways we save money on trash bags throughout the year.
3. Use A Points Card When Your Shop
If you’re loyal to a certain drug store, grocery store or coffee shop always take advantage of loyalty and points cards.
Recently, our local drug store combined their points card with a local grocer. Now, I’m collecting cash back twice as quickly because the bulk of our shopping is done at these two locations.
Free medication and food is awesome.
FYI Canadian friends, if you’re not aware Shoppers Drug Mart has partnered with PC Plus. So, if you shop at both locations regularly it’s very much worth getting a new replacement card to earn points that can be accumulated and redeemed at both locations.
4. Ditch Plastic Wrap
Plastic wrap costs an absolute fortune and you’re literally throwing it in the garbage. After realizing that we were wasting so much money on plastic wrap we opted to store our leftovers and any other food that needs to be stored in our fridge in resealable containers.
If resealable containers aren’t your thing then you might want to explore silicone covers. The silicone covers pictured above come in 4 different sizes and seal to the dish you are covering prevent leaks and spills.
5. Use Coupons (sparingly) When You’re Shopping
Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of coupons. I’m in the camp that believes that coupons can lead to unnecessary spending if you’re not careful. But, there are situations where there are awesome money saving coupons available for products and food items that you’d regularly buy. The key here is regularly buy.
It’s always a good idea to check out manufacturer websites for your favorite products to see if there are any rebates available. Every dollar counts. So, using coupons to save a little on laundry detergent, toilet paper or food items you’d buy anyway is totally worth the effort.
6. Buy What’s In Season
When it comes to buying food we save a heap of money by sticking to seasonal produce. I absolutely refuse to spend $6 or more dollars for a pint of strawberries during the winter months. They taste horrible anyway. So, we stick to seasonal produce to save money.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of seasonal produce head over to this post: Season Produce: How to Save Big on Fruits and Veggies. There are a few handy info-graphics outlining seasonal fruits and veggies you might find useful in that post.
7. Build Meals Around Only What’s On Sale
When it comes time to build a meal plan I always build it around what’s one sale. If you focus on buying only what’s on sale you’re guaranteed to save a ton of money. This is one of the important ways to save money that has helped us really scale back our grocery budget,
We really enjoy the challenge of trying new foods this way too! Often, we’ll buy sometime completely new to us because it’s on sale and more often than not we end up loving it! Approaching meal planning this way is not only great for the budget but it helps ensure a pretty decent variety in your diet!
When you receive your local circulars, sit down and have a look at what’s on sale for the upcoming week. Build your meal plans around what you can get at a discount and you’ll be able to reduce your grocery shopping budget drastically.
8. Eat All Your Leftovers
We’re huge fans of eating all our leftovers. Actually, we’re so obsessed with reducing our food waste that we take the process a step further and freeze what we know we won’t get around to eating.
Eating your leftovers is one of the important ways to save money on your grocery spending, prevent yourself from eating out and reduce your food waste!
9. Drop The Heat
We live in the north east where it regularly gets to -30 or colder in the winter. Heating accounts for over 55% of our annual heating bills. So, to reduce our electricity consumption we drop the heat. If you’re interested in more detailed explanations of how we cut our electric costs in the winter you should totally read this post I wrote about Keeping Your Home Warm and Heating Costs Low in The Winter.
In a nutshell, we don’t heat rooms we don’t use as one of the ways to save money on heating costs. We also actively drop the heat when we’re out and generally keep our most frequently used rooms around 69 degrees in the winter. We layer up and keep warm by warming our bodies and not the room.
10. Turn Off The A/C at Night
The summer months around here can get really hot. We live in a climate that is extremely cold in the winter and very hot and humid in the summer. We’re fortunate enough to have a central A/C unit in our new house. Rather than have it run 24/7 during the hottest period of the summer we opt to run the unit during the day when we’re home and turn it off at night to save on electricity. The house remains sufficiently comfortable overnight and we start the process over again the next day.
For some people, the opposite works better. If you prefer to sleep in an air conditioned home consider turning off the A/C during the day and opening the windows to let a breeze in!
11. Shop From The Reduced to Sell Section
Always check out the reduced to sell section when you’re at the grocery store as one of the important ways to save money on grocery. Often times you can find day old produce and grain products that are perfectly okay to eat at hefty reductions. Be flexible with your meal plan and adjust as necessary to include these items to save even more money.
Another option is stocking up on veggies to parboil and freeze for later use. The reduced to sell section is a great place to find veggies like broccoli, beans and greens to freeze for later use. It’s also the perfect place to find produce for baking.
12. Save Elastics
Elastics are so incredibly useful and often come for FREE with products and items you buy on a regular basis. We collect and save our elastics rather than buy rubber bands. Elastics are great to seal open packages, organize kids puzzle pieces and other toys. You never know when you’ll need one so saving them is totally worth it!
13. Don’t Buy Bottled Water
If you live in an area with safe drinking water you should totally stop buying bottle water. Not only is it better for the environment but it’s great for your wallet too!
If you’re concerned about drinking water straight from the tap you can invest in a water filter. We’ve used the Brita and loved it!
14. Skip the Soda
Soda is expensive. It’s also really not good for you so cutting it out of your life would help you save money and get healthier.
Having said that, I LOVE soda. I love it so much that this was probably one of the hardest habits to kick. A coke with my dinner was a staple pre-frugal living and although I still indulge from time to time, I’ve taken to drinking water.
If you really can’t or don’t want to give up your carbonated beverages you might want to explore the option of getting a Soda Stream.
We bit the bullet a couple of years back and don’t regret it one bit. We’re able to carbonate our own drinks and save money in the process. I think my favorite part of drinking soda is the carbonation so using our soda stream to carbonate a glass of water at dinner satisfies my craving for a cold bubbly drink!
15. If You Must, Always Return Empties for Money
If you really can’t kick the soda habit make sure you ALWAYS return your empties for a refund. The same applies to beer bottle folks. That’s free money right there.
16. Use Cloth Napkins
To cut down on our paper towel consumption we’ve taken to using cloth napkins. I made them myself and they are great for cleaning a dirty toddler and for using at meal time. Paper towels cost a fortune and making or even buying your own cloth napkins will save you a ton of cash.
I do still buy paper towel but try to limit how much I use.
Cloth rags are also great for cleaning surfaces, dusting and cleaning glass.
17. Use Dishrags For Drying Your Dishes
Rather than using paper towel to dry your dishes make or buy some inexpensive but absorbent dish rags to dry your dishes. I once met a woman who used more than one roll of paper towel every single time she washed dishes.
Save yourself the money and start drying those dishes with reusable dish rags.
18. Air Dry Your Clothes
We avoid using our dryer as much as possible to cut down on electric costs. This isn’t always possible in the winter months due to humidity but when the weather permits we always air dry our clothes.
For less than 40$ Mer installed a sturdy clothes line in our backyard. The process was relatively simple and I can hang a pretty large load out there when the weather is warm and sunny enough.
In the winter we’ve taken to hanging our clothes on a retractable line inside our garage. The clothes don’t always dry completely so I often pop them in the dryer for about 10 minutes to dry them through.
Air drying our clothes is one of the more significant ways to save money on our electric bills.
19. Make Your Own Swiffer Pads
With a messy toddler and a bunch of pets in the house I’m constantly cleaning up spills on the floor. Swiffer pads used to be my go to when it came to spot cleaning my floor. Those pads can get insanely expensive so I’ve taken to making me own. It’s a really simple process that saves us a ton of money.
I don’t soak my pads like most people do. Instead, I have dry pads stocked in my cleaning closet and when a spill or stain happens I wet it with a combination of water, vinegar and a drop or two of Blue Dawn. (FYI Blue Dawn is awesome for so many household needs) It does an incredible job of cleaning at a fraction of the cost of those expensive Swiffer pads.
20. For The Ladies, Invest In A Diva Cup
After Margsy was born I decided to invest in a menstrual cup to save on the cost of disposable pads and tampons. I love my Diva Cup and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a reusable option!
21. For The Men, Buy a Good Quality Electric Razor
Mer has a super thick beard that required that he buy super expensive razors to avoid razor burn. In an effort to reduce the costs of replacing the razors frequently we invested in a good quality electric shaver. Now, he can shave quickly and efficiently without worrying about razor burns and cuts.
22. Take Shorter Showers
Using large amounts of hot water costs money. To save some money we try to shower quickly.
Usually, I’m in and out of the shower in just about 10 minutes flat. This small changes saves us hundreds every year!
23. Cut Your Cable
We opted to cut our cable and use Netflix instead. Some cable packages can cost upwards of $100 per month which is simply astronomical! We have a handy Netflix subscription which offers plenty of options for watching our favorite shows and TVs.
24. Get a Family Plan for Phone
To save money on our cell phone plans we bundled our phones together as a family plan. Since my mother has moved in with us we’ve absorbed the cost of her phone and added it to the bundle too! Cell phone providers love bundling and offering you rebates!
25. Don’t Keep a Landline
Years ago we cut our landline in favor of having cell phones. We had the cell phones anyway so cutting our landline to save over $30 per month was a no brainer.
FYI if you currently have a home phone number you can request to take the number and transfer it to a cell phone. This is exactly what we did and I currently have a cellular phone with our old landline number attached to it. This way our contact info was never disrupted and those who had our landline number can still get in touch with us.
A Few More This Tiny Blue House Posts You Might Enjoy
- 10 Clever Hacks to Eat Healthy For Less Money
- 5 Grocery Shopping Tips That Will Save You Money
- 12 Realistic Expenses You Need To Cut Out Of Your Budget
- How to Budget For Baby Without Going Broke
- 5 Ways To Fix A Failing Budget
I Want To Hear From You!
What are some of your favorite ways to save money?