There are always benefits to saving more money, whether you are a college student or planning retirement, we are all seeking ways to pay off debt, bills and other expenses. Doing one or all of the tips below may save you hundreds to thousands of dollars each year so you can be one step closer to achieving financial freedom.
30 Genius Ways To Save Money
Buy a Water Filter
A water filter is a cost-effective, convenient, and eco-friendly way to have fresh drinking water. By buying a water filter, you are decreasing the amount of plastic water bottles that go into landfills or the ocean.
Between 5 and 13 million tonnes of plastic leaks into the world’s oceans each year, which is then ingested by sea birds, fish and other organisms, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
This is why buying a water filter can be beneficial not only to you, but the planet as well. I love my Brita water filter. I bought mine at a thrift store and got new filters from my local grocery store.
Join rebate apps for your groceries
You can save money when you shop for groceries by using rebate apps. I use Ibotta, but you could also try checkout 51. It’s nice to get money back when you buy regular items such as bread, eggs or milk. All you have to do is shop like you normally do and then upload a picture of your receipt. Easy.
Refinance your car
Refinancing your car loan lowers your interest rate so you can pay it off faster. It might be a lot harder to do if your car has a lot of miles, but I know someone who was able to refinance his car with 300,000 miles through a credit union. He got his interest rate lowered from 30% to 12%!
Be smart about picking a bank
I use a credit union and I love it. The people at the credit union I use have been so helpful and have kept my best interests in mind.
Here’s some reasons why I switched from a regular bank to a credit union:
- They have lower fees, discounted loan rates, lower overdraft fees and other member benefits.
- They are not-for-profit unions, thereby putting an emphasis on serving members rather than maximizing profits
- They offer more flexibility and are willing to work with you if you have issues
- There are no hidden fees
My advice would be to find what works best for you and to choose carefully. If you choose a bank, watch out for hidden fees and avoid monthly fees, ATM fees, minimum balance requirements, etc.
I don’t have to worry about these issues with a credit union, so it is definitely worth looking into.
Refinance your student loans
This is a life-saver tip. I didn’t even know you could refinance your student loans until recently.
Although it can be a long and complicated process, it’s worth it because you can save a lot of money if done correctly.
Receive cash back on your purchases.
I use rebate apps like Ebates or Ibotta to save money on regular purchases. Ebates has over 2,000 stores to choose from. There are even stores where you will get double cash back like JCPenney, Amazon, Macy’s and more.
This is especially great to use when shopping back-to-school.
I am an active member and have earned money from both apps mentioned.
Buy Off-brand groceries
A lot of times off-brand groceries will still have the same ingredients as your favorite brand, but for a cheaper price. It may not seem like you saved much, but it will make a difference in the long run.
Shop at thrift stores
This has saved me so much money throughout the years. A lot of times you can get “like-new” or “new” name-brand items for cheap. You could also buy necessities at thrift stores so you don’t have to pay a bunch of money for something basic.
The average monthly cable bill is around $120 a month, according to NPD Group. By 2020, that number is expected to rise to around $200 a month!
I recommend watching your favorite shows through Netflix or Hulu. If the show you are looking for isn’t on either of those, then I would go to the network’s website and see if they allow you to watch the episodes there for free.
Use energy efficient lightbulbs
Energy efficient LED lightbulbs can save you a lot of money on your power bill. According to energy.gov, these lightbulbs use around 25-80% less energy and can last 3 to 25 times longer than traditional lightbulbs.
Turn down the heat
Bundle up in warm blankets, pour a hot beverage and put on a warm jacket, anything to prevent turning up your heater. The last thing you want is to rack up your heater bill to the point where you can’t afford to pay it off.
Walk, bike or bus wherever possible
I saved so much money last year by biking everywhere and riding the bus. I don’t have to pay the bus fee because I am a college student. The money I saved by not paying for gas makes riding the bus every day worth it.
Create an emergency fund
I learned the importance of an emergency fund after my car broke down and I had no money in the bank to fix it.
That’s before I took a Dave Ramsey class and now I am at a place where I am ready financially if any unexpected problems arise.
Ramsey suggests keeping $1,000 in your bank account for emergency situations. If you are living paycheck-to-paycheck then this can be very difficult to achieve. I would suggest taking on side jobs and reading these money-saving tips to help you reach that goal.
Use your student discount wherever possible
One notable benefit of being a college student is the ability to use your student discounts at various stores. You could use it for restaurants, travel, tech, services (e.g. Amazon), at clothing stores and more.
Fix things rather than throw them away
There are millions of Youtube videos that show you how to fix anything you can dream of. I can’t tell you how many times I saved money by doing simple repairs to my computer or phone, rather than just throwing it away and buying a new one.
You will be surprised by how often the problem has a simple solution.
Meal-prepping saved me so much time and money. Now I can focus on more important things rather than worrying about the time it takes to run home and cook in the middle of a busy work day. Also, it saves me money by not eating out every single day.
Meal-prepping takes a while to get the hang of, but once you do, it is literally life-changing.
Buy out of season clothes
Usually during the off-season retail stores will give heavy discounts on their clothing. You can use this to your advantage and save money by buying your clothes at a cheaper price.
Use up what you have in the fridge before traveling
A smart trick to save more is using up all of your leftovers and food pieces in a meal before traveling. By doing so, you will be fed before traveling, your food won’t spoil or be wasted and when you get back you’ll be ready to go grocery shopping.
Grow your own produce
Creating a small garden can help you save money on groceries. It will also discourage you from eating out because home grown food is the best.
DIY what you can
You would be surprised how much you can save by making your own cleaning supplies or laundry detergent. I would suggest DIY-ing anything you can.
Here is a short list of things you can DIY:
- Cleaning supplies
- Laundry detergent
- Carpet cleaner
Auto-ship your pet food
You can get your pet food delivered to your door every month! This saves you gas money from having to drive to and from the store and a lot of organizations, like Chewy, will give you discounts for being a new member.
Automate your paychecks
Automating your paychecks not only saves you gas money and time but it also assures you don’t miss a payment. A smart trick is to automate a certain percentage of your paycheck to go into savings to build your emergency (or travel) fund.
Composting saves you money by cutting back on landfill fees. It also makes great fertilizer and soil, so you can save yourself a trip to the store and the money it would cost to buy those items.
All you have to do is put your yard or kitchen waste in a bin outside and wait a year until it naturally turns into soil.
Here is are items you can compost:
- Fruit scraps
- Vegetable scraps
- Leaves and grass
- Shredded newspaper
Here are items you cannot compost:
- Anything containing meat, oil, fat, or grease
- Sawdust or chips from pressure-treated wood
- Dog or cat feces
- Dairy products
I bring my own reusable bags to grocery stores because the state I live in charges money for plastic grocery bags. I use these bags for everything so I definitely get my money’s worth out of them. Another benefit is that they are eco-friendly, limiting the amount of plastic that goes into landfills or the ocean.
Get a free library card
Libraries are a great way to get free entertainment from DVD’s to magazines, books and audiobooks. If you have children, the library is often hosting fun events and activities for kids.
Repurpose old clothes
I’ve heard of people turning their old clothes into grocery bags, mittens, pillows, curtains – you name it! This limits waste and keeps you from buying a bunch of extra stuff because you can just make it yourself.
Cover the windows
Covering the windows during the winter months will keep your house warmer, reduce heat loss and lower electricity bills. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that one-third of a home’s heat loss occurs through windows and doors.
Here are somethings you could use to cover your windows:
- Thick curtains
- Plastic film
- Insulated cellular shades
- Blankets and sheets
Save money on your groceries and make your food last longer by using your freezer. By reducing the amount of food your throw out, you save money by not having to constantly re-stock on groceries.
One time I made $100 by selling my old cans! This is a good way to make quick money if you’re in a pinch. My state pays 10 cents per can, but that amount varies from state to state.
Make your favorite drinks
Instead of buying your favorite drink, why not make it?
I know Pinterest has a lot of recipes for making your own Starbucks or (insert favorite brand) drinks. Save that $5 towards your travel fund. Maybe by the end of the year you will have enough to take a trip to your favorite place.
Have any other tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!