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Creative Ways to Save Money

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Creative Ways to Save Money will give you ideas to help put you on the path of frugality from people who’ve been in your shoes.

“The best thing money can buy is financial freedom.” – Unknown

In a frugal living group, the popular question was, “What’s the one thing that you changed in your life that saved you a lot of money?”

There were hundreds of responses.   I loved how everyone had their own “thing” that they mastered to reduce expenses.  

Whether you’re looking for creative ways to save money for a vacation or you’re on a tight budget, you should be able to find one or two new ideas to get you there.

Not only will these tips keep your money in the bank, but once you start these habits, you’ll probably end up loving them.

Clear jar with the word Saving on it - Creative Ways to Save Money

One of the group members gave her top three rules for saving money:

1) Her family rarely went out to eat.  When they did, everyone could only order water for the beverage.

2) Before her family would buy ANYTHING, they would ask themselves if they really needed it.

3) They stuck to their monthly budget.

Saving on one thing, year after year can add up to lots of extra money that would have thoughtlessly gone down the drain.

Some of the members put themselves on a savings challenge and had fun with the process. They put together a money-saving chart and documented their progress.

You can use the same idea in your family to get things rolling.

Creating a Cozy Life 

Since you’re looking for ways to save money, I’m guessing you like all things cozy living. I created a Facebook group called Creating a Cozy Life with over 42,000 like-minded souls.

It’s a group where we share recipes, pictures of things that leave you in awe, and ideas on how to make your life just a little bit more snug.  Join here to be part of the virtual cozy cabin.

Here are the Creative Ways to Save Money answers:  

Save Money on Food

1) Save money by ordering groceries online for pick-up. 

Ordering groceries online was one answer that the group found to be one of the best money-saving tips.  By using this tip, no added impulse purchases were part of the bill and they ended up eating healthier.

Between the kids, your significant other, and yourself, how many times have you ended up with more in your cart than you intended to?

I can’t even begin to wonder how much money I would have saved over the years if I implemented this strategy.

2) Save money by learning to make your favorite restaurant dishes at home.

Cast Iron skillet with pan-fried chicken and a bowl of potatoes

Learning restaurant recipes could be a challenge for you to enhance your culinary skills.  How many times have you went and got take-out because you craved a particular dish?

Probably more times than you can count.  Why not try to recreate the recipes at home?

Check online for a copycat recipe of what you’re trying to recreate. Someone else probably had the same idea and figured out the right blend of ingredients.

3) Check the Amazon Prime Pantry Clearance section to save money.  

There’s a minimum order of $35 on Amazon Prime pantry, but several people used this strategy to keep their food prices down.

One money-saving mom bought most of her groceries this way.

I just went online to check out what they had on sale, and there was a wide variety of products to pick from.  I ended up putting in an order myself because of the deals I found.

Go here on Amazon, change the heading to “Prime Pantry,” and enter “clearance” in the search bar.  

4) Saving money by meal planning.

Container with raw salmon, raw chicken, celery, oranges, kale, lettuce, rice cakes - creative ways to save money

Several of the people in the group were master meal planners.  They had the rotation of meals their families would eat on 30-day charts.

By creating a monthly meal plan, they knew what ingredients they would need and would stock up on items when they got the best deals.

One savvy frugal member cut her food bill by 30% by building her menu around the loss leader items in grocery stores promoted. Loss leaders are food items with heavy discounts to get shoppers to go to grocery stores.

Place the sale items together in your grocery cart. When you’re ready to check out, make sure you receive the right price when they are scanned. I can’t count the amount of times I have had to have the cashier change the price because the discount wasn’t in the register.

5) Save money by growing your own produce.

Wooden bucket with fresh green beans, cherry tomatoes surrounding it - farmer's market

When I first bought my house, I spent a lot of money working in my front yard.  I turned it into a gorgeous flower garden.  (It was even described as “magical” by a few of my neighbors.)

While I’m happy I took the time to create such a beautiful space, I wish I spent more time growing my own food.

I already had three apple trees on the property, so I added two cherry trees.  I also created a tea garden filled with herbs.

After touring suburban farms in downtown Seattle, I realized how much food could be grown in even the smallest yard.

I won’t make the same mistake twice.  Now that I’m moving somewhere else, my number one priority will be adding fruit trees, bushes, a vegetable garden, and herbs to my landscape.

Many frugal members were big on canning, pickling, and preserving their produce, they grew from their land.

They love canning their spaghetti sauce, making pickles, canning green beans, canning jars of jam, and making pickled jalapeños.

Here are some articles I’ve written about growing your own food:

How to Start a Victory Garden

3 Steps on Planning Your Mini Backyard Orchard

Gardening for Beginners – Tips and Tricks

11 Reasons to Start an Herb Garden 

6) Save money by giving up lattes. 

Latte in a white cup and saucer sprinkled with cinnamon

Do you still go to your favorite coffee shop for your designer coffee?  It’s time to alter your habit.  Get an espresso machine or change to straight java. Another cost savings is to buy a washable coffee filter rather than using paper filters.

Better yet, switch to tea and water and save some money.  You don’t have to go cold turkey. Wean yourself off your regular beverage routine so that it won’t seem like such a big deal.

I switched to drinking Earl Grey tea and became a tea lover.  That’s when I grew my own tea garden.   I wrote a post about how to get started here.

You could also purchase loose tea instead of buying boxes of tea bags and make your own tea blends at a lower cost. Here’s my recipe for Bedtime Tea Blend.

One frugal member mentioned purchasing a SodaStream on Amazon and how it saved them lots of money over time.

7) Save money by purchasing a freezer and dehydrator.  

Dried apple slices with apples and apple leaves - creative ways to save money with dehydrator

Several of the people in the group stressed the importance of not wasting food. Most of them found having both a freezer and dehydrator saved them lots of money in the long run.

Because they had a large separate freezer, they were able to buy in bulk during meat sales.  They used their dehydrator on any produce they thought might go to waste.

To simplify the preparation of making stir-fries, one member cooked two meals worth of diced chicken, pork, and beef in stir-fry sauce. She froze the meat in meal-sized portions. When the meal of the day was a stir-fry, she grabbed the meat from the freezer and tossed it with fresh vegetables.

If you live alone, cook as though you will be having three extra people for dinner and freeze leftovers in a muffin tray. When the food is frozen, place the individual “muffins’ of food in individual freezer bags for a later meal.

Making your own convenience foods and then freezing them will also help reduce expenses. Freeze waffles, pancakes, and French toast that you made yourself for future days when you have less time.

You can also freeze your bread ends and make bread crumbs when the recipe calls for them. When you’re ready, use your food processor or blender turn the ends into crumbs.

The apple trees I had gave me a lot of produce all at once. My dehydrator and freezer made sure the fruit didn’t go to waste.

Investing in a good machine was essential to me because I knew I would be using it all the time.  Here’s the dehydrator that I love.  

8) Save money on snacks.

One member in the saving money group bought jumbo bags of snacks and divided them up herself into small sandwich bags.  The jumbo bags are less expensive than the snacks that are individually-sized.

Picking healthier snack options will also spare your wallet. Buy organic popcorn kernels in bulk to make yourself, or have cut-up fresh vegetables and dip ready for when hunger strikes.

9) Save money with less expensive ingredients.

Dried beans and grains

Several of the families in the frugal group started eating less meat. They slowly started transforming what they ate and felt better because of the changes.

A frugal member considers meat a garnish now. Grains, beans, vegetables, greens, and fruit are the stars off all their meals.

After they started on the plant-based journey, they continued because they liked the food better.

One of the things they raved about was creating a chickpea salad that ended up tasting like a “mock tuna salad.”  Lentil sloppy joes were also a big hit.

Start by scheduling one day a week for meatless meals. After you get that weekly change mastered, move on to two nights a week.

10) Save money with free food.

Orange trees - save money with free food

Yes, you read that right.  Free, as in no strings attached.  Do you know how many people have organic produce rotting away in their yards, and they are looking for someone to give it to?

The answer is lots of people.  My neighbor is one.  She has multiple fruit trees in her backyard that creates quite the mess when the apples, plums, and figs drop to the ground.

She would love someone to come over and pick a few bags of fruit, so she doesn’t have to clean them up.

There are also vegetable gardeners with more zucchini than they’ll ever be able to eat when it comes in season.

How do you make that happen?  There’s a NextDoor.com website where you sign up with your address, and your neighbors all get to see everyone’s messages.  

Let your neighbors know you would love any excess of produce and that you would be happy to pick it yourself.

11) Save money on herbs and spices.

Fresh and dried herbs in bowls and on a wooden plate - save money by growing your own herbs

Herbs are the first thing I started growing because paying $3 for a tiny bunch of thyme, basil, oregano, or sage for a recipe just felt ridiculous to me.

Once I started growing herbs and found out how easy it was to keep them alive, that $3 price tag felt like highway robbery.

On my front porch, I have a large pot filled with sage that I planted four years ago. I do nothing but water it, and the herb comes back year after year.

I also dry the herbs and make my own spice blends. You can also make your spice blends by buying in bulk. You can find my recipe for the best Fajita Seasoning here.

Ethnic stores usually sells spices in bulk for a lower price than regular grocery stores.

12) Save money by stocking up on staple items.

Stocking up on non-perishables is an easy way to save money.  Plus, you don’t run out of necessities because you’ve always got back up.

Most of the items I use (toothpaste, deodorant, etc.) are natural living products, which can be pricey.

I buy mine at a discount supplement store, and when they have a sale, and instead of buying one, I buy multiples of the product. Grocery stores usually stock these items at premium prices, so it’s best to look online or in discount stores for sales.

I’m still using the toothpaste I bought at the last sale they had on it, which was over six months ago.

Not only does this tip save you money, but you end up saving time shopping because you only have to buy the non-perishables a couple of times a year.

Save Money on Non-Food Items

13) Save money by making your own toiletries 

Mason jar with epsom salts with lavender sprig tied with a ribbon on front

Making your beauty products is another easy idea. An extra benefit is that you’ll know what ingredients will be going on your skin.

Check out the list of questionable ingredients of your favorite beauty products, and you will be unable to pronounce most of them.

Do you want those ingredients absorbed to be by your skin and then into your bloodstream?  I thought not.

After learning a few good recipes, several people bought the ingredients in bulk and made lotions, toothpaste, bath bombs, soaps, lip balms, and deodorant.

To get started, you can try my recipe for DIY Coffee Lover’s Sugar Scrub here.  

14) Save money by making DIY cleaning products.

Fresh lemons, scrub brush, sponge, baking soda in a jar and clear bowl.  Save money by making your own cleaning products.

Most of the people in the frugal group make their own cleaning supplies.

They are so easy to make, save you money, and you’re not cleaning your home with harsh chemicals that your family breathes.

When you add essential oils to your cleaners, they freshen the air at the same time.

To get started, you can try my Homemade Lavender Linen Spray here.  

15) Saving money by minimal use of plastic wraps, paper towels, and tissues.  

Not only do you save money by avoiding using disposables, but you help the environment at the same time.

I rarely buy paper towels because I clean with fabric towels instead.  This one thing has saved me tons of money.  I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to change this one simple habit?

The best thing to do is to purchase Microfiber cleaning towels.  You can find them here.  

Another savings tip is to stop using throw-away wraps for your bowls and dishes.

You have several different options to buy these covers once and never have to use plastic or foil wrap again.  Here are some ideas on Amazon:

Silicone Stretch Lids – 12 Pack – Expandable Lids to Keep Food Fresh

Wegreeco Reusable Bowl Covers – Set of 3 

Bee’s Wrap Assorted 3 Pack – Eco-Friendly Reusable Beeswax Food Wraps

Save Money on Laundry

16) Saving money by drying clothes on the line.

Save money by drying laundry on a clothes line with wicker basket in front

One of the group members experimented with drying all their laundry outside on clothing lines.  She found that her average savings were $20 a month.

17) Save money by using dryer balls.

Have you heard about wool dryer balls?  Buy them once instead of dryer sheets and they last thousands of loads.

You can find wool dryer balls here on Amazon.

You save money, help the environment and keep toxic chemicals away from your clothing.

Several of the members made their own laundry detergent.  I would caution you to do some research on this because I’ve also heard that some homemade laundry detergents clog up washing machines.

Save Money at Stores

18) Save money by getting the Flipp Mobile App.

A few of the people in the group mentioned getting the Flipp Mobile App on their smartphones.

It’s an app that shows all your local store sales ads simultaneously, and you can compare prices before going into the store.

There are thousands of flyers available.  You type in your zip code, and it will show you all the weekly ads and deals.  It also works in Canada.

Most of the group members hadn’t heard of this app, so if you haven’t, you’re not alone.

Save Money on Entertainment

19) Save money by dropping cable.  

Goodbye written on a stick note pinned to a bulletin board - save money by saying goodbye to cable

This answer was one of the top two solutions that came up the most.  Most of the group learned to live without cable comfortably.

Other entertainment options are Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube.

Since I’m already an Amazon Prime member, I watch movies and shows there too.  You can buy a channel and binge-watch shows and then cut the channel off after a month.

20) Save money by looking for free events in your area.  

Many towns and cities put on free events throughout the year.  You have to keep a lookout for some fun things that will appeal to your family.

Several people made a game of it, challenging family members to develop ideas on having fun together as a family for free.

21) Save money with a romantic challenge – $10 date night.  

Set a specific limit on how much you will spend for date night.  Take turns planning the date and see who can come up with the most creative plan.

How about creating a winter wonderland date? Go for a winter walk under the moonlight, make snow angels, sip on hot cocoa that you brought in a thermos, and design that cabin you would both like to have in the woods.

Another idea is to make a list of the best places to kiss in your town and make sure you check them all off the list.

Save Money on Utilities

22) Save money on water.

If you haven’t turned your yard into a food forest yet and have no intention of doing so, swap out your big, thirsty yard for some drought-resistant plants.

Watering your yard early in the morning will also help you save money. There will be less heat to evaporate the water. It will also help prevent disease spread because the sun will dry the water on leaves and blooms.

Replace your sprinklers with a targeted drip irrigation system.  You’ll be happy you did when the water bill arrives!

23) Save money on your electric bill.

Close-up photo of power cord and finger turning off the cord.  Save money on your electric bill.

Cut down on your electric bill with a few easy steps that will have you rolling in dough.

Did you know that even when things aren’t turned on like your computer or lamps, they are still drawing energy?

What a waste of money!  Get power strips and turn them off when the items are not in use.  Once you get this up and running – it’s a simple idea.  You can find some here on Amazon.  

Do you have insulating blackout curtains for your rooms?  If not, you might want to check them out.

You block out the sun in summer, and in winter, the curtains help insulate your windows where cold air comes in. Find them here on Amazon.

Instead of using your oven all the time, why not have a toaster oven or air fryer/toaster oven combination on the counter and use that to cook small meals?

I use my toaster oven every day.  When I use the stove in the summer, it will make my home unbearably hot.

Here’s my favorite air fryer / toaster oven. 

Did you know that by changing your AC filters monthly, it can help you save up to 15 percent on your electric bill?

Ceiling fans are also a way to save money on your power bill because they can make a room feel 10 degrees cooler, yet use only 10 percent of the energy of air conditioners.

Save Money on Automobiles

24) Save money by getting your car wiring wrapped with pepper tape.  

I wish someone had told me this preventative tip before incurring $1,400 in bills.

About a year ago, I went out to my car and was greeted by the “check engine” light when I turned it in.  I made an appointment with my dealership because my car was still under warranty.

It turns out that mice had chewed on my car’s wiring and caused a lot of damage.  The bill to fix the installation was around $700.

I read everything online about how to keep rodents away from my car and implemented several suggestions.

A few months later, I got another “check engine” light notice.  You guessed it, more wires that fell victim to a rodent buffet and another $700 later.

One of the service guys let a secret slip that most dealerships know is a problem.  He said, “Yes, rats and mice just love soy wiring.”  What?

Several manufacturers of cars used soy to cover the wiring of their vehicles between specific years.  The year range depends on the type of car you own.

They realized their mistake and coated their wiring with different products in later years.  It was not that long ago.  My car is a Honda, and I owned one of the soy-coated wiring vehicles.

Having soy on your wiring is like slathering peanut butter on them. Not only is your car a nice cozy, warm place to hide – but it has delicious-tasting wiring to grind their teeth on too!  It’s like a vehicle bed-and-breakfast.

None of the car manufacturers will take responsibility for damage caused by rodent damage.  Prevention is up to you.

It turns out Honda has hot pepper tape that they put out to combat this problem.  The tape has to be put on by professionals because it’s super hot, and mishandling it can injure you.

Did my dealership let me know about this magical tape?  No.  Research online did. I insisted they put on the tape before I picked up the car again.

It cost about $200 to have it put on, but it was worth it in my book.  I was lucky before that the damage to my vehicle was only $700 each time.  Others weren’t so lucky.

One guy bought a brand new car and had $6,000 worth of damage within a month of driving it off the lot.

The service guy told me I wouldn’t believe how many cars are repaired for this problem.

Google your car online to see if you have the soy wiring.

If you plan to keep your car for a while and find out you have it, you now can decide whether you want to take a gamble of preventing an occurrence or taking the risk that nothing will happen.

Other Save Money Ideas

25) Saving money by cutting the family member’s hair at home.  

Thank goodness for YouTube!  Now you can learn to be an expert at something from the comfort of your own home.

Several of the moms learned how to give their kids and husband haircuts at home.  They were pretty proud of their ability and thought they did a better job than when their family members got haircuts they paid for from experts.

You could also groom your dogs at home.  I do this and save tons of money.

26) Save money by shopping the Craiglist “free section” when you want to look for the things you don’t need.  

When you get that urge to shop, why not see what type of treasures you can find in the free sections of various online selling sites?

Some of the most popular ways to find free stuff is to check Offerup, Facebook Marketplace, local buying groups on Facebook, NextDoor, and Craigslist.  Some groups are set up to ONLY exchange free items.

I recently gave a brand new toaster oven away for free.  My mom had an older model toaster oven that she had never used and I gave it away to the first person that needed it.

Finding unlovable items and transforming them into something useful and fun can be your superpower!  Castaways can also be transformed into amazing art.

27) Save money with natural pest control.  

The situation with my car got me motivated to keep pests at bay.  I found simple ways on how to landscape your yard as a natural deterrent for rodents and bugs.

Adding the right plants to your yard is the best way to save money in the long term.

You can find out more about How to Grow an Insect Repellent Garden here.

28) Save money on gift wrap.  

Hands with paint on them making art on paper.  Save money on gift wrap.

A mom in the save money group bought rolls of brown packing paper instead of gift wrap.  She let her children paint the packing paper whenever she needed to gift wrap something.

Her children loved their artwork being part of the gift, and it gave the mom some free time while the kids were busy with their art projects.

29) Save money with a bill audit.

Checkbook with fountain pen.  Save money by doing a bill audit

Look at all your bills and see if you can do something to get your costs down.

Call each company and see if they have any ideas on reducing your expense.

When my internet box needed switching out, the guy that came out to fix the box said he could save me money.

He called the company and asked for a special package deal that reduced my bill by $20 per month.

30) Save money on a gym membership.

I know you love your workouts, but what about using the money you will save and buy yourself a nice bike or set of weights?

Once you paid for your exercise equipment, you can start pocketing the rest.

31) Save money with vintage decor.

Hand painted blue vintage dresser

Vintage furniture is a great way to give your home a one-of-a-kind look.  The best part is you can pick up vintage pieces for a song.

Estate sales, garage sales, online ads are all good places to start.  Even if a piece of furniture has seen its better days, a fresh coat of paint will have it looking brand new at a fraction of the price.

Save money by seeking answers.

Cut out letters from a magazine spelling out the word "Answers"

Join groups of other frugal living lovers and be inspired by the ways they save money.

The great thing about joining these groups is having immediate answers to any questions you have about simple living immediately. You’ll also be around like-minded people that will help encourage you along the journey.

We’ve reached the end of the Creative Ways to Save Money.  I hope you enjoyed it.

Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a post.  You wouldn’t want to miss other posts like Depression Era Habits to Start Today 

I hope you found a tip or two that you hadn’t thought of to implement into your own life.  Pretty soon saving money will become your new way of life.

Let me know in the comments below what your favorite ways to save money are.

Make sure you join our Creating a Cozy Life – Hygge Style Facebook group.  You’re not going to believe how amazing it is.  Join here to be part of the virtual cozy cabin.

Please save this saving money pin below on your simple living board on Pinterest, so that you can refer back to it again.  

Thanks for stopping by.  I’m so happy you found us!  

Related Posts:  

Path to Simplicity: 25 Simple Living Ideas 

Minimalist Lifestyle: Why Others Got Started

13 Tips for a More Peaceful Home 

How to Save Money Using Leftover Ingredients

31 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress 

Here’s an article I found on how to Save Money Live Better – 17 Effective Strategies 

Creative Ways to Save Money Pin - Mason Jars with dried beans and grains
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