Whether you’re planning for a big purchase, paying ongoing bills, or setting money aside for a rainy day, getting into the habit of saving is extremely important to achieve your goals. Don’t know where to start? Take it one step at a time with these 25 ways to save money in a day, week, month, and year.
Save in a Day
- Make coffee at home
Invest in a handy dandy reusable coffee thermos and take your homemade brewed coffee to go.
- Bring your own lunch
If there’s food at home, bring it with you to work and avoid spending on overpriced, lackluster salads and sandwiches.
- Have a meatless meal
Meat is expensive, and prices are on the rise. Have a meatless meal a day to save a few extra dollars. For some meatless protein alternatives check out our post, Meat Prices are Rising – Here are 4 Protein Alternatives to Help You Save.
- Log your expenses
Keeping track of how much you spend in a day is a powerful way to realize which areas you could cut back on.
Save in a Week
- Check Flipp for grocery deals
There’s no need to pay full price for groceries. Check the Flipp app for deals from stores near you to save week after week.
- Meal plan for the week
Create a weekly meal plan and shop for the ingredients you’ll need. This will keep you on track and help you avoid impulse purchases once you’re at the store.
- Buy produce in season
Fruits and veggies that are in season taste better and cost less too! Check out our Spring Guide for Shopping in Season.
- Shop for store brands
Most grocery stores have their own house brands such as Great Value by Walmart and Kirkland by Costco. Buy these to enjoy quality products at a lower cost.
- Take a break before you buy
The ease of buying anything with the click of a button is all too tempting. Avoid impulse purchases by taking a day or two to think about whether you really want or need an item before you buy it.
- Walk or bike whenever possible
Save money on gas and transportation costs by walking or biking short distances when possible.
- Stock up on items on sale
Stockpiling on non-perishable sale items is a great weekly shopping strategy to save in the long run. We recommend focusing on one to two stockpile items per trip. For more stockpiling tips check out our post, How to Build Your Money Saving Stockpile.
- Watch movies on discount days
Most movie theaters have discounts and specials on certain days of the week. Maximize your budget by taking advantage of these sweet discounts.
- Find the best gas prices
Gas prices are out of control right now, so don’t settle for the closest gas station. Take advantage of apps like GasBuddy to get a handy map of all the gas stations nearby and their prices. Bonus tip: Gas prices tend to rise even more around Thursdays as the weekend draws nearer, so plan around the best times to fill up your tank.
Save in a Month
- Join store loyalty programs
If you consistently shop at a handful of stores, sign up for their loyalty programs to collect points and rewards. You’ll be surprised by how many rewards you’ll rack up.
- Get cash back with free apps
Cash back apps like Rakuten and Checkout51 refund shoppers a percentage or dollar amount of their purchase. Depending on the program, you can shop online through the app or upload a photo of your receipt afterward if you shop in store.
- Use appliances during off-peak hours
Become familiar with your city’s electricity rates and use your big appliances like your washer, dryer, and dishwasher during off-peak hours to lower your monthly bill.
- Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs
LED light bulbs may cost more upfront, but they use up to 75–80% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
- Adjust your thermostat
During cold months, lowering your thermostat by 10–15 degrees for an eight-hour period can save you up to 15% on your heating bill. During warm months, each degree that a thermostat is set above 75⁰F (24⁰C) could save 10–15% in energy used.
- Stick to one or two streaming services at a time
Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify might seem cheap and convenient, but it’s easy to go over budget if you’ve subscribed to all of them. Evaluate how often you use each service and cancel the ones that are not getting much use. If you get bored, canceling one and subscribing to another one is easy to do!
Save in a Year
- Cut banking fees
Save hundreds of dollars every year by signing up for a no-fee bank account. These include Capital One and Ally in the US, and EQ Bank and Simplii Financial in Canada.
- Pay bills automatically
Set up automatic payments for ongoing bills to avoid late payments and getting charged late fees.
- Set up automated savings
To ensure that you are saving consistently throughout the year, set up pre-authorized transfers from your checking account to your savings account.
- Reduce your insurance premiums
Review your home and auto insurance policies every year and shop around for the best rates. Using the same insurance provider for both your home and car can even earn you a nice discount.
- Enroll in your employer’s retirement savings programs
Many employers offer a company-sponsored 401(k) (RRSP for Canada). These are retirement savings plans that also give you tax advantages over the years.
- Plan vacations early
Set up a vacation savings fund to save up little by little and track prices for flights over time. An analysis from CheapAir.com shows that 21–115 days in advance is the prime booking window for bargain hunters.
Even if you don’t use all 25 of these strategies, making a change, no matter how small, will get you into the habit of saving money. Do what works for you, and always come back to your reason for wanting to save. If you’re motivated and stick to it, you will reach your goal.