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Unique Money Saving Ideas

unique ways to save money

Personal finance is simple.  It comes down to four main factors: spend less money than you earn, save and invest that difference, eliminate then avoid debt, steer clear of lifestyle inflation. 

Below is an (updated) list of unique money saving ideas that range from crazy to brilliant, but if implemented they will help you out with two pieces of the formula: spending less than you earn & eliminating debt.

What’s Your Debt Elimination Strategy?

Let me ask you a question: What  are you doing right now to reduce & eliminate your debt?  The answer to this question is your current strategy for solving your debt problem.  If your answer sucks, then so does your strategy.

In the list below you might find 10 solid ideas that you’ll want to try out, but unless you actually implement those ideas into your life and then apply the saved money towards your debt, then you’re just wasting time and aren’t solving your problem.

Money Saving Ideas

Are some of these unique money saving ideas ridiculous?  Yeah, probably.  But so is debt and if you don’t have a strategy for attacking and eliminating yours, then nothing should be off the table, even if it might sound ridiculous.

It’s also helpful to remember that changes you make today to save money and get out of debt don’t have to be permanent. So don’t start to hyperventilate quite yet. Just because you’ve given up cable TV and sold your second car today doesn’t mean you can’t go right back to them once you’ve solved your debt problem.

 

Unique Money Saving Ideas

Without further ado, here are 83 (plus more in the comment section) wild, crazy, unusual, stupid, whatever ways to start saving money today:

Ideas 1-10

  1. Move somewhere cheaper
  2. Downsize your living quarters
  3. Move back in with mom & dad
  4. Get a roommate to share your housing expenses
  5. Keep your home cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer
  6. Set your programmable thermostat
  7. Close vents in rooms you don’t use
  8. Keep blinds/curtains closed in the summertime; use blackout curtains
  9. Don’t leave the lights on
  10. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs

    Ideas 11-20

  11. Unplug electronics when you aren’t using them
  12. Buy energy efficient appliances (they use as much as 65% less energy than standard models)
  13. Lower the thermostat on your water heater
  14. Check/clean/replace your air filters – this will improve the efficiency of your system and reduce costs
  15. Run your washer, dryer, and dishwasher at night when energy rates are lowest
  16. Wash your clothes and dishes using cold or warm water, not hot
  17. Wash your clothes and dishes on a shorter cycle
  18. Slow the flow; replace your shower head
  19. Take faster showers; set a timer!
  20. Take colder showers (this will also help you take faster showers!!)

    Ideas 21-30

  21. Re-use your bath towels multiple times
  22. Same for your old jeans – re-use them!  The CEO of Levis agrees
  23. Skip the pricey cleaning supplies and make your own instead (tips from Good Housekeeping)
  24. Do your own home repairs
  25. Change the oil in your car yourself
  26. Same goes for the brakes on your car (not hard, watch a how-to YouTube video)
  27. Drive the speed limit for better gas mileage
  28. Keep the tires on your car inflated
  29. Skip the automatic car wash; do this at home if necessary
  30. Shop around for cheaper car insurance

    Ideas 31-40

  31. Increase your insurance deductible
  32. Pay your insurance annually, not monthly
  33. Sell your second car
  34. Ride your bike places instead of driving
  35. Take the bus; use public transportation
  36. Carpool
  37. Sell your “toys” if you have them (boats, RVs, campers, jet skis, etc)
  38. Skip the family vacation this year. Do a staycation instead
  39. Eliminate your home phone
  40. Use VOiP if a home phone is necessary

    Ideas 41-50

  41. Cancel cable or satellite TV
  42. Install an over the air antenna if TV is necessary
  43. Downgrade to a slower internet package
  44. Cancel your subscriptions (Netflix, Xbox live, magazines, websites, gym, etc)
  45. Downgrade to a cheaper cell phone plan; skip the data plan & rely on WiFi connections
  46. Make your current phone last longer before upgrading
  47. Upgrade to a used phone, not new
  48. Avoid restaurants & cook at home
  49. Brown bag your lunch (goes for kids’ school lunches as well)
  50. Eat leftovers; don’t waste food

    Ideas 51-60

  51. Fast one meal per month (or week if you want to be aggressive)
  52. Skip Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts and drink the free coffee at your office instead
  53. Brew your coffee at home
  54. Reduce your grocery bill (hamburger, not steak; chicken, not salmon; generic, not name brands, buy nonperishable goods in bulk)
  55. Drink less alcohol
  56. Stop drinking alcohol altogether
  57. Drink water – it’s free!
  58. Quit smoking
  59. Cut out soda and other unhealthy habits
  60. Mow your own lawn and cut it less frequently

    Ideas 61-70

  61. Water your lawn, garden, & plants less (plants will develop a healthier root system)
  62. Shop for clothes at second hand stores
  63. Organize a clothes swap with family or friends
  64. Have your kids wear hand-me-downs
  65. Save on razors and grow a beard, or shave less frequently
  66. Get your hair cut less frequently or cut your own hair
  67. Paint your own finger/toe nails; no manicures or pedicures
  68. Put your student loans on deferment
  69. Public school, not private
  70. Visit the library, not the movie theater

    Ideas 71-80

  71. Invite friends to your house for a potluck, don’t meet at the bar
  72. Ask for discounts when you shop
  73. Use coupons
  74. Exercise outside or at home (healthier you = less medicine, fewer Dr. visits, co-pays.  “The first wealth is health!”)
  75. Eliminate the gym membership
  76. Pay your bills on time; set up automatic payments (avoid late fees)
  77. Avoid ATM fees
  78. Avoid checking account fees; here’s my referral link to get a free checking account
  79. Leave your credit and debit cards at home when you go out
  80. Insulate your home better to rely less on your heater and air conditioning

    Ideas 81-83

  81. Winterize your home
  82. Opt-out of all marketing emails that you receive to avoid making impulse purchases
  83. Question every single purchase you make and ask yourself “what do I want more, the debt that I’m shackled to, or this thing I’m about to buy?”

Crazy or Brilliant?

As I already mentioned, some of these ideas might seem totally ludicrous.  That’s fine. This isn’t a prescription from your doctor which you must follow. Just pick and choose whatever you think might be useful, but remember: if you’ve got a debt problem then nothing should be off the table. Get crazy and don’t be afraid to push yourself.

A huge (and growing) list of unique, crazy and unusual ways to save money will help you make financial progress, stick to your budget, become debt free and save more money than ever before

My Favorite Money Saving Ideas

And just for fun, while I’ve personally tried nearly every single one of the ideas listed above, here are my top 5 favorites from the list:

  • Deferring student loans (hassle free from my lender and super easy to do, deferring my loan was a quick way to immediately free up a decent chuck of cash that I was able to apply to a higher-interest debt.  Because my student loan interest rate is so low, I’m wasn’t concerned by extending life of this debt)
  • Eliminating the second car. While I technically didn’t sell my second car, I didn’t replace it when it died either.  The savings and other benefits have been great!
  • Brown bagging it at work. I used to be the guy that ate out every single day during the work week.  At $8 per day x 260 days per year that’s over $2,000.  Now I bring my lunch which is cheaper and healthier.
  • I very rarely get coffee outside of the home, don’t drink alcohol and I don’t smoke.
  • Of all these ideas, the last one might be the most powerful for me.  When I’m ready to make a purchase I ask myself ‘what would I rather have, this item I’m about to buy, or the cash that it’s going to cost?’ Its a great way to separate the wants from the needs and I find that very often I put the item away and keep the cash in my pocket.

Chime in!

What’s your best money saving tip?  What’s missing from the list?

By Ty Roberts

Ty Roberts is the founder of Camp FIRE Finance, and a husband and father of four living in the Seattle area. He's a fan of the 4% rule, 80s movies and music, dad jokes and cast iron cooking.

7 replies on “Unique Money Saving Ideas”

Ty – Great list! I especially like #51 (I don’t drink and can only imagine how much I’m saving every year) and #75 to leave your wallet at home. I don’t always think leaving your wallet at home is the best idea, but leaving your credit cards at home is always a good idea! I believe that credit card debt is at the root of our consumer debt problem. It’s too convenient…it’s too easy…and oh ya, you get benefits now for swiping your card through a machine.

I have been saved more than once from a potentially bad purchase by leaving my credit cards at home. I love what you are doing here at Get Rich Quickish. My wife and I went through our own debt “detox” a year ago. We created a debt destruction plan to help us wipe out our debt (see our exact plan here: http://www.poweroverlife.com/create-debt-destruction-plan/)

It was painful because we had to change our behaviors. In the end, it was totally worth it. Being debt free is the best thing we’ve ever done. Thanks for sharing this list. Just like you, I’ve done many of these to try to save a few dollars here and there.

Hey Jacob, good call re: leaving the *entire* wallet at home…you should probably travel with your ID! I’ll update the list to reflect that. But yeah, sometimes leaving your credit and debit cards behind is a great way to avoid spending money.

Great list. We’re trying to insulate our home more and rely less on the heater and a/c. Socks and sweater time!

Surely we can exceed the 99?

Choosing lower temp to wash clothes and/ or shorter cycle
Having a meat free Monday
Give up caffeine
Make board games your thing (invest in a good game and ‘play’ in rather than go out!)
Buy thermal socks- makes keeping the heating off easier
Set a timer for a shorter shower
Switch energy supplier
Buy a sports bottle if you don’t already have one and take water out with you

Great list. I’m tickled at the thought of you doing no. 63!!!

Great list! Drinking water saves you more than you realize. Beverages are costly in a restaurant and can inflate the bill. And eliminating soda from your diet can not only help the budget, but also your health! Invest in a table top water filter like Berkey so you can drink clear, chemical-free water from your reusable water bottle.

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