50 Ways to Save Money. Now!

by Katy on August 5, 2015 · 41 comments

The follow is a reprint of a previously published post. Enjoy!

  1. Treat every purchase like it’s a major purchase. You have a few opportunities in life to save a lot of money, but it’s the small daily ones that will make or break you.
  2. Vacation close to home so you can drive instead of fly.
  3. Delay big purchases as long as possible. You may lose interest or find an alternate solution.
  4. Hang dry your laundry, indoors if necessary.
  5. Choose a hairstyle that does not require frequent trims.
  6. Repair instead of replace. This goes for appliances, furniture, clothing, whatever.
  7. Borrow infrequently used tools and supplies instead of buying. (Also make sure to lend.)
  8. Bank at a credit union instead of a corporate bank. You’ll most likely save on fees.
  9. Wear the clothes you already own instead of buying new stuff all the time.
  10. Cook from scratch and save restaurant meals for special occasions.
  11. Make sure you have a few easy meals on hand for those nights when takeout dinner is calling your name. There’s nothing wrong with serving scrambled eggs and toast for dinner.
  12. Use your library for books, magazines, movies and CD’s. And then make sure to return them on time!
  13. Foster your relationships with like minded friends. They won’t make you feel bad about sticking to a budget.
  14. Pack your own work and school lunches.
  15. Replace expensive recipe ingredients with inexpensive options. Perfect example? Kale instead of basil in pesto.
  16. Don’t be a snob about older electronics. You will survive without the newest iPhone.
  17. Learn how to mend and de-stain your clothing. If half your wardrobe is out of commission, you’re missing out.
  18. Batch your errands whenever you drive.
  19. Drink water or homemade iced tea instead of soda.
  20. Choose social get togethers that do not include shopping.
  21. Cancel memberships that you do not use. Gyms, premium cable channels, and everything else.
  22. Pay attention to your household’s food waste. Eat what you have, and stop buying the food that you tend to waste.
  23. Be willing to own less stuff. There’s less to buy, organize, clean and look at.
  24. Wait until movies hit the second run theaters.
  25. Decline your friends’ shopping parties. You don’t need any more Tupperware, baskets, jewelry or candles.
  26. Take advantage of your town’s free offerings. Parks, hikes, concerts, plays, it’s all there!
  27. Don’t assume that all coupons are for junk food. There are tons of great coupons for pasta, organic food and healthy products. Keep an open mind.
  28. Minimize the disposable supplies that you buy. Rags made from old T-shirts can replace paper towels, and handkerchiefs can replace Kleenex.
  29. Embrace simple entertaining. Chances are that neither Martha Stewart nor the Queen of England will attend your party.
  30. Automate as many of your bills as possible. Not only will you save on stamps, but you’ll never pay a late fee again.
  31. Learn to use a paintbrush. Outdated furniture and kitchen cabinets can gain a modern vibe for thousands less than buying new. And chances are that your old stuff is better constructed than new stuff anyway.
  32. Call your cable company, credit cards and phone company to negotiate a better deal. They want to keep you as a customer and will usually sweeten your deal.
  33. Say no to expensive children’s birthday parties. Just because your neighbor spent $500 on her kid doesn’t mean you have to.
  34. Rethink your expensive hobbies.
  35. Let your kids entertain themselves. It fosters their creativity.
  36. Store your leftovers in see-through containers. You’ll be less likely to forget about what lurks in your fridge.
  37. Don’t feel bad about accepting other people’s generosity. You can reciprocate in your own way.
  38. Don’t be fooled into thinking that expensive shampoos, cosmetics and body products are better than the cheap-o stuff.
  39. Turn down your hot water heater, furnace and air conditioner. You will adjust.
  40. Only stock up on cheap deals if it’s something that you use frequently.
  41. Embrace second hand items. Thrift stores are your best friend.
  42. Learn to say no to your kids.
  43. Don’t hire out what you can do for yourself. Mow your own lawn, clean your own house and cook your own food.
  44. Adopt a mixed-breed pet instead of buying a purebred animal. Or if your have to have a pure breed, look into a rescue organization that specializes in that dog.
  45. Say no to single use unitaskers. One good knife can fill the role of half of what’s sold in a kitchen supply store.
  46. Allow for imperfection in your life. Your house is not a magazine and your kitchen is not a restaurant.
  47. Replace your monthly tampons with a menstrual cup. This tip alone will save you hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
  48. Buy (or make) your birthday and holiday gifts ahead of time. And then allow yourself to spend less.
  49. Ignore The Joneses. Chances are that they’re deeply in debt from all their conspicuous consumption.
  50. Read frugality blogs like The Non-Consumer Advocate for ideas and inspiration!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

sandy August 5, 2015 at 11:08 am

This is the first time I have commented on your blog but I have to now. You remind me of The Tightwad Gazette and all it taught me in the 1990’s. More power to you. And, by the way, I signed the Compact this January after years of leaning in that direction and I did it because of your blog. Keep the blogs coming.


PL Schaffer August 5, 2015 at 11:13 am

I may be the only one left on the planet (and it’s okay!) that doesn’t have a smart phone. A $10 a month, years old flip phone works just fine for what little we use it. I think we have become too “connected” to devices and less “connected” to people and relationships..


MW August 5, 2015 at 12:51 pm



Isabelle August 5, 2015 at 12:54 pm

We are at least 2! I have a cell phone that ONLY phones and, with it, a 100$ pre-paid card that lasts the whole year (we actually use less than that, but it’s the minimum we can buy). It’s always closed and only for emergency or for babysitters.


Anne August 5, 2015 at 1:41 pm

Me three. I usually use about $15 to $20 out of the $100 I have to prepay. But since the $100 is for a year, I can live with that.


Rowen G. August 5, 2015 at 9:58 pm

I don’t have a cell phone at all – I have a no-frills land-line, which does what I need. My sister has a trac-phone, which we use when we travel. We were at a small mountain festival recently, where none of the fancy-phones could get a signal – but hers could.


PL August 6, 2015 at 6:25 am

Good for you Rowen G! I’d love to get rid of the cell phone altogether, but living in a rural area, it’s a comfort to know I have it on dark roads at night. As for the trac phone at the festival when no one else could get a signal, Katy would have probably let folks use hers (for a cost!)


Vickie August 6, 2015 at 7:20 am

Me too!
My personal phone is a Tracphone with a qwerty keyboard. I buy a yearly card to keep it activated for about $100 and those minutes usually last me longer than a year.


Delorise August 5, 2015 at 11:34 am

No on the smartphone here too–my cell is the flip one- at least 6 years or older– and I hope it lasts 6 more years. Regarding # 5 , I have my bangs trimmed short when I get a haircut (I can’t stand the thought of paying $5 for just a bang trim) and stretch out haircuts to 7 or 8 weeks. I liked all of these tips—being frugal (and trying to be green) -I am always open to new ideas.


A. Marie August 5, 2015 at 12:10 pm

I’ve enjoyed this post every time you’ve run it, and I think it needs to be rerun periodically. Comments on it this time around:

#5: This one, plus the arrival of post-menopausal hair (ladies, you’ll find out about it when you get there), inspired me to adopt a new and radically simpler hairstyle.

#15: I must confess that for me, pesto is basil pesto. But since I grow both my own kale and my own basil, the cost factor doesn’t apply.

#16: See the commenters above re: the antique flip-top cell phone. I don’t ever want to own a phone that’s smarter than I am.

#29: Aw, Martha and QEII aren’t dropping by? (Just as well, since I’ve had more fun with both of them over the years than the law allows.)

#47: Like #5, this is an economy I’ve been able to make simply by aging. It’s nice that there are a few advantages!

Numerous others: Amen!


Brooke August 5, 2015 at 1:23 pm

What is post-menopausal hair?? I had to have a hysterectomy & both ovaries removed at age 41 which put me into menooause. I’m experiencing some lovely (or not) changes but I haven’t heard anything about hair changes… and by the way, I follow The Frugal Girl’s lead and get my haircut about twice a year. Lol.


K August 5, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Ah menopause hair. Mine went from thick, brown, straight to slightly wiry, thinner, thinner on top, grey/white and has some curves (not curls) but curves.
Also, in menopause, hair shows up where it shouldn’t – ahhhhh. Review in good light with magnifying mirror. I will leave it up to your imagination.
Sorry to be bearer of bad news. I have embraced what I got/get, just trying to keep it tame.


Katy August 5, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Yeah . . . I’m getting there. ‘Nuff said.


A. Marie August 5, 2015 at 2:03 pm

In my case, everything K said, except no thinning yet (but I’m sure that’s coming up). And as K also said, I’m putting out the word as an educational effort. I heard every story there was about menopause except this one.


Brooke August 6, 2015 at 4:51 am

More good stuff to look forward to! Keeping a sense of humor about it all is paramount. Thanks for the educational tidbits!!

Ani Mia August 5, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Yep, I grow my own basil and make and freeze pesto all summer. Freeze flat in ziploc and break off as needed?


Ruth August 6, 2015 at 1:16 am

The best thing about having a hysterectomy for me isn’t any weird hair growth ( which isn’t good anytime ) but no more pads, tampons , extra washing , blood tests for anaemia , no more sick days due to lethargy from anaemia or abdo pain from the gastritis the iron tablets and injections used to give me ….. I’d say that’s a frugal plus and my hot flushes are keeping me warm this winter


Lisa August 6, 2015 at 5:43 am

Hot flashes, Ugh! Had a bad one last night right before my husband came to bed. He reached over and felt my wet back and said “Did you have a wet dream?” Love a funny man. 😎


Ney@ShopaholicSavers.com August 5, 2015 at 12:14 pm

I love saving money!

I would add to this list-
Buy whole milk and half it with water to make your own skim milk (but better tasting) and you will always get two gallons of milk for the price on one. You can do this with juice too.
I have posted a lot of ways to save money here-

I also LOVE thrifting! I don’t buy much new anymore.
I post my thrift finds here-


CW August 5, 2015 at 12:35 pm

I think there are many of us without smart phones.
Another idea: plant a garden if you have the space. Homegrown produce is great even for a few months like here in northern Canada! Looking after the garden is good exercise too, plus you are outside in the fresh air.
My confession! I like a good haircut every 6 or 7 weeks! Too old for long hair!


Isabelle August 5, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Another tip: work out at home of outside instead of paying for a gym membership.


Sweta August 5, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Do all your online shopping through ebates, you are throwing away money if you don’t.


Katy August 5, 2015 at 6:02 pm

I use eBates when booking travel always. I barely online shop, but flights and hotel rooms add up!


Sweta August 6, 2015 at 6:27 pm

It was a general tip for others not directed towards you, Katy.


Ruby August 5, 2015 at 4:40 pm

I am really guilty of No. 46 when it comes to housekeeping. My husband and son both tell me that I can see things other people would never notice — we’re talking cleaning, not decor — although I am working on loosing up and embracing imperfection.


Penny S August 5, 2015 at 5:23 pm

Isabelle, what kind of cell phone do you have that only phones and uses a pre-paid card that lasts for a whole year? This sounds like the phone and service that I need! Is the service for this phone good nation wide? I live in Tennessee. Thanks for your help.


Isabelle August 6, 2015 at 2:20 am

Not even sure…. but I live in Canada anyways. My husband takes care if this.


Marcia August 5, 2015 at 7:50 pm

Tracphone. We each have one. Costs about $8 each per month. Buying the minimum number of minutes, which roll over if you don’t use them. Have to buy one card per year. We always have minutes left over.


Penny S August 6, 2015 at 12:38 pm

Marcia, I am still trying to find a cheaper way for cell phone service. Thanks for your input on Tracphones. I did not realize that unused minutes could be rolled over on these phones. Where can I go to find out more about these phones and purchase one? Appreciate your input.


KT August 7, 2015 at 4:38 pm

You can learn a lot about Tracfones at their website: http://www.tracfone.com/. They can be purchased in almost any drugstore, Walmart, Radio Shack, etc. Watch the flyers in Sunday papers because someone usually has them on sale for $19. or less. You buy a phone, but you have to then buy the airtime service. You can buy it by the month, 3 months, etc. It is cheaper to buy the airtime for 1 year ($100), then you know you are covered. Not only do they roll over the minutes, but I had the experience of losing my Tracfone that I had for many, many years. I immediately went to Radio Shack, bought a new phone, and they contacted Tracfone to explain my problem. Tracfone disabled the lost phone, enabled my new phone, asked me how many minutes I still had on the old one, and added that number of minutes to my new phone. Didn’t have to change my number or buy additional airtime. In fact, when I bought my old Tracfone, it came with the promise of double minutes forever every time I purchased airtime! I only use it for emergencies, and to keep in touch with my husband when I’m out grocery shopping. I am a senior citizen and he worries about me being out alone, so I always call him to let him know when I’m ready to head home.


Sara August 5, 2015 at 9:11 pm

30.5. Check receipts! Especially for bigger or regular expenses like bills. Phone, electric and utility companies send out thousands of bills a month and you may be surprised how often you can catch mistakes.
51. Walk, bike, roller-blade or cross-country ski your commute when you don’t have too much gear to haul. Carpool when that’s not an option.
52. Learn to make something useful or beautiful and then barter with it! Jams, crochet or knitted stuff, deserts. Trade a service that you are good at or enjoy doing for something you need dome. Fixing things, gardening, childcare… the possibilities are endless.


KT August 7, 2015 at 4:51 pm

Sara, your addition of #52 “Learn to make something…” is so important! I think anyone who wants to be frugal almost has to do this. I taught myself to do many different crafts and skills in other areas to give as gifts because I didn’t have much $. Through the years my skills increased to the point where what I made was priceless. I worked 3 months crocheting a long, lacy Christening Dress for my sister’s first baby. What price could a person put on something like that? When I learned how to decorate cakes (long before the current trend), I gave “Gift Certificates” to family and friends, promising a cake of their choosing any time during the year, as long as I had a 2 week notice to fit it in my schedule. Even after I could easily afford to buy gifts, I still continue to do this. I spend the week after Christmas looking at my calendar and deciding what to make for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. in the new year.


liberty August 5, 2015 at 9:14 pm

Tis the season – yep, I’ve been working on Christmas! Its not too early in my book to Christmas shop in the summer lol. If I’m going to accomplish a frugal Christmas I have to start now.

One of my favorite and most well received gifts to give at Christmas is gingerbread ala Laura Ingalls. Her recipe can be found by googling it. I take a brown paper grocery bag and cut it into gingerbread man shapes and include the recipe on them along with a loaf. It seems nicely special to use Laura’s recipe.

Happy frugaling!


Mand01 August 6, 2015 at 12:01 am

Re no. 5 – hairstyles- I wear my hair very short and spiky, and it does require monthly trims. Longer styles just do not suit me at all. That is a cost that I have to bear to look professional.
But about a year ago, I decided to “own my okayness” (to quote the Simpsons) and stop colouring my hair. I’m now going grey with dignity. This is a biggish deal because like all the women on my mum’s side, I’ve gone grey quite early, and with short hair it’s very noticeable. But I’m saving $40 per month and at least two hours a month.
Plus, while short hair may cost more in trims, it saves a ton of time. Two seconds in the morning and my hair is styled. No drying time. Short washing time.


Mand01 August 6, 2015 at 12:09 am

Also re no. 22 – food waste. That is such a big money saver. Last year I began really paying attention to that. I think some frugal people go overboard in having a stocked pantry and freezer, but my view is that this can sometimes lead to food waste. When I started to really focus on what we had that needed to be used, we started to reduce our food budget and have an empty fridge at the end of the week. As in desolate. But that is a good thing. It meant that we are really using up what we had and being creative, rather than just piling up more food on top of what was there. We are being intentional. And no one is going hungry, btw. We just know that I’m not running off to the shop every day to buy this or that – we are using what we have first. If the kids complain they are hungry, I get them to actually use their eyes and look at what is there. Of course, there is always something and I don’t mean peanut butter on a playing card – proper food


Isabelle August 6, 2015 at 2:25 am

You’re right. I am one of those “food hoarders” and I lost food many times due to dietary changes in the family…. Now that one of our two chest freezer is dead, and that I refuse to replace it, I am forced to reduce my food hoarding, but I still have too much (full frigde, full freezer and chest freezer, full pantry..).


Rachel H August 6, 2015 at 7:00 am

Good list and I do a lot of these things. But some don’t work for me. I live in a tourist area of Florida, so little to nothing is free. During the winter months there are some local discounts at places like the zoo. Of course, the beach is free, but in the summer you fight the crowds. My favorite is a mall theater that shows 2nd run movies, $1 to $2 admission, and you can purchase a large plastic bucket at the first of the year and refill it all year for $4.

Husband will not pay bills electronically. He has a thing about that. And we both have flip phones. What is an IPhone? Ha ha!


Vickie August 6, 2015 at 7:29 am

Thanks for the timely encouragement, Katy!
I avoided a purchase just yesterday by talking myself out of shopping for a dress or top for a Gala event that’s happening this Saturday. I headed to the Library to return some books and on the way realized I have a top and skirt that will work perfectly, I just don’t wear the top very often and I’d forgotten about it. Yay!
Sometimes it just takes me breathing deep and avoiding walking into a store, when I feel like I need or want something specific.


Mary August 6, 2015 at 7:30 am

What a great list! I love all the suggestions. Right now in fact, in order to avoid food waste, I am eating pancakes with peanut butter spread on them. Surprisingly delicious!


JD August 6, 2015 at 8:35 am

I love the reminders. And I’ll add:
Learn to can food. Non-gardeners may still be given extra produce from gardening friends, and canning supplies don’t have to be elaborate — check tips on the internet and thrift stores for some of them. A pressure cooker/canner is needed for low-acid foods, but mine is over 25 years old, and still works great, so it’s a solid investment. I can leftover chili, stew, soup, and baked beans, and cook large amounts of dried beans and then can them myself — so much cheaper and that way I don’t use all of my freezer space or have to wait for things to thaw. I bought reusable canning lids and have used them for several years so far — they are still going strong.


Jill A August 7, 2015 at 4:03 am

Nice list. I know I’ve read it before, but it’s good to be reminded. I’m amazed at how many of these are just second nature. There are definitely some of these I need to still work on. Escpecially the like minded friends. That tough. I guess that is why I’m here. Everyone else just thinks my frugal habits are amusing.


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