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35 Realistic Ways to Save Money Monthly

The reason I used to find it so hard to save money was that I was saving the wrong things and going about it wrong. I did not want to cut back everything I enjoyed because I thought that was the only way to save money. It took a while for me to understand that wasn’t the realistic way to save money.

For example, something you won’t see on this list: skipping your daily coffee purchase. Now, spending $5 every day on a Starbucks latte does add up to some serious cash: $1,825 a year to be exact. And yes, I know I can make your coffee at home. But those of us who buy a mocha latte every morning don’t do it just for the coffee. We do it for the social interactions, the feel, and smell of a coffee shop and the finale of a morning routine that tells us we have officially started our day. That to me is worth the $5. Maybe just not every day. Or maybe I should find a cheaper coffee shop.

Here are 35 realistic ways to cut down on spending and save money, without setting yourself up for failure. Or making yourself miserable.

Home Savings:

  • Cut the cable cord and stream. Or tell your cable company you’re going to cut services and see how quickly they offer a promotion. While you’re at it…
  • Reevaluate your home wifi package. Consider using a mobile hotspot instead.
  • Switch to a prepaid plan instead of a contract one. I pay $45 a month for everything unlimited on my prepaid. This saves me $900 a year on just the phone bill alone.
  • Maintain your house, appliances, and car. Getting the oil changed regularly is much cheaper than replacing your engine.
  • Be your own handyman. This is why YouTube videos exist.
  • Buy term life insurance instead of whole. The term is a fraction of the cost and meets most insurance needs. Comparison of the two here.

Work Savings:

  • Submit your expenses immediately, you want to make sure you don’t forget any purchases
  • If you rent out an office, try sharing the space with another professional. You can use a service like WeWork or Regus to rent space as well.

Credit Card Savings:

  • Pay off your credit card each month. If you can’t pay all of them, try to at least pay down your high-interest cards.
  • Call your credit card company and ask them to lower your rates. Tell them you are considering a balance transfer to a low-interest rate card. Trust me they want your debt, so they will work with you.
  • If they don’t lower, transfer your balance to a card offering a low or 0% promotional offer.

Shopping Savings:

  • Buy generic when it makes sense. Often the only difference between brand and generic is the name.
  • If a store has an app get it. They offer so many great coupons and discounts. I always save at least $15-$20 on my grocery trip by using their store apps.
  • Sell items you don’t want. Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist both provide easy opportunities to declutter and make some extra cash.
  • Stop buying “sale” items just because they’re on sale. You’re not saving money by getting it on sale if you weren’t going to buy it in the first place.
  • Wait for one week before purchasing anything large to prevent impulse buys.
  • Don’t always buy cheap. It may seem counterintuitive, but when it comes to appliances, electronics, and items you will use for a while, don’t buy something that you will have to replace in a month
  • On the other hand…consignment shop where you can. There are high-quality consignment stores everywhere, selling almost new clothing, furniture, and decor.
  • Take care of your clothes. Hang up that sweater at the end of the day, it will last longer.
  • Don’t buy dry clean only. I know this narrows down your options, but limit the dry cleaning to only a few necessary pieces.
  • Stop yo-yo dieting. You have to constantly buy new clothing sizes.
  • Make a list for Target and stick to it. I went one time for laundry detergent and came back with luggage and an iPhone. True story.
  • If you’re a senior, own it. Take advantage of your age and the “senior discount.” Here are at least 100 places that will cut your costs.
  • Don’t go on Amazon.com when you’re bored. The sheer selection and instant gratification of free two-day shipping are just too tempting.

Food Savings:

  • Plan out your groceries and meals for the week. Don’t browse the aisles for what looks good. It’s all good.
  • You can still eat out but plan it ahead of time so it’s not an impulse buy.
  • Make more when you cook and freeze it for later.
  • Pack food, snacks and drinks for car and day trips. Fast food and convenience stores are expensive.

Entertainment / Lifestyle Savings:

  • Go to free events. Facebook, local newsletters and town websites provide all the happenings in the area.
  • Get outside – nature is free.
  • Cancel the gym membership. Buy some weights and find a workout video online.

Kids Savings:

  • At holidays and birthdays ask for zoo memberships, passes to the aquariums or deposits in their 529 (kid’s investment account)
  • Accept your friend’s kids’ hand me downs. Onesies and sweatpants don’t need to be bought new, I learned this the wrong way by overbuying with the first kid.
  • Use the library. All the time! They provide free toys, books, workspace, playdates, and entertainment.
  • Swap days with your neighbor babysitting each other’s kids.
  • Find a mommy’s helper instead of a nanny. A mommy’s helper can be a neighborhood teenager who will entertain your child for a few hours while you’re home.
  • NEVER dry clean your kids’ clothes. If you are trying to save money, the only time this is acceptable is your special occasions.

Work Savings:

  • Submit your expenses immediately so you don’t forget the little purchases.
  • If you rent out an office, try sharing the space with another professional. Or use a service like WeWork or Regus to rent space.

More at The Money Skim


35 Ways to Save Money Monthly

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