10 More Sneaky Ways to Save Money

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
  1. Trade services. Harken back to the days of old when it was common to trade for what you needed. Think about what service you can provide and find someone to trade with. Chances are good you have something you can trade with a friend or family member. Here are some ideas: If you’re a hairdresser, you can trade haircare for babysitting. If you’re a yoga teacher, you can trade classes for vegetables from someone’s garden. Mow someone’s lawn in exchange for a ride to the doctor.
  2. Reduce your utility costs. Utility bills are often the largest living expense after your rent or mortgage. Extreme weather is making those expenses rise even more. Do some research on ways to reduce utility costs, including things like running heat-producing appliances at night when it’s cooler, turning your water heater down a couple of degrees, turning off screens and appliances when not in use, and improving your home’s insulation. Check out this article for more tips.
  3. Hunt for free events. We all love a trip to the movies or a visit to a museum, but these can be costly. Fortunately, most communities offer a variety of free events, such as concerts in the park, free museum days for local residents, festivals and street fairs, and art walks. Google “free activities” in your city or town and take advantage of entertainment that won’t break the bank.
  4. Make your own cleaning supplies. My grandma used to tell me that if you have vinegar and baking soda you can clean just about anything, and it’s true. You don’t need to spend a fortune on special cleaners or detergents. Stock up on versatile and affordable items like white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and baby wipes, and I guarantee you’ll be able to clean almost anything in your home.
  5. Pay cash. With credit card fees rising, some retailers are offering discounts for people who pay with cash. This is super common at gas stations, where the pain is worse when you use a card. Paying with cash also helps you avoid getting yourself into credit card debt. Get the discount and avoid crippling interest charges by pulling out those dollar bills.
  6. Cut down on beauty visits. When the pandemic hit, many of us learned to embrace our gray hair or paint our own nails when our favorite beauty places were shut down. Learning to trim your own bangs, blow out or braid your own hair, and do your own nails will save you anywhere from $20–200 a visit. Not sure how to do it? Check out Youtube where there is a tutorial for everything. Or connect with a buddy and help each other.
  7. Pack and brew. With most people going back to the office, it’s easy to fall back into old habits like eating out for lunch and buying expensive coffee drinks on your way to the office. If you’re hoping to reduce the costs of working, a great way to do it is to pack your own lunch. It doesn’t have to be the sad peanut butter sandwich from your grade school days. Make extra when you cook dinner and bring the leftovers for lunch. Or use a bento box or small containers to make yourself a tapas-style meal. Invest in a leakproof travel coffee mug and bring your own coffee. It only takes a little planning to save big.
  8. Join a food co-op. Many places have a food co-op where, for a small membership fee, you can get better prices on things like produce, meat, and bulk foods. It’s a great way to eat more healthy foods as well, since co-ops typically don’t stock junk food. Check here to find a co-op near you.
  9. Use rewards points. Many stores and restaurants offer rewards programs. While it lets retailers track what you’re spending your money on, these programs can also save you money. Some stores only offer sales prices to rewards members, and others offer a credit back after certain spending thresholds. You can then use your points to pay for future purchases or get things like free coffee or reduced gas prices.
  10. Embrace the thrift. Thrift stores used to have a bad rap, but more and more people are looking for deals at their local Goodwill or other thrift stores. You’ll love it when you find a new or nearly new item for a small fraction of its usual sales price. And some thrift stores also let you consign your own items, so when they sell something you’ve put in consignment you can get store credits for future purchases.

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Rose Bak

Rose Bak

Rose Bak is a freelance writer, author and yoga teacher who lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit rosebakenterprises.com or follow @authorrosebak on social media.