Whatever it is you’re wanting to save money for; be it a house or your next holiday, or even just to make sure you have some cash in your ‘rainy day fund’, the little things that you do day-to-day are important to help you achieve your saving goals.
It’s only recently that I’ve started saving money in earnest – we’ve always been one of those couples who lives paycheck to paycheck, and yes some of that has been because we’ve not always earned enough to be able to save money, but we’ve also been in situations where we could have saved but instead chose to splurge!
I also know myself well enough to know that if to save money I had to completely cut myself off from the pleasures we have in life then I’d never do it.
Which is why I’m focusing on simple ways to save money – making small changes which, when added up, will hopefully have a big effect on our finances!
Here I’ve listed 40 simple ways to save money – which do you do or do you think you could do?
50 Simple Ways to Save Money
1. Create a Budget
The best way to get a handle on your finances is to create a detailed budget – keep an honest track of your income and expenditure so you can see exactly where your money is being spent.
Doing this made me realise that I REALLY needed to stop eating out at work, buying things on Amazon and could cut back on our grocery spend!
2. Pack your own lunch
I couldn’t believe how much I was spending on lunch when I added it all up – it was actually an embarrassing amount!
Now I’m aiming to pack my own lunch 4 days out of 5 whenever I can – I’ve aimed for four days out of five simply because once a week my work colleagues and I tend to go to our local food market and eat together and I don’t want to forego my social life!
I’ve also been following the slow-carb diet from theFour Hour Body for a week now (yes I know that’s not very long!) and so packing my own lunches means I’m following that and eating healthier too!
3. Skip the Coffee
Not entirely because I’m not even human until after my second cup – I’ll be skipping buying coffee out. You’d be surprised if you added up just how much you spent on takeaway coffee each month!
To help save money I’ll be taking coffee to work in my keep cup (also helping the environment), and will drink the work coffee when I’m there instead of popping out to our local coffee shop once a day.
I get that this isn’t feasible for everyone, depending on where you live/how far your commute is, however walking or cycling to work is good for both your health and your pocket.
I’m lucky enough to live less than 30 minutes walk to work although I’m guilty of snoozing my alarm and needing to jump on the bus there at least once a week.
My plan is to get myself a bicycle in a few months and cycle to work and wherever else we are off to. Particularly now that Lily has a bike – we can just get Theo a bike seat and cycle as a family for days out.
Just for one trip out this would save us around £12 on public transport – that’s a really easy way to save money.
5. Quit the Gym Membership
If you’re getting use out of your gym membership then this one is definitely not for you.
However, if you’re anything like me and haven’t used it enough to justify the cost then cancel it!
You can do plenty of exercise without needing gym equipment or spending any money – I’ve started using the kettlebell at home, doing bodyweight exercises and practicing yoga by watching YouTube Videos.
6. Borrow or Swap books
I read whenever I can (although admittedly not as much now I have a one year old!) and those books can add up.
If you have a local library then why not borrow from there? Or alternatively set up a book swap with some like-minded colleagues or friends – you each get new things to read and it’s a great way to start a conversation too.
7. Meal Plan
Meal planning is a great way to save money – you can plan out meals around the same few ingredients to make sure that you use them all up and don’t waste anything.
For example if I meal plan for a chicken roast dinner on a Sunday then I will do something like a chicken stir fry or curry the next day as I know we always have leftover meat and veg.
Plus it makes food shopping online easier as you can do a week’s shop in one go.
8. Make do and Mend
Hole in your favourite jeans? Turn them into cut off shorts for summer!
Strap broken on your bag? Fix it rather than replace it.
We live in a World where convenience means we’ve become complacent and purchases are so easy to make that we don’t fix what we have. Learn a few basic sewing skills and you can save yourself a lot of money.
There are tonnes of projects using pallet or scrap wood out there – DIY your next furniture need rather than purchasing it, you’ll save yourself money and have something unique.
10. Buy In-Season Produce
When fruit and vegetables are in season they go down in price and taste nicer to boot.
11. Buy Out-of-Season clothes
As opposed to in-season produce it’s much better to buy clothes out of season. Coats and boots will be a lot cheaper in the Spring and Summer months whereas sandals and t-shirts will go in the sale in the Winter months.
It can be a bit tricky to get your head around this one but you can pick up some real bargains. And if you stick to classic pieces rather than trend-led clothes you won’t be looking ‘outdated’ either.
12. Bring your own bags
Besides being much better for the environment this also saves you money. I know they are only 10p each but those pennies all add up.
13. Earn Cash-Back
Sites and apps like Top CashBack give you back money on your purchases every time you shop online – so if you do need to make a purchase use those to get some pennies back.
14. Use Cash
I don’t know about you but I always find it a lot easier to spend money by card than cash. I’ve started using the Money Envelope system to stop over-spending using my card. And I’ve taken our card details off of Amazon so we can’t do one-click purchases anymore either!
15. Save loose change
There’s a saying my Nan always used ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ – and she wasn’t wrong. All those pennies really do add up.
16. Automate your bill payments
That way you can avoid charges for late payments and can plan your budget around the days they go out of your account.
17. Walk Away
I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve made an impulse buy and regretted it later on. Be that a piece of clothing or something for the house.
I’ve bought so many things on a whim which have never been worn because actually they need to be dry-cleaned and I don’t have the time for that, or they don’t match what I have in my wardrobe already.
It’s a waste of money that could easily be curbed by walking away and only purchasing the things you truly need.
18. Buy Second Hand
I love thrift store shopping – some of my favourite home pieces have been bought second hand. It saves money, stops things going to landfill and you can get some really cool unique and vintage pieces too.
19. Food Shop Online
I save so much money by ordering our groceries online.
When combined with Meal Planning it’s a lot cheaper as if I’m in the supermarket I pick up bits and pieces we don’t necessarily need or end up picking up snacks because I’m hungry!
20. Never shop on an empty stomach
See above! It’s asking for extra spends at the checkout!
21. Create a Minimal Wardrobe
Something I’ve been focusing on lately is creating a minimal wardrobe. My style is quite simple; I’m very much a jeans and blouse or tee shirt girl with the rare dress or skirt thrown in. And so I’m building a wardrobe of items I actually want to wear.
By sticking to basics that I actually love and feel comfortable in I’m ensuring that I get the most out of my clothes and that I’m not wasting money buying into trends or ‘the latest must-haves’ that I’ll never wear. Plus you can always sell the extra bits in your wardrobe for some more cash 😉
22. Stop buying lottery tickets
The chances of actually winning the lottery are SO SO SO small – is it really worth the gamble?
23. Grow your own
How many times have you cooked a recipe that called for ‘a few sprigs of rosemary’ or a ‘handful of mint leaves’ and bought those pre-packaged bunches of herbs in the supermarket?
Not only are they much more expensive than a herb plant from the garden centre, but they also don’t last more than a couple of days.
Growing your own herbs is easy and doesn’t cost much at all – and means you’ve always got them on hand when needed.
24. Cancel your TV package
One of the easiest ways we have used to save money was to quit our Sky TV package – we were hardly ever watching it and were paying a small fortune every month for something that wasn’t being used. Instead we have Netflix and Amazon Prime and those have more than enough options for us!
25. Sell your Clutter
Car Boot Sales, Facebook Market Place or eBay are great ways to sell your clutter. It’s true what they say about one man’s trash being another’s treasure and you can make a decent amount of money at these.
Plus less clutter = less dusting and we all want that!
26. Shop around for your amenities
There are lots of different gas and electric suppliers out there and plenty of price comparison websites so you can find the best deal for your household. Sometimes you even get bonuses for switching.
27. Dye your own hair
At my local hairdressers a cut and colour will set you back around £120! A box dye costs just £6-10 so really is a fraction of the price.
If you’re feeling brave try cutting your own hair too – there are lots of YouTube tutorials out there.
28. Babysit/ Pet-sit
You can earn some extra pennies by baby-sitting locally. Pet-sitting is even more of an earner as many pet owners want someone responsible to look after their pet whilst they go away on holiday.
If you have your own kids or pets why not save money by swapping sitting services with friends – offer to have theirs one evening and vice versa so you’ll all be saving money on sitters.
29. Skip the holiday
If you’re saving up for a house you will want to skip other non-essential purchases, such as vacations. Likewise if you’re saving up for a big trip you’ll want to skip the mini breaks.
Alternatively have a ‘stay-cation’ – holiday somewhere local. You can get cheap deals on Groupon so you get all the fun of a break away but without the expense.
31. Home Cinema
Cinemas around here are PRICEY – for me and Scott to take Lily it costs around £40 just for tickets, and that’s before you’ve factored in travel to get there, snacks and drinks for the film.
Instead have a home movie night – pile onto the sofa with homemade popcorn, rent a movie (or watch one on Netflix/Prime) and snuggle up in the comfort of your own home.
Plus at this cinema you won’t get frowned upon for wearing your pjs and you can pause to go to the loo 😉
32. Do your own Nails
I love getting a mani-pedi just as much as the next woman but at £60 a month it’s not a cheap treat. You can get nail varnishes for a few pounds in your local Boots, and you can even buy gel nail kits online for less than the price of one in-store manicure.
I’ve got shaky hands when painting my own nails so always keep cloth wipes and nail varnish remover on hand just in case of accidents!
33. Buy ‘own-brand’
Do you really think there’s a difference between the plain flour labelled up with your local Supermarket economy brand and the normal one you’d buy? I doubt there’s a difference in taste/function but there will be a difference in price.
The one thing I can’t do this with is Heinz beans and ketchup – I genuinely can taste the difference with other brands!
If you’re family are brand snobs try using an alternative without them knowing, the chances are they’ll still eat it and won’t know any the wiser.
34. Unsubscribe from store emails
You know the ones I mean… the ones specifically designed to entice you in with the promise of discount codes and sales. Unless there is something you actually need then this is a false economy – you may be saving money off of the RRP but you aren’t actually saving yourself any money at all.
Un-subscribing means you won’t be given the temptation to shop every time you log on.
35. Swap instead of Shop
Got friends with similar size/taste in clothes to you? Or kids similar ages?
Why not arrange a swap night – where you all bring the things you no longer want or no longer fit your kids and you can swap as wanted.
Add in a cheap bottle of wine and it’s a lovely way to spend the evening together too.
36. Date Night
You don’t have to forego date nights completely when trying to save money. There are millions of free or cheap ideas for spending time together with your significant other.
Instead of a meal in a restaurant why not take a picnic to your local park? Or try a new hobby together? It doesn’t have to be expensive to be special.
37. Meet friends for coffee instead of dinner
Instead of a dinner date with friends why not meet up for a coffee? It’s a lot cheaper than a full meal out, you still get to spend time together and can enjoy each other’s company.
Or start taking it in turns to host a nibbles and wine evening at each of your houses – a few packets of crisps, some maltesers and a bottle of wine and you’ve got a super budget friendly evening with your besties.
38. Cancel Unused Subscriptions
Last month I went to the bank to set up a direct debit and discovered I was paying out for three subscriptions I had no idea I was even signed up to!
They were costing me £18 a month that I was not needing to spend. So check what you have going out, cancel any subscriptions you don’t need and save money without making any changes at all.
39. Quit Smoking
This one doesn’t apply to me as I don’t smoke but if you do you are literally burning your cash away. It’s not easy to quit I’m sure – but add up how much you spend on fags a month and you might feel a little more incentivised!
40. Quit ‘keeping up with the Jones family’
Comparing yourself to others’ really won’t make you any happier. Stop trying to keep up with other people – everybody has their own finances and circumstances and you can only live your own life not a copy of somebody else’s life!
41. Cook from scratch
Not only is it a million times healthier as you know exactly what is going into your meals (and none of it is processed!) but it’s also a lot cheaper.
42. Make your own cleaning products
You’d be amazed at how far some white vinegar, soda crystals and essential oils or lemon peels will go.
Much cheaper than store-bought cleaning products and not toxic either.
43. Hang dry your clothes
It might be a faff and I am always complaining about having to hang clothes to dry around the house when the weather isn’t good enough to hang them outside but it saves soooo much money to not use a tumble dryer.
And when it’s sunny or windy outside the washing dries a lot quicker and the sun acts as a natural whitener on your whites which is handy.
44. Drink water instead of juice or fizzy drinks
Tap water is free people! You can get a filter jug for the fridge if you don’t want to drink it straight from the tap but you can definitely save money from swapping out other drinks to water.
45. Lower the temperature on your hot water settings
I don’t know about you but our hot water comes out BOILING hot – nobody wants to shower under that kind of heat so I’ve switched it down a few degrees. It’s still hot enough to shower with but it saves money on the bills.
46. Unplug appliances when not in use
Flicking switches off might not seem like a big deal but it saves money over time when you do.
47. Use Vouchers or Coupons
Sites or apps like My Voucher Codes are great if you are needing to buy something and can use one of their codes.
For example we’ve had great deals in the past on protein powder orders for Scott – sometimes saving more than 70% on what we would normally spend. The types of deals vary but its worth checking a few out before you order something or even before you eat out as there are always restaurant deals on there.
48. Dry January (or whatever month it is!)
Full disclaimer this is not one I’ll be trying anytime soon as I have no desire to go without a drink on cheat day, i.e once a week for me now.
That being said booze is pretty expensive and even if you only drink a couple of times a week those beers or bottles of whatever your poison is can really add up.
Plus when you’re out drinking socially it can be hard to say no to a cheeky takeaway or staying out later than planned – all of which costs more!
49. DIY Gifts
Some of the best gifts I’ve ever received have been handmade and I treasure them all the more for knowing that the giver has put time and effort into them.
I’ve started making some Christmas gifts – yes July might seem a little early but the next few months will fly by and I’m still a slow knitter/sewer/crocheter/crafter-in-general!
50. Move Banks
Switch your banking account provider to take advantage of perks and bonuses and earn more interest on your savings. This is something I need to look into more as I’ve never done it but I have friends who regularly change their bank.
So there you have 50 (mostly easy!) ways to save money – what ones will you try?