50 (or more) Ways to save money now.

There are plenty of lists on Pintrest, Yahoo, Dollar stretcher and other sites that offer you a few ideas to save money. What I have here is a list that I gleaned from all over the Internet as well as from my own experiences. I was surprised that this list quickly grew to over 45 items. And then it got even longer. Individually each of these items may seem like they save only small change. But, taken together, and over time, they can really add up. There are no "Make your own cleaning products" ideas here. These are real areas of daily life where real savings can be made.

  1. Plan out and cook your own meals. Dining out and fast food is a huge money drain.
  2. Clean out your fridge and pantry. You'll find good food you didn't know you had.
  3. Buy in bulk the things you would normally buy. You'll get more for your buck.
  4. Opt for non-canned goods. Fresh produce and dried beans are typically cheaper and healthier than canned items.
  5. Avoid boxed meals like Hamburger Helper, and other convenience meals. You can make the same meal from scratch for a lot less.
  6. Use coupons. It's easy to forget coupons you've cut out at home so try using an app instead. Cellfire, Coupons.com, and Grocery IQ give you easy and fast access to available coupons and let you send them to a loyalty card.
  7. Take advantage of special pricing and markdowns on things you normally would buy.
  8. Try the grocery store brand. If you like the taste, stick with it, and you'll save money.
  9. Use the store brand for personal care products, soap, paper, etc. the quality is the same as the name brands for a lot less.
  10. Stop buying microwave dinners. The mark-ups are crazy. You could make better, healthier meals for less.
  11. Make a grocery shopping list so that you don't buy more groceries than you actually need or can keep. Throwing away food is the same as throwing away money.
  12. Use a slow cooker. Throw in some veggies, beans, and meat, and you'll have lunches and dinners for the whole week.
  13. Make your own coffee. Those $2 to $4 coffees add up.
  14. Enjoy the free coffee in the break room at work (if you have it).
  15. Bring your lunch to work. You'll cut your lunch tab in half or more by making it yourself.
  16. Stop buying bottled water. Use a glass or refill a bottle with tap water for free.
  17. Don't buy snacks or drinks from a vending machine. Bring your own healthy snacks instead.
  18. Don't go out to drink. Drinks with dinner can add $10 or more a person, and a night at the bar can easily cost $60.
  19. To really save money, drink water when you eat out. It's free.
  20. Stop buying soda. It's not good for you and water is free.
  21. Avoid your favorite stores. Don't stop into them "real fast," don't visit their websites, and unsubscribe from their emails.You're less likely to buy something if you never see it in the first place.
  22. Avoid the temptation of recreational shopping. Visit the store to buy items you need. Stick to a list, and no looking around.
  23. Track your expenses for a month. Or more. Using a tool like Mint.com or simply keeping a running log will help you see how much of your income is spent frivolously.
  24. Set goals. If you have a plan to stock money away in an emergency fund, for example, you'll think twice about spending on superfluous things.
  25. Buy quality items. If you skimp on the important things, you may spend more in the long run. For instance, spending $30 on shoes every six months costs more than spending $60 on a pair that lasts years.
  26. Think of your spending in hours instead of dollars. If you make $12 an hour, then that $2 cup of coffee is 10 minutes of your life. You may decide it's not worth it.
  27. Compare prices on-line. If there's something you really want but it's pretty pricey, see if you can find a barely used, but much cheaper, version on websites such as Ebid or Overstock.
  28. Before you buy something, ask yourself: What impact is this purchase going to have on my life? That can put an end to impulse spending.
  29. Before you buy something on sale, ask yourself: Would I buy this without the discount? If you're just buying something because it's on sale, you probably don't really need it.
  30. Change how often you spend on indulgences. Rather than give them up entirely, limit the frequency. For example, if you go to Starbucks daily, try going weekly, and if you go the movies weekly, try once a month.
  31. Try putting half of your paycheck into savings. It forces you to figure out how to live on less.
  32. Always pay off your credit card at the end of every month. You avoid paying interest and get in the habit of living within your means.
  33. Set up auto pay on your bills so you're never late. Late fees are a waste.
  34. Get checking account alerts on your phone or opt out of overdraft protection. Otherwise, you'll pay steep fees for overdrafting your account.
  35. Spend your money where you spend your time, and cut the rest. If you're a runner, you need good shoes, and if you spend a lot of time in the car, you should invest there. This kind of thinking helps you trim the superficial stuff that does not add value to your life.
  36. Wait at least two days before buying anything over $50. You may no longer want it or forget it altogether.
  37. Trade cable for Netflix and/or Hulu. You'll have access to more TV shows and movies than you can watch for about half the price. If you like to watch sports, go to the bar or a friend's house.
  38. Get rid of your cable and use an antenna to pull in local programming.
  39. Ask your Internet provider if it has any promotional rates. You could see your rate drop by as much as $20.
  40. If you still use a landline phone, switch to a VoIP service such as OOma, Vonage or Phone Power.
  41. Buy discounted gift cards. Sites such as CardCash and Raise.com sell gift cards for less than they're actually worth. Even if you can't get through the day without your Starbucks latte, you could buy a $100 Starbucks gift card for $89 and save 11%.
  42. Cancel magazine and newspaper subscriptions you don't read. Many people will let them stack up instead of picking up the phone to cancel.
  43. Wear a sweater in the house, and turn down the heat a couple of degrees. Over time, you'll save on electricity.
  44. Open the curtains and let the sun shine in. the passive solar heating will reduce the need to run the furnace.
  45. Get, and use, a programmable thermostat. Set it to turn down the heat at night and while you are gone during the day.
  46. Use a surge protector, or power strip, and turn it off when you leave the room. If you're not there, why keep everything on?
  47. Rethink your cell phone plan. Are you paying for more than you use? Switching to a prepaid plan can significantly drop your bill.

  48. Learn how to manage your cell phone data usage. Connect it to wi-fi at home, school or work. Then set the phone up to use wi-fi for data as much as possible.

  49. Get quotes on your car, home owner's or renter's insurance. Companies competing for your business may quote you a lower rate.
  50. Look into refinancing your car or home. You could see your payment immediately drop.
  51. Check your mortgage statement to see if you are paying Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). Cancel it if you can and see your monthly mortgage payment drop.
  52. Frequent the library. Get books, movies, and music for free.
  53. Buy your everyday clothes from the thrift store. Chances are, no one will be able to tell the difference.
  54. Ride your bike to work. Not only will you save on car or public transportation costs, you'll be healthier.
  55. Car pool. Split the cost of driving to work with some coworkers.
  56. Pay attention to when you're buying things. You could get a better deal on something depending on the day of the week or month you buy it.
  57. Cut your own hair. Buy a hair clipper and adopt an easy to cut style. Obviously, this works best for men.
  58. Give up your bad habits. (I know, easier said than done). But, smoking, drinking, drugs and gambling are a terrible waste of money.
  59. Stop buying disposable razors. 2.If you do uses disposable razors, make them last longer. Run them backward across your arm when they start feeling dull. Dry then after each use.