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50 Ways to Save Money

Updated on May 9, 2012
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The cost of living continues to increase, the economic downturn means salaries are not keeping pace. Here are a few easy ways to cut spending and save some much-needed cash.

1) Cut your own hair. Get an easy to manage style and trim your hair yourself every few weeks. You can still go to a professional to maintain your style, but you can reduce the number of visits to the hair salon from every six to eight weeks to every four or five months by trimming your hair yourself.

2) Shop end-of-season sales. Retailers tend to have their best bargains as the seasons end, to make room for next season's stock. Many leave out last season's clothes weeks or months into the new season. Shop for next winter during the spring, shop for summer during fall, etc.

3) Get a start of the season manicure/pedicure to get your nails in shape and then do them yourself for the remainder. If you want to go to the salon for a professional look, only go when you need shaping, and not just for a polish change that you could easily do at home.

4) Cancel the gym membership and take up a free exercise, like walking, jogging, playing basketball or soccer at a local park, or swimming or tennis, if you have a pool or court where you live.

5) Cut back on eating out, grabbing take out and carry your lunch to work.

6) Keep the lights off when you're not in the room.

7) Use a ceiling fan instead of the air conditioner during hot weather.

8) Use a space heater - be sure to get one that shuts off automatically - wear extra warm clothing and sleep on flannel sheets during cold weather to avoid running the heat so much.

9) Skip Starbucks and make coffee or hot tea at home and carry in a thermos for your commute to work.

10) Slice open lotion bottles to get every last bit of product out - you'd be surprised how much gets tossed - and add a bit of water to that last bit of shampoo or liquid hand soap to get an extra use or two.

11) Cancel magazine subscriptions and go the library instead. Or, set up a magazine swap with friends, so you can all make your dollars stretch. Pass along your Entertainment Weekly to your girlfriend when you get done and she can pass on her Cosmopolitan to you.

12) Have potluck night a couple of times a month with friends, where everyone brings a dish and everyone takes home a to-go plate.

13) Skip night movies and go to the matinee or go to the discount theater. Or, save movie theater trips for special occassions and sign up for a mail or online rental service, which is often cheaper than the theater, and you get more movies for less money.

14) Keep electronics turned off when you're not using them. Hit the power button on the DVD player as soon as you take out that DVD, keep the computer turned off, etc.

15) Burn candles at night if you don't need a lot of light. Use candles on the patio instead of outdoor lighting. Be sure to blow them out before retiring for the evening.

16) Don't buy dust cloths: Instead, cut up old raggedy towels or T-shirts.

17) Work out a trade for services. If you're a writer who has a friend with a yoga studio for example, offer to write up some promotional material in exchange for a few yoga classes. Too scared to try the do-it-yourself hair cutting suggestion? Find a friend who has a talent for hair styling and offer to make her a home-cooked meal in exchange for a haircut.

18) Plan outings to minimize mileage, and therefore, fuel costs. Don't double back to an area you've already been. Travel the farthest to the place the farthest distance away first, then make the rest of the stops along your route back home.

19) Have shoes that are still in good shape but are starting to peel or get scuffed? Use a permanent marker to fill in the scuffed spots and get another season out of them.

20) Cut back on the minutes in your phone plan; downgrade your internet speed.

How to Save Money from howcast.com Source: metacafe

21) Cut out premium channels and stick to basic cable, or cut out TV altogether. It may be an adjustment, but there's always DVDs and YouTube. Cable plans are often outrageously expensive. And think of all the time you can devote to more productive tasks.

22) Use a tiny makeup brush to get the last bit of lipstick, lip gloss and nail polish out of containers.

23) Visit salons of beauty colleges for haircuts, manicures/pedicures, massages, eyebrow waxing. They often charge much less than regular salons because they exist to provide students with experience versus turning a profit.

24) Wash and vacuum your vehicle rather than having it done by a professional car washing service.

25) Carpool to work, school and social activities.

26) Drink from reusable water bottles and tumblers versus buying plastic bottles. Save money and the environment!

27) Shop at the local dollar store. Some items aren't worth buying here, as they come in such small packaging, the discount almost isn't worth it, but other items are a good quantity for a reduced price. Many dollar stores have cards and gift bags that are just as good as those that cost four times as much at regular retail shops. Plates and cups for parties and party decorations are also good finds at these stores, and some of the cleaning products are just as good as you find in other stores, for much less.

28) Don't waste money on ring tones. They're not necessary.

29) A good tip for all those singles out there: Cook up a recipe and freeze half the food so you can eat it later and it doesn't go to waste.

30) Join sites like Groupon.com and hunt4freebies.com to get updates on discounted products and services ranging from beauty products to vacations, along with offers for free samples.

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31) Don't use plastic if you don't already have the cash in the bank to pay for whatever you're buying. Pay off all credit card debt as soon as possible to avoid paying interest rates, and, if you can't trust yourself not to overspend, cut up credit cards and pay with debit or cash.

32) Take advantage of the many stores that offer rewards cards to accumulate points every time you shop to count toward free items.

33) Clip coupons. Research when stores have double coupon days and stock up.

34) A cheap alternative to several beauty products? Vaseline. It can double as lip gloss, primer for eye shadow, even body lotion, if you don't mind feeling a bit greasy for a few minutes after the application.

35) Don't leave the faucet running while washing dishes, brushing your teeth, etc., and turn the shower off while shaving your legs or massaging shampoo into your hair. You can turn it back on when ready to rinse.

36) When you get a gift, save the gift bag and tissue paper to reuse.

37) Use witch hazel, which is super cheap, to treat minor bug bites, scratches and bruises, and even acne, versus a more expensive medication.

38) Ask your doctor if there is a generic brand for the medication you take and if it would be effective for you. If so, request to switch.

39) Clean or replace dirty air conditioning filters regularly, as dirty filters cause the AC unit to work harder and use more electricity.

40) Seal doors and windows to keep cool air from escaping during the summer and from getting in during the winter, which could drive up air/heating bills.

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41) Walk or bike when possible.

42) Drink only water when out to eat at restaurants.

43) Cut up old greeting cards for scrap paper to use for grocery and to-do lists.

44) Quit smoking. It might cost money up front, in the form of patches, gum and other treatments, but it could ultimately save you a fortune in cigarette costs and healthcare bills. Health insurance is also cheaper for nonsmokers.

45) Head to your favorite vacation spot in the off season, when hotels and attractions often offer discounts. Added bonus: It will be less crowded!

46) Give the gift of time. If you can't afford an expensive gift for a love one, don't worry. Especially if your loved one is elderly, he or she likely has plenty of needs that you can meet. Offer to do yard work, clean house, cook or run errands in lieu of purchasing a gift.

47) Cancel your land line phone service if you have a cellphone and don't need a land to connect with a security alarm system.

48) Plan a cheap date. (Plan one, don't be one!) Have a romantic home-cooked and inexpensive meal, like spaghetti, on your candlelit patio, for example. Educate yourself on free attractions in your area.

49) Keep a log of every purchase you make for two months, then find superfluous items that you can eliminate or cut back in your budget.

50) Use energy efficient light bulbs and electric appliances.

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    • Crystal Tatum profile image
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      Crystal Tatum 3 years ago from Georgia

      Great idea Eileen! Thanks for reading.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 3 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      You have some really good ideas here. We travel a lot and always boil the kettle in the morning and make a thermos, it saves having to stop and boil the kettle for at least two stops, as it holds 4 cups.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image
      Author

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks schoolmom. Glad you have found some fun, free dates - it's all about quality of time.

    • Schoolmom24 profile image

      Schoolmom24 4 years ago from Oregon

      Hi Crystal, first of all thanks for stopping by at my hub! :)

      This was great with some wonderful tips for saving money! I'm happy to say that my family and I do most of them. We had a recent time of unemployment so really had to cut back. But my husband and found dates to do over the summer that were free- such as bike rides!

      Really good, extensive list for saving money. Voted up and useful!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image
      Author

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you Thelma! So nice to see a fellow Georgian on HubPages!

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 4 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      Great suggestions! Voted UP and "useful".

    • Crystal Tatum profile image
      Author

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks sgbrown!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Great hub! You have a lot of really good ideas here! We already do many of the things on your list. I have friend that cuts my hair and I do my own nails. (When they get done!) I drink water when we eat out as drinks are ridiculously priced. Very helpful information here! Up and useful! :)

    • Crystal Tatum profile image
      Author

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for stopping by Thelma!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Great advice. I do most of them. I don´t like to waste energy and money. Thanks for sharing.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image
      Author

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for reading Emma Harvey. I have a bit of a Starbucks addiction myself, and at $4 a cup, it definitely impacts my wallet.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Great tips here Crystal. Eating out and grabbing Starbuck-treats are quite noticeable when I do that a lot.

      I like some of your ideas. Vaseline is my beauty product best friend (I buy the cheaper larger tubs then fill my mini tins with it). If only I could cut my own hair though... Must teach my husband how to do it ;)

      Up and useful.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image
      Author

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      I agree AudreyHowitt. Libraries are the best, and bookstores too. I personally mourn the advent of the Kindle!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      This is a great list! Our library has great DVDs and so we pick most of them up there---Libraries are great!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image
      Author

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for stopping by Angela Brummer!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Great advice!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image
      Author

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Maddie Ruud,

      I wasn't too sure about it either, but one night I just did it, and it turned out OK. I will say this last time I didn't do such a great job of getting it even, so I would up cutting more than I intended just to even it out. A trimming of split ends here and there can save money too; then just leave the real cutting to the professional!

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 5 years ago from Oakland, CA

      I cut my partner's hair, but I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to cut my own! ;)

    • Crystal Tatum profile image
      Author

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for stopping by, hubcloud and AliceFSpencer. And yes, Alice, finding ways to save money can almost be a part-time job in and of itself!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image
      Author

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      KDeLeon32, So glad you enjoyed the hub. I've found I can get one to two more applications out of the lotion bottle when I slice it open. It may not be much, but every little bit counts!

    • profile image

      KDeLeon32 5 years ago

      Wow! You sure have a great list for how to save money. I like it very much, especially the part about cutting open the lotion bottles to get the remaining that's left. Great Article!!!!!

    • hubcloud profile image

      hubcloud 5 years ago from India

      Useful tips. Some of them common sense, but we just forget.

    • AliceFSpencer profile image

      AliceFSpencer 5 years ago from Texas

      Great tips this is a new job for my family :) Saving money !!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image
      Author

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Victoria Lynn, sangre, Virtual Treasures, and jasmith1, thanks to you all for reading.

      jasmith1, I've only recently been brave enough to cut my own hair. It turned out better than I thought it would.

      And Victoria Lynn, definitely check out the websites. You can find some good deals and free samples. Every penny saved counts!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image
      Author

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Glad you found the tips helpful MargaritaEden. I've been cutting my own hair for several months now, and I've saved money. Every little bit helps!

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 5 years ago from Oregon

      Thank you for great advice, very much needed in this economy!

    • Virtual Treasures profile image

      Virtual Treasures 5 years ago from Michigan

      This is great! My husband started cutting his own hair last year and he actually does a really great job. Once he started doing it, other guys at work started doing it.

    • jasmith1 profile image

      Adrian Smith 5 years ago from UK

      Great list! I think I do all of these too - it's amazing what we can do with a little creativity. I really like your money saving beauty tips.. Cutting (and dying) your own hair, as well as going to college salons are all ways to look good on a budget. Many thanks!

    • gregoriom profile image

      Deninson Mota 5 years ago from East Elmhurst, NY

      @Crystal

      Great tips, suggestions.This is one of those hubs that really catches people's attention because of its great contain.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I do most of these. I love being frugal! I need to check out those websites you mention. Great hub. I enjoyed it!

    • sangre profile image

      Sp Greaney 5 years ago from Ireland

      Some simple tips which will save you a lot of cash. Great hub.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image
      Author

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for reading nancynurse!

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

      Great ideas. I really enjoyed this. Thanks for writing

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Crystal, these are the types of hubs that get huge traffic, so I wouldn't be in any hurry to switch formats. :)

    • Crystal Tatum profile image
      Author

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks Billy. I'm trying to find time to write more extensive hubs, but right now, lists are my go-to format of choice! I'm glad you found this one helpful.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      All great suggestions, many of which we do. Tough times call for tough measures. Well done!