According to Google searches, “spending less” and “saving money” is the 5th most popular New Years Resolution in the U.S. this year. Unless you have clear steps to reaching this goal, however, chances are you won’t make much progress. Check out our favorite ways to easily save money, and start putting the bang back in your buck.
1. We’re in a sharing economy, use it!
Going away for vacation? Rent out your space on Airbnb. Have a few extra hours everyday? Try driving for Uber, Lyft, or a delivery service like Caviar. You can even complete odd-jobs around your neighborhood with apps like TaskRabbit and Handy.
2. Invite people over
Next time your friends suggest going out for brunch, invite them over for a homemade meal. Even if you cook for five friends, you’ll likely spend less than you would at a nice restaurant. If you want it to be boozy, make it BYOB!
3. Find deals on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram…
Many retailers post daily deals and upcoming sales on their social media. Follow along to stay in the know.
4. Buy produce in season
Farmers Markets have the reputation of being “bougie”, but buying local produce that’s in season will actually save you money. If you’re eating watermelon in the winter, chances are you’re paying for it to be shipped from Brazil.
5. Learn new skills
Sure, it’s easier to pay someone else to tailor your clothes, fix your bike, or paint your walls, but you could do it yourself with a little googling and some helpful YouTube videos. Plus, think of the new life skills you’ll have to impress your friends. “Teach a man to fish…”
6. Buy in bulk
There are some items you’ll always need more of. Toilet paper, toothpaste, paper towels, tampons… For these products, buy a year’s worth at Costco or Sam’s Club and put it in the cupboard. Skipping these items at the corner market could save you up to $2,000 every year.
7. Sell your old clothes
Sure it’s easier to dump all your things at Goodwill’s doorstep, but if your clothes are in decent shape you can get some cash back. Try Crossroads, Buffalo Exchange, or your local second-hand store. If you’re looking for new clothes, you can get credit to shop at whatever store you’re selling.
8. Buy when the time is right
If you’re looking for something specific, chances are it will be cheapest during a certain month. Mattresses in February, refrigerators in May, jeans in October. Check out our month to month guide here.
9. Make discount websites your best friend
If you’re looking for a cooking class, salsa lessons, or skydiving passes, use daily deal and discount sites like Groupon. Chances are you’ll find an experience you didn’t even know existed.
10. Track your spending
You’re more likely to save money if you see where it’s going every month. Apps like Mint and Digit will track where every dollar goes, and keep you on top of paying bills and loans. They will recommend where to cut spending and can even automatically move money from your checking to savings each month.
11. Always bring snacks
There’s a slippery slope between hungry and h-angry, and you don’t want to cross it. Carry snacks in your car or backpack to avoid buying overpriced items when you’re out and about. Granola bars, trail mix, and dried fruit is a great place to start.
12. Find the cheapest flights
Use websites like Skyscanner and Kayak to compare deals on flights. Always make sure you sign into your frequent flyer rewards program, which is free to use across most airlines. When it comes to booking, always buy at least two months in advance, and try to buy on a Tuesday, when flights are generally cheapest.
13. Prep your lunches ahead of time
Try to bring homemade lunches to work at least three times a week. It’s easiest to make a bulk amount of food on Sunday, and create portions for the days ahead. Stick to this routine, and you’ll save thousands of dollars each year.
14. Never spend money you don’t have
This sounds obvious, but the average American has $16,000 in credit card debt. Basic rule: never spend more money on your credit card than is in your checking account. But do use your credit card–it’s important for building credit and earning rewards.
15. Conserve Energy
Yep, you can do more than just turn the lights off. Set your thermostat to more specific guidelines, and save $200 every year. Turn off your TV and lights for an hour, and OhmConnect will pay you to $40. If you live in California, check out these eight ways to get paid to conserve.
16. Use the Five Question Rule
Every time you’re thinking of buying, ask yourself: Is this a want, or a need? Do I really need it? Do I see myself using it on a regular basis? How often? Is it worth the time?
17. Survey your pantry once a month
We all have pasta, rice, and cans of soup that have been in the pantry for… a long time. Go through your inventory and plan meals around what you have. Otherwise, why do you have it in the first place?
18. Get that thing you want for free.
Chances are people in your neighborhood don’t want to deal with selling their things, so instead they’ll give them away. Sign up for Nextdoor, a social network for neighborhoods, and check the Free Items section. You’re guaranteed to find some goodies!
19. Grow your own herbs
You can easily grow plants like basil, thyme, and oregano right on your kitchen counter to avoid buying them at the grocery store. And there’s no reason you can’t make it cute!
20. Sign up for birthday discounts
A lot of stores give you deals and prizes when you turn a year older. Take advantage! If you don’t want to deal with the spam for a year, sign up right before your birthday, and unsubscribe when you get your swag.
21. Recycle used electronics
Don’t just throw away your old cell phone or laptop…you can make money off it! Check out sites like Gazelle, YouRenew, and USell. You can also ask your carrier about trading in your old phone for a reduced-price upgrade.
Let’s be honest, even if you’re aiming to save money, you’ll still be online shopping this year. With Shop.co’s AutoCoupon feature, you’ll automatically find the best deals and coupons on every website, every time. Get on the list for Shop.co at get.shop.co, and start saving today.