It's difficult to separate what you need from what you want. If you want to save money, though, you're going to have to learn how.
There are seemingly countless small ways to save money if you pay attention. No one person can implement every savings technique. But if you become familiar with even a couple of these significant savings strategies, you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.
Here are 50 of the best ways to save money every day, starting right now:
1. Grow your own fruits and vegetables
Gardening can save you a ton of money on fruits and vegetables each month. Home-gardens create delicious fresh produce compared to grocery stores. You can learn to garden quickly, save your money and be eating your own freshly grown goods in no time. Harvard Health Blog has even admitted that backyard gardening is a great way to improve your overall health. Don't worry; you don't need a whole backyard.
2. Carpool or take public transportation
If you commute far every day, carpools and public transportation may be much cheaper than driving. According to the Shared-Use Mobility Center, the more of us who "use shared modes of transportation, the more likely we are to own fewer cars and spend less on transportation overall."
3. Buy cheap goods online
Buying goods online can be much cheaper than buying them in the store. Amazon is a great place to buy products for less. According to Internet Retailer, online sales will reach $523 billion by 2020 in the United States. For example, you can even buy cheap online glasses for much less than you would in any store these days.
4. Unplug anything you're not using
If you keep electronics plugged in when you're not using them, it'll cost you. According to the Department of Energy, leaving your electronics plugged in easy ways to save on utilities.
5. Use an automatic payment plan for bills and loan repayment
You can often save money by implementing automatic payment plans for your bills and loan payments. An automatic payment plan allows your provider to deduct your bill from your bank account each month without you having to worry about paying. According to a 2015 study from MIT Press Journals, consumers are able to evade late fees and postage costs with automatic payments. You never have to worry about forgetting to pay.
6. Buy only what you truly need
The Wall Street Journal says Americans spend an estimated $1.2 trillion on products they don't really need every year. Remember, your perspective on the necessity of a purchase may change over time. Giving yourself time to think about your purchase beforehand can save you money in the long run.
7. Seek out scholarships
If you're going back to school, make sure to look into the scholarships available. Over $2.9 billion in federal scholarships went unclaimed in 2015, according to USA Today College. That's a lot of money. Before you spend money you don't have, look for an award you don't have to pay back. The best scholarship websites have awards waiting to be utilized by you. If you need help with the application process, check out this guide on scholarships for college students.
8. Make a list of everything you spend money on in a day
Making expense lists is an easy way to track your daily spending. Write down exactly what you spent money on at the end of each day. Maybe you don't even realize you're spending up to $50 each month on water bottles. Once you do realize, you can figure out how to solve the issue.
9. Learn how to make beer and wine at home
How often do you drink? If you enjoy a couple beers or glasses of wine after work in the evenings, it could save you a lot of money to make your own. Plus, it's fun. The Guardian published an article supporting home brewing in 2013. In it, experts admitted it will cost you much less and will even taste better than buying from the supermarket.
10. See the doctor and dentist regularly.
Regular doctor and dentist visits can actually save you money over time. If a doctor or dentist notices a problem early, they can fix or help prevent it before it gets bad. Otherwise, you might end up paying for a sickness or infection that could have been prevented. A new study referred to by Medical Daily says that regular trips to the dentist could even prevent pneumonia.
11. Get a dental discount plan
Dental discount plans are a new phenomenon. Research from The Pew Charitable Trusts says that over a third of Americans face serious challenges in accessing dental care. Even if you have insurance, many dental procedures are not fully covered. Dental discount plans are not insurance, but they can help you cut costs. Check out our article on the top rated dental insurance to understand how dental discount plans differ from insurance.
12. Get your car checked regularly
Getting your car checked on a regular basis can save you money the same way regular doctor and dentist visits can. If a mechanic spots an issue before it gets bad, it will likely cost less to fix. It could also save you from getting in an accident.
13. Trade instead of buying products and services
The Internet has made it easy to trade products if you don't have the money to buy. You can trade your clothes, books, services, movies and pretty much anything you desire online. It will save you money and help the environment by supporting recycling. Here's a list of bartering sites from The Guardian.
14. Buy used goods
Buying used products online is also a great way to save and recycle. For instance, more people are opting to buy used cell phones online these days. As a result, many cell phone providers have begun offering bring your own cell phone plans to customers. They allow you to buy a used phone of any kind and activate it on their network, as long as it's unlocked.
15. Ride a bike more often
Ride a bike to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. The average amount spent on gasoline each year in the United States was just under $2,000 in 2015, according to the Energy Information Association. Riding a bike could literally save you thousands of dollars a year.
16. Shower less
The Environmental Protection Agency says American families use an average of 40 gallons of water showering every day. This adds up to about 17 percent of water use in every home. If you showered half as much as you do now, you could save over 8 percent on your bill each month. We only need to shower once or twice a week anyway, according to Time Magazine.
17. Babysit children and/or pets for some extra cash
Babysitting children and pets in the neighborhood is a good option for quick savings. A couple times a week could help pay for your gas or other expenses. Websites like Care.com will even help you find people who need help in your area.
18. Buy in bulk
Many stores and websites offer discounts on items when you buy a certain amount. Buying in bulk saves money, as long as you use what you buy, according to Business Insider. Compare prices to ensure you're saving a significant amount. Otherwise, it may not be worth it.
19. Move to a cheaper location
How much space do you actually need? If you can downsize a bit and need to save some money, cheaper rent will make your life a lot easier. You might even consider moving to a different state. Once you have found a cheaper place, check out the best moving companies to help make the process less complicated.
20. Rent out an empty room in your home
Do you have an extra room or bed in your home? A Pew Research Report says 16 percent of millennials lived with a roommate other than a family member in 2015. If you need to save some money, consider looking for a roommate to help you with the rent and utilities.
21. Refinance your loans
Consider refinancing your loans and mortgage to save you some money. For example, USA Today cites a man whose mortgage rate started at 8 percent in 1999. He refinanced it for the second time in 2012, how to refinance your private student loans for in-depth information on each.
22. Make your own beauty products
Many women spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars on beauty products each year. Making your own beauty products is an easy way to save money. It'll also help you avoid using commercial products containing chemicals that could seep into your body. Wellness Mama provides great recipes to make your own products if you need some guidance.
23. Get the most out of your taxes
There are a lot of ways to get money back when you file your taxes. In order to do so, though, you need to do some research. Make sure you receive every tax break available. You can start by reading through the top 9 tax errors that cost you money.
24. Learn about personal finance
Learning about personal finance is an easy way to save money. The more you know, the more you'll be able to save in every aspect of your life. Read some books and check out the best personal finance software. It will help you organize your finances to get your savings in order.
25. Home-make your coffee
How much do you spend on coffee each week? If you get a Starbucks coffee every day, you could be spending as much as $20-$30. That adds up to $100-$120 every month. Do yourself a favor and make coffee at home to avoid the extra costs.
26. Buy a fuel-efficient car
If you have to drive every day, you should at least drive a fuel-efficient car. According to the fueleconomy.gov, a car that gets 30mpg to the gallon trade your car or sell it.
27. Analyze and change your insurance policies or providers
Do you think you could be paying less for you insurance? It's a possibility. Don't pay more than you have to. Analyze each of your insurance policies every so often and compare them to other companies. For information on specific types of insurance, check out saving secrets for renters insurance.
28. Reconsider your Internet, phone, and TV plans and providers
There are various ways to save money on TV, Internet and phone bills. One way is to simply cancel a service you don't need. Maybe you could go without the premium channel plan for your TV network. Also, research cheap Internet providers and cheap TV services to compare prices.
29. Enact an automatic savings plan
Automatic savings plans make it easier for to save. If you automate the process, your bank will transfer a certain amount of your paycheck into a separate account every time you deposit. This way you don't have to worry about whether or not you should save; you just will. If you don't have a savings account yet, consider one of the best online savings accounts.
30. Become more aware of what you spend money on
Being more aware of every purchase will allow you to make better decisions. Think sincerely about each purchase and track what you spend. If you spend more than you wanted to in a day, make a note of it for tomorrow. Awareness is key to saving money.
31. Analyze and switch your cell phone plan or provider
Cell phone plans are extremely costly these days. Luckily, there are many cheap cell phone plans out there to help us save money. You can switch to a prepaid cell phone plan or a no contract cell phone plan if you know your usage well. With such plans, you only pay for what you use.
32. Buy generic versions of the products you use regularly
According to Time Magazine, you can save an average of 30 percent by switching to store-brand products instead of name brand. You can even do this most of the time without having to worry about quality. Generic brands are usually just as good.
33. Research which quality health insurance will save you the most
Health insurance is necessary to prevent expensive issues down the road. If you have it, The Henry J. Kaiser Family foundation says tips for saving on health insurance.
34. Collect your loose change
I once paid for a ticket to Europe with my change collection. Don't underestimate the value of your loose change. Throw it all in a jar at the end of the day and see what you come up with in a couple of months.
35. Budget your expenses ahead of time
According to Duke University, a budget is a list of probable income and expenses for a certain period of time. A budget plan will allow you to organize your flow of cash and see what you're wasting in order to save money. The ultimate guide to creating a personal budget plan can push you in the right direction if you need some help getting started.
36. Shop for presents during clearance right after the holidays
The best sales tend to happen right after the holidays. ABC News says December 26th is one of the best days of the year to shop and save. If you want to save money for next year, do your shopping ahead of time.
37. Minimize your possessions and sell the rest
Minimalism is trending right now. People throughout the western world are realizing they buy way too much stuff they don't use. Why not get rid of it? You can sell or trade almost anything online these days. You can even donate to the homeless. The fewer possessions you have, the less space you need and the more money you can save. De-cluttering is also a great stress reliever, according to Becoming Minimalist.
38. Use coupons
Consumers saved about $3.9 billion in the U.S. by using coupons in 2012, says Statista. That's a lot of money. If a store provides coupons and you don't use them, think of it as free money wasted. This doesn't mean you should use coupons on products you don't need just because they're cheaper, though. Simply collect coupons for the products you actually use and remember to bring them with you next time. You won't regret it.
39. Shop for bargains
Which food items are on special and which aren't? Compare prices and discounts to get the most out of your purchases, especially at the grocery store. Don't forget to consider generic brands over name brands. There are plenty of tips to cut your food bill without coupons if you're not interested in that route.
40. Use advanced power strips for electronics if you don't want to unplug them
If it's too much of a hassle to unplug your electronics, purchase advanced power strips. According to Energy.gov, advanced power strips stop your electronics from using electricity when they're not in use. Buy a couple to save on your next bill.
41. Switch your bank account
Do you pay fees for your checking account each month? If so, it may save you money to switch your account. Many banks offer rewards simply for signing up. It may also be possible to get better interest rates with another bank. Check out the best online checking account for a review of information on the best interest rates and offers out there.
42. Get the right credit card for you
If you're going to use a credit card, use the right one. There are so many credit cards out there with various rewards programs and benefits. If you're a student, for instance, you could be saving with lower interest rates and bigger rewards compared to regular credit cards. Finding out which type of credit card suits your spending could earn you money back and help you save.
43. Pay off your credit card and don't spend money you don't have
If you already have the right credit card, don't spend money you don't have. Credit cards are useful because they help build your credit. They are not tools to be used when you need financial help. If you use them this way, you will land yourself in debt. In fact, credit card debt in the U.S. how to get out of debt fast.
44. Make food instead of going out
How often do you go out to eat every week? ABC News' Real Money poll stated that two out of three people think they spend more than they should on food. If you struggle with eating out too much, set some limits. Try eating out just once or twice in a week and count the extra money in your pocket at the end of it. Experiencing the savings is a great incentive to stop eating out so much.
45. Turn off the lights when you leave a room
You can save money on your bill by turning off the lights when you leave a room. According to Energy.gov, though, the amount you can save depends on the type of lighting you have. Incandescent lights, for instance, are the least efficient. You can save the most money by turning them off or switching to LED lighting.
46. Learn about bank fees and how to avoid them
Bank fees could be costing you more than you realize. To determine what they're costing you, USA.gov has listed and defined bothersome bank fees are easily avoidable.
47. Give DIY presents instead of buying them
The average person spends about $752 on Christmas presents each year, according to Statista. But Live Science says people often believe homemade gifts are more sincere. Why not give it a try? Even if you're not that creative, it's the thought that counts. You can save a lot of money by making your own gifts.
48. Explore rewards programs for the stores/sites you consistently shop in/on
Rewards programs can save you money if you're careful. Again, try to make sure you absolutely need a product or service before you make a purchase. If you're a frequent buyer regardless, a rewards program will always help your cause. For instance, if you are an avid traveler, the best rewards credit cards will buy you a free flight every now and then.
49. Sell old electronics, collections, and antiques
If you have a valuable collection, old electronics or antiques and need some extra money, sell them. Have you ever watched those pawn shows on TV? People often make hundreds and thousands of dollars more than they expect from selling old antiques and collections. Why not give it a shot? You can even sell used cell phones online if you have one lying around.
50. Buy quality appliances that will last a lifetime
If you buy quality appliances, there's a good chance you won't have to buy them again for a while. Save money and buy machines that are built to last. Make sure they come with a solid warranty so you don't have to worry about shelling out money on repairs in the future.