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How to Save Money: 23 Ways to Start Today

Here’s your crash course on how to start saving money. Like right now. And listen, even small changes can make a big difference. So jump in and take these 23 simple tips to the bank. Literally.

How to Save Money

How to Save Money on Food
How to Save Money on Housing and Utilities
How to Save Money on Transportation
How to Save Money on Entertainment and Fun
Other Ways to Save Money

How to Save Money on Food

1. Meal plan.

The hardest budget line to keep in line? Food. The best way to save money on food? Meal plan. (Every breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snack!)

Build your meal plan based on:

  • What’s already in the fridge, freezer and pantry (Don’t waste food!)
  • What’s on your schedule (Need quick dinners for busy nights?)
  • What’s on sale (Pick recipes with those sale ingredients.)
  • What needs just a few ingredients (Less is more here—more savings, that is.)

Then make a grocery list—and stick to it. For real. Say goodbye to wasted food and drive-thru temptations and hello to legit money savings.


Here's A Tip

Download my girl Rachel Cruze’s free Meal Planner & Grocery Savings Guide for more tips, tricks and even printables to help you here.

2. Buy generic.

Hey, I don’t mind if you’re a brand snob about a few things. I won’t sit up here and tell you that Great Value Twist & Shouts taste the same as Nabisco Oreos. But please know, a ton of name brands are exactly the same as the generic—except the brand name paid more for marketing. And that means you’re paying more for a fancy logo.

Try out generic brands of staple food items—plus, go ahead and go generic on nonfood basics like medicines, cleaning supplies and paper products. (That’s a little bonus tip for you right there.)

3. Pack your lunch.

Get this—the average household spends about $3,639 on food outside of the home each year.1 That’s $303 a month! And you know some of that is spent going out for lunch during the workday. Learn some cheap lunch ideas and pack your midday meal instead—it’s a great way to save money and eat healthier.

4. Stop eating out.

Are y’all ready for me to level up that last challenge? What if you stopped eating out completely? I know, I’m trying your life right now. But look—it’s not for the rest of your life. It’s just for a season. You could pack that $303 into your savings each month and hit your money goals way quicker.

Also, if you’re in debt, this is the first luxury I need you to cut. And you won’t even have to skip out on your favorites. You know you can make more—and better—pizza at the house for way less anyway.

5. Skip the coffee shop.

This one gets said so much some of you are rolling your eyes—but if you’ve got a big coffee shop habit, you can save big by becoming your own barista. And when you do go out for a treat, learn some coffee shop hacks so you aren’t paying full price for your fancy caffeine fix.

How to Save Money on Housing and Utilities

6. Switch your cell phone plan.

When was the last time you shopped around for better cell phone deals? It’s time.

See what other providers offer. Then take what you learn to your provider and see if they’ll give you a deal to stick with them. If not, and you aren’t in a contract with a time frame, go ahead and make that switch.

7. Reduce energy costs.

If you’re looking for easy ways to save money on your electric bill, make a few tweaks at home.

Start with some simple things like taking shorter showers (notice I didn’t say fewer showers), fixing that toilet that runs continuously, washing your clothes in cold water, and turning the lights off when you leave a room. You’ll be shocked at how these small changes can really add up.

8. DIY . . . everything!

Before you shell out the cash to pay for a new backsplash, bench or fancy light fixture, think about doing it yourself. Usually, the cost of materials and a simple YouTube search will save you a ton of money here.

I’ll be honest—your girl is not crafty in any way, shape or form, so I’ll probably just wait until I can afford to pay a pro. But if projects are your thing, check out this list of 10 home projects you can probably tackle yourself.

How to Save Money on Transportation

9. Try carpooling.

Okay, I know the idea of carpooling might make your skin crawl, but if you’ve got some trustworthy coworkers who live close to you, you can save a lot of gas money—and wear and tear on your car—by taking turns driving each other to work.

10. Find ways to save on gas.

Some grocery stores offer gas rewards programs. Um, a discount on gas for buying groceries you have to buy anyway? Say less. Just make sure you’re not signing up for any rewards programs linked to a credit card. You’re trying to save money—not go into debt, okay?

Save more. Spend better. Budget confidently.

Get EveryDollar: the free app that makes creating—and keeping—a budget simple. (Yes, please.)

Start EveryDollar for Free

How to Save Money on Entertainment and Fun

11. Cancel some subscriptions and memberships.

If you want to save money each month, pick one TV streaming service to cancel. Just one.

Then do a quick audit and see what else you can cut. If that subscription or membership isn’t changing your life and you’d rather have that money in your bank account, cancel it. Remember, most of these cuts are just temporary while you get that cash stacked.

12. Try a no-spend month.

Let’s be honest: If you’re in the midst of trying to pay off debt or save money, every month should be a no-spend month. Keeping a needs-based, no-fluff budget for 30 days at a time can save hundreds if not thousands for some!

Because that’s what a no-spend month is—you commit to cutting out those nonessentials for one month.

Just make sure you know your parameters from day one (what you will and won’t buy). And do yourself a favor: Get an accountability partner or have a friend take the challenge with you. It seriously helps.

13. Get a library card.

Before you click Add to Cart on that brand-new book, get yourself a library card. And if you’re more into audiobooks or e-books, download an app like Libby that connects to your library so you can check out those versions on your phone or tablet.

Other Ways to Save Money

14. Adjust your tax withholdings.

Listen, if you’re getting huge tax refunds each year, that means you’ve been loaning the government money every month without interest. I don’t think so—homey don’t play that. It’s time to adjust your tax withholdings. Put that money back into your monthly budget.

15. Check your insurance rates.

Why is this a money-saving tip? You could be overpaying or be underinsured. Both of those can cost you big. This isn’t an excuse to cut insurances, but it is an excuse to take our 5-Minute Coverage Checkup to make sure you’ve got the exact coverage you need.

16. Stuff your cash envelopes.

Step away from the plastic. In fact, go ahead and take the credit and debit cards out of your wallet. If you really want to get serious about saving, start using the cash envelope system to practice mindful spending.

When you use cash, it activates the pain centers of your brain, creating more friction for every purchase. Simply put, when you spend cash, you feel it. And that helps you spend less—which means you save more.

17. Stay out of “that store.”

When you’re learning how to save money, don’t even think about putting yourself in a tempting environment. We all have “that store”—the one that encourages us to get all spendy and stuff. For me, it’s Home Goods. For you, it’s (fill in the blank).

Know it. Own it. Avoid it! And then, replace that shopping trip with something else fun, like baking cookies with the family. That way you still enjoy yourself without risking those pricey purchases.

18. Use cash-back apps and coupons.

Use coupons. You can clip them from actual paper or click them in an app, but this is money just waiting to be saved. Don’t sleep on it.

Then go one step further and check out cash-back apps to save even more on stuff you’re already going to buy. (Just don’t get talked into buying things you don’t need because of a deal—that’s not a deal. At all.)

19. Learn the power of no (or not now).

We live in a world of instant gratification. Food from our favorite restaurants— boom! At our door in an hour or less. The show you want to binge—ready for you to hit play, now. The ads on social media say you need this, that and the other. And with the swipe of your finger, it’s at your doorstep. We’re just a couple clicks away from nearly instantly satisfying our desires for anything.

But if you’ll delay some of that gratification by using the magic of no—or, in some cases, not now—you’ll save so much money, build better spending habits, and feel more contentment overall. Savings with a side of mental and emotional health? Yes, please.

20. Say goodbye to debt.

I’m not the only one who says ditching your debt is a top tip for saving money. But even if I was, I’d still shout it from the rooftops because I’ve lived this.

My husband and I paid off $460,000 in debt. (You read that right.) And getting that weight off our backs and out of our lives meant first deciding to stop borrowing money. Because borrowed money, aka debt, straight up steals your income.

I mean, look at how much money debt is taking from the average American each month:

  • Average student loan payment: $3932
  • Average credit card payment (based on a 2% minimum payment): $116.103
  • Average new car payment: $7264
  • Total: $1,235.10

Imagine throwing $1,235.10 toward your savings goals instead of toward your past. Every month.

And that's just three kinds of debt and some national averages there. Now look at your debt. What would you get back in the budget if it was gone? Paying off debt takes time and effort—but keep your eye on how much you’ll save and the freedom you’ll feel when you finally get to pay yourself instead of paying debt.

21. Set a savings goal.

Sometimes the best way to save money is by setting a savings goal—a specific dollar amount with a set deadline. You can try the 100 Envelope Challenge and hit a $5,050 goal or use the our Savings Tracker and fill in whatever amount you want.

Bonus tip: Be sure you know why this money is so important for you to save. Because remember—the stronger the why, the stronger the try.

22. Save money automatically.

Set up your direct deposit so some of each paycheck goes straight to your savings account. That way, you don’t have to put in a lot of effort to save money—you’re just saving.

23. Make a budget.

A budget is a plan for your money. Think of it as a map to get you to your money goals. And you need a budget.

Because here’s the thing—if you follow every single one of these tips on how to save money but you don’t have a budget . . . you’re playing yourself. You’ll end up accidentally spending everything you intentionally saved. Simply because you didn’t have a plan!

We’ve all been there, so let’s level up.

I need you to make a budget today to see where you are with your money—and then keep making one every single month to get where you want to be.

Whether you budget already or not, check out EveryDollar. This is the budgeting app my family uses. EveryDollar played a huge role in helping us get out of debt, and it helps us set and stick to our money goals—one monthly budget at a time.

You can do this! Starting today, you can save more and spend less by using these 23 tips.

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Jade Warshaw

About the author

Jade Warshaw

Jade Warshaw is a personal finance coach, bestselling author of Money’s Not a Math Problem, and regular co-host on The Ramsey Show, the second-largest talk radio show in America. Jade and her husband paid off nearly half a million dollars of debt, and now she’s a six-figure debt elimination expert who uses her journey to help others get out of debt and take control of their money. She’s appeared on CNBC, Fox News and Cheddar News and been featured in Fortune and POLITICO magazines. Through her social content, recent book, syndicated columns and speaking events, Jade is on a mission to change the typical American money mindset. Learn More.

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