Creative ways to save money
Looking for creative ways to save money? When your budgets tight, sometimes you’ve got to think a little outside the box. There are actually way more than the 100 ways you can save money I’ve listed here.
I'm Steph, mum of three! 👋
Here, I share practical insights on making (and saving!) money. With a knack for budgeting and a passion for financial freedom, I've picked up lots of tips & tricks along the way. And I can't wait to share them with you here!
How can I really save money?
You’ve heard the saying ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”? It’s so true! You might think some savings are so small they’re not really worth it. Challenge yourself to try them and see. Savings really do add up and these are some of the best I’ve found.
Clever ways to save money UK
For such a long time, I believed I had to take money out of our total budget to be able to out some aside for saving. So wrong! It turns out, all I needed were some creative ways to save money.
The best ways to save yourself money each month is to make savings on the smaller things. Ask yourself if you really need to be buying something. Is there a cheaper alternative you’ve not thought of before? Do you even really need to buy it at all?
Many of the things we buy are out of habit. Make a point of questioning everything. It’s eye opening!
Creative ways to save money each week
The 100 money savings tricks here might be a little overwhelming to start with. That’s okay, I certainly didn’t implement all of these at once. Most of them came to me when I started questioning my buying.
Take one (whatever you’re comfortable with) and bring them in each week. Get used to a few before you then start to try more. Every penny counts, so it’s fine to go slow.
Top 100 money saving tricks
- The “Tighten the Belt” Meal Plan: Write out 4 weekly budget friendly meal plans and shopping lists and rotate them every month. You family won’t even notice
- Drink More Water. Stop buying soda and fruit juice (or reduce the amount by at least half). Try water infusions as a replacement. Save money and get healthy at the same time
- Cancel Cable. Use cheaper options like Netflix or Amazon Prime
- Refill your Water Bottle. Buy a good refillable water bottle and fill with water. No more spending on bottled water. I love these!
- Make your own snacks. Keep a snack container at home and keep it stocked with easy snacks. No more convenience food stops. We have a snack container in the fridge for fruit, cooked goods and yogurt and a pantry snack box for biscuits and nuts
- Make Lunch at Home. Prepare lunches at home instead of buying takeout at work
- Eat less Meat. Bulk up meals with vegetables like potatoes, beans or lentils or choose cheaper cuts of meat in soups and casseroles or try a Meatless Monday
- Cook in bulk. Cook Casseroles and Soups in Bulk and freeze for another meal. This saves cooking time and works out cheaper per serve
- Cancel magazine subscriptions. Read or borrow from the local library. Or Choose the long line in the Supermarket to get a few minutes to read while waiting. Save from £30 / year
- Cancel your Gym Membership. Go for a walk, run or work out at home with a DVD and weights. Save £30/month
- Buy Frozen Vegetables. They are cheaper as still good for you
- Grow your Own herbs. You don’t need a lot of space to grow a pot of herbs. Choose your four most used herbs, pot them and and line them up on your kitchen windowsill
- Join Rewards programs and use these instead of cash. I use my rewards for gifts at the end of the year
- Pay bills online and on time and avoid late fees or save with early payment incentives. The best way to do this is to set up direct debits or automatic payments. And you Save money on travel and stamps
- Find a Cheaper Mobile Phone plan. You may need to shop around, but we save £200 a month by cancelling our contract and finding a cheaper provider. Most of the time you are paying for time you don’t even use
- Check bank statements and change to a cheaper bank account plan with no or little monthly charge
- Don’t buy books. Join the library instead
- Make your own cleaning supplies instead of buying them. DIY laundry and dish washing supplies are natural and work out to around 20p per wash vs 50p – £1 of the store bought stuff
- Set a personal limit on gift spending. Make your own or be a creative gift giver. You don’t need to tell anyone if you don’t want to, but decide on the amount and stick it for your own budget
- Stop Buying Music. Use the library or free music apps like Spotify (they have a free and paid version available) or livestream the radio
- Buy in bulk only when items are cheaper or in season. Only buy food that you would normally buy. Only stock up on things just because they are cheap. They will end up sitting in the pantry and gathering dust until you eventually throw them out
- Switch to Generic brand products where it works for you. I buy Whole-wheat flour, raw sugar, baking soda, ugly fruit and vegetables, bread crumbs, butter and a whole list of generic products. Most of the time they are actually healthier with fewer additives or flavours added
- £5 Dinner List. Write out 5-10 rotating, cheap & great tasting affordable recipes you routinely make that cost under £5 to prepare. Cook these at least once a month
- Eat your leftovers for lunch the next day and don’t spend money on food. We eat leftovers at least two to three times a week for lunch. IT saves time and money
- Get ‘free plants’ by getting cuttings or baby plants from friend’s gardens or join the local garden club
- Look for cheaper hobbies like reading, gardening, writing, cooking
- Plan your Driving trips carefully. If you commute 100 miles per week (20 miles per day), you’re spending £57 a week or £208 every month! Group errands to do all in one day if possible
- Get rid of the second car. Depending on your circumstances, is it possible to have only one car in the family? Can you car pool, take the bus or cycle
- Give your Home a water Audit: Install a flow restrictor in the shower and taps, add a brick to the toilet cistern (this reduces water by ½ litre each flush)
- Use rain water in the garden. Simply diverting rain water from your gutters to a water tank will give you free water to water your garden. We have one 15,000 litre water tank which supplies our family with all its water for the year
- Have a simple 40 hanger wardrobe you can mix or match. Try the 40 hanger system – only forty items of clothing per person. Before you buy something else, you need to get rid of something from your closet
- Only buy your kids clothes from the thrift store. Kids grow out of clothes so fast or wear them out if they are active type (I have two of those)
- Host a Clothes swap party – All your friends bring clothes they don’t wear and you can swap clothes for free. It’s fun and you can walk away with a whole new wardrobe
- Give your kids an allowance in exchange for chores. They will need to spend their own money on things they want (this surprisingly saves money because you can control how much is being spent and kids share in the work at the same time) Plus it teaches the kids the value of money and how to budget at the same time
- Don’t Buy Something just because it’s on sale!! Every time you walk away from the urge to spend, write down the amount you saved by NOT buying it
- Shop with Cash not plastic. Draw budgeted grocery money each week in cash and leave your credit card at home. If you don’t have it you can’t use it!
- No Spend Day x 2. Choose two (or more) days a week that you don’t spend any money at all!
- Limit your transactions to one to two per day. This sounds weird but if you go through your bank statement you will see tons of small amounts coming off every day. These add up. Limit spending to two transactions a day will help you prioritise your spending for the day and stop wastefulness
- Use Half the Amount of Everything. Most people actually use more shampoo, conditioner, washing soap etc than they actually use. Try using only half the amount you usually would to make it last longer
- Shop the Pound Shops. Buying household staples like tape, wrapping paper, soap, and other items will save you a bundle over the grocery store or pharmacy
- Shop the Sales Circular. Use your local supermarket Circular and plan your weekly meals around the weekly specials
- Re-purpose instead of buying new. Transform old items at home or from the pound shop to make instant new decor. Ideas include recovering old chairs, updating cabinet hardware, repainting furniture or photo frames
- Learn to sew. Save money by mending your own clothes and taking up your own hems
- Cook in bulk. Cook Casseroles and Soups in Bulk and freeze for another meal. This saves cooking time and works out cheaper per serve
- Plan a yard sale and sell everything you are not using. Decide before hand where you will use this extra money to benefit your goals the most
- Organise your pantry so that you use the food correctly without letting anything go to waste. The Average family wastes over £1500 a year on food
- Upskill yourself. Take free Classes at the local community centre or sign up for a free online class
- Adjust your Air Conditioning or heat by 1-2 degree. It is estimated that you can save 1% for every degree you adjust up or down
- Start using rechargeable batteries and label them for each child – this way everyone in the house is responsible for their own batteries
- Turn off the lights: turning off the lights when not in use can really help keep energy costs down. Compare your energy bill to see how much you save
- Use Solar lights in the garden instead of using electricity
- Become a minimalist for one year. Get rid of the clutter, downsize the amount of ‘stuff’ you have and really don’t need. A Minimalist mindset will stop you splurging on unnecessary things
- Use free Apps only. Don’t get sucked into upgrades or upsells. Unlink your credit card from the phone
- Shop your own closet – pair new things together or mix it up to make something new entirely before going out to buy anything
- Adjust the Water Heater. It is estimated that you can save up to £30 annually for every 10-degree reduction
- Use Air Purifying plants and skip the need for a home air purifier
- Keep a spending journal for one week. Write down every dollar you spend. It will make you conscious of where your money is going
- Only plant Perennials in the garden that keep blooming year after year instead of wasting money on annuals that get you through only one season (and save on hours spent in the garden too)
- Do your own dog/pet grooming: Bath, brush, trim and clip their nails
- Don’t buy clothes that need dry cleaning or dry clean at home. Based on 56 Garments a year, this will save you £150 a year on dry cleaning fees
- DIY Beauty Treatment: Need a budget makeover or massage? Contact the local beauty school. They are always looking for Volunteers to practice on
- Use a Water blaster to clean the house, deck or car. It uses substantially less water per minute
- Wear warm pyjamas in Winter to reduce the need for extra heating
- Get the kids learning Guitar or a new language for free by downloading a free App or watching YouTube tutorials
- Consider taking in a boarder and share home expenses
- Share the cost with a friend. Really want to read the latest novel? Share the cost with a friend and pass the book on or sell it on eBay when you are done
- Don’t be shy to ask for a discount every time. Ask your plumber, builder, car salesman. Just ask. They can only say No (or yes and save you money)
- Don’t boil the kettle each time you want to make a cup of tea / coffee during the day. Boil it once and fill a thermos so you have hot water all day. Boiling a 1.5 litre kettle once a day for a year costs £14.67 a year. How many times do you boil a day?
- Make your own Artwork and change your décor without the big price tag
- Redecorate on a budget. Looking to repaint a room? Shop for off colour tints at your local paint shop. They always sell these at an extremely discounted price
- Pay a little extra. Round up to the nearest hundred dollars for mortgage and car payments. Saves a lot of interest in the long run and you won’t even miss the money
- Trade services like babysitting (or handyman services etc) with a friend. Make a list of things you could do that you could exchange with others. Ask your friends to do the same. This could be house cleaning, book keeping, cooking dinners, gardening, car pooling etc
- Do your Research by Googling it first. When my washer broke down last month, it only took a couple of YouTube videos and a set of pliers to fix it. Saved me at least the minimum £75 service call charge. Just Google the model number and brand plus the issue
- Mulch with Cardboard. Save on Gardening time and weed killer by laying down cardboard in the garden bed and mulching on top. This stops weeds growing through
- Let the Rice Sit. When cooking rice, save on cooking time by bringing the water up to the boil, give the pan a quick stir, put the lid on tightly and turn off the heat. By the time the rest of the meal is ready, the rice will be done. This save at least 10 minutes of cooking time
- Turn off the heat. Switch off the oven for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking time
- Stock Box. Keep a box in the freezer for veggies that are not going to get eaten in time. Use for stocks, soups and stews
- Cook 5 times in 10 Days. For 10 days cook dinner every second day and always make enough for a ‘leftovers’ meal
- Limp fruit Smoothie Box. When fruit goes “limp” or past its best, put it in a smoothie instead of throwing it away. Cut it up and freeze it if you want to prolong its life
- Cheap Swap or Sacrifice. At the end of every shopping trip, take three items out of the trolley or swap for three generic brands. Write down how much you saved
- Use a 30-day Waiting list. To curb impulse buys, create a 30-day list. When you want to buy something, other than a true necessity (medicine or food), put it on this list, with the date you added it to the list. And make it a rule that you can’t buy anything for at least 30 days after you put it on the list. And stick to it. (this is a tip from zenhabits.com)
- Leftover wine hack. Freeze it in ice cubes and then use in spaghetti dishes, lasagna etc
- Wash clothes less. Don’t wash them if they aren’t really dirty
- Eat a Cheap breakfast. Choose 2 – 3 budget breakfast options for the week and stop spending on overpriced sugar coated kids cereals
- Try a Cheaper brand of wine
- Buy identical socks so you never have to throw away a missing one. We have two colour sock policy in our home. I only buy white and black socks
- Reuse Gift Wrapping Paper
- Don’t shop online if you have been drinking. It lowers your inhibitions and makes you more likely to press the ‘buy’ button
- Get a free week of shopping (Save £1000’s with this one!!) If you grocery shop weekly, each week do your main shop a day later than the previous week. 1st week weds, 2nd week Thurs and so on. Every 8th week you will have a “free” week of shopping
- Read the news online and cancel the paper delivery
- Freeze leftover sauces or gravies so you don’t have to remake for another meal
- Once a Month Stock Pot. Make a huge pot of Chicken or vegetable stock every month and freeze into portions
- Consider eating expired food or food close to it’s use by date is sold at an extreme discount. Often this food can be frozen to extend it’s life. Here’s a little secret: Expiration dates actually refer to the quality and freshness of food, not safety. Food is often safe to eat even beyond “sell by” and “use by” dates, so long as it’s stored right
- Create a Realistic Budget that you can stick to. Look at past bank statements and see how much you have spent in each category (food, clothes, house, insurance etc) and see if you can improve or save on each. Then stick to it!
- Build a Compost bin out of free wooden pallets and reduce the amount of trash. This also provides great fertiliser you can use in your garden – for free!
- Only shop once a week. Allocate one day a week to do your grocery shopping and all your other shopping too if possible. This means that if you run out during the week you have to wait. This little tip drastically reduces impulse shopping
- Start doing grocery pick up instead of going to the store. Order only what you need online and you will avoid the impulse buys as you go around the supermarket
- Use a calculator in the grocery store. If you go over your limit, remove things from the trolley or swap for a generic brand. This only works if you stick to it
- Keep your tires properly inflated. This saves you money on gas and cuts down on tire wear and improves the handling and safety of your car. Most gas stations let you fill your tires with air for free
- Start a list of things that you can do for free in your neighbourhood to have fun. For us these are things like feeding the ducks, going on a picnic, heading to the beach. Put the list on the fridge and keep adding to it