Learn Some Practical Ways to Save Money Quickly and Cut Costs.

Each of these savings ideas below are things that I personally do or have done. I have saved thousands of dollars per year implementing these ideas. Okay, so that’s not exactly quick. But that kind of money does add up. Would any of you turn away from $3000 if it was sitting in front of you on the dining room table?

And did you really expect a get rich quick scheme here? You should know better than that.

I know there are many other ways to save that are sometimes included in other posts like this. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I couldn’t recommend things I haven’t actually tried.

Let me know in the comments below of other ways to save money that you’ve tried. I know there’s some pretty wild ideas out there!

1. Get rid of your storage unit. (est. savings ~ $50/month)

How many of you have a storage unit that’s just holding all your extra stuff? And when was the last time you visited said storage unit, and gazed at all your possessions that you still want to keep? Just as long as they stay in the storage unit, and not in your house/apartment.

Really!!?? You have so much stuff that you that you can’t even fit it all in your house!! Doesn’t that sound ridiculous to you?

I know the reasoning behind it. You want to use it “some day”. Like when you move to a bigger house in a few years. But let’s be honest, are you really going to want to use that couch that’s been sitting in a cool, damp storage unit for years? I know you were thinking of saving money when you bought it. “I could really use that – later.”

But just sell the stuff, and get rid of your storage unit. And adopt a one-in-one-out policy. When you get/buy something new, you also have to get rid of or sell something.

That way, you don’t accumulate so much stuff that you end up on “Hoarders”.

2. Don’t go out to eat. (est. savings ~ $200/month)

Instead buy groceries to cover your meals for the entire week – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We go out to eat on average once a month, which costs us close to $50 for our family of 4+.

By contrast, the average American spends $3000/year dining out, which equates to $250/month. And that’s just an average. Some spend more.

Most times this one comes down to laziness. Trust me, I know. It’s so much easier to have someone else make your meals. But how much money do you want to save? Make your own meals and save!!

3. Cut your own hair. (est. savings ~ $35/month)

Now I don’t have much experience about how this would work for a girl/woman. I suppose you could still cut your own hair??

But for the guys (3 of us) in my house, I purchased clippers on Amazon 7 years ago for $60. I figure this has saved me (15 haircuts/year @ $15 each = $225/year) over $1500. And that’s just for my haircuts. Remember, I also use those clippers for my two boys and their haircuts.

It also helps that we don’t have crazy hair styles. Either a buzz, or a “high and tight” works for us, though I’m sure that would for everyone.

4. Evaluate your cable package and cut back. (est. savings ~ $135/month)

Do you really need that $180/month cable package? Can you actually watch all those channels? We only have basic cable ($45/month) bundled with high-speed internet ($40/month). It has all the network channels which carry most of the sports I watch anyway. Anything else we just wait to watch on Netflix.

5. Eliminate any un-used subscriptions. (est. savings ~ $30/month or more)

Take a fresh look at all the subscriptions you have. From magazines to online accounts (cloud data storage) to streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or Sling. It seems that any service you can think of has a subscription service – from gourmet coffees to fashionable clothing to kid’s toys. Do you really need a monthly subscription for pet food? I’m not saying eliminate them all, just the ones you don’t use or need.

6. Perform regular maintenance on your vehicles. (est. savings ~ $25/month)
engine closeup

When it’s time for an oil change – get it done. With regular maintenance your car should last well over 100k miles.

You also don’t need an oil change every 3k miles. Most cars today can handle oil changes every 5k miles. This makes it easier to know when it’s time (schedule oil changes at 5k, 10k, 15k, etc.).

Bonus points if you do the oil change yourself.

7. Shop at discount stores (est. savings ~ $20/month)

This comes down to being willing to forgo the brand name stores and the “status” that spending more on consumer goods brings.

It easy to find great bargains in stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and even Goodwill. Shopping at these stores are life-savers when you’re strapped for cash.

Another option is to buy kids clothes from department stores off-season when they are deeply discounted. We’ve scored nice new clothes at 80% or even 90% off just by being patient. Yard sales and garage sales can be another option, though it takes more planning and work to find the good deals. Usually you have to get up early on Saturdays, otherwise the “good stuff” will be gone by the time you arrive.

8. Take on those “smaller” home projects yourself. (est. savings ~ $50/month)

Projects like painting, fixing door knobs, or replacing light fixtures are relatively simple if you (or your S.O.) are even a little bit handy. I take care of all these jobs around my house, and many larger projects as well. Depending on the frequency and size of the projects you tackle, you could see some significant savings in this area.

For instance, I recently re-did our family room. Between 3 gallons of paint (2 colors) and new flooring, we spent around $700 in materials. According to homewyse.com and their handy calculator, having someone else do this work would have cost us $2500!!! Plus painting the walls.

Just as an aside: I’ve done many projects around the two houses I’ve owned, so if you have any questions about DIY projects, I can help in this area as well. I’m not quite as advanced as say, Mr. Money Mustache. He builds houses, while I just re-model/fix them.

And like him, I understand I may not be most people. For instance, how many people do you know that can lay ceramic tile, laminate, or wood flooring? Oh, and paint, hang drywall or siding, fix your clogged drain, and even build sheds? I’ve saved literally thousands of dollars by “doing-it-myself”!!!

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t feel like you can’t do those things. I learned, and you can too!!

9. Do your own taxes. (est. savings ~ $25/month)

If your tax situation is relatively simple (think: no rentals or side businesses), you can easily do your own taxes. Software programs like Turbotax, or H&R Block are great affordable options.

Each of these programs are easy to use, and they walk you through the process. I personally used Turbotax this past year, but I have used H&R Block in past years. It sure beats paying $350 or so going to a brick and mortar tax service.

10. Get rid of your high-priced cell phone plan. (est. savings ~ $50/month)

If you are currently giving a “Ben Franklin” ($100) or more per month to any of the big cell phone companies, you’re paying too much. Seriously!!

Switch to a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) instead. Check out this list from PC World. Basically, they use the same cell towers as the big boys, but they don’t have all the maintenance and operating costs. Because of this, their plans are much cheaper.

We switched from Verizon to Republic Wireless, and they’ve been great. We save more than $50/month over Verizon’s expensive plans, and the coverage is similar in our area. Your mileage may vary, but since we have WiFi at home and work, we use very little data.

Conclusions

Are there any of you who could utilize all these ideas right now? If you did, and your savings were similar, you would save a total of $620 per month!! That’s $7400 per year!!

Now, I was able to implement all these ideas over a period of time, but just think what you could do with an extra $600 per month? Oh the possibilities!!

What do you think of these ways to save? Do you do any of these things? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for sharing and for reading.

Author

Chris is the original Cash Dad. He's a father of 3 and a mechanical engineer by trade.

2 Comments

  1. I cut my own hair. It isn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

    I have to say though, in my area there isn’t a storage unit (no matter the size) for less than $99/month. I think your numbers could be quite conservative and people may be saving even more than if they choose to cut back.

    • Chris Reply

      Haha, well done on cutting your hair.

      I’m sure many do spend more on storage. It’s just that we spent $50/month for a small unit. And we were only using it for a transition period while we moved into our house. But conservative is good.?

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