Finding it difficult to find money to save? We're here to help with this list of 55 ways to save a dollar a day. While it would be rare that someone would be able to use all 55 ways to save $1 a day (that would mean you are spending over $55 every day on unnecessary items!) everyone should be able to use a few of these methods throughout the week to reduce the amount of money you spend. Take that money and contribute to your savings to reap the benefits of your frugality.
Save on Food
1. Switch to generic brands whenever you go shopping (particularly for groceries) and you'll save well over $30 per month or the equivalent of $1 per day.
2. Make coffee and lattes at home. It costs just pennies a cup when you make it yourself. It doesn’t matter if you go to McDonalds or Starbucks, you can still save $1 to $3 each day.
3. Stop buying a can or bottle of soda from the vending machine at work. At $.75 to $1.25 a pop, you can quickly save about $1 a day if you just cut out the unnecessary calories. If you drink more than one per day and aren’t willing to give up the habit, buy in bulk (24 packs of store brand canned soda is around 30 cents a can) and bring your own from home instead of hitting the vending machine. Can also reduce the amount you drink while still getting the carbonation and flavor by pouring one cup a day from a 2 liter bottle instead of drinking an entire can each time you want a soda.
4. Fill up a reusable water bottle with water from the fountain or faucet instead of getting a soda or buying water. If you really dislike faucet water, invest in a Brita style filter and get hundreds of refills of water before having to replace the filter.
5. Pack leftovers for your children's lunch instead of buying from the school cafeteria. You’ll save yourself money and also help get your children in the habit of doing so.
6. Shop sales and use coupons when grocery shopping and you can regularly save $20-30 per WEEK with very little time commitment, and more if you really put some effort into it.
7. Eat dinner at restaurants or get take out one time less per month to save $30+ per month. Even just fast food for a family of four can often reach $30 now days. This is a very minor change all of us can make to save $1 a day.
8. In the summer, plant a vegetable garden. Nothing tastes better than home grown vegetables and you can easily save $7 a week on your grocery trip. You can also cut and freeze vegetables to use during the winter months and avoid having to buy as many.
9. Prepare and freeze dinners. By doing this in advance it becomes much more practical to eat at home on nights when you wouldn’t have time to cook otherwise. You can just pop them in the oven instead of eating out. Prepare larger portions and dividing doesn’t really take much longer.
10. Use the toaster oven to warm up food instead of the main oven. If you just need to warm up some leftovers and can’t do it in the microwave. You’ll save about 50 cents per hour by using the toaster oven instead of the main oven and will heat up your home a lot less in the summer months.
Save on Household Expenses
11. Turn the heat down 3 degrees in the winter so it doesn’t have to work as hard. For every degree you lower your heat, you save about 3% on your heating bill. Depending on where you live this can easily work out to $1 a day in the winter months.
12. Turn the air conditioning warmer 3 degrees and use fans to keep cool. The fans use a very small amount of power in comparison to your AC unit and you’ll still feel about as cool if you have a slight breeze. In many of the warmer parts of the country the AC bill can be 60-70% of the total electric bill in the summer. You can reduce your AC power usage by 6% to 8% per degree. A three degree increase will save you up to 24% on your electric bill in the summer months.
13. Unplug your electronics when not in use. Many electronics such as tvs, vcrs, dvrs, computers, cable and satellite boxes go into a lower power sleep mode when you turn them off instead of turning off completely. Although they consume less power in this mode, they’re still consuming power 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It’s like having a slow leak in your faucet. It really starts to add up. The experts disagree on how much, but estimates are between 5% to 40%. By plugging all your tv related electronics into a power strip and turning off the power strip when not in use, you can easily stop this waste of electricity and start saving money.
14. Use drying racks in your basement , bathroom or kitchen to reduce the use of your electric or gas powered clothes dryer. While it’s running, the clothes dryer uses more power than you’re A/C unit and about as much as your oven. On average you’re looking at about 50 cents per load.
15. Replace light bulbs with energy efficient versions to save on your electric bill – depending on the amount of time your lights are on in the home, you can easily save $1 a day with this change. In addition, the energy efficient light bulbs last far longer than traditional light bulbs- meaning you'll have to replace them less often.
16. Eliminate credit card interest. If you like most people who have a $2,000 credit card balance at an interest rate 18%, you’re spending $360 a year in interest; about $1 a day. Make it a priority to pay off the balance and stop wasting money paying interest.
17. Recycle your soda and beer cans. If you have kids, a great outdoor activity is to walk around the neighborhood with them and pick up ones lying on the ground and let them earn some extra money. You need 20 cans or bottles at 5 cents each to save $1 and you’ll be cleaning up your community and helping the environment at the same time. If your neighbors and co-workers don’t recycle, you can do it for them (and keep the change!)
18. Is your family paying $10 or more per prescription for 4 or more prescriptions a month? Consider switching to Walmart and get $4 prescriptions. When you save $6 on 4 prescriptions a month, you’ll save $24 a month – almost $1 per day. The more you’re paying now, the more you can save. You’ll also be doing your part to keep insurance rates down.
19. Buy in bulk. Why pay $15 for a 40 pack of diapers when you can buy 160 pack for $35? You can save a lot on some items buy shopping and bulk retailers like Sams and Cosco. Just pay close attention to the price. Not everything there is a good deal.
20. Use a laptop at home. Laptops are made to be energy efficient because one of their biggest selling points is battery life. With PCs power consumption has been much less of a concern and 300 to 500 watt power supplies are quite common. Considering most of us leave our computers on even when we’re not using them, this difference in power consumption really starts to add up. Use a laptop for your home computing as well and you can save a significant amount on your energy bill.
21. Replace air filters in your furnace on the recommended schedule. They are fairly cheap and will help keep your furnace running at optimum efficiency. This will not only save you energy, but make your unit last longer and keep the air in your house cleaner.
22. Cancel the $30+ monthly gym membership that you rarely use, and either pay as you go or work out at home.
23. Shop around for car and home insurance. Sometimes other companies can save you $30 a month or more without making any changes to coverage; sometimes you can increase your deductibles just slightly and save considerably month to month on your premiums.
24. Instead of going out on the weekend with friends, have everyone get together at someone's house for game night. You’ll have just as much fun and will save on transportation, entertainment, alcohol, you name it.
25. If you go through a lot of batteries (like all families with children do), replace the batteries with rechargeable batteries rather than buying new ones every time they go dead. There’s an up front cost to this, but the savings over the life of the battery will be well worth it.
26. Be sure to pay all your bills on time to avoid a $30 monthly late fee and increased interest rates. This one goes without saying for most people, but we can all be forgetful from time to time. Set up automatic bill pay and know you won’t miss a payment.
27. Take advantage of store rewards programs such as the ExtraCare Bucks at CVS pharmacies. CVS has a loyalty program that will literally print "money" when you get your receipt. Watch the flyers and sale ads for which items generate the most CVS ExtraCare Bucks – when you pay for your purchase, you'll receive the ExtraCare Bucks with your receipt, redeemable during your next trip. They expire within 4 weeks. You'll regularly get $3 or $5 or even $10 off and the ExtraCare Bucks can be used to buy almost anything in the store (not prescriptions), and can be combined with both CVS coupons and Manufacturer coupons. Shopping at CVS regularly can result in much more than $1 per day savings, but will take some effort to find the best deals.
28. Buy a programmable thermostat. There’s no sense in paying to cool your house during the heat of the day while at work. There’s also no point in keeping your house as warm during the coldest part of the night when you’re snug in bed. Buy a programmable thermostat and you can have it adjust for you automatically every day.
29. Buy kids clothes at garage sales since they grow out of them so quickly, and keep an eye out for anything you can buy used instead of new for big savings.
30. Stop or at least reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke. If the health benefits alone aren’t enough to convince you the financial benefits should.
31. Use weather stripping to stop drafts. The stuff is dirt cheap, and stopping drafts around your windows and doors can save you a significant amount on your heating and cooling bills.
32. If you have a spare room, close the door and the vents. No need to heat or cool that room – your heating or cooling system can work far less to keep the rooms you do use at their appropriate temperatures.
33. Open windows in the spring and fall, like grandpa used to. You'd save a couple of bucks by not using the heat/ac on those days which would average out to $1 a day.
Save at Work
34. Eat breakfast before you leave for work to skip the drive thru. Even if you just grab something off the Dollar Menu at your favorite restraint or gas station, odds are you’ve spent a couple of bucks once you toss in a drink and a side item. You can buy most of the same items in bulk at the grocery store and easily cut your breakfast expense in half. It may take a minute or two to prepare, but you were spending that time in line at the drive thru anyways.
35. Bring a snack from home instead of buying from the vending machine. You’ll eat healthier, and you can buy fruit or snack items in bulk which results in paying less per item than if you bought the same kind of potato chips from the vending machine.
36. Pack dinner leftovers for work lunches instead of eating out. There’s a fair chance your waistline will shrink as your wallet grows from the savings.
37. Are you working a second job that requires you to pay a babysitter or daycare program to watch your kid(s)? Consider earning additional income from home, and keep everything you make instead of sharing with a babysitter. Even if you earn less from the work at home, there’s a fair chance you may still come out ahead.
38. Set up a movie "rental" ring at work. Create a quick web page or word document for everyone to list what movies they owned and then send an email to whoever you want to borrow one from. You could do the same thing for video games and books.
Save on Transportation
39. Carpool to and from work to reduce wear and tear on vehicle, maintenance and gasoline usage. The gas alone will save you over $1 a day. Extending the life of your vehicle is bonus.
40. Walk or ride a bike as much as possible instead of driving or paying for public transportation. This one requires the trip to be relatively short and the weather to be somewhat decent. But if you live close enough to work to ride a bike, can walk your kids to school or can walk to the grocery store, the savings can add up over time. The long term health benefits are where you likely to see the most savings.
41. Take a different route to work. If you normally take toll roads, try taking the free way. Those 50 and 75 cent charges add up very quickly. Of course you also have to consider if the free route is going to cost you more in gas and wear and tear on your vehicle.
42. Drive less aggressively and experience an average savings of 31% fuel efficiency. Most cities time out their street lights to match casual driving at the speed limit. By accelerating quickly all you really gain is being in line for the next light faster. Take it slow and put some extra cash in your pocket.
43. Turn your cruise control on for 7-14% savings on fuel usage. We all naturally accelerate and decelerate slightly even when driving on the highways. This wastes fuel. Let the cruise control take over and you can save some cash.
44. Inflate tires to their proper air pressure. This will make your tires last much longer in addition to improving your fuel efficiency. Both will save you money.
Save on Media & Communications
45. If your cell phone doesn’t include texting in the monthly fee, don’t send or receive text messages. On average you can pay around 20 cents per message and a single conversation can easily use up a dozen messages. If you absolutely must send a text message, there are websites where you can send them for free. Even if you’re not currently at a computer, depending on your data plan you may be able to use the Internet from your phone for no extra charge, but still have to pay for text messages.
46. Consider skipping the cell phone bill all together, and opt for a pre paid version that you put a few minutes on for emergency use only. A $60 a month cell phone plan that you don’t really need could be reduced to $20 every few months if you add prepaid minutes to a phone for emergencies.
47. Cancel your landline phone and use an Internet based phone instead. They work almost exactly the same by allowing you to connected it to the existing phone wiring in your house and use your existing telephones. It just routes the call over your Internet connection instead of the phone lines. Right now you can get Vonage for around $25 a month or go with a MagicJack for $30 per year both include free long distance within the US.
48. Cancel your cable television or reduce your subscription package. Cable and satellite prices keep going up every year. If you’re like me, you probably realize most of the shows you watch are on network tv that you can get for free anyways. Cancel the extra channels and you’ll not only free up some cash, but possibly some time.
49. Read the newspaper online instead of buying it. Even if you can’t get your favorite paper online, there’s no shortage of local or national news sites to choose from.
50. Cancel magazine subscriptions and look up articles you’re interested in for free online, or read your favorite magazine articles online. Many magazines also publish their articles online for free. Even if your favorite one doesn’t, most likely there’s a comparable source online to get the same information for free.
51. If your job doesn’t require it, cancel your Internet subscription. Use the Internet at work , library or free wi-fi spot instead of paying a monthly fee to use at home. This will let you knock out a $30 to $50 per month bill.
52. Watch whatever is on tv or can be borrowed from the library instead of renting movies – if you average 2 movies a week at $3.59 a pop, you’re spending $28.72 to watch movies each month. Most central libraries actually have a very decent movie selection that is completely free.
53. Do you buy one video game per month on average? Most Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii games sell for around $60 a pop when purchased new… try buying used at Gamestop or online and get them for well under the retail price.
54. Stop buying books. Most people rarely read books more than once. That is if they ever finish it in the first place! There’s this great place you may have heard of called a library where you can borrow books for free.
55. Stop buying CD's. You can listen to a countless number of online radio stations for free. Sites like Pandora.com will even create a radio station just for you that only plays songs you like. If you must buy music, purchase one song at a time from iTunes or Amazon rather than buy entire CD's for your one or two favorite songs. Two CDs a month will run you about a dollar a day.
If you're really looking to save money – implement just a dozen of the 55 techniques listed here and you'll save $4,380 per year! Wouldn't you like to add $4,380 per year more to your savings account, IRA, CD ladder or money market account?