How to Save Money
How to Save Money

25 Ways to Save Money in 2014

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It’s 2014, my friends!  And since the new year is here, I thought I’d share some ways to save money for 2014.  And with your extra funds, you can pay off debt, save up for a special purchase, or maybe take that well-deserved vacation you’ve been thinking about. 🙂

 1. Become a member of the Power Police Force.  Scour your home and your life for ways to use less electricity, natural gas, propane, or whatever you use to power your house with.  Look for alternatives to electric appliances (such as mixing your baked goods by hand) and ways to cut down on power usage in general, such as turning down your water heater and taking shorter showers.  You’d be amazed at what you can live without and do by hand if you look around and get creative.

2.  Remodel your grocery budget.  Use the tips here to cut your grocery bill.  We cut our grocery bill nearly in half in 2013, from 2012, by following these practices.  Among them?  Menu planning, simple meals and less trips to the grocery store.  How much can you cut your grocery bill by in 2014?

3. Rethink your family’s clothing needs.  Do you really need that item of clothing in your shopping cart, or is it a want?  Also, can you find a perfectly acceptable used substitute for it at a consignment shop, thrift store or garage sale?  Is there someone you can buy hand-me-downs from in the family?  There are lots of ways to save money on clothing purchases and still look great.

4. Analyze your transportation costs.  Can you trade in your newer car for a reliable older or less expensive model, reducing or eliminating your payments? Can you take public transportation, ride your bike or walk to where you need to get?  Can you stay home instead, or have guests/events at your house instead of traveling elsewhere?

5.  Get creative when it comes to home improvement/repair.  Learn to do it yourself.  Rick just saved us hundreds of dollars on a garage heater repair by making a few phone calls to diagnose the problem, getting the $60 part himself and installing it himself instead of paying a repair guy, which would have easily cost us $200-$300.  He’s also taught himself how to repair our clothes dryer and many other appliances.  Whenever there’s a remodel or improvement job, he’ll likely learn as he goes.  He’s installed laminate, linoleum and tile flooring, repaired sheetrock, remodeled a bathroom, learned how to put on vinyl siding (through a community ed class), how to properly landscape (by working a summer job at a landscape company), and a gazillion other things to our homes, all through different routes on DIY training.

Some other ideas to help you save money?

6. Hang dry your clothes outdoors on a line or indoors on a drying rack instead of using your clothes dryer.

7.  Make homemade laundry detergent and save over 90% on detergent costs.

8. Always wash your clothes in cold water.

9.  Take advantage of free or cheap vacations by utilizing rewards cards or great deals on hotels and travel costs.

10.  Start a vegetable garden.  If you’re limited on space, look for creative ways to garden, such as using planters and planting along the edge of your home or garage.

11.  Learn how to freeze, can and dry fruits and veggies.

12.  Plant a fruit tree or two in your yard.

13.  Instead of going out to eat, search the Internet for a version of your favorite restaurant dish and make it at home.

14.  Have a popcorn/movie rental night instead of going to the movies.

15.  Take in a semi-pro baseball game instead of a major league game.  Semi-pro game tickets are a fraction of the cost of MLB tickets.

16.  Have a campout in your backyard, complete with s’mores and hot dogs over your portable or installed fire pit, instead of heading to a state park.

17.  Don’t throw away leftovers.  Compile them for a once-a-week leftover night for dinner.

18.  Spend your Sunday making and freezing lunches such as soups or casseroles to bring to work instead of eating out.

19.  Wash your cat/dog at home instead of at a grooming service biz and learn how to trim their nails yourself by asking your veterinarian or searching the Net.

20.  Buy your spices in bulk and save 50 %- 80 % over regular store prices.

21.  Stock up big-time on things like milk and butter when you find a great sale, as they can both be frozen for later use.

22.  Trade your gym membership in for a treadmill, workout videos or an outdoor workout routine.

23.  Make your own cleaning supplies.  Vinegar and baking soda work just as well as the store-bought stuff, and you’re avoiding the harmful chemicals and ridiculous mark-ups on cost.

24. Have kids’ birthday parties at home with homemade cakes, cupcakes or cookies instead of renting a venue and spending on a store-bought cake.

25.  Wash your car at home, the old-fashioned way, instead of spending your hard-earned dough at the car wash. In winter time, search the area for coupons and other special deals.  Every March and September, a local gas station here sells coupon books that’ll get you 50% off of the deluxe car wash.  We buy enough to get us through winter, and then wash at home in spring, summer and fall. Check gas stations for a similar type of a deal in your area.

 

What are your new/favorite money saving tips for this year?

66 comments

  1. Great list Laurie 🙂

    I have alreay started implementing the tips that I apply to my lifestyle and will save a bunch of cash this 2014!!

    It’s amazing how a small change can reap big rewards.

    Thanks again Laurie and take care. My best to all.

    Lyle

  2. Liz says:

    Love these ideas! We really need to work on 17 and 18.. I don’t know why, but we’ve always had a hard time finishing up leftovers even though they taste good and make great lunches for work. Maybe we just need to make smaller portions of food. Not sure. I would also like to get in the habit of cooking less during the week and doing more meal prep during the weekend. Sometimes after getting home from work, cooking is the last thing I want to do.

    • Laurie says:

      I struggle with being too tired to cook at night too, Liz. Another big help for us has been to have soup stock in the freezer, along with chopped veggies, so we can easily throw together soups at night.

  3. Mark Ross says:

    Great tips Laurie! My favorite money saving tip and the one that I do most is to make use of public transportation. That enables me to spend less and help save our environment by not adding more pollution into this planet of ours.

  4. One of my rules about pets is making sure we never have one that needs to be groomed. Short haired dogs all the way! The only thing I would add is that when you think you’ve saved all you can, look again. There is usually always something that you missed or that has changed. Don’t ever become complacent.

  5. We are doing #24 this year. Last year we rented out a gymnastics center and had a blast but my son this year wants to have his friends over so he can share his toys! I’m not complaining. 🙂

    I actually am taking a cake and cupcake decorating class so I can DIY all of our cakes. Nice cupcakes are a LOT easier to decorate than I thought they’d be!

    • Laurie says:

      Great idea about taking the class, Rebecca! For the last couple of years, we’ve been letting the kids decorate their cake/cupcakes, and it’s been fun for them, and for us. 🙂

  6. Great tips Laurie! We’ve used many of these. Before the kids, we went out to semi-pro minor league hockey games every now and then, for $5-10 a game. Now it’s a bit tougher, but it goes to show, just how many ways to save around the house. Hopefully we can resurrect that garden again this spring, to get some fresh fruits and vegetables for the year.

  7. Great list and tips! It drives me crazy when people throw out left overs. They are perfectly good and we’ll eat it for dinner another day or bring it for lunch. I’m not picky so it won’t bother me eating the same thing twice. Such a money and time saver.

  8. Leslie Tayne says:

    These are great ideas to help you save money! Taking the extra time to plan out meals, clothing and transportation needs can go a long way towards saving money and stress if left to the last minute. This article includes interesting ways to budget and may even help you spend more time together as a family!

  9. Wow! This is an amazing list! I have never made my own laundry detergent, but now I want to try it! I cut back on gym membership costs this year by finding home workouts on Pinterest and free apps. As long as you are self-motivated, they work great.

  10. Hi Laurie, I know our grocery budget is one of our problem areas. We get over-enthusiastic about how much produce we think we’ll eat and then end up throwing most of it out by Friday! Getting creative with our left overs is another good area for improvement. This is where Google can be really handy! Thanks for the tips, friend.

  11. anna says:

    I didn’t milk could be frozen – does it expand in the container (like, do you open and pour some out, or do you freeze it while it’s still sealed)? Thanks for the tip! We used travel rewards cards for some wedding costs, and in turn that will help pay for our honeymoon. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      I’ve heard you have to pour some out first, but have never tried freezing it myself. I think it’s awesome that you guys are using travel rewards for your honeymoon, etc. What a great way to save some serious cash!

  12. Oh, I totally am going to take you up on the suggestion of a semi pro game. Why have I never thought of this? It’ll be like Bull Durham, I bet.

    Thanks, Laurie!

    • Laurie says:

      We go to them here on occasion and they’re just as much fun as the pro games, for a fraction of the price. You should do it! Or in your case, the spring training games – those are fun too! I visited AZ with my girlfriends circa 1994 and we spent LOTS of time at the Cubbies training camp. 🙂

  13. Food spending is where we over do it. The price of convenience, we’re often “too tired” to cook. When we get the credit card statement I sometimes get a heart attack from all the waste (it could also be from the crap I’m eating)

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, yeah, I can identify with that. I just called Rick on his way home today and asked him to pick up ice cream. Bad for the body, good for the soul. 😉

  14. Kay says:

    Great list! And thanks for the shout out!

    Since we have an electric oven, I bake a lot of things in our toaster oven – even chicken! It takes a lot less energy to run the toaster than the entire oven.

    • Laurie says:

      Great idea, Kay! My dad has a toaster oven and just loves it. Maybe we’ll pick one up one of these days. I often cringe as I think of all of the propane we waste waiting for our gas oven to heat up.

  15. My dad is really good with DIY. He’s does occasionally bring in the professionals but that’s rare. Unfortunately, his DIY abilities did not pass on to me! Since I live in apartment, it’s not a huge issues. They replace my garbage disposal and dishwasher for me. 🙂 I follow many of these tips myself and they make a huge difference. I used to spend mindlessly, now I really ask myself if I need that. And I bet you know the answer.

  16. Jim says:

    Great list Laurie, I love going to semi-pro anything, they truly are great entertainment. You could take a family of four out to a semi-pro baseball game or even better hockey, and with food and admission it would be under $100. Well worth the price!

  17. One of my goals this year is to start making my own cleaning products and riding my bike to the beach more…or in this case at all! Yes I may be saving just a few bucks, but in this case I’m helping the environment. I also want to hire someone to help me plant my garden and teach me how to maintain it. I figure the cost of that would save me money from the veggies I can grow, but I’ve been terrible about keeping stuff alive in the past.

    • Laurie says:

      Tonya, maybe I’ll have my gardening extraordinaire friend write a post for beginning gardeners like you. She truly knows her stuff. Let me check with her. Love your plan to start making your own cleaning products and biking to the beach too – sounds like fun!

  18. I am all about growing your own herb and vegetables. It’s fun, decorative and saves money. Even living in a city in small spaces one can find ways to add a garden, albeit a small one.

  19. Thanks for the tips! I am hoping to grow a herb garden this year in my condo and join a community garden to grow vegetables. It costs $20/year to rent garden space, but I’m think the savings will outweigh the costs.

    • Laurie says:

      We are just starting to really delve into canning and hope to expand this year on the pickles and salsa. Good luck with your canning endeavors, Amanda!

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  21. Wow this is an awesome post for 2014! While I do tend to focus on increasing income more so than saving, I definitely do what I can to save. I love the grocery tip because it’s an expense everyone has. We cut our grocery bill drastically through meal-planning and being diligent and organized couponers.

  22. I’ve been renting my house to tourists and can’t believe how wasteful they are with the electricity and water. Like leaving for a day trip with all lights turned on in the room. I play police but it’s not very nice to remind them all the time. Even if I raise the rates I’d still be bitter because there is zero reason to be wasteful.

  23. This is an awesome list! We love consignment shops, and usually do movie night rentals off the gaming system after the kids go to bed…saves us money on a sitter, too! :p We’re trying to do things like #7 this year…I’m already amazed at how many different things vinegar and baking soda can clean.

  24. Jon says:

    I really like the idea of searching for your restaurant’s favorite dish recipe online… it is amazing how much stuff is out there! Thanks for the great tips!

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Jon! Yes, we are planning the majority of our Valentine’s Day meal by searching restaurant recipes online. Yum! 🙂

  25. I don’t have to worry about energy costs as they are included with rent, but I try to be mindful anyways. Recently, we evaluated our transportation costs and realized we could save $300-$400 a MONTH by ditching our car and using public transportation and walking exclusively. Now to sell it…

    • Laurie says:

      Wow – that’s great, Erin! That’s a lot of extra cash in your pocket. I think it’s super cool, too, that you guys are mindful of the energy consumption even though you don’t have to pay for it. Either way, it’s still wasted energy, right?

  26. Awesome list! Saving money on transportation, clothing, and groceries were some of the biggest changes we made, and the truth of the matter is we don’t even notice the differences, really. Not to mention all the DIY home reno we’ve done. Little things add up!

    • Laurie says:

      Exactly! Once you get used to the changes, you just don’t miss them anymore. We don’t miss going out to eat, or hitting the movies regularly, or buying stuff weekly at Target. And all of those “little” things that we’ve stopped doing have saved us thousands of dollars a year!

  27. I salute you Laurie for this great tips you shared. This is really a great help for us working in business field. Saving money is a best way to overcome future emergency problems. Once again, thank you so much!

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