Originally this article started as 16 ways to save money by NOT being normal, but over the years we have written about so many great ways to save money, I thought I would expand on it a bit to create an even larger list of some of the best money saving tips.
1. Use Ebates when shopping online
Normal = Don’t get any cash back on purchases
If you are shopping online Ebates is a no-brainer! Basically it works like this…
You visit Ebates.com, then click a link to your favorite online store (they have over 1200 stores like Target, Kohls, Walmart, etc) and make your purchase like normal. Ebates will then will be paid a referral fee by that retailer and will share the earnings with you. They pay you a percentage (1%-25%) of the purchase price back. It is completely free to and they even give you a free $5 gift card for signing up. I have been with them since 2008 and have earned hundreds of dollars. For more info read my review (what is Ebates?). You can also try out a competitor of theirs Memolink as well.
2. Regularly Shop Insurance Rates
Normal = Buy insurance and keep renewing without checking rates
Regardless of who you buy from, you can be abnormal and save money by shopping around every year or so for insurance. I have saved over $530/year for the same coverage by getting car insurance quotes on a regular basis. Now there is something to be said for finding a top-rated insurance company - it may not be worth saving $50/year to switch to a terrible company, so use your own judgement.
Term life insurance is recommended for most people and you can read my Zander term life insurance review if you are interested. To get other types of insurance quotes you can just click the links below…
- Get a Health Insurance Quote
- Get a Life Insurance Quote
- Get an Auto Insurance Quote
- Get a Home Insurance Quote
3. Use PerkStreet Financial‘s Cash-Back Debit Card
Normal = Don’t get any cash back on purchases
My PerkStreet 2% cash-back debit card is my new favorite financial product. A lot of people like to use rewards credit cards so they can get cash back from their purchases, but just one late payment can completely negate any rewards earned that month. But when you find a debit card that pays rewards just as good (if not better) as most credit card rewards programs it seems like a pretty simple decision to me. I have been banking with PerkStreet the last two months and have earned $147 in rewards over that 2 month period – not too bad!
4. Have someone negotiate your bills for you
Normal = Just pay the standard rates
I recently found out about a pretty cool service called BillCutterz.com. Basically they are a bill discount service. All you do is send them your bills and they call your providers and negotiate better rates on your behalf.
You then split the savings with them. From their website, “We split any savings we obtain with you. This means if we save you $100, you get $50 and we get $50. If we don’t save you any money, there is no charge to you – ever.”
Pretty cool, huh? Find out more about them here.
5. Drop Your Health Insurance (and use an alternative)
Normal = Pay an arm and a leg for typical health insurance
If you are a Christian and adhere to a Biblical Lifestyle, you may be eligible for Medishare, which is a Christian health insurance alternative that costs a whole lot less than typical insurance. I am a member, and I estimate that we pay about 50% less than we would be paying if we had comparable health insurance coverage. It works in a similar fashion to insurance, but it costs a lot less because the members are working together. Find out more here.
6. Save Money at the Grocery Store without Cutting Coupons!
Normal = Cut coupons the old-fashioned way or not at all
If you haven’t yet heard of Savingstar you may want to check them out (our Savingstar Review). Basically their FREE website allows you to mark which products you will be buying from the grocery store and then you get cash back after you buy them. The website links with your store loyalty card, so you don’t even need to print or cut any coupons, all you have to do is select the items from the website. Pretty simple huh?
7. Save money on Designer Clothes
Normal = Pay full-price like all your friends!
If you are someone who loves to have the latest styles and brands, just because you want to save money doesn’t mean that you are doomed to outdated and decade-old clothing. But, you do have to think a little outside the box in order to make both work. Sites like Rue La La send you daily emails with huge discounts on the hottest brands. They are free to use and can save you up to 80% off of retail.
8. Buy jewelry from a discounter
Normal = Buy jewelry from the mall jewelry store or another traditional store
If you haven’t purchased jewelry in a while, you may be interested to know that the jewelry industry is going through some major changes. Diamonds have always had ridiculous markups, but recently there are more options for relief. Many direct importers are selling rings themselves at much better prices than you could get from the traditional stores. It makes perfect sense – the traditional stores have to pay for a storefront, sales force, utilities, etc., therefore the importers can usually beat their prices hands down. I bought my wife’s engagement ring at Amazon and ended up having it appraised for thousands more than I paid. That may just be my best way to save money.
9. Simplify your wardrobe
Normal = Buying clothes that you like without looking at the wardrobe as a whole
Don’t buy clothes that will only work as one outfit. Look for clothes that you will be able to wear with many other things, creating multiple outfits. Instead of buying that green and purple striped coat that will only go with one or two outfits, you could get a solid color gray that will work most of what you wear. Spend less money on the trendy items that won’t be in style long, and spend more on quality items. You really can do this and still be stylish at the same time. Simplifying your wardrobe is just one way you can save money on clothes.
10. Make money with your clutter
Normal = Garage sale or throw away clutter
It is easier than you may think. eBay and Amazon.com make the process a breeze. Sign up for an account, take a few digital pictures, post it, and watch the buyers come to you. HINT: The biggest key I have noticed is selling brand name items and taking a few seconds to think, “If I wanted to buy this item, how would I search for it?” If you do this, you will be much more successful.
Below are a few more ways to make money selling your clutter…
- How to sell books on Amazon.com
- How to sell your stuff on eBay
- How to sell old electronics
- Selling Your Gold? Be Careful!
- What to do with old cell phones
Of course, some of your junk won’t be worth the effort of selling it online. For that stuff – maybe garage sale, maybe just save yourself the hassle and give it to the thrift store.
11. Get Rid of Your LandLine
Normal = Spending $25/m for a phone you never use
Many people can save money by only using their cell phones and just doing away with a landline. If you are like me and prefer to use a landline rather than a cell-phone, you can still save money by getting free long distance calls using a device called Magicjack. I have been using it for years, when I purchased mine it cost me $20 for the device and it costs $20 per YEAR to use – which equates to about $1.66/month. Admittedly it is a little quirky, so read my Magicjack review to be sure you know what you are getting into.
12. Saving energy = Saving money
Normal = wasting energy
Even though, “Being green is so IN right now,” the “normal” thing to do is waste energy. So not only will everyone think you are cool, but you can save money as well. Check out these 10 Energy saving tips.
Also, I am not sure how much money this will save you, but check out Blackle.com – birthed out of a question, “How much energy would be saved if Google had a black screen instead of a white one?” Supposedly, the search results are the same as the regular Google results.
13. Save money on exercise
Normal = Sign up for an expensive gym membership and never use it
Why not be extremely abnormal? You can get much cheaper access to a gym AND use it too!! Sign up for a class at a local community college (as little as $35 a semester). Then, use your ID to work out at the community college gym. That is a lot better than the $30-$40 a month most gyms charge.
14. Buying used stuff always saves money
Normal = Buy new
This is one of my favorite creative ways to save money. I first learned the power of this back in college, when I discovered that I could get my textbooks for free, by buying and selling them at Amazon. I was paying a few bucks (at most) for my textbooks that many of my classmates were paying over $100 for.
Leo from Zenhabits suggests to, “Send out an email to family or friends, or just ask around. You might be surprised. I was about to buy a printer, and then found out my mom just bought a laser printer and didn’t need her old inkjet.” Freecycle.org and craigslist.org are also good places to look. And of course, you can always check out garage sales and thrift shops.
15. Live in a smaller home
Normal = Buy the biggest house you can afford (or more than you can afford)
For some reasons, Americans just love to assume that bigger is better with just about everything. There is a plague of families constantly having to get a larger dwelling because their stockpile of junk gets too large for their current home. Often just by throwing junk away and spending time organizing storage areas and closets, you may realize that you DO have a big enough living space, it just needed a little organizational love. A lot of money can be saved by living in a smaller place. When you think about it that way, organizing really might pay very well.
You could even try living in a 100 sq foot house!
16. Buy a used car
Normal = Buy a new car, pay it off (or maybe not) and buy a new one
You can save a lot of money on car depreciation by purchasing a car 2 years old or older. Some cars can lose as much as 35% in value during the first year. It’s best to drive a car as long as you can especially if you do purchase them new.
17. Shop after the season
Normal = buying Christmas décor during Christmas season
Shop for holiday cards, decorations, and gift wrap as the season ends, and keep them for next year. We do this and then we also enjoy the nice surprise after Thanksgiving of finding out what we bought the previous year that we forgot about.
18. Shop when no one else wants to
Normal = House shopping while the weather is nice
If you are considering a new home, remember the best time to buy is in the dead of winter, when other buyers huddle inside. You can save 5 percent off the peak-season price.
19. Save money on your home entertainment
You can now watch many TV programs and many free legal movies online if you hook your computer up to your TV. Or you could spend about $60 on a device that allows you to watch HDTV on your computer. Or if you rent a lot of movies one of the best ways to save money is to use Netflix or Blockbuster’s streaming or online video rentals. For even more, you can check out these 5 movie renting alternatives.
20. Get lower rates on your Monthly Bills
Normal = Keep paying what you’ve always been paying.
Using a service like WhiteFence, you can just enter your street address and the site quickly lets you compare rates for cable, internet, phone, electric, natural gas, and more.
21. Save money at the hospital
Normal = Don’t know that it is possible to save money at the hospital
I didn’t realize that you had options and to be honest most times if the hospital is involved, I am “normal” and could care less about what it costs. But, if it isn’t an urgent matter there are ways to save money at the hospital that I had never thought of. Did you know that you can bring your own stuff (e.g. pillows, linens, nightgowns)? Evidently, hospitals charge quite a bit for these items. (I have no personal experience with this one – can anyone confirm or deny?)
22. Use the Ibotta Phone App
Normal = Don’t use technology to save yourself money!
The Ibotta App is a nifty little app that allows you to select products that you regularly buy from Target, Walmart, or others and get cash back for those purchases to your paypal acct. Their website describes it as “a fun and easy way to earn $20 or more each time you go shopping. The more you use it, the better and more personalized your offers become.”
Download the free app here.
23. Go out to dinner for half price
Normal = Go to the same few restaurants all the time and pay full price
I love to try new restaurants, but since it is quite an expensive hobby – it is nice when you can save a few bucks. Enter the Entertainment Book. This wonderful tool costs about $25, but will pay for itself quickly if you use it a couple of times. It is available for most large U.S. cities and has thousands of coupons to participating restaurants – most of which are buy-one-get-one-free. This is one of my favorites ways to find new places to eat and save money in the process. Also consider Groupon.com or Restaurant.com who sells $25 gift certificates (with restrictions) for $10 to thousands of restaurants across the country.
24. Maintain stuff
Normal = Buy new, don’t maintain, it breaks, then buy new as cycle repeats again and again.
Even if you buy the best stuff, if you don’t maintain it you will not save you as much money as it could. You’ll then spend less on buying new stuff. When you buy something worth maintaining, take a few minutes to read the maintenance manual, and create a maintenance checklist that you can attach to the item. For important things like your car’s oil changes or tune-ups, put them in your calendar. To make it even easier schedule most of your maintenance all on one day with a Car Day.
25. Save money with the library
Normal = Pay for things that the library offers for free
If you can get past the frequently outdated décor, public libraries are home to a wealth of resources. Of course you can borrow books instead of buying them, but they also often have subscriptions to high cost services or publications like Hoovers or Valueline. Our local library has grown a huge collection of popular CDs and DVDs over the last few years. So, it can be a cheap (free) ways to catch a few good movies. If you must be “Normal” and buy, at least use these 5 ways to save money on books.
26. Get Your Property Tax Lowered
Normal = Just keep on paying what they ask you to pay (even when you shouldn’t be).
If you own a house and the last time your county assessed your home’s value was during the boom, you may be paying way too much property tax. According to one tax expert, “More than half of homeowners are paying too much in property taxes”. You can get contact your county to re-assess your home’s value and potentially lower your property taxes each year.
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Feel free to share any creative and ways that you save money by NOT being “normal.”