At Shobia, we provide buying guides to help make good decisions. Our goal is to maximize the value you get for your money.
To help with that goal, we've carefully put together the top tips we could come up with for saving money.
We looked in all areas of life, from whether brand name batteries are worth it to the importance of tire pressure and all kinds of free stuff you can get.
As follows, are 202 practical tips for how you can save money, be frugal, and improve your finances.
1. Track spending. A good starting point is to carefully track your spending over one month. Doing so can let you see where money is going. Mint is a popular service that helps get a handle on your finances.
2. Keep good records of valuables you own. In case of an accident, like a fire, having evidence will go a long way to getting compensated. Your insurance may have specific requirements for what is good evidence.
3. Separate checking and savings accounts. Some financial advisers say you should separate your checking and savings account. Doing so can prevent you from dipping into savings.
4. Ask for a lower price. Renting an apartment, buying a car, even setting up a cell phone plan - ask for a lower price! Doing so can work in a variety of settings and save you money.
5. Also, ask if a fee can be waived. Surprisingly often, if you ask for a fee to be waived, it will be.
6. The bread trick. When you stay in a hotel in a city, the mini-bar and breakfast options are quite expensive. If you go to a restaurant at night, you can ask for bread to-go to eat in the morning.
7. The lunch option. If you want to go to a restaurant, lunch is often cheaper than dinner.
8. Sell unused stuff. Do you have stuff you have that you don't particularly like or use? Selling it can clear up space, make cleaning easier, and get a little cash.
9. Use local schools for cheap services. You can get a variety of services done for low-cost at a local school. For instance, a student salon can offer cheap haircuts and nail services.
10. Do you still need a landline? Many people can get by on cellphones and chatting over the internet. A landline can be an unneeded expense. Popular alternatives include VoIP, voice over internet protocol, like Skype, as well as Google Voice.
11. Spend more on quality when appropriate. There are many things you should indeed spend more on for quality because they work longer and better. Some say, for instance, that buying high quality power tools is a wise decision. This discussion goes over more examples.
12. Bring your own food to work. A typical person spends around $1,000 a year on buying lunch while at work. And that doesn't include coffee or vending machine spending.
13. Some people save with warehouse membership. Costco charges a small amount of money to become a member, but offers warehouse prices.
14. Wait 14 days before buying something. If you want to get something, have an automatic waiting period of two weeks (or a month). It's possible that you'll change your mind, saving money.
15. Amazon may be cheaper for music than iTunes. According to a recent report by DealNews, 78% of the time, Amazon is cheaper than iTunes for buying music albums. The difference is not so great, however, for buying popular singles.
16. Learn to fix things yourself. Knowing how to sew, for instance, can help you repair clothing and save on costs. Or learning how to fix your car or computer can also be quite handy.
17. When buying a big ticket item, get an inspection. And make sure the inspection is by someone you choose. The seller's choice can be biased. This applies especially to homes and boats and other complex, expensive things.
18. You may have unclaimed property. As odd as it may sound, you may be owed money right now and not know about it. Unclaimed is a website which links to some places you can see if you have unclaimed property.
1. Choose the right store. Avoid buying items in the wrong type of store. For, say, painkillers or contact lenses solution, you might pay significantly more buying at a supermarket. Buying soda can cost more at a pharmacy store like CVS.
2. For sales, you can ask for a raincheck. When a store has a good sale, it often runs out of the item quickly. If the store is out, a raincheck means you can pay the low, sale price when you buy it later.
3. Be careful with buying spices. Your recipe may call for a pinch of saffron or some other expensive spice. But often the recipe tastes just fine without it or with a cheap substitute. Also, when you buy a spice for a recipe, you may not really use it again for a while.
4. When buying groceries, know where to go. In one grocery store, tomatoes may be $3.50 a pound, while in another local store they cost $1.50.
5. Freeze and store berries. Berries can be quite expensive. But you can wait until you see a great sale, buy a lot, and freeze ‘em for later. This woman says blueberries normally cost $2.99 a box; she waits until they are $1.80 and buys them up.
6. Buying bigger can save money. If you buy a lot of, say, small yogurt containers, you may be paying a lot more than if you bought fewer big containers. The savings in buying bigger containers can be significant.
7. That said, it's still good to check prices. Sometimes the bigger item is more expensive per unit when you buy. It doesn't make sense, but it does happen.
8. Buy in bulk. If possible, when something goes on a great sale, bulk up and buy a lot. This works best, of course, for goods that aren't very perishable, like toilet paper or canned mushrooms.
9. Bake your own food. Baking bread or pizza isn't too hard and can save some money. It can also be a fun hobby.
10. Know what is a good price. Having a good knowledge of what is a good price for staples like bread and milk can let you quickly make better shopping decisions.
11. You can pickle tomatoes and can food. Doing so can preserve food longer.
12. Imitation vanilla can taste as good. In cooked foods, it can be hard to tell the difference between real and imitation vanilla. This is because the heat breaks the vanilla down. For uses in cold dishes, however, the real deal may have an edge in taste.
13. To really save, plan meals in advance. You can plan a whole week of meals in advance. This lets you tailor your cooking to take advantage of sales and low prices. It can reduce spending and increase your efficiency.
14. Make your own popcorn. Doing so is surprisingly easy; you just need popping corn and a brown bag. Squawkfox explains how to do so.
1. The EU has warranty requirements. In the European Union there is a mandatory 2 year warranty. This means you have a good amount of time to get refunds if the product malfunctions. The exact details of how the warranty works can depend on the country, though.
2. Pay less for designer goods with consignment. A consignment store sells used goods, particularly clothing. If you find one you like, you can get great savings, like $20 for an Armani shirt.
3. Extended warranties can cost a lot. According to a Consumer Reports article, you almost never need them. In most cases, if your product lasts for the original warranty, it will last a good amount of time anyway.
4. You can save on glasses by buying online. Warby Parker is a well regarded startup that provides fashionable prescription glasses at low cost. One pair of glasses on the site typically costs $95 with UV and scratch protection included.
5. Buy items at the best time. In addition to major sales days like Black Friday, there are patterns to how items like TVs and cameras are priced. Some experts recommend waiting until March to buy a TV. For digital cameras, May might offer low prices.
Lifehacker has an article which discusses this idea in more detail.
6. Trade in old video games. Video games can often be traded in for store credit or for use in buying other games.
7. Rent a dress. If you want to wear an expensive dress, handbag or jewelry for an event, you can rent one. One popular service to do so is called Rent the Runway.
8. Be careful with gaming equipment. Laptops or computers that are specifically made for gaming often are costly. But some find their quality doesn't live up to the hype. They also become obsolete quickly.
9. Electronics lose price rapidly. After a device or game is released, its price typically drops dramatically with time. Just waiting a month or two, or a little longer, can save you a significant amount of money.
10. Beware of expensive HDMI cables. You can spend $10 on an HDMI cable. Or $600. There is, however, in general no quality difference according to many who've looked into it.
11. Some headphones are overpriced. While a great pair of headphones can make listening to music more enjoyable, some options are considered to be overpriced. Many reviewers say Beats by Dr. Dre are a $75 value, not the $180+ they cost.
12. Don't keep payment info on sites. It's a lot easier to buy something if all you have to do is push a button. If you have to go get your bank card and enter it into the computer, it's often too much effort.
13. Many stores match Amazon.com. If you shop in person for something, like a new computer or monitor or so on, many stores will match Amazon.com's price.
14. Google for coupons before buying online. Many online stores offer the option to enter a discount code. Before paying, try searching for things like storename plus "promotional code" or "discount." Sometimes you can quickly find easy savings.
15. Rechargeable batteries can save money. Also, there is the classic question: do brand name batteries work better than store brand batteries? Wired looked into it, and they found that the cost of energy is roughly the same, but brand name batteries lasted longer in their experiment.
16. The law around gift cards is complex. There is a 2009 law that gift cards can't expire for 5 years. But there may be inactivity fees. In any case, if you have an expired giftcard, check to make sure it doesn't still have value.
17. Avoid paying an inflated price. Some products are deliberately priced quite high then sold lower "on-sale." For instance, many Invicta watches are priced at, say, $350 but actually sold for $90. Many do like Invicta watches, but paying the higher price would be a waste.
Bills and debts
1. Cancel unneeded monthly bills. Go through your monthly bill to see if you are paying for subscriptions, services or memberships you don't use. If you don't need something, cancel it.
2. Check your plan details. You may need the plan or service but be paying for more than you need. You may, for instance, be paying for a cellphone plan that offers 2,500 text messages a month, when you only need 500.
3. Check for price reductions or improved service. Companies often improve their offers, giving more, charging less and so on. But they don't necessarily tell existing customers they can get a better deal. This can be as black and white as charging $30 a month to customers who signed up in 2011 and $25 to those who signed up in 2012.
Every 6 months or so, check to see if you can get a reduction. This works for many types of bill and service, like credit cards and phone service.
4. Pay bills automatically. Automatic bill paying can make sure you don't accidentally forget and get a late fee. In addition, it can save you time and effort of paying the bill manually. That said, it might help you forget that you are paying for something you might no longer need.
5. Don't pay just minimum fees for your debts. The minimum payment plan may take years to pay off at a high interest rate, costing you a quite significant amount of money.
6. Be careful with student loans. You may be tempted to consolidate your student loans. But that can be a big mistake. If you have government loans and consolidate them with private loans, you can lose a lot of protections and benefits.
7. Combine services and bills. You may have, for instance, a separate plan for your tablet and for your smartphones. Or for your phones and internet. In these, and other cases, you can often save money by combining plans/services.
8. Offer to settle debts quickly if possible. Often a debtor will be willing to accept less in exchange for immediate payment. For instance, a $3,000 bill may be settled for $2,000 in cash payment right now.
9. Don't pay debts you don't have to. In general, when a family member passes away, their estate is responsible for their debt. Other family members do not usually have to pay it. That doesn't stop them from being approached by aggressive debt collectors.
There are exceptions and details which can be important, particularly if you're a spouse. Either way, make sure to know the law before paying.
10. Know the snowball method for paying debts. The snowball method is a way for getting rid of debt. It says, when you have multiple debts, you pay the minimums for all except the smallest one. For the smallest, you pay it off as quickly as possible.
Once it's gone, you move onto the next debt. The snowball method is a great approach for its psychological benefits. It may, however, not work as well when the debts have significantly different interest rates.
1. Avoid banks that charge inappropriate fees. It is possible to get a high quality bank that does not charge maintenance fees. There are other fees you can avoid too. Basically, your bank should treat you with respect.
2. Using a credit card wisely can make money. If you use the right credit card in paying bills, you can get rewards and improve your credit score. But make sure to pay it off every month to prevent paying interest.
3. Another approach: avoid credit cards. Credit cards can make spending money too easy. Not having one, or having one but not using it normally, can help keep spending in check.
4. Check your credit report for errors. Doing so can help detect fraud. You may also catch other issues which are hurting your score but shouldn't. A bad credit score can be hard to fix and can impact your ability to get financial services.
5. Have emergency funds. If you don't, and something happens, you can find yourself in trouble. Borrowing money unexpectedly can result in high costs.
6. Hold investments for more than a year. If you sell a stock or other assets like household furnishings after a year, you can qualify for a long term capital gain. The taxes on those gains can be significantly lower. Only do so, of course, if it makes financial sense.
7. Cosigning a loan can be quite risky. If the borrower doesn't pay, you'll have to. There are other downsides too. Most financial advisers say avoid cosigning unless it's really necessary.
8. Save money automatically. A 401(k) plan saves money automatically and is tax deferred. Also, in general, putting money away without seeing it keeps you spending less while building a nest egg.
9. Education tax credit. In the US, your employer can pay a certain amount for your education that is tax free for you. This can be a significant money saver.
10. Pay for childcare tax free. If you have a dependent care assistance program at work, you may be able to put aside up to $5,000 tax free. This can possibly be used for caring for other dependents, like the elderly.
11. Pay healthcare costs tax free. There is also the possibility to put income aside for paying for health expenses, again avoiding taxation.
12. Winning something can cost you money. Let's say you win a $5,000 watch in a contest. Great, right! Well, yes, but you may have to pay more than a thousand dollars in prize taxes. And if you sell it, you may have to pay taxes again.
13. Roth IRA funds can be used for a home. You may be able to use $10,000 from a Roth IRA without paying a early withdrawal penalty if you are a first-time home purchaser.
14. If you are over 70.5, you are required to make minimum withdrawals from certain IRAs. The penalty for not doing so is surprisingly high.
15. A CPA can save money. If you have complicated taxes, such as owning a business, a professional can often have you pay lower taxes.
16. You might be able to get better terms. Check on mortgage and other major debts. You may be able to change the terms, lower rates, and save money. Of course, be careful in doing so; the new terms may have unexpected downsides.
1. 3 month prescription: For many medications, you can buy three months worth at once if your Doctor prescribes it. You often pay less in total and a smaller copay when you buy in bulk.
2. Generic meds can save money. Medications often are available in generic form. The generic version is generally the same as the brand name but costs much less.
3. Know the medication options. Your Doctor may want to prescribe a medication which is only available as an expensive brand name. But there may be another medication option which is generic, costing hundreds less, and is almost the same.
4. Ask for free samples. Drug companies give prescribers free samples to give out. You may be able to get some by asking. This works particularly well if you need a cream for a skin problem and get a few tubes for free.
Be careful, though. Free samples are a marketing method; you may get a med for free only to realize it is quite expensive and you are on it already.
5. Patient assistance plans often exist. You may be able to get help paying for your medication by the manufacturer.
6. Different pharmacies can charge differently. The difference can be tremendous. You may $40 for a generic med in one pharmacy and $90 in another. The difference can apply even to copays.
7. Sliding scales can make healthcare more affordable. Many Doctors and clinics are willing to charge on a sliding scale, where you pay less if you make less.
8. One hospital can charge much more than another. A procedure can cost $40,000 in one hospital, and, in another, a short distance away, cost $20,000. That said, medical billing is extremely complex, unpredictable, and not easy to game.
9. Some travel to pay less. A surgery in the US can cost much more than the same surgery in another country, even including travel costs. Some people who really want to save go this route.
10. You might be eligible for free services. Many insurance plans offer certain services for free, like, say, flu shots or an annual mammogram.
11. Hospital's often have charity programs. This is where they are willing to waive or reduce fees. You may need to ask and look to find out more info about it, though.
12. Review hospital bills. Often there are mistakes that can really add up, like being billed for a medication you weren't given.
13. Be aware of "balance billing." Sometimes hospitals demand money you don't actually have to pay. Anesthesiology services are particularly prone to this. This can happen when, say, your insurance tells you that you'll pay $100 and the hospital wants $500.
In that case, the hospital may send you a bill for $500 and demand it be paid. But you were only supposed to pay $100 and may be experiencing "balance billing." Businessweek discusses this practice.
The law and rules can vary depending on how the service is provided and your location.
1. Get a car quote in advance. You can use websites like Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds to find the price of a car you want to buy. Or you can call car dealers around your area and get a low cost quote over the phone.
Then, when you go to buy the car, you have a base price which you can ask for - and make sure to get something close to it.
2. Keep tires at the right pressure. When your tires don't have enough air pressure, your gas mileage drops. And low pressure can cause damage to tires, meaning you have to replace them sooner.
3. Rotate your tires when needed. Doing so can increase tire lifespan and improve driving. Cars.com has a blog entry which recommends rotating tires in general every 6 months to 1 year.
4. Don't always rent with a big brand. You can save money on renting a car by using a less known brand than Avis or Hertz, according to a New York Times article.
5. Small windshield chips can cause problems. A small chip in your windshield may seem like something you can ignore for a while. But the chip can spread, ruining the whole windshield, costing significantly more to fix.
6. A fuel efficient car can save a lot of money. Though many people probably already know this, an efficient car uses less gas. A Lamborghini is going to be visiting the gas station quite frequently.
7. Used cars can be a good value. The second you drive your new car off the lot, it loses a significant amount of value. A used car, even a model from a year to ago, can cost a lot less. Buying used, of course, has its risks.
8. Buy car parts independently if reasonable. The cost for a standard car part or accessory can be higher if you buy it at a dealer or garage. You can sometimes get the part yourself. Installation and servicing, of course, should be done by someone who knows what they're doing.
9. Find a great mechanic or garage. A high quality repair keeps your car going longer. Not to mention it keeps you safer. You should also be able to trust your mechanic to charge a fair price.
10. Use a cheap gas finder. There are apps and websites dedicated to helping you find bargains on gas. One very popular option is GasBuddy.
1. Set up a clothes line for drying. If you have the space, putting up a clothesline and drying clothing on it can save energy and money.
2. Clean your lint filter in the dryer. Your dryer has a filter for catching lint. If it isn't cleaned, it reduces the dryer efficiency, meaning it takes longer and uses more energy.
3. Use powerstrips for chargers. You may have heard that chargers, like for your cellphone, can use energy when they are plugged in but not being used. Great, but removing chargers all the time can be a pain.
If you bunch chargers on a powerstrip, however, you can turn off all the chargers at once by flipping it off.
4. Air sealing can reduce heating and cool costs. It works by blocking air from leaking out your home. The two main methods are caulking and weatherstripping, according to energy.gov.
5. A programmable thermostat can cut costs. It works by lowering the temperature automatically when you don't need it, such as when you are at work from 9-5. A simple idea, it can save 10% on heating bills.
6. Use less detergent. Many people use too much detergent in the laundry. You may be able to get the same quality cleaning with a smaller amount of detergent.
7. Dry dishes by air. You can save some energy and money by not using the drying feature of your dishwasher. Instead just let the dishes dry by air.
8. Research water temperature. A significant amount of people say that water temperature heating can be set at 120 degrees instead of 140. That said, others claim doing so may increase risk of Legionnaires Disease.
It's a debate worth knowing about.
9. Change air conditioner filters. Your AC unit may have a filter in it. Changing it can increase efficiency and save energy.
10. Run full loads of laundry and dishwasher. Waiting until you have a full load of clothing or dishes means you have to run the devices fewer times.
11. You can get money back when getting a new appliance. If you replace an appliance like your old refrigerator with an energy efficient one, you might be able to get some money back from state incentives.
12. Use cold water. For many purposes, you can use cold water instead of hot for washing clothes. Heating the water can take a decent amount of energy.
13. Low flow showerheads can save a lot of water. A low flow showerhead can use something like 50% less water than a normal one. That's pretty good for the environment and for your water bill.
14. A water efficient toilet can also save water. Switching from an OK efficiency to a good efficiency toilet can, according to this Science Blogs post, cut water usage in half.
15. Home energy audits can improve efficiency. When you get one, your home is carefully analyzed to see how energy is being used and wasted. The results can help you figure out how to lower your energy bill.
16. Check for energy incentives. DSIRE is a database of state incentives for renewable and energy.
17. Insulate rooms to increase efficiency. The attic is particularly important. As energy.gov puts it, "For optimal energy efficiency, your home should be properly insulated from the roof down to its foundation."
18. Also, think about insulating your water heater. Doing so can improve efficiency and lower costs.
19. Electricity costs can change. During the day, during peak hours, you may pay more for electricity than off peak. If you avoid doing high energy activities during those times, you can save.
1. Making an insurance claim can have hidden costs. When you make a claim, there is an increased chance of your bill going up. An ABC News article says in Minnesota, after a first time homeowner's insurance claim, premiums may rise 21%. And, according to a Bankrate article, many types of claim are recorded in a database.
This shouldn't scare you from making proper claims; Bankrate also says that first time homeowner claim shouldn't generally result in an increase in premiums. Just be aware that there can be hidden downsides.
2. Check your insurance deductible. You can often lower your insurance cost by increasing the deductible, or amount of money you pay before insurance kicks in. Of course, in doing so, you have to consider the risk of paying more in case an issue arises.
3. Combining insurances can lower costs. You can often combine insurances like home and auto, getting a lower overall cost.
4. Disability insurance can be a lifesaver. An unpleasant amount of people experience a disability that prevents working. Disability insurance can give you an income if you, say, experience an accident and are unable to work.
5. Paying annually can save. If you are comfortable with your provider, paying annually for car insurance can result in savings.
6. Whole term vs temporary. For life insurance, you can get whole term or temporary coverage. Choosing the right option is a bit complex, but can have financial benefits.
7. Rebuilding cost isn't necessarily what you paid. The rebuilding cost of your home does not generally include the actual land. This means it is significantly lower than what you paid. This can factor into how much homeowner insurance you may want.
8. You may qualify for discounts. Home owners insurance may go down in price after age 55, for instance. Or you may be able to take an online course in driving safety to reduce auto insurance costs.
1. Make your own gifts. Americans on average spend $750 on holiday gifts alone each year. That's a lot of money. If you learn how to make your own gifts, you can save. And often a homemade gift can mean more too. Offering to do something for someone can make a great gift.
2. Buy gifts when they're on sale. You can anticipate giving a gift in the future and buy things when they're on sale. For instance, Christmas cards are dirt cheap in January.
3. Is cable necessary? Cable can cost a significant amount monthly. Many people are satisfied with watching TV on their computer. Hulu and Netflix are two websites that offer a large amount of TV and movies at a low cost.
That said, for watching a live event, like a sports game, TV remains dominant.
4. Kids grow quickly. So be careful with buying expensive items like coats. In addition, it may make sense to avoid expensive designer brands.
5. Use a floor plan when moving. Getting a floor plan or making one to scale can tell you in advance if furniture will fit. This can save you time and bother.
6. Before moving, get rid of stuff. Moving is a great time to sell off old stuff with a garage or estate sale. Or you can just dispose of it normally. When you move, everything you bring takes up space and can cost money.
7. There are other cellphone plan options. You don't just have to go with a long term contract. There are pay as you go and prepaid options as well. This can reduce your spending.
8. T-Mobile has offered to pay termination fees. If you want to switch your mobile plan to T-Mobile, it has recently offered to pay up to $350 of your termination fee.
9. Don't say you are doing a wedding. When speaking to suppliers and providers, you may want to avoid saying "wedding." Saying "party" or "event" instead may get a lower price quoted.
10. When selling items, don't mention moving. Buyers may look to get a lower price if they know you are moving because they know you are under a time constraint.
11. A safety razor can save money. In particular, their blades are low cost, which can save compared to traditional razors.
12. Check carefully for apartment issues. When renting, make sure to carefully inspect property and catalog existing flaws. You don't want to get charged for damage that was preexisting.
13. Be aware of termites. Termites can cause major problems with a home. If evaluating one, make sure to know the termite status.
14. Start a babysitting exchange. If you are a parent and are friends with other parents, you can babysit for each other when needed. Not only does this save money, it also can build positive bonds.
15. Rent heavy duty tools. Do you need a power tool for a project but aren't going to really need that tool in general? An idea is to rent or borrow the tool.
16. Good neighbor program offers 50% off distressed property. If you are willing to live in a less than glamorous location, you can save a lot of money. This specific program is open to law enforcement officers, teachers and firefighters/emts.
17. Do routine maintenance. Make sure to take care off the stuff you own and do maintenance routinely, particularly for your car and home. Doing so can extend how long things last and how well they work.
18. Estate sales offer furniture at low prices. An estate sale is typically when a person is moving and needs to get rid of furniture and other items. They can offer low prices.
1. Using your bank card abroad can be expensive. Many banks charge significant fees for each card use outside the country. To minimize fees, withdraw as much in one go as possible.
2. Tipping may not be necessary. In many countries, tipping is not done. Or you are expected to tip a small amount.
3. You may be able to get a VAT refund. VAT is value added tax. In many countries, if you buy something and take it out of the country, you can get a refund on the VAT, possibly at the airport as you leave. GlobalBlue has more details.
4. Keep luggage weight under the limit. When traveling, your luggage may have a weight limit. For every pound (or kilogram) over, you can get charged a significant fee. Some airlines are nice about it; many aren't.
5. Research local law. In some places, jaywalking can result in a fine. Or other infractions, such as with driving, can cause unexpected pain and disrupt your trip.
6. Europeans can use an EHIC. A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can be obtained for free and helps Europeans with unexpected health costs that may arise while traveling in Europe.
7. Hotwire.com - some people like this tool for finding low prices for hotels, car rentals and more
8. A water bottle can lower costs. When traveling, you often want water, but buying it on the street can add up. Bringing a refillable water bottle can help save.
9. Call the hotel directly. You may see a hotel rate online that looks good. But you may be able to get an even better deal by calling the hotel directly and asking.
10. Small hotels and hostels can be cheaper. You can often get a good stay at a lesser known hotel, avoiding the Hilton or Marriott. For the adventurous, hostels can offer even lower prices, though you may be in a crowded dorm.
11. When flying, bring food. Airport food is quite expensive.
12. Be aware of the tourist scams. There are a wide variety of scams that take advantage of tourists, one of the most famous being 3 Card Monte. If a local becomes friendly to you and wants to take you to a specific restaurant, and you go, you may end up with a bill of $500. Be careful.
13. Airbnb lets you rent a place to stay directly from someone else. It means you can pay less than hotel rates.
14.Buy train and bus tickets in advance. In many countries, like Britain, France and Germany, buying a train ticket earlier can result in a good discount.
16. Research when to book flights. The days you fly can significantly impact how much it costs. In general, traveling in the middle of the week can be cheaper than on weekends.
17. Book cruises early or late. Getting a cruise ticket months in advance can get a lower cost and additional benefits. On the other hand, waiting to the last minute can sometimes result in valuable deals.
18. Check the weather before traveling. If it starts raining while you're on the go, you may have to buy an emergency umbrella, which can be an unneeded expense.
19. Maps may be cheaper locally. When you travel, you can sometimes get a lower price by buying a map when you get to your location.
College and education
1. Choose a college thinking about cost. Studies have shown that a student who gets into a top school but goes to a decent, less prestigious school does pretty much as well in life. The difference in cost, however, can be tens of thousands of dollars.
There are also great value schools, like McGill in Canada, which costs $18,000 for international students, not including room and board.
2. Apply for scholarships. Getting an education can be quite expensive. Scholarships are basically free money, and there many of them. There's even a scholarship you are eligible for if you are left-handed.
3. Food and housing can cost a lot. Colleges often charge heavily for room and board. Getting off meal plan and into your own housing can cost less.
4. Be smart when buying textbooks. Books for school are typically quite expensive. Before buying, find out if the class actually uses the book. Sometimes the book isn't necessary. If it is, you can try buying from a previous student. Or you can buy a used copy online.
5. Finish in four years. A significant amount of people switch majors, don't take required courses on schedule, and so on, meaning they take longer to graduate. Making a commitment to finish in four years can save a lot of money.
6. Taking AP classes can help. An AP class can, in some schools, count as a college credit if you do well on the AP exam. You may also be able to get credit for an IB class.
7. Law school can be risky. The average law school student graduates with a lot of debt. And around 40% of recent graduates did not have a full-time job within 9-months that requires a law degree.
8. Six sigma certification can be cheap. It looks good on your resume, but it is surprisingly unregulated. You can get legitimately certified for low cost.
9. For kids, if possible, buy supplies that can age. A spiderman backpack for a young kid may need to be replaced faster than a more age-neutral one.
10. Take advantage of free education. You can take many courses for free online, including some by MIT and other top institutes.
Coursera.org is one large website. MIT extension is also good. In addition, there are websites that offer free lessons in technical topics like programming and databases, which could improve your skillset, such as CodeAcademy and NetTuts.
1. Some museums have a suggested donation, including the Metropolitan museum in New York. But you don't always have to actually pay it.
2. Ben and Jerry ice cream is free once a year, and all you have to do is go to a participating store. But beware of lines!
3. Annual credit report - there is a website which offers a free, annual credit report. Finding it, however, is a bit tricky (we don't want to mistakenly link to the spam versions so didn't include what we think is the right site). Make sure you are using a legitimate service; many will try to make you pay.
4. If you are an artist, you can get grants. There are organizations that may be willing to give you money for doing what you do.
5. Look for free entertainment. In Boston, for instance, you can go to free student performances at the Boston Conservatory. There may be similar, free entertainment in your area.
6. Libraries can have DVDS, comic books and even video games. Many people forget that their library has a lot more than just books to borrow.
7. Your library may also offer free resources. Many libraries offer free classes and other perks like museum discounts or passes. Some libraries offer free access to databases like JSTOR, or let you use language learning software without paying.
8. Take advantage of free software. If you want to do basic photo editing, you can use the free tool GIMP instead of buying photoshop. For basic word documents, Open Office or Google Docs are free.
9. The IRS offers free tax filing services. In particular, if your adjusted income is less than $57,000, they give you access to tax filing software.
10. Your job can have hidden benefits. You may get gym discounts, tickets to events, and other benefits that you may not have noticed yet.
11. Join a community email list. Some communities have an email list for members. If you can get on one, you have a great resource for asking local questions like what doctors are good. You can also get people wanting to give away their old TV.
12. Craigslist has free stuff. Yep, there is a section on Craiglist for items people are giving away. Free stuff is quite nice, but, of course, be careful as it is Craigslist.
Fatwallet.com has coupons, sales and deals.
Freecycle.org is a site for giving and getting free stuff.
Centsless Books lists the most popular kindle books that are free.
The Simple Dollar offers some great money saving advice and financial talk.
Reddit - Frugal is a community of people dedicated to saving money and being frugal.
Consumerist is a high quality blog focusing on consumer issues. It's educational and fun to read.
CamelCamelCamel is a website that lets you see the price movement of an item on Amazon over time. This means you can see if that $200 appliance was being sold for $150 a few weeks ago, and if you should wait for the price to change.
MeetUp and EventBrite are two websites that make socializing easy. They let you find groups and activities like Shakespeare appreciation or a business networking event. MeetUp is mostly free; EventBrite is more likely to charge.
OKCupid is a free dating site that many people like. By comparison, a dating site like Match.com charges $36 a month.
Get free audiobooks. If you want to listen to audio books, you might be tempted to use a paid service. But they can be $15 a month with very limited use. There are websites which provide free audiobooks, such as books should be free.
The Mutopia Project offers a decent amount of free sheet music for classical pieces online.
FreeNeedle has free sewing patterns
Dinkytown.net has a variety of useful financial calculators like for mortgages, investments and retirement.
Find yard sales easily. There are actually websites like Yard Sale Search which make it easy to find yardsales. You can search by location and date.
Discover music. Spotify and Pandora offer free music and also help you discover new music.
Zilok is a great website for finding rentals.
'If you see something in a shop you want to buy, think to yourself "I could probably get it cheaper on the internet". This is great because by the time you get home you'll probably forget about it.'
- TheBeardlessSquirrel shares some wisdom
We hope this article helps you save money. We think it's pretty useful!
That said, some of the information is about taxes, insurances and medical expenses and similar, complex topics. Please make sure to double check what we say and consult with an expert if applicable.