10 Easy Ways to Save

Our members share their simple savings techniques so you can live cheap, yet well.

1. Little things add up
"Remember that EVERY dollar counts. What can you cut out of your budget? Do you buy a cappuccino every day? Let's tally that up: $3.50 a day x 365 = $1,277.50 a year on cappuccino. Can you believe that? This is not to say one cannot enjoy the fruits of their labor, but even cutting this in half or buying a short cap would save you a bundle." --iVillager nocoffee

2. Get to work earlier
"I asked my boss if I could go into work a hour earlier. She agreed, and now I save $75 a week in day care because I am home just about the same time as my children. My spouse goes in later, so he gets the kids out the door in the morning. It is amazing how much money an hour can make." --iVillager Emmy

3. Make your ATM visits work for you
"I am a college student on a campus with one ATM and a schedule that makes it impossible to go to a bank. Needless to say I use that ATM a LOT. I found myself taking out $5 here and $10 there on a regular basis, and I had no money for anything when I actually needed it, so I started transferring $5 into my savings account from my checking account every time I made a withdrawal from the ATM. In the first month alone I saved $50. Plus it earns interest in the savings account. Now when I graduate I will have a small nest egg to help with relocation costs AND the knowledge that I CAN save." --iVillager Charlotte

4. Watch your impulses
When shopping, "Always bring a list. Then everything you pick up that isn't on the list goes in the top section of the shopping cart. You can easily see how much impulse buying you are doing and hopefully learn to control it." --iVillager laire

5. Recycle enthusiasm
"When my four children were growing up, [we had] toy clutter; every few months I would package up toys and put them in the garage, attic, basement, etc., and take out some I'd packaged up before. It was like Christmas every few months, the kids had forgotten about some of the things that had been stored and they were like new toys again. This keeps the toy room from being cluttered, and you don't have to buy as many NEW toys. Talk about recycling -- recycle their enthusiasm for toys!" --iVillager eefrum

6. Low-cost entertainment
To entertain yourself on the cheap, "Go to a library or a park, which are free, or rent a movie instead of going to the theater. Also some areas have free community theaters with amateur plays." --iVillager young but thrifty

7. Don't rent a carpet cleaner -- use salt
If "red fruit juice or wine is spilled on the carpet, immediately cover the area with salt. Let the salt sit on the stain over night. The salt will soak up the juice like a sponge, and pull it off the carpet. (Scrubbing the carpet with water just pushes the stain further in.) In the morning, vacuum up the salt." If there is a hint of stain left, it "should come up with a light cleaning with a spray foam carpet cleaner" which you can find "at Walmart for $.98." Just "check your carpet first to make sure the salt won't harm it's color. For your existing stains you can give this method a try by rewetting the stains with water and then adding the salt. It has to be wet enough for the salt to soak in. " --iVillager tbsmommy

8. Go Buddhist
"Adopt a Buddhist attitude about material things: They are a burden and many cause suffering in the form of desire, greed, and attachment. When I feel like marketing is getting the best of me, I give something away. Arrange for X amount of your paycheck to go directly to an index fund, an IRA or some other savings vehicle. Never let it hit your bank account. You can't spend what's not there. Stop eating meat, and eat at home more often. This is not only good for your pocketbook but good for your health as well. The next time you feel like buying a book, don't. Check it out of your local library instead. You will be supporting your community and saving resources as well as saving money." --iVillager Melanie

9. Envelope it
"I have a special way of saving money. I keep a nest egg in the bank, of course, but when I want cash for special things, I get an envelope and write on it what I am saving for, when it needs to be done by, and how much it costs. I have gotten myself a new car down payment ($2,000), a trip ($3,000), as well as birthday presents for several hundred dollars. I keep these envelopes in my budgeting books and deposit the money into the bank, but know what it is earmarked for. It is pretty easy." --iVillager Karen

10. Quit smoking
"I recently quit smoking. So every time I have the urge to buy a pack (and I don't buy one), I put four dollars in the bottle, the approximate price of cigarettes now. By saving this way, I'm not only saving money, I am investing in a long, HEALTHY life with my fiance." --iVillager Michelle

For more savings ideas, check out our Savers' Circle Message Board

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