How to Save Money in 10 Ways

An enviously money-savvy friend once told me: If you’re in debt or want to know how to save money, the most important thing is to be honest with yourself about your needs. Maybe your monthly budget absolutely must include sheet masks or weed. Maybe you would *literally die* without an afternoon coffee, or perhaps your fancy gym membership includes the best saunas (even if you haven’t touched a treadmill). These are the rules: Evaluate your priorities, consider what you can compromise, and stick to a few non-negotiables. When you have those things down, you’ll be better equipped to carve out a small sum of money for yourself, week by week, without feeling deprived. Discover 35 small and easy ways to save money below.

1.Get a city card.
Plenty of cities offer residents benefits. In New York, an IDNYC card will give you access to more than 35 New York City museums and cultural institutions, including free access with a plus-one to the swanky bar that sits atop the Met.

2. Get a library card.
Books! Remember them? You can rent them for free at an institution called the library — and this includes e-books and Kindle reads.

3. Never, ever shop for food when you’re hungry.
This will wreck you: You’ll likely buy more than you’d planned, and ultimately end up tossing what you didn’t eat. Also consider sticking to the perimeter of the grocery store, where the staple foods tend to be placed, so you’re not lured in by a beautiful package of artisanal donuts.

4. Stop buying bottled water.
Every time you’re about to buy a bottle of water, remember that your purchase is a wild 2,000 times more expensive than tap water. Invest in a water filter or reusable bottle instead.

5. Start a lunch club at work.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could make lunch just once a week, and still have something to eat on the other days? Oh, the money you’d save. Convince a few co-workers to start a lunch club in which a different person will bring a big batch of something for the group each day. You’ll have to be organized about this, agree on certain dietary guidelines, and stay committed, but it can work.

6. Make a big pot of quinoa on Sunday.
Or rice, or farro, or some other kind of fiber-filled grain that can serve as the foundation of many different meals. It’s versatile enough to keep you from setting fire to your bagged lunch by Wednesday. For some inspiration: This one-pot Mexican quinoa recipe calls for just a few other ingredients, and it will last the whole week.

7. Freeze your bread.
Freezing your bread will keep you from throwing out half-consumed loaves that get moldy on the counter. When you’re hungry, take a slice out of the freezer and put it straight in the toaster.

8. Ditch pre-washed, pre-cut, prepared foods.
Bagged salads and sliced produce almost always cost more per serving. Also, prepared fruits and veggies are more likely to be contaminated with things like E. coli.

9. Don’t take sell-by dates too seriously.
Sell-by dates are more like suggestions from food manufacturers than law. If the food is moldy and discolored, you should probably toss it. Otherwise, if it passes the smell test, it’s probably okay to eat.

10. Go vegetarian.
If it’s a lifestyle you’ve been toying with, here’s an extra reason to take the plunge: Vegetarians save at least $750 more a year compared to their meat-eating counterparts, according to one study.

Author: Donna Woods

  • 6+ years of experience in financial analysis
  • 5+ years of experience as a writer, published author, editor, and screenwriter