HTD Central

How To Save Money - 49+ simple Tips and Tricks

Do you want to save money and do not know where to start? We have a lot of great tips that can help you to save big bucks.

How To Save Money - 49+ simple Tips and Tricks

from Kirstin Hartman
I love to learn how to do things and write about it. This is, why I am so proud to be part of HTD Central!

Bank, Investing & Tax savings tips

Have you ever considered a Roth IRA for your retirement? Or how about a cash savings plan? Maybe a 529 college savings plan? These are the kinds of financial vehicles that could be personalized to help accomplish your important financial goals.

  1. Save money by making a savings plan

    Do you have savings? Most adults do not, and this may be the cause of their financial struggles. Spending money before you have it and not having money for emergencies can put you in a difficult position. While savings plans are always better than debt, saving in general isn’t something that most people do. Saving money requires discipline, but starting early—before you need the money—is a great way to reach your financial goals.

  2. Save money by using automated stock and etf saving plans

    If you're worried about investing too much, or you don't want to constantly change your portfolio, an automated stock and etf saving plan is the answer. This investing strategy allows you to set up an investing plan, and tell it which stocks and etfs you want to invest in. After that, it will automatically buy and sell those stocks and etfs for you.

    "The best part about this strategy is that once you've created your plan, you don't need to ever touch it. Just sit back and watch your money grow," says Jason Hartman. "I have an automated stock and etf saving plan, and it's been great. Instead of spending hours and hours every week trying to research which stocks to buy and which to sell, I just sit back and watch my automated stock and etf saving plan do all the work."

  3. Lower your student loan payments

    There's nothing like a student loan to make you feel like your owner is your financial jailer. With student loan interest rates as high as 8.44%, it's no wonder that student loan borrowers feel overwhelmed.

    A student loan is often the hardest type of debt to pay off, simply because it's costing you so much every month. But with a bit of research and planning, it is possible to pay off a student loan—and maybe even save a little bit of money in the process. Keep reading to learn how to lower your student loan payments and start saving.

  4. Save money with an emergency trust

    A major financial goal for many people is to save enough money so if something were to happen, they would be financially comfortable. One way to accomplish that is to put money away in savings, but there's another option that can benefit you even more. An irrevocable trust, also known as a testamentary trust, is a legally-binding document that takes effect when the person dies. By making a testamentary trust, you can designate someone else to manage your money. Additionally, you can set up the trust so your money can be used to pay for medical expenses, funeral expenses, or taxes. Since a testamentary trust is irrevocable, it cannot be amended or revoked.

  5. Save money through establishing your budget

    How do you cut your spending? By cutting back on expenses, of course. But how can you make cuts without hurting your lifestyle? We all have things that we want or must-have, and cutting those out can be painful. So how can you save without giving up the things that matter to you? Well, first you have to create a budget.

    Figuring out how much you earn and spending is the easy part of budgeting. The hard part is sticking to your budget. A successful budget is the easiest path to savings. Just by monitoring what you spend your money on, you can start to tame your spending habits. The easiest way to start saving is to set up automatic transfers from your checking account to a savings account on a regular basis. This is the easiest and smartest way to save money.

  6. Save money by taking full advantage of employer matches to your retirement plan

    Retirement can seem a long way away, but it's never too early to start planning. When it comes to saving for retirement, your contributions are powerful, but your money only grows if your employer will match your contributions. There are many things you should know when it comes to saving for retirement, and the most important one is simply this: take advantage of your employer's retirement plans.

    For many of us, retirement is many years off in the future. Yet, at 4%, our typical 401(k) contribution rate isn't all that impressive. If we're lucky, our employer will match 3% to 6% of our contribution, but that's it. We can add more to our 401(k) contributions, but that still doesn't help us close that gap. If we really want to retire comfortably, we need to save more. Luckily, there are a couple of ways to do so. One of the easiest is to take advantage of your employer's match.

  7. Save money by saving your windfalls and tax refunds

    It's already April, and you might be starting to think about your tax refund. It's been a long winter, and you've probably been dreaming about getting everything ready to enjoy that spring break trip. When you start planning for your vacation, don't forget to think about your tax refund. Sometimes, buying that nicer car or getting that new, smaller house can seem out of reach, but using that money can be a great way to give yourself a little financial freedom. Instead of spending all that cash, consider putting some of it towards financial goals, such as building an emergency fund, investing for retirement, or paying off debt.

  8. Track spending

    Spending money is easy. Keeping track of where it's going is the hard part. That's why it's essential to create a budget that works for you. Instead of relying on a sticky note on the fridge, use these tools to track spending and stick to your budget.

    To save money and keep track of spending, use for example. Mint is a free budgeting app that helps you manage your finances. The app automatically categorizes purchases so you can easily see what you're spending. Mint also lets you set up alerts to track your spending and budgets, giving you mobile notifications when you're breaking your budget.

  9. Save money by collecting all your change coins

    Most of us know we should save money, but somewhere along the way, we forgot. If you're anything like me, you routinely forget about your piggy bank and about putting your coins in jars. However, there are simple ways to save money, such as running a few errands at once and picking up some extra change when you're out. So, the next time you're about to spend $10 on lunch, why not throw in a few extra coins?

  10. Save money by balancing your credit card fast

    They say time is money, and while that may be trite, it holds true when it comes to credit cards. Interest rates and late fees can put a serious dent in any budget. Credit cards are very convenient, but they can also create financial issues. Use this tip to avoid overspending and getting into debt.

  11. Your credit card bills are too high? Start smaller!

    Your credit score is less than stellar? You are a struggling student with not much in savings. You are unemployed, just bouncing from temp job to temp job. You may have a dead-end job or are just facing a difficult economy and struggling to pay bills. These are things facing millions of Americans. You can feel the stress and frustration just reading this list, right? Make smaller steps to reach your goal. Start with smaller amounts, say $1.000 to lower your credit loans step by step.

  12. Participate in a local Investment Development Account program (IDA)

    Many communities across the country have local investment development account (IDA) programs. These programs allow investors to make small investments in small businesses, which often begin with a microloan. The microloan is put back into the community, creating jobs and increasing the tax base.

    Participating in a local Investment Development Account program is a great way to help local economic development and create jobs. An IDA is a government program that allows businesses to earn tax credits for job-creating investments. These credits are matched dollar-for-dollar by private investments, so more dollars can be invested in local businesses and more jobs created.

  13. Save money by using only the ATMs of your bank

    Make sure the ATM you use is from your bank or credit union. ATM machines are the gateways to your bank, so it's wise to use them only from your bank or credit union. You should be able to tell by looking. ATMs from your bank or credit union have a logo on them or are listed on your online banking home page.

  14. Check your credit report once per year

    It's impossible to overstate the importance of checking your credit report. Your credit score is a major determining factor in your ability to buy a car, rent an apartment, or even get a job. Checking your credit report once a year, for free, gives you the peace of mind that all your information is correct and helps you make sure your score is in the green.

  15. Auto-Pay your bills to save dunning fees

    Paying your bills on time is something everyone should do, but at times, life gets in the way and we end up running late on paying them. With a few exceptions, most bills can be paid automatically. This means the bill is electronically drafted from your bank account, which means you don't even have to worry about remembering to send them a check.

Shopping savings tips

As a consumer, there are many things to think about when you're out shopping. Are you going to pay full price or wait patiently for the sales? Are you going to take public transportation or drive? And where are you going to store your new purchases?

  1. Install coupon apps and browser extentions for saving money

    Most people are looking for ways to save money these days, but buying paper coupons is time-consuming and often inefficient. Enter the coupon mobile apps and browser extentions. These wallet-friendly apps let you see which stores have coupons, which are expiring soon, and which products they are valid for. They also allow you to scan an item's barcode to automatically add it to the shopping list, and to find coupons for items that you've already bought.

    Installing the plugins and browser extensions listed below for shopping savings will help you save big on items you shop for online.

  2. Save money by avoiding immediate purchases

    The holiday shopping season is in full swing. You probably've already got a bunch of presents to buy, and you just don't know it yet. But before you splurge on a bunch of expensive gifts that you'll never use, wait 24 hours before you make bigger purchases. Waiting gives you a chance to cool off and really think about whether or not you're buying something you really need. And if you're contemplating a big change like moving, or changing careers, you may want to wait a full 72 hours before you announce it.

  3. Save money by unsubscribing useless memberships

    Subscriptions are everywhere! Between cable television, magazines, newspapers, internet, phone service, gym memberships and more, it seems as though we pay for subscriptions to just about everything. But, unlike purchases that last a finite amount of time (like clothing and food), subscriptions are there for you as long as you want them. And in the end, you may end up paying more than you bargained for.

    If you're like me, you've got subscriptions to 20 different magazine apps that you never use anymore. You know, the ones where you subscribed for $10, got a few months of free content, and then it kicked you up to $20/month, so you unsubscribed and never looked back. Right? WRONG. The magazines don't end your subscription, so they'll keep charging you until you call and cancel. And it's so easy to accidentally subscribe again. So, stop that today. Use the unsubscribe button on your magazine apps, and save yourself some cash.

  4. Do not buy books, borrow them in the library!

    In the information age, technology reigns supreme. In classrooms, libraries, and homes, you can find information at the push of a few buttons. Unfortunately, this convenience can come at the expense of saving the environment. One common culprit is books. We buy them, we read them, and then we throw them away. But, did you know you can borrow books for free from your local library? In fact, you should.

  5. Read books about money

    Struggling with finances? You're not alone. In fact, credit card debt in the U.S. now exceeds $1 trillion. And many Americans are living pay check to pay check, leaving little room for savings or retirement. So, what should you look for in personal finance books? The best books aren't just informative; they can help you take action right away.

    Most people have a general understanding of money management, but many continue to struggle in attempts to manage their money. That's why we recommend reading some books about managing money. Books can help you understand how to develop a workable budget, until you are comfortable living by that budget. Other books explain how to save, invest, and avoid common money mistakes.

  6. Limit your spendings for family christmas and birthday gifts

    With the holidays just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about Christmas gifts for the family. If you're anything like me, you have a hard time shopping for presents for family members. It's hard enough trying to find something they actually want, but trying to stay within a budget can be even harder.

    That's why I decided to put together a list of 10 gift ideas that can be used over and over again, but won't break the bank. And the best part? Most of these gifts cost less than $20, so you don't have to worry about going white-elephant on anyone.

  7. Make your own gifts

    There is nothing wrong with using the convenience of a store—and helping someone celebrate his or her special day—as a reason to shop for a gift. However, what if instead of purchasing a gift, you instead made it yourself? This will not only help you save money, but will also be more meaningful and memorable than an expensive (and impersonal) store-bought gift.

    From baked goods to jars of homemade jam, there are so many easy holiday gift ideas that you can easily make yourself to give to your friends and family.

  8. Go to neighborhood swap meetups

    Swapping is the new recycling. One good reason people opt to swap instead of recycle is the quality. Instead of receiving used items with flaws or that have been in someone else's unsterilized home, swapping offers a fresh, clean, and new items. Swapping is also a good way to get rid of items that you don't use anymore but are too good to throw away.

Food savings tips

If you learn the right tips and tricks, you can save money without any major sacrifices. But it is key to keep the items you buy in your cart in line with the items you serve at your table—otherwise, you'll find you're constantly going to the grocery store.

  1. Save money by Brown bag your lunch

    According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans spend almost $90 billion each year on eating out. The survey found that the average American spends $5.50 per day eating out, so if you live in California, where the average meal costs $11, you're spending almost $1,800 on eating out a year. So, what can you do to cut down on this cost?

    It's easier than ever to get healthy, organic foods, but if you're still buying your lunch every day, you could be spending way more than you need to. By packing your own lunch, you can reduce your overall food costs by hundreds of dollars a year. Plus, you'll know exactly what's in your food, and that's always a good thing.

  2. Eat out one fewer time each month to save money

    According to the National Restaurant Association, Americans spend over $300 billion annually on food outside the home. Eating out has become an everyday occurrence for many people, and one meal out each week can easily translate to $10 spent each week. That can add up quickly, so eating one meal out less each week can cut your spending.

  3. Stick to your list while grocery shopping

    When it comes to grocery shopping, meal plans can help you stay organized and stick to your budget. Food at home is far more affordable, and it also means you won't have to make time to go out to eat—which is expensive. Planning your meals in advance and sticking to a list while grocery shopping will make it easier and more cost effective to get maximum nutrition from all the foods in your fridge and cupboards.

    To prevent impulse purchases and overeating, wait until you are hungry before you start shopping. Otherwise, you are more likely to make purchases based on taste rather than need.

  4. Save money by cooking double sized meals and freezing them

    There are definitely benefits to cooking double sized meals and storing them in the freezer. Not only does it save you from cooking multiple meals, it also saves you money. If time is an issue, of course this only makes sense. Cooking double meals means you're only cooking once, which saves time. Second, since you're cooking twice, it's easy to freeze the second portion, which will save you time later on.

  5. Save money by buying less grocery at a time

    Retail giant Costco is known for offering many products that are below their retail price, including grocery items. Costco allows members to bulk up on their grocery by buying in bulk, which allows shoppers to get healthier and cheaper food at the same time. But is buying in bulk really worth it?

    According to personal finance blogger Elizabeth Saunders, it's all about planning and preparation. Saunders explains, "By planning ahead, you'll know exactly what you're going to eat, the quantity, and when you plan to eat the meal. Then you can save money by only buying the ingredients you need and preparing more meals ahead of time." Saunders adds, "I try to plan my meals by the evening before. This allows me to shop for nonperishable items—such as milk, bread, and fruit—at the store instead of stopping on the way home."

  6. Don't drink expensive drinks in the restaurant

    It's 5 o'clock somewhere, right? So, why not celebrate with a glass of wine, a cocktail, or a fancy beer? After all, most restaurants will offer a happy hour where the price of drinks is halved, right? Wrong. There are really only two times when it's acceptable to most definitely drink expensive drinks at a restaurant: 1) when you're a VIP (or are close enough to one), and 2) if you're dining at a place where a wine cork costs $45. Otherwise, it's best to stick to inexpensive drinks.

    Alcohol is pricey, and restaurants will often point to this price as a reason to charge a lot more for drinks.

Telecommunication and Media savings tips

Imagine wanting to save money but not being able to find anywhere where that is possible. Well, with telecommunication services, you can find a wide variety of options that let you save.

  1. Bundle mobile, cable and internet to save money

    Save time and money on your monthly expenses by bundling your home services. Cable, mobile and internet bundles are incredibly cost efficient and can give you the bundle of services you want all in one place. It's as easy as plugging your cable, phone and internet into one carrier and dropping all of your bills into one place.

  2. Switch your cell phone plan to save money

    Are you stuck with a plan that's too expensive? Switching cell phone carriers can save you money.

    Switching cell phone plans doesn't have to mean losing out on perks you counted on, like free nights and weekends and a free phone. Instead, switch to a less expensive plan that offers the same great perks with better value. Switching to a plan that's better for your budget and your lifestyle doesn't have to mean losing out on quality, and that's something everyone should be able to count on.

Health savings tips

Saving money on health care has never been easier. There are several ways to save on the cost of health care and prescriptions.

  1. Preventive healthcare is often cheaper than getting ill

    This year, Americans are spending $1.4 trillion on healthcare. That's about $6,000 per person. And a big bunch of that is spent on preventable diseases and conditions. So, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, why is preventative healthcare often cheaper than getting ill.

    Visit your annual gynecologist, dentist, and doctor. They may be able to suggest ways to prevent diseases or give you tips for eating healthier. Your doctor can also tell you when things aren't right and help guide you towards a healthy lifestyle.

  2. Do not buy high price brand pharmaceutical

    Did you know generic drugs can cost up to 70% less than their brand-name counterparts? It's true. And that's because insurance companies, pharmacies, and drug manufacturers are contractually obligated to use generic versions of most drugs when available. In fact, most generic drugs are identical in composition, dosage, safety, strength, quality, and intended use to the brand-name drugs they replace.

  3. Compare prices online to save money

    Saving money is so much easier online than spending it. With so many websites dedicated to getting before you buy it, it's no wonder people are turning to the internet to find the best deals. But there are also many ways to find good deals online without spending the time searching for coupon codes. All you need is the know-how. Here's how to do it.

  4. Use coupon codes to save money

    It can be tough to save money on items you buy on a regular basis. Grocery stores often have deals on certain products, but unless you plan ahead, you probably won't find them. That's where coupon codes can help. If you subscribe to newsletters for your favorite stores, you'll receive coupon codes for discounts on items you buy regularly. You can start saving money on your weekly groceries, plus clothes, electronics, and more.

    So, before you go out and buy something, go to your favorite search engine and search for coupon codes for that item. It may take some searching, but there's a pretty good chance you'll find one.

Home owner savings tips

The choices you make in your home can make a big impact on your savings and your ability to retire comfortably. When it comes to saving money on your house, getting the most out of your mortgage, and being smart about real estate, there are really no secrets. Applying some common sense and research and thinking ahead can help you get the most from your money.

  1. Save money by comparing your homeowner insurance

    Home insurance is one of those things that you can't go without—at least not if you want to protect your home. But with so many companies offering home insurance policies, it can be hard to know which one will give you the best coverage for your money. Comparison shopping for homeowners insurance can help. There are a variety of factors that go into determining your premium, including your age, where you live, your credit score, whether you are a first-time or repeat buyer, whether you smoke, and more.

  2. Save money by refinancing your mortgage

    If you currently have a mortgage, you may be eligible for refinancing. Refinancing a home loan involves taking out a new mortgage that may be at a lower interest rate; it also means paying off the existing mortgage. Refinancing is a great option for borrowers who currently have high mortgage rates and want to take advantage of the lower rates if they stay in their home for more than five years. Refinancing also makes sense for buyers interested in a short-term loan that reduces their monthly mortgage payment.

    With mortgage rates near record lows, it's never been a better time to take advantage of the current opportunity. Refinancing your mortgage can be an excellent financial decision—and one that could help save you money. To help you get started, we've put together a step-by-step guide to the whole process. See how refinancing your mortgage could save you money and take control of your finances.

  3. Buy photovoltaic panels to reduce your energy bill on the long run

    Installing solar panels on your roof top or any roof on your property is a great way to reduce the cost of your electric bill. These panels serve a dual purpose, using solar energy technology to produce electricity during the day, and using stored energy at night when energy is cheapest. A bonus benefit is that your panels may also be eligible for federal and state tax credits, making solar power even more worthwhile.

    Although photovoltaic panels aren't as efficient as other types of home energy, they can be a good investment, especially if you live in a location where it's relatively sunny year-round.

Home savings tips

Here are some tips for saving money at home:

  1. Lower your home energy use

    Energy saving is on everyone's to-do list, but unfortunately, many of us only think about reducing our energy use when the bills come at the end of the month. But by starting now, you can start saving energy and money—and you'll also put less strain on the environment.

    To begin with, the obvious one: switch off lights and appliances you are not using. This tip alone can save a surprising amount on your electricity bill. You can also do small things like unplugging your phone charger or laptop charger when they are not in use. While you're at it, go into each room of your home and switch off all appliances, lights, and electronics.

    LED lights are quickly becoming the go-to choice for homeowners looking for lighting that is not only energy-efficient, but also long-lasting. Led lights give off the crisp light you need, but without the artificial blue cast that incandescent bulbs and fluorescent bulbs emit.

  2. Save money by using air conditioner less often

    A central AC system can be a significant investment. So, how can you save money while keeping your home cool and comfortable? The good news is that usage doesn't have to be cut completely! Changing your behavior so that the unit runs only when necessary will save you big, along with more money spent over time on expensive repair bills.

    When it starts to become too hot, most people naturally reach for blinds or curtains to keep the house cooler. However, when it comes to summertime, keeping your blinds or curtains closed during the day and opening the shades or curtains from the night can actually help you keep the room temperature down.

  3. Use less water to save money

    As you can likely imagine, the average household uses a lot of water—and that adds up fast. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a family of four uses an average of 150 gallons of water per day. That can amount to around $1,500 per year! But, did you know that you can save money on water by only using what you need?

    When you use the bathroom to flush the toilet, shower, do laundry, wash dishes, and more, it is likely that you are using more water than you really need. But you don't have to stop doing any of those things in order to save money. There are simple things you can do to cut down on how much water you use throughout the day.

  4. Re-think your laundry

    Laundry detergent is expensive, but cutting its use in half will help you save money. When washing clothes, use lukewarm water instead of hot. Hot water can shrink clothing and cause fabric to fade. Use cold water when washing towels and sheets. Hot water can shrink towels and sheets and make them lose their fluffy feel. Also, dry clothes in the sun instead of using a dryer. The sun may cost electricity, but it saves money on electricity.

    Also you should use less laundry detergents: Most oft them are highly concentrated and you do not need so much oft it, as you are used to take.

  5. Lower the temperature on your water heater

    Turning down the temperature on your water heater can save on energy costs, but can also be dangerous. Before you lower the temperature on your water heater, learn the risks, and consider other options first. As a rule of thumb, most experts suggest you set your water heater to not less than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mobility savings tips

Purchasing a new car is a notoriously expensive endeavor. However, if you do your research, you can save yourself a lot of money. Car savings tips can be broken down into several different categories.

  1. Save money by comapring auto insurance once per year

    Comparing auto insurance quotes is a great way to start saving money on your auto insurance policy. By shopping for auto insurance online, you'll be able to compare rates from top providers. You'll get the most accurate rates for the type of coverage you need, as well as discounts and incentives only available online.

    Setting aside time to compare auto insurance once a year saves you money. Your premium is calculated based on a host of factors including how likely you are to file a claim and where you live. There are plenty of ways to get lower rates, but the most important thing to remember is to shop around. If you stick with the same company, you're likely not saving enough.

  2. Compare prices with a gas app

    Gas prices are steadily on the rise. Where many of us once paid $2.50 per gallon for gasoline, we downshifted long ago to $3.00, and in some places we settle for $3.50 or even $4.00. Gas prices, plus the costs of other driving expenses like maintenance and insurance, can add up quickly. But you don't have to break the bank to fill up your tank. There are smartphone apps that provide free and discounted gas in your area. GasBuddy, for instance, allows users to search their city for free gas. Users also rate the gas station's price, cleanliness, and more, so other users can make informed fuel decisions.

  3. Use gas cards and shopping clubs

    Gas cards are an everyday expense for many people, and gas stations are typically the first stop on your regular errands. Instead of paying full price at the pump, consider joining a gas card program. (These cards are great options for seniors, too.) These programs give you discounts at select gas stations, up to 15 percent off certain days or up to 30 percent off during certain holidays. In addition, some gas cards let you earn points toward free gas. (Some will even let you redeem your points for gift cards to your favorite stores.) To find the best gas card for your needs, you'll want to pay attention to how the program works, since there are definitely some downfalls (like cards that require a high minimum purchase).

  4. Perform easy car maintenance by yourself

    While many people want car repairs to be handled by a professional, there are plenty of easy things you can do yourself. If you know what you're doing, you can perform maintenance on your car. And most repairs are quite simple. For example, changing a windshield wiper is incredibly easy—you just need a flat-head screwdriver.

    Tire pressure monitoring is an ongoing safety feature that helps in saving fuel and money. Most modern cars have these systems fitted as standard. However, the use of TPMS is voluntary on cars made before 2001, yet all cars from 2001 onwards must be fitted with TPMS if the car has an electric brake system.

  5. Buy tires and car parts online

    Many consumers today prefer to purchase their tires and car parts online instead of at a local store. Why? It could be that consumers just don't have the time (or the patience) to physically go into a local store in order to get their tires and car parts. If you are one of them, you may appreciate the convenience of online shopping. With online shopping, you don't have to leave your house at all. Not to mention you don't have to pay too much for your car parts.

  6. Fly cheaper by using comparison sites

    If you hate paying for airfare, check out multiple sites to find a cheap flight. Airline websites often have the best deals, but check sites like Expedia and Priceline as well as websites like Hotwire and Kayak, to see if you can get a better deal. You can often save hundreds of dollars on airfare by booking a week or two ahead, so plan ahead.

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