Home Money Massive Money Saving Checklist

Massive Money Saving Checklist

by Diane

The Massive Money Saving Checklist! 

How would you like to save thousands of dollars over the course of a year… Without feeling like you’re living a life of constant denial?

You would? Well, read on!

This list includes 200 money saving hints and tips you can use to save thousands of dollars over the course of a year. You might not be able to (or want to) implement them all or all at once but, there’s bound to be at least a few money saving tips that are perfect for your situation.

If money is tight at the moment you might want to stretch your frugal muscles by implementing a lot of these tips.

Some of these tips are one-off changes and others are changes you can use consistently to help you on your journey toward a more frugal lifestyle. Test a tip out by setting up your own 30 day challenge.

money saving tips free printable checklist pinterest image

200 Money Saving Tips

This is an epic list, so for your convenience, you can browse by section – just click on a heading below – or you can download a copy of the Massive Money Saving Checklist here.

Groceries

1Pack lunches and snacks for work.
2Start using a basic menu plan.
3Freezer batch cooking.
4Buy bulk fruit and vegetables (that are in season) for preserving at home.
5Build a pantry stockpile.
6Buy a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water.
7Use coupons when it makes sense.
8Switch to generic brands.
9Time your grocery shopping to align with mark downs or before closing discounts.
10Reduce meat consumption: introduce meatless Mondays.
11Bake your own bread.
12Stretch minced (ground) beef with red lentils or oatmeal
13Try supplementing your groceries by growing your own veggies or herbs.
14Prepared pastry is expensive try making your own pastry. A bit of practice definitely makes for the perfect pie crust.
15If you have the freezer capacity, consider buy a side of beef.
16Experiment with freezer cooking. Breakfasts, lunches and/or dinners. Anything that stops you ordering in or driving through saves money.
17Make your own snacks: cookies, cupcakes, etc. It’s cheaper and better for you and your family.
18Buy a good quality water bottle for each family member, keep it full and always take it with you. Buying bottled water is expensive in dollars and resources.
19Research your nearest food stores for the best prices. Create a price book.
20Watch store flyers for exceptional specials and stock up.
21Remove unnecessary (and unhealthy) items from your grocery bill. Eg: Soda
22Keep eating out for special occasions. Or, flex your culinary muscles and host a dinner party instead.
23Buy in bulk when it makes sense to do so. Only buy ingredients you know you’ll use and only buy as much as you can safely store. HINT: Freeze flour for at least 24 hours before adding to your stockpile to ensure nothing nasty appears in it.
24If you’re eating out, skip the drink menu and order water.
25Time running errands for when you’re less likely to get an attack of the munchies. Or, if you can’t, make sure you take snacks, sandwiches or fruit (and your water bottle) with you.
26Check for impulse purchases before heading to the check out. You’ll probably discover there are at least two or three items in your trolley you don’t really need. Put them back on the shelf.
27Get takeout from your pantry. Keep some simple pantry ‘heat and eat’ meals on hand for emergencies. The key word here is ‘emergencies’. Use these meals instead of ordering takeout not in your usual daily menu.
28Always. Always. Always go grocery shopping with a list. Only deviate from your list when you can substitute an item on it for an ‘on the spot’ bargain.
29Keep a supply of frozen vegetables on hand. Buy them when they’re on special. Fresh might be best but sometimes frozen means less waste and that means better value for money.
30Explore the unbeatable combination of cheap cuts of meat and slow cooking. You’ll be amazed.
31Popcorn makes a great snack that’s super cheap if you make it at home. But, don’t buy the little sachets of microwavable popcorn, buy the bags of loose kernels and use either brown paper bags or a pot on the stove. You could even invest in an air popper popcorn machine and still save heaps compared to the sachets.
32Save on fresh fruit and vegetables by always buying in season.
33Beans can add a heap of extra protein and fibre to your diet but make sure you buy dried beans and then prepare them properly. You can prep dried beans in bulk and then freeze in portion sizes for later use.
34Prepared items like chopped vegetables and grated cheese are convenient but you’re paying for someone else’s labour. Use your own instead and save money.
35Make your own coffee flavourings at home. There a lots of recipes available on Pinterest.
36Normally grab a drive through coffee on the way to work? Invest in a travel cup and brew your own at home to take with you.
37Reduce your meat consumption by adding ‘meatless Monday’ to your meal planning.
38Instead of meeting friends at a restaurant, host a pot luck dinner at home.
39If your food budget is very tight, add an extra (cheap) filler to your meal: homemade garlic bread, homemade dinner rolls, potatoes, rice, pasta.
40A couple of times a week, serve a simple homemade dessert to round out a smaller main meal.
41Use smaller portions. Most of us eat more than we need so start serving smaller portions. Reducing meat servings by 20% will save you money and stretch each meal a little further, potentially providing an additional serving that can be frozen or taken to work for lunch.
42If eating out is an important part of your social life, check sites like Groupon for deals to cut the cost.
43Have regular pot luck dinners at home to use up leftovers or items about to hit their use-by date.
44Make your own ricotta cheese. Little House Living Recipe.
45Save leftovers for lunches.
46Keep a couple of emergency pantry meals in your desk at work. If for some reason you didn’t have a chance to brown bag your lunch, you’ve got a meal available and won’t have to resort to expensive takeout for lunch.

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Insurance / Banking

47Refinance your mortgage to a lower interest rate
48Shop around for insurances
49Once your emergency fund reaches at least $1000, increase the ‘excess’ amounts for each of your insurance policies. This will reduce the cost of your policy considerably.
50Never auto-renew your insurances. Take the time to see if you can get a better deal elsewhere or a better price with the same company.
51How long have you been with your bank? Does it still serve your needs? Make time to check out other banks to see if they have lower fees and/or higher interest rates.
52If you drive an older vehicle, consider reducing your insurance from replacement to fire and theft (or their equivalents in your area). Paying extra for full replacement on a car worth a couple of thousand dollars is a waste. Instead, put that extra money into your own ‘replacement fund’.
53Health insurance is expensive… do your research before committing to a fund.
54Save money on life and income insurance by quitting smoking and making sure you’re within your healthy weight range.
55If your credit card has a rewards program make the most of it by cashing your rewards in for something you’ll use, like a prepaid visa card. Use it yourself or save it as a gift for someone else.
56Avoid ATM fees by using your bank’s own ATM.
57Your credit report impacts everything… check it regularly to make sure there are no errors.
58If your credit rating has increased over the last 12 months, call your creditors and ask for a reduction in the interest rate you’re being charged.

Transport

59Sell your newer car and purchase a cheaper, older (reliable) vehicle.
60Consider becoming a one car family.
61Buy regular fuel not premium. Unless you drive a high performance vehicle, there’s no benefit for the additional cost.
62 Perform simple car maintenance yourself (check out YouTube).
63Consider using public transport for your daily commute. Do some research into how much it will cost verses how much you currently spend on fuel plus general wear and tear on your car.
64Do you have a work colleague living nearby? Can you car pool to work?
65Always keep a lookout for cheap fuel. Pull in and fill up when you see a really good discount. Fuel prices can fluctuate wildly for no good reason!
66When buying a car, pay attention to fuel efficiency and maintenance costs.
67Batch your errands together so you can limit the number of car trips you need to make each week. Save time and money.
68Getting better fuel economy by making sure your car’s tyres are inflated to the correct pressure. Check them often.
69Fuel economy is also impacted by aerodynamics so make sure roof racks are only attached when you need them not all the time.
70Swap the car for a bicycle. It’s not always practical to do this but worth it if you can.

Entertainment

71Borrow books & DVD’s from the library.
72Borrow music from the library.
73Cancel expensive TV services and look at cheaper options like Netflix.
74Magazines are expensive (and create clutter) so if you’re a big fan of magazines, start weaning yourself off them by borrowing them from the library. You still get to enjoy reading your favourite magazine without the expense or the clutter.
75Look for free family entertainment in your local area.
76If you love going to the movies, explore ways of getting your ticket cheaper. Can you buy in bulk at a discount? Do you have access to special tickets via work or school? Does your favourite cinema have a loyalty program?
77Break the habit of buying snacks at the cinema; either go without or take (smuggle) your own.
78Have a family movie night at home – complete with homemade popcorn. There are a bazzillion different ways to flavour popcorn and it’s cheap to make.
79Share the cost (and the value) of Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime with a family member or friend. These services allow you have multiple devices on your account.
80Check out Pinterest for cheap ‘Date Night’ ideas.

Personal Care

81Use coconut oil as a cheap organic moisturiser.
82Reduce your cosmetics to the basics.
83Rethink your hairdressing needs. Try cutting your family’s hair yourself. Extend the time between your visits to the hairdresser.
84Look for cheaper fitness options.
85Be your own hairdresser and learn to colour your own hair at home. Save being pampered at the salon for a special treat.
86Go for a low maintenance hairstyle that doesn’t need to be trimmed as frequently or require a lot of product to look good.
87Shampoo is essentially detergent. There’s little to no benefit in buying an expensive shampoo unless you’re buying one without the unpronounceable chemicals. Save your money and buy a basic ‘no name’ shampoo.
88If you use cosmetics, start experimenting with cheaper brands. There’s no need to spend $50 on an eyeliner pencil when a $5 one works just as well.
89Looking for a cheap colour and cut? Check out the local vocational training centres in your area. The hairdressing schools, beauty schools, etc. are always looking for clients for their apprentices and usually only charge nominal amounts for their services.
90Make your own shaving products (shaving cream & aftershave) at home. Check out Pinterest for some great DIY products.
91Use a shower poof with your body wash. You’ll use less.

Health / Pharmacy

92Look at swapping to generic pharmaceuticals – ask your doctor.
93Ditch paid diet plans for free options online. You can use sites like LoseIt.com to track your meals and your progress.
94If you wear spectacles or contact lenses, research cheaper options than your optometrist; like purchasing online.

General Household Costs

95Set your thermostat a little higher in summer and a little lower in winter.
96Reduce your water usage: shorter showers, turn off the water while brushing your teeth, mulch your garden.
97Turn off appliances when not in use – including standby mode.
98Check for a better deal for your mobile phone.
99Make sure your house is weather sealed.
100Swap paper towels for cloth tea towels and cleaning rags.
101Call all your utility providers to see if there’s a way to lower your bill.
102Reduce energy usage. Switch to low energy light globes.
103Reduce water usage. Fill a large bottle with water and place it in the toilet cistern. This reduces the amount of water available for each flush.
104Install a low flow shower head to reduce your water bill.
105Insulate your water heater so it retains the heat you’re paying to create.
106Lower the temperature on your water heater’s thermostat. (110f / 45c)
107Be your own handyman. Check out YouTube for tutorials on basic home maintenance. Remember to call a professional for plumbing and electrical work.
108Start weaning yourself off fabric softener. Better still, go cold turkey. It’s an unnecessary addition of chemicals to your life.
109Reuse any plastic grocery bags that find their way into your house as liners for smaller bins.
110Research all available utility suppliers for their best supply and usage rates and then see if your current supplier will match it. If not, change over to the supplier with the best deal.
111Let clothes air dry as often as you can.
112Phone charger and laptop cables can be very expensive. Protecting them isn’t so invest in a product like the animal cable bites (shown below) to minimise the wear and tear on your cables.
113Invest in reusable food containers rather than disposable plastic bags.
114Look at swapping homemade laundry products (fabric softener / dryer sheets) for commercial products
115Wash clothes that just need a freshen up in cold water.
116Ensure your dishwasher is full and on the appropriate setting when you use it.
117Make your own cleaning supplies – check out Pinterest for recipes.
118Make wipes and cleaning rags from old t-shirts.
119Use less of everything. Shampoo is a great example. Most of us don’t play in the mud very often so there’s no need to lather up twice. This can save you 50% on shampoo costs. Plus, conditioner need not be used all over, usually just the ends of your hair.
120Buy neutral gift wrap supplies: plain paper wrap and plain tags.
121Make your own greeting cards using plain white cards and envelopes.
122Make use of the free trial period before committing to a purchase. Set a reminder on your phone or in your calendar so you know when you need to opt out.
123 Some loyalty cards are worth having. Do some research on the loyalty cards for your favourite places. For example, if you’re a regular at the cinema, see what their loyalty offers. It might be free popcorn, free tickets or special screenings. A word of caution: don’t use the loyalty benefits as an excuse to spend more.
124If you choose not to purchase the item, transfer the money you would have spent to your savings account.
125Pets are great company but they’re expensive to maintain. Consider the long term implications of adding a new pet to your family. Remember a dog could be with you for 12 years or more and a cat 20 years. During that time, you’ll need to neuter them, feed them, treat them for parasites, provide regular vet visits and board them while you’re on holiday. The benefits of ownership might be priceless but they definitely come at a cost.
Always be prepared for grabbing a bargain by keeping a ‘needs’ list on your phone. Make sure it includes important information like size or dimensions, colour, etc.
Shop for housing in the off-season. You can often find a rental or purchase discount if you’re looking when everyone else isn’t.
Use whitefence.com to get instant comparison pricing on utilities, and services in your area.
Avoid temptation and stay away from stores as much as possible. If you usually wander around the stores during your lunch break, find a park to walk around or a nice spot to catch up on your reading.
Look for free garden materials (soil, mulch, etc) on sites like Graigslist, Gumtree or your local area Facebook group.
When purchasing anything online, order your search results from lowest to highest. It’s better to find what you love in the lower price range than the higher price range because once you’ve found it, you can probably stop looking.
Try a ‘staycation’ rather than a vacation. Take the time to see all the tourist sites and places of interest in your own town or city.
Have a plan. Check out the how/what/where/why of whatever purchase you need to make before you go ahead and finalise the purchase. This is especially true with clothing. How will it be worn? What do you need it for? Where will you wear it? Why do you think you need it? Maybe even consider the benefit of a capsule wardrobe.
Choose your vacation destination at the last minute and see what extra special deals you can find.
Keep your receipts. Don’t miss out on claiming a tax deduction because you no longer have the receipt.
Another reason to keep your receipts; you never know if a new purchase might need to be returned due to a fault. Don’t miss out on a refund because you don’t have the receipt.
137If you use your printer a lot, consider buying refilled ink cartridges.
138Use the moneysavingmom.com coupon database to find coupons on items you use regularly.
139Learn about personal finance. There are lots of great websites and books available. Not sure where to start? Check out some suggestions here.
140Need a hobby? Try something that adds value to your budget (vegetable gardening), is cheap (reading) or can bring in some money (flipping yard sale finds).
141Explore options to reduce your debt faster. Debt consolidation might be an option but also check out the snowball and avalanche methods.
142Always balance quality and price when making purchases. Sometimes it’s worth waiting and saving for a more expensive version that’s premium quality.
143If retail therapy is an issue for you, start taking note of the emotional triggers for the behaviour. Are you depressed? Lonely? Angry? Address the cause; you’ll feel better and have money in the bank.
144Buy melamine foam (check reviews first) instead of magic erasers.
145Stick to one hobby at a time. It’ll save money on materials and equipment. Time is a precious resource, too.
146Unplug or turn off at the power point, electrical items that are not in use. Standby mode still uses power.
147Take shorter showers. Water is becoming more and more expensive, especially in drought zones. Use a kitchen timer.
148Find your frugal tribe. It’s much easier to stay on track financially if the people you spend your time with don’t encourage you to spend your money with them, too. If you can’t find them locally, check out Facebook groups, website forums, etc.
149Reduce cooling costs in summer by keeping curtains closed and the hot sun out, and reduce heating costs in winter by letting the sunshine in.
150Stock up on table linens at the thrift store.
151Close vents or use vent covers in unused rooms (close the door) and save on heating and cooling costs.
152Plan a regular spending freeze and SAVE what you don’t spend.
153Explore cash back sites like eBates.
154Renters can reduce accommodation costs by moving to cheaper rental.
155Save your pay increase. When you get a pay rise, send that money straight to your savings account not your every day spending account. You won’t miss what you’ve never had.
156Regularly clean the filters on your air conditioner. Clean filters help your air conditioner run more efficiently therefore using less power.
157Monitor your data usage on your mobile phone; do you need a plan with more or less? Exceeding your data allowance can be expensive so make sure you’re always ‘under budget’. Also, if you rarely use your data allowance, it might be worth renegotiating your plan to a cheaper one.
158Make sure you get receipts for donations to charity, they might be tax deductible.
159Is your high schooler considering attending college or university? Start looking at scholarships, now. It’s never too early to begin your research.
160Consider option for bringing in extra money and make that your hobby. You could start a blog, an online store or sell plants you grow from cuttings. Lots of ideas for side hustles here. [add link]
161DIY your pest control. Instead of calling in the exterminator, try ‘bug bombing’ your house for a fraction of the cost. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully. Bug bombs (or similar) can be purchased at grocery and hardware stores.
162Do you really need your landline? If not, get rid of it and save.
163Save on clutter and cost by restricting the total number of toys per child. Most toys find their way to the back of the closet and sit there collecting dust so it’s better for everyone if they have a few toys they love than dozens they don’t care about.
164Cancel your gym membership. Unless you go to the gym specifically to train with heavy weights, you can probably forego that drain on your budget. Train at home using videos on YouTube or DVDs from the library. Free hand weights and kettle bells can be purchased at reasonable prices from sports stores. For more ideas read [add link]
165Challenge yourself to a no-spend month (or even just a week) to see how often you spend without thinking. Make sure you save (into a savings account) what you don’t spend. [add link]
166Always check out second hand options before buying new. Especially furniture.
167Enforce a ‘cooling off’ period before you splash out on a big purchase. This will seriously reduce impulse purchases but it will also reduce ill-informed purchases. You might think that “whatever it is” is perfect but, will it fit, will it fulfil your needs, is there a better option, can you get it second hand, or borrow from a friend/family member/neighbour? You might find that by delaying the purchase, you decide you didn’t actually need the item anyway. If not, then you’ll be making a well thought out investment.
168 Plan ahead and buy items you need at the best time of the year.
169Take care of what you already own. Regular maintenance is much cheaper than regular replacement.
170Don’t over schedule your weekends. Make sure you have sufficient time to rest, relax and get organised for the coming week.
171 Schedule your bill payments to avoid late fees.
172Still sending bill payments by post? Try making your payments online instead and save on stamps.
173Acknowledge your addictions and work at overcoming them. Cigarettes, alcohol, etc will cost you your health as well as your wealth.
174Time your purchases with specific events, like ‘back to school’ sales. Just make sure you know you’re actually getting a good deal before stocking up.
175Take the time to create a workable budget. If you’re new to the concept, give yourself some margin for error. It’s better to have money left over and feel successful than it is to run out of money before the end of the month and feel like a failure.
176Avoid storage costs by not having more stuff than space. If you have stuff in storage, sort it then sell it, donate it or dump it.

Kids & Babies

177Having a baby? Breast feed if you can. There are lots of excellent reasons for breastfeeding your bub, the least of which is that good quality formula is very expensive. Not to mention all the work of sterilising bottles, etc.
178Delay introducing solid food as long as possible. The older the infant is, the less processing their food will need saving time and money.
179When it comes to disposable diapers/nappies, go big. The cost per unit goes down the higher the content count goes. You might wonder where you’ll store them or if you’ll possibly use them all but, trust me, better to have too many than not enough.
180If you and your social circle have young children, organise a babysitting roster so you can all enjoy a low cost date night each month.
Kids activities can be expensive – even the free ones. Once you factor in time, travelling costs, equipment… Limit extracurricular activities; save money and save your sanity.
Dress-up and costumes can be fun (and cheap) to make at home with items you already own or consider purchasing costumes immediately after Halloween when they’re likely to be on sale.
Check out thrift stores for kids clothes and toys.

Clothing

184Create a 10 item wardrobe. Spend less money on clothes and stress less about what to wear. If 10 items seems too big a sacrifice, start by tossing, donating or selling half the contents of your closet. Learn more in our popular article on the subject.
185Apply the 10 item wardrobe rule to your family’s closets, too.
186Buy clothes from thrift stores – jeans especially
187Save your lingerie/underwear buying until the end of season sales.
188As much as possible, buy low maintenance clothes: no dry clean only or hand wash. You’ll save both time and money. You can read more about saving money on clothing in this article we put together for you.
189Buy next year’s winter gear at the end of the season. Ditto for summer. If you’re buying classic styles in solid colours, no-one will know it’s from last season.

Making a Little Extra

190Use your skills to make some extra money. If you’re handy with a sewing machine you could offer an alteration or hemming service. Or tutor students in your area of expertise.
191Make some extra cash by decluttering your house and selling your unwanted stuff on eBay, Craigslist, Gumtree, Facebook buy/sell groups or hold a yard sale. Cash in – clutter out!
I highly recommend everyone has a side hustle. If you’d like to know why, I discuss the reasons here. Plus you’ll find more articles on making a little extra cash here.

Holidays & Special Occasions

192Plan ahead for holiday gift giving and purchase (on sale) or make/grow gifts throughout the year.
193Planning a wedding? Think beyond the commercial wedding scene and find simpler, cheaper solutions for photography, catering and venue. For more ideas for a budget wedding, check out the suggestions in this article I wrote.
194Choose your wedding date carefully, get married a week or two before peak season begins and you’ll have great weather and more options and more than likely a discount, too.
195Consider getting married on a day other than Saturday for a cheaper venue and catering. The evening before a long weekend would be perfect.
196Wedding dresses can be crazy expensive, try looking online at sites aimed at teens for proms and debutante balls. You can always add extra embellishments (like a detachable lace train) yourself.
197Rethink the way you give gifts at Christmas and instigate a Kris Kringle style gift exchange for the extended family. Put everyone’s name in a ‘hat’ and allocate a recipient for each gift-giver in the family. That means each person just buys one gift for one extended family member.
198Consider giving experiences not gifts for birthdays and holidays. Carefully choose the experience to suit the recipient and they’ll have a present they’ll treasure for a lifetime.
199Add gifts to your stockpile, especially if you have children. Gifts for children’s parties can add up over the year so buy multiples when you see a good deal. My favourite gift to stockpile when my daughter was young is art supplies. See what Amazon has to offer here.
200Create a special budget for the holidays that includes estimates for everything from food to travel to hosting house guests and start putting money to the side in January. For more information on planning for a debt-free Christmas/Holiday Season take a look at this article.

Grab your copy of the Massive Money Saving Checklist: Just click here.

This is a long list but I’m sure you have money savings tips that I’ve never considered, so please share them in the comments.

If you’re looking for even more money saving tips check out the Smart Money, Simple Life Money Saving Tips on Pinterest!

Or, you might enjoy these posts, too:

Image: Tiago Faifa (unsplash.com)

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4 comments

Vanessa August 29, 2018 - 5:31 am

Thanks for sharing! I think eating more plant proteins helps the budget too!

Reply
Dope Dollar June 22, 2016 - 2:46 pm

This is an incredibly dope list of ways to save money.

Reply
Stockbeard December 24, 2015 - 6:54 am

Awesome list Diane, thanks! I spotted a few that we are still not doing yet!

Reply
Diane December 26, 2015 - 7:48 am

Yes, there’s a few there I need to add to my money saving menu, too! 🙂

Reply

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