Last updated on December 31st, 2019 at 03:39 pm
You know you could save money, but you are just so busy! If this is you, read this list of fast and simple ways to save money–some will even save you time.
39 Fast And Simple Ways Busy People Can Save Money
(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information)
Quick Ways To Save Money When Shopping Online
1. Install And Use These Two Browser Tools
Honey–This browser extension tool has saved me a lot of money. To get it, you first need to go here and sign up for Honey. Then download their browser tool. Once downloaded, when you are on a website that honey has promo codes for, it will go orange. At check out, Honey should pop up and tell you to click to apply promo code, but if for some reason, it doesn’t just click the browser tool icon, and it will instruct you as to how to use the codes. On average, I save $10 off my order when Honey finds a discount code for me.
Rakuten– This is a cash back company with a minimum cash out threshold of $5, but it won’t take you long to reach that. To use it, go here and create a Rakuten account, then download the browser tool. If there is a cash back offer for the website you are about to shop at, a Rakuten box will pop up, telling you to click on it to activate the deal. Once your account reaches five dollars, you will receive an email next time they are sending out payments; in that email, you can choose your preferred way of payment.
Quick Ways To Save Money On Groceries
2. Take Advantage of Walmart’s Curb Pick Up
Walmart offers reasonable prices on groceries and they don’t charge for curb pick up on orders over $30. Plus unlike many other grocery stores, the price you pay in the app is the same prices you will find in-store. Not only will using Walmart’s curb pick up service save you time, but it will save you money because it eliminates spontaneous in-store purchases–I am looking at you, can of whatever I thought sounded good in-store, but won’t ever eat.
If you have yet to use Walmart Curb Pick Up, here is my referral link that will save you $10 off your first order of $50 or more.
3. Use The Amazon Subscribe And Save Program
Amazon prices tend to be pretty fair, and when you use their subscribe and save program, you get 15% off when you order five items or more each month. Our family has been using it for a few years now, and I find it so simple to change dates and amounts each month.
4. Shop at Boxed.com
Boxed.com is like a warehouse store without the need to buy a membership and the benefit of delivery to your door for free with orders over $50. Use my referral link and you might get $15 off your first order (I say might because I hit the max for referrals a while ago, but I think those I send there still get the $15, I just don’t benefit).
5. Try Generics
If you are a brand-name junkie, you can save a considerable amount on your groceries by weaning yourself off brand name products and foods–you probably won’t even notice a difference. Make the switch slowly trying one no-name brand item at a time.
If you like organic products and environmentally friendly cleaners, check out Brandless, which sells organic and quality products for much less than name brands. Use my referral link to sign up for a Brandless account and save $10 off your first order.
6. Create A Simple Rotating Meal Plan
This will take some time to set up, but the payback in time and money saved will be worth your effort. Create a simple menu plan grid or download these free ones. Print out four weeks’ worth of these weekly plans. Then fill them out with meals you know your family will enjoy. Leave one day for leftovers, and one day of eating out (unless you always eat at home).
You can make it simpler by giving each day a theme, such as Monday is Breakfast for dinner, Tuesday is Pizza night, Wednesday is pasta, etc. Then all you have to do is think of 4 meals that fit that theme.
This might sound like a boring way to eat, but trust me, 30 days of variety is probably more than your family is doing right now.
7. When You Cook, Make A Double Batch
This idea won’t work for some meals, but chances are it will work splendidly for most of them. You can use the double batch for lunches all week long or freeze it, and if you are following the menu plan idea above, every other month, your family can live off food from the freezer –giving you more time every other month for other items on your to-do list.
How does this save you money? It will reduce last-minute take out runs, as you can eat from your freezer instead.
Quick Ways To Save Money On All Types Of Purchases
8. Before You Buy, Do A Facebook Shout Out
My family has saved a lot of money thanks to Facebook and one way it has saved us the most is through what I call Facebook shout outs. If we need an item I know we won’t use again, I will send out a message, tagging my husband as well, so more friends see it listing the item we need. I can’t think of a single time this has failed us.
We have been blessed to borrow space heaters when our furnace went out, several coolers to hold soda for a graduation party and various tools we needed.
9. Sign Up To Be Notified Of Sales For Stores You Shop At Most
My family wears a lot of clothing from Old Navy; we find them to be of good quality. We especially love their jeans and hoodies. To get the best deals on Old Navy clothing, I signed up for their emails and whenever we need something, I open them and find out if the item we need is on sale and continue to do so until it is–it usually doesn’t take long.
To increase my savings, I use the two browser saving tools I talked about to see if I can get either a promo code or cash back on my purchase. Last time I did this thrifty stack tip, I saved an extra $6 on jeans that were already 50 percent off.
10. Enforce A Waiting Period Before Buying Higher Priced Items
If you are in a store and you see something that strikes your eye, but isn’t on your needs list and it is over $10 –think on it for 24 hours. Chances are you won’t go back and buy it. People with lousy shopping habits might need to extend this waiting period to all items not on a written, genuinely need to buy list.
11. Stick To Community-Wide Yard Sales
Yard sales are a great way to save money on just about anything. However, I don’t go to them unless I either happen to stumble upon one while out doing errands or a community is having a neighborhood-wide rummage sale. Dozens, if not hundreds of families, participate in these types of community yard sales, meaning I can find dozens of bargains in under an hour.
Quick Ways To Save Money On Eating Out
12. Invite Friends Over Instead Of Going Out
Ask your friends to bring a side dish or dessert, and you make the main course and provide the drinks. The meal will be cheaper than a night out for all couples, and you will have a quieter and more relaxed setting to catch up with one another.
13. Drink Water
I made this deal with my kids when they were young: If they ordered water with their meals while at a restaurant, I would allow them to have a can of pop when we got home or if we were traveling, one from the cooler.
Yes, it would be even cheaper if they drank water with no promise of pop later, but I remember being young once and keeping a 12 pack of soda in the house, or a few in the cooler, just for times like these doesn’t cost much. If you are an adult or you don’t like your kids drinking pop, then stick to water at all times with no reward.
14. Always Pack Snacks
Snacks at convenience stores are expensive. If you are on a road trip or you are going to be gone from your home for more than a few hours, slip a snack or two in your purse, or pack a cooler with water and snacks. You don’t have to bake these snacks from scratch after all this article is geared for those short on time, buying single servings of granola bars is fine. If you have a few seconds to spare, buy a big container of trail mix and divided into individual servings using reusable snack packs.
I also suggest you invest in a thermal reusable water bottle and coffee cup (here is my favorite brand). These purchases will pay for themselves in a short amount of time since you can avoid purchasing bottled water and coffee on the go.
15. Pack A Lunch
My husband has eaten leftovers packed in microwavable friendly containers for years –and it has saved us so much money. If you don’t have access to a microwave, there are lots of lunch ideas that don’t require reheating–sandwiches and salads are two.
My husband tosses his lunch in a grocery bag, but he has access to a fridge at work. If you don’t, consider investing in an insulated lunch bag. You should also look into buying reusable lunch containers, which will be better for your pocketbook and the environment.
16. Make Your Coffee
Over the years, I have perfected the art of coffee making to the point that I prefer my homebrew to those of coffee shops, and that saves our family a lot of money. Here are my suggestions for making a great cup of coffee at home — no expensive coffee maker needed.
17. Take Advantage Of Easy Loyalty Programs
Here is a list of over 50 Restaurant Apps that you can sign-up for and use to save money. See if the restaurants that you eat at most are on this list and sign up and start using them. Most require you to open the app up at the time of purchase to be scanned, and they track the rest. Such an easy way to save money!
My husband and I use the Moe’s app for our Burrito Monday purchase and just recently received enough points for $10 off our next purchase. Plus, the app gave me a free birthday burrito with a purchase of a drink and a few other useful coupons along the way. If you, too, like Moe’s, use the code Victor9966 when you sign up for the app and get 50 points. Every 1000 points earned equals a $10 credit.
18. Take Advantage Of Gift Card Deals For Restaurants You Frequent Often
Usually, around Christmas time, restaurants will offer a gift card special. Many times these specials will be “buy a $50 gift card get a $5 gift card free” or something similar. That is a 10 percent discount. Roughly calculate how often you and your family eat at the restaurant offering such a gift card deal in a 3 month period and how much it costs you each time (minus tip–as it usually cannot be taken from a gift card) and then if your budget allows, pick up the deal if it makes financial sense to do so.
Quick Ways To Save Money On Entertainment
19. Cut Out The Subscriptions You Don’t Have Time For
How many movie and tv streaming services do you have? Are you making use of all of them? Consider canceling all but one. My choice would be to keep Amazon Prime. Not only do you get movies and tv series streaming, but you also get music and access to prime reading. And those are just the entertainment perks of an Amazon Prime membership!
20. See If There Are Free Alternatives To Things You Are Subscribed To And Use
If you don’t already have a library card to your local library branch, grab your ID and a piece of mail or two with your name on it and proper address and head down to the public library nearest you and get an account.
Once you have a library card, see if they have access to these apps for their members:
These apps will give you access to eBooks, Movies, TV series, and audiobooks with no need to pay a subscription fee.
Another great way to get access to free streaming movies and tv programs is by buying a Roku streaming device that plugs into the HDMI slot of your TV. Once you get it set up, search for free channels –trust me, you won’t run out of free options. I love watching YouTube travel channels on my TV through Roku.
21. Take Up Free Or Almost Free Activities
Hiking is free, except entrance fees to some parks. A lot of smaller local museums are by donation only, and my husband and I find them just as rich in history as larger museums that often charge a pricey admission fee. If you have a University in your town, it may offer free concerts and performances, or low-cost ones put on by their students.
22. Make Your Hobby Pay For Itself
I love to knit, but I only need so many dishcloths, potholders, and fingerless gloves–so I sell the excess. The items I sell pays for the yarn I use for smaller projects and funds one or two more significant knitting projects each year. I use this simple method to sell my items.
23. Download and Use These Two Apps
Groupon and Living Social should be on your phone if you want to save money on entertainment without spending a lot of time. When planning a fun outing for family and friends, check these two apps first to see if they have any deals for your area. Usually, these deals will save you 25 to 50 percent.
Quick Ways To Save Money On Utilities
24. Install A Few Timers In Your Home
Grab a few of these simple to set outlet timers and use them around your house for appliances and other items you don’t need on 24/7. For instance, your Wifi router doesn’t need to be on all night. I am sure if you brainstorm, you could come up with a few more areas these inexpensive outlet timers could be used to save you money.
A programmable thermostat set to turn the heat up an hour before you get up and down an hour before you go to bed is another item that will pay for itself and more. Use it also to turn the heat down when you leave for work and turn it back up, so you come home to a warm house.
25. Make Your Next Move A Move To A Smaller Home
Smaller homes cost less to heat and cool. They can also cost less to insure and may cost less in property insurance. Repairs and upkeep will also cost less. Plus, you will save time cleaning and maintaining a small home.
26. Switch To An Inexpensive Cell Phone Plan
If you invest in a VPN service, you can safely use public wifi and therefore decrease your need for cellular data, as public wifi access is everywhere—see this list for places I have found it while traveling. I use Express VPN and have been happy with their service use my referral link to set up an account with Express VPN and get 30 days free.
With online safety taken care of, there is no need to have an expensive cell phone plan –switch to a cheaper pay for what you use alternative. Our family uses Ting and Tracfone. By using two different companies, we find we have coverage wherever my husband and I travel. Both end up costing us around $20 or less per month. If both have coverage in your area, I would recommend Ting–their customer service is stellar, and I never have to talk to a robot! Use my referral link to sign up for Ting and get $25 in credit.
27. Automate As Many Bills As Possible
Late fees can add up, avoid them by setting up auto-pay for as many bills as possible.
28. Next Time A Bulb Needs Changing Switch To LED
I have read studies that say each LED lightbulb will save you $150 in electric costs over its lifetime. That is a good rate of return on your investment. Here is a pack big enough to replace every light bulb in an average-sized home for a pretty good price.
29. Buy Surge Protectors With Shut Off Switches And USB Outlets
This surge protector power strip has USB outlets and a shut-off switch. Not only will this protect your devices if a power surge should happen in your home, but it makes it easy to turn off power to all the devices plugged into it should you walk by and notice that none of them need to be sucking energy currently.
Quick Ways To Save Money On Vehicle Costs
30. When You Need A New To You Car Go For The Most Fuel Efficient
The more fuel-efficient your car, the less you are going to spend on gas, even a gallon or two more per mile average will make a big difference to your fuel expenses over the time you own the vehicle.
31. Make Your Next Move A Move Closer To Work
Not only will moving closer to work save you money on gas and wear and tear on your vehicle, but the shorter commute will also give you more time at home with loved ones.
If you can move to within walking distance, you might be able to decrease the number of vehicles your family needs, which would save you even more money.
If you can set up a carpool, you will save money on gas and gain time to get to know a co-worker.
Quick Ways To Save Money On Medical And Vision Expenses
33. Buy Contacts And Glasses Online
My son is super forgetful, and our vision insurance like most offers a limited amount of frame and lens. Thankfully I discovered Zenni Optical, where I can get him a spare pair of glasses for just over $50! And that included a $12 charge for his more complicated subscription. You can get $5 off your first order with Zenni Optical when you use my referral link to create an account.
34. Take Advantage of FSA and HSA
I typed in “the simple definition of FSA versus HSA accounts” into Google search, and here is what I got:
“A health savings account (HSA) and a flexible spending account (or FSA, also called a flexible spending arrangement by the IRS) are both tax-advantaged accounts that allow you to save specifically for medical costs.”
Both will save you money by decreasing the amount of taxes you pay, but to figure out which is best for you, you need to do your research.
35. If You Can’t Take A Generic Medication, Sign Up For GoodRX
My body doesn’t like the generic thyroid medication, so I am forced to take the brand name unless I want to fight anxiety for the first few hours after taking it. Of course, my insurance won’t pay for the expensive brand name, so I spent some time searching for ways to save money on brand name prescriptions and discovered GoodRX and other companies like it.
Using GoodRX and another discount prescription card saves me an average of $11 to $15 per every 90-day prescriptions for just a few buttons clicked. Some even have a handy app version.
36. Visit Your Provider’s Website Before Major Procedures
If your medical insurance has a provider website, I highly recommend visiting it and getting to know all that it offers. One thing mine offers is a comparison list of what specific procedures will cost at different providers. Taking a look at this list before my family needs something more than just routine done has saved us hundreds of dollars of out of pocket expenses.
Quick Ways To Save Money On Christmas And Other Special Occasions
37. Keep Things Simple
Simple celebrations not only save time and sanity, but also saves money. Cut back on decorations, gifts, food, and activities until things seem a little too low key and then take things up a notch.
For instance, at Christmas every year, when my kids were little, I would place all their newly opened toys in one box under the Christmas tree. A few days later I took note of what kind of gifts were still in the box, next year I didn’t buy those types of gifts. Within a few years, I noticed that nothing was left to put in the box within a few hours of opening the tree, and yet no one was grumbling that they didn’t get enough.
38. Keep A Gift Box
A gift box will save you so much money on gifts, especially in those years when it seems like your kids get invited to a birthday party every week. Buy a tote with a lid to keep out dust and place it in a closet. Every time you are in a store that has gift items take a minute or two to hit the clearance shelves and racks to see if there are any giftable items there. Pick up those you know will be great for the ages and stages of the people on your gift list and then store them until needed in your gift box.
This box will save you so much money and decrease the last-minute runs to the store for a gift that eat up valuable time.
If You Are In Great Financial Shape And Extremely Disciplined
39. If You Pay Your Credit Cards On Time Each Month Take Advantage Of Point Cards
Please think through this suggestion with extreme caution. Do not jump into applying for a point rewards credit card unless you have taken a long while to figure out if it will benefit your family financially or not. I spent an entire year weighing the options of what type of point rewards credit card would be the best for us and figuring out how to set it up so that we were financially smart with it–in other words, did not let it get us into debt.
In the end, our family went with the United Airmiles card by Chase. My husband takes United flights to visit his family at least once a year as they always seem to have the most economical flights for the route he takes, so it made the points a good fit. There is a yearly fee, but it was the same price as paying for checked luggage there and back one time, and he often does this to pack gifts to his relatives and from his relatives, or he picks up Canadian favorites for us that we can’t get here in the USA.
It looks like the program will result in one free trip for him to see his family every year–which makes the extra effort to keep track of our spending on the card worth it to us.
If you were looking for a points rewards credit card, and the United Airmiles card by Chase sounds like a good fit, use my referral link and start your account with 40,000 reward miles (depending on your destination that could be enough for one trip)
If you don’t want a credit card, and I get that, you can still earn United Air Miles through their app and web browser. Depending on where you shop and how often you travel, using their free not tied to a credit card program could equal a free flight every year or so.
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.
3 More Thrifty People Posts To Help You Stretch That Money Farther
- 20 Apps & Websites Thrifty People Use To Save Money On Clothing
- Don’t Throw Out Your Receipts: Use Them To Make Money
- 100 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Christmas
Do you want to save or earn money? Join my Thrifty People Of Snail Pace Transformations Facebook page, where I share tips for doing both.