115+ Little Ways to Save Money

Hopeful Panda isn’t a financial blog by any means. But it is a blog focused on helping abuse survivors heal and thrive. Part of thriving includes being financially stable and independent.

If you had abusive parents, they likely controlled many aspects of your life. They might not have allowed you to get a job or make your own money, let alone teach you how to manage or save money. This is their way to make you dependent on them.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Money doesn’t buy happiness”. While that may be true to an extent, financial security and stability are needed first to be able to achieve any kind of happiness.

In the world we live in, money plays a huge role in having a better life, even if we don’t want it to. Everything involves money. It can be difficult to heal from your past abuse or take care of yourself when you’re struggling to pay the bills.

Knowing how to save money can also help you better escape abusive parents if you’re still living with them or are dependent on them.

Although I can’t provide any secrets or easy ways to make money, I hope the little ways to save money provided in this post can still help.

General Little Ways to Save Money

Live within your means

Let’s start with the biggest rule of all: Avoid spending money you don’t have.

This is common sense, but so many people have trouble with it. They spend more than they make.

Some people have the idea that if they pass away with any amount of debt, then they’ve come out ahead.

But is always owing money to somebody really how you want to live? Besides, when you’re repaying your debt, you’re paying interest – money you didn’t have to pay for in the first place.

Make a financial plan

A financial plan consists of your current money situation and your long-term financial goals and strategies to achieve those goals.

Ask yourself: How much money do I want to save and what can I do to make it happen?

Determine what your goals are. Then, look at your assets, liabilities, and cash flow. And finally, create an investment or savings plan to reach those goals.

Make a budget

Once you have your financial plan, you should make a budget based on that plan.

A budget is a way to balance income, expenses, and financial goals for a specific length of time.

Many professionals recommend the 50/30/20 budget for your income: 50% for needs, 30% for wants, 20% for savings/debt repayment.

But if you have specific financial goals, like needing to save a specific amount of money by a specific time, the rule might not work for you.

If so, adjust how you distribute your costs based on your goals.

Expenses to include in your budget:

  • Home costs – rent, mortgage, utilities, HOA fees, maintenance/repairs
  • Insurance – car, home, health, life
  • Car – maintenance, gas, insurance, daily commute
  • Food/Groceries
  • Childcare and other child-related expenses
  • Other Necessities – toiletries, prescriptions/medicine, pet care, clothes
  • Entertainment – Internet, phone, subscriptions, memberships
  • Travel & Transportation Expenses – flights, hotels, gas, tickets, public transportation card, parking
  • Savings/Investments
  • Miscellaneous – bank account fees, gifts, charity, irregular expenses, daily incidentals

Setting up a budget puts you in control of your money and gives you a better idea of how and where your money should go.

Stick to your budget

That’s the sole reason you made a budget to begin with.

Track your spending

Try to keep track of where all your money is going. If you have trouble, use an app to help.

You’d be surprised how much you’re spending once you start tracking every cent.

Think before you buy

Before you purchase an item, think about whether it will enhance your life.

Ask yourself, does it make my life easier, healthier, or better? Or will it just take up space, be forgotten, and waste my hard-earned money?

Do this before every purchase to develop a more mindful spending habit.

Buy what you need, not what you want

A lot of the time, people have trouble with finances because they spend what they don’t have on things they don’t need.

If you can easily afford it, then you have the right to treat yourself.

But if money’s already tight, think twice before spending. There are cheaper or even free ways to treat yourself.

Pay with cash

If you limit the amount of money in your wallet, you can physically see how much you’re using and not using.

Putting a certain amount of cash in your wallet each time you go out is almost like setting a budget for yourself. But note that you can miss out on possible credit card points this way.

Calculate your spending by hours

Before you spend money on something, think about how much time you spent making that money.

For example, if something is worth $100, you can think of how it’s worth over 5 hours of work (if you make $20/hr and because taxes isn’t even accounted for yet.)

Then, decide whether what you’re purchasing is worth the amount of work you put into it.

Use the 24-hour rule

When shopping, you might feel tempted to make a purchase.

Instead of purchasing it right away, give it 24 hours to see if you still want it.

We make better decisions when we sit on it for a bit.

Keep track of costs as you’re shopping

When you’re in a grocery store or mall, have a calculator handy and track the costs of all the things you’re adding to your cart.

Think twice about sales

While some sales seem like good deals, some are a tactic, selling at retail price.

Something that costs $40 sounds more appealing if you’re told it used to be $70. But is it even worth $40 to begin with?

Seek out deals

Examine all your options before paying for something at full price.

You might find the same or a similar product at another location for less.

Use money-saving apps or programs

Whether on your phone or computer, when you’re shopping, some apps or programs will help you save money, earn cash back, or earn other rewards.

Get a free credit card that gives cashback

If you tend to spend a lot in a certain category, sign up for a credit card that’ll reward you the most.

Many credit cards give cash back or points on your spending. Look into one that works for you.

Many credit cards also offer a sign-up bonus.

Use money-making apps

There are apps that give you cashback or gift cards for scanning your receipts, playing games, or taking surveys.

You can’t make a living off of them. But it can be some nice change on the side to treat yourself with.

Save money automatically

You can set up your bank account to automatically transfer a certain amount of your income or deposits to an investment or savings account so you don’t manually have to.

Spend extra money wisely

When there’s an unexpected bonus or windfall of some sort, you might be tempted to spend it without thinking.

But spend it wisely or save/invest the money, especially if you don’t have any savings or an emergency fund.

Buy used

If possible, buy used. Used things are almost always going to be cheaper than brand-new ones. And a lot of the time, they’re not that different.

Our car, some of our furniture, almost all of my clothes, and other miscellaneous items were bought used or gotten for free.

We probably saved hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars just doing this. Besides, I love me a $2 pair of Levi’s that’s already broken into.

Have no-spend days

If you have trouble with spending, mark down some “no spend days” on your calendar.

Ask for discounts and take advantage of them

Many places offer senior, military, student, or group discounts.

Some may not be written, so feel free to always ask.

Learn skills you would otherwise pay for

Simple car repair and maintenance, plumbing, and some handy work can be easy to learn.

This can also go for sewing or even mowing the lawn. Think about what you are currently paying someone else to do for you and consider whether it’s something you can do yourself and if it’s worth it.

Monitor your splurges

It’s okay to treat yourself once in a while. But keep track of how often and how much you’re splurging.

And when you do, make it an opportunity to save.

However much you splurged on something, put the same amount into a savings or investment account.

Pay off credit cards in full each month or automate it

Paying off credit cards in full each month or setting up autopay is the best way to avoid credit card debt or late fees.

Use only ATMs of your bank or credit union

Before you use an ATM, make sure it’s your bank’s or credit union’s. Or make sure it won’t charge a processing fee.

Autopay your bills

Life gets in the way sometimes and you might overlook a bill and forget to pay it.

Automate your bills to ensure that they will be paid on time so you don’t have to deal with any late fees.

Don’t buy things just because it’s cheap

You might be tempted to buy something just because it’s cheap. However, cheap in price could mean cheap in quality.

If you’re buying it just to buy it because it’s cheap, you might as well save that money for something better.

Plan major purchases around sale periods

If you are planning to make a major purchase, try to do it around sale periods.

Compare multiple quotes

Whenever you have any big or recurring expenses coming like moving, renovation, insurance, or car, it’s always best to shop around for the best quotes and prices.

And always ask about any hidden fees or potential charges that could come up.

Sell things you want to get rid of

If you’re planning to get rid of some things, perhaps try selling them online or through a garage sale.

Use a free program to file your taxes

To get an actual free program (I say this because I’ve fallen for so-called “free” programs that make you upgrade or pay after you’ve done all the work), go to the IRS website and use one of their recommended free tax software.

However, make sure you are eligible or qualified to use the free software before starting.

Maintain a good credit score

Here are some simple tips on how to maintain a good credit score:

  • Always pay your bills on time
  • Keep your credit card balances low (within 30% of your credit limit)
  • Keep old credit cards open to maintain a longer history
  • Manage your debt
  • Avoid applying for new credit
  • Keep an eye on your credit score

A good credit score gives lenders a sense of how likely you are to pay back what you owe.

So a good score can help you save thousands of dollars on auto loans, student loans, or a mortgage.

It can also help you get lower interest rates.

Save with a purpose

Don’t just save money. Save it with a purpose.

When you save with a purpose, like a college fund, retirement fund, or down payment for a home, you will start approaching everything like a saver.

Whatever you’re saving your money for will be your motivation for saving.

It will also help you be more mindful about your spending.

Build an emergency fund

If possible, try to set aside at least 3 to 6 months’ worth of your salary for unforeseen expenses that your budget doesn’t cover like medical expenses, losing your job, or a major repair.

An emergency fund covers you in the event of an unexpected financial blow and can help prevent you from going into debt.

Start saving for your retirement as early as possible

The earlier you start to save for your retirement, the better and easier it’ll be as you get older.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to just work, work, work, and never enjoy life until you retire.

My mentality is to save for the future but also enjoy life in the moment.

My partner and I save quite a bit for our future. But we also spend it when it matters.

Besides, saving is part of the fun for us. We love the feeling of getting a good deal on something or hitting a new milestone in our savings.

Start saving for college

If college is down the road for either you or your children, or even if it’s only a possibility, you should still start saving for it.

It’s much better to pay for college with the money you have rather than take out a loan and be in debt later.

Look into starting a college fund that can help you or your child cover tuition.

It’s ideal to start as early as possible so that compound interest and regular yearly or monthly investments give the funds a chance to grow over time so that you need to put less aside in the long run.

Consider investment accounts

When saving money, you can consider putting your savings into an investment account, preferably index funds held for long periods (10+ years).

Investing gives your money the potential to grow faster than it could in a savings account.

If you have a long time until you need to meet your goal, your returns will compound. This means that not only do you get a higher rate of return on investments, but your earnings from the investment will also earn money over time.

Take full advantage of retirement plans

If your employer offers 401(k), take full advantage of it. If your employer offers a match up to a certain percentage, make sure you at least put in enough to get that.

You can also look into other retirement plans that don’t require an employer like Roth IRAs.

Get free debt counseling

Debt counselors offer specific advice on how to manage your money to more efficiently pay down debts over time.

They can also direct you to resources that may be helpful and provide information.

They can even help you negotiate lowered interest rates, reduced monthly payments, and more with your creditors, which could save you money.

Consolidate debt

Debt consolidation rolls multiple debts, typically high-interest debt like credit card bills, into a single payment.

If you have a lot of debt, you can consider debt consolidation, especially if you can get a lower interest rate.

It can help you reduce your total debt and reorganize it so you can pay it off sooner.

Participate in a local IDA program

The Individual Development Accounts Program helps refugees and other eligible individuals save toward an asset, like a car, home, business, or school.

Apply for government assistance

If you are really struggling, there’s nothing wrong with getting some assistance from the government whether it’s for food, healthcare, or other essential costs (as long as you’re eligible).

Take a free financial literacy course

Taking a course on financial literacy can teach you all the ins and outs of how to manage your finances.

Khan Academy currently offers a free Financial Literacy course covering topics such as budgeting, spending, borrowing, and more.

Little Ways to Save Money on Home & Car

How to Save Money on Home and Car | Little Ways to Save Money | Hopeful Panda

Maintain your home and car

If you have a home and car, do maintenance and upgrades every so often.

This protects its value and keeps a bigger repair, which will cost significantly more, from needing to be done.

So although maintaining your home and car will cause you to shell out costs more often, it will cost less in the long run.

Learn to fix it yourself

If there are things around your home or car that need fixing, if possible, learn to fix them yourself.

There are many free online tutorials you can follow.

Reduce utility costs with some tweaks

Little ways to reduce energy usage and costs:

  • Shutdown or unplug electronics you’re not using
  • Use a power strip to turn off all devices at once
  • Turn off lights when they’re not being used
  • Switch to LED light bulbs
  • Install a ceiling fan to cool off rooms
  • Switch ceiling fan direction depending on the temperature
  • Change AC air filters more often
  • Purchase energy-efficient appliances
  • Open or close the blinds to keep the sun out or let it in depending on the season
  • Install a programmable or smart thermostat
  • Insulate your home
  • Seal air leaks around your home
  • Use natural light
  • Turn off or lower the air conditioner or heat when not home
  • Hang dry your laundry
  • Use a microwave or toaster oven instead of a conventional oven
  • Set your AC to an economy setting if possible
  • Turn off AC or heat in rooms you rarely use
  • Keep your freezer full

Little ways to conserve water and reduce water usage and costs:

  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn off the water when brushing, shaving, or washing dishes
  • Use a dishwasher instead of hand-washing dishes
  • Only run the washing machine or dishwasher when you have a full load
  • Check and fix leaky faucets and pipes
  • Use cold water for laundry
  • Install water-saving showerheads or flow restrictors
  • Install a dual flush or low flow toilet or put a conversion kit on your existing toilet
  • Don’t overwater lawn during peak periods
  • Make sure sprinklers are efficiently watering the lawn and not sidewalk or gutters
  • Install a rain barrel for outdoor watering

Keep a record of everything you own

If you have home or renter’s insurance, take precautions and make a record of everything you own in your home in case of a loss.

It makes filing a claim easier. And it’s better to do it now than when you’re suffering the aftermath of the loss.

Bundle your insurance

When you “bundle” insurance, you’re buying two or more policies from the same company and getting a discount.

Compare insurance rates

Bundling insurance doesn’t always save you money. Insurers might offer competitive rates on one thing but not the other.

Go for insurance options that would be the most beneficial to you, not just in terms of costs but in what it covers and the quality of their services.

Get a quote on your insurance every year

Even if you have insurance, you should still try to get a quote on your home, rental, and auto insurance every year because rates are always changing.

Refinance your mortgage

Refinancing your mortgage means that you’re trading in your old mortgage for a new one and possibly a new balance.

It could possibly lower the interest rate on your existing loan.

Find cheaper gas

When you know you’ll need to get gas soon, check gas price sites or get an app to locate the cheapest gas near you.

There are also apps that give cash back or points for using certain stations.

Wash your own car

Why pay for a car wash when you can do it yourself?

Switch to solar power

Switching to solar power can help you save money and benefit the environment.

Using solar power will reduce your electric bill or possibly get rid of it altogether.

There is also the possibility of receiving payments for the surplus energy you export back to the grid.

The initial cost to purchase a solar system is high. But it could pay off in the long run.

Little Ways to Save Money on Food & Groceries

How to Save Money on Food | Little Ways to Save Money | Hopeful Panda

Stop drinking bottled waters

You can get a filter and a reusable bottle (or thermos for hot/cold drinks) to save money in the long term.

It’s also better for your health and the environment.

Make your own coffee

Instead of buying coffee outside every day, invest in a coffee maker.

Don’t use third-party apps when ordering takeout

Try to order takeout directly from the restaurant and pick it up yourself if possible.

Not only will you avoid the extra fees, but you’re also better supporting the restaurant.

Ordering directly from the restaurant might also be less expensive.

Some restaurants’ menu prices on third-party apps are often higher than the prices on their physical menus.

Drink water when eating out

Beverages at food establishments are usually extremely marked up, especially alcohol.

Keep takeout to a minimum

Cooking at home from scratch is almost always cheaper than eating out. It’s also healthier and better for you.

Cook from scratch

Cooking from scratch means whole ingredients.

Not only is it often cheaper than eating out, but it’s also often cheaper than buying processed or pre-cooked items or meals from the grocery store.

Incorporate more inexpensive foods into your meals

Foods like bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, chicken, and beans are inexpensive and filling.

Eat less red meat

Red meat is generally considered unhealthy, but it’s fine in moderation.

They are usually expensive though, so it might be best to limit them from your diet.

Avoid processed meats

Deli meat isn’t cheap and isn’t great for you.

Try to go for fresh options, which are usually cheaper, more filling, and healthier.

Avoid prepackaged, pre-cooked, or pre-prepped food

Prepackaged (e.g. frozen dinners, salads), pre-cooked, or pre-prepped (e.g. chopped fruits, marinated meats) food are almost always going to be more expensive than making or prepping it yourself.

Dinner can be simple

Dinner doesn’t have to be a feast. You don’t need five courses on the dining table.

It can simply be one dish and a side. Even a sandwich, breakfast, or small meal can be considered dinner.

Bring your own lunch to work

Packing your own lunch doesn’t have to take much effort.

You can prep in bulk and freeze separate portions or simply make a sandwich in the morning or the night before.

Make and stick to your grocery list

Going into a grocery store with no plan on what you’re going to get is a bad idea for your wallet and your meal planning.

So before you go, make a list of everything you need.

Once you’re there, try to stick to it. Or to better avoid temptations, some stores offer free pickup.

So you can order everything that’s on your list online and pick it up when it’s ready. That way, you save time, too.

Buy value packs

I always buy value packs when grocery shopping just because it’s much cheaper.

If it’s too much, depending on the item, you can portion it out and freeze them. You can also cook it in advance before freezing.

Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry

You’ve probably heard of this before – don’t go to a grocery store on an empty stomach.

When you’re hungry and you go grocery shopping, everything looks good so you end up spending more than you normally would.

Research also suggests that shopping hungry also means you are more likely to purchase high-calorie items.

So save your wallet and your health and maybe eat a little something before shopping.

Buy generic or store brand

The generic or store brand is usually not too different from the name brand. A lot of it even comes from the same manufacturers. The best way to tell is to check the ingredients.

If anything, try out the generic or store brand first and see how you feel about it.

I always buy the cheapest version of what I’m looking for and test it to see if it’s as good as the one I normally get.

Shop for items on sale

Try to plan your grocery list or menu based on what’s on sale.

Some stores have weekly ads available online or an app where you can check for sales and coupons.

It’s also a great way to try new foods and experiment cooking with different ingredients.

Clip coupons

Clipping coupons is much easier nowadays since you can do it digitally.

If that’s not an option, you can still look through weekly ads delivered to you or found online and take a few minutes to flip through them.

Bring your own grocery bags

Some grocery stores charge for their bags or might offer a discount for using your own bags.

They’re also sturdier and environmentally friendly.

Shop at more than one grocery store

Try to notice the prices on the items you frequently purchase and see which store has it cheapest or what sales are going on.

For instance, meat, produce, and other staples are often cheaper at mom-and-pop shops than at big-name grocery stores.

If it doesn’t waste too much of your time or isn’t too inconvenient, you can grocery-hop to get the best bang for your buck.

Do it all at once if convenient or make different trips for different purposes.

Shop in season

Fruits and vegetables in season will be cheaper and overall better tasting.

Compare prices to multiple brands

Remember to check the price per unit rather than the price as a whole.

Try not to waste food

Cook up or freeze food near or even past its best-by date if possible. Get creative and whip something together.

Freeze or preserve and store extra food you have

If you bought things in bulk or you know you won’t get the chance to use something, you can portion it out and freeze it.

You can also preserve fruits and vegetables if you have too much.

Eat leftovers

There are a lot of people that refuse to eat anything left over and that boggles my mind. I love leftovers!

I even intentionally make more food just to have leftovers so I don’t have to cook again sometimes.

Cooked foods can last up to three days in the fridge and months in the freezer. But if anything, trust your sniffer.

Plant your own produce and herbs

You can start your own vegetable, fruit, or herb garden.

This is more so a hobby and interest rather than an easy way to save money. Because although it’s cheaper, it can be more time-consuming depending on what you want

However, everything you need to start is cheap.

You can purchase seeds or seedlings or buy an already thriving plant. You can also plant the ends of store-bought produce or use seeds from any fruits you’ve had. Your government might even provide seeds and soil to you for free.

An herb garden is the easiest one to do. They also help you save on buying expensive jars of seasoning. It will also taste fresher and can be easily dried and stored.

Visit a food bank

If you are really struggling, look into nearby food banks or pantries.

There is no shame in getting free food. It’s there for you. Besides, they often have excess that ends up going to waste.

Get a chest freezer

A chest freezer has been a game-changer for my family.

Having a place to store all the excess food we get when it’s on sale saves us a lot on groceries.

Little Ways to Save Money on Essentials

How to Save Money on Essentials | Little Ways to Save Money | Hopeful Panda

Buy value packs, in bulk, or more when it’s on sale.

If it’s an item you will need to buy at a later date anyway (e.g. toilet paper, hygiene products, aluminum foil), then buy it in bulk or more when it’s on sale.

Comparison shop for medications

Check out different stores and brands when shopping for medications or supplements.

Also, check to see if your store participates in a discount program for prescription meds.

I managed to have a $90 prescription (which was already discounted through insurance) reduced to $12 through GoodRx.

I also recommend checking out CostPlusDrugs for drugs with fair, affordable prices.

Buy generic or store-brand for OTC medications

If you look at the ingredients, store and name-brand over-the-counter medications are the same.

Use the minimum amount of laundry detergent needed

Laundry detergent is usually highly concentrated, so you can simply use the smallest amount they recommend or suggest. That way, your detergent will last longer.

Clean with ingredients you already have

You can easily use ingredients like baking soda, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar to clean. It is a cheaper, healthier, and more natural alternative.

Cut out the paper

Instead of using paper towels or napkins, you can use a washcloth or towel for hand drying, dish drying, or cleaning.

Or like us, we have old clothes that we cut into rags to use for cleaning or wiping that work just as fine as long as the material is right.

Little Ways to Save Money on Entertainment

How to Save Money on Entertainment | Little Ways to Save Money | Hopeful Panda

Utilize the library

The library offers books AND many other things like magazines, comics, games, movies, and TV shows you can check out for free.

They also host many free events and provide many resources for more than just entertainment.

Take advantage of free entertainment

YouTube itself is free and contains many movies, TV episodes, or creator-made content that can be great sources of entertainment.

You can also look into what movies or TV shows you want to watch, then try out free trials of various streaming services to watch them. It’s also a great way to see if that service is worth paying for.

Also, take advantage of sites or apps like Free Epic Games which offers one or more free games every week. There are also many free mobile and online games you can play.

Cancel cable

Cable is expensive, with ads on top of that. Opt for a streaming service instead. Or at least, get rid of some costly channels that you barely watch.

Share streaming services

You don’t have to pay for all the different streaming services out there. Share accounts with family and friends instead.

Make an arrangement where each member pays for a specific service but everyone has access to all services.

Or reach out to family and friends and see if they have an unused profile/account you can use for free or for part of the subscription cost.

Switch cell phone plans

If possible, look into various cell phone plans. Oftentimes, many carriers have some kind of special deal or sale that will cost less than your current phone plan.

Look into joining a family plan where each member pays less but still gets all the perks.

Avoid upgrading your phone

Avoid upgrading your phone until you have to upgrade it for whatever reason.

We don’t constantly need new things that come out. Wait a bit. The hype will die down and so will the price.

Wait for sales of computer games

Games often go on sale, especially on Steam where they usually have expected sale periods. So if you’re wanting to buy a game, maybe wait for a sale.

You can also check out Humble Bundle or Free Epic Games for free or cheap games.

Check out game subscriptions

Game subscriptions like the Xbox Game Pass can give you access to a bunch of different games you can play by paying a monthly price.

You also get a discount when you want to purchase the games.

Cancel subscriptions you don’t use much or stick to a select few

You likely aren’t using all or even most of your subscriptions. If you do use them all, try to rank them and keep the top 3 you use or like the most.

You can always cancel one before starting another and continue so you’re not paying for 20 subscriptions at a time.

Look for free events and activities

Entertainment and leisure can be expensive. However, there are many attractions like aquariums, gardens, and zoos that offer certain days or hours when you can visit for free or at a discounted price.

There are also places that are pay-what-you-want.

There are also annual membership passes for places like gardens and museums that give you free access to hundreds of locations in the nation.

Other Little Ways to Save Money

Little Ways to Save Money | Hopeful Panda

Don’t skimp on preventative healthcare

If paying for preventative healthcare can prevent you from dealing with something way more serious and costly down the road, then it’s completely worth it.

It will save you money and is more beneficial to your health and overall well-being.

Visit the dollar store

You can get everyday essentials like soap, shampoo, lotion, or seasonal items like decorations, wrapping paper, cards, and party goodies that will be a lot less expensive.

Do your own nails

If you are tight on money, consider painting your own nails. Or limit your visits and do touch-ups yourself.

Get hand-me-downs

If you know someone who’s planning to get rid of something, maybe you can take it off their hands or pay a small price for it.

Print in black-and-white

If you don’t need colors on your printouts, turn off the color cartridge if possible.

Don’t pay for relaxation

There are plenty of free ways to relax.

Try meditation, reading, taking a bubble bath, or having a spa day at home.

Throw parties at home

Entertaining or throwing a party in a restaurant or outside establishment can get costly. You can have a great party at home just the same.

Have a party outside with a picnic or barbecue or a cozy dinner inside the house. You can also add games and activities that you planned yourself or find free ideas online.

My wedding took place at my husband’s grandmother’s house.

With the help and generosity of his immediate family to DIY everything for us, we only had to spend on catering. After receiving our wedding gifts, we actually made money from the event!

Join loyalty programs

Many stores and restaurants have a loyalty or rewards program that’s free to join.

Take advantage of the benefits, perks, and discounts. Or earn points towards a reward or store credit.

Cancel your gym membership

You can exercise at home or outside. It just requires a bit of creativity.

You can even find cheap or free used exercise equipment on Facebook or Craigslist.

Or you can go to a nearby park or trail to run or work out on some public equipment.

Go thrifting

Thrift stores are oftentimes full of hidden gems and great deals. It just requires a bit of browsing and patience.

I suggest avoiding big-named stores like Goodwill since they tend to be outrageously overpriced. Opt for local stores that tend to have lower prices. For instance, the thrift store near me is inexpensive and often has 50% off days.

Consider your transportation options

Commutes can get expensive, especially if you’re paying for cabs or using a driving service or app. An Uber ride was $50 for only 12 minutes!

If you don’t live too far from where you need to go, consider walking or biking. You can probably find a cheap or even free bike online through Facebook or Craigslist.

If not, consider public transportation or carpooling to save money on gas and possibly parking.

DIY and Upcycle

Before you spend money on anything, try to see if you can make it yourself, as long as the initial cost is worth it and the process isn’t too difficult or time-consuming.

Pinterest and other sites have lots of fun and cool DIY and upcycling project ideas.

And sometimes, we want to change or spruce things up a bit.

Instead of completely replacing the old with the new, you can get creative and transform old things into new versions.

It can be a simple paint job, a DIY project, or using old parts to build something new.

Reuse containers and boxes

Instead of paying for organization and storage, you can reuse containers and boxes that came with whatever item you purchased.

For example, the plastic container that deli meat or gelato comes in can be used for storing food in the fridge or random knickknacks.

A cookie tin or shoebox can be used to hold sentimental items or other random things.

Buy discounted gift cards

If you tend to shop at a store or website a lot, purchase discounted gift cards for it.

Avoid storage units

If you’re renting a storage unit just to store some things you won’t be using anytime soon or just because you have too much, then it’s probably time to go through your things and get rid of some.

Join a wholesale club

Wholesale clubs like Costco can easily pay for the membership in savings you get.

For instance, their auto insurance was 50% cheaper than any other quote I’ve gotten. Just that already pays for the membership and more.

Also, be on the lookout for any discounts or offers for joining to save even more.

Use rechargeable batteries

If you often burn through batteries, consider switching to rechargeable batteries. It also reduces the amount of waste you go through.

Plan gift-giving in advance

Planning gift-giving in advance gives you the opportunity to buy things on sale or have time to research the gift that’s most affordable and fitting.

When you procrastinate on gift-giving, you also end up spending extra money.

Give homemade gifts

There are many things you can cheaply make but still makes wonderful gifts, like a hand-knitted scarf, a personalized picture frame, or a gift basket you put together.

It also adds more thoughtfulness to it.

Join a money-saving forum online

A lot of money-saving tips in this post are from various little corners of the internet where folks gather to share money-saving tips and ask for advice.

If you ever come across an issue financially or are looking for more ways to save money or be more frugal, there are online communities you can browse or reach out to for suggestions.


Being able to save money is a habit everyone should develop.

Unless you’re a multi-millionaire with loads of income flowing in, you should be more mindful of how you’re spending your money.

Of course, it’s okay to treat yourself sometimes. You deserve to take care of yourself.

Just make sure that self-care doesn’t end up becoming self-indulgence.

Basically, be able to save money while also enjoying yourself in moderation. Besides, you don’t need money to treat yourself or practice self-care.

I hope you can implement some of these little ways to save money in your current life as you continue on your healing journey.

You deserve to be stable – physically, emotionally, and financially.

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Hi there, I’m Estee. Having grown up with an abusive mother, I know how isolating, frustrating, and hopeless everything could feel – back then as a child and even now as an adult.

I am always trying to better understand and manage the effects of the abuse I experienced. And this journey I’m on inspired me to create Hopeful Panda. Learn more here.

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