15 Ways To Save Money While Traveling

Who doesn’t like to save money when possible? Traveling can be expensive, but with the right strategy you can bring down the cost. Try these 15 tips on your next vacation and your wallet will thank you.

1. Shop at farmer’s markets and local stores. Farmer’s markets often lower the price of their food towards the end of the day. Also, shopping at local stores allows you to taste the local cuisine without having to pay the price of a restaurant. Buy some local fish and cook it up at your condo.

2. Look for free activities. If you do a little research, you’ll see there are often lots of free activities in the area. Look at community calendars to see what is going on in town while you are there. Do a self-guided walking tour to familiarize yourself with your destination. Museums often have a ‘pay what you can’ day once a week and sometimes have discounted admission after a certain time of day.

3. Book a room with a refrigerator/microwave or kitchen area. Although some people might not like to cook while on vacation, I don’t mind making breakfast in my room. I love having a cup of coffee on my deck, but room service can be very pricy. I’d rather eat-in for breakfast and lunch and then splurge on a fancy dinner. A microwave and fridge will also be helpful for reheating leftovers.

4. Before you book, be aware of the location of where you’re staying. Transportation can add up quickly, so you may want to stay in a central location. Ideally, somewhere you can walk everywhere would work best. If you’re staying in a city, will you be near a subway or bus stop?

5. Carry snacks/water during outings. Kids will need snacks while you are exploring, and it drives me crazy to spend money on silly snacks. Throw some granola bars in your bag and pull them out when the kids need fuel. Don’t even get me started on how much I hate spending money on bottled water when I can buy an entire case for the same amount. Always carry your own water. However, splurge when it comes to treats that you can only find in that location.

6. Use points or miles. Chain hotels, like Hilton and Marriott, have a reward system that give you points for staying there and they are great to use for free overnight stays. When traveling, try to exclusively stay at those hotels and fly the same airlines to build your points.

7. Don’t get the best room. How much time are you actually going to use your room? Will you just be sleeping there? Do you need a room with a good view or so much extra space? Will you use the amenities, such as a pool or a fitness room?

8. Be flexible when flying. If you are not on a tight schedule, can you be flexible with the time of day you fly, the number of stops, or your seat selection? Do you mind having a long layover? If possible, check the dates of your trip and see if the price would go down if you tweaked the dates a bit.

9. Stay outside a city. You often pay for location, and it’s sometimes cheaper to stay away from areas with big tourist attractions. You can always go to the attractions and then head back to your hotel to sleep.

10. Look for city tourism cards. Depending on the card, you can gain free entry to top visitor attractions, discounts at restaurants and shops, skip-the-line options at busy attractions, free public transportation, and even free guidebooks. Depending on your itinerary, it might be worth the money.

11. Rent an apartment instead of having to get two rooms. My friends with three or more kids are often complaining how expensive it is to stay in a hotel because they need to get adjoining rooms. An apartment or condo is often much cheaper. I love to use VRBO, HomeAway, and have even used TripAdvisor.

12. Go off season. You can usually find cheaper plane tickets and hotel rooms by going off season, and there may be more availability. You will not have to deal with large crowds and attractions could also be cheaper at that time. Just make sure places are open.

13. Don’t eat in areas that are close to tourist destinations. In some cities, walking just a few blocks can slash prices at restaurants. I try to never eat at attractions because they tend to raise the price to their captive audience.

14. Create a budget and stick to it! Know when to save and when to splurge. We always eat at a nice restaurant on our last night of vacation. Look for ways to save money but also treat yourself during the trip. Having a budget is a wonderful way to keep yourself on track.

15. Have a big lunch. Restaurants often offer lunch specials with less expensive prices. You could also buy extra food at lunch and save it for dinner later.

How to Save Money on Groceries: Complete Guide

Are you tired of seeing prices rise every time you go to the grocery store? The Federal Reserve may say that inflation is pacing the 2-percent target, but anyone who looks at their till slip after a shop can say otherwise.

Food prices will continue to escalate as the world teeters on the brink of a global recession. Threats to food supplies cause increases in prices, and you’ll find you’re paying more for some food products than others. For example, the recent global shortage of pork due to Chinas “pig ebola,” means that pork prices are set to rise exponentially over the coming months.

At the same time, wages aren’t rising, and people are experiencing a cash crunch on their monthly budget. The grocery store is the place where most of us notice the cost of living starting to encroach on our budget.

Fortunately, we put together this list of tips and ideas you can use to bring down your monthly spend. Give each of these strategies a try, and you’ll save hundreds of dollars over the year on your trips to the grocery store.

Set a Budget and Write a Shopping List

After you have your meal plan ready, it’s time to execute. Start by writing a comprehensive shopping list of all the ingredients you’ll need for your meals. Creating a shopping list provides a method to the madness of visiting a grocery store.

With a list, you can laser-target the items you need at the store, and save time. Time is our most valuable asset in the modern world. If you add up all of the minutes you spend aimlessly wandering around the grocery store during the year, we bet it adds up to hours of your life. With a list, you get in and get out of the store in the shortest time possible.

Create your list on an excel sheet and print it out or send it to your phone. If you think that feels too much like work, then a simple hand-written list will suffice. Once you have your list ready to go, it’s vital that you don’t differ from the plan and only shop for items you need.

Plan Your Shop

The most important part of your money-saving strategy starts before you walk out the door to go to the grocery store. Creating a meal plan for the week helps you identify all the ingredients you need when you visit the store.

With a meal plan, you know all the ingredients you need, and you don’t waste your time wandering around the isles. With a meal plan and ingredients list, there’s no chance of you picking up items that you don’t need for the week.

Think about the meals you want to make this week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eat as healthy as you can, and avoid relying on TV dinners and prepared meals for your food. Prepared meals contain sub-standard ingredients that have a low nutritional value. In many cases, these prepared meals come with meat offcuts and processed foods that are terrible for your health.

If you have little time to make breakfast or lunch during the week, then preparing meals that you can store throughout the week is a good idea. Mueslis and yogurt jars, soaked oats, and salad jars are all pre-made options you can make on a Sunday, and leave in the fridge for a few days. Pull them out when you need them, and get a nutritious meal instead of relying on the drive-thru at lunchtime.

Never Shop When Hungry

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when visiting the grocery store is to walk through the doors feeling hungry. Two types of hormones govern our appetite and food choice – Leptin and ghrelin. When you get hungry, the body ramps up production of ghrelin to stimulate your appetite.

Unfortunately, when ghrelin is rampaging through your body, you make poor food decisions. If you visit the grocery store when you’re feeling hungry, there’s a higher chance that you’ll buy things that aren’t on your shopping list. Hunger makes us do silly things, and you’ll find yourself picking out loads of snack foods and other items you don’t need.

Only visit the grocery store after you enjoy a meal. Try to avoid going to the bravery store after work, as this is the time of the day when you’re likely to be feeling hungriest. Plan your shopping trips on weekends, and hit the grocery store after you enjoy a substantial breakfast.

Double Up On Ingredients

Research shows that Americans waste around 25-percent of the food we eat. That’s a shocking statistic. Imagine if you could save 25-percent of the money you spend at the grocery store each year? That figure would likely be hundreds or thousands of dollars.

One of the best ways to ensure you waste less food in your home is to double up on your meals. Cook enough to make two meals when it’s time to prepare food. While this strategy may seem like you’re making more food, you’ll waste less. Pack the extra food and use it for a second meal during the week. Store it in Tupperware and freeze it for a snack later in the month.

Use this strategy for making breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You’ll find it surprising how much food you save during the week. Plus, there’s the convenience of having frozen home-cooked meals on hand when you’re feeling tired and don’t want to cook in the evenings after work.

Visit Sites for Coupons

Visit sites like eBates, and other similar discount sites for virtual coupons on thousands of grocery items. Sign up for a cashback program with eBates, and you could earn up to 40-percent of your spend in cash back credits that payout to your PayPal account.

Clipping coupons may seem like you’re cheap with your money. However, there is nothing wrong with taking a frugal approach to your grocery shopping. Clipping coupons may take some time, but you’ll save thousands of dollars over the year using this strategy.

Stock Your Pantry

Keeping a well-stocked pantry ensures that you don’t run out of crucial items. If you’re ready to make a salad, but there’s no olive oil for the dressing, you’re more likely to go and visit the grocery store. While you’re there, you’re probably going to pick up a few other things that you don’t need.

Keeping your pantry packed with everything you need helps you avoid situations where you have to waste time and money going to the grocery store. Make sure you stock up on all the non-perishable items you use throughout the month. Ensure that you don’t leave the house for any unexpected shortages.

Use Your Leftovers

We all have leftovers after making a meal. How many times have you finished your enchiladas, and put the leftovers in the fridge? The next day, you forget they are even in there. When you return from work, you start cooking something fresh, and the enchiladas sit in the fridge overnight.

The following day, you open the fridge door to a rank smell of rotting enchiladas. You throw out the meal in disgust, both at the state of the food and yourself for wasting food. Stop these situations from occurring and use your leftovers.

If you’re cooking something like enchiladas, where it might be too much for one serving, then double up the ingredients and make a second meal you can store in the freezer.

Shop for Deals

Before you head out to the grocery store, take some time to shop for deals online. Most large grocery store chains will post price deals on their website. Smaller stores may use local newspaper inserts to promote discounts on items. It’s vital that you look for the best deals possible, and compare prices between products.

For instance, toilet paper is one of the necessities we can’t do without in our life. It may shock you to find that there’s often a 25 to a 30-percent difference in pricing of this consumable between different retailers. However, you can be sure that a retailer is offering a special deal on toilet paper every weekend.

Proteins are also another item where grocery stores have promotional deals all year-round. Some grocery stores may offer deals or discounts if you take more than one item of the same type. For instance, buy three batches of asparagus and only pay for two.

Buy Your Food in Bulk

If you’re heading to the grocery store, make sure you buy in bulk where you can. Canned foods and other items with long shelf lives are fantastic for buying in bulk. When you visit the grocery store, look at the shelf pricing. The chances are that you’ll find there are two prices.

The higher price in the bold or large font is for a single unit. If you look under that, you’ll find a smaller, cheaper bulk price if you take more than a set amount of items. Buying in bulk is an excellent way to save money on canned foods, sauces, dry foods like rice and pasta, and bottled things like olive oil.

Prep Your Meals

We already discussed the importance of meal planning. However, meal preparation is essential. After you visit the grocery store on Sunday, return home, and spend an hour or two preparing meals for the next few days. Most meals will keep in the fridge for up to four days before they start to spoil.

Putting together items like salad bowls and jars of soaked oats saves you plenty of time during the week when you oversleep in the mornings. All you need to do is grab a jar and hit the road. Using this strategy will help you avoid the drive-thru line at lunchtime, saving you plenty of money during the year. Scour forums and blogs online for tips and tricks for preparing meals in minutes.

Join a Community Supported Agriculture Program

One of the best ways you can save thousands on your annual grocery shopping is through joining a community agriculture program or co-op. These programs are a collaboration of community members that support a local farm. The members pay an annual or monthly fee to join the program, and this entitles them to some of the crops each year.

These programs can save you a fortune of your vegetable bill over the year. Having fresh, organic veggies on hand for a fraction of the price you pay in the grocery store is fantastic. Plus, you get genuine organic fruits and vegetables, which is far healthier for you and your family.

Joining a community-supported agriculture program is the best way to improve the health of you and your wallet. Look online for programs in your area, and participate for a small fee.

The Final Tip – Don’t Give in to Your Impulses

When you finish your shop and move to the checkout, don’t fall for the impulse trap. It may surprise you to learn that suppliers pay the grocery store for shelf space. The premium shelf space in the aisles is at eye level and the shelf below. However, the most expensive shelf space is next to the cashiers.

You’ll notice that grocery stores put candy and convenience products near the cashier. This situation is not a coincidence. Food manufacturers spend millions on research to understand what triggers consumer’s impulses. By placing the candy and convenience products near the ill, the study shows that you are more likely to buy these products on a whim.

Therefore, avoid the temptation to fill your grocery cart with a few candy bars and snack foods while you’re waiting for the cashier. If you pick up one candy bar every time you go shopping, then that’s a couple of hundred dollars over the year that you’re spending on impulse purchases you don’t need.

Don’t fall for this sneaky tactic that retailers use to upsell your shopping trip. Stick to your plan and your shopping list, and don’t blow your budget.

20 Simple Ways To Save Money On Groceries

Grocery stores are expensive. It’s all too easy to go in for a couple of items, only to leave with an empty wallet. Since we all have to eat, there’s really no way around this — despite the high costs, buying groceries and making homemade meals is still the cheapest, smartest way to get fed.

We have good news, sort of: Chances are, we’re throwing down way more money than we should. While it’d be hard to cut grocery spending in half, there are many tricks to avoid over-spending at the supermarket — 20 of them, in fact. Using them all together might add up to big savings. (Bonus: many of them make for more sustainable food choices, too.)

Shop smarter, folks, with these 20 easy money-saving tricks.

1. Don’t be tempted by brand names.

You might be used to a particular brand of cereal or sugar, but the generic options are usually cheaper. Generic brands often use name-brand products with their own labels on it, and they offer it at a better price. Just check the ingredients to be sure you’re getting the same product.

2. Stay away from the inner aisles.

Grocery stores are strategically designed to place essential ingredients, such as dairy and produce, on opposite ends of the store. This forces most shoppers to pass through all the aisles, often times picking up items they don’t need. Try to skip the middle aisles of the store and stick to only the items you need.

3. Don’t be afraid of coupons.

Coupons can save you some serious cash. Check out sites like coupons.com for great deals. And then double your savings by combining coupons with what’s on sale at your local store. The store’s circular is the best way to know what’s being promoted. Make it a point to read it on a weekly basis, it’ll save you lots.

4. Put the toiletries down.

While buying toiletries at the supermarket may be easy, you’re paying a price for that convenience. Save those items for the pharmacy, where they are usually cheaper.

5. Look up and look down, because it’s the eye-level shelves that stock the priciest items.

Since we tend to look at items that are at our eye level, grocery stores know to place the more expensive items on the shelves we see first. When shopping, look at the higher and lower shelves for cheaper items.

6. Remember rain checks.

When an item that most people use, like olive oil, goes on sale at the store, it sells out quickly. Inquire about getting a rain check. Some grocery stores offer the option of getting an extension on sold-out sale items.

7. Consider dried beans.

Many people opt for canned beans because they’re either intimidated by cookingk dried beans or they don’t think they have the time. But making a good pot of beans is really easy — we promise! — and it tastes far superior. While the difference in price is not enough to break the bank, these little changes will add up.

8. Stay away from the prepared foods.

Don’t buy the pre-made foods, no matter how good they look. You’re at the store already, just buy the ingredients and make it for a fraction of the price at home. It’ll taste much better fresh, too.

9. Try to eat with the seasons.

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: eat the produce that’s in season. Not only will it taste infinitely better, but it will save you serious money. Out-of-season produce travels far, which are costs you end up paying for.

10. Don’t splurge on exotic spices.

While experimenting with your cooking is a good idea, it’s not always wise to buy those spices at your local grocery store. Making a trip to an international market can save you a ton on spices and specialty ingredients.

11. Don’t go to the store hungry.

Many of us go to the grocery store after work and before dinner, which is when we start to get hungry. If you buy your groceries when hungry, you’ll purchase more than you need. Try to get the shopping out of the way on the weekends, when you can shop on a full stomach.

12. Reconsider buying bottled water.

Bottled water is a billion dollar industry, and it’s coming out of your pocket. The average 16 oz. bottle of water costs about a dollar, and it’s recommended that you drink four of them a day; that equates to $120 dollars a month on something you can get for free from your faucet.

13. Take the time to make a grocery list.

No matter how good your memory is, write a grocery list. Not only will it make sure you don’t forget things you need, it’ll more importantly deter you from buying the things you don’t need.

14. Consider keeping your children at home, if possible.

While sometimes we can’t avoid shopping with children, it’s best to try to buy your groceries when they’re not around. Children will often want to buy food items that you don’t need, and it isn’t always easy to say no.

15. Remember, you’re paying for the convenience of pre-washed salad.

Yes, it’s convenient to have your lettuce pre-cleaned and contained in trimmed plastic tubs, but it also costs nearly three times the price. If you buy your own head of lettuce, wash and trim it right away, and have it ready to use, you won’t even notice the difference.

16. Don’t waste big bucks on a few sprigs of fresh herbs.

You’re literally throwing money away by not starting your own herb garden. And you can do it no matter the amount (or lack of) space you have. Fresh herbs cost a small fortune at the grocery store. Often times you can buy an entire plant for less than you can a few sprigs at the supermarket.

17. Just grate your own cheese.

Just like with pre-packaged lettuce and pre-cut fruit, grated cheese costs you extra for the convenience. But it’s not that hard to grate your own cheese. With a less expensive block of cheese, and a cheap box grater, you can start saving money on this ingredient.

18. Put down the spice mix.

Fancy spice mixes and marinade rubs can easily set you back $5 a piece. This is the biggest waste of money since you can make your own spice mix with seasonings you most likely already have on hand. Remember, a large portion of most of the mixes are just salt.

19. Pinch pennies on potatoes.

The good folks at Elizabeth Street reminded us that bagged potatoes can prove to be a really good bargain. Sometimes stores charge just as much for two loose potatoes as they do a five pound bag. Compare as you shop, you’ll be surprised where you can find savings like these.

20. Pre-cut fruit is going to cost you.

If someone is getting paid to do a job that you could easily do yourself at home, like cutting up a mango or watermelon, you’re going to be paying for it.

20 Ways To Save Money On Monthly Bills You Can’t Escape

Why do so many of us find it challenging to save money? According to a Federal Reserve report, about 40 percent of Americans would find it difficult to fund a $400 emergency.

Whether or not you have much cash sitting in your bank account, everyone can benefit from saving more money.

It’s easy to have good intentions toward creating a nest egg, but most people soon lose motivation. It’s much simpler to put off saving money until tomorrow and spend it on things we want today.

Maybe we can’t get around paying phone bills, car payments or insurance premiums, but that doesn’t mean we can’t spend less on them each month! We are living in a new era – a time where there has been an explosion of innovative and free solutions that can improve our personal finances and help us save money on monthly bills we simply can’t get out of paying each month.

Check out the following 20 ways to save money on bills you can’t escape:

1. Lower Your Credit Card Debt & Skip Payment This Month

High-interest credit card debt can eat you alive, but a personal loan can help you reduce the cost and pain.

Personal loans allow borrowers to pay off debt at once, and replace that debt with one lower interest rate loan. This can lower your monthly payment and save you thousands.

Here’s how it works:

  • Apply for and accept a personal loan that will pay off your debt (make sure the interest rate is lower than what you’re currently paying).
  • The personal loan pays off your current debt.
  • Now pay off the personal loan which is at a lower interest rate.
  • Pretty quick and easy way to save money huh?!

These are 3 top choices for personal loans:

  • Credible – Check out prequalified rates from as many as 11 different lenders at once in as little as 2 minutes with this free service that matches borrowers with personal loans between $1,000 and $100,000.
  • Upstart – This loan company believes you’re more than just your credit score. It considers a variety of other factors, such as employment history and education level, when determining interest rates. You can get a loan from Upstart in amounts from $1,000-$50,000
  • Fiona – This personal loan company will match you with a lender best suited for your credit rating and will even match you with a more appropriate offer if for some reason you don’t qualify. You can get a loan from Fiona in amounts from $1,000 to $100,000.

Personal loans can also be used for emergency expenses that suddenly arise, medical expenses, repayment of loans, and a variety of other reasons.

2. Increase Your Credit Score

Services like CreditSesame can help improve your credit score and save money every month.

A less-than-optimal credit score might be hurting you more than you realize. Poor credit means that you will end up paying higher interest rates on credit cards, mortgages, auto loans and a whole plethora of financial products that you need to survive.

Lucky for those of us whose credit leaves some room for improvement, Credit Sesame is here to help us boost our scores – and it won’t cost us a cent!

The website offers a free credit report and score, as well as a variety of analytical tools to help you understand what’s affecting your credit and what steps are needed to boost your credit score. It even offers free credit monitoring and identity theft protection.

3. Save Thousands On Your Student Loans

Wouldn’t you love to save money on your student loans? Credible helps student loan holders do just that by getting them lower interest rates.

One of the best ways to save money on student loans is by refinancing them. Refinancing just means replacing one or more high-interest loans with a new, lower-interest loan. In the process, you can lower your monthly payment and save thousands over the lifetime of your loan.

Credible is an online loan marketplace that can help you save thousands by showing you prequalified student loan refinancing rates from up to 10 lenders in just 2 minutes.

4. Use Home Equity Loans to Consolidate

A home equity loan from Figure can be a great option when you need cash. A home equity loan allows you to borrow against the equity in your home, which could make it easier to obtain a loan at a lower interest rate.

Home equity loans can be used to consolidate a large amount of debt, to finance a home improvement project or make other major purchases. An easy way to save money with a home equity loan is to let Figure find you the lowest interest rate.

Figure Home Equity Loans can be approved for qualified borrowers in just five minutes. It’s no wonder the low-cost loans are known as the “fastest home equity loan on the planet.”

Figure offers great terms on home equity loans with fixed monthly payments, as well as no appraisal and no maintenance fees. Customers can get a loan in amounts from $15,000 to $150,000.

5. Use a Credit Card to Your Benefit

If you use your credit card smart and make payments on time, it can be an incredibly great way to save money on everyday things you buy.

A cash back credit card is a great way to do just that. Rewarding you with money back in your pocket when you shop. See a list of top cash back credit cards.

For those that already have credit card debt, a 0% balance transfer credit card could be helpful to you. A 0% balance transfer credit card allows you to transfer the debt from one credit card to a new credit card and can have 0% interest for as much as 21 months. This allows you to save money while paying off your credit card faster with 0% interest. See a list of top 0% balance transfer credit cards.

6. Pay Less for Your Auto Insurance

Auto insurance is one of those bills we all begrudgingly pay every month. But it’s inescapable if we want to drive. That doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to pay less for our car insurance. Insurance companies like Liberty Mutual are offering innovative car insurance plans that save drivers money.

The trusted insurance provider offers affordable auto insurance plans nationwide, saving drivers an average of $509 a year.

Drivers not only could save money on car insurance with Liberty Mutual, but they can rely on its 12-month rate guarantee, lifetime repair guarantee and 24/7 customer service.

7. Pay Less for Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance

Want to save money on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies? You’re probably paying more than you need to be. Lemonade offers some of the industry’s most affordable insurance plans.

Lemonade’s top-quality renter’s insurance plans start at only $5 per month, while the company offers homeowner’s insurance for as low as $25 a month.

Not only does Lemonade offer some of the cheapest insurance plans, but the company is classified as a Public Benefit Corporation, and profits help support a better society. Lemonade takes a flat fee from every paid premium, while the rest of the money is donated to worthy causes.

Switching to Lemonade if you’re already insured is simple, as the company takes care of the hassle for you.

8. Save Money on Rent or Your Mortgage

Our largest monthly expense is our home and whether you rent or own, that expense could be reduced if you’re willing to list your extra space on Airbnb. You could choose to list an extra bedroom, or your home when you’re occasionally away. Whatever your circumstance allows, it could drastically help chip away at a rent or mortgage bill.

Listing on Airbnb is incredibly simple and you always remain in control.

Airbnb even provides a quick potential earning estimate based on your space and city.

9. Make Savings Goals

Even once you’ve set your mind on saving money, how do you know what’s an appropriate amount? Qapital users don’t have that problem!

Are you reaching your savings potential and stowing away enough for whatever possible rainy day? Will you be able to send your kids to college or retire comfortably?

Qapital is an app that helps you automatically save the perfect amount. Just tell Qapital your savings goals – creating an emergency fund, saving for a down payment on a new home, a ski trip, etc. – and the app helps you supercharge your efforts.

The app can also help you invest with ease. Qapital’s pre-built portfolios are ideal for budding investors – give us a timeline and amount and we’ll do the rest. We’ll even diversify your funds so you don’t have all your eggs in one basket.

10. Save Money on Life Insurance

You might think saving money means cutting extra costs like life insurance. But you don’t have to leave your family without protection to save money on life insurance. Ladder lets customers customize their coverage levels, so they aren’t paying extra for benefits they don’t want.

Ladder customers can get cheap life insurance prices with just a few clicks, decreasing their coverage anytime with no fees to change the plan. Ladder’s prices are locked in, and customers can cancel whenever they want. Plus, there are not agents or upselling attempts to overcome.

11. Automatically Save on Monthly Bills

When it comes to saving money, making the leap and moving the money is more than half the battle. If you’re one of those reluctant savers who mindlessly stare at their accounts in indecision, why not use a tool that automates the process?

Trim is the no-hassle way to save money. It helps meet savings goals by securely connecting users’ accounts and analyzing their spending.

Then, the Trim app looks for recurring subscriptions to see what expenses can be cut from your monthly budget. It then cancels subscriptions for you (like that gym membership you don’t use), negotiates your rates (like the cable bill you overpay for), looks for better insurance and completes other tasks that will save money every month. It even automatically transfers funds into high-yield savings accounts to maximize your savings.

12. Grow Your Savings

Our bank accounts should be where our money grows, not where it sits. Traditional banks today pay very little interest, but that’s not the case with top a top 10 online U.S. bank CIT Bank.

This FDIC insured bank offers a plethora of online savings account options that pay more than 20x the national average.

If you’re looking to get the most interest possible for your savings, a CIT saving builder account is a great option.

13. Save Money by Couponing with Technology

How many of us would love to save money like those extreme couponers we see on TV, but we just don’t have the time or the patience to spend hours pouring through coupon pages and sales circulars?

What if you could get many of the same savings with an app on your smartphone? Ibotta, Rakuten, Drop and Paribus all provide cashback bonuses that uses can transform into savings.

Ibotta users earn cashback rewards for their purchases both online and in stores. The free app offers savings on everything under the sun, including groceries, travel, dining, fashion and more. Just check out your Ibotta app before you shop and see which products qualify for a rebate. Purchase the products, provide either photos or screenshots of your receipts, and the rebates will be added to your Ibotta rebate balance.

Once you accumulate $20 in rebates, you can transfer the money into your PayPal or Venmo account, or you can request it as a gift card. Who wouldn’t want to earn a rebate on products you’re already going to buy? And once you get that extra money, there’s no reason you can’t stick it into savings – it won’t cost you a thing!

Of course, Ibotta isn’t alone saving money for online purchases:

  • Rakuten – Formerly known as Ebates, the popular savings app offers users as much as 40-percent cash back on purchases made at more than 2,500 online retailers. Simply by beginning their transactions from the Rakuten website and choosing the merchant from whom they plan to shop from there, users receive rebates on their purchases. Every three months, they receive their rewards payment via check or PayPal. It really is that simple: no fees, no forms, no points to track!
  • Drop – The free app offers users the chance to earn free gift cards from their favorite online retailers. Just download the Drop app, link your debit or credit card and choose which of Drop’s partner retailers from whom you’d like to earn points. Once you earn enough points to redeem, you can select from an assortment of e-gift cards to a variety of retailers.
  • Paribus – The tool from Capital One might be one of the simplest ways to save money on online purchases. Have you ever missed out on a discount because you didn’t see the offer until it was too late? Don’t you hate it when you buy something only to find out later that the price went down? Paribus will make sure you never miss a deal again. Anytime Paribus detects a price drop for one of your recent purchases, notifies you of the change and helps you get a refund. Start saving with Paribus by signing up with the email you typically use for online shopping receipts. The tool will scan your inbox for receipts and check against prices with stores it monitors. Paribus also saves money by monitoring rates of hotel rooms you’ve reserved and notifying you if those prices decrease. The platform even tracks shipments so you can be compensated for late deliveries. Paribus users have already gotten refunded $29 million!

14. Boost Your 401k Savings

Most Americans fortunate enough to have a 401K to which they contribute don’t do much after establishing the account and setting their payroll deductions. Did you know strategic management can make your 401k balance grow larger in less time? Still, who has the necessary time and skill to do that, even if it’s one of the best ways to save money?

Rather than letting your 401k ride until it’s time to retire, let Bloom manage it for your benefit. The team at Bloom are pros at managing investments, and they can apply those skills to your 401k balances. Just by signing up for the program, you’ll receive an unbiased analysis of your retirement funds and suggestions on how to eliminate extra costs, hidden fees and anything else that isn’t contributing to a blossoming balance.

The benefits from Bloom don’t end there! The professional investment managers will offer a full review of your 401k account, as well as ongoing support to monitor for changes that are both hindering and helping your grow your retirement fund.

15. Save Money on Your Power Bill

Clean energy and saving money on your power bill, what’s not to love?

OhmConnect will help you use energy when it’s cleanest and reward you to save when it’s dirty.

OhmConnect is notified by the utility when a time of intense demand is coming up and rewards you if you’ll reduce your energy usage during this time. If you’ve used less energy, you’ll be rewarded with cash payments or an entry into a bi-weekly prize draw.

It’s only currently available to people who live in California, Texas or Toronto, Canada

16. Pay Less for Your Mobile Phone

It’s true we are practically glued to our smartphones, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pay less for them. Rather than let massive telecom corporations overcharge you for your mobile phone plan, why not save a fortune by switching to Mint Mobile?

Mint Mobile’s reliable 4G LTE phone plans work nationwide and include unlimited talk and text with 2 GB of mobile data each month. The mobile phone plans cost as little as $15 a month, which means switching to Mint Mobile is one of the best ways to save money on your phone bill.

Not only can Mint Mobile users keep their current phone numbers, but they can also either get a new phone or just insert a new SIM card into their current phones.

17. Save Money Earned by Surfing the Web

How would you like to earn rewards without even making a purchase? With Swagbucks, Inbox Dollars and MyPoints, users simply log on and surf the web the same as you do every day– and even earn instant cash just for signing up! Earning spare change adds up and is another of the best ways to save money every month.

Swagbucks will pay you for online activities like watching videos, playing games, answering surveys or just general web surfing. The rewards are then redeemed in the form of free gift cards or PayPal transfers. So far, Swagbucks users have earned more than $320 million!

Of course, Swagbucks doesn’t have a monopoly on this earnings game. Both Inbox Dollars and MyPoints offer similar programs to their users, who earn money simply for typical online activities. Better yet: All three programs offer free signup bonuses to new users! Sign up for all three, and you’ll end up with an extra $20 in your wallet.

18. Cut the Cord and Lower Your Cable Bill

The number of consumers who no longer pay for cable TV is still growing. But cutting the cord doesn’t have to mean giving up on your favorite cable TV channels and shows. Philo offers customers the best of cable TV at much lower prices.

Are you tired of the unfair and predatory practices of the giant cable companies, but you aren’t ready to restrict yourself to the limited number of streaming options? Philo offers the cable television channels you love while you save money on your monthly bill.

Philo is one of the best streaming values on the market – it’s basic package includes 45 popular cable channels for only $16 a month. Its premium package – including 58 channels – is only $20 a month.

Because the service is streamed over the internet, users can watch Philo on any screen, whether it’s their smart TV, their tablet or their phone.

19. Lower Your Car Payment

For many people, a car payment is simply an unavoidable fact of life. You need a car to get around, and vehicles don’t last forever. Seems as soon as you pay it off, your car needs to be replaced. But you can potentially save money on those car payments with MyAutoLoan.

By seeking a car loan with MyAutoLoan, consumers can compare up to four different loan offers in minutes. By finding a car loan with a lower interest rate, borrowers can put the money they save to use elsewhere. Plus, by negotiating the sale with a financing offer in hand, buyers can often pay a lower sticker price overall. The site even offers opportunities for those who want to refinance their existing auto loans.

You don’t have to be a financial whiz to understand the offers you receive at MyAutoLoan. The site offers tools for prospective borrowers to understand how interest rates affect their payments and for what interest rates they might qualify.

MyAutoLoan will match applicants with lenders that directly fit their needs through a patented analysis and evaluation process, and the process can be completed in minutes. Plus, there’s no pressure to use one of the site’s affiliate lenders, and applicants are under no obligation to use any of the suggested matches at all.

20. Save Money on Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs are one of the most menacing monthly expenses facing many people. Even with insurance, prescription medications can carry a massive price tag. Fortunately, services like Blink Health help customers get better deals on prescriptions.

The website offers more than 15,000 medications marked down by as much as 95 percent for the best deals on prescription medicine in your area. Just choose the medication, pay for it online and print the receipt to take to one of 60,000 participating pharmacies, including popular retailers like Walmart and Kroger. Blink Health’s prices are often lower than most co-pays, and it’s a great option for people with high insurance deductibles.

Your Bills Don’t Have to Be So Expensive

As you can see, there are ways to save money on almost all types of monthly expenses – from your car insurance to your life insurance policy and credit cards. There’s no need to sacrifice your quality of life, since there are so many solutions that help you save without forcing you to give up on the regular expenses simply can’t part with. Using the tools detailed in this list, you can start taking a whack at your unavoidable monthly bills right now!

7 Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

When money is tight, or you are trying to increase your savings, you may be looking for additional ways to save money, or you may want to start saving if you have no savings. You may need to prioritize saving before paying off your debt in some situations. Often when you are barely getting by, it seems impossible to find additional ways to save money. However, it is times like this when you need to work even harder to give yourself the extra savings you need as a cushion to cover unexpected expenses. It is so important to make saving money a priority. Here are fives ways you can save money even when money is tight.

Another way that you can often find more money is by changing the way that you eat. Many of these changes will also benefit your waistline, though it may take a bit longer for you to prepare your food each day. The best thing you can do is to stop eating out.

If you are eating out every day, you can easily save more than forty to $50 a week, even more, if you are eating out at more great establishments. If you rarely eat out, you can save money by cutting back on the convenience foods and cooking from scratch.

2. Change Your Television Service

One of the easiest ways to find extra money to put towards saving money is to cancel your cable bill. It’s often amazing the amount that people pay to watch television. Usually, the conversation will come up, and people will be complaining about the $100 or more a month bill.

You may want to cancel everything entirely, but if that does not appeal to you consider using Netflix or Hulu+ to get your television fix. The combined services cost about $16.00 a month, and you can put the extra savings in the bank each month.

3. Take Advantage of Online Deals

It can be hard to stick to your budget, especially when you feel like you can never have any fun. It is important to budget money for entertainment costs, but you can save money on these costs by taking advantage of online deals that you can get through Amazon Local, Living Social or Groupon.

The trick for these deals is only to buy the ones that you know you will use and to stop once you have hit your limit for the month. You can score some great deals on everything from massages to dinner for two. You need to be careful that you do not end up spending more than you planned once you are there.

4. Cut Every Category Just a Little Bit

When you are tight, you may have already cut all the extra from the budget that you can manage. A budget like this would have no gym memberships, no cable television, and very little in entertainment. When you are just getting by, you still need to save money each month.

Try finding ways to save $5 to $10 per category in your budget and put that money toward your savings or emergency fund. You can often save another $5 per week at the grocery store by dropping one item off of your list.

If you conserve fuel, you may be able to cut back on the amount you spend on gas each month. Adjust your thermostat so that you are not paying as much in heating and cooling costs. You can nickel and dime your way into savings.

5. Switch to Cash for Your Daily Expenses

While it may not be practical to pay your rent or utility bills in cash, switching to cash for entertainment expenses and your grocery bill can help you cut back on your spending.

It helps to have a hard limit on your spending, and if you do not fall back on your debit card when you are shopping, you will be more aware of what you are spending.

It may mean making choices at the store to put things back, but it will also help you determine the best way to use the money that you do have since you will be prioritizing the money you spend shopping.

6. Work on Paying off Your Debt

High-interest debt, like credit cards, can eat up your monthly income. You may be surprised at just how much you are paying in interest each month if you are carrying a balance on your credit cards.

Taking steps to pay off your credit cards as quickly as possible will free up additional money in your budget and make it possible for you to do more things with your money. If you want to be more comfortable and save getting rid of your debt is an important step.

7. Find a Way to Cut Back on Big Expenses

Take a look at your overall budget. Is your car payment too much? Can you find a cheaper place to live that is still nice? Could you move in with roommates to save on rent?

These options may be the last steps you take as you look for ways to increase your savings, but they really can help you save a good amount of money on your bills each month.

The lower you keep these costs, the easier it will be to stick to your budget. If you do decide to sell your car, be sure that you handle it correctly and that you buy a reliable older car.

How to Save Money Every Month

In tough economic times, it’s often difficult to put away savings for when you’ll need it. Many of us find ourselves living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to pay rising living expenses. Because emergencies like health problems and job loss can happen to anyone, many advise that a minimum savings goal should be roughly three-to-six months of living expenses. In contrast, a recent survey found that only 71 percent of Americans had any type of emergency savings, the lowest surveyed in five years. Saving money may seem impossible now, but luckily there are many simple ways to live frugally.

Setting and Sticking to a Budget

  1. Track your expenses. Save receipts for all purchases you make in a month. Gather your monthly bills. Sort them into two main categories: fixed and flexible. Break each of these down further into two subsections: needs and wants.
    • Fixed expenses are roughly the same from month to month. Fixed needs are things like rent, utilities, car payments, student loans, insurance, basic phone service, and ongoing healthcare expenses. Fixed wants are typically subscription entertainment services, such as cable television bills, premium phone service, and high speed Internet (unless necessary for your business).
    • Flexible expenses vary from month to month. While they often have a minimum required cost, most people spend more than that. Flexible needs are things like food and clothing. Flexible wants are typically entertainment, alcohol, hobbies, electronics, and other items that we may treat ourselves or our loved ones to.
    • Some banks and credit card companies offer free automated software that tracks your spending and can create some of these categories for you.
  2. Create your budget. Start with your typical net monthly income, which is your paycheck after taxes. First subtract your fixed expenses. Then, determine what 10 percent of your net income is. This should be your minimum goal to save each month. Subtract that number from what’s left of your paycheck. The final amount is what you will work on to figure out a budget.
    • Do you have enough money after bills and savings to cover your typical spending habits? If not, reduce your expenses. Look first at flexible wants, then to fixed wants and flexible needs for areas you can improve.
    • If you income is irregular, such as most retail workers who don’t usually have fixed schedules, start with an average of the last six to twelve months.

    What constitutes a larger purchase will vary depending on your income level. The two biggest purchases for many people would be a car or a house. Both of these should take a lot of research and time before committing to. However, while most workers would consider things like furniture, appliances, and electronics to be big purchases, very high earners may not. Conversely, while some may consider a superfluous pair of shoes or a new book to be a major purchase, others may view them as trivial.

    3. Avoid making impulsive purchase decisions. Always “sleep on” larger purchases that don’t need an immediate decision. If you aren’t mindful of your spending, a trip to the store or a few clicks on the web can blow your entire budget.

Reducing Monthly Bills

  1. Reduce your energy consumption. Electricity is often a large monthly expense. Do both your wallet and the environment a favor and cut back on your home’s energy use.
    • Seal cracks in your home to better insulate it and reduce the need for heating and air conditioning. Set your thermostat to a higher temperature in the summer and a lower one in the winter.
    • Unplug appliances when not in use and remember to turn off the lights. Change your computer’s settings so that it enters a very low-consumption “hibernate” mode when you’re not using it.
    • When buying new appliances, go with ones that have energy-saving features.
  2. Consider reducing service levels. Shop around for a different service provider for your insurance, phone, and Internet. There may be new, better offers from carriers that have been introduced since you first started your plan. Evaluate whether your current service or coverage level is still right for you. Also, try to negotiate with your current provider for a lower rate. If you mention your intention to switch to a competitor, they may be more likely to give you a better offer.
  3. Buy a reliable car with good gas mileage. If you are looking to buy a new vehicle, make sure your purchase has high value. Buy a model known to last a long time with low maintenance costs. You will also immediately begin to save money with a car that has better gas mileage, especially if you commute via car to work.
  4. Refinance your mortgage. If your credit rating has improved since buying a home, it may make sense to refinance your mortgage. Because many homeowners find their credit getting better over time, they may qualify for a lower interest rate than they did a few years earlier. Refinancing can result in lower monthly payments and/or less money going towards interest. Consult your mortgage company to figure out if refinancing is right for you.

Curbing Your Spending

  1. Be smarter about food. While food is a necessity, it’s also a problem area for over-spenders. Although cheap food is often considered unhealthy, there are plenty of ways to pay less without sacrificing nutrition.
    • Many Americans overspend by eating out often, especially when it comes to lunches at work. If you resolve to prepare a majority of your meals at home, you will be able to save quite a bit of money each month.
    • Shop sales. Instead of sticking by a brand or making a traditional shopping list, buy items as they go on sale for the best deals. While the savings of buying sales items in bulk may be tempting, only purchase what you can safely store or consume quickly.
    • Always pick the item with the lowest cost per unit. While many people assume the biggest version of an item will be the best value, that is often not the case. If you don’t want to do the math yourself, many grocery stores will even list the cost per unit next to the item.
  2. Spend less on entertainment. Many people spend a large portion of their incomes on entertainment. Luckily, these costs are the ones we have the most control over and thus the simplest to cut back on.
    • It can be easy to be peer pressured into unnecessary spending if your social group spends its time at expensive bars and other venues. Instead of dropping your friends, start suggesting or planning lower cost get-togethers. Have a movie night at your house instead of the theater. Host a casual potluck instead of catching up at an expensive restaurant. Go to a public park instead of maintaining an expensive gym membership.
    • If you use these services regularly, downgrading may still be an option. Do you pay for a movie rental service that includes both online streaming and physical discs but find yourself exclusively streaming content? Switch to a cheaper plan without the discs.
      Evaluate your subscription services. Cancel anything you don’t use enough to be worth the cost. In the age of high speed Internet, an easy thing for most people to eliminate is cable television. Video game subscriptions, beauty boxes, and magazines are other expenses that may seem small but add up over time.

Earning Extra Income

  1. Sell items you no longer want or need. Go through old belongings and consider selling things you no longer want or use. Sell big ticket items like furniture instead of throwing them away when you replace them.
    • Sell smaller, easily-shipped goods through online shops or auction sites. Try to sell large, bulky or very inexpensive items locally. Remember that your time in valuable, and it may not be worth the effort of posting a listing and mailing something that sells for a dollar.
    • If you can, pretend any additional income doesn’t exist. Instead of factoring it into your monthly budget, put all of your extra income into savings.
  2. Start a side business. Use your free time to start a simple side business, like babysitting and dog walking.
    • If you enjoy making potentially marketable products, try selling your work on a popular craft site. Popular items typically sold include clothing, stuffed animals, beauty products, art prints, and jewelry.
    • Until your savings reaches a comfortable level, avoid starting businesses with large startup costs. Stick to projects that use materials that are inexpensive or you already have available.
    • You are also likely to start spending less. If your Saturday nights become devoted to babysitting, you’ll save money by not going to the movies or running up an expensive bar tab.
  3. Rent out or sublet extra space. In many areas with a high cost of living, it has become common to rent out second or third bedrooms in your home or apartment. This could potentially net your hundreds of dollars to put towards your savings.
    • Check your lease and local laws before you sublet. Generally, your landlord must be informed about the sublet or you may risk eviction.
    • Be cautious about who you rent to, especially if you’ll be living with them. Remember that your safety, property, and (if subletting) credit may be in jeopardy if you aren’t careful. It’s best to find potential tenants through mutual friends and coworkers. Run an inexpensive background check on all potential renters.
    • Are you going on a long business trip or vacation? Consider short term renters while you’re away. Alternatively, if you live in a city like Austin or San Diego that has annual events that draw huge crowds, you may choose to stay with a friend and rent out your place for its duration at extremely high rates.

20 Tips for Saving Up for Your Next Holiday

The hardest part about a RTW trip is figuring out the money.

It’s a huge mountain to climb, but it’s not impossible. The following are 20 tips on how to save money for your upcoming around the world trip.

First things first, though: you need to figure out how much you actually need to save. How much will it cost you to go around the world? Read more about the costs of an rtw trip, or quickly get started by estimating your airfare costs with our TripPlanner.

Just remember, whatever your around-the-world travel budget is, it’s best to have a plan in place!

Commit to your dream

The first of our tips for saving money (for travel) is to remember why you’re doing this and to remind yourself every day. Put a picture on your wall, or a map with pins and strings to mark your dream around the world trip route, for constant revalidation. Saving money is a slog, but anyone can do it if they set their mind to it.

  • Reduce your expenditures.
  • Simplify your life.
  • Sell some stuff.
  • Earn some extra income.
  • Get into habits of frugality (save without shame!).

Create a savings plan. A good savings plan will have 5 steps:

  • Assessment – Compare your trip plan to the reality of your financial situation. Is it feasible, or are you dreaming too big? Make hard decisions. Be honest. Once you’ve got a general idea of your trip’s overall cost, compile a spreadsheet that lists your income vs. your expenses to see how everything stacks up.
  • Setting goals – Your savings plan should comprise several goals, some short-term and some long-term. List your goals in specific numbers and don’t be shy to shoot high. But, not so high it kills your enthusiasm for your big trip (people have traveled around the world on nothing!).
  • Creating a plan – This savings plan details how you’ll accomplish your goals. This could done by removing unnecessary expenses (see below!), setting a strict spending budget, or adding additional income to meet your goals.
  • Implementation – Put your plan in motion and maintain it.
  • Monitoring and reassessment – As time passes, your plan will evolve as your spending habits change. Take a look at your progress every month and scrutinize the budget for possible adjustments.

Assess your expenditures

Make a spreadsheet and list out every one of your daily/monthly expenditures. Organize them into two columns: “Needs” and “Wants“. Slowly eliminate all the “wants” from the things you regularly purchase.

Start a dedicated travel fund

Create a new account with your bank called “I’m Outta Here” and feed it monthly, weekly, or daily. Make it easy to transfer money over from another account and every time you go online to check your balance, transfer some money, even if it’s just $5. Make it fun. Make it a habit. Make it natural. Make it painless. Revel in its growth!

Spend less on lunch

It may be as simple as not getting a $2.50 drink (tap water is highly underrated as a beverage!) but make a point of spending less than $8 on your lunch. Those savings will add up. Say you go out to eat five times a week. Just trimming your lunch cost from $12 to $8 saves you $832 a year! For even more savings, pack a lunch if you’re able.

Cut back on fancy coffee drinks

Eliminating coffee from your life just might be impossible, and coffeeshops are an essential place for many people to socialize, study, and work at, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on caffeine! Think drip coffee instead of that ultra mocha grande with extra espresso shots. Paying $2 instead of $5 every day could save you $1,095 a year!

Reduce or eliminate your car usage

In the United States, it’s almost impossible to live without a car unless you live in the largest cities or really enjoy long-distance biking. Our distances are just too far apart, and we don’t have extensive public transportation! The easiest way to reduce your car usage is to sell it, but that’s only feasible if you’re about to leave on a long-term trip, or happen to live in New York City. Uber and Lyft are great options for daily car sharing if you need to go long distances. But even if you can’t totally live without a car, bike and walk more and shop as close to home as you can. Every little bit helps!

Kill the cable TV dead

You’ll be surprised how fast your savings add up when you ditch cable TV. Several friends of mine pay up to $150 a month for their cable. That’s insane, it adds up to $1,800 a year. Even a more reasonable rate of $99 (the average monthly cost of cable TV in the United States, as of 2016) still ends up being $1,188. That could fund an entire trip to lots of places in the world! Besides, there are plenty of free and cheap ways to get your entertainment. Netflix is $10 a month. Books are cheaper than movies.

Reduce your utility bills

Put a sweatshirt on and keep the heat on low. Open the windows to catch a breeze instead of using the air conditioner. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Shorten your showers. Some areas of the country have more moderate temperatures than others, but even a few bucks a month pile up in your travel savings account. The average utility bill in the US ranges from $90 to $140 a month. If you can trim 15% off by being more efficient, doing fewer loads of laundry, and conserving energy, you could add around $225 to your savings, annually.

Eat out less often

Restaurants put more holes in a saving plan than a woodpecker on amphetamines. Plus, learning how to cook for yourself is ridiculously gratifying. The Food Network and Recipes.com have a near limitless repository of delicious recipes to start you off. Even in the United States, you can comfortably eat on $40 to 50 a week cooking for yourself. Simple unprocessed foods like rice, beans, chicken, pasta, potatoes, and vegetables are healthy and cheap.

Quit smoking

This one’s a no-brainer. Not only can stopping smoking save you $2000 in a year, it can save your life! Can’t do it on your own? Get someone you know to help you keep accountable.

Cancel your gym membership

Instead of that hefty gym membership, exercise in the great outdoors, run in the fresh air. Swallow your pride and utilize those strange public fitness things in the park. The world is a cardio machine. Watch the calories burned outside turn into greenbacks in your bank account!

Skip the spa

Luxury feels so good, but spas are a serious expense. Massages, peels, and mani-pedis will cost you your hard-earned cash, and they certainly won’t help you get on the road any sooner. Skip out on the short-term luxury of self-pampering and save more the life-changing luxury of long-term travel.

Get fewer haircuts

If you get a haircut or cut and colored once every two months as opposed to once every month, you’ll save 50% and probably still look just fine. Considering the cost of hair care, over the course of a year this could really add up. Of course, stick to a simple style that a friend can trim for you for free, and you’ve got 100% savings.

Borrow your reading material

Use your library.  Use Paperback Book Swap. Or just borrow books from friends.

If you’ve already sprung for an Ereader (useful for your trip as well) there are plenty of places online to download ebooks for free. Here are the sites with the most comprehensive catalogs:

  • Archive.org
  • Open Library
  • Gutenburg.org
  • Feedbooks
  • ManyBooks.net

These sites amount to more books than you (and everyone you know) could read in your lifetime. So buckle up!

Buy second-hand clothing

New clothes are expensive and passé! Thrift stores and vintage/second-hand clothing shops are the new cool. You can usually save the greater part of 75% over their new counterparts and still look cute. When you need to dress well for business or formal occasions, scope out the bargain/reduced racks or shop online rather than in the full-price sections at expensive brick & mortar stores.

Stay in at night

Going out to bars and clubs will force your account balance to go down faster than a Swiss cheese boat…with only a headache to show for it in the morning. Keep your travel goals in mind and invite your friends over for drinks. That $8 bottle of wine would’ve cost $25 at the bar!

Do Free Things

  • Get University educated – The website Open Culture has assembled a giant master list of free online courses on everything from Art History to Quantum Mechanics from great schools like Stanford, UC Berkely, and even Oxford!
  • Get non-university educated at Khan Academy or Tedtalks.
  • Check out  the online repository of videos of academic courses at Ivy League schools like Yale, Harvard and Stanford at Academic Earth. The only thing it doesn’t have is Skull & Bones.
  • Learn to code – hello Codecademy!
  • Volunteer for a local charity.
  • Play sports: you know, cycling, tennis, basketball, soccer, etc. Find recreational teams in your area.

Bonus tip for saving money: keep your distance from financially irresponsible people!

Watching your friends go out every night to buy expensive electronics, pricey cocktails, and new boots will destroy all your hard-won motivation. So just don’t. But don’t let your dogged determination to save for vacation make you into your friend group’s party pooper: you can save for travel, and still let loose every once in a while.

But don’t let your dogged determination to save for vacation make you into a party pooper, either: you can save for travel, and still let loose  every once in a while.