best way to save money

Best Ways to Save Money – 23 Practical Techniques

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Want to know the best way to save money?  We’ll tell you.  It’s simple. 

The best way to save money is the way that works for you.

Just like the best type of exercise is the type that you’re going to get up and do, 5 days a week, for the rest of your life…

And, the best person to marry is the person who is right for you…

The best way to save money is the way that works for you.

Personally, we have employed all of these money saving tips at one point or another. They work!!

Let’s explore 23 different, efficient and excellent ways to save money.

Pick the one or two or five that work for you, and let’s crush your savings goals!

The Best Way to Save Money: Automatically

One of the best ways to save money is to do so automatically.  

If you work a W2 job, you can fill out your direct deposit form to put a certain percentage or dollar amount to different accounts.

Personally, I have a part time job that directs 85% of my pay to our checking account, and 15% of my pay to retirement account.  We never touch the 15%, and we are used to living without it.

The Best Way to Save Money: Manually

If you work a 1099 of any kind, you’re likely not enjoying the ease of direct deposit.  I know your plight and have lived it for 15 years.   

In this case, you must have a system to move the money from your checking account to your savings account. 

Mine is such that when a deposit hits my budget, it tracks an automatic 15% into a savings column and I do not touch it.  Once that hits about $500, I move the money into my Roth.  

Your Snazzy Bank Account – “Keep the Change”

Your bank account may have a “keep the change” program.  

This automatically rounds up all of your purchases to the nearest dollar and puts the difference into a savings account.  It likely requires you to have both a checking and a savings account at the same bank.  

Drips and drops of loose change might not seem like much but think of it like having a piggy bank and emptying your pockets at the end of the day.  

Over time, this can add up!  

Save Money on Housing

I am willing to bet the largest line items in your budget are housing and debt (but hopefully you’re out of that!!).  

If I am correct, know that there are ways to save money on your housing expenses!

Save Money on Housing With House Hacking

The first way, and our favorite way to save on housing, is by house hacking.  

This is when you live in one portion of your home and rent out the other.  Theoretically, your tenant pays on time, full price, and you use that money to pay your mortgage and/or associated housing costs like insurance, taxes, maintenance, etc.  

House hacking has worked out very well for us thus far, and you can read all about it here:

save money
Live in one, rent out the other!

Save Money on Housing by Moving

You can also save money on housing by moving to a less expensive place to live.  

If you’re in the epicenter of a city, consider the suburbs.  If you’re renting a snazzy high end condo, consider a more humble spot.  

Can you live with one less bedroom?  Or one less amenity?  Consider the savings!

Related: How to Move Efficiently & Reclaim Your Sanity!

Save Money on Housing by Bartering

A third way to save on housing is to barter.  

Many a theatre gypsy knows this well – find employment that includes housing!  

Some people find a gig on a cruise ship (hey-o, travel the world!) and some people find a live-in nanny situation.  Maybe you could work for nearby university housing and score a complementary unit on campus.

Find a housing benefit that could work for your current lifestyle.  

Use a Zero Based Budget

If you’re into saving money, I hope you’re into budgeting.  If not, you probably should be.  

The type of budget that has been most effective at saving money for us has been the zero-based budget.

At the end of each month, you skim the cream off the top of each budget category and move that money to savings.

For example, let’s say our “dining out” budget for the month was $100.  And we went out somewhere cheap, like a burger joint, and only spent $35.  The leftover $65 gets moved to savings.

This might not seem like much when you are budgeting to buy a house, but you must believe that these deposits will add up!  

Save Money on Your Groceries

Aside from housing and taxes, I’m willing to bet you a pack of double stuff Oreos that your groceries are a HUGE ticket item in your budget.  

Find ways to save on your groceries.  

Popular tactics include make a list, stick to the list, buy less meat, eat a snack before you go, buy store brand, and leave your kids at home.

Get Out of Debt

If you’re paying interest on a debt, it is going to slow your savings rate.  


Get out of debt.  Get out of debt!  GET OUT OF DEBT.  

Work your little tushie off and ditch it!

Pay Your Mortgage Down

If you pay your mortgage faster than the bank tells you to, you’ll save on interest.

You likely know that this applies to all kinds of debt.  Less accumulated interest = shorter debt payoff.  

The other advantage of an early mortgage paydown is that you are creating a forced savings plan.  Once the money is in your house, you’re hopefully not going to touch it until you sell.  (Please don’t HELOC, btw.).  This is Dave Ramsey style wisdom and he’s not stupid!  

Read all about how we are paying extra on a mortgage!

Curtail Your Vacations

Can you do your annual vacation biannually instead?  Maybe travel a little closer to home?  Can you call it a staycation?  Drive instead of fly?  

All of these are great ways to save money on vacations.  

best ways to save
Shoreside camping is a great, affordable getaway!

Quit Your Expensive Vices.

We used to have wine at home.  A lot.  It turned into about a bottle of wine a week.  

You know something?  It was TERRIBLE for us!  For our budget, our bodies, and our temperaments.  Quitting this wine habit was a HUGE contributor to our taking control of our daily habits and finances.  And, it profited us over $600 annually.

What about you?  Do you smoke?  Drink?  Other no-bueno-and-you-know-it habits?  Can you quit?  

I bet you can.  

Pack Your Lunch and Coffee

Lattes got a bad rap thanks to David Bach.  I hate to tell you, but he’s right!!  

Save money faster by ditching the daily Starbucks drive through.  

And while you’re at it, pack your lunch!  Use a cookie cutter to make a fun sandwich if you need, but goodness gracious, eating out for lunch can cost upwards of $15 a day.  That’s almost four grand a year!!  

Get cozy with cheese sticks and apple slices, my friend.  Packing your lunch ALONE can nearly make you a millionaire. 

Don’t believe me?

I punched $3,750 into Nerd Wallet’s compound interest calculator and set it to $3,750 annual deposits, for 40 years, and a reasonable 7% monthly growth.  

In 40 years, that’s a cool $855,437.

Suddenly a snack pack sounds migggghty tasty!

Save Money on Clothes

When you need new clothes, like for a wedding or a work event, or your kids need dance shoes or sports equipment, try shopping used!  

You and I both know how fast kids grow. You know there’s a parent out there with barely scratched baseball mitts ready to unload them to you at a steep discount.  

I draw the line and swimwear and socks, but hot dang, you can save a fortune buying clothes used if you’re willing to try.  

Cocktail dresses come as cheap as $6 on places like Poshmark (sign up with my code THRIFTY_NOREEN) and Mercari. If you know your size in a particular brand, you can easily guess what cuts and sizes will fit you best.  

Resell Online for Extra Money

While you’re shopping the online used markets, set yourself up to sell!

You know you have stuff you don’t need and use.  SELL IT.  

Anything you don’t use or wear, you can resell online for profit.  (Need help?  Here’s How to Sell Used Stuff Online.)  

Have a garage sale, list on eBay, post it on Facebook marketplace.  I bet you could make a hundred bucks this weekend….  


best ways to save for a house
there’s money sitting in your closet!

Audit Your Automatic Payments

Do you have subscriptions that you don’t use?  Magazines, streaming services, boxed anything, subscribe & save on Amazon…

Go through your bank account statement and run a quick audit.  

Cancel any and every subscription you don’t need.  (That’s probably most of them.). 

Be Disciplined With Windfalls

You know the lovely windfalls! When Grandma sends a check.  Or you get a happy surprise bonus at work.  Or it’s your birthday or your wedding!  

Be disciplined!  Enjoy a small percentage, depending on the occasion.  

And the rest?  Forward it towards your savings goals. 

Run a Self-Audit of Your Insurance

Do you have the right coverage on your home and automobile?

For your house, is your home’s current value correct?

For your car, is your commuting distance and usage correct?

With the advent of work from home, we called our auto insurer and nicely (this is key) asked for a lower rate.  We were driving 1 instead of 5 days a week to work.  They kindly lowered our rate.  

Perhaps you can do the same. 

Check What Your Employer Offers

Your employer might offer a 401k match!  As in, for every 3% you contribute, they’ll also contribute 3%.  

Some companies offer something called profit sharing.  In which case… sharing Is caring and do what you need to do to sign up, baby!

You also may have other reimbursement benefits like for tuition like furthering your education, gym membership, nutritionist appointments, or even meditation and self-defense classes. 

Pick a Side Hustle

True story: I was once a birthday party princess.  And I made a stupid amount of money on Saturdays and Sundays dressed in goofy costumes and took ALL that money for my future self.  

At the time, I was paying my future self with a Side Job to Pay Off Student Loans.  

I promise you, the willingness to work a little extra on the weekends was crucial in my self-development.  I wouldn’t trade that time for anything in the world.    

Join the Library

…or the book exchange, or the local play group, or the run club, or bible study, or whatever.  You can get mountains of entertainment for free these days.  Just look for it!  

By the way, last I checked, our library accounts for 1% of our property taxes.  So that’s $100/year, which is roughly equivalent to a streaming membership.  It’s not exactly free (nothing is in New Jersey) but it’s pretty close.  

Plus, it’s good reason not to shell out money for a Netflix subscription.  Don’t worry, the good shows will be available at the library in a few months.

save money on entertainment
I challenge you to exhaust your library’s resources before purchasing your next read!

Sit in the Cheap Seats

Do you just have to catch Billy Joel at the Garden before a lifetime of booze catches up to him and he retires?  (Me. Guilty.).  Buy a seat in the nosebleeds.  

Who cares if you aren’t front row center?  They have giant TV screen jumbotrons to see the details, and you get to sit with the die-hard fans.  It’s a total winning experience, trust me!!

how to save money
I sat in the fifth to last row and enjoyed every second of Billy Joel’s concert!

Pay Cash

No credit cards, layaway, buy now pay later, 5 “easy payments” – none of that nonsense.  

Just pay for what you’re buying and be done with it.  You can get into hot water quickly by drawing out the purchasing process.  

Debt is not your friend and stop acting like it’s going to get you where you want to go.  

Stock up and Save

See chicken on sale for 39 cents a pound?  Buy two packs and freeze one for later.  

Paper towels on sale?  They don’t expire!  

Buy extra now, store it, and you’ll save in the long run.  

Get Some Skills and DIY!

We are big believers in growing your skills.  Whether it’s painting a room instead of hiring it out or shadowing a master tradesman to learn carpentry, you can acquire some DIY skills and do your own home renovations!  

Here’s more on How to Save Money on Home Renovations.  

how to save money on home renovations
Hardwood refinishing. If we hired: $600-$900. DIY: $20 + elbow grease.

Final Thoughts on Best Ways to Save Money

Well, there are 23 ways for you to save money. Pick the ones that are best for you, and get to town on your savings goals!

Don’t forget to subscribe for more tips from Our Two Family house!

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