1. Calculate purchases in working hours and determine if that sweater-you-just-cant-live-without is worth 8 hours of your life.
2. Invest in quality clothes and stick with solid colors over prints. Prints become dated while timeless hues will stick around for decades.
3. Don’t buy clothes that require dry cleaning unless you absolutely love them and even then, factor dry cleaning costs into the price of the item before splurging
4. Coats and dresses are by far the most expensive things to dry clean, so consider installing dress shields to stretch out dry cleaning visits.
5. Shop twice a year at the end of the winter and summer seasons and stock up on classic, quality pieces while they’re on clearance.
6. Find a timeless, classic clothing “look” you’d like to emulate and buy pieces that work together within that look. Impulse buys on trendy items are just a waste of money.
7. Raid your mother/grandmother’s jewelry box and closet for classic or retro pieces that are back in style.
8. Buy new shoe insoles rather than new shoes. Reshape flabby shoes by spritzing them with water and letting them dry in the sun.
9. Get taps put on your shoe heels to make them last longer.
10. Line dry your clothes and you’ll save electricity while extending the life of your delicates.
11. Host a clothes trading party to freshen up your wardrobe. Even if you and your friends aren’t the same size, you can always trade accessories. Alternatively, pick 1 or 2 same-sized friends and set aside tradeable items for them. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and will be likely to reciprocate.
12. Be savvy about overly-complimentary salespeople—they’re usually working on commission and don’t have your financial interests in mind.
BEAUTY & HEALTH
13. Repurpose empty hand soap pumps by filling them with shampoo and conditioner. This will help limit the amount of product you use with each pump.
14. Stretch your hair cuts from six weeks to eight. You’ll hardly notice the difference and you’ll save two haircuts a year.
15. Work through all your current beauty products before buying more. Not only will you save money, you may find some forgotten gems
16. Save on face wash by skipping your morning cleanse—you were clean when you went to bed and you didn’t get dirty sleeping, did you?
17. Save on hair conditioner by using it every other time you shampoo. Only use on dry ends, your scalp’s natural oils will work on the rest of your hair.
18. Don’t waste money on expensive tooth whitening products. Brushing twice weekly with baking soda works just as well.
19. Stretch expensive lotions but cutting them with fragrance-free generic brand petroleum jelly.
20. Its okay to splurge on anti-aging and SPF beauty products, but don’t waste money on expensive cleansers. Drugstore and generic brands are just as effective.
21. Quit the gym and find substitute workout alternatives like walking, biking or using workout DVDs from the library.
22. Use generic-brand hair conditioner as an inexpensive shaving cream
23. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a budget brand fragrance free-lotion. Instant custom scent!
24. Stock up on perfume and beauty samples whenever you buy nice makeup.
25. Use generic brand baby shampoo as a makeup remover.
26. Never buy beauty/health/medical products at the grocery store where the markup is considerably higher.
27. Ask your doctor to write prescriptions in longer doses and get them filled through budget pharmacies online. While you’re at it, ask them to prescribe generic drugs.
28. Avoid baggage fees by packing soft-sided bags. They’re easier to fit in overhead compartments on planes.
29. When booking travel, your best chances for scoring a deal are booking way ahead with a destination in mind, or last minute with no destination preference.
30. Skip pricey hotels when traveling and stick with B&Bs, convents, monasteries, housing swaps, dorm rooms or hostels where you’re likely to get a warmer welcome anyway. Or try couchsurfing.
31. Only eat out one meal a day when traveling and stick to yogurt/fruit for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. Find a pretty park or scenic spot to enjoy your meals al fresco.
32. Keep travel toiletries prepped and ready to avoid scramble-style-last-minute purchases.
33. Stock up on hotel freebies while you can. We believe one free set per night paid is within reason.
34. Travel off-peak and you’ll save big while enjoying less crowding/overbooking. Fall and spring can be wonderful times to take a trip.
35. Search for restaurants in your neighborhood that have a BYOB policy.
36. Get in the habit of ordering appetizers when eating out instead of main courses. An appetizer portion is quite frankly the size of meal you should be eating.
37. Skip dessert when eating out and go for a stroll and an ice cream cone instead.
38. Exchange pricey “dinner” meetings with lunch get-togethers for mega savings. Same goes with switching “drinks” for “coffee.”
39. Invite friends over for a semi-potluck dinner or game night instead of going out.
40. Make a calendar of free hours at your local museums and cultural institutions for easy, spontaneous outings.
41. Skip the movies and get DVDs from the library. Use Netflix only if you’re using up your paid quota.
42. Get books from the library. Check with your branch to see if you can reserve books from other branches if their selection is small. Library books can usually travel to other branches within the same district or even the same state for free.
43. Switch your movie-going routine to Sat or Sun mornings and bring pastries for a fun, money-saving change up
44. Take up a cheap, simple hobby like running, reading, painting, knitting, baking or join a group on meetup.com.
45. Support community theater, school sports and church concerts rather than blowing money at the movies or big shows.
46. Invest in a thermos, self-filtering water bottle and reusable lunch bags and BYO food/beverage essentials to work every day.
47. Stick with generic everything, from canned goods to prescription medicine. Generic brands often contain the exact same ingredients and formulation as brand name goods.
48. Eat more locally (and frugally) by searching for farmer’s markets, food co-ops and farms that deliver budget produce boxes to your home.
49. Join free loyalty programs at all the stores near you and keep an eye out for the best deals in the weekly advertising circulars.
50. Use produce in the order it goes bad to avoid being one of the average American families who throws away over 25% of the produce it buys.
51. Add herbs and spices to dishes at the end of cooking. You’ll get more flavor out of them, use less & save money.
52. Save plastic, reusable takeout containers, which are perfectly portioned for leftovers in 1, 2 and 4 cup sizes.
53. When buying groceries, scan up and down the shelves for the cheapest prices. High cost items are usually at eye level.
54. Make water your number one thirst-quencher. It’s the healthiest and cheapest way to hydrate.
55. Get in the habit of freezing leftovers in small containers you can take to work.
56. Use half the meat a recipe calls for and freeze the other half for another meal.
57. Use your crock pot for budget-friendly, freezable casseroles.
58. Make your grocery list on Sunday afternoon after you peruse the sale circulars in your paper.
59. Start a vegetable and herb garden.
60. Buy cuts of meat that are on sale, portion them out and freeze them. They’re usually marked down before they’re about to expire.
61. If you’re paying for a storage unit, have a yard sale. It’s ridiculous to pay for housing for your excess “stuff.”
62. Increase your insurance deductibles to lower your payments. With the money saved, you’ll be able to cover the deductible amount, which you may not ever have to use.
63. Set up a Skype account for all overseas calls and consider using it instead of keeping a landline.
64. Keep all your utilities with the same provider and check back every quarter for better bundle deals
65. Clean up your cleanup routine with inexpensive, time-honored supplies like baking soda, white vinegar and lemon.
66. Stop buying paper towel and napkin products by using washable alternatives like cloth napkins and old towels or fabric remnants cut into squares. You can also use newspaper to clean windows instead of paper towels.
67. Use the second side of paper for printing and save used envelopes for grocery lists.
68. MIY. Don’t be intimidated by things that seem “too hard.” You can make (almost) anything you set your mind to, whether it be homemade yogurt, bread or homemade air freshener. You’ll have a blast doing it, learning something and saving money the whole way.
69. Switch to an espresso percolator and you’ll save a fortune on coffee grounds. If you can’t resist your drip machine, using 3 filters with less coffee grounds is a great way to achieve a stronger brew since water drips through a lot slower. Plus filters are a lot cheaper than coffee.
70. If you typically only use half of a sticky note, cut the pad in two and you’ll get more bang for your Post-It buck.
71. Switch from metal to wood cooking utensils and increase the lifespan of pots and pans.
72. Avoid “convenience” packaging like single-serve dish detergents. It’s always cheaper to buy in bulk than by unit. Check the price per weight on shelf price tags to verify.
73. If you’re drying a small laundry load, cut your dryer sheets in half for extra savings.
74. Ask for wrapping supplies when buying something at a nice store–even if it’s not a gift you never know when those supplies will come in handy.
75. Buying store-bought gifts is “so last year.” Whip up homemade gifts instead, which are extra thoughtful, and extra budget-friendly.
76. Save on printer ink cartridges by setting the printer defaults to “fast” and “black only”—you’ll use less ink and save money.
77. Pick up freebie pens wherever you can and you’ll cut back on buying them.
78. When you receive mail in good quality packaging, open it carefully and save the goods for later. No sense wasting money on office supplies when you don’t have to.
79. Always buy Energy Star appliances to save on electricity costs.
80. Walk or bike at least one time a week when you would have used your car.
81. Buy used everything. The shelf life of new products has decreased significantly over the years, so new isn’t always better.
82. Reuse Ziploc bags and aluminum foil
83. Make inexpensive wall décor by framing artwork from outdated calendars or discounted/damaged art books.
84. Quit using a cell phone. Less stress, less hassle. If you really can’t live without it, just get a basic plan without all the extras.
85. Don’t waste energy preheating the oven. You can also turn the oven off when your dish is 10 minutes away from being done and it’ll still keep cooking
MONEY & BANKING
86. Make these five words “Is that your best price?” your motto. You never know who’ll be willing to negotiate
87. Set up automatic bill payment online to avoid late fees.
88. Always Google coupon codes before buying anything online.
89. Switch to a credit union if you’re paying anything for your checking account. Your basic banking should be free.
90. Freeze your credit cards. In the freezer. Not having them on hand will limit impulse buys and studies show people spend less when they pay with cash.
91. Don’t blow off rebate coupons. Companies offer rebate savings to entice consumers knowing that most people will forget to follow through.
92. Call your credit card company and negotiate a better rate or transfer your balance to a 0% interest card—next, don’t use the card again until it’s completely paid off.
93. Give up cable and watch TV online instead.
FAMILY & CHARITY
94. Communicate with family and friends about gift giving and agree to limits and occasions that are manageable for your budget. Just because the whole world seems to be going gift-crazy, it doesn’t mean you have to. When you do give, search sites like thriftyfun.com for savvy homemade gift ideas.
95. If you’re planning a charitable gift, check with charitynavigator.org first to make sure the charity is using your money wisely.
96. Don’t spend a lot of money entertaining little ones who can do with much less than we give them credit for.
97. Load digital photos of children on Picasa or Flickr and only print the ones you like.
98. Get an annual family pass to a local cultural institution that has lots of children’s programming.
99. Buy good-quality children’s toys on eBay or at yard sales and skip all the new plastic junk that comes out every year.
100. Avoid buying and gifting pink and blue children’s clothing and products and stick with colors that can be used for boys or girls. This makes you an extra-desirable swap-partner as well.