Members Share Their Money-Saving Tips

Gas prices are rising as we speak; food gets more expensive with each trip to the market; and the U.S. dollar is weakening. Meanwhile, paychecks don't seem to be getting much bigger.

Are you looking for new ways to pinch pennies—and see real results? Try some of these pain-free and ingenious tips for saving a few bucks, shared by SparkPeople members.

  • "I've cut back on my trips to Wal-Mart. When I go, I buy stuff that I either don't need or could have done without."
    --VHASKEW36

  • "For things like deodorant, toothpaste, etc, coupons can save a huge amount if you're not picky about the brand you buy. Last week I bought enough deodorant to last me 6 months for under $1.00 after coupons. If you use the little rebate catalogs at the drug store along with coupons, sometimes you can even MAKE money buying toiletries!"
    --ANARIE

  • "Pay off your credit cards every month. No interest charges—that's money in your pocket! Also, we combed through our insurance to make sure we had exactly what we need and no more."
    --LOVEROLLS

  • "We swap kids' clothing around with other families from our church. A nice outfit can go through four or five kids before it is too worn out to wear."
    --DEMIKIT

  • "Go for generic medications and vitamins. They're much cheaper than name brand versions. Just make sure of the dosage, though, because it's a false economy to buy cheap vitamins and then find out you have to take three times as many."
    --NELLGWYN

  • "I shop (mainly) in thrift stores and garage sales. Other people can shoulder the burden of depreciation, and I can pocket my money."
    --LOVEROLLS

  • "I save money and the planet at the same time. I changed all my light bulbs to low energy (CFL) ones. Always turn off lights in rooms when you leave them. Turn the heat down or the air conditioning up a couple of degrees. You won't notice the difference but your fuel bills will be lower."
    --LOVEROLLS

  • "I go 'curb shopping' for things that others may not need. This is how I got a lot of toys for my son."
    --TRILLIANTOO

  • "I used to have the cats toilet trained, and that definitely saves money as you then don't need to buy litter. I also have an area set outside for the cats to use, which reduces the overall litter usage."
    --LOVEROLLS

  • "The biggest change we made is watching our incidentals. No sodas, no coffees, no fancy drinks whenever we stop by the gas station. I keep snacks in my purse for hunger-emergencies. You wouldn't believe how much those 'extras' add up!"
    --TRILLIANTOO
Do you have a great money-saving tip that's not listed? Share it in the comments section for this story.
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Member Comments

We buy our fruit & vegetables at a local produce stand & shop at both Dollar Tree & 99 Cent store. Then if we still need something we go to Target or Walmart. We go early & check what meat packages are marked down due to freshness; otherwise we buy in bulk, repackage & freeze in the upright. We use a certain brand of gas & kept checking to see which location is cheapest so we know to plan a trip to that part of town as needed & don't let the tank get below half. When we eat out, we have a list of the specials. Most casual chains have lunch deals on weekdays, or early bird dinners. We found some local places also have happy hours - drinks & appetizers - even on weekends. Some have monthly drink specials. A few offer discount for AARP members or if you subscribe to a local publication or hold membership like AAA. Ask if they offer a rewards program for frequent guests. We go out a lot, tip well & get little extras from businesses who appreciate our patronage. Our neighbors have an email group & often list gently used items or offer discounted services. During decluttering besides Goodwill we put some bigger things in our driveway marked free & also got a couple items for staging that way. It's very common here along w/ Freecycle for the nearby communities. The landfill operates a thrift store & it's well organized; they sort as the stuff is received. Report
Great article. Thanks for the tips. Report
Thank you. Report
MUSICNUT
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
Great Article
Report
I always pay off my credit cards. Try not to use them at all Report
I get free vitamins and toothpaste from my health insurance company! Report
great info Report
Good tips Report
CD16571910
As far as walmart & other stores go, even for most groceries except fruit & vegetables at the market you can order what you need online & take your time to order only what you need. They provide free delivery to my home by courier where I live with a $50.00 order. You can order many things from lots of stores online on sale for 50% - 80% online, I do often & shop around online & order where I get the best price, costco also delivers and their prescriptions take 3 day delivery. Light in the box sells about 200 smart watches for $10.00 - $200.00. It takes 2 weeks for delivery. i ordered one on sale for $10.00 that does not need a smart phone, it uses your computer, it cost $3.00 for shipping & insurance, $13.00 total. Report

before i do my shopping i look up the sale and usully buy what i need that are on sale

but if i really need something that is not on sale i will get it, but food is so expensive now
thqt trying to do you meall on what is on sale is a good idea and if chickey is on sale i
will buy 2 so thwst i can ave it for another time . Report
The ones I can easily stick to...make a list before shopping and stick to it. My husband & I also each get a weekly "allowance" that is tied to how well we eat & exercise. We take that out in cash & that is our discretionary money. Report
oh, wow! so many good points here... saving money is a way of life for me as a plain quaker. i "rescue" stained clothes with a tide pen and a little detergent, keeping my wardrobe to the absolute minimum at all times, which reduces wash day backup, and allows for fewer loads. also, drying outside in the summer is a must. i observe a "replace" strategy - what you buy must not add to the clutter, so be prepared to get rid of something. if it isn't broke, don't replace it! i have a "wish" list... i write down what i think i want, then when i have "extra" money, i check it... and usually i don't remember why i wanted that stuff so bad. i try to avoid purchasing disposable items, like plastic water bottles and napkins and paper towels, since these can be kept to a minimum by reusing a sturdier bottle and keeping rags (i use red handkerchiefs in bulk from oriental trading co.) around for most messes. my rabbit uses free newspaper in his litterbox in addition to natural litter. i have almost all my drugstore needs down to generics which saves tons (especially at dollar tree!) when you can get what you want for less and not feel that you must have one certain, more expensive, kind. i only buy what i can afford to now, but i do live alone and i think that has a lot to do with not buying in bulk, which can also be great. i don't use a basket when i'm "browsing" a store, i don't believe the first price i see on something i like (check around... or wait till they go on sale, or substitute), and the library and amazon used books are better than any other solution (except possibly e-books). finally, i love borrowing several copies of a magazine i like that is archived, because it is new to me even if it isn't new chronologically! thanks sparkfriends for all the great comments on this topic!! Report
I love the Dollar Tree--not just any $ store, the Dollar Tree--Absolutely everything is for a dollar, no more. There are many name brands there as well, so where something may be generally going from $3-$4 at other retail stores @ the Dollar Tree it will go for just a dollar. Sometimes other stores may just charge a dollar, and a similar product will also go for a dollar at the Dollar Tree, but it is a superior quality--go figure. So we generally buy name brand toothpaste, after shave, general cleaners, hard candies, canned beans and other canned foods, cookies, some food items, and snack items at the Dollar Tree. Other items are not such a great value, such as paper goods, light bulbs, and batteries. We go there once a month with $20 for products that will last the entire month. If we went somewhere else for our list of products we would likely spend well over $60, so the Dollar Tree is very economical. Report
i use freecycle.com to acquire things that others no longer want. i have gotten wrapping paper and gift boxes, plants, veggies. everthing is required to be free, all that is asked is that i give away things that i no longer want or need.

i also use mint.com. it allowed me to set up budgets for everthing, it tracks my spending for each budget, and i can see every single transaction and account all in one place. it allowed me to find where i was blowing money. after three months, i have a months worth of expenses saved and am on an aggressive plan to get out of debt. i figure this site will have saved me thousands in the course of just a couple of years. :) Report