Money Saving Ideas That Cost You Nothing

Whenever I see articles with titles like this one I always have to at least skim them for some possible new ideas. While looking them over what many times catches my attention is that some of those tips cost you something to implement. Take the idea of growing a vegetable garden to supplement your food budget, which is an excellent idea. But you also have to consider the outlay for seeds or plants, cages depending on what you are growing, the proper gardening tools to both plant and weed and the money spent watering it all season long. If you want to save money watering your garden by collecting rain water you will need a rain barrel that is designed for the job of holding all of that weight, which start at around $30 each. A great idea that will eventually pay for itself, but you still have that initial cost.

Recently while reading yet another list of these ideas I got to thinking about what a person could do to save money that would cost nothing to implement. When taken to extremes you could say everything costs something, whether it is money or time. So to make my little exercise more workable I had to set up some parameters. Let’s say we are talking about the average size American family that has a dwelling with all the usual things found inside, a yard, a car, average income and expenses. How could they save money by not spending anything outside of their normal budget? I got the list started, but I’m really hoping for some help on this one.

Turn off the lights when leaving a room.

Open the southern facing blinds or curtains during sunny winter days to help heat the house and keep them closed during the summer to help keep it cool.

Take leftovers for lunch at work.

Eat smaller portions (more for lunch the next day!)

Wear an extra layer of clothing in the house in the winter and lower your thermostat a few degrees.

Hang up your clothes outside on a line to dry.

Use your library resources rather than purchasing items.

Walk to save on gas and for exercise.

If you garden compost your coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable scraps and shredded paper rather than buying fertilizer.

Unplug electrical devices (vampire electronics) when not in use to save money.

Okay, it’s a start, but I’m sure there are plenty more to add to the list. What money saving tips that cost nothing can you recommend?

Additional Reading:

Four Leading Causes of Overspending

What Would You Do with an Extra 35 Hours a Week?


  1. Buck- I just wrote two similar articles on my blog about this very thing! I actually thought of you during my first one. They are two lists of my extreme frugality.
    Check them out. Thanks Melissa

  2. Hello Buck,

    We regularly reuse stuff for other purposes.

    Like putting bathtub grey water on the garden. Cutting up milk jugs into different configurations to hold small toys, toilet brushes, clothpins on the line, or to make kid's "dress up" masks. Cutting flat milk jug sections into circles for hamburger separators when freezing bulk purchased meat, or using larger sections for small stencils. Slitting open plastic cold cereal inserts into washable spatter guards in the microwave. Turning two liter soda bottles into bird feeders. Cutting up ratty t-shirts into cleaning rags instead of paper towels. Reusing commercial jars and lids for canning. If it seals, it's good to store, otherwise stick it in the fridge to use sooner. We've had especially good sucess with jelly jars.

    Amy Dacyzyn reuses come to mind too. Wiping down aluminum foil and washing out ziplock bags.

    Plus there are the pleasurable old fashioned hobbies of scrap quilting, whittling, and making rag rugs.

    These require items you normally have around the house and over time save a good bit of money.

  3. Melissa - Those articles contain ALOT of good ideas...nice job!

    Olivia - I had not heard of using the cereal inserts before, will have to try it. Thanks for adding all of the other tips, too.

  4. Thanks Buck and Oliva.
    You know Buck, I nominated your blog as one of the blogs that inspire me. I also refer people looking to make a little something extra on the side to your list of what 36 post of how to earn a little extra cash!!! Your blog helps me save money on a regular occasion. Thanks for writing and researching so many things.

  5. Melissa - Wow, thanks for the nice words and publicity!

  6. Lots of good tips here and some of them I've actually been employing myself including a few you didn't list. I actually did away with landlines in my home all together and cut my cell phone bill as well and tied them both back together with one option - prepaid. Since my job provides me with a cell phone, I was silly to continue to pay $65 for a cell phone and then another $30 or $35 for a landline - so I shopped around. I noticed deals on cell phones at Target, chose Net10 prepaid, bought a phone, and chose the plan. I'm paying $50 flat with them and have unlimited use so it covers the needs of my personal and home lines. So its not much, but I do have $40 more a month and two less bills.

  7. These are simple ideas that could help homemakers to save a few dimes. It may be simple, but these tactics that you do at home can improve your financial situation. Some of them just take a few minutes, and require consistent effort. But in the long run, all these ideas will pay off.


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