You’re probably tired of hearing people — whether it’s your parents, friends or personal finance experts — tell you that you need to start saving more money now. What you really need instead are some helpful tips on how you can realistically start growing your savings today. After all, skipping your daily $5 Starbucks coffee will only take you so far.
Fortunately, there are many easy ways you can save money every day. And in some cases, these tips will even help you earn a bit more cash on the side. Apply all 31 of these money-saving tips to your life and you could save at least $100 a day, which adds up to about $3,000 a month.
Click through to find out just how easy it can be to have more money in the bank.
1. Pack a Lunch Every Other Day
When most of your weeknight dinners consist of frozen pizzas or protein shakes, you probably don’t want to sit in the break room with a depressing sandwich at lunchtime. However, limiting lunches out to every other workday can be a simple way to save $5 to $15 per meal — easily $100 over the course of a month.
2. Borrow a Dress or Suit
With friends’ weddings, corporate conferences and maybe even girls’ — or boys’ — nights out, it can be easy to find an excuse to buy a dress or suit every month. But unless you plan to wear that garment several more times in the future, it’s not really worth the expense. Next time you have an event coming up, borrow a nice outfit from a close friend or rent one for the day. You can rent the latest looks from websites like Le Tote, Rent the Runway or Style Lend.
Find Out More: 35 Ways to Save Money on Clothes
3. Clean Out Your Closet
You know you have a ton of clothes in the depths of your closet. Maybe they’re not your style or don’t fit anymore. If you have some fairly nice stuff, you can take it all to Buffalo Exchange or similar retailers for cash on the spot. You can try retailers like thredUP if you’d rather mail in your clothes to sell.
Tip: Washing and hanging or folding everything nicely can increase your chances of making a sale, as will bringing or sending in items that are in season.
4. Let Your Roots Show
Getting your hair professionally colored is ridiculously expensive, especially if you’re a brunette living as a platinum blond. If you dare, perform your own at-home touch-up, or simply wait eight weeks instead of four to get your appointment with a pro. Besides, having ombre hair is still pretty cool.
5. Add an Automatic Transfer
Here’s an easy way to save without cutting a single expense: Set up an automatic transfer of $25 per week from your checking account to your savings account. At such a small amount, it’s likely you won’t miss the money.
6. Skip the Bars This Weekend
By the time you take a cab, grab a bite to eat, order a few rounds of drinks and take a cab back home, you’re looking at an expensive night out on the town. Pick a Friday or Saturday night to stay in, order takeout, have some friends over and tell them to each bring along their favorite refreshment.
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7. Clean Your Own House
Many people don’t have the luxury of employing household help, but there are plenty of people who spend at least $100 on a house cleaner every month. Try cleaning up after yourself just once — you’ll save a lot of cash and gain a greater appreciation for all your maid does for you.
8. Put a Freeze on Your Gym Membership
A number of personal finance experts always point to the gym membership as the first expense that should be cut. If you’re in need of extra savings this month, freeze your membership instead of canceling it. This will allow you to resume your fitness routine in the future without having to pay sign-up fees again.
Paid to Sweat: 6 Ways to Make Money for Getting in Shape
9. Buy Your Plane Tickets a Month Early
Booking last-minute travel is an easy way to pay an extra $100 or more. A study by CheapAir found that you can get the lowest airfares three weeks to 3 1/2 months in advance for domestic travel and at least two months in advance for international travel. So if you know you’d like to travel in the near future, plan accordingly to save the most on airfare.
10. Refinance Your Mortgage
People who financed their homes even just a few years ago can stand to cut a couple of percentage points off their interest rates by refinancing. That translates to big savings on monthly mortgage payments.
11. Go on a Fiscal Fast
Here’s a tip that might sound a little daunting to some: Don’t spend any money for a week. If you think you’ll have a hard time accomplishing this, enlist your friends’ help. Ask them to do a fiscal fast with you or make it a challenge within your group of friends. You will save far more than $100.
12. Take on a Freelance Assignment
Whether you’re a great writer, designer, tailor or have another skill people pay for, lend your services to earn a few quick bucks.
13. Make a List Before Heading to the Grocery Store
Don’t go to the market hungry and unprepared, wandering each aisle in search of what you “need.” It’s amazing how planning a list of purchases before each weekly shopping trip will prevent you from coming home with an extra bag filled with potato chips, soda and frozen pizzas.
14. Quit Smoking Already
You don’t need to hear — again — the financial benefits of quitting smoking and living healthier, in general. But depending on where you live, if you’re a pack-a-day smoker, you can save between $800 and $3,840 a year by going cold turkey, depending on where you live, according to a recent study by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Best Things to Quit: 10 Expensive Vices That Will Destroy Your Health and Your Wallet
15. Buy a Water Filter
Bottled water is one of the most wasteful products you can spend money on — get a filter and reuse an aluminum water bottle. This is environmentally conscious, as well.
Avoid These: 10 Really Dumb Ways Americans Waste Money
16. Cancel Your PMI
If you purchased your home with less than a 20 percent down payment, you might have enough equity now to cancel your expensive private mortgage insurance.
17. Have a Yard Sale
Putting together a yard sale is a giant pain. But it’s really worth the trouble once you clear your house of clutter and have extra cash in your pocket.
18. Transfer Your Credit Card Balance
Expensive credit card interest will eat up the money that could be going toward savings. Seek out a credit card company offering a promotional 0% APR balance transfer, and move your existing balance to the new card. The catch: You have to pay off your debt during the introductory period, or you’ll be back at square one.
Choose Your Card Now: 10 Best Balance-Transfer Credit Cards
19. Go Meatless
Have you ever compared the price of a pound of ground beef and a can of beans? There’s a huge difference. You don’t have to live off tofu to save money, but swapping two meat-based meals a week to vegetarian options can save a ton on food costs.
20. Buy Your Jeans at a Discount Retailer
If designer denim is your thing, you don’t have to pay full price. If you’re picky about your jeans, buy them from stores like T.J. Maxx, Nordstrom Rack and Loehmann’s, where denim is usually discounted by at least $100.
21. Use an HSA
If medical expenses are eating up your monthly budget, look into opening a health savings account. These accounts allow you to deposit pretax money, much like a 401k, to be used to cover out-of-pocket medical costs. Restrictions apply, so find out if you qualify.
22. Start an Amazon Store
Opening a Fulfillment by Amazon store can net you a few hundred dollars a month or more, according to The Penny Hoarder. Find the top-selling items — say, paper products or toys — buy them at a discount, and sell them on Amazon for a profit.
Check Out: 21 Items That Are Cheaper on Amazon
23. Collect Your Debts
Someone probably owes you money. It’s time for them to pay up.
24. Try Bartering
Yes, bartering. People really do exchange goods and services instead of cash, and they are saving a ton of money on everything from haircuts to child care.
25. Sell Your Unused Gift Cards
An unused gift card is essentially cash just sitting around untouched. You can sell gift cards you haven’t used, and put the money in your savings account.
26. Trade In Video Games
Whether you’re an avid gamer or have kids with Xbox controllers surgically attached to their hands, it’s likely that the $60 game that was the hottest thing you could own last month has all but been forgotten in favor of the next. GameStop will buy used games in store, or you can try listing them on Decluttr or eBay.
27. Host a Movie Night With Redbox
Date night at the movies is easily $40 if you buy two tickets, popcorn and drinks. Go out a couple of times and throw in one DVD purchase, and you’ve spent about $100 just to watch a few movies. Redbox lets you rent movies for $1.50 per day — enough said.
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28. Switch to Generic Prescriptions
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that generic medications work just as well as their name-brand counterparts — and cost 80 to 85 percent less. It’s time to switch.
29. Go Generic on Food and Cosmetics
You know there’s no real difference between Cheerios and the generic, store-brand version, so why pay the extra money? The same goes for most drugstore makeup. Sure, a few products are hit-or-miss, but overall, switching to generic brands when shopping can save you big bucks.
30. Drop Cable for Hulu or Netflix
How many hours a day do you waste sitting in front of the TV? Better yet, how much money are you wasting paying for premium cable? Hulu Plus and Netflix start at about $8 — depending on your plan — and you’ll become much more productive once you no longer have 1,200 channels to flip through all day.
31. Order Your Glasses Online
No law says you have to buy your frames from your optometrist’s office. After an eye exam, take your prescription and shop online for a deeply discounted pair of frames. You can save serious dough, even if you get more than one pair.
About the Author
Casey Bond is a seasoned personal finance writer and contributes to a number of major national publications in addition to GOBankingRates, including US News & World Report, Huffington Post and Business Insider. She has also been featured on Yahoo! Finance, The Street, MSN, The Motley Fool, LearnVest, Money Talks News, Can Do Finance, Seeking Alpha, Investopedia, About.com, Redbook, Style Magazine, as well as ABC News radio and a number of local news radio outlets.