Are you searching for the best ways to save money without really trying? You’ve got plenty of company. Someone asked on a popular online forum, “What did you do that resulted in saving money even though it was not the initial goal?
She shared she resorted to cutting her hair after a supposedly trained stylist “royally ruined her hair.” Since then she has saved hundreds of dollars, and will never back to a salon unless she needs a specific treatment.
Many weighed in with their experiences. These are the top-voted responses.
1. Quit Drinking Alcohol
Several people quit drinking alcohol for health reasons, recognizing their vice was more of an addiction, and stopping “saved a ton of cash.” How much money did alcohol cost, you ask? One said, “When I got sober, I did napkin math, and ten years being a functional alcoholic resulted in a depressingly large dollar figure. I drank a house.”
Most addictions aren’t good for the wallet and usually spill into other patterns like smoking or buying books. Congratulations to those who conquered their crutch, improved their health, and saved money. Consider water or other flavored health drinks.
2. Stopped Smoking
A similar thought was shared by those who were heavy smokers for years before eliminating this habit. One person smoked three packs a day, and weed, before having an epiphany that smoking was an unhealthy habit and quitting both, adopting a zero-tolerance policy for himself and others around him. He told us that with his nearly $ 100-a-day routine gone, “I racked up an emergency fund so #$*@% fast, it was insane!”
Another former smoker said their smoking habits were “the equivalent cost of $10,685 a year or a $7 raise at work.”
3. Buying Books: How Do I Quit
Another person, an acknowledged bookworm, relied on buying books and reached out for help stopping this habit as she ran out of room at home. Suggestions piled in, but she said, “Every time someone tells me “but libraries exist,” I want to slap them and say “BUT I CAN’T PUT LIBRARY BOOKS ON MY SHELF AND USE THEM FOR EMOTIONAL SUPPORT.”
Others tried to warm her up to the Libby app or visit thrift bookstores or Friends of the Library. One person said she couldn’t take out library books unless they had an auto-renewal feature because she couldn’t finish a book in a month.
A popular choice for clothing at second-hand outlets popped up from one person, saying, “I started buying clothes on eBay, Poshmark, and Mercari to get cute clothes while avoiding supporting brands that are unethical or owned by unlikeable people. I quickly realized that everything I could want, including jewelry, gets sold secondhand for way less, many times even new with the tag attached. That’s basically how I get 90% of my clothing now.”
5. Sell Unwanted Clothes via Reduce Recycle Reuse
Many agree that they buy clothes at reduced prices, then when they tire of that skirt or outfit, it doesn’t stay long in their closet. They donate it or, more likely, recycle it by “poshing it.” A discussion ensued about the order of the three “R’s ” as to whether users should reduce, reuse, and recycle, but some believed that recycling is most important. A cacophony of commenters say to do whatever works for you, but all agreed that saving and making money is fun.
6. Buy Quality Shoes
Spending more on quality shoes helped many peoples’ feet and knees from terrible pain and, ultimately, trips to the podiatrist’s office. Consensus grew around the $150 to $200 price tag for better footwear that lasted years or, as one person put it, “thousands of miles.” Specific brands included Blundstones, Birkenstocks, and Rainbow flip-flops, which provided the best experiences.
7. Forget Buying A Used Car
A controversial commenter received many upvotes, making the provocative suggestion to buy a new rather than a used car. His reasoning: he was “really just tired of my car being in the shop all the time. He bought a new car which resulted in a slightly higher monthly payment at the time, but I was pleasantly surprised when my insurance cost was cut in half. Of course, there were maintenance savings, but that wasn’t my main goal.”
8. Stop Eating Out and Getting Food Delivery
Various reasons were given for quitting eating out. One commented, “I stopped eating out because I’m lazy and don’t feel like leaving the house in the evening once I’ve changed into sweats.”
Another had less choice when they moved from the city to a rural area, and she said, ” I didn’t have easy access to foods I love. I learned how to make my fave foods and started buying in bulk because stores were so far away. I now grind or slice my meats and make almost everything I eat. We didn’t buy premade food and had super delicious food that was a fraction of the cost. I also ended up starting a food business.”
One happy person realized the significant benefits of breaking up with her ex, who enjoyed eating out and ordering food delivery often. Now she prefers cooking or picking up her own things, at substantial savings.
9. Grocery Pickup or Delivery
One person benefited significantly once he started ordering grocery pickup because he found he was “lazy and hated going to the store. It turned out he not only saved money by eliminating impulse shopping but also is eating better.” Many like the convenience of ordering groceries with their shopping list, picking them up, and avoiding deliveries. However, a few don’t mind paying for the delivery to save more time and get better deals with the grocery app.
10. Sustainable Environment
Reducing unnecessary waste is a huge motivator for many who have eliminated buying paper towels, paper plates, tin foil, plastic bags, toilet paper, all sorts of paper goods, and even tampons. Former paper users turn to regular plates and cloths, getting glass storage for food, installing a bidet, and using a menstrual cup, “from a June brand for $6!!! I also never got another yeast infection when I switched to a cup. Win-win-win!”
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With a passion for investing and personal finance, I began The Cents of Money to help and teach others. My experience as an equity analyst, professor, and mom provide me with unique insights about money and wealth creation and a desire to share with you.