21 Ways to Save on Everyday Items

Desk lunch
••• Simone Beccheti/Stocksy United

Many people want to save money but have no idea how many "little expenses" slip through the cracks. A few bucks here, a few bucks there -- it all adds up.

Trim your budget by adopting these everyday habits that help you save money. From brewing your own coffee to turning the lights off when you're not in the room, you'll be amazed at how many small ways you can cut costs. The money leftover each month can be put towards something fun, like a vacation or retirement!

21 Ways To Save On Everyday Items

  1. Skip the morning coffee dash at Starbucks or the local coffee vendor. How long does it take to brew one of your own?
  2. Stay home to relax, rather than leaving your house in pursuit of relaxation. Spending your weekend at home will help you avoid crowds, avoid parking, and save a lot of cash.
  3. Make a list before you buy groceries. Grocery stores are designed to entice you into buying impulsively. For a long list of tips that help you trim your food costs, check out this article on how to save on groceries.
  4. Buy items in bulk if it has a long shelf life. Toothpaste, for example, won't expire for a long time, so you might as well buy the larger and cheaper-per-ounce pack. Meat and veggies, by contrast, expire quickly, so buy only as much as you'll realistically use.
  5. Pledge that you won't go on a shopping spree the moment that stress strikes. Find an alternate way of dealing with stress, like walking or jogging.
  6. Carpool with your neighbors and friends. Even one day per week of carpooling to and from work will shave roughly 10 - 20 percent off your commute costs.
  7. Buy the smallest cup of soda when you eat at an establishment that offers free drink refills.
  8. Brown-bag your lunch to work, instead of eating out.
  9. Visit restaurants during happy hour. The restaurant will serve the same food - with a limited array of options - for a steep discount. Can't make it during happy hour? Use a "daily deal" coupon such as Groupon, Scoutmob or Living Social.
  10. Bring leftovers home with you from the restaurant. That food will go to waste otherwise.
  11. Maintain your car with regular oil changes and tune-ups. This might feel like a short-term financial burden, but it will probably extend the life of your car.
  12. Switch off the lights if you aren't in the room.
  13. Bike to places near your house, if your neighborhood has sidewalks or bike lanes available.
  14. Exchange books, clothes and other household goods with friends. Borrow tools that you'll only need to use once.
  15. Read e-books or Kindle editions, which are often cheaper. Don't have an e-reader? Order used books online.
  16. Compare prices online before buying anything in-store. If you have a smartphone, download a free app that lets you scan the barcode of items so that you can instantly see its prices online.
  17. Keep your tires properly inflated. You'll improve your fuel efficiency.
  18. Caulk any gaps or drafts around your windows and doors. You'll save on heating and cooling bills.
  19. Walk away from impulse purchases. If you still want it 24 hours later, you can always go back. Better yet, wait for sales.
  20. Rent movies, or stream videos online, rather than going to a movie theater.
  21. Install a programmable thermostat, so you can keep your home at a mild temperature during the workday.