21 Ways to Save on Everyday Items

An inexpensive lunch brought from home sits on an office desk surrounded by various desktop items

Simon 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 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 left over each month can be put toward 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 and parking fees, and can allow you to save a lot of cash.
  3. Make a list before you buy groceries. Grocery stores are designed to entice you into buying impulsively. Resist those impulses and also cut your food bills.
  4. Buy items in bulk if they have 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% to 20% off your commute costs.
  7. Buy the smallest beverage size when you eat at an establishment that offers free 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 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 regular maintenance 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. Rather than buying new, 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 than physical books. Don't have an e-reader? You can 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 their 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.