51 Unique Ways to Save Money in 2021

by Chenell Tull | Updated: December 8, 2020

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If you’re planning on quitting your job soon, you’re (hopefully) saving up around 6-8 months of expenses so you have some cushion (aka a Runway) if your business crashes and burns in the first few months.

In order to save the biggest pile of cash you can before leaving your job, I wanted to put together a long list of ideas on how you can save even more.

Table of Contents

1. Swap Out Your Cable Bill

Cable is getting to be more and cumbersome as time goes on. With Triple Play bundles and Internet-only packages being around $50+ in a lot of areas, many people are cutting the cord and using alternative methods to get watch their favorite TV shows and movies.

Of course, you can join Hulu Plus or Netflix, but SlingTV offers Live shows as well as Sports which is one of the reasons many people hold on to their cable subscription each month. It’s generally around $25 a month, which is really nice when you think about how much cable costs!

2. Get Rid of TV Altogether

Sell the TV. Go read a book, take a walk, exercise. You need extra time to build that side hustle anyways. When I was saving money to quit my job, I had no TV at all. It was all work, very little play, and it helped me stay focused on the goal.

I’m not saying you need to go that extreme, but an hour spent building your business is moving you closer to your goal, while watching TV is potentially slowing you down.

3. Sit in The Dark (Turn Off the Lights)

Slightly kidding here, but it really does save money.

Turn off the lights when you leave the room – your parents used to yell at you for it when you were little, and now I’m sure you understand why they did.

4. Sign Up For Dollar Shave Club… And Then Cancel After 3 Months

save on razors

Women’s (and I’m sure men’s) razors are EXPENSIVE. Around $20 for an 8-pack of razor refills, that’s like $2.50 per refill!

I may or may not be ashamed to admit this, but I signed up for Dollar Shave Club’s monthly package for the $6 a month refill option. These razor heads are pretty great and you get 4 in a each box, so that’s $1.50 per refill. I only use around 2 each month so I ended up with a surplus and quit the club after a few months.  

I still have backup razors in my bathroom and I’m not spending money on razors anymore. They also have a $3 a month option but the razor heads weren’t as quality in my opinion – although that would only be $0.75 a razor!

You can cancel anytime so it’s really a no-brainer in my opinion 🙂 If you run out, start up your subscription again and cancel when you have another surplus.

5. Call Your Cable Company to Get Their Most Recent Promotions

I’ve done this so many times, and usually am able to get the “new subscriber” offers even though I’m still a customer. Also, fun fact – if you recently moved, Comcast considers you a new customer so you can likely get those special deals a bit easier, without having to negotiate with them.

6. Get a Text Every Time You Spend Money

Seem like overkill? Maybe.

I have this set up so that every time I spend money, whether it was an automated payment or I was in the store using my card, I get a text that includes my current credit card balance or bank balance. I use Ally Bank for my checking and Wealthfront for savings, and they definitely offer this feature. I know my credit cards from Chase and Citibank do as well.

Talk about enlightening. It really makes me second guess every purchase I make. I’ve already cut out a few monthly subscriptions because I hate watching the money get pulled out each time.

7. Carefully Sign Up for Credit Cards That Offer Rewards

A lot of credit cards offer cash back, or reward points once you spend a certain amount. If you’re ALREADY going to be spending the money, then it doesn’t hurt to sign up for one and reap the benefits. But you have to be honest with yourself, because we don’t need you spending more than you planned on just to get the “cash back” – that’s like moving one step forward and two steps back.

I find that the Chase Ultimate Rewards program offers the best rewards. But if you travel a lot, other cards might be more beneficial for you.

8. Automatically Transfer Money Into Your Savings on Payday

Set up automatic transfers so that every payday you’re saving a few hundred bucks. If it’s automatically set up, you’ll have to plan for it so you don’t overdraft – but that can work in your favor.

Some jobs let you split up where your direct deposit goes too. So 80% of your check goes to your checking account, and 20% can go into your savings. That way, you’re not even held accountable for pressing the “transfer money” button.

Work for yourself already? Set up an automatic transfer within your bank account.

9. Refinance Your Student Loans

This can be a more involved process, but refinancing your student loans can reduce your interest payment, and sometimes lower your payments. But don’t extend your loan period just to get small payments – you’ll likely be losing money in that scenario.

Some good places to refinance are SoFi and Commonbond, but you’ll want to check others to make sure you’re getting the best rate.

10. Create a Budget and Stick to It

Sticking to a budget can really open up some room in your wallet to save money. When you don’t overspend on certain categories, you have more to save to reach your full-time entrepreneurial goals sooner.

11. Open a High-Interest Savings Account

I like using Ally Bank and Wealthfront (this one pays you more interest) to keep my savings safe and earning money. There are loads of websites that help you find the best current rates. Earning extra interest on your money can help your savings increase, although slightly, it’s still better than nothing.

12. DIY: Make Your Own Stuff

Getting ready to buy another 12 pack of soap, or dish cleaner? Why not try and do it yourself? Not only can doing housework and building something new be cathartic and save you money, but it can boost your creativity, which we all need in business.

13. Stop Buying Stuff on Amazon

This is one of my biggest problems right now. I buy EVERYTHING on Amazon. Dog food, vitamins, food items, paper towels – it’s bad. But it’s sooo damn easy – and generally their prices are a lot better than others. This next tip is really what I should be doing…

14. Delete Credit Card Numbers from Your Online Store Accounts

Delete them all! Amazon, Macy’s, Groupon, everything.

Oh the sadness. No more one-click purchases – you’ll actually have to enter in your credit card numbers. But that 30 seconds may just be enough time for you to regain your sanity and not buy the thing at all.

15. Use Rakuten When You Shop

If you’re going to ignore that advice and buy stuff online, use Rakuten. It’s a good way to earn cash back on the purchases you’re already making online. Right now they are offering 6% back on Amazon purchases. Whoa.

They’re also giving you $10 FREE if you sign up using this link.

16. Sign Up For Loyalty Cards

Yes, those annoying cards all the stores ask you for when you check out. But NOT the credit cards, just the free things you sign up for and get a little keychain tag.

They do save you money and most places can look you up by phone number or give you the option of using your app too. Easy peasy.

17. Don’t Go to the Grocery Store Without a List

Make a plan for what you’ll need for the week and stick to it! Don’t go in there with an “open mind” and figure out what you’re eating this week while you’re there. And don’t go hungry – this was always the reason my bill was probably twice what it needed to be!

18. Drink Water, replace the soda with this Soda Stream Alternative

I’ve always been a huge fan of water, so this one comes easy for me. I’m that person that won’t go anywhere without my reusable water bottle.

I’m a huge fan of seltzer lately but buying cans over and over just seemed wasteful. We recently bought a Sodastream-like device and I’m loving it! This option seems to save waste and is much cheaper.

19. Stop Eating Out

Just say no. It’s expensive and you can buy healthier food at the grocery store.

20. If You Must Eat Out, Become a Secret Shopper

I used Bestmark when we used to do this. You have to fill out a lot of information after the meal, but you’re saving between $40 and $100 – it’s generally worth it 🙂

21. Quit Smoking

Plain and simple. You save money on the actual cigarettes, and you’ll save on medical bills later.

22. Sign Up for Your Student Loan Auto Repayment Plan

A lot of private student loan companies offers a 0.25% interest rate reduction when you sign up for automatic payments. And while 0.25% might not seem like much, check out these stats and tell me that again.

23. Find a Cheaper Grocery Store

Whole Foods is not a requirement. I was one of those people who went to Whole Foods for everything because I would easily get freaked out by busted up produce or foul smelling meats. But I’ve seen the light and am now saving boatloads of money.

Aldi for one has a lot of organic options and they’re making the move be GMO-free which is important to a lot of people, including myself.

Trader Joe’s can be slightly cheaper, but a lot of their stuff is not. And then you have the generic Shoprite, Acme, Publix options as well. Use the coupons they give you and be smart about what you’re buying.

My FAVORITE place to get cheaper organic foods is Thrive Market. They essentially cut out the middleman which can save you lots of money.

If you live in a city, there are probably oodles of farmer’s markets and produce stands where you can get produce and even meat for much cheaper than the grocery store – and you might even get to meet the farmer who grew the stuff you’re eating – cool!

25. Buy Generics Instead of Brand Names

Generic options are often much cheaper than the brand name versions. You want to be careful with some things, but most generics are identical replicas of the more expensive version of the product. This goes for everything from vitamins to toothpaste, and even clothes.

26. Use Coupon Apps Like Ibotta

Ibotta is a service that helps you find deals in your area for grocery stores, pharmacies, department stores, specific brands, and more. You can earn points by buying certain items, uploading a copy of your receipt, and then you get cash delivered to your account within 48 hours. You can also shop on the app and earn points that way too.

Plus if you sign up through this link you get a $10 cash bonus.

27. Food Prep for the Week on Sundays

This isn’t just for people who are trying to get healthy, you can cook all of your meals ahead of time, which not only saves you time during the week, but will likely save you money. You won’t have to come up with last-minute dinner options (which usually leads to ordering something), or making too much food that you end up throwing some out.

Even if you don’t want to plan for the whole week – prep one dinner ahead of time for that inevitable night when you don’t feel like cooking. Talk about a stress reliever 🙂

28. Buy Manager Special/On Sale Meats

Look, my mom raised me to be an expert at the word “EWWW!” I would never even conceive of buying meat that’s ready to expire. “That’s disgusting” are exactly the words we would use.

But then a special someone in my life showed me the way. And whoa are we saving money. All you have to do is either eat the meat by the next day or put it in the freezer and eat it at a later date. Last week we had perfect veal cutlets that were half price. We would never spend $5 a pound on them, but $2.49 a pound sounds more like it!

The store isn’t going to sell you something that’s already gone bad, they just don’t want to lose money on the entire transaction by having to throw it out – getting 50% of what they originally charged is better than nothing.

29. Buy Manager Special/On Sale Fruits and Veggies

There is usually a section where all of the dented produce and no longer perfect tomatoes go to die. And it’s become one of my favorite sections in the store!

Everything in our Shoprite is 99 cents in that section – this includes 6 packs of tomatoes, 24 pack of jalapenos, 6-8 perfectly good bananas, 6 red peppers, a full butternut squash (that stuff gets expensive!), and sometimes we even get a full bag of bread and other goodies thrown in there. For 99 cents. You can’t beat that!

People generally have too many problems with dented fruit which is a shame because it’s usually perfectly good to eat, and if no one buys it – it ends up going to waste.

30. Intermittent Fasting With Butter Coffee

bulletproof coffee

If you know me at all, you know I love my butter coffee (AKA Bulletproof Coffee). I’ve been drinking it for the last 2-3 years and my bloodwork comes back perfect every time (before you start ranting about my “poor arteries” haha).

My butter coffee consists of organic coffee, around a teaspoon of Brain Octane Oil, and grassfed organic ghee (you can use grassfed butter too). So I put 1.5-2 tbsp of the ghee into my blender, add the brewed coffee and blend it up. It ends up coming out like a frothy, delicious cappuccino that tastes amazing.

So I have my coffee around 5:30-6am and then I don’t eat until around 12pm or 1pm somedays. This not only saves me money on breakfast, but I don’t have a mid-morning snack either. And my brain feels so much more alive on the butter coffee. Okay, I’ll stop raving about it and just write a full post later for those of you interested.

Get the full list list emailed to you so you don’t forget to implement these later.

31. Bring Your Own Bags to the Store

Ohhh, the plastic waste pit we live in. Bringing reusable bags to the store not only means you’re helping the environment, but many stores offer a 5 cent refund for every bag you bring.

32. Shop Around for Cheaper Car Insurance

Yes, like the annoying Geico commercial, but it’s so true. I was able to save hundreds of dollars when I switched to another company (actually from Geico). There is no one size fits all for car insurance so you’ll have to check multiple carriers to find the best rates since they all have different ways of calculating risk, and thus your premium cost.

33. Sell Your Car and Use Ridesharing to Get Around

In July of 2015, I sold my car.

Yes, I live in a city. Yes, it takes more thought and energy into figuring out how I’m going to get places. But it’s 100% doable and I’m saving around $400 a month.

Now, I get around by taking the bus, the train, Uber, or renting a car for longer trips.

It takes a bit of work, but it’s also pretty refreshing. I don’t have to worry about walking outside and seeing my windshield broken because someone thought I had something good inside the car. I also don’t have to worry about my side mirror hanging there because someone hit my car but didn’t stop and leave a note.

If you live in the suburbs this is going to be a lot more challenging, but it’s worth looking into – ESPECIALLY if you already own multiple cars at your household.

34. Walk, Bike, Run Places

Similar to the one above, my step count has really gone up since selling my car. Having to walk a little further to get places has not only made me exercise a bit more, but I’m enjoying my area and seeing things I never would have seen while driving by.

35. Use Public Transportation

In Philly, we have SEPTA. And while it’s not the most timely experience, it works most of the time. Plus, you get some fantastic people watching time while you’re riding public transit.

36. Stay On Top of The Best Gas Prices

If you’re keeping the car, fine, but at least save money on gas while you’re at it. I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but there are a few really good apps that have up to date pricing for gas stations in your area. You can use the Gas Buddy app, or even Waze to get local prices.

37. Get to Work Early or Leave Later

Every minute you’re not in traffic is going to save you money on gas. If possible, see if you can shift your work hours to save time spent in traffic, and thus money.

38. Take the Train to Work

If you live in a city that has reliable transportation, think about taking the bus to work. Not only can this save you time in traffic, but you can get work done on the train.

The hour before work and hour and a half after work is when I got a LOT of work done before I left my full-time job. If I were driving, I’d spend time listening to podcasts, which is great, but if you can’t take notes and remember what you learned, it’s purely for entertainment.

39. Trade in Your Car and Get a “Beater”

If your car payment is really eating into the amount of money you can save each month, it might be worthwhile to trade him in and get an older version.

40. Use Cruise Control

Yes, seriously. I upped my average miles per gallon (mpg) from 34 to 38. On my 26 mile commute to and from work every day, it saved me a whole gallon of gas each week. That’s like $3.20 around here. Plus, I’m less stressed because I’m avoiding road rage. And hey, that’s almost $200 a year!

Plus you won’t be getting tickets anytime soon which will save even more money 🙂

41. Look for Ways to Decrease Your Cell Phone Bill

Do you really need that phone insurance? Mine costs around $11 a month, just heard it’s going up to $13 a month in 2018 so I plan on canceling it. Might as well save up that $13 a month ($156 a year) and prep to get a new phone.

Can you sell your smartphone and buy a dumb one for a year or two? If you’re really committed to becoming an entrepreneur, this could save you around $1,200 a year. You can try Republic Wireless or another low-cost carrier and save serious dough if you don’t need the smart capabilities.

42. Sell Your Stuff

I plan on doing more of this in the coming months. I sold a video game that I had from my Nintendo 64 days for $85 on Amazon. $85 for a 10 year old game that I thought no one but me had heard of. You can sell your stuff on Amazon, Craigslist, Ebay and many others.

Old TV’s, unworn clothes, sunglasses you don’t wear anymore – you can sell it all and bank up some extra cash!

43. Find a Cheaper Place to Live

Housing accounts for around 30-40% of the typical family expenses. Being able to cut down on that expense can really help you save some money. You can move from the city to the suburbs, try out a tiny house for a while, or – the often dreaded – moving in with family or friends option.

44. Get a Roommate

If you’re currently living in a place with extra space for another person to live, try getting a roommate. You can ask friends and family if they know anyone. If not, I’ve met some of the most incredible people by finding them online and we ended up being great roommates!

45. Rent a Room on AirBnB

Have an extra spare room that’s just housing some old exercise equipment and boxes? If you don’t want a full-time roommate, try cleaning up the space and rent it out to guests! You could be making some real money renting out your room on AirBnB to people just traveling through the area.

This is a GREAT way to test out being a landlord too if you’re thinking of buying a rental property in the future.

46. Rent Books, DVDs, Music, and More at the Library

Even if I won the lottery tomorrow, I would keep using the library. It’s such a cool space and they have a wide variety of obscure books, magazines and more – all for you to use free of charge!

You can also download free audiobooks if your library is on the Overdrive app. I LOVE this app and when I’m in my intense “audio months” (I go through phases) I listen constantly. If you have a smaller library that won’t have access to this, you can get some pretty great audiobook subscriptions as well

47. Cancel Monthly Subscriptions Wherever Possible

This could be magazines, newspapers, a monthly wine club, BarkBox (does your dog need that many organic treats (?), etc. The goal here is to go through your monthly expenses and find things you pay for every month and see what can go.

Do you really use them as often as you think, and do you get enough value to keep paying month after month?

48. Find Free Events in Your Area

We all need some entertainment in our lives. You can use the search function on Eventbrite and other event marketplaces to find local events that are free of charge. These could be grand openings, free movies in the local park, etc.

The idea here is to get out and enjoy yourself without spending a ton of cash. Trust me, there are ways to do it. If you don’t see one you like, create your own event!

49. Go to Meetups that offer free dinner and drinks

Again, I may or may not be ashamed to say that I did this on multiple occasions.

beer and pizza events

Who doesn’t love free pizza and beer?

So you go to Meetup.com and search for your interests. If you’re in or near a city, you’ll find at least a few groups you can join.

And startup/entrepreneur/business meetups offer pizza (or some other food) and beer ALL the time. Plus you get to meet like-minded people who might even turn into good friends or business partners later down the line (yes this happened to me multiple times).

Bonus points if the event is held at a WeWork coworking space – they have free beer on draft – just saying!

50. Take Advantage of Your Workplace benefits

I was the queen of this one. I took extra classes for fun (yes, you read that right) SOLELY because my workplace offered a $5,500 a year tuition reimbursement.

I also always got the 401k match (free money!) and was the person emailing the whole office about joining the health and wellness site we had access to for free – I mean, you got a few free $50 gift cards for taking quizzes!

The point here is to look into what your company offers and USE it. Most of the time it wasn’t well advertised (as it goes for most things with larger companies, ha!).

51. Lastly, Remember Your Why

When you’re getting sick of trying to save money, just remember why you are trying to save so much in the first place. Becoming a full-time entrepreneur is hard work, and this is probably one of the least tough things you’ll face, so get some practice in dealing with hard stuff and cut back on your lifestyle a little bit.

If you need help figuring out your why, I HIGHLY recommend the book Start With Why by Simon Sinek. It was a total game-changer for me.

Look at these at opportunities, not as setbacks or restrictions and you’ll come out on top.

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Chenell Tull helps course creators with paid traffic campaigns. She quit her day job in June of 2017 and has been learning the wild world of entrepreneurship ever since. She's sharing what she's learned while building her own business from side hustle to full-time, and the software and marketing tools she can't live without.