Best of 2014: 25 Money-Saving Tips from the Experts

As the year comes to a close, we here at CouponPal are looking back at all of the great money-saving tips we learned from this year’s Interview with an Expert series. We got the chance to ask questions of many leading experts in a variety of fields (personal finance, tech, health, fashion, and beauty). In turn, they gave us some awesome advice, including tons of ways to save money. Read on for our 25 favorite tips from some truly smart folks!

1. “The key to saving, be it travel, eating out, shopping, or otherwise, is to ‘know before you go.’ The more research you do, the more you’ll be able to make informed spending decisions.” - Stefanie O’Connell, The Broke and Beautiful Life

2. “My favorite way to cut food costs is just by eating the food I purchase. Many people focus on spending less at the grocery store but don’t realize how much food they actually throw out because it has expired. This strategy alone can save you about $2,000 a year.” - Karen Cordaway, Money Saving Enthusiast

3. “I honestly believe that it all boils down to tracking your spending. If you don’t do that, you don’t have a ‘plan,’ and it becomes easy to fritter your funds away carelessly. Everyone should track their spending, and make a plan for their hard-earned income.” - Holly Johnson, Club Thrifty

4. “The #1 mistake that coupon users make is using a coupon just because you have it. I see people spend more money every week using coupons sometimes. The key to using a coupon the right way is using it when the item is on sale.” - Lauren Greutman, I Am That Lady

5. “Live below your means. Whatever your means are, as long as you learn to live below them, you’ll do fine financially. I would also give your money a purpose. If you just make it to spend it, you’ll always be broke.” - Kim Parr, Eyes on the Dollar

6. “Sign up for emails at your favorite online sites so you can be the first to learn about flash sales, check clearance racks regularly when you are in the store and ask the manager about upcoming deals/promotions, and get on the mailing list so you receive hard-copy coupons straight to your home address.” - Kimberly Smith, Penny Pincher Fashion

7. “A consumer who is too informed doesn’t yet exist.” - Robert Cringely, Cringely.com

8. “Start young by diverting part of your savings every month in a workplace retirement account or Roth IRA. Invest those funds into a few index funds and continue every month, without fail. Small amounts can compound into hundreds of thousands of dollars over time.” - Barbara Friedberg, Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance

9. “We eat seasonally to save money. We don’t purchase many products from boxes or bags...everything is fresh, making it less expensive.” - Leanne Vogel, Healthful Pursuit

10. “Use a rewards credit card. If you’re good about paying off your credit card balance each month, get a rewards card, and use it like a debit card to make your everyday purchases and rack up points for free flights or hotel stays.” - Cameron Huddleston, Kiplinger

11. “Emergencies happen to everyone, no matter how charmed a life you lead, so hoping that they won’t doesn’t work. Planning ahead for both the unexpected (and the unpleasant) helps you get through them without sending your financial life into a tailspin.” - Jackie Beck, The Debt Myth

12. “You will never get your budget under control without first looking at where it is going and making dramatic cuts in your spending.” - Ruth Soukup, Living Well Spending Less

13. “Keep membership cards and coupons in your purse or car. If you don’t have a physical coupon, take a few seconds to Google coupons and the store or restaurant’s name before you even set foot inside. This can save you hundreds of dollars!” - Kelly Whalen, The Centsible Life

14. “Never pay full price. Whether you shop at garage sales or use coupons for groceries, there are always ways to get discounts on anything you buy.” - David Bakke, Money Crashers

15. “Whenever I shop online, I always run a Google search for coupon/promo codes to reduce the price of what I’m buying. Also, sites like CouponPal can help people save when shopping online by providing coupons to some of the most popular stores in the country.” - Ashley Jacobs, Wise Bread

16. “The most important, most basic, first, and most difficult step to take is to tally up all of your assets and debts to get a clear picture of where you are. From there, the next important step is to track every penny you spend to get a feel for your spending habits and where you can and cannot cut back.” - Jacob Irwin, My Personal Finance Journey

17. “Regardless of where you’re at in your financial life, [you should try] to spend your money based off of what you value and to avoid consumer debt as much as you can.” - John Schmoll, Frugal Rules

18. “If you have $20,000 in credit card debt, but you have not recognized the problem, trying to pay it off as fast as you can will get you nowhere. You first have to fix the behavioral habits or instincts that lead you to use the credit card when you know you shouldn’t.” - Jeff Rose, Good Financial Cents

19. “Never invest money you will need in the next 5-10 years into the stock market. Investing is a long-term strategy. There are very few people who can get rich quick off stocks.” - Casey Bond, GoBankingRates

20. “For dining out, happy hour is a great way to save without feeling like you’re sacrificing anything. For free entertainment, most cities always have some kind of free concert, art show, or reading going on. Libraries are also an underutilized resource.” - Kristin Wong, Brokepedia

21. “As one of my good blogging friends like to say - ‘Treat all your dollars as employees and make sure to give them a job to do!’ And the beauty with money is that you only need to figure out how to deal with it once, and then you’re all set going forward!” - J. Money, Budgets Are Sexy

22. “We employ a variety of methods to keep our grocery budget low. A few of our favorite ways to save are: using coupons, pairing sales with coupons, playing the Drugstore Game, cooking and baking from scratch, freezer cooking, eating less meat, and planning menus based upon what’s on sale at the store.” - Crystal Paine, Money Saving Mom

23. “I also like taking advantage of ticket flipping. If I know I’m buying a ticket to a popular event (i.e. sports, concert, etc.) then I will sometimes pick up a couple of extra tickets to resell on StubHub.com or Craigslist. This gives me a little extra cash to afford the expensive venue food. Sometimes it will even pay for my original ticket.” - Philip Taylor, PT Money

24. “The first step toward financial freedom is making careful decisions continuously. Slow down and evaluate every time you spend money. Is it necessary - really necessary? Can it be purchased cheaper or used? Will it lead to spending more?” - Cristin Frank, Eve of Reduction

25. “I’m a big believer in the ‘pay yourself first’ mentality. When you look at your base-pay and subtract the cost of monthly expenses (rent/mortgage, groceries, insurance, student loans), you can then deduce how much you can put into savings. Even if it seems like a trivial amount - say 3% - it still gets you in the habit of saving.” - Erin Lowry, Broke Millennial

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