Want to save money? Need to get your finances under control? Looking for help learning how to live a fulfilling life on a budget? CouponPal has interviewed 50 of the Internet’s top money-savers and asked them their advice. Now, we’re bringing you their top money saving tips.
Before we get started, I want to thank all of the experts for their help. You have taught us a lot over this last year and taught me I still have a lot of to learn about shopping online, saving, personal finance, travel, blogging, and so much more. Thank you for the inspiration and support!
Be sure to check out their individual interviews to get a sneak peek into their lives and how they save. Then share your favorites with your friends.
CouponPal’s Top 50 Expert Money Saving Tips
The experts we spoke with over the past year represent all regions of the blogosphere. From budget-savvy moms to travel hackers to credit card experts. The common denominator: they all aim to live richer lives, and want you to as well. Here’s how they said you can do it:
GET THE BEST PRICE ONLINE
1. Some stores such as Kohl’s and Victoria’s Secret allow you to use more than one coupon code with a purchase. Other stores allow you to have your items sent to the store to avoid shipping charges. – Lori Felix, MoreWithLessToday.com
2. When shopping online, always clear your cookies. Online stores are pretty savvy at trying to figure out what you may be interested in and changing prices quickly. ...Clear your cookies and you may see a different and oftentimes lower price. – Heather Buen, DallasSingleMom.com
3. “Never pay full price!” When it comes to shopping online, there are so many places to order items for your wedding, and always make sure to grab a coupon code before checking out! – Jessica Lehry Bishop, TheBudgetSavvyBride.com
4. I am big on individuality and having your own style, so you won’t catch me at the mall. The deals I get really excited about are vinyl records for a quarter. If I only spend a quarter, I have nothing to lose. – Amy Clark, MomAdvice.com
Amy Clark showing off her budget-savvy style.
5. Not everything you own has to be name brand. – Marissa Anwar, ThirtySixMonths.com
TRAVELING ON A BUDGET
6. Don’t get put off by free walking tours; they are excellent, and you’re getting a great deal for the cost of a tip. Hop-on, hop-off buses can serve not only as tour buses, but also as a cheap means of city transportation. – Andy Shuman, LazyTravelers.net
7. Sources say the best time to buy a flight is on a Tuesday, 54 days before departure. I’ve found the “Tuesday” rule to be true in my own experience. – Kristin Wong, Brokepedia.com
8. Travel on a Tuesday! The prices are often cheaper. – Karyn Fleeting, Miss-Thrifty.co.uk
Karyn Fleetling starting to teach savings lessons while their young!
9. The restaurants right near big tourist attractions may be the most convenient, but they're often overpriced and, frankly, not very good. For the most affordable eats, try to find the neighborhoods and restaurants where the locals go. – Sarah Schlichter, IndependentTraveler.com
10. Travel in the off season, travel during the week, rent a house instead of staying at a hotel. – John Schmoll, FrugalRules.com
11. The one thing we would recommend to new [house] sitters is that they research the location of an assignment before accepting it. It might sound like paradise, but you’ll want to ensure that you will be comfortable with the climate/ environment/ locale during your stay. Charli Moore, Wanderlusters.com
Charli Moore – ecstatic for saving on travel!
12. Do yourself a favor and don’t ask the concierge at any hotel [for restaurant recommendations], since they are likely going to point you to more expensive places. But, if you are looking for good cheap eats, ask the cheap experts – go to a local hostel. – Michael Hodson, GoSeeWrite.com
Michael Hodson sharing his travel tips on the go.
13. I don’t stay at hostels or hotels because renting an apartment is much cheaper. Much more comfortable too! ...I find apartments on sites like Craigslist and local rental companies. – Marcello Arrambide, WanderingTrader.com
Marcello Arrambide getting off the beaten path and saving a buck.
14. My one key rule of travel stays the same: Buy the deal first, and then figure out why you want to go there! – Clark Howard, ClarkHoward.com
15. Be flexible. The more flexible you can be, the easier it will be for you to catch those ultra-great travel deals. – Nomadic Matt, NomadicMatt.com
Nomadic Matt, is that a 4-for-1 happy hour? We'll just say yes.
SAVE ON EVERYDAY LIFE
16. One of my favorite Military Freebies is the free welcome home banner. You can customize it for free and just pay shipping (order it at the beginning of the deployment for the cheapest shipping costs!). – Danielle Leonard, TheFrugalNavyWife.com
17. Make sure that you shop at reputable company sites. Never heard of the site before and can’t find any online reviews of the merchant? Shop elsewhere. – Ben Halpert, CyberSavvyKids.com
18. Wash your clothes on the cold temperature setting! It will save you on your gas and electric bill, and I have never had a problem with colors fading too much over time. – Becky Elmuccio, CraftyGardenMama.com
Becky Elmuccio goes green, and saves some, too!
19. Minimize your monthly expenses by researching the competition for your cable TV, internet, and mobile communications needs. Bundle those services, and you save even more. – Andrew Schrage, MoneyCrashers.com
20. Student loan debt is a terrible gift that keeps on giving right after you get out of college. Try and keep any loans as small as possible. – Eva Baker, TeensGotCents.com
Eva Baker, the most money-wise teen we’ve ever met.
21. First-time users should know that credit cards aren’t an excuse to spend more than you earn. Never carry a balance, and always pay on time. – Philip Taylor, PTMoney.com
22. Review the competition online for all monthly services, such as Internet, smartphone, and cable TV. There are plenty of perks for new customers. – David Bakke, MoneyCrasher.com
23. Oh, let’s not forget Craigslist! That site is quite possibly the best way to get a great deal online. – Ashley Jacobs, Wisebread.com
24. Use the free Gas Buddy app. It will locate the lowest price gas station near you, using GPS, so you can spend less on fuel without driving out of your way to get the savings. – Carrie Rocha, PocketYourDollars.com
25. Cut back on alcohol. Many personal finance books and blogs talk about how much money people waste on lattes, but if you drink cocktails, wine, or beer, that adds up even faster! – Susan Johnston
26. Save all of your dollar bills and change, and put them in a jar at the end of the day. Take the jar to the bank once a month. – Shane Ede, BeatingBroke.com
Shane Ede, rocking out on some money-saving blogging!
27. I like to tell people that they should turn “making money” into one of their main hobbies, and always be on the lookout for opportunities. Signing up for paid surveys and focus groups, selling your old things on Craigslist and eBay, and creating your own blog or niche site are all good recommendations. – Jefferson & Michelle, SeeDebitRun.com
28. Register for everything you'll need for your baby's first year. Put practical stuff on this wish list, including diapers, diapers and more diapers, and formula, if you'll be using formula. – Sandra Gordon, BabyProductsMom.com
29. A big chunk of those expenses comes from childcare and education. You can save hundreds of thousands of dollars by alternating schedules with your spouse, having one person work from home, or finding alternative childcare arrangements for your children. – Kelly Whalen, TheCentsibleLife.com
MOTIVATION TO STOP SPENDING AND START SAVING
30. Sometimes the best money-saving strategy is to avoid shopping altogether. I love finding deals, but my best frugal tip is to be happy with what you have and focus on people and experiences, not things. – Kim Danger, MommySavers.com
31. I don’t know if it’s the easiest, but simply staying home is the most effective way to save money. Most people don’t realize how spending a few dollars here and there adds up. When we go out, we tend to do that. – Kelly Crawford, GenerationCedar.com
Kelly Crawford smiling after erasing nearly $40,000 in debt.
32. Whether it's getting a raise or starting a side gig, it can be tempting to spend that new money on things you haven't been able to afford before. However, it's important to step back and consider how that extra money can benefit you. – Tom Drake, StupidCents.com, CanadianFinanceBlog.com
FINANCIAL PLANNING & FRUGAL LIVING
33. Find out where your money is going and do what you can to stop it. You won't get anywhere until your income exceeds your expenses. – Gary Foreman, Stretcher.com
34. You have two primary resources to work with when building wealth for retirement – money and time. Just spend less than you earn and invest the difference wisely. Rinse and repeat for many years, and you’ll end up wealthy. – Todd Tredsidder, FinancialMentor.com
35. I think the most challenging aspect of budgeting is people think that a budget will restrict what they could spend their money on, but in reality, budgeting can be very liberating. – Jeff Rose, GoodFinancialCents.com
Jeff Rose, liberated by his budget.
36. I rarely find that one-size-fits-all personal finance advice is useful, but I will say the one thing most people can do to improve their financial situation is to start writing down their habits. – Casey Bond, GoBankingRates.com
37. The best way to start simplifying your finances is to eliminate extra accounts and track everything in one place. – Eric Rosenberg, NarrowBridge.net
38. I think that your success in sticking with a budget starts with your attitude. If you don’t believe it’s possible, it’s probably not going to happen. However, a can-do, creative attitude will go a very long way! – Crystal Paine, MoneySavingMom.com
Crystal Paine taking a positive outlook on saving money.
39. [There is] no action too small. Everything affects your finances, so be purposeful. – Tiff “The Budgetnista” Aliche, TheBudgetnista.com
40. Beware of guilt. It robs your time – Cristin Frank, EveOfReduction.com
41. You save money when you actually put the tactics you know into practice. How much effort are you willing to put into saving money? – David Ning, MoneyNing.com
42. I recommend that people look at their hourly wages or rate, and value their time accordingly. For example, someone who earns $15 an hour will benefit from spending two hours looking for a way to save $75, while someone who bills their time out at $100 an hour will not. – Jason Steele, JasonSteele.com
43. Spending less than you earn is the single most important thing we can do with our finances...While this concept seems like a “no brainer,” it winds up being very difficult for most of us. – Hank Coleman, MoneyQandA.com
44. Saving is a choice, and choices quickly become habits. If you learn the savings habit when you’re young, it becomes a lifestyle that helps you get ahead. – Joanne Kuster, MoneyGodmotherBlog.com
Every dollar saved counts for Joanne Kuster.
45. I think living with gratitude can really transform the way we think about finances. When we stop trying to keep up with our neighbors and friends – but think about what we have and enjoy what we’ve been given – our outlook changes. – Aaron, ThreeThriftyGuys.com
46. Make sure to HAVE FUN with your money! It's important to save and invest and pay down your debts, yada, yada, yada, but it's also important to LIVE a little too. There's nothing wrong with setting aside some "do whatever the hell I want" cash every month to help keep you sane. – J. Money, BudgetsAreSexy.com
J. Money looking out at the financial future.
47. I think personal finance is easy to overcomplicate. My advice for people is to keep it simple. – Jason Price, OneMoneyDesign.com
48. My best advice is to get started learning about personal finance and saving money from an early age. I started at age 18, and by doing so, I am better able to get compound interest on my side! – Jacob Irwin, MyPersonalFinanceJourney.com
ASK FOR HELP
49. I have this tendency to do and figure out things all by myself. And while it's great to be self-sufficient, sometimes I end up wasting a bunch of time reinventing the wheel. Seek out help early on. The time and money invested in a mentor is priceless. – Stephen Chou, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com
Stephen Chou acting as an early money-mentor to his children.
50. Never be afraid to ask questions about your financial situation! If you don’t understand how to invest or set up a 401(k) or contribute to an IRA or find the best credit card or savings account for you -- just start asking and researching. – Erin Lowry, BrokeMillennial.com
START LIVING RICHER
To help you stay on track, we wanted to share some of the most common recommendations we received to help take control of your finances and get inspired.
Most Recommended Tool: Mint.com
Most Recommended Book: Dave Ramsey, “Total Money Makeover”
Ready, start, save!
Have a money saving tip of your own? Tweet us your best ideas or favorite articles at @CouponPal with the hashtag #MoneySavingTip.
Have a question you’d like to ask an expert? Tweet us @CouponPal, and you just might see your question in our next interview.