Bank Mutual is coming together with Associated Bank. Learn more


125 Smart Money Saving Tips

Posted by Jessica Akright on Sep 07, 2017 13:00:00 PM

Topic: ALL


Bank Mutual is celebrating 125 years of helping our Wisconsin neighbors grow and thrive by achieving their financial milestones. And of course, that includes saving money! To commemorate our milestone anniversary, we’ve pulled together 125 savings tips aimed to help you put more green in your pocket.

    Home Sweet Home

  1. If you’re a homeowner, consider refinancing your home if rates are lower than you’re paying currently and you’ll still be ahead after any refinancing fees. Talk to a Loan Officer to make sure this is a good option for you.

  2. Homeowners should review your property tax assessment periodically to ensure it’s in line with comparable properties in your neighborhood; challenge the assessment when it seems too high.

  3. Get a roommate if your apartment or home is too expensive or the kids have flown the nest.

  4. Find a college student for a short-term rental of a spare bedroom.

  5. Rent out your home when you’re out-of-town on a site like Vacation Rental by Owner

  6. Rent out a room to visitors or travelers on a site such

  7. Move back in with family when money is tight until you get your finances under control.

  8. Barter or exchange home maintenance chores such as grass cutting or painting with a friend or neighbor.

  9. Periodically compare home insurance rates for a better deal; bundle home and car insurance if you can get a discount.

  10. Get Energy Smart

  11. Unplug unused devices; even if they’re powered off, they still draw energy. Surprising, this includes things like cell phone chargers, too.

  12. Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient CFLs and LEDs. Although these are more expensive up front, you can save from $30 to $80 over a bulb’s lifetime.

  13. Get a 'smart' thermostat with day/night/weekend settings to reduce energy use when you’re away or asleep.

  14. Lower your thermostat in the winter and raise it in summer.

  15. Turn off the pilot on your gas fireplace in the summer.

  16. Turn down the setting on your water heater and insulate it.

  17. Install low-flow showerheads and faucets to reduce your water usage.

  18. Check door and window weather stripping and replace as needed to and reduce air loss.

  19. Wash laundry – other than oily stains − in cold water.

  20. Air-dry laundry outside or inside on hangers to reduce clothes dryer use.

  21. On the Move

  22. Leave the car in the garage and walk whenever possible. It’s good for the environment, saves money on gas and is great for your health.

  23. Carpool to work or to shared activities planned with friends.

  24. Take a bike to work or on errands whenever possible, and get more exercise, too.

  25. Learn nearby bus routes and take public transportation when feasible to save on gas and parking fees.

  26. Share a car with a relative, neighbor or friend if you don’t need a car that often.

  27. Compare car insurance rates every year or so to see if there’s a better deal available. Bundle car with home or renters insurance for a discount. Talk to an insurance agent to learn other ways to save.

  28. Keep car tires properly inflated, rotate as recommended and periodically align the front-end alignments to reduce tire wear and improve gas mileage.

  29. New car shopping? Check for low, no-haggle internet pricing from local dealers.

  30. Consider a hybrid car to save big on gas.

  31. Get a smartphone app like Gas Buddy to find the lowest priced gas nearest you.

  32. Get regular tune-ups, removing extra weight from the trunk and turning off the engine instead of idling to improve gas mileage.

  33. Reduce quick accelerations and speeding to improve gas mileage.

  34. Learn how to change your own oil.

  35. Dial Up Savings

  36. Get rid of your landline phone and use just your cell phone.

  37. Resist the urge to replace your cell phone every time your contract ends; keep it on a no-contract basis to reduce your monthly cost.

  38. Comparison shop for a lower-cost cell phone plan when your contract ends.

  39. Lower your monthly cell phone bill by moving to a less expensive provider if they will pay-off the termination fee on your current contract.

  40. Get everyone in the house on a family cell phone plan to reduce monthly costs.

  41. If you have access to Wi-Fi on your smartphone most of the time but don’t make many calls, go with a smaller mobile phone carrier or a pay-as-you-go plan.

  42. Make calls with Skype, Vonage or other call and texting apps to reduce mobile minute and text costs.

  43. Eat Well and Save

  44. Stock up during sales on items you’d normally eat and that can be safely stored or frozen before it goes bad. Resist the temptation to buy food just because it’s on sale.

  45. Buy in bulk those things your family eats frequently.

  46. Consider a membership in a warehouse club if you buy a lot of things in bulk.

  47. Keep a pantry and freezer inventory; eat what you already have before buying more.

  48. Chopping and cutting veggies and other produce yourself is cheaper than buying it already prepared.

  49. Buy produce when it’s 'in season' and priced low, then freeze or can for use all year long.

  50. Start and grow your own herbs from seed.

  51. Check what you need and make a list before grocery shopping – then stick to it.

  52. Don’t shop when you’re hungry so you’re not tempted to buy more than what is on your list.

  53. Clip coupons and watch for double-coupon days. Use store apps and coupon sites to maximize deals and save money.

  54. Use rebates to reduce on the price of products you use regularly as well as new ones manufacturers hope you’ll try.

  55. Consider lower priced generic products of the same quality as brand names.

  56. Buy a refillable water bottle instead of bottled water.

  57. Start a garden or rent a community garden plot and grow your own vegetables.

  58. Cook a week’s worth of meals on the weekend for faster dining on busy weeknights to reduce expenditures on fast food and take-out.

  59. Bring your lunch to work, even a few days a week, instead of eating out.

  60. Make your own coffee instead of stopping at the local coffee shop. Invest in your own espresso machine if lattes and specialty drinks are your passion.

  61. Set a limit on your weekly coffee shop visits if you can’t live without those specialty coffee drinks and decadent pastries.

  62. Dress for Savings

  63. Schedule a clothing swap with friends to refresh wardrobes instead of buying new.

  64. Check out thrift and consignment stores — both in person and online.

  65. Avoid purchasing clothes that require expensive dry cleaning.

  66. Get comfortable shoes still in style repaired instead of buying new.

  67. Take a class at your local tech school to learn how to sew, alter or update your own clothes.

  68. Cut Children's Expenses

  69. 63. If your employer offers a Flexible Spending Account, use it to pay for childcare costs.

  70. Use your company’s childcare facility, if available, where costs may be subsidized.

  71. Share a nanny with a neighbor, relative or friend.

  72. Consider cloth diapers instead of disposables. Shop for lower-price disposables at warehouse stores.

  73. Resale stores and rummage sales offer great savings on children’s clothes – they grow out of them so quickly anyway, why not pay less?

  74. Extend toy life and keep the kids happy by exchanging toys with relatives or friends.Set a limit on your weekly coffee shop visits if you can’t live without those specialty coffee drinks and decadent pastries.

  75. Buy your own hair clippers and professional scissors and learn to cut your kids hair by watching how-to videos on YouTube.

  76. Get recipes online and make your own play dough or slime for the kids.

  77. Wise Money

  78. Participate in your employer’s 401 K retirement savings program if they will match a portion of your savings. It’s like getting free money!

  79. Send a portion of your next raise into your savings account every week before you become used to having the extra money.

  80. Research ways to refinance student loans at a lower rate.

  81. Change your current investment management service for a lower-cost money manager.

  82. Sign up for overdraft protection where you bank to avoid overdraft fees.

  83. Avoid paying late fees on bills you forget to pay on time by setting up auto-pay when it’s offered; it also helps keep your credit score up.

  84. Transfer a current high-interest credit card balance to a lower rate card.

  85. Negotiate a lower interest rate on a high interest rate credit card if you carry a balance, stating that you’re considering transferring your debt to another lower-rate card.

  86. Review your credit card statements every month to ensure unfamiliar charges aren’t fraudulent uses of your card.

  87. Actively manage your credit score by checking your credit rating every year at Correct any errors.

  88. Create a budget and stick to it to help avoid unnecessary spending and save more money.

  89. Track spending for a week to see where non-essential purchases are adding up and could go into your savings instead.

  90. Once you’ve paid off your car, sock away the same amount every month to start building a down payment for your next car or for unexpected major car repairs.

  91. If you can’t get a handle on your credit card spending, use cash. Estimate your basic needs for the week, give yourself that amount of money, and when it’s gone, you’re done spending until next week.

  92. Get Fit While Saving

  93. Take advantage your employer’s Flexible Savings Account (FSA) or a Health Savings Account (HSA), to pay for qualified health expenses tax-free.

  94. Ask your doctor and/or pharmacist about lower cost, generic prescriptions vs. brand name ones.

  95. Ask your doctor for samples when prescribed a high-cost brand name medication with no generic equivalent.

  96. Review medical bills to ensure you’re not paying for services you haven’t received; dispute any errors.

  97. Health insurance or medical services not covered? Ask your health care providers – physicians, dentists and hospitals – for a discount if you can make a lump sum payment or for help with a payment plan that works with your income and budget.

  98. Check to see if your drug plan offers lower mail-order pricing for long-term medications.

  99. Drop the high-priced gym membership for a lower-cost one at a facility with fewer frills such as showers and laundry.

  100. Exercise with friends, buy exercise DVDs or take free fitness classes from your local recreation department.

  101. Avoid pricey fitness bracelets and download a free fitness app on your smartphone to record your daily steps, exercise and activities.

  102. Check with your employer or health insurer to see if fitness memberships are subsidized or if there are cash-backs or rewards for meeting fitness goals.

  103. Visit Urgent Care clinics for simple problems and illnesses versus higher cost hospital emergency rooms.

  104. Fun and Games

  105. Clip and use coupons for discounts on restaurant dining.

  106. Nibble on veggies before going out to eat to take the edge off your hunger to help avoid ordering the most expensive item on the menu.

  107. Split an entrée (sometimes for a nominal extra charge) when you’re not that hungry and willing to share.

  108. Have a cocktail at home before dining out to reduce your restaurant check. A glass of wine may cost almost as much as you could buy the bottle for yourself. Appetizers are another high cost menu item to skip.

  109. Host potluck dinners when entertaining. Most people are glad to bring something as long as someone else is providing the place and cleaning up afterwards.

  110. Cook more than you need when making meals so you have leftovers to take to work for lunch the next day or to save time cooking dinner the next night.

  111. Seek out advance purchase discounts and coupons for entertainment venues like amusement and water parks, and fairs.

  112. Treat the kids to carnival rides at a local church festival instead of an expensive national amusement chain.

  113. Shop rummage sales for classic games and enjoy family game nights instead of expensive movie tickets.

  114. If you’re close to an urban area, cancel cable or satellite TV and opt for an over-the-air antenna. You’ll be surprised how many channels you can get.

  115. Reduce the cost of cable by going to a basic plan and get a less expensive streaming service.

  116. Go to the movies during the day for lower matinee-price tickets or on discount days when theaters are trying to draw more customers.

  117. Rent DVDs or borrow them free from your local library instead of going to the movies.

  118. Rent books from your local library instead of buying them. Put some of the savings towards an annual library donation so they can buy even more books and DVDs to loan out.

  119. Savings on the Go

  120. Research airfares and hotels on websites that show prices offered on other sites. Know which airlines do not participate in those sites and check their sites, too.

  121. Use Kayak’s Hacker Tool to find out the best advance timeframe to buy airline tickets.

  122. Be willing to schedule vacations off season when airfares, hotels and car rentals are lower.

  123. Travel mid-week instead of weekend-to-weekend when fares tend to be lower.

  124. Sign up for airline credit cards – if you are able to manage credit cards wisely – to get free miles for future travel.

  125. Join airline, hotel and rental car loyalty programs for discounts and freebies.

  126. Consider lower cost, discount hotel chains when you just need is a clean room and comfortable bed because you’ll be out sightseeing all day long.

  127. Last But Not Least

  128. Do your own manicures, or spend time swapping with a friend.

  129. Manage impulse buying by setting a self-imposed waiting period of a day or two before making a major purchase. Could you shop further for a better price? Borrow it from a friend? Or be OK without it?

  130. Time purchases when prices are known to be lowest, such as TV’s after Thanksgiving or before Super Bowl, and school supplies/clothes in July and August.

  131. Search for and use promo codes when shopping online.

  132. Sell 'stuff' in good condition you no longer need or use on Craig’s list, Facebook or LetGo, or take a tax deduction to donate items to a charity like Goodwill, Salvation Army, ReStore, St. Vincent or Purple Heart.

  133. Shop resale stores for designer label clothes and furniture you can rehab.

  134. Take a non-credit sewing or upholstery class at your local tech school to make your own home accessories or make your furniture look like new again.

  135. Make gifts instead of buying them. Handmade gifts are more personal, and usually more appreciated.

  136. Sign up for store loyalty and membership programs to receive discounts and bonuses. Most only need your phone number at checkout, so no need to carry a pile of member cards with you.