82 Money Saving Tips – Ideas to help fatten your wallet

If you are finding it hard to make it from paycheck to paycheck without relying on your credit card, or want to save up some money for a rainy day, look no further. These are tips that are guaranteed to save you money, and most of them are fairly easy to implement.

Go forth and save!

Big ticket savings

These money saving tips will have a big impact on your bottom line. If you only use some of my tips, make sure you start with the top ten – they are pure gold for saving cash.

1. Live close to work: You can drastically reduce your reliance on fuel, or possibly the need for a car altogether. Time saved commuting is time you could be spending doing something else – time is your most precious resource, so make sure you don’t waste it driving to work in rush-hour traffic.

2. Ride a bike: Save money on fuel, on car registration and insurance. Save money on gym memberships, develop discipline and willpower. Everything about bikes is awesome. They are cheap to buy, cheap to maintain and good for the environment. I’ve written a post specifically about this – read more about how awesome bicycles are here.

3. Have a budget and review it regularly:  Knowing where your money is and where it is going is the first step to working out how to save it. Are you spending $500 a month on take away food? If you are, you really need to know that so you can do something about it. If you’re in the USA, you really should check out Mint. It’s a free product that lets you add all your accounts so you can track your money in one place. It’s secure, easy to use and powerful. Pretty graphs too.

4. Set up an emergency fund: Some people suggest keeping a year’s worth of expenses in a savings account in case of an emergency, but I think that’s too much for most people. Work out what you’re likely to need to get through losing your job or if your hot water cylinder dies spectacularly. If you need to use a credit card to get through emergencies, then you’re wasting money and setting yourself up for financial trouble. If you do set up an emergency fund, preferably use a high interest savings account.

5. Pay yourself first: If you religiously pay yourself first (retirement savings, topping up your emergency fund, long term savings) and spend only what is left over after your bills are also paid, you’re very unlikely to get into major trouble. As the great Warren Buffett said: “Do not save what is left over after spending, but spend what is left over after saving.

6. Get serious about crushing your debt: Paying interest to someone else to fund past purchases is a horrible place to be in, and it’s really hard to get ahead. Pay more than the minimum payment and prioritize debts that have the highest interest rates (all other things being equal). Check out this great tool to see how long it’ll take you to get into the black, and where to start: Unbury.me

7. Cut your own hair: If you keep your hair short and you haven’t bought a pair of cheap, reliable clippers (Note: This is an affiliate link, it won’t cost you more if you use the link, but it will help support the blog!) then you need to have your head read. It’ll save you an absolute packet and is about the easiest thing in the world to do. Paying someone to chop your hair slightly shorter is madness. Read my sermon about this topic here.

8. Learn how to cook basic meals: Cooking doesn’t have to be hard. It’s actually quite a bit of fun once you learn some basic skills. It’s definitely cheaper than buying dinner or your lunch at work. Also make large quantities of each meal to use in the days ahead or to freeze as the economies of scale will help you save. Check out Gordon Ramsey’s great ‘Ultimate Cookery Course’ on YouTube as a brilliant starting point.

9. Exercise: Moving your body about and getting your heart rate up is what it’s all about – it doesn’t have to be expensive, and almost certainly doesn’t have to involve a gym membership. Adding years to your life expectancy is a great return on your investment here – you’ll save a heap of money later on in increased productivity, cheaper health insurance and on medical expenses. Start running today. 

10. Sell your junk: Sell your old games, books, CDs, DVDs, records, or stuff in the garage. I sold stuff that was lying around the other weekend and made $350 with almost no effort.

Continue reading

Cheap Hobbies: Why you should start running today

Running is one of the cheapest hobbies known to man. For the average runner, you only need decent quality running shoes, some decent socks and somewhere outside to run.

There is even a growing movement of people who swear by barefoot running as well, so theoretically you can run literally without any equipment at all making running the king of cheap exercise. Running comes in at number eight on my mega top 100 cheap hobbies list.

A word of warning though – like many other hobbies that start out cheap, it is very possible to spend far more than you need. You might be tempted to buy a running GPS watch, a drink belt, a camel pack or a treadmill, but really those things aren’t necessary and can wait until you know for sure that it will represent good value. I don’t really think there is ever a good reason to buy a treadmill though, unless you live in a place where it snows. I don’t think that buying a $1200 treadmill is a good idea if your focus is on a new cheap hobby to keep you fit.

If you have a smart phone, there are numerous applications available to track your runs so that you can chart your progress. I’m a huge fan of charting progress as you can tell from my monthly reports, there is nothing more motivating than knowing your time from your last run to keep yourself accountable. 


Top ten reasons to get started running today

  1. It will extend your life
  2. It’s free. Almost everyone can run directly out their front door and run straight away, or go somewhere close by to run
  3. Lose weight
  4. Meet people at your local running club
  5. Stop the gym membership. running combined with bodyweight exercises will replace the gym and save you $60+ a month
  6. Challenge yourself. Running is hard. It hurts, and seems to never get easier. But one day you’ll realise that you’re running 50% faster than before. It’ll happen!
  7. Train yourself to meet and exceed goals that you set for yourself. Your success with running will transfer into other areas of your life
  8. Improve your cardio performance for other activities, particularly useful if you play a sport
  9. Sleep better at night
  10. Improve performance at work

Cheap hobbies: running a blog

My recent post about my top 100 cheap hobby suggestions has been fairly successful, and has inspired me to post this follow up article about one of the suggestions that has been occupying much of my time of the last six months: blogging.

My post about cheap hobbies has quickly become the most popular way for people to get to my site through Google. If you search for ‘cheap hobbies’ in Google, it’s currently the first or second result you get (at least it is for me, and is confirmed by Google Analytics).

Blogging has most of the hallmarks of a good frugal hobby. If you have a computer and an internet connection then you can start a blog. There are a number of free services that let you host your blog on their hosting, like blogger, tumblr and wordpress. They are fine if you’re starting out and have no plans to advertise, but can be more limiting if you want your own domain name and have complete control over what is on your site.

Given how cheap domain registration and hosting is, it’s definitely worth considering hosting your own blog so that you can control every last aspect of your site. A typical .com domain name costs around $10 per year, and hosting can be had for as little as $7 per month with perks like unlimited domain names, unlimited data transfer and unlimited data storage.

The best hosting currently available is bluehost. There are a few similar hosts, but none that make the process of setting up your blog as easy as bluehost does. WordPress is the most popular option for blogging software if you want to go down the self-hosted path, and for good reason. It’s extremely flexible and customization – there are tons of free and professionally built themes to choose from, and updating is really easy.

If you decide to register with bluehost, please consider using one of my links because it directly assists my blog financially when you sign up through my site. The best part is that it won’t cost you any more to sign up through this site.

I have been running my site for about six months and haven’t been directly thinking about how to make money from it until fairly recently – I dabbled in the beginning with adsense, but only recently have I thought about different revenue streams. It’s certainly not a good way to make a lot of money quickly, but all of the costs I’ve had to run the site (domain registration, hosting, and the like) has been returned in revenue by more than double through advertising income.

At worst, it’s a cost neutral hobby that has the potential to return some income if you stick with it, or stumble upon a popular format.

Positives to blogging as a cheap hobby

  1. The ongoing costs are no more than about $100 per year for a fully hosted site with your own unique domain name. If you don’t care about being on your own domain name, it is a free hobby.
  2. It’s a great way to learn more about a passion or hobby in another area. For me, I’ve learned a lot about financial independence and personal finance and probably wouldn’t have learned the same lessons as quickly had I not been constantly thinking about how I could write about a particular topic
  3. It keep you accountable. If you’re interested in a blog to document your progress towards a particular goal, like I am as I move towards financial independence, the feedback you get from readers is invaluable as a source of motivation.
  4. It can lead to a relatively passive income stream. I generally don’t like referring to blogs as being capable of producing ‘passive income’ because by and large they are a lot of work to maintain and update – but they are less intensive compared to a full time job, and you can go at your own pace. Theoretically, you could build a site and then let it run on auto-pilot, while continuing to receive a small amount from adsense into the future – or hire someone else to write for you. Generally, they take quite a bit of active participation to get them to a point where they regularly provide any income at all.
  5. You can remain anonymous.
  6. You can update your blog from anywhere in the world, and unlike another hobby or job, you’re not tied to the one physical location.
  7. You can run more than one site without them being connected, and the loss is minimal if any one site doesn’t work out.
  8. You meet a great number of very passionate people who have similar interests, and particularly in the personal finance niche, there is a real sense of camaraderie.
  9. You can say whatever you like about whatever subject you like, and if you do so for long enough, you’re bound to find a group of like minded people and readers. The internet is a weird and wonderful (and huge) place, and if you’re persistent and entertaining, your blog can be a success almost regardless of its focus.
  10. Be your own boss. Only you edit your work, choose when you write and what you say. I’ve found it to be a very motivating and liberating process.
  11. You gain a number of very transferable skills, like copy-writing, editing and marketing.

The negatives

  1. It takes considerable effort to regularly update a blog. In February, I found it hard to work a full time job, run this blog and do all the other things I want to do in my spare time.
  2. Pressure to keep writing
  3. Minimal profit early, potentially for ever
  4. Can be disheartening to not get any feedback
  5. Difficult to know if you’re on the right path

If you think you’d like to write regularly about a topic you’re passionate about and think it’d help you stick to your goals – try writing a blog. It can be really cathartic, and doesn’t have to cost anything if you’re not sure you’d like it. If you start the next Get Rich Slowly, then you could retire in a few years, too!

100 cheap hobbies – spend time not money

Think you have to spend money to have fun? Think again.

Living on a really tight budget because you want to get out of debt or retire early doesn’t have to mean sitting in a dark room eating noodles. It just means swapping expensive hobbies and pastimes for cheap or free ones. Even better, you might find a few that pay you to do them.

Enjoy my 100 best frugal pastimes.


1. Reading: The king of frugal hobbies. Reading can educate you about the world or grip you with an amazing tale. You probably have a library near you that is full of good books available for free. From literature to biographies, poetry to blogs – there is something for everyone.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

2. Writing: Humans have occupied themselves by writing since 3200 BC – you only need a computer or a pen and paper and you’re away. Whether you like writing angry letters to the editor or want to work on writing the next War and Peace, you’re not going to spend much money in the process (unless you quit your job to work on writing full time – not a frugal move!) 

3. Drawing: Painting, sketching, doodling or being creative with a pencil. Drawing is one of the cheapest ways to pass the time.

4. Learn a language: There are heaps of wonderful free resources available online to help you learn a language. You can listen to podcasts on the way to work or work through a structured course. Soon enough you’ll be speaking French (or Klingon).

5. Podcasts: Learn a language, listen to your favourite comedian, listen to a great documentary or catch up on the latest news. Podcasts are an awesome source of information and are (by and large) free!

6. Educate yourself: Learn how to do anything. Do an open university course. Read Wikipedia. Learning about the world is fun and will make you a better person.

7. Start a blog: If I can do it, you can too. It’s a great way to lay down challenges for yourself and provide yourself with accountability. Telling the internet about a goal you have is a great way to stay on track. Wordpress is the most popular option for blogging software if you want to go down the self-hosted path, and for good reason.

I use bluehost to host this blog. They have plans starting from $6 a month which is a true bargain. I haven’t had a single issue with them at all – They are rock solid and great value.

If you make the decision to sign up with bluehost, please consider using one of the links on this site. It won’t cost you any more to sign up through this site either.


8. Running: If reading is the best cheap intellectual pastime then running is the exercise equivalent. You can do it almost anywhere and you only need decent footware. There is always something to improve on, races to enter and PBs to beat. (Update: Read my blog post about why you should start running here)

Continue reading

Life’s Too Short to Be Spending All Your Money and Being Broke

This is a guest post from Kraig at Young, Cheap Living. Kraig is 28 years old and is on a mission to save all he can and reach financial independence as soon as possible. He knows what it’s like to be broke, but decided a few years ago that the anxiety and stress that come from spending everything you make just isn’t worth the nice things. Kraig now saves over half of his income and is on a mission to create a future where he can spend his time working on things that he’s passionate about and things that help him make this world a better place.

I have a guest post going up on his blog as I post his – so make sure you check it out.

When I lost my dad almost 12 years ago, I was just 17 years old. I was right in the middle of becoming an adult and my money handling habits were in pretty rough shape. As a kid, I didn’t really understand the value of money. My dad always kept a close watch on our family’s resources and it always came off as a negative to me. It meant that all the other kids I knew would get all the good stuff, the nice houses, the fancy cars, the name brand clothes, their own rooms, etc. All that ran through my head was that my dad was a cheapskate and it was all around a bad deal for me.

Until after my dad died, I didn’t realize the value of being smart with your money. My dad left us at just 46 years old. My brother and I were both in high school and my mom was left as a single parent. Dad left our family taken care of with smart planning and many, many years of hard work and dedication. He was a hero to our family.

But wouldn’t you know it, I kept spending everything I had for several years into my early adulthood. I bought a nice car with a loan that my mom co-signed, some great accessories for my car, and all kinds of other expensive stuff. I loved stuff. Now that I was an adult and had some money to spare, it was my turn to get the good stuff I had always wanted. But then… all that stuff that I spent all my money on, became worthless. I learned that nice stuff just doesn’t last.

Continue reading