49 Genius Money Saving Hacks That Are Perfect For Anyone On A Tight Budget

Ashley Rogers
February 12, 2019
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors, and we might earn a commission if you click on one. We are letting you know because, as our grandmother taught us, an honest penny is better than a stolen dollar. Now, back to filling up your piggy banks.

Moving money is more than clipping coupons and opening a savings account. There are hundreds of hacks that can help you to squeeze a couple more dollars out of your earnings. Here are some of our favorite and most creative ways to save money.

Some require a lifestyle change, and some are so easy that you are going to wonder why you haven’t been doing them all along.

1. You’re Wasting $825 A Year And You Don’t Have To Be

Most people have absolutely no idea — and we mean no idea — that it’s recommended to switch car insurance every year so you are consistently getting the absolute cheapest price.

We all know that switching anything can be annoying, which is why we are such big fans of Gabi which shops for the best car insurance deal for you. It’s so good at doing this that the average customer will save $825 a year on car insurance.

To find out if you are currently getting ripped off on car insurance:

  1. Connect your existing insurance policy
  2. Provide your driver’s license
  3. Within minutes get a handful of cheaper options to switch

Gabi will also instantly tell you if you currently have the cheapest policy possible. It’s that easy to save up to $825 a year on car insurance using Gabi!

Save up to $825 a year on car insurance using Gabi

2. Play Games And Save At The Same Time

Earning free gift card playing mobile games sounds like a dream for most people – Mistplay (download for Android) makes that dream a reality.

Mistplay is an Android game platform app that lets you earn rewards for playing new games. Those points can be redeemed for awesome gift cards from Amazon, VISA, Target and more.

Just download the Android app choose a free game from your “mixlist” and start earning units. The more you play, the more you earn! It’s a simple idea that can result in a big payday for mobile game lovers.

Get paid to game with Mistplay

3. Earn Passive Income The Easy Way

Investment dividends are a great way to passively earn extra cash. But knowing where to start investing can be hard.

With the micro-investing app Stash, you can start investing with as little as $5. They’ve made it incredibly easy for anyone to start investing by offering a curated selection of 200 plus stocks and Exchange Traded Funds. Those ETFs and stocks pay dividends meaning you make money while you sleep! It only takes two minutes to sign up!

They’re even giving everyone $5 to sign-up now and get started!

4. Ask Your Landlord For A Rent Discount

In trying times, it never hurts to ask for discounts. Given rent is usually everyone’s biggest expense, even a small percentage change can add up to a big saving in the long run.

5. Save Thousands On Your Student Loans And Credit Cards

The same principle applies to your credit card debt and student loans! Not many people know that if you call to ask for a discount or payment delay, many companies will actually give it to you. After all, it’s in everyone’s best interest.

6. Scan Your Emails To Find Hidden Savings

All of those emails you have that are receipts of things you bought online? They might be worth actual cash thanks to Paribus.

That’s because once you sign-up for Paribus, it will scan your email for your shopping receipts and monitor for price drops on the things you have bought effortlessly.

If Paribus detects that there has been a price decrease on something you’ve bought, it will effortlessly file a claim for a price adjustment on your behalf so you can recoup the difference.

It’s completely free to use–you’ll get to keep 100% of your savings, so you there is absolutely nothing to lose from trying this!

Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.

Sign up for Paribus and get price protection on all your shopping!

7. Save $240 On Groceries With This App

While food coupons are an excellent money saver, remembering to use can be difficult. With the online coupon app Ibotta, you can easily access all your coupons in one place without having to clip them from a coupon book (win)!

Simply sign-up for Ibotta and browse the app for the coupons that make the most sense for you. Then, just go to the store and buy those items, making sure to save your receipt. That’s when you’re going to want to scan your receipt with the Ibotta app so you can get cash back within 48 hours.

The average Ibotta user saves $240 a year, so this is definitely worth your time.

8. Negotiate Down Your Biggest Monthly Bills

We are here to let you in on a little secret: you are probably wasting money on your cable bill. The dirty little secret cable operators don’t want you to know is that these bills can be negotiated.

Truebill is the ultimate hack for dealing with this — and making sure those bills take a smaller chunk out of your budget every month. Connect your bills to Truebill either online or by snapping a photo of one. Then, Truebill expert negotiators will try to lower your bills by finding hidden discounts and promos for you(they never downgrade or remove services, either, to help you save money, so no need to worry about that). And that’s it, chances are they’ll find you some serious savings.

Slash your monthly bills with Truebill

9. Play These Free Scratch Offs And Stop Wasting Money

We love a good game of chance as much as the next person, but constantly spending money on lottery tickets or scratch card games isn’t the most effective way to make money. We’re not here to try to get you to stop, but we are gonna tell you a way to keep the fun going without spending a fortune over time — Lucktastic

Lucktastic is a free app that offers free daily scratch card games that can score you some serious cash and the app’s tokens, which you can use to enter contests. We know what you’re wondering: Is it legit? Well, 220,000 people have already scored major rewards with the app.

The app adds new games every day so there’s always a chance to win, plus consecutive days of game play will earn you daily rewards ranging from bonus tokens to contest entries. Lucktastic’s biggest scratch card cash prizes are $5,000 and $10,000. They also has two major contests going on: the daily $500 Amazon gift card giveaway and the $1 million Crack The Safe Contest.

When your account balance is at least $2, you can cash your winnings in for cash or gift cards (to places like Amazon, Walmart and JC Penny). If you have a balance of $10 and up, you can get your money mailed via check.

Stop giving away money just to get a chance to win more. Get daily opportunities to win big when you download Lucktastic for free

10. Protect Your Family With Affordable Life Insurance

In times of uncertainty, it’s important to put your family first. Life insurance is an affordable and dependable way to make sure your family is provided for, no matter what happens. The best way to get affordable life insurance if you make over $4,500 a month is with Ladder.

Ladder makes it easy to get flexible and affordable life insurance policies that you can adjust as your financial obligations change over time. For example, if you’re expecting a child, buying a house or retiring soon. This can save you a lot of money over time, too.

Here’s how easy it is to get covered:

  1. Answer a quick questionnaire about your situation in under 5 minutes (no medical exam required)
  2. Get an instant decision – no sales calls, no waiting period, no shenanigans.
  3. Accept your offer

You can apply for coverage with Ladder in just five minutes and get a decision instantly. Ladder offers terms of 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30-year terms, with coverage ranging between $100,000 and $8 million for people making over $4,500 per month.

It has a price lock guarantee so your premium doesn’t go up as you age or if there are any changes to your health. 

Get affordable life insurance with Ladder now

11. Use Cash Only

With credit cards, it can be so easy to shop without really thinking about the price. To help put each purchase in perspective, try only carrying and using cash for a month. It’s much harder to spend when you see the money disappearing before your eyes!

12. Get A Free Personalized Financial Plan In Just Five Minutes

When it comes to meeting your financial goals, having an actual financial plan is crucial, especially right now.

Things are tough right now for a lot of people, but with careful planning, it’s still possible to achieve your financial goals and meet your other obligations too.

Thankfully, Savology can help you create a personalized financial plan for free.

  • Take Savology’s five-minute survey so it can get an understanding of your personal finances and create a free Savalogy account to access your detailed financial plan
  • In it, you’ll get valuable insights into the various aspects of your finances — insurances, debt, retirement planning, estate planning and more
  • A report card breaking down how well you’re doing so far
  • Action items (prioritized steps) to help you improve your personal finances.

Savology doesn’t ask you to provide personally identifiable information like your last name, social security number, date of birth, or phone number, and the information you do provide in order to get your finical plan will never be shared or sold to third parties.

Once you get your plan you’ll be able to start managing your money better and reaching your financial goals sooner.

13. Protect Your Things (And Your Budget) With Insurance

While you may love your Apple Macbook, so do would-be thieves, who would just love to swipe the $1,500 gadget from you at the gym, or out of your bag. It was expensive enough the first time, you don’t want to have to replace it!

Thankfully, by paying for renters insurance with Lemonade that starts at just $5 per month, you no longer have to stress about that. Lemonade allows you to invest in the things that you love from a Macbook to a favorite pair of sneakers to a vintage guitar, and if they get stolen or damaged in your home, they’ll be covered. The best part? Lemonade covers your stuff outside of your home, too. Consider it a massive security net for your budget.

Lemonade is markedly cheaper than its competitors to boot—on average cheaper by $145 a year.

Sign-up for Lemonade today

14. Get Affordable Life Insurance And Create A Will At The Same Time

Do you have a will and life insurance yet? If not, you really should consider it – Haven Life is an insurance provider you can trust. They offers 10, 15, 20 and 30-year terms with coverage up to $3 million. You could get a $250,000 policy for a 20-year term starting at just $14.99/month. Apply online right now in less than 30 minutes (without a medical exam if you qualify).

Whatever rate you settle on during the application process will remain the same throughout the duration of your term (many traditional insurance companies increase your rate as you age) and in the event you fall terminally ill, you can access a portion of your policy early.

Getting a policy with Haven Life also means having access to these three services for free:

  • Trust & Will – an online service that helps you create a legally valid will in 10 minutes, which you can update anytime.
  • Aaptiv – A yearly subscription to this fitness app that comes with thousands of workout routines.
  • LifeSite – A secure online vault for storing and managing your family’s important documents.

Apply for life insurance and set up your will now

15. Get The Absolute Most Back You Can On Your Taxes

If you select the wrong withholding amount on your taxes, you’re essentially giving the IRS an interest-free loan. Understanding your personal circumstances and selecting the right withholding could net you hundreds extra a month in your savings account.

16. Consolidate Credit Card Debt To Save Thousands

For a lot of people saddled with huge amounts of credit card debt, consolidating may be the key to getting on the right financial track. Credible is one of the best first steps to find out what options are out there. It’s an online marketplace that provides borrowers with competitive, personalized loan offers from multiple, vetted lenders in real-time.

Using Credible, you can compare rates from multiple vetted lenders in just two minutes. From there, you will be able to figure out if you can reduce the amount of interest that you are paying on your credit card debts.

Credible is so confident in its rates that they’ll give you $200 if you find and close a loan with a better rate elsewhere.

What are you waiting for? Stop letting your credit card debts get the best of you thanks to Credible.

17. Join Support Groups For Saving Money And Paying Off Debt

Joining online groups that are filled with other people looking to pay off debt and save money is a great way to save money. Facebook groups like Let’s Talk About Debt are essential to find creative ways to save and keep motivated.

18. Take Control of Your Credit Score (And Save Money In The Process)

From higher interest rates on loans to being unable to rent an apartment, a bad credit score can cost you a lot. Working to maintain a good credit score goes a long way in saving you money, and the best place to start is monitoring your credit score.

Want to find out your credit score before it’s too late? Sign-up for Credit Karma and find out your credit score immediately. It only takes 30 seconds! Credit Karma will start monitoring your credit score for you so there are no more surprises! It is 100% free to join so you have nothing to lose!

Sign-up for Credit Karma today and get ahead of any potential problems by knowing your score.

19. Anything Can Happen: Protect Your Income From Life’s Curveballs

What would you do today if for some reason you were unable to work? Do you have enough money tucked away that could hold you over until you got back on your feet? Or maybe a passive source of income you could rely on? Don’t have an answer to these questions?

So many people get caught up in making enough money to pay the bills they forget to make backup plans for life’s curveballs like getting sick or injured.

The thing is, not all jobs provide disability insurance, and even if they do, they usually have major limitations.

Disability insurance is normally insanely expensive, but a new company called Breeze is changing that.

This completely online insurer makes it possible to obtain affordable and comprehensive coverage in 15 minutes. Just fill out a simple form, providing information about yourself and details about your occupation, select the coverage you’d like and apply. If you instantly qualify, you’ll get covered right away.

Plans start as low as $9/month with benefit amounts ranging from $500 to $20,000.

Whatever your industry, your livelihood is nothing to gamble with. Protect your income with Breeze today.

20. Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help

Many companies offer hardship or interest to be waived temporarily depending on your circumstances. It never hurts to get on the phone and ask what help they can offer you!

21. Stop Saving Your Payment Information On E-Commerce Sites

There’s a reason e-commerce sites allow customers to save their payment information–it makes checking out easier and people are more willing to part with their money. Make parting with your money harder as a rule. By not saving your payment information on e-commerce sites, and making it harder to check out, you’ll be more likely to not buy something, and more apt to save money.

22. Save $329 on Bank Fees Per Year by Switching Banks

Did you know the average person pays $329 in bank fees every year? Switching to a fee-free online bank is a super simple way to save we suggest everybody does.

23. Get Cash Back Every Time You Shop

It never hurts to make a list of what credit card perks are available to you. Simply taking a moment to think about which card you’re pulling out could save you 2% or more on every purchase. Over a year, that can add up to thousands of dollars saved.

24. Make A Vow To Never Pay A Late Fee Again

Paying late on rent, your credit card or a medical bill is going to be mean extra fees. Do whatever you can to pay bills on time to avoid these fees. The payoff will be huge.

25. It Never Hurts To Look Into All Of The Options, Too

Life insurance is so important and could ultimately be such a big saver for your family, so why not look into all of your options?

Haven Life is a great option to explore. There’s an easy online application, and the approval process which normally takes one to two weeks takes just two minutes with Haven Life.

Haven Life is backed and fully owned by MassMutual, a leading insurer with over 160 years of experience, so you’ll be dealing with true experts when you work with Haven Life.

Take a look at what your rate would be with Haven Life instantly here and start protecting your family.

26. Actually Sit Down And Make A Budget (Like, Now)

It’s a classic piece of advice, but it is also one of the most effective ways for you to keep your savings account from springing a leak. Take an afternoon to yourself and really work on making a budget that works with your lifestyle. Then do whatever you have to do to stick with it.

27. Get Paid Early And Never Pay Another Late fee

Living paycheck to paycheck can be brutal and sometimes waiting two weeks for the next one can mean paying a bill late (which can have some serious consequences). Use Earnin to put an end to this struggle.

Create an account with Earnin and you’ll get paid for the hours you worked the same day you worked them. Just connect a checking account and provide your employment details. Submit your timesheet to the app and voilà–instant access to your paycheck.

You can cash out up to $100 a day. When your actual paycheck gets direct deposited, Earnin will just subtract what you’ve already cashed out.

It’s that easy and here is the best part: It’s free. Earnin just asks that you tip them if you enjoy using the service. This is essentially like the payday loans people use without the scammy downside where you get ripped off.

Sign up for Earnin and make waiting for payday a thing of the past.

28. Only Save In A High Yield Savings Account

It’s always a good thing to be saving money, but if you are saving it in a low yield savings account (say, one with a .01% APY which is what most of the banks offer) you are making a big mistake with your money. Look around for an APY of 2% so you can ensure that you are using your money to make money.

29. Swapping Clothing > Buying Clothing

Rather than heading to the mall and spending a ton on new clothes, host a clothing swap with your friends and family. Bring clothes you are willing to part with and exchange them for some new threads without spending a penny. You’ll also win some brownie points with your friends for organizing.

30. Check Your Bank Statement

Sitting down and looking at your bank statement can be a huge eyeopener in seeing where your money goes. Those bank fees (say goodbye to bank fees if you have a free Chime Bank account) and unused subscriptions (Truebill will cancel them for you) can add up fast.

31. Start Saving And Investing As A Couple: It’s A Game Changer

Twine encourages couples to strive for greater monetary success by saving together with competitive interest rates, guided tips and a streamlined interface. Unlike other platforms who offer similar features, Twine is all about saving as a team.

An initial deposit of $5 is all that’s required to start a savings account with Twine. Users can gradually increase their balance until they’re ready to begin investing it. Each account earns a variable APY of 1.05%. As soon as the account reaches $100, Twine allows users to transform their savings into an investment brokerage account. The potential to grow as a couple makes Twine a positive experience.

Start saving as a couple and sign-up for Twine today!

32. Take Fancy But Most Importantly Free Fitness Classes

Whether it’s spin, pilates, or yoga, fitness classes are an excellent, but very expensive method of getting fit. Thankfully, most fitness studios offer discounted or free classes for first-time visitors. If you take the time to source them out, you will have a pretty robust list of free fitness classes to take advantage of.

33. Make Buying In Bulk Your Thing

It may not seem intuitive, but the more of an item that you buy, the less you are going to end up paying in the long run. Get yourself a Costco membership, or a membership to another wholesaler, and take advantage of buying in bulk. Live in a small space? Partner up with a few friends to go in on buying bulk toilet paper, chips, and more to reap these savings.

34. Be Patient For Sales

This may seem obvious, but for impulse shoppers, it’s important to remember – there’s always another sale coming up!

35. Get $100,000 Of Life Insurance In Minutes With This Startup

In all the prep you did for adulting, (which, let’s be honest, hardly helps), I bet nothing prepared you for shopping for life insurance. It can be a tricky business. How much is too much? How much is too little? The amount of coverage you need varies from person-to-person based on income, lifestyle, debt and more, but even so many companies take a one-size-fits-all approach to policies.

Enter Fabric, a new startup offering life insurance that’s changing the game.

They offer 10, 15 and 20-year term life insurance policies that help protect your family’s needs at affordable prices. Fill out an application — it only takes about 10 minutes — and thanks to Fabric’s accelerated underwriting process, you could be approved and receive a policy offer on the spot without a medical exam, if you qualify. Adjust your policy before you purchase it and you’re all set.

Policies can start as low as under $14 per month and coverage is available from   $100,000 to $5 million.

In a world where insurance companies try to upsell you on policies that don’t actually benefit you, Fabric is a gem.

Apply for a life insurance policy that fits your needs with Fabric.

36. As A Rule, Don’t Emotional Shop

Breakups are tough… and so is the bill at the end of an emotional shopping day. Instead of grabbing your wallet at the end of a bad day, grab a bar of soap and take a bath to decompress rather than max out your credit card. And yes, this tip is for both men and women.

37. Walk, Bike, Carpool

Try and choose the transportation method that is going to cost you the least amount of money. If you live close to work, opt to walk or bike rather than taking your car and spending gas money. If that’s not an option, why not carpool with some co-workers. The savings will start to add up almost immediately.

38. Stop Buying Gifts Completely

Birthdays and holidays may be fun, but they often come with the expectation that you spend a lot of money buying gifts for people. Cut down on those gift prices by DIYing your presents. Knit a scarf, mason jar some granola, just make something that shows you made an effort while also saving money. Over time that’s money in your savings account.

39. Stop Buying $5 Coffee Every Day

That half-caf soy milk latte is not worth the five-plus dollars you are paying for it every day. A much better investment is to brew your morning joe at home and if you want to be fancy, buy yourself a milk frother so you can DIY your own latte.

40. Buy Generic Whenever Possible

Especially when you are shopping at places like Walgreens and CVS, look to buy the generic brands of products. They are always cheaper, sometimes even by a few dollars. Do you really need to spend a few extra dollars on name brand toothpaste? We didn’t think so.

41. Save Money Without Trying

It’s so hard to save fast enough for the things you really want after all the bills are paid. What if there was a better way where you could save money without even trying? Well, we have a little hack that makes stocking away money much easier than you might think: Digit.

Digit helps you save money effortlessly. It works very differently from other saving apps by analyzing your spending and automatically transferring small amounts of money throughout the month into a savings account so you don’t even miss the cash.

All you have to do is sign-up, create a “savings goal” and watch your fund build in the background. The cash is always accessible, so the risk is absolutely zero. Getting to your goal is going to be much easier than you might think!

Not convinced? Try it for free for 30 days!

Effortlessly save money using Digit

42. Use Those Free Gift Cards

According to Finder.com, American’s have $45 billion of unused gift cards sitting around the house. Rummage through your draws and see what free money you have sitting in there.

43. Leave Your Wallet at Home

If you are taking a walk, picking up a delivery, or just stopping by a friend’s house to say hi, try and leave your wallet at home so that you won’t be tempted to stop and part with your hard-earned cash. If you don’t have any money on you, how can you possibly spend?

44. Make Sure To Do This Earlier Rather Than Later

You can save a lot of money making certain moves earlier rather than later and one of the big ones is life insurance (which, by the way, most people don’t realize you can put to really good use while you are alive including using it to take out loans or for living benefits).

One of the best inexpensive ways to get life insurance is via Policygenius which allows you to easily compare quotes from multiple insurance companies in just two minutes. There are zero fees too, so what you see is what you get.

A healthy 30-year-old can get $1 million in coverage for under $30 a month!

That’s a massive amount of money that you’ll be able to put to use, so do this sooner rather than later!

Get a life insurance quote instantly with Policygenius now

45. Start Living For Happy Hour

There is a reason it’s called a Happy Hour: because people are happy to be having their favorite cocktail for half-price. Try and always take advantage of happy hour so you aren’t spending an arm and a leg on regular full-priced cocktails. Hunt down the happy hours with free food, so you can double up the savings.

46. Seriously Assess How Much You Are Paying For Your Phone Every Month And Cut Back

I think we can all agree that a phone is a 2019 necessity, but is it also necessary to spend almost $100 a month on your phone bill? I think we can all agree that’s a hard no. One of our favorite options for dramatically cutting back on the dreaded monthly phone bill is to a budget carrier such as Mint Mobile or Cricket.

47. Stop Wasting So Much Money On 401(k) Fees

No one wants to still be working a 9-to-5 when they are 80. Which begs the question, when was the last time you checked your 401(k)? You likely haven’t lately because you don’t understand what you are looking at when you do (don’t worry, the confusing jargon and pie charts stump us all).

This is the year to take control of your retirement savings once and for all.

Blooom is a robo-advisor that does the work for you. It stays on top of your 401(k) plan and optimizes your investments regularly. It helps you meet your financial goals without all the hard work. Get started with an entirely free analysis of your 401(k) plan so you can understand your investments and uncover unnecessary fees. For only $10 per month after that Blooom will optimize your investments and minimize what fees you pay.

Blooom’s median client saves a whopping $106 in fees just in one year. By retirement age, the median Blooom client saves a staggering $24,257 on hidden investment fees.

Stop wasting money on fees. Let Blooom manage your 401(k)

48. Try A Staycation And Save

Vacation inevitably eats into a budget, but wanting to save doesn’t mean cutting out time off from work. Instead of spending money going somewhere, plan a fun staycation that involves binge-watching old movies on the couch, making margaritas and getting a massage (feel free to ad-lib here). This way you save and get some relaxation in.

49. Cut Back On How Much Of Your Money Is Going To Taxes

The robo-adviser Betterment is one of the smartest ways to invest your money thanks to its low and transparent fees, and its track record of beating the typical DIY investor by 2.66%. But there is another big advantage of investing with Betterment: saving on your taxes.

Betterment is constantly thinking about ways to lower your taxes thanks to its automated advanced tax-saving strategies. It’s able to increase its users’ portfolio by an estimated 15% over 30 years. In other words, Betterment finds huge savings for its users focusing on cutting back their taxes.

Betterment requires a $0 balance to get started, so even if you are a novice investor don’t feel shy.

Instead of seeing all of your money go to taxes start investing with the help of Betterment.