11 Small But Significant Ways to Save Money

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I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for new ways to cut costs for our family of six. Many of us are already living frugally and saving using larger means–cutting our cell phone bills, driving older cars to save on insurance costs or cancelling cable.

When you’re looking to immediately trim your grocery bill or save up for a big-ticket item (like the newer van we’re wanting to pay cash for), it’s sometimes the little ways you save that can give you a big push toward your goal. 

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are 11 small but significant ways to save money that we’ve been implementing in our home.

11 small but significant ways to save money--it's the little things that can slowly add up to bigger steps in the right direction with managing your money!

1. Make a grocery list and stick to it. How often have you gone to the grocery store and ended up with five or ten more things than you intended to buy? Marketing strategists know how to get you to purchase something that you really don’t need without even thinking about it. Beat them at their own game by writing down a list before you shop and stay focused. If you can make an aisle by aisle list that’s a double bonus!

2. Stay away from at-home parties! I know, I know, I love those fancy patterned bags and totes too! 😉 And an occasional splurge is perfectly fine if you have fun money in your budget. But let’s face it–all of these types of products are quite expensive and likely something that you can find for less somewhere else. Plus, your physical presence at the party makes you much more likely to spend way more than you ever should. 

3. Use less water when cooking pasta. All you need is enough to cover the noodles when they’re in cooked form. No need to use the recommended 6 quarts! 

4. Use up overripe fruits and vegetables. There are all kinds of things you can bake with brown bananas, ripe pears {Autumn Pear Bread} and slightly soft apples that have lost their crisp.

5. Wash your clothes in cold water. They’ll still get clean. I promise. :) And washing them with no-grate powdered laundry soap adds to the savings!


6. Walk or ride your bike as often as possible. Living in a small town, we can walk to local spots like the gas station and the post office. Our bikes we use for longer treks across town to the school park and the ball fields. Less gas, more exercise!

7. Reuse zippered storage bags. For some people, this goes down in the “ew-are-you-kidding-me-that’s-nasty” category. Me? I’m cool with it. As long as it hasn’t stored meat or potato chips, I’ll rinse it out and use it again. An even better solution if you can spend the money? Reusable storage containers, like these Lock and Lock Glass Containers.

8. Barter or borrow for one-time use items. When you need a tiller to “plow the back forty” for your first garden (yup, that’s me!) or a chain saw to cut down a dead tree, see if a kindly neighbor or relative has what you need before heading to the hardware store. If you don’t feel confident in doing the task yourself, maybe you could barter a service with your neighbor: they cut down the tree, you cook them a big meal!

9. Borrow instead of buying books. With PaperBack Swap, you can swap books that you already have for those you want with no obligation to return them. There is a small shipping cost but then you get a book sent to you for no cost. Obviously the library is a good source for free books and sites like Free Homeschool Deals and Jungle Deals and Steals keep an updated list of Kindle and other free books downloads. Or host a book swap with friends!


10. Turn off the lights. You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how often lights get left on at our house, by both kids and adults! Flipping off power strips and unplugging appliances at night is also very helpful! It’s been said that 80 percent of all power drainage in a home comes from “phantom electricity”: the cell phone chargers, coffee machines and TVs that are left plugged in at night.

11. Before you buy something, make a habit of asking yourself: “Do I need it or can I make do without it?” So often, if I ask myself this question while in the grocery store, Kohl’s or even the thrift store, the answer is “yes”! If I’m still unsure, I go home and think on it for awhile and most of the time it just gets forgotten because it really wasn’t that important! This can save you BIG time.

What are some “little” ways that make a big difference in saving money for your family?

Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Blogger/ Author at The Purposeful Mom
Hi, I'm Jenn! I'm happily married to my college sweetheart, mother to four wonderfully spunky children and a woman who needs a whole lot of Jesus! I spend most of my time taking care of my home and family, reading good books, blogging and dreaming up ways that I can finally have a perfectly organized home--ha!


  1. says

    Jenn that is such a good list! I would add something that my household did- look at our bills and see what we could lower or get rid of. Our internet is a prime example. When I was single, I knew I wouldn’t have cable so I bought the “super-fast” internet at $40+. Well, I kept it after we got married and then realized, “Why?” So now we are down to the basic $28 package (which is still pricey but the lowest we can go with the monopoly company in town). We still don’t have cable and aren’t planning on getting it (or netflix or whatever). If we really must see a show, we find it online at the station website or hulu and watch the full episode for free! :)

    Nicole at Working Kansas Homemaker

    • says

      Great ideas, Nicole! We have very basic cable $15/month, since my husband likes to watch the WGN news affiliate from his home area along with White Sox games :)

  2. says

    Love this list! We’ve been a little tighter lately since we just bought a new airplane engine, so I’ve been trying to cook more with things we already have in the freezer and pantry. And I’ve also done #10, there’s a few new clothes I want to buy,but I’ve decided they can wait a little longer until we have some more money.

  3. says

    Now this is really small, but it adds up…we stopped buying paper plates. I invested in some of those small plastic plates that I can run through the dishwasher a thousand times. (I tried to go without napkins and just use cloth, but just couldn’t keep up. lol) You can get seasonal plates after the holiday at Walmart for really cheap. For example, after Valentine’s Day I scored some plastic plates for twenty five cents each. :)

    • says

      Not buying paper plates can really save quite a bit–at least when you go through plates as fast as we do–thanks!

  4. says

    What great timing … I finally got a post together this week to share with my readers the various things we are doing that are really adding up. I have a lot of exploring to do of your blog and those linking up! Thanks for hosting this :o)

  5. says

    I just noticed your connection to the Windy City through your husband … I also grew up watching WGN and my dad trained us to be Sox fans! (Although I’m really not into baseball). So glad I found your blog today!

    • says

      Yup, my husband is from the Aurora area! I’m not a huge baseball fan either but I like to sit with my husband to watch so he can cry on my shoulder or hug me, depending on the results of the game 😉

  6. says

    Jen – we cut out cable and until we moved to the sticks we used only cell phones and no land line. Also – you can get free VM through Google Voice – it takes a VM and sends it as a text to your phone. How cool is that! Love your blog!

    In His Grip,
    PS – you’ll love The Mission of Motherhood!

  7. says

    This was a great list. I never knew about Paperback Swap, something I am going to keep in mind. Have you ever used the cloth bags that are marketed as kid-friendly ziploc bags? My boys and I love them! We also do online garage sales–great for clearing out things we have outgrown, and I have scored major deals on toys for the holidays! I highly recommend it!
    Amanda recently posted…Picture PerfectMy Profile

    • says

      I have never used or even heard of those cloth bags, thank you for the idea! FB garage sale pages are great! We have a local one where I’ve sold a lot of items.

  8. says

    Great list. #11 is probably the most important, and #2 is one that I’ve learned to be careful with. If you have health issues, over-ripe fruit produce might not be the best idea, and I found out to my sorrow.

    One thing we do that saves a lot of money is that if I have to be out anyways, I’ll stop by a grocery store and get the limit of their best deals if it’s something we use regularly.
    Annie Kate recently posted…Homeschoolers and The Slight Edge by Jeff OlsonMy Profile

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