The Best Savings Tips We’ve Ever Heard

At LearnVest, we're all about quick and easy.

That's why we love the little tricks that can bolster your budget in big ways. And when looking for ways to save money, get organized and be more productive, who better to ask than the LearnVest staff?

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From saving money on meals to breaking bad financial habits, our team practices what we preach, and we're happy to share the prized "life-hacks" that make our days easier (and our bank accounts fuller).

The LearnVest team has so many fantastic hacks that we divided them into seven sections in different areas of your life (and budget): eating with friends, groceries, around the house, on the go, beauty and fashion, getting things done and saving and spending. If there's an area of your life that needs improvement, we guarantee we have a tip for you.

RELATED: 7 Apps to Save Money On Groceries

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  • Sister Disco

    Great tips!  On the fashion front, I recently wrote up my 4 tips to avoid falling into a style rut, without spending a dime http://sisterdisco.com/2012/10/10/stuck-in-a-style-rut/

  • Msberliner

    I only go to the movies on half price movie night Tuesdays and go out for happy hours on half price beer nights during the week. This way I allow myself a treat but know that I must wait for a night when it is affordable.

  • kelli

    even when you get takeout you should tip a couple bucks. it takes time to organize, bag everything, get utensils, bread etc. As someone who has been in the restaurant industry for years… we get irritated when we pack everything up and are left empty handed.

    • Mostlywentzel

      Not to mention, depending on how the restaurant is set up, that take out order may actually go under a servers sales, and servers pay tax on their sales, whether they are tipped or not.

      • LeAnne

         The servers might also tip out to the rest of the team based on their sales.

    • LeAnne

       Absolutely!   I can’t believe they used that as a savings tip!

      Yes, stiffing the people who provide you service will help you save a couple bucks, but no one should feel good about doing so.

      • Leora Xu

        Love these tips, but there are some more you should be aware of:

        1) drop the smart phone and get a “dumb” one. Save about $50 per month. Get a low-priced tablet (e.g., Kindle Fire) or use your old iPhone as a wi-fi only device. Wi-fi is available everywhere; you really don’t need to pay for cell-based data plans

        2) call your car and home insurance company and tell them you want to go through all your coverage because you found another carrier that is cheaper. They’ll probably help you “find” 10% off or more.

        3) speaking of car insurance – An expensive policy from GEICO, Progressive, etc. is not needed. You can find one usually for less than $25/month from a place like Insurance Panda. If you spend too much on car insurance from one of those big companies, chances are you are simply funding their expensive TV ads with cute animals.

        4) compare what your house is really worth to your assessment. Many assessments have never been properly adjusted down to reflect the market over the last 4 years. We cut our property taxes by about 20%.

        5) re-fi your 30-year mortgage to a 15. The interest rate will drop by at least 50-75 bps, more depending on your current rate. The payment may go up slightly, but it is because you are paying off your loan faster. If it’s possible, get the mortgage paid off before the kids go to college. At a minimum, have it paid off before you retire.

        6) review your credit card bills for all the things you are paying $10-20 per month for that you no longer need. I bet everybody has at least a couple

        7) drop all magazine (paper and on-line) subscriptions. If you look around, you can find comparable content for free.

        8) review your investment portfolio for ways to replace higher fee mutual funds or ETFs with lower fee ones. S&P500 funds/ETFs shouldn’t charge more than 0.10% in fees. Fees may be higher for specialty funds, but they are all coming down fast. If your company 401K uses high-fee funds, talk to the folks in charge. A difference of 25 bps in fees will mean a difference of about 5% in your portfolio value after 25 or 30 years.

        9) and of course the most impactful — never carry a balance on a credit card. If you can’t resist, cut up the cards.

    • cher

      Not in the restaurant business but I totally agree.  Seems just the right thing to do.

    • mimi

      I don’t agree at all.  Tipping is for table service – its the reason the wage is below minimum.  If I wanted to pay a tip, I would eat in the restaurant, or even have the food delivered.  But the idea that fast food workers, coffee baristas, etc. should know receive tips on top of their wage is ludicrous to me.   Its seriously out of control.  

  • cher

    Interesting about the persons in need.  I spent my entire weeks grocery money on a food drive that was going on outside the grocery store.  THAT was unexpected.  I also contribute every other month to charities (2-3 regularly).  I don’t feel bad or that it is a waste of money. I do however need to remember to budget for these contributions.  
    I still don’t see things that really apply t me in these never ending tips.  For decades I refused to pay for cable.  Don’t have a paper delivered.  I keep my thermostat way low in the winter and virtually no a/c in the summer.  I don’t even use my dryer except for towels and sheets (prevent bed bugs?).  Anyway, the tips never hit home.  Sorry.

    • Jenb425

      If you’re using a public laundromat or one in a building put your clothes in the dryer too.

  • S

    Those are great tips! I’ve recently observed the value of a good book for my finances. I spend less on going out for food & drink, and use my TV less. I also sleep better, which reduces my morning coffee needs and increases my productivity. It’s a pretty good investment!

  • LVEllenD

    I make a regular habit of going through my emails and clicking “unsubscribe” from all the shopping sites.  Inevitably, I will buy some thing or other that gets me back on an email list, but I try to get off the mailing list as soon as I’m possible so I’m not tempted by each sale that comes along!

  • Sarapopo

    Regarding helping out those in need, I buy $1 gift certificates from McDonald’s, so I know I’ve at least attempted to put the money towards food (if you can call it that).

    • AMK

      What a great idea!  I am going to “steal” that idea. 

  • Tatia

    Tipping at a fast food joint (McD’s/BK/etc.) is not what we’re talking about in the comments below. Fast food places are required to pay at least minimum wage and there is no table service. Servers/bartenders are paid LESS than minimum wage. I don’t know what the minimum is now but when I was in food service (over 20 years ago) it was under $3/hr. Barely enough to pay taxes, much less transportation to-from work. Every order a server rung up was recorded and there was NO differentiation between to go orders and table service orders.  We were expected to claim our tips and to tip our bartenders/bar backs/etc. out of our tip money. If we consistently claimed under %15 of sales in tips, managers could use that against us (for any number of reasons) & it also put us at a higher risk of an IRS audit. 

    It DOES take time to process a to-go order. The server packs it all up and guess what?… While we are doing that – we can’t check our seated tables to make sure they are taken care of. Do servers need to be paid a living wage? – absolutely! Is that likely to happen anytime soon? You tell me. 
    I am all FOR saving money. If you cannot afford or are just too “frugal” to tip a server even a modest amount…you should plan to cook your own meals. I don’t say this just to bust on people. I had to teach my own father how to tip properly. Once he saw how hard I worked for such a pittance, he understood & mended his ways. Also, women are notorious for being poor tippers – unless they have been in the industry. I do not pretend to understand why it’s true, but ask any server and they will tell you that their worst nightmare is having a group of women seated in their section. All want separate checks, pay with a credit card and then leave a lousy tip – after treating their lady server as if she were gum on the bottom of their shoe. If you stiff your server – rest assured that you WILL be remembered for it. 

    • B Bii

      Customers can only be expected to understand so much about the process of paying employees at any given establishment. As far as the scenario you mentioned above, the establishment should assign to-go orders to someone who is making at least minimum wage, such as the hostess, the manager or a dedicate pick-up employee. Places like Subway and Dunkin Donuts have tip jars on the counter now. Geez, people just want to eat some good food without having to read a handbook or go broke. I have never heard of the stereotype about women. However, I have heard this stereotype applied to the elderly and black people. BTW, I was a server for many years.

  • Jane

    As an ex hostess and waitress (5 years!), it depends on who’s putting together your takeout order. If its a hostess, don’t tip – they’re already paid a much, much higher wage than most staff in the restaurant. If it’s a bartender or server, definitely tip. They’re taking time away from their customers and tables to serve you take out food so make sure you tip them!