15 Creative Ways to Save Money That Actually Work

L. S. Wynn
L. S. Wynn

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Saving money doesn’t have to be hard. Even if you don’t earn that much, or if you’re trying to get out of debt, there are many simple and creative ways for you to spend less, take control of your finances, and get the most out of your everyday purchases.

With the help of our readers, our research team explored 763 money-saving tips. We set out to find the best tools and practices that can actually save you a considerable amount of money, without wasting your time on pointless clicks, complicated signups, or annoying scams.

We’ve handpicked 15 of the best ideas that actually work and are surprisingly easy to do -- with any of these, you can save a notable amount of money, with very little effort.

1. Automatically save money while you shop online with Wikibuy

Wisegeek rating: 4.9 stars, 208 reviews

Wikibuy’s free browser extension works seamlessly in your browser as you shop, allowing you get incredible deals and discounts on the products you want.

Just watch the savings pile up as Wikibuy constantly searches for better prices on your online purchases and automatically applies any available coupon codes.

You’ll also earn credits on most purchases, which you can turn into gift cards for your favorite online stores. Add Wikibuy to your browser in just two clicks and start discovering a better way to shop! As a heads up, Wikibuy compensates us when you get the Wikibuy extension using the links provided.

  • Millions of users and $70 million in savings
  • Install in 30 seconds

2. Reduce your monthly bills with Trim

2. Reduce your monthly bills with Trim

Wisegeek rating: 4.7 stars, 37 reviews

Chances are, you’re probably spending more than you need to on bills. Signing up with Trim is a great way to quickly ensure that you’re getting the best possible rate on your cable, internet, phone, and medical bills.

Trim checks your monthly outgoings and negotiates with providers to get you a better rate, potentially lowering bills by up to 30%. Trim can also take care of canceling unwanted subscriptions, so that you can stop paying for services you don’t need!

Trim is dedicated to helping people build up their savings and get out of debt, and you can benefit from their high-yield savings account, spending alerts, overdraft detection, and other financial planning tools.

  • Members saved $1+ million last month
  • Create account in 2 minutes

3. Get free samples of amazing products with PINCHme

3. Get free samples of amazing products with PINCHme

Wisegeek rating: 4.8 stars, 67 reviews

Everyone loves freebies, but usually there’s a catch, right? Not with PINCHme -- all you have to do is sign up, create a profile, and you can start receiving free samples of great products. The samples are tailored to your profile and interests, and range from snacks and pet products to cosmetics and even kitchen appliances.

The only thing you need to do is to provide some feedback for the brands. You’ll never have to provide your credit card details or pay for any of your samples. Over 6 million people have signed up for PINCHme, and they’ve received over 20 million samples, from brands like Starbucks, Revlon, Hallmark, Playtex, and Walgreens.

  • Receive free products
  • Sign up in 30 seconds

4. Pay down student debt with lucrative Bold.org scholarships

4. Pay down student debt with lucrative Bold.org scholarships

Wisegeek rating: 4.8 stars, 204 reviews

Student debt can be a big burden, but Bold.org can help. Bold.org is a unique scholarship platform dedicated to democratizing philanthropy and helping to minimize student debt. You’ll find a wide range of valuable scholarships, fellowships, and grants that you won’t see anywhere else, donated by individuals and organizations that care passionately about making a difference.

By helping applicants create detailed and engaging profiles, Bold.org gives anyone with student debt the best chance of matching with awards based on their interests, major, or background. The sooner you start using Bold.org, the sooner you can access the thousands of dollars in funding opportunities added each month.

  • Win grants worth thousands of dollars
  • Apply to scholarships in a few minutes

5. Take control of your finances with The Penny Hoarder

5. Take control of your finances with The Penny Hoarder

Wisegeek rating: 4.6 stars, 54 reviews

Whether you’re interested in saving for retirement, investing, buying a home, or budgeting to make your paycheck go further, The Penny Hoarder has got you covered. You’ll find thousands of articles on a huge range of personal finance topics on The Penny Hoarder website, written by industry experts with a wealth of experience.

You’ll also find valuable advice about starting a business, working from home, advancing your career, and much more. Over a million people receive The Penny Hoarder daily email newsletter, which is full of innovative money-making strategies and helpful tips for saving.

  • Get incredible money-saving tips
  • Sign up in 15 seconds

6. Find the best possible deals with Honey

6. Find the best possible deals with Honey

Wisegeek rating: 4.8 stars, 89 reviews

Adding Honey to your browser (or downloading the mobile app) is a quick and easy way to make the most out of your online shopping experience. With the help of Honey’s shopping assistant, you’ll find out whenever there’s a better price on a product you’re interested in.

And without ever having to search for them, any available promo codes will be automatically applied at checkout. Honey users save an average of $126 a year, while also earning Honey Gold rewards when they shop at over 30,000 online retailers, such as Amazon, Macy’s, Groupon, and Pizza Hut.

  • Join the 17 million people saving with Honey
  • Get started in 30 seconds

7. Save up to 90% on your next flight

7. Save up to 90% on your next flight

Wisegeek rating: 4.5 stars, 67 reviews

It sucks to overpay for flights. That's where Scott's Cheap Flights comes in. This free tool tracks when flights drop in price and notifies you directly, so you can save thousands of dollars per year. One of our readers recently bought a roundtrip flight from Colorado to Australia for just $331.

  • Members save up to 90% on flights
  • Sign up in 20 seconds

8. Make money while you sleep with Acorns

8. Make money while you sleep with Acorns

Wisegeek rating: 4.6 stars, 39 reviews

Acorns is a fantastic way to start investing, without having to think about it! With Acorns, your everyday purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the difference is automatically placed into a diversified portfolio of smart investments compatible with your financial profile.

You can also deposit extra cash or set up a recurring transfer to help you earn more. For just $3/month, Acorns gives you access to an Acorns Later retirement account and an Acorns Spend checking account.

Best of all, there are no account minimums or trade fees, so you can start growing your money with Acorns right away!

  • Grow your money while you sleep
  • Get started in a few minutes

9. Supercharge your cash rewards with Drop

9. Supercharge your cash rewards with Drop

Wisegeek rating: 4.5 stars, 43 reviews

Spending money is a fact of life, so why not get rewarded for it? When you shop with the free Drop app, or install the new Drop extension for Google Chrome, you’ll get up to 2% cash back for the everyday purchases you’re already making, such as Postmates orders and Lyft rides.

Your purchases automatically earn you Drop points that can be redeemed with retailers like Starbucks, Walmart, and Netflix. And you can even use Drop in conjunction with other cashback apps, browser add-ons, and credit card rewards programs.

  • Earn up to 1-2% cash back
  • Install in 1 min

10. Set up an automatic savings plan with Capital One 360

10. Set up an automatic savings plan with Capital One 360

Wisegeek rating: 4.4 stars, 49 reviews

Setting up an automatic savings plan is an excellent habit for consistently adding to your nest egg, and it’s much more reliable than remembering to manually transfer funds to your savings account each month.

You can automate the process by scheduling a recurring transfer from your checking account, or by having a portion of your paycheck go straight into your savings account via direct deposit.

The sooner you set up an automatic savings plan, ideally into a high-yield, fee-free savings account like Capital One 360 Performance Savings, the sooner your money will start to grow!

  • Build up your savings
  • Set up an account in 10 minutes

11. Get the best rates on your loans with Credible

11. Get the best rates on your loans with Credible

Wisegeek rating: 4.4 stars, 31 reviews

If you need a personal loan to open a business, renovate your home, or go back to school, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting the best possible rate, while avoiding hidden fees and charges. With loans available from $1,000 to $100,000, Credible gives you access to great rates from 10 vetted lenders in just two minutes.

Credible also makes it easy for you to save money by refinancing and consolidating your existing debt. You can compare personalized offers risk-free, without worrying about damaging your credit score.

  • Get the best loan rates
  • Get started in 2 minutes

12. Clear the clutter and earn cash (with Facebook Marketplace)

12. Clear the clutter and earn cash (with Facebook Marketplace)

Wisegeek rating: 4.3 stars, 27 reviews

If you have unwanted items lying around the house or garage, why not turn them into extra cash? From furniture, toys, and baby items to clothing, electronics, and even vehicles, there’s an interested buyer for everything on Facebook Marketplace.

If you already have a Facebook account, you can post an ad in seconds and immediately start talking with potential buyers in your local area. Within hours, that old bicycle could be off your hands, and a chunk of change could be sitting in your pocket!

  • Turn unwanted items into cash
  • Start selling in a few minutes

13. Never miss a way to save with Earny

13. Never miss a way to save with Earny

Wisegeek rating: 4.4 stars, 12 reviews

Earny is a free browser add-on that helps you shop smarter, so that you’ll never overpay for products or services again. Just by activating Earny, you can get up to 20% cashback when you shop with thousands of online retailers.

Earny has loads of other useful features, including a watchlist to get real-time price alerts, additional cashback possibilities when you share links with friends, and help with compensation claims if your Amazon delivery arrives late. You’ll even get access to refunds if prices drop after you make a purchase. How cool is that?

  • Earn up to 20% cash back
  • Install in 1 min

14. Access amazing daily deals with Wise Bread

14. Access amazing daily deals with Wise Bread

Wisegeek rating: 4.3 stars, 27 reviews

If you’re serious about saving money, you should get to know Wise Bread. By signing up to the Wise Bread newsletter, you’ll receive a free, handpicked list of 20 awesome deals, delivered to your inbox every day so that you can save money on the products you love.

Wise Bread also features a wide range of helpful articles on personal finance, frugal living, and life hacks to help you thrive, whatever your budget.

  • Get the best deals online
  • Sign up in 30 seconds

15. Save hundreds of dollars by making your own gifts

15. Save hundreds of dollars by making your own gifts

Wisegeek rating: 4.2 stars, 18 reviews

Between Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, graduation, and anniversaries, gift-giving can really add up, and it can put a major strain on your bank account. And sometimes, a store-bought present just isn’t personal enough for the occasion.

If you’re really interested in saving money -- and developing your creative side -- consider making your own gifts, especially when you’ve got a long list of recipients. There are some fantastic ideas for making beautiful gifts on websites like wikiHow and DIY & Crafts, from customizing journals and picture frames to crafting your own soap and candles. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to create something memorable for a fraction of the cost of a store-bought gift!

  • Avoid the holiday spending crunch
  • Find a gift idea in 30 seconds