This article is sponsored by Tello. All opinions are my own.
While there are plenty of ways to save money, not all of them are equal.
Some money-saving methods involve many hours of work, and others may be simple, but they have minimal impact.
But thankfully there are some easy ways to have a real impact on your budget without the need for a lot of time or effort to set up.
This article covers 15 things that require minimal effort but produce significant results. If you’re looking to reduce your monthly expenses or have more breathing room in your budget, be sure to try these methods.
1. Cancel Cable TV
If you’re spending money for cable or satellite TV, you could be saving a significant amount every month by making a simple change. There are many excellent cable alternatives available. You can choose one that gives you access to the shows and channels that you want, and it won’t have a major impact on your life, aside from the money that it saves.
Options like Sling allow you to watch live TV at a fraction of the price of cable, while other alternatives like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video offer a large library of TV shows and movies that you can watch at any time.
By making the switch, you can easily save hundreds of dollars per year.
2. Switch Wireless Providers
Another “easy win” is to change wireless providers for your mobile phone coverage. Leading carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Spring, and T-Mobile may serve the majority of customers, but discount providers also offer excellent coverage at a much lower price.
Tello offers wireless service with no contracts and monthly prices as low as $5. You can choose the plan that meets your needs so you get exactly what you want, and you pay for nothing more.
An unlimited talk and text plan with no data costs just $8 per month with Tello. You can get unlimited talk and text with 4 GB of data for $19 per month. They have several different plans available, or you can build your own plan to get exactly what you want.
Not only will Tello save you hundreds of dollars per year (or more), but you’ll also get great coverage. Tello wireless services are provided on the Nationwide Sprint Network®. With the combination of amazing prices and services on one of the leading networks, switching to Tello makes a lot of sense. And since they have no contracts, you’re not locked into anything.
When you make the move to Tello, you can either choose a new phone from their selection or continue to use your existing phone (if it is compatible).
3. Let Professionals Negotiate Your Bills
No one likes paying monthly bills for things like cable TV, internet, phone, and other utilities. What if you could easily save money on those bills every month, and it only took a minute of your time to set up?
If you’ve ever tried negotiating bills on your own, you know that it can be a frustrating experience. But with the help of professional negotiators, you can let them do the work and be ensured that you’re getting the best rates possible. And there is no charge for the negotiating services unless they are able to save you money (they’ll charge a percentage of the amount that they save you).
4. Make Your Free Time More Productive
What would an extra $300 per month mean to you? How would your budget change if you were able to make an extra $300?
While it may not seem like a huge amount of money, that extra $300 can have a huge impact in a few different ways. First, you could save more towards retirement or short-term savings goals. Second, you could use the money to pay down debt faster. Third, you could put it towards other bills and create a little more breathing room in the budget.
Fortunately, making an extra $300 per month is not that difficult. (I’ve chosen $300 because it’s a realistic number, but your results could be higher or lower.) If you simply use some of your free time in product ways, you can make that amount without too much difficulty.
Here are some of the best ways to make money in your spare time:
- Mistplay – This free app will pay you for playing games. What better way is there to earn extra money?!
- Swagbucks ($5 signup bonus) – Make money by taking surveys, playing games, trying apps, shopping online, and more.
- MyPoints ($10 signup bonus) – Very similar to Swagbucks. Make money with several different easy tasks.
- InboxDollars ($5 signup bonus) – Another option for making money with surveys, other small tasks, and special offers.
- Survey Junkie – The best site that focuses exclusively on paid survey opportunities.
And if you’re not interested in these options, there are plenty of side hustle ideas that you could pursue if you want to monetize your spare time.
5. Take Advantage of Easy Passive Income Opportunities
While the options listed in the previous point are great ways to make some extra money with a little bit of effort, there are also a few ways that you can make some extra money with almost no effort at all.
These easy passive income opportunities aren’t going to make you rich, but since they require essentially no effort on your part, they can still present great opportunities.
- MobileXpression – This is another research company that will pay you for access to your mobile browsing data. You can earn about $50 per year in your choice of gift cards.
- UpVoice – This Google Chrome extension allows you to earn $75 or more in your first year, just for visiting sites like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Amazon, and others.
6. Adjust Your Grocery Shopping Habits
Food and groceries account for a significant part of the budget for most households. As one of the bigger line items in your budget, saving some money here can have a noticeable impact on your overall expenses, and money that you save on groceries can be used for other things.
While there are a lot of ways to save money on groceries, some of them require more effort (like couponing) than others. Here are two ways that you can easily cut your grocery bills with no extra effort.
Shop at Discount Grocery Stores – Where you shop will have a big impact on how much you pay. Shopping at discount stores like Aldi, WinCo, and Lidl can make a huge impact on your grocery expenses every week/month. It’s a small adjustment to your normal routine, but it can save you a lot of money.
Buy Generic Groceries – If you buy a lot of name brand groceries, you can easily cut your bill significantly by purchasing more generic items instead. Stores like Aldi and Lidl sell a lot of generic private label brands at extremely low prices. Most of us have a few products that we prefer in the name brand version, but opting for generic products whenever possible is one of the best ways to save on groceries.
7. Use Meal Plans to Dictate Your Shopping List
How do you do your grocery shopping? Do you shop off of a list, and if so, how do you create that list?
Another extremely effective way to cut your grocery expenses is to use meal planning to create your shopping list. If you plan your meals for the week, you can buy exactly what you need and nothing more. You’ll be able to eat the food that you purchase (reducing waste) and stop spending money on things you don’t need.
To learn more, please read How to Create a Weekly Meal Plan.
8. Take Advantage of Cashback Apps
Saving money on the things you need to buy is a perfect way to create a little extra room in your budget. Fortunately, there are several websites and apps that make it very easy to save on many of the purchases that you already make.
- Rakuten – Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) makes it easy to earn cash back on purchases at thousands of partner websites, as well as some in-store purchases. With the Rakuten browser extension, you will be notified whenever you are on a site that participates in their program and all you need to do is click a button in order to earn cashback.
- TopCashback – TopCashback is very similar to Rakuten. Although it is not as well known, TopCashback also has thousands of partners, and in some cases you’ll be able to earn more cashback than you can earn through Rakuten. You can use both programs and purchase through the one with the best offer.
- Ibotta – Ibotta is a great cash back app that allows you to save on purchases at grocery stores, Walmart, and many other retail stores. Browse the available offers and see which ones match up with your shopping needs.
- Drop – When you sign up for Drop, you’ll link the app to your credit cards and/or debit cards. When you make a purchase with a linked card at a participating store/restaurant, you’ll automatically earn cashback. They also have special offers that can allow you to rack up points that can be redeemed for your choice of gift cards.
- Dosh – Dosh is similar to Drop in the way it links to your credit or debit cards and automatically pays cashback on eligible purchases. Dosh also offers cashback for purchasing hotel rooms through the app.
Using a few cashback apps can easily save you at least a few hundred dollars per year, and maybe more, depending on the purchases that you make. Of course, you don’t want to start spending extra money because of cashback offers, but using these apps for your necessary purchases is a no-brainer.
9. Shop with the Best Rewards Credit Cards
If you like cashback apps and websites, you’ll love cashback and rewards credit cards. While cashback apps allow you to save on many of your purchases, rewards and cashback credit cards allow you to save money on all of your purchases.
And best of all, you can use apps and credit cards together to stack rewards on multiple levels for the same purchases.
There are several different types of rewards credit cards, and it’s possible that you may use a few different cards in order to maximize the rewards you earn from each purchase. Some cashback cards pay a flat percentage of cashback from every purchase, while others allow you to earn more cashback from purchases in certain categories, and others have rotating categories that will earn the most cashback. And if you travel a lot, you may prefer a travel rewards credit card that allows you to save money on travel instead of redeeming the rewards as cashback.
10. Shop for Better Insurance Rates
How many different insurance policies do you have? Between homeowner’s/renter’s, auto, life, health, disability, and others, most of us have several insurance policies. When was the last time you checked to see if your premiums are competitive?
Comparison shopping for insurance policies is fairly easy. At PolicyGenius.com you can easily and quickly compare quotes for many different types of insurance. With just a few minutes of your time, you can check to see if you’re able to find comparable plans with lower premiums.
With several different policies, insurance premiums can add up to a significant expense each month. Lowering those premiums can have a big impact on your overall budget, and since it only takes a few minutes to check, there’s no reason not to try it.
11. Sell Things You Don’t Need
Most of us have a lot of stuff sitting around our house that we don’t use very often. You might not think about it, but those items that are just collecting dust could have real value to someone else.
Fortunately, there are a lot of selling apps and websites that make it easy to sell your unwanted and unneeded stuff. You can make some extra money quickly and declutter your house at the same time.
Don’t think you have anything to sell? Check out my article What Can I Sell? for 30 ideas.
12. Rent Out Your Stuff
Selling things isn’t the only way to make money from your stuff. Depending on what you own, renting it out to others may be a better option.
There are plenty of opportunities for renting things like:
- Baby gear
- Your car
- A spare bedroom
- Storage space
- An RV
- And much more
Renting out your things can be a great way to make passive income and to turn your stuff into income-producing assets. This can be a great way to earn a little bit of extra money, or you could take it further and make it a side hustle that brings in consistent income outside of a job.
For plenty of ideas and some tips to get you started, see my article 20 Things You Can Rent Out for Extra Money.
13. Switch Utility Providers
Depending on where you live, you may be able to save money very easily by switching to a different company for your electricity or natural gas. There will be no difference in the quality or consistency of the service, but you might be able to save money each month with very little effort.
ChooseEnergy.com helps you to find the best rates available in your area and compare offers. In some cases, you may even qualify for a signup bonus. If you live in a deregulated state, it is absolutely worth the 5 minutes it will take to check and compare rates.
14. Refinance Your Student Loans
Do you have student loan debt? If so, refinancing that debt may allow you to lower your monthly payment and free up more room in your budget for other things.
Credible is an online marketplace that allows you to check offers from multiple lenders very quickly and easily. It takes just a couple of minutes and you may be able to significantly reduce the monthly payment on your student loans.
15. Do It Yourself
Take a look at your current budget and the types of expenses that you have. Are there things that you could do yourself instead of hiring someone to do it for you?
Things like cleaning, mowing, and landscaping are perfect opportunities to save money by taking a DIY approach.
Of course, doing it yourself will take some time, but if freeing up some room in your budget is the goal, the DIY approach can be a big help. Depending on what services you are currently hiring others for, doing it yourself may save you hundreds of dollars each month.
This article has covered many different ideas and suggestions. If you’re looking to create some breathing room in your budget, pick a few of these options that seem like they could be a good fit for you.
My top recommendations would be the ones that can save a significant amount of money each month, like canceling cable, switching to Tello for your wireless services, and reducing your insurance premiums. With just a small amount of effort, you may be able to make a real impact on your budget with minimal disruption for your life.