Eleven extremely low effort ways to save money

If there’s one major blocker to living frugal, it’s probably a lack of time and energy. Conversely, many of our most wasteful habits come from a desire to simply save a little time and effort. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to save money that don’t require you to do very much at all.

Make meals in bulk

Make one large meal, and then portion it out into several reusable containers. You save money on ingredients and you save time by making meals in advance that only require a bit of reheating. And just like that, you’ve been rewarded for your desire to do less!

Don’t overfill your fridge

A refrigerator that’s been stuffed to the bulb is very wasteful. First, the air doesn’t circulate properly in a packed refrigerator, which means items may spoil before they otherwise would. Second, it’s easy to lose track of your groceries in an overfull refrigerator, leading to more waste. Keep your refrigerator properly populated to maximize your food and your money.

Make it a point to clear out the cupboards and fridge regularly

One way to keep your refrigerator from becoming too full is to focus on clearing out items periodically. Once a week, plan a meal around the food that’s already in your refrigerator and cupboards before buying something new. Leave no canned good behind.

Take a minute to consider your free entertainment options

If you’re like me, you’re probably guilty of occasionally going to the movies not because there was something there you really wanted to see, but because you were just looking for something to pass the time. And if that’s the case, you may benefit from simply pausing before making those kinds of decisions and asking yourself, “How can I entertain myself for free instead?” You’d be surprised by the amount of free entertainment available in your home town and inside your own home.

Adjust your thermostat

Reducing the air conditioning or the heat when no one’s home (or no one’s awake enough to notice) can save you big money over the course of a year. Investing in a programmable thermostat makes the process even easier.

Check the coupons

The coupons are out there, just waiting for you. All it takes is a quick minute to check what’s on sale or see if that item you want has a coupon you can use. Small effort, big reward.

Wash your clothes less often

Besides saving money on the cost of doing your laundry, washing your clothes less actually helps your clothes last longer, which saves you from having to spend money on new clothes. That’s the very definition of saving money by doing nothing.

Find a DIY hobby

Do It Yourself projects aren’t necessarily easy or time-saving, especially when you’re first starting out. However, if you treat DIY as a hobby you get the fun of having a hobby, with the money-saving benefit of being able to build or fix something yourself.

Unplug electronics when not in use

Electronic devices continue using electricity, even when turned off. A simple way to save a little money on your electric bill each year is to plug your major electronics into a powerstrip and then turn the powerstrip off when you leave the house or go to bed.

Find an app for that

If you have a smartphone, there are a ton of great apps available to help you manage money, save time, and spend less on the things you love. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your smartphone.

Review your budget

To stick with the theme of doing very little, take a moment to review the ideal percentage each budget category should consume. Now, consider your own spending. You may notice there are categories where you are spending well above the norm and if that’s the case, there may be a simple solution. And even if the solution isn’t simple, well, if there’s money to be saved, it may be worthwhile to put in the effort – just this one time.

Jesse Campbell photo.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, with over ten years of experience creating valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

  • Better Business Bureau A+ rating Better Business Bureau
    MMI is proud to have achieved an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a nonprofit organization focused on promoting and improving marketplace trust. The BBB investigates charges of fraud against both consumers and businesses, sets standards for truthfulness in advertising, and evaluates the trustworthiness of businesses and charities, providing a score from A+ (highest) to F (lowest).
  • Financial Counseling Association of America Financial Counseling Association of America
    MMI is a proud member of the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA), a national association representing financial counseling companies that provide consumer credit counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling, bankruptcy counseling, debt management, and various financial education services.
  • Trustpilot Trustpilot
    MMI is rated as “Excellent” (4.9/5) by reviewers on Trustpilot, a global, online consumer review platform dedicated to openness and transparency. Since 2007, Trustpilot has received over 116 million customer reviews for nearly 500,000 different websites and businesses. See what others are saying about the work we do.
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development - Equal Housing Opportunity Department of Housing and Urban Development
    MMI is certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide consumer housing counseling. The mission of HUD is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD provides support services directly and through approved, local agencies like MMI.
  • Council on Accreditation Council On Accreditation
    MMI is proudly accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. COA’s thorough, peer-reviewed accreditation process is designed to ensure that organizations like MMI are providing the highest standard of service and support for clients and employees alike.
  • National Foundation for Credit Counseling National Foundation for Credit Counseling
    MMI is a longstanding member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), the nation’s largest nonprofit financial counseling organization. Founded in 1951, the NFCC’s mission is to promote financially responsible behavior and help member organizations like MMI deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.