"The Amount I Was Wasting Was Shocking": People Are Sharing The Seemingly Small Money-Saving Habits That Add Up Over Time

Saving some change here and there isn't going to make you a millionaire. But when everything is so gosh darned expensive, every little bit helps. Even spending, like, $5 less each month adds up to $60 in a year.

person holding a five dollar bill
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So when u/maximum-gas-3491 asked people on Reddit to share their little money-saving tricks that add up over time, I was right there taking notes. Here are some of the top replies:

1."When you see something you want on Amazon (or Sephora or any other online shopping site), put it on a wishlist and don't look at it for 48 hours. Ninety-eight percent of the time you won’t go back to buy it."

add to list button on an Amazon product page

2."Similarly, if I get an email telling me about a sale, I immediately delete it, and I almost always forget about it completely."


3."I only buy out-of-season clothes. I have a $700 coat that I bought brand new for $100, and it will last me for life with proper maintenance. Helps, too, that I'm a man. We don't really do fashion trends, lol."


4."I refuse to pay for 12-cent bags at Aldi. I keep reusable bags in my car, and if I forget one, then I will just throw things in my trunk and grab a bag from the house to carry everything in. If I don’t buy bags each week, I save a little less than $19 a year (12 cents per bag times three bags a week times 52 weeks per year). Seems insignificant, but it adds up."

woman carrying reusable grocery bags
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5."Buy your cellphone outright and then use a prepaid month-to-month plan."


6."Every few days, I take stock of the odds and ends in my freezer and fridge, and I come up with ways to incorporate into meals. A favorite way to deal with random veggies is to make a stir fry. A favorite way to deal with random bits of bread is to freeze them and make bread pudding when I’ve accumulated enough."


7."Selling things we don't use. Selling a $10 item here and there really does add up. It takes pretty low effort, and we save the money for vacation. The benefit of less stuff is even better than the money, to be honest."

family having a yard sale
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8."I carry tea bags with me to school. It's $1 for a cup of tea, but $0 for a cup of hot water. If I get tea on campus three times a week for a 14-week semester, that's $42 (minus the cost of the tea bags I bring) I can save each semester."


9."When I feel like having something sweet, which is often, I make a mug cake (~$0.36 each) instead of going out and spending $7 on ice cream."


10."When something you use regularly is on sale, stock up. My family likes to make Starbucks espresso at home, and a small bag is now $10. When it’s on sale for its pre-COVID price, I buy two or more extra and start to build up a stock pile. Eventually, you will have a lot of the staple foods you use so your weekly grocery bill will be just fresh foods."

A grocery basket piled high with items
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11."Stack savings when you can, as well. The big jug of laundry detergent we use is regularly $9.48 at Walmart, and more expensive anywhere else. One other grocery store here recently had it on sale for $6.99, plus a $1 digital coupon in their app, bringing it to $5.99 per jug. In Ibotta, I had an offer for $3 back on each with a limit of five, so naturally, I bought five of them at essentially $2.99 per jug. At the rate we use it, we likely won't have to buy laundry detergent for a decade or more."


12."When any container seems empty, I used to throw it away. Now I cut it open and get four or five more uses out of it. The amount of shampoo I was wasting was shocking."


13."Not eating meat at every meal has really saved a significant dollar amount for me. Also, challenging myself to use recipes with, like, two to four ingredients so I buy less overall. I don’t sacrifice a good meal either; I know how to make it taste good."

woman eating a bowl of bean stew
Lacaosa / Getty Images

14."I learned that I can use half, or even a quarter as much shampoo, toothpaste, body wash, hand soap, as I used to. It’s a very little thing, but I really do think it adds up, especially because when I go to CVS or Walgreens to get shampoo, I always end up getting a bunch of other crap I don’t need."


15."I have an 80-pound dog, and before we were flying through various stuffed hoofs, bones, etc., and I was spending at least $50 a month on treats alone. Now I stuff a large Kong with peanut butter, some dog food, or treats, freeze it, and call it a day! It’s saved a lot of money over the past year and a half."


16."If your vehicle has the ability to show your MPG [miles per gallon], pay attention to it. Driving faster burns more fuel. Leave a little earlier and drive a normal speed instead of rushing around."

car dashboard showing 77 miles per gallon

17."I noticed the grocery store I shop at has digital coupons, and you 'clip' them in their app. I usually save about $15–$30 when I go, depending on what I'm getting. Yesterday, our groceries were on track to be over $100, but had $18 of coupons so only spent $88. Digital coupons mean I don't have to track those little slips of paper (though I've done that!)."


18."I pick up fast food receipts off the ground and enter the receipt code into my fast food apps for the reward points. Then I get free food items and spend nothing. That has added up to 187 free food items on just the app that keeps track of full history. The redemption value so far has been $925 since I always take the most expensive food item reward offered each time. Also, if I see someone waiting for food and they spent a lot without using the app, I will ask if I can scan their code for the reward points. They usually have no idea that it is a free item for about $24 worth of spend, so sometimes I get a free item by scanning the receipt some guy is holding for a big order."

"I pick up discarded hardware store receipts and send them in for the 11% rebate so I get the rebate without spending anything. I do the same for the stores that price match. That has added up to well over $2,500 since I started doing that. Then I buy tools and hardware that I want or need for my side hustles."


19."Menstrual cups. I'm straight up not having to buy pads/tampons anymore (aside from keeping an emergency stash stocked). Saves me around $10 a month."

woman holding a menstrual cup
Coolpicture / Getty Images

20."I bought a used yogurt maker on Facebook Marketplace, and it was the best $15 I ever spent!! One gallon of milk makes six large servings (for me, your mileage may vary), which is much cheaper than buying yogurt. Also, it's fresher, tastes better, has no preservatives (never lasts long enough to go bad!), and I can mix in whatever I want. Lately, I've been buying bulk hazelnuts from Whole Foods, roasting them, and putting them in the yogurt with chocolate chips. Delicious!!"


21."I buy less than one roll of paper towels a year. Fifteen years ago, I bought a king size flannel sheet at a thrift store for $3. I cut it into 1-foot squares, put two together, and finished the edges on my serger. I keep them in a basket in my kitchen and use them for everything most people use paper towels for, including draining bacon and wiping up spills. I have about a dozen of them and wash them several times a week."

"At a conservative estimate of $3 per roll of paper towels and one roll per week, I save $156/year. Over 15 years, I have saved $2,340, enough to buy five sergers and a tall stack of used sheets, even considering the laundry expenses."


22."Switching to a safety razor, the blades are SO much cheaper. It’s been so long I can’t remember the exact savings, but I think I saved about 80%–90% of the cost of razor blades when I made the switch."

safety razor with a wooden handle
Olena Ruban / Getty Images

23."I do a thing I call 'piggybacking.' As much as possible, I only drive when I can hit two spots on one roadtrip. If I need to go to Costco, I wait until I also need to stop at Whole Foods to drop off an Amazon return, pop into Home Depot for a needed tool, or visit the library. A drive that is 10 miles roundtrip seems short, but if you do the math, using the federal rate for mileage, which accounts for wear and tear, that's a $6.55 trip. Why would I spend that twice when I can spend it once AND help the environment?"


24."We started saving lots of money during the pandemic when we used Walmart grocery pickup. I buy a lot less when I’m not wandering the aisles, and I stick to a meal plan that I then select through the app."


25."Vinegar as fabric softener. It's cheaper to buy a gallon of distilled white vinegar, it's better for your machine, and it's better for your clothes. Takes only about 1/4–1/2 cup in the liquid softener dispenser. No smell, clothes feel less 'coated,' and it has significantly reduced the amount of mildew/musty smell in our washer. Our towels absorb waaaay more water now, too!"

mother and young daughter taking laundry out of the dryer
Anastasiia Krivenok / Getty Images

26."The Ibotta app and the Rakuten app combined over the last three years have netted me over $1,500. Sometimes it seems so insignificant to get change amounts back on purchases, but they add up, and I use them consistently."


27."I make about $5 a month using Bing instead of Google (through Bing Rewards), 11 cents a day for my kid’s college fund through Upromise, and a couple other similar things."


28."I pay with everything using cash back credit cards and pay my statement in full every month."

woman paying the bill in a restaurant with her credit card
Javier Zayas Photography / Getty Images

29."I rent DVDs and stream shows through the library instead of having a streaming service subscription. Each month, I go through Rotten Tomatoes and make a list of things I want to see, then request them from my library. It meets my needs, and saves me roughly $30 a month."


30."I stopped buying everything in bulk. We would make ourselves use up the bulk item before it went bad, so the kids would eat through their snacks because there's so many, or sometimes we couldn't go through it fast enough. Now I decreased the amount of items I buy in bulk, and I get smaller portions even if they're slightly more expensive. The kids eat more food than snacks, we have more variety, and less goes bad. Oddly, the amount I spend on food decreased."


Do you have a little habit that adds up to big savings in the long run? Or do you have ~opinions~ about any of these tips? Tell us all about it in the comments!