15 clever ways to save

If you saw a $20 bill on the sidewalk, you’d definitely bend over to pick it up, wouldn’t you? Well, without much more effort than that, you can save at least that much — and probably a lot more — by employing a host of everyday life hacks.

1. Buy Prescription Drugs at Costco Without a Membership

Membership warehouse stores like Sam’s Club and Costco have good prices on prescription drugs — and you don’t have to be a member to buy them. Because access to drugs is regulated by the federal government, warehouse stores aren’t legally allowed to require membership in order for customers to use the pharmacy. So go take advantage of the low prices and don’t worry about purchasing a membership.

2. Save $200 a Year by Using a Clothesline

Go back to the future: Dry your clothes on an old-fashioned clothesline. It’ll save your family about $200 per year compared to using an electric dryer (according to calculations by Mr. Electricity), and your clothes will last much longer.

3. Thriftier Swiffer

Has your Swiffer Wet Jet run dry? Remove the cap from the fluid canister and fill it with cheaper, concentrated cleaner mixed with water, rather than buying another Swiffer-branded bottle. You can also save by using dryer sheets (new or even used) rather than buying a box of Swiffer sheets for your Swiffer Sweeper (say the last part of that sentence ten times fast).

4. Scan Grocery Receipts for Cash Back

Smartphone apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51 give you cash rebates on your grocery store purchases; all you have to do is scan the receipts after you shop. For just a minute of your time, you’ll likely earn about $5 a week, adding up to hundreds a year.

5. Kool-Aid in Your Toilet?

Dump a package of grape Kool-Aid in the tank of your toilet and don’t flush it for an hour. Then, if you see purple water in the toilet bowl, you know you have a slow leak, one that you can’t even hear. It’s wasting water — and money — and can usually be fixed easily and cheaply.

6. Get More Toner Out of Your Printer

If your printer is out of black ink, change the text color to dark blue — you’ll be able to print a couple more times before needing a refill. And always print in Garamond typeface rather than more popular fonts like Times New Roman, Century Gothic or Comic Sans, since Garamond uses less ink.

7. Skip the Shopping Cart

When you run into the grocery store to “pick up a few items,” literally “pick them up” rather than use a cart or shopping basket. By forcing yourself to carry your purchases, you’ll be less likely to buy things you didn’t intend to buy and don’t need.

8. Ask for Free Upgrades — But Don’t Book Them

Never book a luxury car or premium hotel ahead of time, unless you definitely need it. Instead, reserve a standard car or room and then politely ask for a free upgrade when you arrive. If they have one available, it’s usually a pretty easy score.

9. Get a Closer, Cheaper Shave

When your multi-track disposable razor gets really dull, try pushing the blade a dozen or so times against the skin on your forearm or against your thigh in a pair of blue jeans. This will realign and sharpen the blades, giving you more shaves for the buck.

10. Don’t Use Shaving Cream

Skip the shaving cream and lather up with a bar of bath soap instead. Invest in an old fashioned bristle brush, shave some soap into a mug, and you’ll get the cleanest and cheapest shave available, sans the cream.

11. Zip Pants Before Washing Them

Always remember to zip up jeans and other garments that have metal zippers before laundering them. Those little metal teeth are like miniature chainsaws, tearing up and ruining other expensive clothing in the washer and dryer.

12. Sync Your Sleep Schedule With Daylight

Adjusting your sleep schedule to better coincide with daylight hours will allow you to save on your daily electrical usage — plus, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

13. Shop with Discount Gift Cards

Gift card exchange websites sell discounted gift cards for everywhere from Best Buy to Home Depot for less than their remaining value. Stock up and use them instead of cash for your next purchases.

14. Gym Membership Savings

Many health insurance plans offer reimbursements or discounts on gym memberships — for example, UnitedHealthcare has plans that will reimburse you for up to $240 per year in gym costs. Benefits vary by provider, so check with your insurance to see if you’re eligible.

15. Carry Around $100

There’s a lot of research that shows if you pay in cash rather than with a credit card, you’ll likely spend less. Take it one step further and only carry large bills like $50s or $100s, which are even harder to break — it’ll keep you from making impulse purchases.

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