Saving money can be fun, but it can also be a pain in the butt. Sure, you know you could save $5 or $10 on a yard tool by finding it used at a garage sale or thrift shop, but until you physically check out each one of these places, you’ll never know if they actually have what you’re looking for. You might get lucky and save your $10 by finding that tool at the first place you look, or you could spend all day looking through shelves of junk and never find it! Fortunately, there are much easier ways to save money.

1) Consignment Shops

Rack of clothes at a consignment shop

If you’ve ever looked for clothing in a thrift store, you know that only 5% of the clothes actually look new enough to consider, and then it’s a matter of finding the right size, which can become nearly impossible. If you are in need of nice clothes, but don’t want to spend a ton of money, then I would suggest finding a consignment shop in your area.

A consignment shop is simply a retail store that is filled with other people’s clothing (as well as other items). When the store sells the clothing, they pay the original owner a portion of the sale (typically a 50:50 split). Consignment shops offer a much simpler way to find fashionable clothing (sometimes with the tags still on them) at an affordable price.

If you don’t feel much like looking through racks and racks of clothing, then perhaps you’d like to check out some online consignment shops. The premise is the same, but you can shop from the comfort of your own home. Talk about an easy online deal!

2) Use Reward Points

When I graduated from high school (which was way too many years ago!), the administration was nice enough to gift each of us with a $25 gift card to the mall. My friend immediately deemed this as “free money” and raced off to buy boxes of chocolates and candy and essentially wasted his entire $25 gift.

People do this exact thing with their credit card reward points. They suddenly realize that they have enough points to buy something with, and end up purchasing one of the first things that they see (which of course is not an item that is of any use to them).

Instead of spending your reward points as if it were “free money”, decide what would be useful to you in the future. If you are in need of clothing, then get a retail clothing store gift card shipped to your house. If you’d like to reduce your gas bill, then order a gas card. Or, if you’d just like to pay down your credit card balance, then just apply your rewards to your bill. These ideas might seem too practical, but you have to admit, it’s an easy way to save money!

3) Promo Codes

Sign with sale tags hanging on it

Every time I buy something online, I take about 2-3 minutes to search for a promo code. I typically start at RetailMeNot.com and search for the retailer to see if any of the coupons apply to my purchase (many, at the very least, offer free shipping). If this doesn’t yield much, then I’ll just type up a search in Google – something like, “Kohls promo code 2015”. I almost always find something, which saves me at least $10 or more. It’s quick, it’s easy, and quite often, it’s effective.

4) Discount Grocery Stores

I started shopping at a discount grocery store (my favorite is Aldi) about four years ago and have never turned back. The people that shop there are surprisingly classy (they have money, but are simply wise consumers), the store is clean, and the prices are incredibly cheap. And, best of all, there is absolutely no need to coupon! Most of the brands offered are not mainstream, so there are no coupons to be found. However, when each price is over a dollar cheaper than anywhere else, then coupons just aren’t necessary! Find a discount grocery store in your area and start saving a huge amount of money today.

5) Borrow

Let’s say that you need to cut down a huge bush in the backyard, but you don’t own any trimmers (aka loppers). What are you to do? Ranked by the order of popularity:

Reaction #1: Go buy some from the nearest store

Reaction #2: Search online to find the best cost, then buy it from that location

Reaction #3: Search extensively and wait for a sale (and/or use a coupon) to make the purchase

Reaction #4: Search local thrift shops and Craigslist at your leisure, hoping to find a quality used one for 25% of the cost

Reaction #5: Borrow one from your neighbor

By far, the absolute lowest percentage option would be to borrow the necessary tool from your neighbor. Why is that? We all have these huge garages that are packed with stuff, when really the whole neighborhood could get by with just one or two of these items in total (instead of 20). If you’re in need of something that you’re probably only going to use once a year, then for goodness sake, just ask your neighbor if you can borrow it. I’m sure they’d be happy to loan it to you. Not only is this an easy way to save money, but it will give you a chance to get to know the neighbors!

Do you have an easy way to save that’s not listed above? Leave a comment!

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Derek Sall

Derek has been writing about personal finance for five years at LifeAndMyFinances.com. He absolutely hates debt, which is why he owns his car and his house free and clear and suggests that everyone else do the same. His equation is simple: get out of debt, save money, and be rich!
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