House and Home

20 Ways to Save Money Without Trying (Much)

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Ugh, just the phrase "saving money" can make it seem like a Herculean task. But it doesn't have to be. There are plenty of ways to drop extra money into your bank account that don't require that much effort or thought on your part.

Here are a number of them. You're probably already doing a few, if not all of them (good for you!), but it's always a good reminder to keep you on task!

#1. Automate Automating your bank account so part of your paycheck immediately gets dumped into your savings is an easy way to save without really thinking about it. This way, you'll have to live within your means.

#2. Lay Off the Credit Cards Swiping credit cards may cause you to spend more than you like. If you're not responsible with your money, try to opt to live credit-card-free. Yes, you may be losing out on reward points or cash back, but if you're going into debt because you're not thinking about your purchases, perhaps you need to lay off charging things to credit.

#3. Read MoreDo you know what Warren Buffett does with most of his time? Reads. OK, maybe you won't become a billionaire, but reading personal finance books or self-improvement books can put you on track to having a healthier relationship with money. Saving money will become second nature to you, which will make it easier to save.

#4. Go to the LibraryReading more doesn't mean spending more cash on books. Start thinking of your local library as your friend and explore all the freebies they have to offer — it's not just books. You can borrow free DVDs, use their Internet for free, and more.

#5. Make Your Own CoffeeInvest in a coffee machine or a French press to easily make coffee instead of going to your local Starbucks on your way to work. Instant coffee is a good idea as well, if you don't mind the flavor.

#6. Make Exercising Part of Your LifestyleStudies have shown that picking up one healthy habit can lead to positive benefits in other parts of your life. If you add working out to your routine, your relationship with money may benefit from it as well.

#7. Hang Out With Frugal FriendsYour friends can be a huge influence on you, so choose wisely who you spend the most time with. That's not to say that you should avoid your spendthrift friends like the plague, but be honest when you can't afford to do something instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses.

#8. Start a Money-Making Hobby You may think that a second income sounds like a lot of work, but hear me out. If you already have a hobby that you spend a lot of time on and enjoy doing, figure out how to make money from it. It can be anything from making homemade laundry soap to sell on Etsy or writing freelance pieces for a magazine.

#9. Get Good Sleep Getting a good night's rest can really affect your impulse control. Make sure you're not caving into or fighting off impulse purchases that can really wreck your savings.

#10. Get a Brita Filter Instead of buying bottles of water, save the environment and money by investing in a Brita filter pitcher ($26).

#11. Use Vinegar to Clean Instead of buying cleaning products, use a powerful cleaning agent that you already have in your kitchen: vinegar. Using pantry items to clean is not only cheaper, but less toxic for the home as well.

#12. Replace Your Light Bulbs Upgrading your light bulbs to more efficient ones can save you $50 a year, and all you have to do is just screw them in! Read our review of the best soft-glow energy-efficient lightbulb.

#13. Try These Fun and Free Activities Having fun doesn't always mean a drain on your wallet. We've come up with plenty of ways to keep yourself entertained at home and outside of your home. Go for a hike, fly a kite, or grab a well-loved book to re-read. Start equating fun with activities that don't cost much; it's very important to make that connection.

#14. Cut CableMore and more households are cutting the cord. Read our step-by-step guide to quitting cable cold turkey. It's an option to consider if you're not a big TV fanatic.

#15. Improve Your Credit Score Working on your credit score will save you money in ways you won't expect. For example, you'll get a lower interest rate on your mortgage and credit cards, better rates on insurance, and some companies like your cell phone provider or cable company may waive big deposits for your clean credit record. Here are some tips on raising your score.

#16. Take Care of Your Things Something that tends to trip up our savings is having to buy new things when the items we own break or get worn out. You can prevent that by properly taking care of your things and lenghtening their lives. Here are some tips to make groceries last and to preserve your clothes.

#17. Reward Credit CardsIf you're good with your money, taking advantage of reward credit cards would work very well in your favor. Figure out the biggest things you spend money on and find the best reward cards for that category. For example, if travel is your thing, check out our top picks for travel credit cards.

#18. Download WhatsApp and Viber Keep in touch with your friends for free with these apps that let you text and talk for free. They're great when your traveling overseas and don't want to rack up a huge phone bill.

#19. Get a Crockpot You've heard repeated reminders of making your own meals to save money, but figured you don't have the time? Well, if you invest in a crockpot, cooking will seem like a breeze because all you have to do is throw the ingredients in and let it work its magic. Check out our vast array of slow-cooker recipes.

#20. Don't Procrastinate If you have problems with procrastinating, you know it's a bad habit ends up costing you money. You'll have to pay for late fees, penalties for canceled appointments, and more. Nip your procrastination problem in the bud with these tips.