5 no-effort ways to save money today

file5801241837386I’m consistently amazed with the ways people find to spend (read: waste) their hard earned dollars on a daily basis.  Whether it’s spending $1.50 on a 20 oz. soda from the vending machine, going out to lunch Monday through Friday, or shopping online during their downtime (the 21st century window browsing).  I’m all about saving money.  It’s literally like a game to me.  So, I’m always looking for ways to level-up and fatten my wallet.  But I get that for most people, changing behavior is tough, and they don’t always think the reward is worth the effort.  So, here are 5 no-effort ways to save money today

  1. Unplug when you leave the house.  According to Energy Star, “The average U.S. household spends $100 per year to power devices while they are off (or in standby mode).”  Easy money right there.  Every morning before I leave the house, I make sure our internet modem, wireless router, TV, and anything else that doesn’t need to be plugged in is off.  Of course, leave your fridge plugged in.
  2. Turn off the lights when you leave a room.  This is literally the easiest think you can do, and along the same lines as unplugging.  Just flip the switch.  I finally understand why my old man was always getting on us to stop leaving the lights on.  With the new bulbs we all use, it might only cost $0.01 every hour you leave them on, but the key is to stop needlessly wasting money.
  3. Stop driving like an ass-hat.  I’ve talked about this before here.  “Each 5 MPH over 60MPH you drive can reduce your fuel economy by 7%.”  Wake up 5 minutes earlier so you can go a little slower.  The time it costs you will be more than worth it with the savings it brings.  Walk or bike if you can.  And by the way, the answer is yes.  If you are texting while driving, I am the guy honking at you.  Get off your damn phone jerkass.
  4. Turn up the heat.  It’s summer.  I get it.  I sweat something fierce when it’s hot out, so I know that you want it to be a cool 66° when you’re hanging out at home.  But will 68° kill you?  If you’re worried it might, you should probably see a doctor.  But what about when you’re not at home?  Per energy.gov, “By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill — a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.”  Even if you have pets, I’m sure they’ll be fine when it’s 78° during the day.
  5. Do dishes and laundry during non-peak hours.  Check with your local power company (whomever you pay each month for electric) and they should have something advising you when your peak hours are.  In our household, we don’t run the dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer until after 7 P.M.  For example, with Pacific Power, for example, you can save about 20% by reducing your peak hour usage.

So there you have 5 no-effort ways to save money today.  Literally the most you have to do might be bend over to unplug something.  None of the ways to save I listed above are going to be immediate, phenomenal savings.  But I’m not peddling some get rich quick scheme.  This is life.  You should be in it for the long-haul, and over the course of your life, these little activities and habits will literally save you thousands of dollars.

What are your favorite no-effort ways of saving money?




  1. “Turn up the heat” I would love to follow this one but unfortunately with allergies having the windows open is one of the worst things that you can do. Thankfully where I live – Minnesota – air conditioning isn’t that expensive, at least compared to what we pay in heating bills in the Winter.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…5 Easy and Inexpensive Fall GetawaysMy Profile

  2. We have a programmable thermostat that turns the heat up every morning for us! We don’t waste money cooling the house when we’re not home and we don’t even have to waste time remembering to do it. I cannot wait for fall though when we can turn it off completely for a few months, that’s when the big savings come in.
    Autumn @ The Barefoot Budgeter recently posted…Money Won’t Buy You LoveMy Profile

  3. Thanks for sharing Ryan. We actually do all of these except the peak hour electricity issue. I don’t think my utility charges more or less…..but it would totally make sense if they do.
    Income Surfer recently posted…One Place I Look For Stock InvestmentsMy Profile

    • It’s odd… some utilities do, and some don’t. Our local utility has peak water and peak electricity hours. It’s not much of a hassle, so we just work around it. But, if they offer it, the savings are definitely there.

  4. Some good ideas Ryan. I have been unplugging a few things (like the microwave, computer) for awhile. I haven’t done the TV in the bedroom as that plug is behind the dresser, but I am sure there are a few other areas that I can unplug, I just need to look around a bit. Lights are a given as it was drilled in me by my dad, probably just like yours did!
    This summer is cool here in Michigan, plus I don’t have an air conditioner. Heck, we almost needed the heat ON last night, this morning was a cool 67 degrees inside. But I really don’t want to have to turn the furnace on until at least September, that would be a bit depressing to turn it on in August…
    Kipp recently posted…Save Over $25.00 a Hour Making Your Own Laundry SoapMy Profile

  5. I am pretty anal about turning lights off and adjusting the thermostat. I’m sure it has saved us a ton of $ over the years! I cannot stand for lights to be on in a room we aren’t using.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…How I Made $200 This Week for Doing NothingMy Profile

  6. I got a folding laundry rack this year so that I could stop running the dryer. When I lived in Bulgaria for 2 years, we didn’t even have a dryer, so we always hung our clothes out. I find it relaxing, and I love knowing that I’m saving energy.
    Lauren recently posted…3 Tips for Thrift Shopping SuccessMy Profile

  7. Good and easy tips to follow. I’ve always been taught as a kid to turn on the lights when not in use…same goes for other appliances too. And wow 66 degrees…I think 75 degree is just fine. Well, growing up, AC was a luxury…and was pretty much only turned on at night so maybe I’m used to it. And I don’t have a dishwasher so I’m good with #5 =) And we live in an apartment so laundry is pay per cycle…
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…The Top Ways Your Home is Costing You MoneyMy Profile

    • I remember back when I was living in an apartment and had to go down to the laundromat… I think I would go weeks between loads just because finding quarters was such a pain. But, I guess being forced to spend money on it helped me save by doing it less!

  8. I save money just because of the dump I live in. lol! OK maybe not a total dump, but it’s small, I don’t have AC, and I don’t have a dishwasher. The only thing that is a huge disappointment and nothing I can really do about it, is I can’t unplug my mac tower every night. It’s old and weird and causes me MAJOR problems trying to get it started. When I see my utilities compared to other people, I know I’m still paying WAY less!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Being Uniquely YouMy Profile

    • With no AC and no dishwasher, I’d say your definitely paying less than most! Oddly enough, I really like washing dishes by hand, and actually prefer it to the dishwasher. I just need to stop being so lazy about it, but that’s another habit to break altogether!

  9. “Unplug when you leave the house.” – YES!!! I may not be able to change how much a carton of eggs costs, or how much a subway ticket costs, but I can change how much I pay for my power bill every month. Unplug all the things! Now if only I can get my roommates to do the same…
    Molly @ FeeHacks recently posted…How to Manage Your Student LoansMy Profile

    • YES! Definitely Molly! Roommates can be a killer. I remember getting in arguments with roommates over the AC unit… but that was back when I was 21 and living in Phoenix, so we ran the AC about 24 hours per day 9 months of the year.

  10. We have our thermostat set to 78 degrees, which is perfectly fine for me and our cats =). We have a nice ceiling fan in the living room that we turn on if it gets a little too hot (especially when cooking). I’m guessing our utility bill could be lower if I wasn’t home, but I do try to maximize savings when possible. I’ll have to look into off-peak hours here!
    E.M. recently posted…Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of GoodMy Profile

  11. We have shaved a degree or two off the temp in house during winter months over the last few years to help save on heating cost. It has helped with heating cost on the rise.
    Brian @ Debt Discipline recently posted…Burgers, Coffee, and BeerMy Profile

  12. Saving money is definitely a game/ hobby for me. Wouldn’t it be great if it were that way for everyone?!
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…What Gives Worth vs. What Gives JoyMy Profile

  13. The use of “asshat” made me giggle. I’m all about unplugging when we’re out of the house, except I’ve never bothered extended that to my router. Good point!
    Broke Millennial recently posted…FICO Score Changes Could Help Millions of AmericansMy Profile

  14. Going to the park on the weekends saves money, because the TV, AC, lights are all off. Having a veggie dinner night saves money because you don’t need meat every day. Many ways your wallet will thank you if you just place effort to save. Thanks.

  15. I’m with Erin, I love your use of the word ass-hat. After that, I am a big fan of turning up the heat in summer and turning it off in the winter. This past winter, our home average temp was around 55. I literally had three layers of clothes on on some days, but it really helped us control the expenses.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Sometimes You Do Not Want to KnowMy Profile

  16. I have a bad habit of leaving the lights out whenever I leave the room. The excuse is I’ll eventually come back later. Which I do, but it’s like 20-30 minutes later. So great advice, I just have to get into the habit of turning off the lights.

    Henry @ Living At Home recently posted…3 Lessons From Warren Buffett’s LettersMy Profile

  17. These are all great tips. I so do the unplugging of things in the house all the time. It drives me nuts seeing something plugged in just to be plugged in. We do the dishes and laundry at night too to save money.
    Brit recently posted…Latest Coupons For 08/15/2014My Profile

  18. I literally thought last night I must turn off the wall switches for my amp and little heater sicne those are out of use like 99% of the time – thanks for the reminder!
    NZ Muse recently posted…My top 3 money memoriesMy Profile

  19. LOL, I’m the same way, Ryan. I see people driving like arses, or I see my fave local restaurant packed full every night, and I just cringe, because I know from past experience how much cash those little things add up to. Never thought about washing during peak hours before, though. I’ll have to look into that!!
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…Homemade Zucchini Bread RecipeMy Profile

  20. When I bought my house it needed to be rewired and the electrician was going to put all of the lights (on fans) to a switch on the wall. I told him no, to put an outlet to the switch, so when I leave the room I can switch it off and everything plugged in (chargers, computers, etc…) go dark!
    Gretchen recently posted…My Everyday and Ordinary Credit Card Rewards VictoryMy Profile

  21. We do most of what you listed and we don’t have an AC unit. Instead we installed ceiling fans and they really help to keep our place cooler during the summer months.
    Kassandra @ More Than Just Money recently posted…The Rebirth Of Ground ZeroMy Profile

  22. I’m guessing about 90% of all people are too lazy to do anything of the above or they don’t see how saving only $0.03 every day on the power usage of their modem turns into big savings in the long run.

    Two years ago I bought myself a power usage meter and measured all our appliances. Then I bought timers and put them on the most consuming appliances like television, surround system, computers, etc. Now the timer turns the appliances back on into stand by mode whenever I get home and turn them off when I’m asleep or out.

    Hopefully things like Nest and home automation catch on in the future so all of this becomes automated. Currently I’m looking at what NFC chips can do to turn off some internet-based appliances in my home. When I get home I want to scan a chip by the door with my phone which then sends a signal to my home server to boot up, for example, and vice versa for when I leave.
    No More Waffles recently posted…Best Writing of the Week, August 16My Profile

    • I think my next move is to get a timer for most of our appliances. We don’t use our big HVAC unit, but when we finally start to do so, I’m definitely going to use it with NEST. I think most people look at the amount they have to spend and choose not to go that route without considering how much they will save with it over the years. And NFC chips. That’s pretty hardcore brother!

  23. Luckily the summer has had great temperatures this year. Not unbearably hot where I live. This should help with electricity bills. We always to our dishwasher and laundry after peak hours. I try to remember to unplug my laptop when I’m not using, but as far as unplugging TV’s and lamps… we’re not there yet! Hey, we just cut cable last week!! I may investin some timed power bars though.
    debs@debtdebs recently posted…Thoughts on SuicideMy Profile

  24. This is a nice post, practical home tips to save money and conserve electricity. I am happy to say that I am actually doing most of them, especially turning off and unplugging appliances and power devices when not in use. Well, I’m still working on the “waking up earlier and driving slower” routine. I’ll be successful on that eventually. Thank you for the money-saving tips.
    John recently posted…What is cellular respiration?My Profile

    • Thanks John, I’m all about practicality. I hate crap where people usually (usually big websites that care about clickbait) give unrealistic crap suggestions for saving money. But this stuff is so easy, it’s overlooked. Most people won’t give it consideration because the savings are small, but the people that do are going to end up wealthy because these smaller habits are just part of the bigger picture. But yes, waking up early is one of the harder things on this list :)

  25. These are great tips Ryan! I’m a huge stickler about turning off the lights. Drives me crazy when the lights are on in an empty room. Another non-related way I say money is by setting up many of our bills to auto-pay. It saves me time and overdraft fees. Works great for us and required very little effort.
    Liz recently posted…How to Pack for a Work TripMy Profile

    • Thanks Liz! And autodraft is definitely a good feature, but I’m still wary of giving people like Comcast access to my checking account… I don’t trust them. I just set a reminder on my phone for each month’s payment.

  26. I had no idea there were charges for peak usage! I’m going to have to make a phone call to check that out…
    Femme @ femmefrugality recently posted…Financially Savvy Saturdays: Fifty-First EditionMy Profile

  27. Your list must be one of the easiest things to do to save money. Unplugging can take off much money from the bills. When my kids leave their room, I always tell them to turn off the light. Here’s the exciting part, when I forget to do, they are the ones who say “Dad, the light please”. We just both laugh. It is like a nice experience.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Monster Piggy Bank Turns 2!My Profile

  28. I lol’ed at ‘jerkass’. Totally gonna use that. And YES I totally understand your frustration.

    Yeah, months ago, I made a conscious effort to turn things off, unplug, and just conserve more energy in general, and I’ve really noticed a difference in my energy bill.
    Kristin @ Brokepedia recently posted…How to Get Cheap Renter’s InsuranceMy Profile

  29. Never heard the word “ass-hat” but damn, that made me LOL! Going to use that now… Haha. I like to save money by simply not allowing myself to walk into the mall anymore.
    Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans recently posted…Lisa vs. the 2014 Goals – Checking InMy Profile

  30. Great tips — I’ve been trying to do all of these regularly. Besides, they not only help you save money, but also help you reduce your carbon foot print, so it’s like killing two birds with one stone :D
    Poor Student recently posted…Building a Buzz into Your BudgetMy Profile

  31. Getting a low-flow shower head is an easy way to save a lot of money. My old shower head was 2.5GPM and the new one I have is only 1.5GPM and it doesn’t take me any longer to rinse off because we have good water pressure.

    So you save double on heating the water and using less water, in a 10 minute shower you save 10 gallons of water so that is huge savings over a year for a $15 shower head that takes a few minutes to switch out. You can even go more aggressive to a 1.25 GPM shower head.
    Debt Hater recently posted…July 2014 Budget ReviewMy Profile


  1. […] changes you can make to your lifestyle that will immediately save you money.  Number 1 on that list was unplugging devices when they’re not in use.  “The average U.S. household spends […]

  2. […]  5 No Effort Ways To Save Money Today by Impersonal Finance […]

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