18 things you don’t actually have to spend money on


Spending money seems to be less enjoyable than it was in the past. According to a recent Gallup poll, 63 percent of Americans prefer saving money over using it up.

The reasons for this shift vary from worries about paying the bills to the desire to maintain one’s current standard of living. Whatever your motivations, you can save more if you stop doling out big bucks for the following products, services and activities:

1. Babysitting

Next time you’re craving a parents’ night (or afternoon) out, contact your local Y, the Parks and Recreation department or your church to inquire if they offer free childcare. Alternatively, start a babysitting co-op with neighbors or a group of friends.

2. Bank Fees

If you cannot get to your own bank, avoid ATM fees by getting cash with a debit purchase at a nearby retailer (after first making sure they don’t also charge a fee). Find out your bank’s requirements to avoid maintenance and overdraft fees, as well.

3. Basic Auto Maintenance

Professional mechanics have their merits, but you can DIY many basic car maintenance tasks and save on labor costs. For guidance, check YouTube for tutorials or ask a handy friend for help.

Getty Images | Matt Cardy

4. Birthday Food

You should never pay to eat on your birthday! There are loads of restaurants that will treat you to free grub on your special day.

5. Extended Warranties and Insurance

The next time you buy an appliance, electronic device or other high-ticket item, just say no to additional protection plans. These products tend to have many “catches” in the fine print, so you’re better off setting aside that money in case you need repairs later.

6. Books

There are nearly 120,000 libraries in the U.S., so chances are good there’s one near you. If not, you can garner free ebooks to keep your eyes busy instead.

Getty Images | Thomas Lohnes

7. Haircuts

If you have males in your family, invest in an inexpensive set of electric clippers and trim them up yourself. Trim girls’ or women’s bangs in the bathroom as well. Feeling especially brave? Video tutorials can teach you how to do trickier styles.

8. Bottled Water

Tap water is practically free and, in most cases, is just as safe as those pricey plastic bottles. If you still have concerns, invest in a water filter for your sink or fridge.

9. Gym Memberships

While improving your health can save you money in the long run, fitness clubs can cost you big time. Instead, take up a sport or physical activity you enjoy that doesn’t cost a dime, such as swimming, running or playing on your company’s softball team.

Getty Images | Spencer Platt

10. Credit Scores

With services such as Credit Karma and Credit Sesame, you can check your credit score safely and at no charge. Many credit card companies provide this feature, too. You can also review your full credit reports for free, once a year, at AnnualCreditReport.com.

11. Kids’ Meals

Enjoy family night at your favorite eatery. Although the grownups will have to pay for their plates, oodles of restaurants offer free meals for the younger set.

12. Landline Phone

If your cell phone alone won’t suffice, use a free VoIP service to make calls from home using your internet service.

Flickr | Karolina Kabat

13. Kids Clothing

Trade in your child’s barely-worn outfits for new-to-you gear at a consignment shop, or organize a clothing swap with the other moms in your network.

14. Late Fees

Paying your bills on time can save you on costly late fee charges. Set up automatic payments, set reminders or use other methods to make sure your payments aren’t late.

15. Television

Cutting the cord can save you a lot of dough. Watch TV without the cost of cable by streaming shows, instead.

Getty Images | Peter Macdiarmid

 16. Movies

Instead of renting DVDs or paying for on-demand flicks, stream movies from a free online source. Alternatively, borrow films from your local library.

17. Shipping For Online Orders

Even if you don’t have a Prime subscription, you can get free shipping from Amazon when you spend $35 on eligible products. Walmart and Target have free shipping and ship-to-store options, too.

18. Warehouse Store Memberships

Club stores, such as Sam’s and Costco, can significantly stretch your household budget. You can make your shopping dollar go even further by shopping with a free pass or a gift card, or by using another insider hack to shop without a membership.

[h/t: Lifehacker]

About the Author

Tricia Goss

Tricia is a professional writer and editor who lives in North Texas with her family and one smelly dog. She is a wannabe problem solver, junk food maven professional coffee practitioner, web guru and general communicator. More.

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