31 Ways To Save Big Money Every Day In January

Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Saving money is like flossing. We all know we should be doing it, but it's just as easy not to. And, like flossing, it has serious benefits, both long and short term. Think of good breath as your short-term savings fund, and the long-term benefits of life-long dental care as a future house and healthy 401(k).

Okay, we've pushed the tooth metaphor a bit too far, but, in all seriousness, good savings habits are an excellent New Year's resolution, one that it literally pays to keep. Ahead, we've rounded up 31 tips to help you do just that, starting now, and at any budget — one for each day of the month. At the end of January, you might find some tips are worth doing for the rest of the year.

We're not suggesting you save just for savings sake — have a goal in mind before you start making these small (and big) changes in your life. Maybe you want to have a fully-funded emergency fund. Maybe you want to take an amazing trip to Paris next Christmas. These goals are totally achievable, and often times it just takes a few small tweaks to save big.

Take a second to imagine your savings goals, then click through for all our tips. It's time to start saving — big.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
We don’t love recommending that you give up something completely in order to save money — it can make the process of saving feel like a total drag. But if you do decide to go that route, it can be motivating to choose something that involves others, so the camaraderie will buoy you when you want to quit.

Alcohol is definitely expensive, even when you drink at home, so giving it up for a month can mean big savings. You can skip the $12 six-pack you pick up at the grocery store each week, the $15 bottle of wine for your friend's dinner party, the $40 on after-work happy hour where you ended up treating everyone to a round. There’s $67 right there. If that’s around your weekly average, you’ll have an additional $268 at the end of the month. And that's even before you get to the drunk munchies and hangover brunch that often comes along with a night out (a.k.a. the adult version of If You Buy A Mouse A Cookie). Even if you’re not a big drinker, skipping a night out with friends at a bar in order to stay in with Netflix could easily save you $30. And when you're saving, every penny does count.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Pantry shelves, freezers, and even fridges can become backlogged with stuff you forget about and never use. But a new year deserves a fresh start, so resolve to finally eat up all those odds and ends. It will cut down your grocery bill as well as clear out space. And who knows? You may even discover a new favorite weeknight meal. Be creative and have fun! Just make sure you're not taking an extra grocery trip to buy extra ingredients. The trick to making this a money-saver is to use what you have, not buy extra ingredients in the process.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
The average U.S. consumer spends $73 a month on their cell phone bill, which is no small thing. And it seems like the bills creep up a little more each year. Take a minute (okay, more like 15 to 30) to make sure you’re getting the most out of your plan by taking a hard look at your bill. Do you really need unlimited minutes when you never ever talk on the phone? Are you using all your data each month? Maybe you can downgrade to a cheaper plan. And this doesn't even need to be a long-term downgrade. Just do it for a month to see if it works for you. (And don't do it if you're constantly going over on your data usage — we don't want this trick costing you money!)

It's also important to price shop. If your contract is up, take advantage of new-customer incentives many phone companies offer. Chances are, your carrier will be willing to negotiate a better deal just to keep your business.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Wholesale clubs like Costco are great — if you have a a huge family and the storage space to match. But you can still enjoy their crazy deals with a little strategizing. Find a friend or two to go in on a bulk-shopping trip. A lot of the stores will let you visit for free the first time, but you might find it's worth it to pay the annual membership fee, too. Split up the spoils and the bill, and you'll be set for basics like toilet paper and paper towels for a long time — for a lot less.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
It takes a little bit of planning (like making sure you have enough food!), but taking a day off from spending money not only helps you save a bit of extra change, it will help you reevaluate the kinds of impulse purchases you make daily without even thinking. For example, skipping your morning coffee every Tuesday for a year can save you around $260 (more if you're buying specialty drinks).

Before you try a No-Spend Tuesday take a look at how much you spend on a typical weekday. Take that money you would have spent on coffee, lunch, takeout dinner, a random trip to the drugstore — or whatever — and deposit it directly into your savings account.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Mailing in receipts for cash-back rebates is so last century. With Ebates, the work is done for you. Sign up for an account, and earn cash back at stores like Amazon or Macy's when you access the stores through Ebate's site. You can choose when you want to cash out your earnings, and Ebates mails you a check. Just make sure you're not shopping just because you're getting a great discount as that's not really a money savings plan.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Saving money can also mean being strategic about the time of the year you spend. In January, gyms love to take advantage of everyone's New Year's resolutions by offering limited-time deals and discounts. While we wouldn't recommend signing up for a membership simply because the deal is good, if you've been thinking about joining a gym, or looking for a better deal, now's the time to shop around. You'll find offers like no-signing fees, or even lower monthly rates for the first year. Some gyms will even offer a permanent locked-in discounted rate to get you in the door.

Take a few minutes to research gyms near your house or work — and don't be afraid to use that research when you are talking to the membership advisor. They often have monthly new-member quotas they need to fill. If you mention a better offer at a gym down the street, you might be able to negotiate your way into an even better deal.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
What's better than a gift card? Card, hard cash. If you've got a pile of these sitting unused in your wallet, you might want to consider selling them. There are several websites, like Gift Card Granny, that will let you sell or exchange unwanted cards.

Target also has a gift card exchange program that allows you to consolidate cards from dozens of national retailers into one Target card. This is a great way to use up cards with small balances, or for gift cards to retailers where you never shop. (It's nice of Aunt Sue to remember you used to love Hot Topic, though!)

Since this is a story about saving, not spending, take that found money and stick it straight into a savings account. Look at that! You're already a few more dollars closer to your goal!
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Think of this as a much less painful (and less extreme) version of freezing your credit card. When you have those 16 magic numbers connected to your accounts at your favorite online stores, you might fall into a trap of shopping without thinking about what you're buying or how much you're spending. When you actually have to get up off the couch, find your wallet, and type in the numbers, you might think twice before you pull the trigger to buy that sweater you don't really need.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
It's so easy to just hit the "Buy now with 1-click" button on Amazon and download a new book onto your phone or Kindle without a second thought. But you can pretty much do the same thing for free when you have a library card. Most libraries have a robust digital library these days. All you need is a up-to-date library card to access.

Do you still like to hold a physical book in your hands? Thanks to the magic of computers, you can request or put a hold on titles your local branch might not have on the shelves right now — both for books and DVDs. It's like Netflix and Amazon Prime rolled into one without a monthly fee.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
It sounds scary, but it takes less than five minutes to get the process started on SoFi's website — and it could save you a lot of money in the long run, too. SoFi's members save an average of $316 a month. What a great way to start the year.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
You can also try this with a $5 bill, or even $1s — every time you get the chosen bill in change, slip it somewhere in your wallet where you won't spend it. Then, at the end of the day, stash your saved bills into an envelope. At the end of the month, count up what you've tucked away and make a trip to the bank to deposit into your savings account. How easy was that?
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Interest accrual is the "$5 coffee" of the credit card world — and it doesn't have any added benefits like a caffeine boost. These little charges really add up over time. So, for 2017, resolve to always always ALWAYS pay your credit card bill on time. Automatic payments, electronic calendar reminders, even phone alarms are great ways to keep you on track. Then take that extra money you're saving and tuck it into a savings account. Saving for a dream vacation is a much better use of your money.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
We talk about Digit a lot in our money stories, but that's because it's such an easy, painless way to start saving big. The app analyzes your spending, takes out small withdrawals, and places the money into a separate savings account. It's up to you how you use that money, whether you want to pad existing savings, or spend it on plane tickets to your best friend's wedding. Digit can also be trained to save more aggressively if you want to push yourself a little harder toward hitting a big goal.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Of course, as much as we love Digit, it's not a replacement for regular savings. Think of it more as the dessert for your healthy, well-balanced dinner. This year can also be the year you get into the habit of regularly contributing to a savings account, and it's as easy as setting up an automatic transfer from your checking account on pay day.

The general recommendation is putting 20% of your take-home pay into savings, but if that's too ambitious, even starting with $50 a paycheck is something. From there, you can increase your contributions every few months. If you already have an automatic transfer set up, consider upping it now, especially if you just got a raise. It's an easy way to avoid what financial experts refer to as lifestyle creep.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Just like Dryuary, a New Year's closet clean is a simple way to save money — and not just because it's so easy to sell gently used clothes online these days. Also use it as an opportunity to really evaluate what clothes and accessories you're parting with because they're worn out, and which ones were just never worn. If, in the closet purge, you realize most of your jewelry never leaves its stand, for example, you'll be less likely to buy more in the future.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
While some of us need the pressure of a deadline breathing down our necks, there are so many perks to filing early. Number one? A quicker refund. Plus, filing now means that all the deductions you could take from 2016 are fresher in your mind.

Check out this story to make sure you're taking full advantage of as many deductions as you qualify for.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Heating bills vary by house size, location, and heating type, but for many of us, it doesn't come cheap. A recent study found that homes using natural gas spend an average of $598 on heating alone.

So before you crank up the thermostat, throw on a sweater, or a pair of warm socks, or snuggle under a blanket. Layering up with things you already have is free, not to mention cozy. Pushing the temperature up a few extra degrees is not.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Are you noticing a theme? A lot of our tips are really about examining your spending in order to make more informed, thought-out decisions in the future. And there's really no better way to do that than a money diary.

Track your spending for a week, writing down every penny that leaves your wallet. At the end of the seven days, take a look at your findings — you might be surprised how much you're dropping on seemingly little purchases like CVS runs and takeout. Seeing just how much you're really spending (instead of your best guess) is the first step in figuring out where, and how, to make changes that will help you save more in the long run. If there are certain purchases you can't live without (that morning latte for example), you'll also be better able to budget for them, too.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Cutting back on spending often feels like you're agreeing to be a shut-in, but you can still have a social life for less. Do a quick Google search for message boards, blogs, or newsletters that publicize local free events. (We love The Skint in New York City!) Rather than paying $20 to catch up with a coworker over cocktails, you can suggest a free Friday at a museum. As an added benefit, you'll be getting to know your community a little bit better, too.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Chances are, you're mostly reaching for the same two or three cards in your wallet. But, unless you're the queen of minimalism, you're lugging around way more than that. It's time to get organized. Toss expired coupons and old receipts that are making things messy. Put away store cards and secondary credit cards somewhere safe (like your desk or safe), so you'll be less likely to use them for impulse purchases. Clear out any loose change. It's a small fix, but it will make you feel so much better organized.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Many healthcare plans offer a host of perks — including lower rates or reimbursements for gym memberships — as a reward for healthy behaviors. It can take a little bit of digging, but the pay-off can be big. You likely pay a lot for your healthcare coverage, so make sure you're taking full advantage of everything it offers.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Visualizing your savings goals is a great way to motivate yourself to get there — so rather than throwing everything into one big pile, create individual accounts for each goal. Many banks, including Capital One 360 will let you set up sub accounts for no extra fees.

These "buckets" can be for anything: one-time expenses, like a new couch, or an ongoing expense, like your annual wedding budget. If you need to buy a plane ticket, you can take the money out of the "Travel bucket," rather than using cash from your checking account. You can also use the separate savings accounts as ways to restrict spending on certain purchases. If you have $300 in your "Spring Wardrobe" fund, then that's all you should allow yourself to spend on new clothes that quarter.

There are so many different ways to use these savings "buckets." Experiment and see what works best for you.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
It's always a little sad when you use up one of your favorite daily beauty products. But all is not lost. While there's not much to be done once an eyeliner pencil is sharpened to its last, many bath and beauty items can have a second life. A beauty spatula can help you get the last drop out of narrow bottles of lipgloss or concealer, and there's an easy way to reenergize dried tubes of mascara. A tube wringer will get out every last drop of your toothpaste or hand cream. Even broken products can be saved with a little ingenuity.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Take the time to find one you really like — no sense in getting a cheap water bottle you won't want to tote around. Factor in things like the shape, size, and weight, not just appearance. Then try to keep it with you always. If you have a handy go-to water bottle, you'll be less likely to buy bottled water (or sodas or other drinks) while you're out.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Proceed with caution: Rewards programs are engineered to get you to spend more by offering tempting deals and "freebies." But if you're spending at these stores anyway, you might as well use them to your advantage. We recommend making a list of things you need or want in the next few months before signing up to guard against impulse buying. Then, watch and learn — certain emails and offers become predictable after a while, so you can start adjusting your purchases accordingly.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
We LOVE talking about how important it is to max your match here at Refinery29, and that's because we love free money. Not only does an employer-sponsored 401(k) allow you to contribute money pre-tax, many offer a matching program for their employees, meaning they'll be putting in some of their own money, too. If you're not already contributing enough to take full advantage of the matching program, do it now — otherwise, you're leaving money (that grows!) on the table.

Want to know more about getting the most out of your retirement accounts? Read this handy guide to retirement funds.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Rather than doing dinner and a show, try a show, then dinner. Many theaters offer matinee prices even on the weekends, which means you'll see the same show for less. And speaking of the exact same thing for less, we won't tell if you smuggle in your own Twizzlers.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
A clogged air filter reduces your engine's performance, which means you're getting fewer miles per gallon. And, unlike changing a tire, it's a DIY you can likely handle on your own, even with no prior experience under the hood. Consult the owner's manual first, but, generally, all you'll need is a vacuum and a little bit of time.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Again, proceed with caution. Even at 70% off, a cart full of ornaments does add up. But, if you think ahead to the kinds of holiday purchases you make year after year, like cards and wrapping paper, now is the time to load up and pack 'em away. (Just remember where you put them!)
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
At the end of the month, transfer a dollar for every day into your savings account on top of whatever you've saved up (as long as you have it, of course). An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and a dollar a day equals $365 extra at the end of the year.
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