Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What is Your Favorite Way to Save Money?

By Ashley Jacobs on 1 April 2014 (Updated 8 April 2014) 132 comments

Congratulations to Karen L for winning a $100 Skype gift card and to Susan S and Karen G for winning $50 Visa gift cards!

Chances are if you are a Wise Bread reader, you are interested in saving money and have learned many ways to cut your costs. There are many blogs out there that can help you keep your expenses low using money-saving tactics. From couponing to apps to thrift shops and more, everyone has their favorite ways to save money!

What is your favorite way to save money? Do you love couponing? Using money-saving apps? Doing DIY projects?

Tell us about your favorite way to save money and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $100 Skype Gift Card or one of two $50 Visa Gift Cards!

Win a $100 Skype gift card or one of two $50 Visa Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways via Rafflecopter — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry:

  • Post your answer in the comment section below, then enter the name and email address you used to post your comment into the Rafflecopter widget to confirm your entry. (Your email is kept private, other entrants will not be able to see it! We just use this information to confirm your entry.)

For an extra entry:

  • You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. After you tweet, use our Rafflecopter widget to confirm your entry:

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If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest starts Tuesday April 1st, 2014 and ends Monday, April 7th, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after April 7th, 2014 on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all the drawings — once by leaving a comment and once by tweeting then confirming your entry through Rafflecopter.
  • NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
  • Open only to permanent legal U.S. residents 18 years or older physically residing in the fifty (50) United States of America and the District of Columbia, excluding the state of Rhode Island.
  • Prizes are delivered by Wise Bread. Wise Bread is the host and administrator of this contest.
  • Additional terms and conditions apply. Click here for more details.

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Good Luck!

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Tina in NJ

My favorite way to save money is to sleep on it. If I'm shopping and see something not on my list that I really want, I go home and sleep on it. If it's worth going back for, I want it enough. Whatever it is usually isn't worth the trip. When I'm at a craft show, I see the entire show before I buy anything. If I still want something enough to find it again, I'll go back for it. I come home with allot less Stff this way.

Guest's picture
Mary Happymommy

My favorite way to save money is by using coupons.

Guest's picture
lostAnnfound

last year I started saving money by putting a specific amount aside each week. On week one I put away $1.00, on week two I put away $2.00, etc., through the whole year so that by the last week of the year I had saved over $1,300.00! The savings plan starts off with such a low amount that it is easy to do and by the time I got the the second half of the year and going forward the momentum and the habit I had developed at that point of putting the money aside kept me going.

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Kristine R.

I like couponing and then using the savings to put into an account. At the end of the year we see how much we have saved and use it toward an item we can all use -- like a vacation!

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Crystal Rose

I like to use coupons & match them with sales.

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Nancy

When I received a regular paycheck, I set up automatic deposit with automatic transfer to a savings account. Then when the savings account exceeded a certain threshold, I moved the extra money where it would likely grow faster. Since working for myself, income isn't regular, so I can't use automatic savings transfer. But what is regular now is my retired husband's quarterly IRA payments. These get direct-deposited to our savings and we try to live on my income and his social security. I also add to savings by paying myself for certain behaviors. For example, if I forgo spending on an impulsive purchase, I put that amount into savings. And when I line-dry laundry instead of running the clothes dryer, I put a dollar in my laundry piggy bank.

Guest's picture
Lani

Limiting my shopping trips! The less I see, the less I seem to "need".

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Brenda Faulkner

I always use coupons!

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Mandy

My favorite way to save money is frantically searching for coupons on my phone while in the checkout line of a store. If I find something, I feel super successful and I;ve saved money! Yay!

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Jeremy

The best way my wife and I have found to save money exponentially, is by using the good ol' envelope method. We've tried quicken, MS Money, excel sheets, YNAB etc...the absolutely best way we've been able to quell excess spending is thru using cash. The psychology of handing over cash has been proven to be harder to do than swipe a card.

It works very very well, and is worth the extra effort of separating your money into different envelopes.

Guest's picture
Elena

I like to save money by using coupons

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Allison

Only paying myself $20 cash a week to eat out. It has actually made me eat out less than those $20

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Troy

We switched from AT&T to Republic Wireless. Over $100 savings/month.

Guest's picture
mel

automatic direct deposit into a separate savings account is the way to go. plus, auto deduction and auto pay for my roth 401K and roth ira helps; if you don't see you it you don't spend it. i try to keep a monthly spreadsheet of all expenses and savings. you have to know where everything is going. i budget my tax return to pay for my property tax; it alleviates the stress factor of finding thousands of money every year. organization and online calendar reminders keep healthy financial habits.

Guest's picture
CR Williams

My fave way is to use coupons.

Guest's picture
Jen

My favorite way to save money is a combination of methods that includes budgeting, using coupons, taking advantage of sales or clearance deals, getting freebies and the occasional win in a sweepstakes.

Guest's picture
Maria2

My favorite way to save money is to cook most meals at home! Even if I buy higher quality ingredients it is still cheaper than eating out!

Guest's picture
Ami

My husband and I purchased a first home that needed a lot of updating. We've owned the home for 4 years now and have done 100% of the remodeling by ourselves which included taking 4 of the rooms down to studs (two main level bedrooms, a bathroom, and the kitchen). YouTube is an invaluable resource for learning to drywall, re-shingle, plumb, and install just about anything yourself! We've saved tens of thousands of dollars by doing all our own work and increased the value of our home! We've taken each room one at a time, always saving up the money for the room remodel before beginning. We've also optimized sales. For example we knew that the following fall would be our kitchen remodel so we kept an eye out for cabinet sales. We ended up getting our cabinets on sale for 30% off and they just sat in the garage for 4 months until we were ready to begin the remodel.

Guest's picture
Anna Pry

Just one of my favorite ways to save $ is to 'fast' from buying anything. Usually I do a spending fast for just a few days but could be up to a week. It forces me to make do with what we have.

Guest's picture
Joy

I love having money transferred automatically to my savings account every month. That way, it's set up there, and I don't even think about it!

Guest's picture
Christa

Coupons and Target Cartwheel/Red Card.

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Thrifty Writer

Cutting cable television - gave me back $60 per month, not to mention cut down on my massive irritation every time I saw the cable bill, plus I see so many fewer ads, which leads me to spend less money. And, even with Netflix and watching TV shows online, I spend less time vegging out watching TV and get stuff done!

Guest's picture
Therese

I like to borrow books from the library rather than buy them.

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Olivia

Budget savings out of every pay check. Out of sight out of mind.// Shop food sales, use coupons, work CVS deals, use a budgeted amount of cash. What ever is left over at the end of each week, set aside.// Toss all change into a jar and do not take it out.// Shop the thrifts for household or clothing items. //Accept gifts and give freely. Freecycle is great.

Guest's picture
chandan

using coupons and avoiding unnecessary shopping :)

Guest's picture
Monique

My favorite way of saving money has been budgeting. If we want to buy something and save for it, we are more likely to think the purchase through.

Guest's picture
Selene Montgomery

I deduct the amount of my use of coupons, gift cards, discounts, etc., from my checking account like they're spendatures giving them a special catagory (I use Quicken). When I need extra money, I'm surprised how much that "unspent money" adds up to.

Guest's picture
rachel1leah2@gmail.com

My favorite way to save money is to pay with cash. There's no reality check like watching the bills in my wallet diminish to help me say no.

Guest's picture
DnTx

The money saved on sale prices and by using coupons is not truly saved unless you transfer it from your checking to your savings account, check the bottom of your receipt, most retailers provide it. You will really see what you're saving if you make this a habit. Make your own cup of coffee! Do not use credit for anything that you will not still have when the bill comes due. Have you tried making your own laundry detergent? I will not pay 12 dollars (on sale) for that bottle, found a recipe I've made three times and it lasts me over a year and is less than $20. Just found your site, sorry, I'll stop there....

Guest's picture
MELISSA HANSSON

My favorite way to save money is to only buy goods when they are on sale and I have a coupon or other way of adding savings. Thanks to my stockpile, I almost never have to purchase anything at full retail.

Guest's picture
gwen hicks

I have a few ways to save money. one is to always use coupons for anything you need and always stock up when the item is on sale so you never have to pay regular price for anything. Cook your ownmeals and always have a jar for your spare change. you will be surprised at how much you save if you deposit your change everyday.

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Denise S

I like using lots of coupons, rebates and winning free stuff in sweepstakes.

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Marissa Gillock

I have a set amount deducted directly out of the checking account and put into two separate savings accounts. One is for vacations or emergencies. The other is a true account in which no money can be spent. I also coupon and refuse to pay full price when shopping for clothes or miscellaneous items. Many things are negotiable. My family has learned the value of keeping money in OUR pocket as opposed to giving it to everyone else. Saving money is fun for us.

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Julie R.

I coupon. I looove it. I don't go all crazy and hoard but I never ever pay full price for groceries and clothes. I get the best deals and al the free stuff through coupling. :)

Guest's picture
io

Every time I leave town for work or for pleasure (once or twice a month), I rent out my apartment on Airbnb. This usually covers at least the cost of my trip if it's a personal trip, and for work trips and longer personal trips, I make a few hundred extra dollars. I made almost $3000 in three months last year doing this. Great way to save and earn extra money without sacrificing.

Guest's picture
Sarah

Coupons, buying items when they're on sale, checking eBay for cheaper/used items, etc.

Guest's picture
Monique

I love finding good deals on things I actually need, whether that's using coupons, shopping thrift stores, or looking for items on Craigslist. And like Tina in NJ said, I also like to really think about it before I make a purchase. There's no better or faster way to save money than to not spend the money in the first place.

Guest's picture
Megan

My favorite way to save is to make up a list for Target, wait a day, and then pare it down and just buy the essentials on Amazon. I figure I have to save at least $100 by not walking around aimlessly in Target, wanting to buy everything I see.

Guest's picture
Hank

Creating a budget from the get go

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Liz

My favorite way to save money is being a savvy online shopper. I always use coupon codes, go through shopping portals and use reward credit cards. It really adds up for things you are going to by anyway!

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Liz

My favorite way to save money is being a savvy online shopper. I always use coupon codes, go through shopping portals and use reward credit cards. It really adds up for things you are going to by anyway!

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Jennifer Marie

I price match and use coupons to save money.

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Tamar

I have an RSS subscription to various deal feeds so I only buy stuff when it's significantly on sale.

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Emily

Cooking. We buy groceries at a discount grocery chain and rarely eat out but we eat so well because I cook all our food. It takes a certain amount of planning and skill but every time we go out to eat at nice restaurants (we're talking maybe once a month) I can't help but think to myself "I could make this."

Guest's picture
Emily

Reading the flyers in the paper for the weekly grocery sales and planning my menus around the deals.

Guest's picture
Andrea

I save the most by buying things when they're on sale. I get even more savings when I match sales with coupons.

Guest's picture
frugalgal

about five years ago, i started logging all my nonfixed expenses (not counting rent, health insurance etc) every week and set a limit of $200/week. if i go over, i have to dig myself out of a hole before i spend more money. i used to have $2000-3000 cc bills and now they are only a few hundred dollars. it takes the emotion out of spending $ and i have several friends who are doing it too now! it's like counting calories. it's the single best thing i've done to save money, EVER!

Guest's picture
Karen L @love2lovemykids

My favorite way to save money is to carry my own bottled water/drink with me when I leave the house. I don't stop into places that markup their drinks/coffee 400%.

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Ernest S.

I love to shop on Amazon for all their great deals, but it can quickly become a way to lose money (especially when I am buying things that I don't need). What I have been doing for the past year is buying Amazon gift cards every month and loading them into my account. This forces me to stick to a budget and spend more wisely. Also, I buy them using my Ink credit card which gives me 5 points (worth about 1.5-2 cents each) at office supply stores, which helps me offset vacation costs.

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Amy

I save all of my $5 bills and deposit them into my checking at the end of the month! It's become automatic for me now!

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Adrienne gordon

Setting a cash limit each week and sticking to it.

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Melissa G.

My favorite way to save money is to take out cash for our food budget (our family takes out $300 every pay period for groceries and restaurants). Then, I take out $20 from that money each week and put it in a separate pocket of my wallet. Most times I forget it's there and don't use it. Over time this builds up into a nice sum of money. We use the savings for special occasions like anniversaries and birthdays, but it's always there if we end up needing it for when unusual grocery expenses occur (like when toilet paper, paper towels, cat litter, and other expensive items need replenishing all at the same time).

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Mihaela Day

My favorite way to save money is not to make impulse buys :)

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Diane

Currently, my favorite way to save money is to stay out of stores and stay off the Amazon website. If I don't see it I won't be tempted to buy it! Other strategies include waiting for sales & using coupons. My other save money rule is to never pay interest on purchases (other than my mortgage). I pay off my credit card each month and/or use a credit card with a no interest offer & pay that off before the deadline.

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Cynthia C

My favorite way to save is to always pay with cash. I find it easy to control overspending when I have to pull actual cash out of my wallet. It's easier to keep track of where the money goes that using cards.

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Richard Hicks

My favorite ongoing way to save money is to use coupons at the grocery store. It is especially great when the store offers 2x or 3x times the coupon value too!

Guest's picture
Deanna

My favorite way to save money is by using the public library. My kids go to story time were they do crafts and have playtime with other kids every week. During the summer the library has special events at night every week for the kids. The whole family gets new books and movies for free every week and the kids learn the importance of taking care of things you borrow. The library also has free coupon swaps set up at the front. I never have to pay for entertainment and the kids love it.

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Anne Burner

My favorite way is to automate it! I have money pulled weekly from my checking account and into savings.

Guest's picture
Lauren

I am a coupon queen! I LOVE to stack manufacturer coupons, store coupon, sales and discounts to leave the store with a cart full of items for pennies!

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Liisa

My favorite way to save is by finding great deals at the thrift store I work at. I manage the book section and am in the store twice a week, so I am often able to find great, like-new gifts for family and friends. If I am patient I can also find many of the things I would eventually need to buy at a regular store, and on top of the store's already great prices I get 50% off and first choice since I am a volunteer. All the money goes to a wonderful cause, so it is a win-win situation.

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Kelly D

My favorite way to save money is to check online for the best deals before I go shopping.

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Rebecca B. A. R.

I love going to thrift shops to save money on clothes, furniture, books, and all sorts of other things.

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Sophia

I like to save money by bringing my lunch to work, drinking the coffee provided by my company vs buying it from 7-Eleven. Also, when my daughter grows out of her dresses, they become "princess" shirts...because they usually have ruffles. I rock a short hair style, so I maintain it at home (I'm talented) and I go the barbershop for trims - its much less expensive. I re-purpose my busted pantyhose - I shop thrift stores for my own wardrobe. I only shop clearance for my daughter's clothes and housewares.

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Kim D

My favorite way to save money is to automate investments into 401k and savings. Gotta love compound interest!

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Heather

My favorite way to save money is to shop around and search for coupons or online deals.

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Guest

The best and easiest, in my view, is to continuously add small amounts to an stock market index fund which serves as an IRA. Even better if it's a Roth IRA.

Guest's picture
Be C

Being a single parent, one one income, with children who love to drink milk.......I try to go to the market in the evening because this the time most stores mark down their products. After most of my shopping, I go to the refrigerated area where the milk is. I check to see which milks have sale labels because when the stamped date is near they can't sell it anymore and they discard it. We all have drank milk past the date and it was fine. OK, I pick out the gallons I want (usually 4) and ask to talk to the Manager. Of course, you can pick out your own quantity. When the Manager meets me, I explain the milk is getting ready to expire and I would like to purchase each gallon for one dollar. I have not ran into one manager who said "no". They go get a new label and away I go. I freeze the milk that we don't need immediately but I can use it to cook with and believe me my children don't notice the "watmilk" as long as there is "milk" in the frig. This little trick has really saved me and it can be any kind you like--I buy whole milk. I found this tid-bit a long time ago in a Save-It article.

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STEPHANIE MCGLOTHLIN

My favorite way to save money is to try and win things that I want/need. I also love to coupon!

Guest's picture
Christie

My favorite way to save money is to plan ahead! We have a budget for things that we spend in a month and we always set aside a certain amount to save first; it's not even part of the money that we consider for spending. We also plan for emergencies and have an emergency fund to take care of those. Without a plan, how can you get to where you want to go?

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Janine

My favorite way to save money is by shopping for my three growing kids at the thrift store. On Saturdays, they have 50% off, so whenever they need clothes, that's where we go. I could spend $15/child and it goes so much further than going to a dept store.

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JayHawk

Watch for sales, use online sotre coupons and printed coupons.

Guest's picture
SerenityNow

I designate a jar for savings and attach a label to it that says "Travel Fund" (or whatever financial goal I'm saving for). This has been the most fun and effective way for me to save money because it makes my goal feel so much more tangible. I also feel so much guiltier taking cash out of my dedicated savings jar to make a purchase than I would swiping my debit card.

Guest's picture
Cathleen

My favorite way to save money is to use coupon and retail promotion sites. This way it shows me the best deals and if there is a promo code to use either online or at a retail store. While it may only be 10% to 20% off your total amount, that eventually adds up. I put the amount of what I save into my savings account.

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Karl

Shopping with a list and with coupon match-ups. Also eating from the pantry can save a trip to the store!

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cliff Wrangler

We don't buy disposable water bottles, it saves us a lot, especially on vacation.

Guest's picture
An Gooch

Fav way to save money is to find coupons, codes anything. Never pay full price for anything.

Donna Freedman's picture

My favorite way to save money is to apply my "frugal filter" to every purchase -- many of which wind up becoming NON-purchases:
http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-cut-costs-get-yourself-a-frugal-filter-...

Guest's picture
Lisa

My favorite way to save money is through d.i.y. Everything from cooking to cleaning to home repairs and simple projects cost less and usually have superior results to "ready made".

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KelR1

I like looking for the best deal on whatever I need to buy, and I do use coupons whenever possible. I also try not to buy too many non-necessities.

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Lynda

my favorite way to save money is... to think twice about what i am buying: if it is worth the value, if it is worth my time, if it is worth coming back later...etc.

Guest's picture
Susan

(1) I live in an area where we pay for trash pickup. If you do too, downsize to the smallest container (it's cheaper) and be more mindful about recycling and reducing waste. (2) Switching from incandescent bulbs to CFLs and LEDs throughout our house has made a noticeable impact on our utility bill -- we're saving about $30 a month because of this and because we keep the thermostat on 67 or 68 throughout the winter and hang-dry a lot of clothing instead of using the clothes dryer. (3) Drop the channel-palooza and get basic cable or no cable (a Roku box with Netflix is a great alternative). The cable company has to offer a stripped-down plan that allows you to get just the Big Three networks and public TV, but they don't advertise it. Usually it's only $8 to $10 a month. (4) Regularly review your cell phone plan and see if you can get by with a lower-level plan. Threatening to leave will usually result in you getting a better deal -- be sure to speak to a supervisor if you can't get anywhere with the customer service rep. (5) Eat less meat, more veggies. Build fast meals around rice and pasta. Shop your pantry, you'll waste less food. (6) Cook and bake more. I recently started making Jim Lahey's no-knead breads in my cast-iron pot -- my family loves it, and I calculated once that I get about four or five round loaves out of a $5 bag of bread flour. You can't buy artisan bread for $1 each. Now I'm using basically the same recipe to make pizza dough at home -- another fast, cheap alternative to frozen pizza or dining out. (7) Even if it's just one crop, plant something. I like tomatoes and basil because they're easy to grow and can be used in so many ways. Every August-September, we enjoy caprese salads, pizzas with fresh tomatoes, and simple pasta tosses with fresh basil and tomatoes -- all very cheap.

Guest's picture
Susan

(1) I live in an area where we pay for trash pickup. If you do too, downsize to the smallest container (it's cheaper) and be more mindful about recycling and reducing waste. (2) Switching from incandescent bulbs to CFLs and LEDs throughout our house has made a noticeable impact on our utility bill -- we're saving about $30 a month because of this and because we keep the thermostat on 67 or 68 throughout the winter and hang-dry a lot of clothing instead of using the clothes dryer. (3) Drop the channel-palooza and get basic cable or no cable (a Roku box with Netflix is a great alternative). The cable company has to offer a stripped-down plan that allows you to get just the Big Three networks and public TV, but they don't advertise it. Usually it's only $8 to $10 a month. (4) Regularly review your cell phone plan and see if you can get by with a lower-level plan. Threatening to leave will usually result in you getting a better deal -- be sure to speak to a supervisor if you can't get anywhere with the customer service rep. (5) Eat less meat, more veggies. Build fast meals around rice and pasta. Shop your pantry, you'll waste less food. (6) Cook and bake more. I recently started making Jim Lahey's no-knead breads in my cast-iron pot -- my family loves it, and I calculated once that I get about four or five round loaves out of a $5 bag of bread flour. You can't buy artisan bread for $1 each. Now I'm using basically the same recipe to make pizza dough at home -- another fast, cheap alternative to frozen pizza or dining out. (7) Even if it's just one crop, plant something. I like tomatoes and basil because they're easy to grow and can be used in so many ways. Every August-September, we enjoy caprese salads, pizzas with fresh tomatoes, and simple pasta tosses with fresh basil and tomatoes -- all very cheap.

Guest's picture
Guest

Yard sales and thrift shops for purchasing gifts- while they're great places to find gently used items for my own household, they're also a treasure trove of new, still-in-packages gifts. I routinely buy $20-40 items for gifts for birthdays, Christmas, etc. for pennies on the dollar. I stock up whenever I find something good, and while I don't always have a recipient in mind, one always comes up soon enough.

Guest's picture
Sarah

Definitely combining coupons/Target Cartwheel and the 5% Red Card at Target. Just make sure to stick to a list!

Guest's picture
Elle

My favorite way to save money is to use online deal sites to help me find great deals that combine weekly store sales with existing coupons for some great prices especially on groceries and basic household items.

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Susan Smith

My favorite way to save money is using coupons combined with items on sale. I also buy a lot of store brands and save money by eating at home and not at restaurants.

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caroline

My favorite way of saving money is to setup a direct deposit to an online account which i can only access by making transfers. No debit card. No check. Harder to reach, don't see it in my main account, leave the money where it is.

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annie

i track my spending compulsively in an excel file that tallies my costs in specific categories. it lets me see where i need to cut my spending down.

Guest's picture

My favorite save money is to purchase non perishable goods in bulk.

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Guest

For me, my biggest weakness is shopping for clothes and shoes. I try in general to avoid going in stores unless I have a specific need, but when I am interested in buying the clothing, I ask myself, "Is this piece of clothing perfect? Is the anything I would change about it?" If there is even a small thing I would rather be different, I don't buy it - better to save the money for when that perfect garment does come along. I also have a motto to not by anything on sale that I wouldn't seriously consider buying if it was full price.

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Karen T Gonyea

I save money by using coupons and groupon and living social....I don't buy or do anything without a discount of some sort !!

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Nicole N

My favorite way to save money is using coupons!

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Ashly J

I use coupons and look for sales.

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Kala Carlson

My favorite way to save money is resisting the temptation. I avoid websites that make me want new things or going for "walks around the mall." If I don't see it and get it in my head that I need it. I'll never spend the money. Thi helps me pay for be nexcesities only!

Guest's picture
KFC

* moderator: please delete the comment I used my full name in. I didn't realize it would be shared. *

My favorite way to save money is resisting temptation. I avoid malls and online shop and stick to a list. This helps me eliminate buying non necessity items

Guest's picture
Danielle

I shop with coupons and watch the clearance racks. And I found a good way to put money in savings is after a bill is paid off take a portion of what the payment was and have it automatically put into savings each month.

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Robin

My favorite the way to save money is looking for sales online and using coupons

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Guest

My favorite way to save money is to menu plan. By organizing myself and sticking to a set grocery list I save a lot every month.

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Kim Kihega

My favorite way to save money is by hitting up the local thrift stores and resale places.

Guest's picture
Rusty

I grow my own veggies.