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18 Clever Ways To Spend Less Money This Month

Tiny investments and strategies that will make a noticeable impact on your bottom line.

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1. Eat well on only $4 a day with this genius cookbook written with food stamps in mind.

amazon.com

The author Leanne Brown decided to find out how well a person could eat while living on SNAP (aka US food stamps) for $4 a day when she was a master's candidate at NYU. This incredibly helpful book full of realistic recipes is her answer.

Download a free PDF on the author's website here or get it from Amazon for $7.99 (paperback) or $7.59 (Kindle). Note: When you buy a book, a person in need gets one for free.

2. Scan your Walmart receipts into the Savings Catcher, which will comparison shop retroactively for you.

savingscatcher.walmart.com

Enter your receipt number either online here or via the Walmart app (free on both iTunes and Google Play) as part of your normal shopping routine. It will compare the prices for items you paid to the items' prices at local competitors. If it finds you paid more at Walmart on an eligible item than you would've elsewhere, you receive the price difference in a Walmart e-gift card that you can redeem online or in a store via your phone or a printed piece of paper. Get more info here.

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3. Pack this collapsible water bottle the next time you travel to avoid buying a $5 water bottle after making it through airport security.

amazon.com, amazon.com

Two round-trip trips will help the bottle pay for itself. Or, just carry it with you everywhere to always avoid paying for a bottle of water.

Get it from Amazon for $19.95. / Available in nine colors.

4. Follow your heart and buy the bigger bottle of hot sauce because you know you're going to use every last drop anyway.

Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed / Via instagram.com

Occasionally you can luck out and get it for bargain-basement cheap at your local grocery store. (I bought this quart bottle for about $5 in my neighborhood.) Then pour said hot sauce all over your lackluster homemade meals for a tastier budget eat.

Get them from Amazon: 1 gallon of Texas Pete for $23.99, a three-pack of 28 oz. Sriracha bottles for $13.97, and 1/2 gallon of Cholula for $26.95.

5. Before you shop for new spring clothes, rediscover your old stuff by sticking to a different category for each week.

Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

Add some variety to your everyday ensembles and gain some newfound appreciation for the stuff you already own by deciding on a theme each week and wearing a different thing you already own that fits in that theme each day during that week. For example:

Week 1: Sweaters

Week 2: Earrings

Week 3: Bags

Week 4: Shoes

Need some more outfit inspo? Apply some of our 24 Genius Tips For People Who Love Fashion But Are Broke AF.

7. Invest in a cauliflower prep tool to dismantle the core of this veggie that also happens to be ~cheaper~ in March.

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8. Keep track of coupons and weekly circulars for your favorite stores with the Flipp app so you don't have to tote along an accordion folder of coupons everywhere.

play.google.com

Search for specific products or stores, set up notifications for expiring coupon clippings, and build shopping lists so you'll have the stuff you need at a budget-friendly price when possible.

Get it for free from iTunes or Google Play.

9. Visit your friends who live in cool destinations for vacations with $0 lodging and quality bonding time.

Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

Take advantage of a former co-worker who's a fashion writer in Paris (see above), old college roommate living in Helsinki for a project, or friend who relocated to San Francisco. Of course, first get the OK from said friends. Then buy them dinner! And toilet paper for their homes! And admission tickets to Versailles! (See above, again.) Groceries are also nice, too. The money you save from sleeping on a generous friend's Parisian living room floor for a week can pay for a day trip to London. (I know because I did it.)

10. And plan your vacations with a travel guide for broke people.

amazon.com

Pin this on your boards along with those breathtaking views of Machu Picchu for some bucket-list trip inspo. Also check out the 'Merica version here.

Get it from Amazon for $11.55 (hardcover). / Also available in paperback and Kindle.

11. Use a ball of aluminum foil instead of a dryer sheet for as long as six months or invest in a set of reusable dryer balls to soften your clothes.

12. Create your own drawer dividers with a piece of cardboard.

Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

Drawer dividers can do wonders for tracking down your pair of Edgar Allan Poe socks or that one pair of perfect opaque black tights. Make your own by cutting a scrap of cardboard to fit where you want the dividing line and secure each end with a piece of duct tape to the interior wall of your drawer. No one else sees the inside of your drawers, anyway.

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13. Invest in a makeup spatula that will get every last drop of liquid products like foundation and fancy eye cream out of the bottle, (with a little determination).

amazon.com, amazon.com

Promising review: "This is such a great tool! I use the small one to get remaining makeup (especially foundation) out of the bottles. It ain't pretty but it works -- just take a look at what came out of these jars!" —Ashley Ruiz

Get it from Amazon for $11.99.

14. Freshen your fridge with a container of used coffee grounds.

Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

Paying $1 a month for a box of baking soda to freshen your fridge isn't a huge financial burden, but every buck counts! Dump the used coffee grounds straight out of the filter or French press into a spare storage container, (I lost the lid to this one a year ago), and stick it in the back of the fridge. The grounds will soak up bad odors like baking soda does. Plus, that's one less thing you have to put on your grocery shopping list.

15. Use a paper towel to keep lettuce crisper for longer.

onegoodthingbyjillee.com

Avoid food waste and make your grocery budget stretch a little further by letting a paper towel soak up greens-killing moisture. Read the details on One Good Thing by Jillee.

Alternatively, invest in some Rubbermaid storage containers made to keep produce fresh for longer. Get a set from Amazon for $19.99.

16. Make good use of the pasta that's already in your cabinet with some easy, meatless recipes because meat is $$$.

Amy Sefton / for BuzzFeed

Cut down on costs and consume more nutritious greens with (some of) these recipes. Check out our 15 Delicious Pastas With No Meat.

17. Save some change on utilities and keep your clothing in good condition for longer by line drying more stuff.

amazon.com

You could toss a pair of sneakers into the dryer to get them back in running condition faster, but air drying them will keep them in better shape for longer. That goes for bras, workout leggings, and other items as indicated by the care label.

Promising review: "I live in a nice top-floor apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows, and during the summer my power bill can scare small children. A friend of mine suggested nixing the dryer and hanging my clothes to save some money, so I bought this on a whim. It's more than paid for itself in one month. Also, all my old favorite shirts and jeans are no longer subjected to the wear and tear of a typical cycle. When I'm done with it, it neatly folds up and fits between my washer and dryer." —bachelor

Get it from Amazon for $28.44.

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18. When you've been wronged, call customer service and complain! It can earn you a credit, lower rate, money back, and maybe even change taped to a piece of paper.

Terry Hartman

Crazy true story: A few years ago when a friend's HP laptop broke, he called customer service (several times), and his contacts there offered him an HP credit for the cost of his laptop. He refused and — with some solid arguing — insisted upon a refund instead. When he received his refund check in the mail, it was less than $1 short. He called HP again and complained about the incorrect amount. Then he received the pictured piece of notebook paper with change taped to it. It had been overnighted for the cost of more than the change taped to the paper.

Less-crazy true story: I recently bought a Google Chromecast and, therefore, no longer required cable. But I was forced to keep my account with Spectrum (aka Time Warner Cable) for wireless internet service. Yet, my bill was still a whopping $90.88 a month!!! So my roommate called, and threatened to cancel our current service under my name and sign up under her name to get a better rate. Then the rep on the phone transferred my roommate to another rep and negotiated our service down to $49.99 a month for wireless Internet service! $90.88 - $49.99 = $40.89 total savings a month split between two roommates

The lesson is that calling customer service and getting assertive — or even a little salty — can earn you back some dough.

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