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21 Clever Ways To Spend Less Money This Month

Low-impact investments that won't infringe upon your top-shelf living.

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1. Download apps to score free food and discounts from your favorite restaurants where you already spend your money like Shake Shack, Chilis, and Panera.

Download the new Shake Shack app on iTunes, use it to order, and apply the code "shackappy" at checkout by Feb. 28, 2017 to receive a free burger. (1 Single Shackburger = $4.55 at a New York City location.) Find a participating Shake Shack location here.

Download the Chilis app on iTunes or Google Play to add your name to waitlist, track your Chilis point, and unlock rewards like free queso fresh guac. (1 spinach or loaded queso app = $7.19 and 1 fresh guac app = $5.59 at a Secaucus, NJ location.)

Download the Panera app on Google Play as a MyPanera member and use Android Pay to receive a free You Pick Two on a future in-app purchase. Learn terms and conditions here. (1 half-size French onion soup + 1 half-size steak and white cheddar panini = $10.28 at a NYC location.) App also available on iTunes.

2. Touch up between pro shoe shines with a shoe-shine sponge that costs as much as a latte.


3. Plan a President's Day trip, (and other 2017 vacations), around the National Park Service's free days to explore educational locales like the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. P.S. Canada's doing it, too!

NPS/Paula Alexander / Via, NPS/Laura Thomas / Via

Normally you'd pay $3-$300 fees to visit 124 of the 413 national parks. Get a list of participating parks here and the other free days here.

Live in Canada or plan on visiting? Order a free 2017 Discovery Pass to visit National Parks, National Marine Conservation Areas, and National Historic Sites. Get more details here.

5. Shop traditional Valentine's Day gifts -- like lingerie, flowers, and chocolates -- strategically for the best discounts.,,

RetailMeNot's shopping and trends expert Sara Skirboll suggests ordering flowers within the first two weeks of February for the highest discounts, chocolate during the second week, and lingerie starting 10 days before the holiday.

Get the lingerie from Asos for $34 (bra) and $15.50 (panties), the purple roses bouquet from 1-800-Flowers for $49.99+ (use promo code VDAYEARLY20 at checkout for a 20% discount), and the chocolate gift box from Godiva for $28.

6. Take advantage of Super Bowl sales for upgrading your home appliances like TVs, speakers, and, (apparently), kegerators.

Big-box retailers like Best Buy mark down sporty electronics like a stainless steel beverage cooler ($349.99 marked down from $499.99) and a 55" LED Samsung TV ($499.99 marked down from $799.99). If you place an in-store order, ask about free delivery. It works. Sometimes!


7. Go meatless for a week -- here's looking at you, black bean and spinach tacos -- and rake in the savings on your grocery bill.

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

That includes breakfast, lunch, dinner...and even snacks!

Get the details of this meal plan created by two registered dietitians here.

8. Study the return policy before you make a purchase, double check your item isn't final sale, leave the tags on everything until you wear it, and make a point of returning items on time.

Also check into whether you're responsible for a new label, costs, or box. Retailers like ASOS and Revolve have free returns. But buyer beware! According to Yahoo Style, Nordstrom is revising its infamously lenient return policy.

9. Put your dumb ex's passwords, (which are free for you), to good use by watching most things under the sun with a Fire TV Stick.

And finally watch Catastrophe like every sensible person you know has demanded of you. Just don't do it with your parents.

Get it from Amazon for $39.99.

10. Quit throwing away your money at the drugstore at $3 a pop for fresh hair ties and commit to Hair Tie Society, a dirt-cheap monthly subscription of new hair ties and bobby pins.

18 bobby pins ($4.80) and 24 hair elastics ($5.80) on Amazon vs. 12 bobby pins and five hair elastics for $1+ a month from Cratejoy.


11. Avoid the "Gender Tax" by buying stuff that isn't pink. Aka, you don't have to get that pink scooter just because it's Valentine's Day.,

The blue scooter is $24.94 vs. the pink scooter for $29.12 on Amazon.

Items with the same features often cost less when they're assigned traditionally masculine colors versus the same item in pink. Read more on it here.

13. Adapt some no-spending tips from a financial journalist who didn't spend money for a year and saved £22,000 as a result.

Read (for free!) about how Michelle McGagh went from spending £400 on takeaway coffees a year to opting out of stuff like restaurant meals and gym memberships on The Telegraph here.

Get her book about it from Amazon for $9.95+.

14. Download the Honey Chrome extension as a lazy way to add coupon codes to your shopping cart.

Simply click on the Honey icon when you're shopping on a supported retailer and you'll see all the available discount codes and sales.

Get it from the Google Chrome Store for free.


16. Learn how to chop fruits and veggies to sidestep small grocery store markups on pre-cut produce.

Paying $0.20 less for a 10 oz. container of whole mushrooms instead of the sliced version at Trader Joe's can add up over a month. Check out more of our produce-chopping tips here.

Get the necessary tools from Amazon: Y-peeler for $8.99 and a pair of vegetable knives for $14.99.

17. Compare rates on things like credit cards, mortgages, and car insurance on NerdWallet before you make a big financial decision.

The free service let's you compare more than 1,700 credit cards sorted by filters like rewards, cash back, travel, low interest, zero percent, and balance transfer.

Get the NerdWallet - Credit Cards app on iTunes or Google Play for free.

18. Set up an Amazon subscription for toilet paper so you won't be left empty handed sitting on the toilet, or after you pay exorbitant drug-store prices in a time crunch.

Plus, it'll save you a trip to Costco. Check out our roundup of the best things to subscribe to on Amazon here.

Get a box of 24 supreme rolls for $21.87 or subscribe for $20.78.


19. Eliminate waste and become BFFs with your ice cube tray when it comes to freezing leftovers. That goes for pizza sauce, wine, herbs in olive oil, and lots of other yummy concoctions.

Get this five-minute pizza sauce recipe from The Comfort of Cooking here and reap the de-thawed benefits for months.

Check out our other smart ice cube-try hacks here.

20. Switch to a Diva cup to curb the flow of money spent on your monthly period.

You won't save money in the first month -- a 54-pack of regular-absorbency tampons is $9.27 on Amazon -- but you've gotta start somewhere.

Get a two pack from Amazon for $26.30.

21. And get inspired to create some additional income with the Side Hustle School podcast. Each daily 10-minute episode breaks down how a real-life person started a side hustle.

Listen and/or download it for free from iTunes, PlayerFM, Stitcher, or

Get the host Chris Guillebeau's book The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future from Amazon for $5.35+. (Available in paperback, hardcover, Kindle, and Audible.)

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