65 Tips to Save Money Through Self-Reliance

Apply a do-it-yourself approach to personal finance to significantly reduce your living expenses. Follow these tips from our community of readers and experts to start living on less today.

  • Building With Recycled Materials
    A pallet shelf and reclaimed barn wood lend this kitchen upcycled class.
    Photo by Photoshot/Simon McBride/Red Cove
  • Woman With Laying Hens
    Fresh eggs from backyard hens can cost less than $2 in feed per dozen.
    Photo by maXximages.com/Ros Drinkwater
  • Buying Bulk Food Items
    Buy raw ingredients in bulk rather than prepackaged or prepared foods. Start or join a bulk food co-op and place orders directly with food companies to further cut costs.
    Photo by Doug Snodgrass
  • Make Homemade Herbal Medicine
    Look no further than your pantry for remedies for many common ailments.
    Photo by iStockphoto/ivstiv
  • Woman Line-Dries Clothing
    Let the sun do the work. Reduce energy costs by line-drying your clothes. A kitchen garden, even in a small space, such as along the sunny side yard of your house or apartment building, will reduce grocery costs — escpecially for fresh herbs.
    Photo by First Light/Rafael Ben-Ari/age f
  • Bicycle Commuting To Work
    Commute by bicycle to save money and make fitness a daily routine.
    Photo by maXximages.com/Jim West

  • Building With Recycled Materials
  • Woman With Laying Hens
  • Buying Bulk Food Items
  • Make Homemade Herbal Medicine
  • Woman Line-Dries Clothing
  • Bicycle Commuting To Work

Throughout the years, MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers have proved to be a clever lot. You’ve shown time and again that you can save a bundle when you apply resourcefulness and a little elbow grease to home economics. Frankly, our consumer culture pressures many of us to live above our means. The good news is that making a personal and household commitment to a more frugal lifestyle can be a fulfilling, healthy choice — and the following tips to save money can start you on that journey. Imagine what your life will be like when you slash your grocery or utility bills in half, or when you’re able to pay down your mortgage.

We’ve assembled the following tips to save money from you, our readers, and from our Amazin’ Archive — 44 years’ worth of articles about living on less and loving it.

After you read our selections, find more details for how to implement the tips that interest you by clicking on the links that follow each tip.


Saving Money on Shelter & Clothing

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average U.S. home built in 2012 was 2,505 square feet. For many families, that’s much larger than necessary. Sizable homes are more expensive to build, heat, cool and maintain. If you’re able to reduce your home size to a cozier and more practical fit that still meets your needs, savings will follow. No matter the size of your house, here are ways to keep your construction, living and maintenance costs down.

1. Learn how to be your own plumber and electrician. Check out how-to books from the library or invest in a class at a vocational school. Read more: Be Your Own Plumber.

2. Join or start a tool-lending library. Power tools are expensive and often only needed for a short time to complete a single project. Read more: Start Your Own Tool-Sharing Program.

1/15/2014 8:04:02 AM

This is a really comprehensive list of useful information. I liked the suggestion under "Saving Money on Food and Gardening" to prepare big batches of food all at once. I call this Bulk Prep Day, which is one of the http://tafarm.us/1eBzfIQ I share often with others. Also, I'm surprised by the number of people that don't even have a food budget. They just wing it, hope they have enough money, and can't notice buying and pricing trends over time because they aren't recording anything about their budget and spending.

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