How to Save Money Easily

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How to Save Without Trying

Happy Thursday everyone! I came across this infographic recently and wanted to share it with my readers. I know many of us like to save money, so it seemed highly relevant. If you visit this site frequently you already know that I do my best to regularly write about saving. Although I comment on it frequently, I am always looking for ways to save money.

Let’s face it, as good and smart as saving money is, it can become tedious over time. What I like about this infographic is that it’s not talking about eating rice and beans, but being a little more frugal with our decisions and making a couple of simple cuts like your cell phone bill, to taking your lunch to work more often. The few cuts that they’re suggesting, they argue, can add up to nearly $5,000 per year! Even if you do not do all of them, just doing a couple of them will save you a good chunk of dough. Add the money savings you have to extra side income and you have a very good combination.

What areas are you guilty of and where would you like to be saving money instead? Personally speaking, I know we’re a little guilty of spending too much on eating out but not to the extent that they’re describing. I was also a little surprised by the impulse spending category…$736 per month is just a bit much if you ask me. I do have to admit though that I am just a little curious as to what they consider impulse buying and if there really is a money saving opportunity there.

What are some the things that stick out to you on this infographic and what are some of your favorite ways to save money?

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

Latest posts by John Schmoll (see all)


  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    Gotta love Coupon Cabin, I won a shirt from them at a giveaway on a blog and it’s now my painting shirt πŸ™‚ Brown bagging it and brewing coffee at home is huge! Definitely saves me quite a bit each year just doing those two things.

    • John says:

      Could not agree more DC! When I worked in my previous jobs I always took my lunch in and would make coffee quite often at home and it can save a good chunk of money by doing just that.

  • Jon @ MoneySmartGuides says:

    I would always brown bag my lunch. When I started a new job, I started eating lunch out because there were so many places to eat. It didn’t seem like much at the time, dropping $10 for lunch, but by the end of the month, I was getting concerned as to why my bank balance was so low suddenly. When I added up all of my lunches out, it totaled close to $200! I was shocked! Have have gone back to my brown bagging ways but still eat out once a month as a treat.

    • John says:

      It surely can add up quickly! When I was in an office I would take my lunch the large majority of the time and eat out pretty rarely. Time was also an issue, so it made more sense for me to bring lunch.

  • Greg@ClubThrifty says:

    We actually try to use a coupon when we go out to dinner. Is it cool? Probably not. But we’ve reached the age where we don’t care about looking cool anymore. Saving money is what gets our blood pumping!

  • Jose says:

    Our weakness is going to be the “coffee” category. Our local Starbucks knows us both by name and will have a drink ready for us when they see our car pulling into the drive through. On the plus side, my wife is saving significantly more than $38.40 a month with coupons. The self justified me want to call that a wash πŸ™‚

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar says:

    That does seem very high for monthly shopping. Twice as much as groceries? What are people buying? I guess we probably used to do this as well and I couldn’t tell you what we bought either. If you don’t know what you spent the money on, is it worth it?

    • John says:

      It did to me as well Kim. I would like to know what they’re buying too. But, then again, I am sure I was doing similar things when I was using credit cards like crazy.

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    $736 a month on impulse shopping? And I thought we were bad before budgeting. These guys make us seem like budgeting gods!

  • pauline says:

    Cool infographic! with my isolated life I am acing every category right now… before I used to always search the restaurant I would go out to, for a discount. Every one has a FB page or some online discount now, if you like them you get a free drinks, etc. even more for chain restaurants.

    • John says:

      I would think that you would be Pauline. πŸ™‚ Getting coupons for eating out is a great way to save money and you’re right, many restaurants have some sort of social media presence.

  • Savvy Scot says:

    Coffee is such a burn. My work has a coffee bar (like a proper one) and it is 10p (15c) a cup! πŸ™‚

  • KK @ Student Debt Survivor says:

    Luckily I don’t drink coffee, so that’s a saver. But I probably make up for that in my dining out spending πŸ˜‰

    • John says:

      We drink coffee, but the large majority of it is at home, so no big deal. Eating out is where we need to start cutting back.

  • My Financial Independence Journey says:

    I do all of those except the coupons. Coupons just seem to take more mental effort than I am able to muster. And since I don’t buy a lot of prepared foods, there aren’t that many coupons that are even available to me in the first place.

    I’ve actually made an effort to use coupons a couple of times. Every time I just can’t sustain the effort. I seem to spend tons more time than I should trying to save 50 cents here or there.

    • John says:

      That’s a great point. We don’t really coupon ourselves, other than what comes in the Sunday paper. It takes us less than five minutes and only use them on things we already buy. We do not buy prepared foods either, so it is usually on toiletries and the like.

  • Lisa @ Elle Sees says:

    Our weakness is eating out on weekends. We try to justify it by saying we live in NYC and have to take advantage of the great restaurants, but it’s something we do need to rein in a bit. On the flip side, we both bring lunch to work nearly every day, which really does save a lot.

  • Brian @ Luke1428 says:

    All I know is, with a family of six, we are skewing the grocery bill average to the upside. $312.75 a month!? In my dreams.

    • John says:

      I hear you Brian. We’re a family of five and spend over that. We pull out $475/month for groceries but tend to spend around $425ish per month.

  • Michelle says:

    I’m really trying to get W to cut down on beer. We would save so much money!

    • John says:

      I wish I could help you there Michelle. πŸ˜‰ Once I get started using the brewing kit my wife bought me that should help lower the overall cost for me.

  • Grayson @ Debt RoundUp says:

    I have brought my lunch to work for the past 6 years. I don’t pay for coffee because it is provided at work, but if I do drink it, we brew it at home. So much cheaper than the alternative. Nice infographic John!

    • John says:

      I did that the large majority of the time as well when I was in an office. Not only does it save money, but it also allows you to have healthier alternatives.

  • Shannon Ryan @ The Heavy Purse says:

    Love the infographic! I think most people are comfortable with what they spend on a week-to-week or even monthly basis. However, when they it as a yearly sum then the surprise sets in and a potential willingness to change occurs. Buying a cup coffee is a few bucks, so who cares in the moment. A $1,000 on coffee – Wow! I could have really done something with that money beyond a caffeine fix! Of course, I am also guilty of dashing into the coffeehouse for a coffee or tea on occasion when I’m out of the office. The days I’m in the office is better because I stock the pantry with my faves. πŸ™‚

    • John says:

      Great points as always Shannon! It can be difficult for many to look beyond those day to day activities that can add up over time. I think it’s that realization that is what can start true change. That $1000 would look awfully nice in an IRA as opposed to handing it over to Starbucks, wouldn’t it πŸ˜‰ We can be guilty of eating out a bit too much, but the nice thing about working at home we really don’t battle with the felt need to go out for lunch everyday.

  • Mackenzie says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever spent $736 a month on impulse shopping in my life! Good grief, who does that? πŸ˜‰ I guess I must be doing something right!

  • Canadian Budget Binder says:

    That’s a great infographic and certainly we’ve read all about the ways to save money and these have popped up. I think it’s the easy stuff that we can all cut back on to save money in the budget. Eating out, coffee, spending too much on groceries, etc is all variable spending that we should be able to control. It’s about being mindful and knowing where the money goes, it’s that easy in my opinion. When you see those Year-end numbers those are the one’s that should light a fire under our arses if they are too high. The little numbers seem much more manageable until you see the lump of it all lol…

    • John says:

      Could not agree more Mr. CBB! When you’re spending it, the $5 here and there does not seem like much at all. The problem comes when you do that on a regular basis and the drips become a flood. I’d much rather have that $1k or $2k in my IRA as opposed to all of the coffees when I can have both by just making the coffee at home.

  • Jim says:

    Great infographic John, I think we would all cringe if we found out how much we spent through impulse buying and by using something like this, may help us curb it a bit. I have started buying everything on credit card, even a pack of gum, just to track where my money goes!

    • John says:

      Thanks Jim! I agree that impulse spending can really creep up on you if you do not start disciplining yourself and have a long term view of your finances.

  • Deacon @ Well Kept Wallet says:

    I think the tip that stuck out the most to me is that you can save up to $1,776 per year by bringing your lunch to work instead of eating out. That is enough to go on a sweet vacation anywhere in the US!

    • John says:

      Exactly Deacon! That’s a great point. We went on a nice one ourselves last summer and were able to keep it to around $1,000. I’d much rather do that then eat out for lunch.

  • Chris @ Stumble Forward says:

    I’ve pretty much cut out buying coffee altogether now. Instead I usually get a bag of Seattle’s Best from the store and it can usually last me a month or better for $7 or $8 plus a little creamer and I’m good to go.

    • John says:

      We’re basically the same way Chris. We’ll generally buy a bag at Costco and it’ll last us quite a while. I think the only time we really buy it out anymore is if we’re out on a date or have a client meeting.

  • Kendal says:

    I save money in the coffee, brown bag and date-night categories. I could definitely save more in the grocery and impulse-buying categories! We spend the most on food, I think, because we don’t plan our meals well and hit the supermarket a few times a week. That being said, we shop at Sprouts and Walmart and avoid buying certain items unless they’re on sale. Clothes and shoes are my weakness, but I shop mostly at TJMaxx and Marshalls, and always use a coupon or shop the sale rack at department stores! In addition to coupons, discount gift cards are another great way to save on impulse shopping or date night. I shaved $35 off my home goods purchase with one, and a friend of mine just bought a $25 gift card to Fandango for $16 using GiftCardGranny — such a steal!

    • John says:

      We all have areas where we might struggle and some where we do really good. As long as it balances out in the end, then I think you’re doing good overall. Thanks for stopping by Kendal!

  • AverageJoe says:

    Aren’t infographics a blast? While I think the “latte factor” is SO overrated, I love that when you add up many, many latte factors you might have some significant savings opportunities.

    • John says:

      They are Joe! Plus, why say 1000 words when you can say the same thing in a picture? I agree with you on the Latte Factor, but a few minor cutbacks can add up to some decent savings.

  • Money Bulldog says:

    The coffee break is one thing I’m constantly battling with, nothing tastes as good as a proper filtered cofffee but it doesn’t come cheap!

  • Budget & the Beach says:

    I still have trouble with the grocery budget, but honestly most coupons are not for food that I buy, so I still have doubts how much it could save me. Other than that I think I’m pretty good with everything else on the list!

    • John says:

      I hear ya Tonya. We only do very limited couponing, in that we simply use the ones in the Sunday paper. We largely use them on things like toiletries and the such, but rarely food.

  • kathryn says:

    I would always have my thermos and brownbag lunch at the factory I worked at. I grabbed all the overtime. (my husband & I invested in rental properties) People would sometimes poke fun at me for being cheap…I had the last laugh when i retired 2 years ago at 50 πŸ™‚
    Our splurges are eating out at a convenience store we drive past occassionally. It has hotdogs 2/99c,25c coffee, and 2 mini mint patties 25c. Two can dine for $2.00.
    Another one is where we buy reduced sweets and bread…grab a coffee too.

    Enjoying treats don’t need to cost a lot. Sometimes at a restaurant we will order a 3pc fish n chips, because I want a 1-pc and my husband wants a 2-pc. A lot cheaper. Waitress doesn’t care..I leave the same tip regardless.

    • John says:

      Great point Kathyn! There are definitely ways to have fun and enjoy a treat without spending a bunch of money during the process. Those choices all add up over time, which is why it can be beneficial to do some of them. Congrats on retiring at 50 – that’s awesome! πŸ™‚

  • Justin@TheFrugalPath says:

    My guilty budget buster is stopping at Wendy’s for lunch after work. I’m trying to be good, but it can be very difficult. It’s especially hard because there is one on my route home from work.

    • John says:

      That can be difficult, especially after work. f I have to eat fast food, then I’d go with them. I like their chicken sandwiches…as long as I ask for no mayonnaise on it. They give you enough to where you do not even have to chew the sandwich to get it down. Plus, it tastes nasty.

  • Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin says:

    Sweet infographic! We indulge when it comes to food. We’re trying out this new paleo diet and have found some great recipes.

    • John says:

      Thanks Marvin! We do as well at times. We like to make our own meals from scratch which requires nicer ingredients at times.

  • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank says:

    Great graphic John. Coffee was a big one for us when we were trying to save money. It is amazing how quickly it adds up.

  • Boris says:

    I am guilty of going out to eat my lunches. I must spend like $10-12 bucks just for lunch. I work near a place filled with good restaurants.. this is the problem. Anyways, I know this is an area I need to cut off.

    • John says:

      I used be in the same situation years ago. I would try and cut it down by eating out once a week or once every two weeks. It gave me something to look forward to without spending as much money.

      • Holly says:

        Just stumbled across your site, great stuff! I think your point on cutting back on things like coffee or eating out, but then also allowing yourself to go out a few times a month, is great. When we really started implementing our budget, we budgeted for a Starbucks about once a week. This way we felt like we could still enjoy our special coffee, once in awhile, but we were still saving so much by making coffee at home or hitting the coffeepot once we got to work!

  • Sarah Park says:

    Very realistic and achievable infographic. All we need is the determination to really save and do some small sacrifices.

  • Jerry says:

    Greta infographic. I brew my coffee at home, but not just to save money. I use it as the part of the morning where the fog lifts so that I can actually think.

  • Listen Money Matters says:

    My fiance probably doubles that coffee category, she’s drinking something she went out and bought 2-3 times a day. Thankfully she stays away from Starbucks but unfortunately the really small shops she goes to dont have those frequent customer cards. I bought her a french press to avoid buying coffee, now all I have to do is get her to use it πŸ˜‰

  • Mark @ Think Rich. Be Free. says:

    That’s a nice infographic and those are great tips. Thanks!

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