5 Unconventional Ways to Save Money in 2015

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Want to make this year the year you start saving money? Here are 5 ways to start!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you’ve all had a great start to 2015. I know many of you are feeling very motivated to save money and build wealth in 2015, and the beginning of the year is a great time to do just that.

Of course, it’s easy to save money when you do basic things like cut cable or stop going to the gym, but the unconventional ways I mention below are far more challenging and dare I say, fun.

1. Get rid of your TV altogether


I always encounter resistance when I write this, but do me a favor and just think about it. I’ve gone four years without a TV, and it’s completely possible. Sell your TV. Sell your entire media center. Pocket the $100-$500 that it will bring you and put it in your savings account (depending on the type of TV and media center you have.) Replace it all with a simple bookshelf or a beanbag chair and get lost in a book instead.

If getting rid of your TV altogether isn’t a justifiable option for you, then consider buying an Amazon Fire TV stick for significantly cheaper than what you’d be spending each month on your cable bill.

2. Go Meatless Even if You Love Meat


I love steak and potatoes so much that my dad mentioned it during his rehearsal dinner speech the day before my wedding. I have a lot of respect for vegetarians and vegans and their beliefs, and in 2015 I’m going to try my hand at having a lot more meatless meals.

Meat is extremely expensive, and I’m always looking for ways to save money on groceries. In fact, I’m confident I can slash my grocery costs by as much as $50-$75 a month by going without meat.

3. Freeze Your Tush Off to save money


Sure it’s uncomfortable, but keeping your house at 58 degrees instead of 68 degrees can save you a pretty penny. My excuse for not personally embracing this one is that I have two little babies at home so I have to keep the house at normal temps for them. So far, I’m getting away with it.

4. Avoid Tolls & Increase Time


Moving to New Jersey brought with it people who are required to pump your gas but also a lot of tolls. I try to always set my GPS to avoid tolls. Sometimes it takes a few more minutes and the extra gas is negligible.

Where this really comes in handy is taking public transportation into NYC instead of driving, which is far more convenient for us with two little ones. If you live in the city, take the long way around. Gas prices are at record lows and it might save you more than you think.

5. Make and Repair Your Own Clothes


Many people believe that sewing is difficult, and while high level sewing requires lots of experience, you would be surprised at how easy it is to save money on clothes by hemming a pair of pants or doing basic alterations. Sometimes getting a simple dress altered can cost as much as $20.00. Buy an inexpensive sewing machine. (Mine cost only $50) and try your hand at some patterns. I’ve made pillows, skirts, and tote bags with very minimal experience.

Want to increase your savings this year? Try these 5 unconventional ways to save money in 2015.

Overall, there are many obvious ways to save money whether you decide to share a commute with a co-worker or stop eating out so much. However, sometimes it’s fun to stretch yourself to find more unconventional ways of saving money, which is what I’m going to try to do in 2015.


What are some of the unconventional ways you save money? Is this one of your goals for 2015? Do you make your own clothes? Would you ever go meatless just to save money? Why or why not?



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Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for parents who want to better their finances and take on a more active financial role in their families.


  • These are great suggestions! You know I’m a big fan of going (mostly) meatless :). I like meat just fine, but I’ve realized that I actually don’t miss it all that much.

    We still eat meat for special occasions or if we find an amazing sale, but for the most part, we’re vegetarian (and often vegan).

    Once you get into the swing of vegetarian eating, it just becomes second nature to cook without it. Going meatless has definitely saved us a ton of money! Good luck–I’m excited for you!

  • Pauline says:

    I don’t make my own clothes but shop at thrift stores for things I know I’ll use sparingly, like I just got a $0.5 hat to go spend winter in Europe instead of buying it new for $10 and using it only for a few weeks. I also mend them if they can last longer, like when jeans tear a little between the legs.

  • Even cutting down on meat will probably help you save quite a bit. I hope your wife cooks up some yummy veggie dishes for you.

  • Rebecca says:

    We do not have a line item in our budget for clothing. If there is something that we need it comes out of our weekly grocery/consumable cash. We always buy used clothes and happily accept hand me downs from cousins. I also have learned to mend/repair clothing. You are right that it is not that hard.
    I am slowly moving to more meatless days as I find recipes that my family will eat. I often cut he amount of meet that a recipe calls for in half.
    One of the unconventional ways we have saved money include making a lot of the equipment that we need to care for our 2 acres. Hubs can weld and likes to tinker. We have made a leaf vacuum/mulching trailer, a trencher, a lawn/gravel driveway grader, and a large shovel/bucket. All of these things attach to the hydraulics on our 30 year old craigslist tractor.
    We also bought a minivan that had been totaled out from hail damage. It looks like a golf ball but it had 50,000 miles on it and costs, $2,000. NO CAR PAYMENT!

  • As a BBQ guy, and someone who craves protein to build muscle, #2 has me gasping for air. LOL. Never underestimate the savings by turning that thermostat down – especially for those of us that choose to live in the arctic circle, er, I mean Minnesota. I like to play a game I call “The Thermostat Limbo.” We start with the thermostat at 70. After a few weeks I turn it down to 69, and let people adjust. The next week it goes down to 68, etc. etc. Once you acclimate yourself to a temperature, it “seems” normal. You have to be careful not to adjust too quickly, or family members start complaining. if you do it right, your spouse will walk by the thermostat one day and say, “W.T.F?”

    • Hahaha yep I saw all your bbq pics on facebook and I was inspired to write this post. 😉 😉 As far as your temp voodoo, that would never work on me. I just say honey the baby’s hands are so, so cold. She just can’t sit all day with the temp like this and boom! the temp goes up. The secret to keep the house warm is to blame the baby.

  • I’m sure if you took the plunge on selling your TV it might save you some money, but I think you’d benefit more from free time.

    • Totally agree. TV is a life suck. I am one of those weirdos who is so against it!

      • Sherrie Ludwig says:

        Dropped satellite TV three years ago, we borrow dvds of whole seasons of shows we might like from our local library. They can interlibrary loan any they don’t have. Used to Redbox, but their prices increased, so, not anymore. We recently added Netflix dvd rental (7.99 per month for one dvd at a time) for some hard-to-find foreign films and documentaries. No commercials – yay!

  • Mrs. Maroon says:

    We are decidedly carnivores. That being said, I would like to find some ways to do at least one meatless night each week. I see the biggest hurdle being my own creativity in finding tasty meals to make. Thank heavens for Google!

  • It’s good to read some different ideas instead of running into the same old tips. I’ve been mending some old clothes and shoes recently because I don’t want to spend the time or money to find new ones I like. On the heating, we dropped the temp 3 degrees this year. We also have a baby so this seemed like a happy medium.

    Lastly, I try to cook meatless dishes about every other day. Although meat is expensive, I’ve calculated that buying whole chickens is actually a great value when it comes to protein content per dollar–even better than some vegetarian options.

  • While making my own clothes would be a disaster not only for me but also the people around me, I love the idea of more meatless meals. Healthy + frugal. Yum (on both parts).

  • Jay @ ThinkingWealthy says:

    Going meatless is a terrible idea. A new vegan/vegetarian will not know how to replace all those nutrients. Never sacrifice your health for a few dollars. $50 a month is peanuts!


  • I was just on the phone with my cable internet provider who asked whether I had cable TV through them. I said no. She said, so you have it through another provider? Ah…no…I just don’t have cable T.V! Getting rid of the TV entirely is a little harder for me…though I will definitely work on cutting time I spend watching it. As for meat…I’ve been trying to reduce the amount I eat as well for health reasons.

    • Yeah I find that hulu or netflix works just as good as anything else. With a 27 inch computer screen, there’s hardly any difference and there is a distinct end to whatever show you are watching so no need to sit there for hours on end.

  • Money Beagle says:

    You have to be careful if you give up meat to get the protein and vitamins from other sources. Just recently heard a story where a guy had given up meat, went to the doctor and the doctor said he was ‘a mess’ since he hadn’t adjusted his diet to make up the lost nutrition.

  • Ben Luthi says:

    Good suggestions! I feel comfortable with my $7.95/month with Netflix (my TV and TV stand were free), but we’ve decreased meat consumption quite a bit. It helps that my wife can’t stand beef right now with the pregnancy 🙂

    As for tolls, I never had to deal with them until I moved to Dallas. I’ll do just about anything to avoid them.

  • My wife and I don’t eat beef or pork and have really limited the amount of turkey and chicken we eat. Someone mentioned yesterday that meat prices have skyrocketed. We were generally unaware because our diets aren’t as exposed to those price increases. Definitely feel healthier as well so I’d recommend it to anyone looking to cut costs and feel better.

  • I too like to sew. It saves me money on clothes and I also make some gifts for friends and decor for my own place too. It’s a great money-saving skill.

  • Michelle says:

    Love this post Cat! We are doing many small things right now in order to save money such as keeping our home a little colder (luckily Wes prefers it this way, and I just have to wear a sweater and pajama pants), meal planning, and more.

  • It’s nice to see a slightly less conventional list. I’m also a big advocate of eating much less meat; I have lots of delicious alternatives even though I’m not a big fan of tofu or seitan (I depend pretty heavily on beans, lentils, eggs, and cheese, and I do add in meat on a regular basis, just not every day or even every week.)

    I also haven’t had a TV in years, and have never paid for cable, ever. I keep the house between 58 and 62, and I do mend my clothes; I don’t make them very often, but I have ambitions to make more skirts, especially, since it’s hard to find the style I like these days but they’re relatively easy to make.

    It’s too bad all this professional-level penny-pinching is accompanied by a taste for expensive shoes, travel, and eating out….. 🙂

  • We probably do at least 3 dinners a week without meat. When we do, it’s usually as an ingredient, like in a soup or with tacos or enchiladas. I think more important that avoiding meat is to try and make meals from ingredients instead of prepackaged. It’s super easy to throw in a frozen lasagna, but it has tons of sodium and I can make 3 homemade ones for the cost of one premade one. As I get older, I think as much about the health aspect of eating as the cost of food. Luckily, the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive!

  • Jason B says:

    Being from the south there is no way that I could set my thermostat 58 degrees during the winter. I hate the cold lol.

  • Pretty funny on the freezing your tush thing! haha! Very unconventional indeed.

  • We are currently freezing our tushes off as a strategy to save money. We typically keep the house at 55 degrees or so and only turn it up when company comes over.

  • A beautiful ribeye steak w/potatoes is my go-to meal every birthday, LOL. We are lucky though, by buying a side of beef, I get it for $3.50/$4.00 a pound, so although we don’t cut out beef, we do spend less on it. My fave way of saving money on clothes is to just buy a few coordinating go-to pieces, and buying a couple of each. It helps me have a simple yet semi-stylish wardrobe for very little.

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