How to save more money without getting off the couch

10 Ways Millennials Can Save Money

No, don't get up.

From your couch, you can replenish your household supply of paper towels, watch all of Narcos, research the problem with microbeads, and order sunglasses for a weekend down South this February.

You can also save some money.

Below, find nine ways to set yourself up to save more money without visiting the bank, grocery store, or even the mailbox.

Download a budgeting and spending app.

Most of them are free!

A budgeting and spending app links to your cards and bank accounts to automatically import and categorize your income and expenses.

The app can help you save money in two ways:
  • It can help you stick to your budget (assuming you have one) by tracking your expenses in each category and alerting you when you exceed your planned spending.
  • It can make you more cognizant of how much you're spending, which can influence how much you spend going forward. If you know that second cocktail or new phone case will show up tomorrow, and you know you're $10 away from reaching the limit of your "fun" spending, will you still buy it?
Popular options include Mint (iOS, Android), LearnVest (iOS), You Need a Budget (iOS, Android), and Personal Capital (iOS, Android).

Open sub-savings accounts.

If you're saving money (hooray!) there's probably a reason: an emergency fund, a trip abroad, a wedding, a house ...

Take advantage of your excitement over your savings goals by setting up sub-savings accounts for each individual goal, instead of storing all of your money in just one. Separating them out both keeps you from dipping into your funds for one goal to finance another, and allows you to name them fun, motivating things like "Two weeks in Provence."

You shouldn't be paying any kind of fee on your savings account, so opening more than one is a matter of a few clicks. Consider using online banks such as Ally, which are able to offer high-yield savings accounts because they don't pay to operate brick-and-mortar locations

Set up auto-deposit to your savings account.

Now that you have your sub-savings accounts — or even if you don't — consider setting up auto-transfers from your checking to your savings accounts every month, so your funds are allocated to your goals just like they would be to any other bills.

This is known as "paying yourself first," and is an expert-recommended strategy to build wealth. It's generally as simple as visiting your bank's website and choosing the amount you want to deposit. Out of sight, out of mind ... until it comes time to head to Provence.

Read more on how to automate your finances.

Increase your retirement contributions.

If you're contributing to a retirement account like an IRA or 401(k), well done! The earlier you start, the better, thanks to the power of compound interest.

Now, you can take it up a notch.

Check online to see if your plan offers auto-increase. If it does, choose a percentage you want to increase your contributions and how frequently you want it to happen. If you don't have this option, or are contributing towards different retirement plans without auto-increase, make a reminder note in your calendar every six months or year to increase your savings rate.

Sign up for emails from your favorite retailers.

Online shopping is the ultimate budget saboteur — you can spend enough to negate the rest of these money-saving measures in a matter of minutes.

If you're going to buy something online (a specific something, like a new umbrella to replace your broken one, not "whatever looks fun"), and can restrain yourself for another three minutes, sign up for emails from your favorite retailers. First of all, retailers often offer one-time discounts for signing up, and second, you'll be notified of any sales and discounts at your go-to stores.

This isn't carte blanche to shop your heart out. It only works if you take the second step along with it: Keep those emails out of your everyday inbox. You can do this by setting up another email address purely for shopping, or setting up an automatic filter to shunt the messages into an archived folder.

When it comes time to buy something, like a gift or an item you've researched and decided to buy, raid your shopping folder or alternate address for any sales or discount codes. If you're in a dry spell, check back until one appears — retailers aren't known for being stingy with their emails.

Google for coupon codes.

While you're at it, take a minute to plug your retailer of choice into Google, plus "coupon codes." Why not?

You can make a habit of this, or you can register with a site that will keep track of sales for you. There are a bunch out there.

PricePinx, for instance, installs a bookmark in your browser that allows you to highlight the price of your desired item, then tracks it and alerts you if the price drops. Price Drop Alert sends similar notifications, and Honey looks up coupon codes so you don't have to.

Cancel a subscription you don't use (or don't love).

Are you actually watching your Hulu Plus? Are you reading Runner's World when it arrives every month? Are you eating all the snacks from your NatureBox before you get the next?

In most cases, cancelling a subscription you don't actively use takes only a few clicks through the website or a phone call, and saves you a few bucks each month. The exception might be your gym — since gyms often require you to cancel in person, you'd have to get off the couch. Sorry.

Create a meal plan and shopping list for the week.

If you've ever read or heard any advice from families who drastically reduce their grocery bills, you've probably seen a pattern: They plan out meals in advance.

(Is this news to you? Take a look at the top tips from a woman who paid off over $40,000 of debt in about three years, and a man who feeds his family of eight for $1 a meal.)

Meal planning isn't a complicated concept: You look at what's on sale at your local grocery store — now conveniently available online or arriving in your mailbox! — and decide what you'll prepare for the week based on what's on sale.

As Danielle Wagasky, who supported her family comfortably on $14,000 a year, points out, shopping less often instead of popping into the store every other day, and taking full advantage of offered deals and discounts, can save you considerable cash.

It goes without saying that cooking at home instead of eating out will save you money right off the bat. Once you have your meal plan, write out your shopping list for your next trip — and maybe even set a reminder on your phone to use it.

Sign up for airline and travel rewards programs.

Planes and trains offer free memberships that earn you points as you spend, which you can eventually redeem for discounted or free fares. You can sign up online.

For instance, airlines like American, Southwest, Virgin, United, Delta — and train operator Amtrak — will let you register for free. Every time you book travel with that company, you enter your frequent flyer (or frequent train-er) number to accumulate points.

If you ever travel anywhere by a method other than your own car, or plan to ever do so, you might as well. You're going to have to pay for it anyway, right?

Note that we are not recommending opening branded or travel credit cards. That's a whole separate discussion.

Related: 20 unusual ways to get money quick.
20 unusual ways to make quick money
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How to save more money without getting off the couch

Dog-sitting, babysitting, or house-sitting

These jobs are always in high demand, and the best part: you can name your price and create your own schedule! Post an ad on craigslist, or use your friends' and family's connections to get your name out there. 

Photo via Getty

Rent out your space 

List your apartment on Airbnb or another rental site, and make some easy cash by staying at a friends and renting out your place for the weekend.

Photo via AOL

Share your space

Just as you can rent out your full apartment or house, you can also post a free room (or even just your couch!) on sites like Craigslist or Airbnb. This way you can split your living expenses -- and maybe even make a new friend!

Photo via Getty

Sell your body parts

Now here's a weird one: Donate your hair, breast milk, or even plasma for a profit. According to Grifols, if you're healthy and weigh above 110 pounds, you can earn up to $200 a month donating your plasma to life-saving medicine. 

Photo via Getty

Sign up to participate in medical tests and clinical trials. 

Universities constantly need volunteers to test new medicines and treatments -- and because the pool of willing participants is limited, there is typically a large compensation for being a guinea pig. 

Photo via Getty

Participate in a focus group

Companies and organizations will pay you to join a focus group. These can be conducted in person, online, or via phone. You will most likely be reimbursed in cash or gift cards -- plus, you often get to test out fun new products! 

Photo via Getty

Take online surveys

Similar to focus groups, you can get paid to give your time and insights on an online questionairre. Plus, you can do this from the comfort of your couch. 

Photo via Getty

Bank on your sperm

Although we don't necessarily recommend this option, there is a very high demand for healthy sperm donors. Keep in mind some of the obvious drawbacks, but sperm donation is non-invasive and highly compensated. 

Photo via Getty

Crowdfund your dreams

Crowdfunding allows you to raise monetary contributions from a large group of people who want to support your venture. Post your project or idea on a crowdfund site, like, and see the cash pile up.

Photo via Getty

Become a tutor

If you're qualified, post an ad online or on a community board to tutor children on their school courses or for the upcoming SATs.

Photo via Getty

Get a part-time job

Capitalize your free time (on the weekends or after work hours) by working a part-time job. A bartender, waiter, or Uber driver are all great options for an additional source of income -- and great tips! 

Photo via Getty

Resell tickets

Take this suggestion at your own risk: If you're staying within legal limits, buy tickets low and sell high as an effective way to source additional money. (Just make sure to check your state and local laws first!)

Photo via Getty

You can sell anything on the internet these days... including your companionship! Get paid to go on a platonic outing for a few hours and enjoy your afternoon with a new friend. 

Photo via Getty

Rent out your parking spot

Make sure to check with your landlord first, but if you have the option to park your own car further away, lend or share your parking space or driveway for the hour, day, or even month! 

Photo via Getty

Keep a coin jar 

This one takes patience before a big pay out, but keep a spare jar or drawer for loose change that you usually toss anyway. It will keep it all in one place -- and those quarters do add up! 

Photo via Getty

Make something to sell 

If you have a knack for arts & crafts, create jewelry or other handmade gifts to sell on sites filled with other thrifty vendors like Etsy

Photo via Getty

Sell items online

This effective strategy requires low effort with a high return. Post photos of your used or non-used items on sites like eBay or Craigslist, and let the bidding begin! 

Photo via Getty

Have a yard sale

Sell clutter you've been meaning to get rid of right in your front yard. This simple tactic is convenient, and guarantees a wad of cash right to your pocket.  

Photo via Getty

Return past purchases

This tip may seem obvious, but is often overlooked: Take your recently-purchased items that are laying around back to the store for either store credit or a full refund. 

Recycle scrap metal and cans

Collect cans and scrap metal out your own garbage, basement, and street and bring to your local recycler to exchange your findings for money.  

Photo via Getty


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