What Cutback Has Saved You the Most Money and Changed Your Life Least?

Readers share smart cutbacks and penny-pinching ideas that don't feel like sacrifices.

Photo by Christopher Silas Neal

When I became a mom, in February 2010, I stopped highlighting my hair. Every time I think about the huge savings (about $860 annually!), I feel even better about going back to my natural color.
Amy Noack

Austin, Texas

My family moved from Michigan to Texas two years ago. Before the move, we gave our television away and decided not to buy a new one. As a result, we no longer pay for cable. We’ve saved a lot of money—and now we play games or go for walks instead of spending that time sitting in front of the TV.

Sune Chilamula

Irving, Texas

Earlier this year, my gym membership was setting me back $100 a month, so I traded the treadmill for the pavement. Pretty soon, when there’s two feet of snow on the ground, we’ll find out whether frugality or fitness wins out.

Bjorn Trowery

Brooklyn, New York

I gave up paper towels and napkins in 2006. Today I wonder why I ever used them in the first place. Cloth towels and napkins are durable, convenient, and better for the environment.

Maureen Smithe Brusznicki

Chicago, Illinois

To stay within our monthly food budget, I stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables instead of fresh. This change has cut down on prep time, too. No more washing, scrubbing, and chopping. I just throw thawed bags of produce into a pan, a casserole, or the blender.

Talitha Oettinger

Waukesha, Wisconsin

In my city, taking public transit to and from work costs $5.50 a day. So I opt to ride my bike whenever I can. The commute takes the same amount of time, and for about half of the nine-mile stretch, I get to cycle on a scenic lakefront path.

Laura Lamar

Chicago, Illinois

When I want to buy CDs and DVDs, I usually go online and get them used instead of new. The products often cost half as much, and so far the quality has been comparable.

Robin Walton

Gardena, California