On a Budget? 25+ Ways to Save Money in Phoenix

Ideas For Living on a Budget in Phoenix

Living on a tight budget isn't always easy, and the cost of living in the Phoenix metro area really isn't less than most other major metropolitan areas. If saving money is important to you, then these resources might help you and your family live better with a little less money. Don't live in Phoenix? If you are visiting, but still like to manage your travel budget, many of these ideas involve attractions and activities in the Valley of the Sun -- those will work for you, too.

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Free Things To Do With Kids

© Judy Hedding

Mall playgrounds, splash pads, free crafts, library programs -- check here for some ideas for free fun that you can have with the kids.

Free Things To Do For Kids

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Kids Eat Free

© Judy Hedding

The are quite a few restaurants around town that will give your child a free meal if he or she is accompanied by a paying adult. In this listing, I'll tell you which restaurants, which days of the week they offer the special, and any other restrictions they might have.

Restaurants That Offer Kids Eat Free Days - By Day of the Week

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Free and Cheap Things To Do in Scottsdale

© Judy Hedding

Not everything in Scottsdale, Arizona is accessible to only the wealthy! While Scottsdale might have a reputation of being where the rich and famous live and play, you might be surprised that you can plan entire itineraries around free and cheap activities here.
Scottsdale on the Cheap

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Discount Theatre, Sports and Event Tickets

Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images Sport

Entertainment is important. Even when budgets are tight, getting out with family, friends and significant others is a great stress reliever. You can relax and enjoy a show or event at a deeply discounted price. You'll find some great deals here.

Find Discounted Show Tickets

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Dollar Stores

Store Shelves
Eric Ferguson / Getty Images

These deep discount stores are all over the place. You can buy food, furniture, housewares, cleaning supplies, toys and more. Be careful to assess the quality of what you are buying. A great bargain on scratchy sheets or plastic toys that fall apart after 5 minutes of playtime may not really be a bargain at all. Still, if you think it through, you can save quite a bit of money on some everyday items.
Where are the Dollar Stores

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Thrift Stores

Malaysian man shopping in vintage store
DreamPictures / Getty Images

Thrift stores generally sell items that have been donated to them. Be patient and visit often, because the inventory typically changes dramatically during any given week. Clothing, household goods and gift items are most common. You can also find some vintage items as well as great ideas for costumes.

Find a Thrift Store

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Save Money on Your Electric Bill

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Both major electricity utility companies in the Phoenix area, SRP and APS, offer discount rate plans for people who can use most of the energy in their homes during off-peak hours. On average, people save from 4% to 7% per year when enrolling in these plans.

Get a Special Electric Rate Plan

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Free Immunizations for Kids

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Various organizations including the State of Arizona offer clinics where you can get free immunizations that are required before your child can go to school.

Find Free Shots for Your Kids

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Public Swimming Pools

Courtesy Kiwanis Recreation Center

One of the best bargains of the summer is that there is sure to be a community pool not far from you. Typically a buck or two per person can provide an entire day of cool, wet fun. Pack some frozen drinks in a cooler, grab the towels and head out to one of more than 60 pools in Greater Phoenix. Pools typically open on Memorial Day weekend and close in early August when schools are back in session.

Find a Public Pool

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Free Museums

ree Museums in Arizona
© Judy Hedding

There are several museums around town that are free. That's a great deal! Some of these have no admission charge at all, and some are free only on certain days.

Museums That Have Free Admission Days

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Free Festivals, Concerts and Events

Free Concerts in Scottsdale
Judy Hedding

These are my monthly calendars of annually recurring festivals and events. Not all of them are free, but there are many activities listed there where there is no admission, including concerts, art festivals, holiday events and more.

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Save Money, Use the Library

Phoenix Public Library
© Judy Hedding

The library systems in Phoenix area cities and towns do much more than just lend books. You might be surprised at how many services they offer for free! Here are five ways you can save money by using the library.

Public Libraries Help You Save

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Cheap Haircuts

Try getting a haircut at a barber school
Peter Muller / Getty Images

Everyone likes to look nice for school or work. If pricey haircuts aren't in your budget, there are barber schools around town where you can let a student cut your hair for a reasonable price.

Find a Cheap Haircut.

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Cheap Dental Care

John Moore / Getty Images

The concept here is similar to the haircuts, above. Those of us who don't have dental insurance can utilize the discount services of local dental schools for basic services. Regular dental care is more than cosmetic, it's critical to our health.

Find Discounted Dental Care

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Clothing Exchanges

Britt Erlanson / Getty Images

These aren't thrift stores, but rather they are places where people bring slightly used high quality clothing for sale or consignment, and then other people can buy them. Did you think you couldn't afford designer clothing? Well, think again.

Find Gently Use Clothing

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Flea Markets and Swap Meets

Judy Hedding

You never know what you'll find at a flea market or swap meet. You could find just what you are looking for, or you could find a bunch of junk. You can bet that some of the items bought at flea markets end up on Ebay!

Where are the Swap Meets?

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Find Reasonably Priced Furniture in Phoenix

Furniture at IKEA
Judy Hedding

If you are like many people, you don't want furniture that will collapse after a week, but you also can't afford to shop at Robb & Stucky or the higher end designer furniture stores. Here I have compiled a short list of furniture stores in the Phoenix area where people on a budget will be able to find what they are looking for. If these prices are still a problem, used furniture that you might find at a thrift store or a swap meet (both listed above) is your next best bet.

Find Lower Priced New Furniture

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Online Coupons and Discounts at Phoenix Businesses

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Grocery coupons, restaurant coupons, car wash coupons, carpet cleaning -- these online coupon companies offer coupons from Phoenix area businesses.

Get Online Coupons for Local Stores

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Find a Walmart

Find a Wal-Mart in Phoenix
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty

Why pay $3 for milk when Wal-Mart has it for $2? I know that some people are philosophically opposed to shopping at Wal-Mart. Walmart is undeniably cheaper for some products and many of them are open late or 24 hours, making those stores convenient for many shoppers.
Where are the Wal-Mart Stores?

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Senior Discount Days

Senior Discount Days
© Judy Hedding

Several stores in the Valley of the Sun sprinkle some love every week on our senior citizens. I provide a list of them here, including what kind of discount, what day of the week and how old you have to be to get the discount.

Which Stores Have Senior Days?

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All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Restaurants

Chinese Buffet
© Judy Hedding

Everyone loves a buffet! You eat and eat until you can't eat no more. But even if your health-consciousness pushes that aside and you don't want to overeat, the attraction of a buffet is the variety, and that everyone can have just what they want. Dessert usually is included.

Find an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

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Save Money Later On the Phoenix Home You Buy Now

Phoenix Homes
© Judy Hedding

When you are shopping for a house in the Phoenix area, there are some things you should consider that could save you money for all the years you live in that home.

Money-Saving Home Buying Tips

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Save Electricity With a Programmable Thermostat

Save Money With a Programmable Thermostat
© Judy Hedding

Electricity is a major expense in Phoenix. With about 5 months of summer, those air conditioners work overtime. There is an initial outlay of money for a programmable thermostat, but it will pay you back and save you more. Find out how it works.

Save Electricity

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Free Bus Passes in Tempe

© Judy Hedding

 Kids ages 6 - 18 who live in Tempe can get a pass for free transportation on Valley Metro buses and METRO Light Rail.

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Discounted Golf

Cheap Phoenix Golf
© Judy Hedding

There are a myriad of course in central Arizona, and there's no shortage of green fees that are more than $100. Golf is a great game, but that's way too much for some people to spend on a game. Here';s a way you can get a discount on tee times all over the Valley of the Sun -- even some private golf courses.

Play Golf For Less Money

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Vacation In Your Own Backyard

Vacation In Arizona
© Judy Hedding

Those vacation dollars don't always add up to as much as we'd like. Airfares are expensive, gas is expensive, hotels are expensive. What's a family to do? Luckily, we live in a beautiful state where a wide variety of vacation experiences can be enjoyed between 5 and 150 miles from Phoenix. Here are some ideas.

Have Fun in Arizona

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Special Vacation Packages for Locals at Scottsdale Resorts

Scottsdale Resort Specials
© Judy Hedding

We have some of the most wonderful, highly acclaimed resorts in the country right here in the Phoenix area. Many of them offer special packages, designed for local residents who'd rather spend their vacation dollars on a luxury spa or resort activities. Do you know how much fun you can have at a local resort when you don't have to pay for airline tickets or rental cars? Lots.

Summer Resort Special Deals for Locals

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Daily Deal Programs and Coupons

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There are quite a few companies that offer coupons, daily deals or one day deals in Arizona. Sign up for free and receive daily or periodic emails with discount deals for products and services around the Phoenix metro area. Some are for restaurants, some are for spas or salons, some are for local activities, and others are for miscellaneous products and services. You'll typically pay half price for whatever the deal of the day is, and you can usually print the certificate within a few minutes after you purchase it.
Get Deals Every Day

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Keep Your Pool Energy Efficient

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If you aren't diligent about doing your research before you build a pool, and then maintaining it properly, you'll probably be sorry that you ever built it in the first place. Having an efficient pool will save you time and money.
Your "Green" Pool

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Free or Cheap Paper Shredding

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Don't be a victim of identity theft. Your money is precious, and you don't want anyone cheating you out of it! If you don't have your own shredder, your can find shredding events around town where you can safely dispose of important papers for free.
Find a Shredding Event

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