Think “a penny saved is a penny earned” is too old fashioned? Then check out these expenses that are actually making you poorer and how you can turn pennies into retirement money. These are the top 20 personal expenses you can cut to save $1,000 a year at least, along with tips on what to do with that money.

Top DIY Expenses You Can Cut This Year

Don’t pay someone else to do what you can easily do yourself and easily save $1,000 a year.

1. Knowing is half the battle. Many people get or stay in debt because they don’t know what they are spending their money on and how much of it is being spent. Get started by visiting a site like Xpenser to manage your expenditures online for free.

2. Be your own handyman. Install lights, repair leaks, paint, and other DIY projects can easily save hundreds of dollars. The DIY Network has hundreds of guides on projects you can do yourself with little or no experience. For example, fixing a leaky toilet yourself can easily save $100.

3. Weatherize. Whether looking to go green or just save money, weatherizing your home can add up to hundreds in savings. And it only takes something as simple as caulking and installing weather stripping. See DoItYourself for a complete and easy to follow guide. If this cuts ten percent off of an energy bill of $200, average yearly savings are $240.

4. The salon. Wait times are horrible, prices are insane, and who was using those items before you where are all good reasons to avoid or cut down on the salon. Visit here to get a six step guide to a facial at home from talk show host Jenny Jones or here to get a video that shows how to do your very own French manicure at home. Skipping six facials and six manicures a year at $50 and $30 a pop, comes to a yearly savings of $480.

5. Shop outside of the box. Going down to the local mall can add up to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per year. Know what you want before you go, or try a site like Overstock that has tons of bargains. Go further outside the box by stopping by Unclaimed Baggage Center to view thousands of lost items for sale on the cheap or even find your own missing bags.

Top Food Expenses You Can Cut This Year

Everyone has to eat but not everyone has to go broke because of it. These are the best ways to cut food expenses to save even more.

6. Stay home. Studies show that families can easily spend $5,000 a year on food and an average of 40 percent of the budget is spent on eating out at restaurants, fast food, etc. Cutting the frequency of eating out by half or going to a site like can save you big bucks. Purchasing $25 gift cards for $10 on this site for every other meal eaten out once a week can yield a yearly savings of $360.

7. Cook better. Making recipes from scratch can not only be more fulfilling and healthy, it can also be much cheaper. There are many excellent sites, such as The 99 Cent Chef with loads of help for cooking on a budget. Want something more upscale? Try The Cheap Gourmet for recipes, shopping tips, and even a contest.

8. Don’t cook. While it is vastly cheaper than cooking out, many families and neighbors are now forming a cooking co-op. This is where one family cooks meals for the entire co-op one night a week and the others do the same. Families can actually save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars this way. Visit My Night To Cook for more information on getting started, as well as recipes.

9. Shop smarter. According to eXtension News, knowing what to buy and making fewer trips can add up to $10 more for grocery bills on impulse buys. Families who shop for food only once or twice a month stand to save a yearly average of at least $180.

Top Entertainment Expenses You Can Cut This Year

Living cheaply doesn’t necessarily mean enjoying life less. Visit these sites to get top notch entertainment at a fraction of the price.

10. Volunteer at your favorite venue. Because play, opera, and symphony tickets can be massively expensive, try ushering or tearing tickets at your favorite venue. A few minutes of work before and after a show can add up to big savings a year. Visit Volunteer Match if you need help getting started. Tickets average $50 per person, once a month, and half of the time spent volunteering, means an individual can save $300 a year.

11. Movies. With tickets easily costing over $10 for an adult, plus drinks, snacks, parking, etc. this can expense can add up to hundreds of dollars a year. Instead of waiting for the video release, you can visit a site such as Only Free to get offers on free tickets. With an average visit to the movies costing $30, twelve times a year, cutting that in half equals an average savings of: $180.

12. Books. With new releases averaging $25 for a hardcover and $15 for a paperback, reading can be an educational, yet expensive habit. Inexpensive alternatives include going to the library or getting the book for free online from a site such as Books-On-Line. People who buy one book a month and do this half the time stand to save $120 yearly.

13. Travel smart. Doing your research and shopping around can save you big bucks on your travel expenses. One of the best sites for this is Yapta, which can track the price for a specific flight, hotel, and even refund the difference of the price when it drops. Average savings from using this site: $306.

Top Medical Expenses You Can Cut This Year

With medical costs going up and a higher percentage of family budgets being put towards them, it makes more sense than ever to know and utilize top medical expenses you can cut.

14. Go generic. These prescription drugs are made to the same standards of name brand, but can cost significantly less. According to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the average price of a generic prescription was $34.34 in 2007, compared to $119.51 for the name brand. Co-pays for generic drugs are usually $10, while ranging from $30 to $55 for a name brand. Yearly savings for just one prescription: $1,022.04 or $390 for those with a co-pay.

15. Know where to buy. Now that you know what kind of prescription to buy, taking it to the corner pharmacy may not be your best bet. Although some offer enticing incentives to fill new prescriptions, when it comes time for that first or second refill, your savings may be gone. Try visiting a site like Pharmacy Checker to get the prices on many popular prescriptions from mail-order pharmacies.

16. Go where you’re needed. With some doctors taking weeks for a visit, many patients believe the emergency room is there only option. With visits tending to cost $300 to $1,000 out of pocket, it makes sense to consider a non-emergency facility or convenience clinic when the situation is urgent but not an emergency. These visits can cost $150 and $50 respectively. Average yearly savings for one avoided ER visit: $550.

17. Read your bill. Most people read their bill at a restaurant to make sure it is accurate but fail to do the same when thousands of dollars are at stake at a hospital or other medical expense. Read it over, and if you don’t understand or agree with something, call the facility for an explanation. If not satisfied, stop by a site such as Bill Advocates to get help in reducing your medical debts or even to take an educational online class.

What To Do With The Cut Personal Expenses

Make your cut personal expenses start working for you for a change by checking out these top ways to spend your saved money.

18. Invest! Despite a down market, it is not unreasonable to expect a seven percent returns from a conservative mix of bonds and stocks over a period of 15 years. Cool Investing is an excellent site for first timers who want to learn more about stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and other investments.

19. Refinance. Those with adjustable rates or even fixed can save tons of money by refinancing a home loan. A site like Bankrate has much more information on loans of varying types.

20. Get a CD. This sort of investment is ideal for those with little cash to invest and can even be insured by the FDIC. Stop by Bankaholic to learn more about CD’s and even get a current list of the top 25.

Just from the calculations alone in the above, the average family stands to save $3,206 a year from these top 20 personal expenses to cut this year. Whether you need to get out of debt, save up a down payment, or plan for retirement, this is serious money to do just that.