1. purchase ingredients in bulk.
2. salvage your yeastLiquid yeast can run you about $6 each now from White Labs http://www.whitelabs.com/ and pound for pound is the largest expense in brewing. There are of course less expensive dry yeasts on the market which are quite good these days but if you want more variety you'll need the liquid type. With a little planning, the easiest and most convenient way to save money regarding yeast is to simply rack new wort onto an existing yeast cake from a prior fermentation. The other option is to pour the yeast from your fermenter into a sanitized jar, cover with foil and save in the fridge for up to several weeks. Then when your ready, pour off the excess liquid from the jar and pour the yeast cake into your new batch of wort. It is also easy to 'step up' a small amount of salvaged yeast or an older yeast sample for re-pitching.
3. re-use your hops
For those like me that love the hoppy beers, you probably dry hop. Placing hops in the fermenter or keg after fermentation is complete, is a great way to add hop aroma for pale ales and IPA's especially. When you dry hop, the bittering compounds in the plant are not lost in the process and can be utilized in the bittering of your next beer. At the time that you dry hop, place the hops in a mesh bag. Then you can either plan on brewing a new beer when the dry hopping schedule is complete or when done dry hopping, remove the bag of hops and place in a sanitized container and store in the fridge or freezer and re-use in your next brew session.
There are many more ways to save money and creative ways of saving money seems to be an integral part of this great hobby of home brewing. In the future I will go into some more ingredient ideas along with saving money in the area of equipment.
If you have any money saving ideas to help others regarding ingredients, leave a comment.