Are you searching for ways to save money but can’t seem to figure out how to? Don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Whether you’re a mom trying to get your family budget on track or a millennial looking for ways to make your dollar stretch, here are some tips that can help. From swapping out pricey coffee for home brews to shopping used instead of new, there are plenty of ways to save without making big sacrifices. These money saving tips will help you save money for your dream in no time. So read on, and start saving today!
Pay Off Any Debt You Have
Before getting into money saving tips, if you have any debts right now, pay them off ASAP. Debt and credit card debt interest eats away at your income.
Always avoid paying interest and fees! When you pay interest on a loan, you’re essentially giving away part of your future income.
List out all of the debts you have right now. There are three main ways to tackle debt:
Debt Snowball Method
A method where you pay off the debt from smallest to largest while paying the minimum monthly payment for your other debts.
Debt Avalanche Method
A method where you pay off the debt from largest to smallest while paying the minimum monthly payment for your other debts.
Debt Consolidation Method
A method where you merge all of your debt into one account/debt.
You can mix and match or focus on one method that works best for you. There’s no one right or wrong way. Just make sure to choose a strategy and stick with it.
Why Do You Want To Save Money?
You’re reading this article because you want to save money, but why? For your dream vacation trip? Buy a new car? Build an emergency fund? For retirement? Write down your short and long-term savings goals with specific amounts for each, and set a time for when you want to achieve those goals.
Determining your “why?” helps the budgeting process as well as increases motivation for saving. Put this list of savings goals where you can see it every day, whether it’s by your desk by your bed, on the mirror, or just anywhere.
How Much Do You Spend Each Month?
Most of you probably know how much you’re making. But do you know how much you’re spending?
Make a list of all of your current expenses by category. You can type them into a spreadsheet or write them all out (or use the mint app that does everything for you). Rent, mortgage, cell phone bill, internet bill, movie tickets, gym membership, food delivery, receipts. Everything. Add everything up and see how much you’re spending. You’ll realize the reality of how you’re living.
Understand your weakness. Are you spending too much on your hobby? Too many impulse buys? When I first did this, I was shocked at how much I was spending, especially eating out and ordering food deliveries. Being able to visualize your spending habits will help you understand where you can improve.
Find A Budget Method That Works For You
Now that you know how much you’re spending, it’s time to budget. I like using the 50/30/20 budget. 50% for needs (utility, groceries, insurance, car payment), 30 % for wants (eating out, movies, new clothes), and 20% for savings (saving account and investment). You can also budget using the envelope method. It’s where you divide your income into different categories or envelopes (groceries, gas, clothing, etc.). Choose a budgeting method that works for you.
Qube Money (A Digital Envelope Budgeting System)
Are you a debit card user? I highly recommend you try Qube Money if you want to use or currently using the envelope budgeting method. It’s a digital banking and budgeting system that allocates money among different “envelopes” (groceries, gas, medical, and phone bills).
Whenever you want to spend money, you have to select the envelope you’re spending on the Qube Money app, and the money will be deducted from that envelope. You can quickly see how much you’re spending in each category, making it easier to stick to your budget.
Make Saving Automatic with a Savings Account
Set a monthly automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account. You won’t be tempted to spend all of your money if it’s not in your checking account.
A savings account can help you save money for a rainy day. When you have a savings account, you know that you have a cushion to fall back on in case of an emergency. A savings account can also help you save money for a big purchase, such as a car or a house. By having a savings account, you will be able to save money faster than if you did not have one.
Create an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is an important part of any financial plan because it provides a cushion in case of unexpected expenses. Unexpected expenses can occur for a variety of reasons, such as losing your job, getting into an accident, or having to take time off work to care for a family member.
Without an emergency fund, you may have to use credit cards (get into credit card debt) or dip into your savings to cover these costs, which can lead to more long-term financial problems.
I recommend creating an emergency fund separate from your savings account because it will be much easier to access in the event of an emergency.
If your emergency fund is kept in the same account as your savings, you may have to withdraw all of your savings in order to cover an emergency expense. Having a separate emergency fund will help ensure that you always have access to some funds in the event of an emergency. That’s why it’s important to have money saved up specifically for emergencies.
Believe it or not, decluttering has helped me save hundreds of money. Using Marie Kondo’s method of tidying up, I was shocked at how much stuff I had. I realized that none of my impulse buys “sparked joy” and that I had similar types of clothing. After decluttering, I was shopping for fewer clothes, and my impulse buys decreased. You can learn the KonMari Method from her book or her Netflix series.
Use Credit Cards Or Debit Cards
It’s easy to track and visually see how much you spend with credit and debit cards. Take advantage of cashback credit cards and always pay in full. If you’re afraid of overspending, set a limit to how much you can spend online or by calling the credit card company.
Check Your Balance/Transactions Every Day
Make it a habit to check your balance as well as credit card transactions every day.
There are a few important reasons why you should check your balance and transactions every day.
First, by keeping track of your spending, you can make sure you’re not going over budget.
Additionally, by catching any fraudulent activity as soon as possible, you can minimize the damage it does to your finances.
Finally, knowing your current balance gives you a better idea of what’s available to spend in the future.
Cut Down On Phone Bills
Do you know how much your phone plan is? If it’s $60 or more per person, consider changing your phone plan or phone provider.
First, see how much data you’re using. Are you using up all of your data? If not, consider downgrading your current plan if you don’t want to change your phone provider. If you already have the lowest plan, ask if they have any special discounts such as corporate employee discounts and so on. It’s always free to ask.
Don’t mind changing your provider? Go check out the rates for Mint Mobile and Tello. Mint Mobile’s cheapest plan is $15 a month for 3GB of data with unlimited talk and text. Tello’s most inexpensive plan is $10 a month for 1 GB of data with unlimited talk and text. See your current data usage, compare it with the two providers, and see which would be best for you. A small change such as changing your cell phone plan can help save you on your monthly bills.
Manage Your Subscriptions
Do you currently subscribe to any services? Magazine? TV streaming? Software? Find all of the subscriptions you have and see if you’re actually using everything or can change them. I used the Trim app (free) to figure out all of my subscriptions and was surprised at how many I had. There were many streaming service subscriptions that I had totally forgotten about. I was able to cut it down by about $20/month by unsubscribing. It may not sound much but think about it. It’s $240 a year. The Trim app is free, so I highly recommend downloading it to see all of your subscriptions.
If you subscribe to any magazines, see if your local public library lets you borrow a digital magazine. If they don’t, try Kindle Unlimited, where you can read magazines and books as well. Try a free trial first to decide whether it’s right for you. Just remember to cancel before the trial ends.
Wake Up Early
There’s so much benefit to waking up early, but did you know that you could save money waking up early? I used to be a night-owl, rushing out to work in the morning and buying breakfast and coffee along the way. When I switched to waking up early, I had time to eat breakfast at home and brew my coffee. That alone saved me about $25 a week.
I also noticed that my electric bills were lower because I was sleeping more early, and turning off the lights early.
If you drive to work, you’ll avoid the morning traffic, giving you better gas mileage. Not to mention you’ll feel less stressed.
Some of you may be wondering, what does exercising have to do with saving money? I don’t know about you, but whenever I exercise in the morning, I tend to eat more healthily, drink lots of water, and don’t snack much throughout the day. Now I don’t buy as many snacks and ice cream as I used to.
Use Cashback Apps/Sites
Cashback apps are a great way to save money. They allow you to earn cash rewards on purchases you make both in stores and online. In addition, many of these apps also offer discounts and coupons that can help you save even more money on your shopping.
This is one that I wished I had known about earlier. The 3 cashback programs I use are Swagbucks, Rakuten, and Ibotta. Since you can’t combine cashback, I use the highest cashback rate when shopping online.
I complete surveys and watch videos on Swagbucks in my free time to earn extra points that I can use when redeeming gift cards.
I love Rakuten because you get a big fat check sent every three months, meaning that you can deposit that into your savings account. I even earned over $50 this season by buying on extra cashback days!Join Rakuten now and earn a $10 welcome bonus!
If you tend to overspend when online shopping, use cashback services to use in stores. Ibotta is best for grocery shopping if you prefer shopping in person at stores. All you have to do is take a picture of your receipt and see if you earn any cashback.
Make Your Own Food
It’s so tempting to eat out or order food deliveries for dinner when you’re tired from work. It’s so much easier than making your own food. I hear you. I encourage you to take a look at how much you’re spending each month. I certainly was shocked at how much I was spending on food deliveries and buying lunch outside.
Making your own food every day can be overwhelming so start small. Find 2-3 day meal plans that you can batch cook on the weekend. Make a limit to how much money you can spend ordering deliveries or eating out each week and gradually decrease that limit.
Social Media Detox
Social media detox is where you choose a specific time to take a break from social media for a certain amount of time. After doing this, I noticed how most of my impulse buys were rooted in social media.
Now I make it a habit not to look through social media on the weekends. I also unfollowed certain accounts that were toxic to me. It not only helped me decrease impulse buys but also helped me mentally as well.
Those were the best money-saving tips that have saved me $12,000+ in a year. It will take time to adjust to these saving habits. Start by implementing one of the saving tips to your life and add-on to that. You don’t have to be perfect from the start. You’re going to make mistakes along the way since we’re all human. If you start overspending or fall into bad habits, go back to the “whys” you set yourself at the beginning and pick yourself back up.