Simple Ways To Save Money
- Have An Emergency Savings
Your first goal when starting to save is to establish an emergency savings account. Unlike an investment account, this should be money that is easily accessible and your balance should ultimately be enough to cover 4 to 6 months worth of expenses. Sound intimidating, it shouldn’t be. Start out slow and set small goals along the way and you will get there in time.
- Make A Budget
Way too many people out there are living without a proper budget. How can you save money or use your money efficiently if you do not know where you are spending it. Make a simple budget including all of your fixed bills, allotments for things like food or entertainment and, of course, money for your savings.
- Pay Off Credit Card Debt
If you are like most Americans, you are carrying way too much revolving debt. The average credit card debt load is over 5000 dollars per person in this country. That is nearly 1000 dollars a year wasted just to pay for interest charges. Make a plan to pay off at least a portion of your debt, remembering that you get back 20 percent of what you pay in saved interest charges.
- Think About The True Cost
When you make a purchase, think about what it really cost you to buy it. How many hours of work did you have to put in to pay for that purse or pair of sunglasses? Then you can determine whether you will get enough enjoyment out of it to justify what it cost you in time and effort.
- Let Your Home Town Entertain You (For Free)
When was the last time that you checked your city’s event calendar? Most cities throw free concerts and movie events that can actually be quite fun. Take advantage of these events to save money on entertainment.
- Have A Savings Goal
Saving money just for the sake of saving is boring and you will eventually get savings fatigue. Have a well defined goal in mind, like saving for a vacation or retiring at a certain age. Make sure that you make your goals attainable so that you do not lose focus.
- Start Saving Early
The earlier you save, the better. Because of the power of compound interest, money that you save in your 20’s is far more valuable than money you save in your 50’s. In this example, the money would have an additional 30 years to accumulate interest.
- Get A Coin Jar
Remember when you were a kid and collected all of those pennies, nickles and oh so awesome quarters? All of that change really adds up, which is something you have likely forgotten. Start saving all of that change and once a month, take it down to the automatic coin counter.
- Take Your Lunch To Work
Those fast food lunches do more than damage your waistline, they also hit your wallet hard. Save as much as 10 dollars a day by simply bringing your lunch to work. That is 200 bucks back in your pocket plus a major time savings. Instead of having to go get your food, you can have it with you. Eat your meal and then enjoy the rest of your lunch hour however you see fit.
- Switch To Water
We all know that we need to drink more water for our health, but do it for your wallet instead. With a minor investment in a reusable water bottle, you can save hundreds of dollars on sodas, juice and sports drinks. Even better, you will save money on all of those sugary snacks. It has been shown that cutting out sweetened drinks (even artificially sweetened drinks) can reduce your sugar cravings.
- Automate Your Savings
Don’t just plan to put money into savings, make it a sure thing by automating the task. Use automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account. Have the money transferred the morning that you get paid so that you never see it. Even better, if your work allows it, have payroll transfer a portion of your earnings directly to savings.
- Start With Small Goals
If you are new to saving, start with small goals and increase them with every victory. You might want to have 100,000 dollars in savings, but lets shoot for getting 500 dollars in there first. In the beginning, you want goals that are easily attainable because it will reinforce the savings habit.
- Max Out Your 401K
Find out how much of your 401K contribution your employer will match and then contribute at least that amount. Your employer is trying to give you money, take it.
- Don’t Waste A Windfall
When you come into a large and unexpected amount of money, the first urge is usually to spend it. By doing so, you would be wasting a huge savings opportunity. Instead of blowing the money, treat yourself to something nice but save the majority of it. It is money that you were not counting on anyway, so put it to good use.
- Have A Big Spending Cool Off Period
Before you make a big purchase, wait 24 to 48 hours. If you still want to spend the money after that time has passed, proceed. Having a waiting period will allow you to cool off and not waste your money on things that you think you want.
- Delete Your Quick Pays
Online websites love it when you allow them to save your payment information. They make it seem like a convenience for you, but it actually boosts sales. You might be surprised at just how many purchases you change your mind on while entering those 16 digits.
- Stop Carrying Credit Card Debt
Stop think that carrying credit card debt is normal. Those 1 percent cash back deals are no good to you if you are paying 20 percent interest. Use your credit cards to get the deals, just pay them off when you get the bill.
- Get Rid Of Cable & Satellite
Why pay 100 dollars a month or more for entertainment that you can practically get for free. Ditch your subscription television in favor of a free or low cost streaming service like Hulu. If you need your sports, use these same services to stream paid TV and then cancel the service when the season ends.
- Set Limits On Gifts
When it comes time for gift giving, set a limit with friends and family. It is the thought that matters and those close to you are probably looking for a way to save as well. During the holiday season, draw names to limit your buying to just one person in your group.
- Plan Your Meals
You may be wasting as much as 20 percent of the groceries you buy. Cut out this waste with meal planning. Simply plan the meals that you want to make for the week and then make a grocery list. This will allow you to cut out food waste and save some big money.
- Use Your Leftovers
Don’t let food go to waste when it could be a free meal. Part of that leftover hamburger patty can become beef tacos or that partial chicken breast can be the meat in your Chicken Caesar Salad. You could even save up all of these partial meals and have leftover night where everyone gets to choose their favorite meal.
- Workout At Home
That expensive gym membership could be hurting your ability to save. Get rid of your monthly club fee and work out at home. Go for a walk in the park or do free workout programs from YouTube. There is no shortage of free ways to workout and they are often more fun than the gym.
- Go Generic
Most generic products are just as good as the name brands. In fact, many generics are made in the same factories as the big name option. Switch to generics and save as much as 30 percent off the cost of food, clothing and more.
- Spend Less On Energy
Does your gas and electric bill steadily creep higher and higher every month? Take control of your energy usage and put more of your money into savings. It is simple really, if you take the time. Turn your thermostat higher in the Summer and lower in the Winter. Make sure doors and windows are sealed and wash your clothes with cold water. Also, if your energy provider offers it, get a free home energy audit.
- Audit Your Budget
Once or twice a year, sit down and audit your monthly budget. Look for ways that you can cut costs and save. It could be shopping for cheaper auto insurance or limiting what you spend on entertainment. Auditing you budget from time to time is a great way to save and a way to prevent lifestyle creep.