Most of us are always looking for easy ways to save extra money. Having a solid savings brings security and ease of mind. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all seen how easy it is for jobs to be taken away. Now more than ever, most of us have seen the importance of having a savings.
It’s not always easy to save money when you’re already living on a really tight budget. Follow these tips for simple ways to save without missing out on the money you’re putting away. Be sure to check out the finance page for more tips on how to gain wealth!
General Tips to Save Money:
1. Set Up Automatic Transfers
Have a specific amount allocated to automatically transfer into a savings accounts. An automatic transfer will allow you to passively save without thinking about it. Having an automatic transfer will also help you budget better when you know you have to budget around that missing amount.
2. Put Your Tax Return In Savings
I can’t believe how many people I know who see their tax return as a “bonus”. Your tax return was hard earned money that you worked for, so treat it that way. Since it’s money you haven’t needed or used, treat it as a savings.
Check your credit card history every month. This is to make sure you aren’t being charged for unnecessary subscriptions. It’s happened to me before where I’ve accidentally subscribed to something without meaning to and only caught it after being charged a few times!
Look at and cancel extra subscriptions that you don’t need. Don’t pay for Hulu, Netflix, Disney +, HBO all at the same time! The easiest way to save on these is to split streaming services with someone.
4. Open A Retirement Account
Don’t only think about building a savings for a short term emergency fund. Look to the future and open a retirement account. Even if the contribution can only be $10 a month, with interest, it will accumulate over time. It could be $10 now, but when you’re in a better financial spot it could be $100 or $1000 a month.
5. Commit To An Amount
No matter how big or small you can contribute to your savings one thing is important. Commit to an amount. Committing to an amount is the discipline you need to ensure you are saving as much as possible. Even if it is only $25 it’s something tucked away.
6. Pay Your Credit Card On Time
Don’t think of your credit card as your extra money. Although credit cards are great to have in case of emergency, you should only treat that as your plan B.
Paying your credit card on time means you aren’t paying any interest or extra money to the bank. You only pay what you spent. I know a lot of people in their early 20s who get into credit card debt without understanding how it works.
7. Save Your Change
Don’t discard your change! The easiest way to keep track of your change is to get a jar or bowl to throw it into. Whenever my bag or wallet gets heavy with coins, I toss them in the jar. When it’s full count it and roll it and off to the bank for a savings deposit! Coinstar charges a fee, so it’s better to roll your own coins for free.
8. Limit Eating Out
The easiest way to go over budget is through eating out. If you’re working full time pack a lunch. If you eat out five days during the work week for an average of $8 a meal, that’s $160 a month just on lunches. $160 a month could easily buy one person a month’s worth of groceries.
During this time of COVID, it still is important to support local businesses. Set a goal to only eat out once a week at most if you’re someone who tends to go more frequently. Even on a strict budget, I still believe it’s important to treat yourself once in a while.
9. Open A Separate Online Savings Account
If you are someone with little self control, opening an online bank account at a separate bank is an easy way to lock down your cash. By opening an online savings account at another bank means next time you want to delve into your savings, you have to wait a few days for the transfer. This has stopped me numerous times from making unnecessary purchases.
A lot of online savings accounts also have higher annual interest rate payouts, so instead of $.01 a month you can be getting maybe $10 a month!
10. Budget Your Groceries
You probably already have a budget for groceries, but it can be better. Try to keep the budget under $50 per person a week. If you can manage $30, even better.
It’s not impossible. To spend only $30 on groceries per week, focus on staying away from pre-made items. I’ve noticed that buying the ready made products in the frozen section drives the bill up. Buy pasta, vegetables, fruits, eggs, bread, and filling canned goods like beans and lentils. Doing this not only saves you money, but allows you to cook healthier meals for yourself.
To add onto buying groceries, go for the generic label. Why pay $1 more for the same product but different packaging?
If you’re like me, you have a ton of clothes in your closet that never get worn. When you decide to offload some things from your closet, think about selling some pieces on Poshmark or Depop or any other platform for second hand items.
This way, you can make some extra cash for your savings account instead of donating higher quality pieces. I also recommend buying off Poshmark or Depop for better prices, vintage pieces, and conservation.
12. Get Rid of Your Debt
Of course you can’t snap your fingers and kiss debt goodbye, although I wish it were that easy! Make getting rid of your debt a priority. You can’t begin saving until you are debt free.
Since debt can be a huge and intimidating thing to tackle, use the snowball tactic and start with the smallest amounts first. Once you make the habitual change to pay your debt on small amounts, you’ll be able to work on the larger amounts.
13. D.I.Y. Anything and Everything
You don’t have to be a crafty or artistic person to build or make your own crafts. There are so many tutorials available online for anything you can imagine.
A lot of home decor, I make myself and I’m not a talented artist. I also got into making gifts for my friends for their birthdays. Homemade gifts are better for your budget and your friends will love it.
14. Wait Before You Buy
With Amazon becoming a huge online consumer market, it’s so easy to buy whatever whenever and get it the next day. Many of us fall victim to impulse buying especially when the access is right at our fingertips. An important habit change to implement is waiting at least 24 hours before you buy something.
If it’s something you want and do not need, wait at least one day before you come back to buy that item. A lot of the time you want it in the moment, but realize it’s not a necessary purchase later on.
For larger, more expensive purchases like a new laptop, TV, even a car, the general rule is to wait 30 days. If you can go 30 days without making that large purchase, chances are you just don’t need to buy it.
15. Have A Long Term Goal
Give yourself a long term goal with a set amount. If by 50 years old you want to have $500,000 saved, use that goal to work towards. By having an amount in mind and a timeline, you have something more tangible to work towards.
Even if you can only save a small bit starting out, chances are you will be making more later on in your career. If you allocate a certain percentage of your income to your savings, that will help keep you honest and on track with your saving.
16. Think About Worth In Terms Of Work Hours
When you’re about to make an unnecessary purchase, think about how many hours it took to make the money you’re about to spend. Recently I went to the beach and bought two drinks and a bag of chips for $10. It dawned on me that 30 minutes of work bought me that measly purchase!
Just think, you would never work 30 minutes to be paid in two drinks and a bag of chips would you? Think about your purchases this way and you’re more likely to value your money and the time you worked to earn that and save it next time.
17. Have A No Spend Day Or Week
A great way to make a habitual change in your spending and saving is by having no spend days or even full weeks. Designate a day of the week where you won’t be spending money on ANYTHING.
You may not have to spend money multiple days in a week, and when you notice the pattern stick to it. Going a full week without spending will really show you what purchases are essential and what aren’t.
18. Don’t Let Your Computer Remember Credit Card Numbers
This one is a life saver! Delete your credit card information out of websites you frequently shop on, looking at you Amazon. Just the inconvenience of having to get up to find your credit card for the purchase is enough time to rethink the decision.