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There are so many ways to save money, but it can be challenging to know where to start. We’ve put together this list of 30 tips to help you get started! Whether you’re trying to save for a vacation or want to have a little extra money in your pocket, these tips will help.
Why Is Saving Money Important?
Saving money is essential for many reasons. It can help you in case of an emergency, pay for unexpected expenses, or give you some extra spending money. When you have savings, you’re less likely to rely on credit cards or loans, saving you money in the long run.
How Can I Save Money?
There are several ways to save money. You can start by evaluating your spending habits and finding areas where you can cut back. You may also consider earning more money by picking up a side hustle or investing in a solid stock portfolio. Whatever route you choose, be sure to have a plan and stick to it.
1. Set Up An Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is there to cover unexpected expenses like a job loss, medical bills, or car repairs. Aim to save enough to cover three to six months of living expenses. This should be your number one priority when it comes to savings.
2. Have a Future Savings Goal in Mind
It’s easier to save money when you have a specific goal in mind. Whether you’re saving for a down payment on a house, a new car, or retirement, knowing what you’re working towards will help you stay motivated.
3. Try An All Cash Spending Method
If you’re struggling to stick to a budget, try using cash instead of credit or debit cards. When you have to physically hand over cash for purchases, you’re more likely to think twice about whether or not you need it.
4. Create a Personalized Budget
Not everyone’s budget will look the same. You’ll need to consider your income, expenses, and lifestyle when creating a budget that works for you. Be sure to include some wiggle room for entertainment and eating out.
5. Save All Work Bonuses and Tax Refunds
Spending a work bonus or tax refund can be tempting, but try to resist the urge. This extra money can help you boost your savings or pay down debt.
6. Take Advantage of Your 401(k)
If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, take advantage of it. Many employers will match a certain percentage of your contributions, which is essentially free money.
7. Start With Short-Term Goals
Start with small, achievable goals if you’re having trouble saving money. Once you’ve reached your short-term goal, you can move on to something bigger.
8. Set Up Automatic Savings Transfers
One of the easiest ways to save money is to have it automatically transferred into a savings account. This way, you won’t even have to think about it. Most banks offer this service, so ask your bank about setting up an automatic transfer.
9. Save All Of Your Spare Change
You may not think your spare change will add up to much, but you’d be surprised. Put it in a jar or piggy bank whenever you have some loose change. Once the jar is full, you can deposit it into your savings account.
10. Follow the 24-Hour Rule
If you’re considering a purchase, wait 24 hours before making the decision. Thinking about the purchase will give you time to think about whether or not you need it. More often than not, you’ll find that you don’t need it after all.
11. Put As Much Into Savings As You Do To Non-Essentials
If you’re trying to boost your savings, make it a priority. You should put away at least as much into savings as you do towards non-essentials like entertainment and eating out.
12. Cancel All Unused Subscriptions
Do you have any subscriptions that you no longer use? Whether a gym membership or a subscription box, canceling unused subscriptions can save you a lot of money.
1. Use Your Library
There’s no need to buy books or rent movies when you can get them free from the library. Libraries also offer various events and programs, so check out what your local library offers.
2. Look for Free or Low-Cost Entertainment Online and in Your Community
There are plenty of ways to have fun without spending much money. You can find free or low-cost entertainment options online and in your community. Look for concerts in the park, free museum days, or community festivals.
3. Volunteer at Concerts and Festivals
To save money on entertainment, consider volunteering at a concert or festival. Many organizations will offer free or discounted tickets in exchange for volunteer work.
Debt, Banking, and Credit
1. Seek Out Free Debt Counseling
If you’re struggling with debt, there are organizations that can help. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling offers free counseling and education to help you get out of debt.
2. Enroll in Autopay
One easy way to ensure you never miss a loan payment is to enroll in autopay. This way, the money will be automatically withdrawn from your account each month and applied to your loan.
Most lenders offer this service, so be sure to ask about it when you’re taking out a loan.
Autopay can also help you save on interest because many lenders offer a 0.25% interest rate reduction for autopay enrollees.
Pro Tip: If you have multiple loans, consider consolidating them into one monthly payment through a personal loan or balance transfer credit card. Consolidating loans can simplify your finances and help you save money on interest payments.
3. Check Your Credit Report for Free Annually
You’re entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus annually. This is a great way to keep tabs on your credit score and ensure there are no errors in your report.
You can request your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com.
If you find any errors, dispute them with the credit bureau immediately.
4. Only Use ATMs From Your Bank or Credit Union
You’ll likely be charged a fee when you use an out-of-network ATM. Depending on the bank and ATM, these fees can range from $0.50 to $15.
To avoid these fees, only use ATMs that are part of your bank’s or credit union’s network. Most banks and credit unions offer free online tools that allow you to locate nearby machines.
Pro Tip: If you’re traveling abroad, however, it’s best to use a local ATM, so you don’t get hit with exorbitant fees.
5. Create a Goal for How Much You Reduce Your Credit Card Debt Annually
If you’re carrying a balance on your credit card, make it a goal to pay it off as quickly as possible. A good rule of thumb is to try and reduce your debt by at least the amount of your monthly interest payments.
For example, if you’re paying $150 in interest each month, try to pay at least $150 more towards your principal balance. This will help you get out of debt faster and save money on interest payments.
You can also transfer your balance to a 0% APR credit card to save on interest while you focus on paying down your debt. Just read the fine print before signing up for any offers, as some cards come with hefty fees.
6. Do Your Best to Pay Off Credit Cards in Full Each Month
If you’re only making the minimum payments on your credit cards, it will take you much longer to pay off your debt. In fact, it could take years – and cost you a fortune in interest payments.
To avoid this, do your best to pay off your credit card balance in full each month. This will help keep your debt levels low and save you money on interest charges.
If you can’t pay off your balance in full, make sure you at least pay more than the minimum payment due. This will help reduce your interest and get you out of debt faster.
Friends and Family
1. Designate One Night a Week for a “Spend Free” Night With Family and Friends
One way to save money is to designate one night a week as a “spend free” night. This means you spend time with family and friends but do not spend any money. You can play board games, watch movies, or talk. This is a great way to have fun without spending any money.
2. Organize a Neighborhood Swap Meet
Another great way to save money is to organize a neighborhood swap meet. This is where people get together and trade items they no longer want or need. This is a great way to get rid of things you no longer use and acquire new items without spending any money. Put up some flyers around your neighborhood and see who wants to participate. You can also advertise the event on social media.
3. Prioritize Quality Essentials Over Cheap Alternatives
It’s important to remember that not all “cheap” alternatives are cheaper in the long run. For example, buying a cheap pair of shoes might save you money upfront, but they will likely fall apart quickly and need to be replaced. Spending a bit more on a quality pair of shoes that will last longer is better. The same goes for other essentials like clothes, kitchen appliances, and tools.
Generally, it’s better to buy fewer things of higher quality than more things of lower quality. This might cost you more money upfront, but it will save you money in the long run because you won’t have to keep replacing your belongings as often.
4. Start Saving for Your Children’s College Education As Soon As Possible
It’s never too early to start saving for your children’s college education. The sooner you start, the more time your money has to grow. There are many ways to save for college, such as 529 plans and Coverdell accounts. Talk to a financial advisor to find out which option is best for you. Even if you can only save a little bit each month, it will add up over time. And every bit helps when it comes to paying for college.
5. Plan Gift-Giving Far in Advance
Another great way to save money is to plan your gift-giving far in advance. This way, you can take advantage of sales and discounts. For example, if you know you’ll need to buy a birthday present for someone in June, start looking for deals in May. Or, if you know you’ll need to buy Christmas gifts in December, start looking for deals in November. By planning ahead, you can save a lot of money on gifts.
6. Have a Spending Limit on All Gifts
It’s also a good idea to set a spending limit for all gifts. This way, you’re not tempted to spend more money than you can afford. For example, you might set a limit of $50 for all birthday gifts and $100 for Christmas gifts. By setting a spending limit, you can ensure you don’t overspend on gifts.
1. Double Your Recipes and Freeze the Extra Food for Later
One great way to save money on food is to double your recipes and freeze the extra food for later. You can cook once and have enough food for two meals. For example, make a double batch and freeze the leftover sauce for another meal if you’re making spaghetti for dinner. This is a great way to save time and money. Cooking in bulk can also help you save money on groceries. When you buy in bulk, you usually get a discount. This way, you can stock up on items when they’re on sale and save money in the long run.
2. Skip Expensive Beverages At Restaurants
Restaurant drinks can be costly, so it’s best to avoid them if you’re trying to save money. When you’re eating out, skip the expensive beverages and stick to water. This can save you a lot of money, especially if you’re dining with a group.
3. Stick to Your Grocery List
When you’re at the grocery store, stick to your list. This way, you won’t be tempted to buy things you don’t need. It’s easy to impulse buy when you’re at the store, but these items can add up quickly and cost you a lot of money. If you stick to your list, you’ll save money on groceries.
4. Try to Eat Out Fewer Than Once a Month
Eating out is expensive, so it’s best to try to eat out fewer than once a month. You’ll save a lot of money if you can cook most of your meals at home. Home-cooked meals are usually cheaper than restaurant meals, and they’re often healthier as well.
5. Bring Your Own Lunch to Work
Another great way to save money on food is to bring your own lunch to work. This way, you won’t have to buy expensive takeout or eat out daily. If you pack your own lunch, you can control what you eat and how much you spend.
1. Purchase Store Brand Medications Instead of Name Brand
If you’re taking medication, purchase store-brand medications instead of name brands. Store brand medications are usually cheaper than name brands and work just as well. There’s no need to spend extra money on name-brand medications when you can get the same results with store-brand medications.
2. Comparison Shop for Prescription Medication
When you’re comparison shopping for prescription medication, be sure to compare prices at different pharmacies. Pharmacy prices can vary significantly, so it’s essential to shop around. You might also want to check if your insurance plan has a preferred pharmacy. If so, you might be able to get a discount on your prescription medication. It’s also a good idea to ask your doctor if there are generic options for your prescription medication. Generic medications are usually much cheaper than name-brand medications, and they work just as well.
3. Don’t Settle for Less On Preventative Healthcare
Preventative healthcare is important. If you’re trying to save money on healthcare, don’t settle for less on preventive care. For example, if you need a physical, go to a doctor you trust. It’s also a good idea to get regular checkups and screenings. By getting regular preventive care, you can avoid more serious and expensive health problems down the road.
1. Comparison Shop for Low Airfare Prices
When you’re planning a trip, be sure to comparison shop for low airfare prices. There are a lot of websites that can help you find the cheapest flights. Be sure to check multiple websites to find the best deals. You should also try to book your flights in advance. The sooner you book, the more likely you will get a good flight deal. If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you might also be able to save money on airfare. For example, flying during off-peak times (like mid-week or early morning) is usually cheaper than flying during peak times (like weekends or holidays).
2. Comparison Shop for Auto Insurance
Auto insurance is another essential expense. Insurance rates can vary significantly from company to company, so shopping around is essential. When you’re comparison shopping for auto insurance, be sure to get quotes from multiple companies. You should also consider switching to a less expensive car insurance company if you currently overpay for your coverage.
3. Avoid Buying Brand New Cars
Avoid buying brand new cars if you’re in the market for a new car. Brand new cars are much more expensive than used cars. You can often find a great deal on a used car that is only a few years old. All cars depreciate in value as soon as you drive them off the lot, so why not spend less since the car’s value will never increase. When shopping for a used car, be sure to have it inspected by a qualified mechanic before you make your purchase.
1. Use Coupons Wherever Possible
You can save a lot of money on groceries and other household items by using coupons. There are several websites and apps that can help you find coupons for the products you’re interested in. You should also sign up for store loyalty cards. Many stores offer discounts and coupons to loyalty card holders.
2. Use Reusable Towels Instead of Paper Towels
Another great way to save money around the house is to use reusable towels instead of paper towels. Paper towels are expensive, and they need to be repurchased often. Reusable towels can be used repeatedly, making them a much more economical and eco-friendly option.
3. Lower the Temperature of Your Water Heater
You can save money on your energy bill by lowering the temperature of your water heater. Most people have their water heaters set too high, which wastes energy and money. You can usually reduce the temperature of your water heater without affecting your daily routine.
4. Make Your Own Cleaning Products
You can save a lot of money by making your own cleaning products. There are several recipes online for DIY cleaning solutions. These homemade cleaners are often just as effective as store-bought cleaners, but they’re much cheaper to make.
5. Use Less Laundry Detergent in Your Loads
You can also save money on laundry by using less laundry detergent in your loads. Most people use too much detergent, which wastes money. You can usually get your clothes just as clean by using less detergent. In fact, using too much detergent can damage your clothes.
6. Save on Water By Using Low-Flow Showerheads and Toilets
If you’re looking for ways to save water, consider using low-flow showerheads and toilets. These fixtures can save a lot of water without affecting your daily routine.
7. Keep Your House Cooler by Keeping Blinds and Curtains Closed
Another great way to save money on your energy bill is to keep your house cooler by keeping blinds and curtains closed. Keeping the sun out will help block the sun and keep your home cooler. It will allow you to cut back on your air conditioning usage.
8. Audit Your Home Energy Usage
If you want to save money on your energy bill, it’s a good idea to audit your home energy usage. There are several ways to do this, but one of the easiest is to call your local utility company and request a free or low-cost home energy audit.
9. Consider Refinancing Your Mortgage
If you’re a homeowner, you may be able to save money by refinancing your mortgage. Mortgage rates are currently at historic lows, so now is a great time to refinance. You can usually lower your monthly payment and save a significant amount of money over the life of your loan.
10. Comparison Shop for Homeowners Insurance
If you’re a homeowner, you may be able to save money on your homeowners’ insurance by comparison shopping. Several websites allow you to compare rates from different insurance companies. You should also ensure you get all the discounts you’re entitled to.
Saving money doesn’t have to be complicated. There are several simple things you can do to save money every day. By following the tips in this article, you’ll be well on your way to saving money and reaching your financial goals.
Claire is a student turned financial enthusiast who has a passion for helping others. Her goal is to help as many people reach financial independence and early retirement as possible. When Claire isn't working on her blog, you can find her buried in a good book, testing recipes in the kitchen, or outside playing with her ducks.