Saving money isn’t always easy! We start out with the right thought in mind but tend to get side-tracked or distracted and before we know it, our money is all gone.
Let’s say that you are totally committed to saving money, but you find yourself falling into the trap of spending an extra $5 here or an extra $10 there. You are probably thinking to yourself, “It’s not THAT much money”. Trust us, the little things can really add up fast and hurt your budget in the end.
We’ll teach you some money savings tips to help get that emergency fund started or your children’s college fund ready to go.
Sometimes being frugal can be perceived as a bad thing, and the term “penny pincher” can have a bad connotation. These tips will not be life altering or upset your way of living by any means. They are all very reasonable and good habits to develop!
Ways to keep that hard-earned money in a savings account:
Pay yourself first –
A simple saving strategy is to use a method called “Pay Yourself First”. Most people start paying all of their bills first and then save what’s left. The problem with that is by the end of the month there really isn’t much money left to save. Make that first bill payable to yourself. Set that money aside each month, and then use what you have left to pay the bills.
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If you don’t have any money left, start making small cut backs or getting more income from another source. Maybe try a part-time job or taking more overtime hours at work. Supplement that shortage somehow but don’t dip into your savings account.
Save additional income –
This sounds like a no-brainer but many people will get this money and just spend all of it. This “windfall” can be an excellent opportunity to start a rainy day fund or add a nice lump sum to your retirement fund or your child’s college fund. Save additional income like raises, overtime pay, tax refunds, and any extra paychecks instead of spending it.
Pay off something –
After you pay off a car, student loan, credit card, etc. continue to make the same monthly payment to your savings account instead. You are already used to making that payment each month, so it shouldn’t hurt you financially to just put it in your savings account instead.
Have a yard sale or sell items online –
Are there things in your basement, garage or attic that you don’t use any longer and they’re just collecting dust? We all have some things around the house we can get rid of. You could sell these items online or at a yard sale. Take those proceeds and put them directly into your savings account. You can do this several times a month depending on the amount of stuff you want to get rid of. Facebook even has local Groups that are just for selling stuff online. Use Facebook’s “Search Feature” to find a local group and start getting rid of the things you don’t want or need anymore!
Save your spare change –
Take that loose change in the bottom of your pocket and put it in one place every single day. It could be a large mason jar, 5-gallon water jug, coffee can or even a piggy bank. Attach a goal to your spare change, i.e. new shoes, new TV, vacation, college fund, etc. You’ll be so surprised at how much money you’ll have when it’s completely full.
Use payroll withholding or direct deposit – Check with your company to see if they can split your Direct Deposit between your checking and savings accounts. This is an easy and automatic way to save money every month. It’s a win-win situation and can be very easy to set up.
Get your partner on board –
Even with your best efforts, if you’re dating or married to someone who is blowing through your bank account in record time, you’ll never be able to save money. Make sure to sit with your partner and discuss the importance of saving and ways that you both can cut back on spending in order to let your bank account breathe. If you’re not currently in a relationship, keep in mind that if you like to live frugally, you should marry someone who has the same ideals as you.
Unplug electronics when they’re not in use –
Electronics will still use a small amount of electric when they’re plugged in and not in use. For instance, your coffee machine runs constantly in the morning but even when you turn it off, it’s using a small amount of electricity. Get in the habit of unplugging gadgets after you’re finished using them. You’ll see a small decrease in your electric bill each month by doing so.
Change grocery stores –
Not all grocery stores are created equally. If you’re going to the store closest to your home for convenience’s sake, you might be spending more than you should because it’s not the cheapest place in town. Read advertisements and shop at stores that have great weekly sales and deals so that you save money on your food bill. Don’t forget to sign up for the store’s loyalty rewards program to earn points, discounts, and even free food!
Use that cash back feature at stores –
ATM machines are notorious for charging ridiculous fees for those who are trying to withdraw money. The average ATM fee is close to $5 because not only does the machine charge a fee for you to have the money, but your bank will sometimes charge a fee as well. If using an ATM machine it’s always best to use your bank’s own ATM machine to cut down on fees. Another option is to go to a local store and ask for cash back after making a purchase. This won’t involve any fees and you can do multiple transactions if you need a large sum of money.
Use employer resources –
Take advantage of your employer’s resources whenever you’re at work. For instance, most job places are required to offer water and sometimes even food or snacks to their employees and instead of bringing in your own water bottles, make use of the water jug in the break room. This might seem trivial, but just think of how much money you’ll save by not buying water bottles every time you have to go to work.
Change your car’s oil regularly –
When left unchanged, the oil in your car can become sludge-like and thick. This causes your car to use more gas to run efficiently, which in turn costs you more money. Oil changes aren’t too expensive (dealerships can be expensive) and you’ll notice you don’t have to fill the tank as often after it’s done.
Use a budgeting app to keep track –
It can be easy to go from store to store and not keep track of your purchases. At the end of the month, you’re left wondering where you went wrong and why you don’t have any money left over to put into your savings account. Budgeting apps are linked directly to your bank account and will give you daily, weekly and monthly reports to offer a rough view of where your money is going.
For example, you might find at the end of the month that a quarter of your income is going to eating out at fast food restaurants, but it didn’t feel like much at the time when you were taking the kids for dinner after hockey practice. These apps are often free to download and use, making it easy to get started right away.
Get cash back on your online purchases –
You can sign up for free accounts on websites such as Ebates, Honey, or Ibotta and receive cash back on your online purchases. If you buy a lot of things online, this could really pay off well. These websites will send you checks or gift cards when your cash back bonuses have reached a certain limit (usually $20 or more). You are making money while you are buying household goods and items that you need. Who wouldn’t love getting a cash back check every month?
Finding new ways to save money can be difficult. However, making a few small adjustments that are listed above and thinking outside of the box are relatively easy to do. The end result is that you’ll have some extra padding to add to your savings account or even your emergency fund. So, it’s really worth the extra time and effort.
If you need additional money-saving tips or would like to get out of debt, give us a call toll-free at 1-866-699-2227 or visit us online at www.advantageccs.org to Live Chat with a certified credit counselor or shoot us an email. We’ve been helping people get out of debt since 1968 and as a non-profit; we’re committed to helping individuals get their finances back on the right track!