Do you ever feel like it is difficult to find an effective way to save money no matter how hard you try? Even when you try your hardest to spend less money something always comes up. Usually, life gets in the way; the car needs new tires, your kid needs braces, the house needs a new roof, …etc. Suddenly, saving money gets pushed to the back burner. Does this sound familiar?
The truth is that you do not have to wait for things to fall into place before you start saving money. Spoiler alert: If you wait for the “right time,” it will never come. The ideal time to begin saving is now.
The good news is that there are multiple simple strategies to save money and enrich your bank account. Here are 14 money-saving suggestions to help you fine-tune your spending habits and get on the fast track to saving money in no time.
Track Your Expenses
The first step to start saving money is to figure out how much you spend monthly. Keep track of all your expenses, including coffee, home items, cash tips, and regular monthly payments. Record your expenses in whatever way works best for you, whether it’s with a pencil and paper, a simple spreadsheet, or a free online spending tracker or app.
Once you have collected your data, sort it by categories, such as gas, groceries, and mortgage, and total each amount. Check your credit card and bank statements to ensure you have not forgotten anything.
Enough with Debts
When it comes to saving money, monthly debt payments are the biggest burden. Debt robs you of your earnings! So you have to get rid of it. The debt snowball method is the quickest way to pay off debt. This is where you pay off your bills, starting with the least and working your way up. There are quite a few other methods that you can check out.
Doesn’t that sound intense? Do not worry, it is about changing behavior rather than numbers. Once your income has been freed up, you may finally use it to make headway toward your saving goals.
Spend Less on Groceries
Most people feel surprised when they learn how much they spend at the grocery store each month after creating a budget. And if you are the average American family of four (with two children), you are most likely spending about $875 per month.
It is so simple to stroll around those aisles, buying a bag of Oreos here and a few bags of chips there, and then topping it off with the fun goods at the register. However, those small purchases (also known as budget busters) build up quickly and end up blowing the budget every month.
Save money on groceries by planning your meals each week and checking what you already have in your fridge and cabinets before you go shopping. Why would you want to buy more of something you already have? And if you are serious about sticking to your list, leave the kids at home.
How about saving both; money and time? Go for online grocery pickup or delivery. Most large grocery stores now provide this service (sometimes for free), and it can save you a lot of money. Picking up your groceries eliminates the bad habit of overspending on unnecessary stuff. In other words, you will be compelled to stick to your list and prevent impulse purchases.
Cancel Automatic Memberships and Subscriptions
You are probably paying for a number of subscriptions, including Netflix, Spotify, gym memberships, and Amazon Prime. It is time to cancel any subscriptions you are not using on a regular basis. When you make a payment to activate your account, make sure to switch off auto-renew. If you cancel it and realize you cannot live without it, subscribe again, only if it fits within your new and improved budget.
As for those subscriptions that you do want to keep, consider sharing memberships with family or friends. Many streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, allow you to watch your favorite shows on two or more screens. Everyone wins and saves this way!
Save Your Money Automatically
How to save money without even thinking about it? Simple, you can set up your bank account to move funds from your checking account to a savings account every month. If that seems frightening, you can alternatively set up a direct deposit to automatically transfer 10% of each salary into your savings account.
Spend Extra Money Wisely
When you receive a nice work bonus, inheritance, tax refund, or any other unexpected money, put it to good use. And by “good use” we do not mean adding that gorgeous new stamp to your stamp collection or putting money in the bank to camp out.
If you are still in debt, you would be better off using this extra cash to pay off your student loans or the balance on your credit card. If you are debt-free, put the additional money toward an emergency fund—you know, for emergencies.
Reduce Your Energy Costs
Did you know that by making a few changes to your home, you can save money on your energy bills? Start taking shorter showers (not fewer), fixing broken pipes, washing your clothes with cold tap water, and installing dimmer switches and LED light bulbs.
While modern, energy-efficient appliances are an excellent way to reduce your electric bill, they are not cheap! However, if you incorporate it into your monthly budget, you may save up and pay for those changes in cash over time.
Stop Eating Out
Can you believe that the average household in the US spends around $198/month or $2,375/year on food prepared away from home? This total includes eating in restaurants as well as takeout expenses. Buying lunch a few times a week may seem harmless at first, but in reality, packing a lunch can save you a lot of money.
Not only that, but you can often get a week’s worth of goods for the same price as two dinners out. Instead, cook your own meals and watch your savings grow month after month.
Search for Discounts
Before you buy tickets to a movie theater or sporting event make sure to look for special offers and discounts. It is always a good idea to check to see if there are any special discounts for seniors, students, teachers, military, or AAA members. If you tend to buy stuff online, you will love this list of websites that provide you with plenty of promo codes and deals for your favorite brands.
Lower Your Phone Bill
If your monthly cell phone bill exceeds your monthly grocery budget, it is time to look for ways to cut costs. Get rid of unnecessary extras like expensive data plans, phone insurance, and worthless warranties to save money on your phone. Also, do not hesitate to bargain with or switch providers. It may take some effort and research, but the savings are worth it.
Try Crafting and DIY
Before you spend money on a new backsplash, fancy light fixture, or bench, consider doing it yourself. Typically, the cost of materials and a quick web search will save you lots of money on your next home renovation project.
Furthermore, you will not have to pay someone to do something that you can most likely do yourself. However, if you are the type of person who cannot manage to hit the nail on the head, you might want to seek the assistance of a friend or neighbor so you don’t have to spend money on new drywall.
Sell Your Clutter
Declutter the items in your home that you no longer need for more space and money. Those old drums that you do not play anymore? Sell them. You would be shocked how much clutter you have in your home (that you do not even use or consider). And the money you can make from selling those items could result in a big difference in your financial situation.
Skip the Vacation
A vacation is the worst thing you could spend your money on if you want to save money right now. Rather than taking your family to the Italian beaches, consider being a tourist in your own city. This will not only save you hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of bucks, but it will also let you explore your state with new eyes and have fun while doing so.
Cut Down the Gas Expenses
Paying for the right grade of gas can save you some good money and still fit your car. While your owner’s handbook may recommend that you use premium, you can safely swap to mid-grade or even regular gas.
Also, the price of gas varies from one station to another, as well as from one neighborhood to the next. Therefore, instead of driving around looking for the best gas price, use a gas app like GasBuddy to find the cheapest place to fill up.
The hardest part of saving money is usually to get started. However, once you start seeing good results, you get motivated to keep going. Trying new daily habits can end up saving you a fortune. You do not have to apply every single tip we mentioned above at once. So, pick what works for you and start saving now!