Does the topic of saving money make you feel a little guilty? You have good intentions when it comes to saving money, but something always comes up. But in reality, you’ll only start saving money when you learn healthy money habits and let your future needs be more important than your current wants.
There are plenty of practical ways to save money and breathe some fresh air into your budget. With a few tweaks to your spending, you’ll be on the fast track to saving money in no time. Here are 20 money-saving tips (that actually make sense).
1. Say goodbye to debt.
Monthly debt payments are the biggest money suck when it comes to saving. Debt robs you of your income! So, it’s about time you get rid of that debt. The fastest way to pay off debt is with the debt snowball method.
2. Cut down on groceries.
Most people—after they do a budget—are shocked to find out how much they’re actually spending at the grocery store each month.
3. Cancel automatic subscriptions and memberships.
Chances are, you’re paying for multiple subscriptions like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, gym memberships, trendy subscription boxes and Amazon Prime. It’s time to cancel any subscriptions you don’t use on the regular. And make sure that you turn off auto-renew when you make a purchase.
4. Buy generic.
Hands down, one of the easiest ways to save money is to give name brands the boot. In most cases, the only thing that’s better about brand-name products is the marketing.
5. Cut ties with cable.
It’s no secret that cable prices are rising like crazy. The average monthly price for cable TV is about $107 a month—which adds up to over $1,200 a year!2 Here’s the good news: Cable isn’t the only way to watch your favorite shows these days. Cut the cord and find out how to save big with alternatives to cable like network apps and streaming services.
6. Save money automatically.
Did you know that you can save money without thinking about it? Yup—you can set up your bank account to automatically transfer funds from your checking account into a savings account every month.
7. Spend extra or unexpected income wisely.
When you get a nice work bonus (way to go!), inheritance or tax refund, put it to good use. And when we say “good use,” we aren’t talking about adding that fancy new stamp to your stamp collection or even just putting it in the bank to camp out.
8. Reduce energy costs.
Did you know that you can save money on your electric bill just by making a few tweaks to your home? Start with some simple things like taking shorter showers (nope, we didn’t say fewer), fixing leaky pipes, washing your clothes in cold tap water, and installing dimmer switches and LED lightbulbs.
9. Unsubscribe from emails.
Email marketers are really good at what they do. They know the irresistible temptation of a 24-hour sale or exclusive coupon. And talk about those flashy GIFs!
10. Check your insurance rates.
No, really. Did you know people save an average of $700 when they have an Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) check over their insurance rates for them? $700! You owe it to yourself to at least have them look things over for you and see what savings they can dig up.
11. Pack lunch (and eat at home).
Buying lunch a few times a week may seem harmless in the moment (especially when your favorite restaurant is walking distance from your office), but you can save quite a bit of money just by packing a lunch!
12. Ask about discounts (and pay in cash).
You never know until you ask—and you should always ask. Next time you’re getting tickets at a movie theater, museum or sporting event, check to see if they have any special discounts for seniors, students, teachers, military or AAA members. If not, never underestimate the negotiating power of cash!
13. Take advantage of your retirement savings plan.
If your employer offers a 401(k) match and you aren’t taking full advantage of it, you’re missing out big time!
14. Lower your cell phone bill.
If your monthly cell phone bill competes with your monthly grocery budget, it’s time to find ways to cut back. Save money on your cell service by getting rid of extras like costly data plans, phone insurance and useless warranties.
15. Try a spending freeze.
Don’t buy any nonessential items for a week—or even a month! Think about it as a contentment challenge. While you’re at it, take inventory of what you’re grateful for each day. This should help kick your “want-itis” in the pants!
16. DIY . . . everything!
Before you shell out the cash to pay for a new backsplash, fancy light fixture or bench, think about doing it yourself! Usually, the cost of materials and a simple Google or YouTube search will save you a ton of money on your latest home project.
17. Skip the coffee shop.
Ouch. This one is painful—we get it! But instead of spending $5 on that daily latte, you can save money by just making your coffee at home. Listen, we’re not saying you should only drink instant coffee (unless you’re into that sort of thing). But even purchasing a bag of local beans from your neighborhood coffee shop and brewing it at home will save you a lot of money in the long run.
18. The library is your friend.
Before you click “add to cart” on that brand-new book, check your local library to see if you can borrow it! Most libraries also have audiobooks and digital copies of your favorite books for rent. It’s an easy way to get your reading in without breaking the bank.
19. Try a staycation.
When your goal is to save money now, a vacation is the worst thing you could spend your money on. Instead of whisking your family off to the Greek Isles, try being a tourist in your own city.
20. Sell everything (that doesn’t bring you joy).
Marie Kondo has the right idea. Declutter the things in your home that you don’t need and are willing to let go of for the sake of your financial future.
You can stop the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck with a simple secret: Make a zero-based budget before the month begins. A budget is all about being intentional. It helps you create a plan so you can see where your money is going and find out how much you can actually save each month. When you make a zero-based budget, you’re giving every single dollar a name—or assigning it a job to do—before you save or spend it. Remember: It really doesn’t matter how much money you make—what matters is how you spend and save the money you make.
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