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Deep down, we know we should save money regularly. But we don’t necessarily know how to save money or where to start.
Per CareerBuilder, the majority of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Meaning that most people can’t afford a small unexpected expense. That’s when things can get tough, and paying monthly expenses can become challenging.
I tried to find the universal saving recipe for everyone to use, but at the end of the day, it depends on our habits and we all have different ones.
However, there are several ways to save money that don’t affect our daily life too much. They can be grouped in 5 categories: financial tools, monthly expenses, extra earnings, time, and bank services.
How To Save Money Using Financial Tools?
1 – Leftover Fund
Before learning how to save money, you need to review your current financial situation. That way you can determine how far or how close you are from reaching your goals. Let’s calculate your leftover fund to see if you are living below, within, or beyond your means.
Your leftover fund is the money that you have in your bank account at the end of the month. You can calculate it by subtracting your monthly expenses to your monthly income.
If positive, it means that you’re already saving money every month. If negative, it means that you’re spending more than your earnings.
2 – Automating Savings
A few studies have shown that people tend to use the majority of the money they have in their checking accounts. In other words, the more they have, the more they spend. But there is a way to trick yourself to spend less money.
You can set up automatic transfers to your savings account every time you receive your paychecks. By not seeing the money in your checking account, you won’t be tempted to spend it.
But don’t forget to keep enough money to pay for your essential expenses like food, utilities, rent/mortgage, and loans.
3 – Cash Only
For a lot of people, credit cards are the reason why they spend a lot of much money. It’s hard to keep track of how much we spend unless you constantly look at your bank accounts.
If you find yourself in this situation, a great savings technique is to use only cash. It can help you regain control of your money by being more aware of what you spend your money on. You will automatically reduce the amount of purchases you make.
4 – Budgeting
It’s easy to pay for small purchases without even noticing it. But at the end of the month, they can become significant. It’s one of the reasons we don’t know where our money goes.
Creating a budget can help you control your monthly expenses and improve your finances. You just have to follow these 5 steps.
- Define many purchase categories
- Make a list of all your expenses from the past months
- Determine a monthly budget for each category
- Regularly keep track of your spendings
- Reassess your monthly budget overtime to perfect it
How To Save Money Cutting Expenses?
5 – Food
Cook Large Portions
Have you ever wonder how much money you’re spending on lunches? It’s pretty expensive, but a great way to save money is to cook large portions for dinner. That way, you can pack the leftovers for your next day’s lunch.
Another benefit of cooking large portions is that you can split the food into equal size servings. That way, you can eat one serving at a time and freeze the rest for the days you don’t want to cook.
Cut Back On Eating Out
Cutting back on eating out can save you a lot of money. That’s why you need to know why you are regularly eating out. Is it to meet with friends? Or is it because you don’t want to cook?
For each reason, there is a solution. For example, you can host a potluck with your friends. You can save money by paying food services that deliver food to your door. It will be cheaper than going to a restaurant, and the quality will be similar.
Save On Groceries
If you have extra storage at home, buying food in bulk can save you a few bucks.
From time to time, grocery stores are making massive sales on specific items. It’s the perfect time to buy in bulk the items you use daily.
6 – Clothes
People love wearing new clothes all the time. Other people can’t help themselves to buy clothes. While they might feel good doing it, buying new clothes can become a big part of their monthly expenses.
Luckily, there are ways to buy clothes and save money simultaneously.
For example, you can shop in outlets, thrift stores, or during sales events. You can even make a few bucks buy selling the clothes you don’t use to specialized stores.
7. Monthly Subscription Services
It’s easy to subscribe to monthly subscription services without even thinking about it. They are usually not that expensive, but combined they add up to a lot of money. It’s a great idea to go over all your subscriptions to see if you still need them.
- List all your monthly services
- Cancel the ones that you’re not using anymore
- Look for cheaper alternatives for the ones you’re still using
For example, monthly services can be your internet plan, phone plan, music, magazines, streaming, games, cable TV, and apps.
8. Utility Bills
Utility bills are a great way to save a lot of money. And since you pay them every month, it means you can save every month!
You should analyze your utilities usage to find the low hanging fruits. For example, there are a lot of ways you can optimize your electricity, gas, or water consumption. Some of your utility providers are even giving free tips on their websites.
Take a look at the everyday tips from PG&E to learn how to save on your electricity bill.
How To Save Money Using Extra Earnings?
9. Tax Refunds
Most Americans tend to consider their tax refunds as extra money they can spend on anything they desire. However, there’s another way you can use them.
If you are not using this cash to pay for your monthly expenses, you will hardly miss it. Why not using it as a contribution to your savings.
10. Work Bonuses
Work bonuses are the best! Your manager notifies your work and decides to recognize your effort by giving you a bonus.
But, similarly to your tax refunds, it’s a great idea to use your work bonuses as a savings opportunity.
If you deserve a bonus but didn’t get one, you should start the conversation with your manager. Sometimes, just talking about it can unlock it. You should go to your manager with the reasons why you deserve a bonus and ask what else you should do to get it.
11. Birthday Gifts
Birthdays are usually synonym of presents. Some of us are still lucky enough to receive birthday presents from our friends and families.
Next time they ask you what you want, be prepared. Ask for gifts that can help you improve your financial situation.
For example, an app to track your monthly expenses, a book to learn how to invest, or professional services to help you make more out of your money.
We usually spend years to pay off our debts. And then we increase our monthly expenses because we have more money in our bank accounts.
However, a great way to save money is to transfer the amount of your old debt payments to your savings every month. It won’t impact your lifestyle because this money was already going to your creditors.
If you still carry debt, try to make extra payments towards it every month. It will allow you to pay your debt faster and save money on interests.
How To Save Money Using Your Time?
13. Free Activities
Per Bankrate, 68% of Americans have skipped paid activities in the past year because of their cost. However, it doesn’t mean you have to stay home instead.
There are a lot of free activities to do in family. Do some research and make a list of free activities to do when you don’t want to stay home.
For example, checkout your city monthly events, go on a hike, visit your local library, go to the park to play with your kids, or give time to help people in need.
Decluttering has a positive double effect because it allows you to earn extra cash and make more space in your home!
Take a look for items you don’t use in your house, garage, or anywhere else, and then sell them online.
They are several platforms you can use to sell your used items like Craigslist, Letgo, or Facebook MarketPlace. They connect you directly with potential buyers in your local area. In other words, way you save money by not paying for shipping services.
15. Side Hustle
Another way to save money is to earn money. So why not starting a side hustle to get extra cash? A side hustle could be something you always wanted to do or something more mainstream like driver.
The great benefit of side hustles is having the ability to decide when to work.
16. Low-Risk Investment Accounts
Another way to save money is to make your savings work for you. Because keeping your savings in traditional bank accounts won’t help you to get wealthy.
You also don’t want to keep your funds in high-risk accounts. However, low-risk accounts are the perfect investment tool for your savings because they guarantee your principal.
The most popular low-risk investment account is the high-yield savings account.
How To Save Money Using Bank Services?
17. Savings Accounts
Most of the time, people open their savings accounts in the same bank of their checking accounts. The issue with it is that the probability of spending your savings is too high due to their high accessibly.
Opening a savings account in a different bank will help you keep your cash longer. Saving money can also be synonym of not spending it.
18. New Bank Accounts
Some banks offer “welcome” bonuses to new clients when they open a new bank account. It can be a great way to earn extra cash to grow your savings.
In general, these offers required you to follow a few rules like setting up direct deposits and keep your account open for a certain amount of time.
19. New Credit Cards
Similarly to our last point, some financial institutions offer “welcome” bonuses to clients when they open a new credit card. To unlock the bonus, you usually need to spend a specific amount of money within a certain amount of time.
Be careful with this strategy. Your goal is to save money, not to buy more thing to get a bonus. Get a credit card where you need to spend no more than your monthly expenses to unlock the bonus. Always stay in control of your finances no matter what.
In conclusion, there are a lot of ways you can use to save money. However, only you can know with ones fit the best into your current financial situation. Now it’s time for you to take action and start your financial journey.