Making money is just part of the job, and most of us do it almost every day. But sometimes it seems like keeping that hard-earned cash in the bank presents a bit of a challenge. Let us help you save money today!
If money comes in and out of your account more quickly than you’d like it to, you could be overspending without even realizing it. With just a few minor adjustments to your lifestyle, you can easily save money, reduce your spendings, and increase your savings!
We’ve outlined several ways to help you save money below, but before we get into that we’d like to talk about the 24-hour rule. By asking you to consider expensive or unnecessary purchases for a minimum of 24 hours, this slow-shopping philosophy helps avoid impulse buys of expensive or unnecessary items. Each time you make a purchase, carefully consider the quality of the item, why you need it, and how you will use it. This works particularly well with online shopping, as you can add items to your cart and revisit them to purchase or delete the next day. While a one-day period is the minimum, a waiting window of as long as 30-days can transform your purchase habits and help keep those dollars in the bank!
With that in mind, here’s our list of the top 15 ways to save money!
1. Withdraw From Your Bank
When you need cash, withdraw from your bank’s ATM or get cash-back from a grocery store or coffee shop in a pinch. Making occasional withdrawals from the ATM of another credit union might seem convenient in the moment, but even if you only do it once a week, that $2-$3 charge can easily add up.
2. Switch to Auto-Pay
By using automatic payment for recurring bills, you can ensure that you never miss payments. This means no late charges or penalties!
3. Don’t Register Your Card
Allowing sites to remember your card does two things: it makes fraud and theft a piece of cake, and it also makes it much easier for you to make online impulse purchases. Remove your card from any site that it’s registered with, and don’t allow sites to retain credit card information in the future!
4. Buy Groceries With Cash
Do you spend far more on groceries than you’d like to? We’ve found that one of the most effective ways to save on food is to set a budget, commit to stick to it, and then purchase all your grocery items with cash. Set your budget around your monthly average, or a little lower if you really want to save. Withdraw cash on a schedule—taking out a weekly amount works well to keep you from overspending! This method allows you to keep your grocery bill to an exact amount that fits your budget.
5. Eat In
This tip really works! Grabbing lunch out costs an average of $5-15, but brown-bagging your lunch can be as little as $2-3. Taking the family out to eat can easily add up to $100 per meal. Eating at home, you can make meals to serve your entire family for $5-10. If eating at home all the time sounds too daunting, try this: commit to eating out one day less every week. If you typically get lunch or dinner out four days a week, switch to three. Your wallet will thank you!
6. Use Weekly Ads
Weekly ads are a great way to save money on your groceries! Always be sure to check local ads for discounts and coupons before going shopping. Stock up on dry pantry items when they’re on sale, and plan your meals around discounted meats and fresh produce!
7. Cancel Subscriptions
We highly recommend conducting a subscription audit. To get started, you consider cancelling magazine and newspaper subscriptions and switching to free online resources. Instead of signing up for services like Audible or Netflix, make use of your local library! Take a close look at anything you pay a monthly or yearly fee to be a part of, and cancel whatever doesn’t offer enough value or discounts to make it worth what you pay.
8. Evaluate Cable Package
How much do you spend on cable? The average American lays down $100 monthly for TV services. That’s $1200 every year, and prices continue to go up. Consider downgrading your cable package, or cancelling it all together! Instead, look for free community entertainment, read a little more, or get the family together for boardgames or jigsaw puzzles!
9. Skip the Coffee Shop
Invest in a good quality coffee pot, like a French Press or Capresso, and start making your coffee at home! With the availability of good quality coffee makers and bean blends, you can have delicious craft coffee at home for a fraction of the coffee shop price.
10. Watch your Utilities
Here are some quick tips to help you save on utilities! During the winter, keep your heat between 66-68 while you’re home, but try lowering it to 55 when you go out or even at night. During the summer, close your blinds to keep the sunlight out and maintain a comfortably cool house without using air conditioning! Be sure to turn lights off when they aren’t in use, and consider installing low-flow shower heads and water faucets to save on your water bill.
11. Avoid Brand Names
Generic plastic bags work just about as well as brand names like Glad or Zip-Lock, and for about two-thirds the price. Whether you’re shopping for home essentials, cleaning products, or pantry items, always opt for generic or sale products before reaching for the expensive brand name!
12. Refinance Your Mortgage
If you’re a home owner, it may be possible for you to get a lower interest rate on your mortgage! Check in with your lender to see if refinancing is an option for you. You’ll save on monthly bills and cut back on long-term interest charges.
Transportation and Travel Savings
13. Drive Less
Start by purchasing a fuel efficient car, then save even more on fuel by carpooling or taking public transportation! Not only will you reduce the amount you spend on gas or diesel, you’ll put less miles on your car and keep it in better condition for longer.
14. Plan Ahead for Plane Tickets
When it’s time for you to plan a trip, start browsing for tickets a few weeks or even months before you mean to purchase. Tickets can go up and down on a daily basis, and planning ahead can help you score major flight savings. Make a point of checking multiple sites, as some discount airlines aren’t listed through third-party services.
15. Use Travel Points
Next time you book a hotel, rent a car, or purchase a plane ticket, be sure to apply your credit travel points! This is a great way to let your spending habits help you save money.
As you look for ways to save money in your everyday life, remember that not all of these tips will apply to everyone. We’d recommend you choose 5-10 that fit your lifestyle, and try to incorporate them into your daily habits as naturally as you can! Even small changes, implemented with the 24-hour purchasing rule, will help improve your budget and boost your savings!