Whether you want to buy a new car or house or have an emergency fund, saving is the simplest way to get started. However, for most people, saving is not easy. You may have gotten a new job with a better paycheck, but you don’t seem to get why you never have enough to save. Well, lucky for you, there are several tried-and-true ways to save money. Saving requires you to think ahead and be willing to reduce some expenses right now. If you’re ready, here’s how to help your future self have a better life.
Keep track of your expenses!
Tracking your spending helps you understand where every penny from your hard-earned dollars goes. From the beginning of the next month, keep a record of what you spend as you go. There are a lot of apps out there that can help you do this. Alternatively, you can keep a notebook and a pen with you or save all your receipts to add them up at the month’s end. You might be shocked at how much you spend on those treats at the grocery store.
Make a budget!
After you’ve understood where your money goes, you should make a budget with your target savings in mind. Separate your wants from needs and set a reasonable amount for each. You can even decide to eliminate some expenses that you don’t need, such as cable TV. If you’re finding it hard, you can use a budgeting app to help you make these choices. Creating a budget is one thing, now you have to stick to it.
Use a savings account!
Create a separate savings account if you do not have one. These accounts have several benefits like higher interest rates and limited withdrawals rules to keep you from pinching the cookie jar from time to time. Similarly, you can set up an automated transfer from your checking account to your savings account. Some banks will even let you give your account a name to help you remember to leave the money alone.
Save on your groceries!
If you’ve tracked your spending, you’ll notice that during most of your visits to the grocery store, you may end up spending more than you intended. This behavior is called impulse buying. First, make sure you check your pantry to know what you need. Then you can choose online shopping and delivery. If you must go, consider leaving your little ones behind so that you don’t end up buying every brand of candy out there. Furthermore, keeping your budgeting goals top of mind, e.g., using a budgeting app, can help you stick to the plan.
Ask for discounts!
Eric Rosenberg, a contributor to the Business Insider, once saved $2,000 by negotiating rent with his landlord. You too, can call up your utility companies or service providers and see whether they can give you a discount as a loyal customer. What’s more, check to see if there are any special discounts for students, teachers, veterans, or seniors the next time you go shopping. Heck, if your student email still works, you can save on many services such as Amazon Prime.
Don’t pay with credit!
Paying your bills with credit cards increases your overall debt in the future through paying interest. Moreover, you also risk overdrawing your card and lowering your credit score with high unpaid balances. To avoid this, you can set up an online bill payment with your bank if available. It allows you to keep track of your bills in one place while also maintaining a record for you if something goes wrong in processing. Correspondingly, for large purchases like laptops or phones, simply save for them and pay in cash later.
Use coupons, loyalty cards, and cashback apps!
Getting a 20% discount on your shopping with a promo coupon or loyalty card always feels great, but physically tracking coupons can be time-consuming. Luckily, with cashback apps like Ibotta and Fetch Rewards, you can buy groceries, even gas, and get cash back. What’s more, when shopping online, browser extensions like Honey will spot discounts for you. They have been around for quite a while, so you might get discounts on almost all the products you regularly buy.
Pay off your debt!
Paying off your debt will save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in interest and will increase your credit score. You can use the snowball method of debt repayment, whereby you list all of your loans from smallest to largest except for the mortgage. Then, you make sure to set aside money to pay for the smallest one first while making small monthly payments on the rest.
Use thrift stores and generic brands!
When it comes to clothing and gadgets, we often get hooked on the latest of the greatest brands. But did you know that you can get a decent-looking pair of original branded sneakers from Goodwill at $10 or less rather than $200? Correspondingly, some generic brands of medicine, electronics, and even food are close in quality with their branded counterparts. They will, however, cost you far less. So, next time you need something, remember, generic doesn’t mean fake.
Consider getting a financial advisor!
While saving money on your own is hands-down achievable, you might need a financial expert to help you analyze complex topics such as your insurance, 401(k), or even your mortgage. That said, they usually don’t come cheap, but in today’s world, everything’s changing. For as low as $36 a year, you can access expert financial advice curated using AI in several budgeting apps like Charlie or Personal Capital. But if you can afford it, look for financial advisors with a good reputation.