Simple Ways to Save Money

You’ve always wanted to have that extra financial cushion in the form of a savings account, but you can’t seem to break the chain of living paycheck to paycheck. It feels like your income just isn’t substantial enough to allow you to pad a savings account.

In reality, it probably isn’t your paycheck that’s the problem; it’s your spending. Anyone can stockpile a rainy day fund if they have smart money habits and are determined to decrease their monthly spending.

Not sure how to start putting away a little money each month? Here are some simple ways to start saving without living on the bare minimum.

Open a Savings Account and Set Up an Automatic Deposit

It’s difficult to focus on saving when you don’t have a specific account dedicated to the cause. Do yourself a favor and open up a savings account with your current bank so you can watch it grow and actually keep track of how much money you’ve put into the fund.

Another good idea is to set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking account to your savings account. Look at your budget and figure out how much you can reasonably set aside for an emergency fund each month, then have your bank automatically transfer that amount into your savings. You’ll find that it’s much easier to save the money if it’s immediately moved out of your checking account.

Tackle Your Debt as Much as You Can  

According to the Federal Reserve’s latest numbers, the average American household carries more than $137,000 in debt. It’s no wonder that most people are struggling to save money when they’re constantly dealing with monthly debt payments. Therefore, one of the fastest ways to start saving is to eliminate your debt ASAP.

The sooner you aren’t chained to those loans or credit card payments, the sooner you’ll be able to feel financially secure. Plus, rebuilding your credit score after dealing with debt for years can be challenging, so it’s best to knock out the problem as soon as you can.

Be Mindful of Your Utility Bills

Many homeowners and renters underestimate how much their heating, AC, and water bills can add up, especially during the summer and winter months. Start paying attention to how much energy your home is using every day, and if you can, find other ways to make your home comfortable.

For instance, instead of cranking the heat every time your room feels chilly, consider purchasing a small heater that costs less to use. Even just saving fifty dollars a month can make a pretty substantial difference in the long run.

Take Cheaper Vacations

You may think that taking a vacation is out of the question–but that isn’t true. Sure, taking a vacation can be very expensive, especially if you’re paying for your immediate family. Try looking for a less expensive alternative.

There are family-friendly resorts that are more fun if you have children. You can also decide to go to an adults-only resort if you’re looking for some alone time with your partner. Of course you can research fun things to do in the state you live and do a road trip for the weekend. All of these options are just some of the several things you can do for a fun vacation.

Find Ways to Save on Food

The average American family spends between $151 and $180 on food each week. Although that might not seem like an outrageous amount, especially for households with multiple members, it’s easy to see how those weekly grocery bills could add up. If you really want to start saving, you’ll probably need to search for ways to lower your regular food expenses.

Cooking at home, eating leftovers, packing lunches, and purchasing off-brand food products are all great ways to start. You can also put more thought into your shopping by planning meals in advance instead of grabbing whatever ingredients and snacks sound tasty at the time.

Become a Coupon and Discount Hunter  

Although it might seem a little embarrassing to cut out coupons or ask about discounts, doing so can certainly pay off. There are also handy apps you can download on your mobile device that can help you save a dollar here and there. Sure, coupon and discount hunting won’t allow you to save for a yacht or anything, but it might be able to contribute to a financial safety net that you can rely on in years to come.  

Make Sure You’re Taking Advantage of Your Retirement Savings Plan

Many employers offer a 401(k) match program, and if you aren’t taking advantage of yours, then you’re practically throwing away free money. Even if you don’t think you can contribute much to a retirement account, at least toss a little bit in there each month.

Every deposit will add up over time and help you prepare for the future. As of 2017, half of Americans are worried they won’t be able to afford retirement. Don’t let yourself suffer those same fears as you age, especially when it’s so simple to build a retirement account.

Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions and Memberships

Signing up for that spiffy gym down the street may have seemed like a good idea at first, but are you really going to utilize it often? If not, cancel your membership and search for something cheaper. Even better, start running outside for free.

The same goes for your music and entertainment subscription services. If you aren’t truly enjoying them and using them on a daily basis, then it’s probably a good idea to cancel your subscription and pocket that money.

Be Smart When Spending

Whether you’re barely making ends meet or sitting pretty, finding extra money to save can seem challenging at first. However, simply looking at your budget and discovering small ways to save can make a huge difference. Work on weeding out silly expenses like gym memberships, expensive groceries, and entertainment services.

Also, make sure you are making monthly deposits into a savings account, as well as a retirement account, and pay off your debt as soon as possible. Sure, you might be clipping coupons and buying generic-brand cereal, but it’ll all pay off once you have a padded emergency fund that helps you sleep soundly at night.