Easy Ways to Save Money
Saving money doesn’t have to be a chore. There are a variety of tools and shortcuts at your disposal that can help you track your spending and cut back on regular purchases to help you save more. From entertainment to transportation and online shopping, learn about the best ways to save money.
Technology is here to make your life easier. There are all kinds of budgeting apps out there designed to help you track everyday purchases. Your current bank or credit union may even offer these online banking tools.
Some programs will track your purchases automatically, giving a breakdown of your monthly or weekly expenses. This helps you recognize certain patterns, so you can figure out which expenses to cut.
Other tools will send you an alert if you go past a certain spending limit, so you don’t have to keep checking your account. For example, you can set up text alerts or set spending limits through card controls. With so many expenses and opportunities to spend money, keeping up with your finances can be a challenge. Let automation take the wheel, so you can focus on other issues.
Count Your Money
If you tend to use a lot of cash, take out a certain amount of cash for the week so that you’re not tempted to go over your limit. This is known as the envelope budget.
You should have enough money to take care of your regular expenses with extra cash on the side for other expenses. The rest of your money should go into savings. If you’ve used up your cash, resist the urge to use a credit card to pay for non-essential expenses like eating out or entertainment.
Set Up a Separate Account
Consider setting up a separate checking or savings account to help keep organized. Set aside a certain amount of money each month or week to match spending habits (needs, wants, etc.) or savings goals.
Setting up a separate account or naming an account is a great money hack that can help you stick to your spending or savings plan.
For example, it may be easier to control your spending if you see you only have $100 left for the month in your “dining out” account. Or you may be more motivated to save if you see that you have $900 in your “trip to Europe” savings account and the flight costs $1,000.
Keep track of your balance online using your mobile banking app to see how much you have left after each purchase. Be careful to not overspend to avoid overdraft fees and set up overdraft protection for your accounts.
Look for Online Coupons
The internet is full of coupons that can help you save money on all kinds of products and services. You can look for coupons for products that you normally purchase in-store. You may need to print some of them out, but most retailers should be able to scan the barcode off your phone.
You can also use special discount codes when purchasing goods and services online. This isn’t as time-consuming as you might think. Just type the name or brand of whatever you’re looking to buy plus the word “coupon” into Google or another related search engine.
Look through the search results to find coupons related to your chosen product or business. You can use these coupons for everything from meals at a local restaurant to Netflix and other subscriptions.
There are several websites exclusively devoted to online coupons. Some of them may be expired, it’s always worth checking if you have a few spare minutes. Look for a “Discount Code” option when filling out your payment information on the retailer’s website.
Keep Track of Automatic Deductions
Your money can easily get away from you when companies are automatically deducting money from your account on a weekly or monthly basis. Automatic deductions and subscriptions may sound convenient, but they can also eat away at your account without you realizing it. It may help to set a notification for when the charge is due, so you don’t forget about these ongoing expenses.
Go through your bank account and look for weekly or monthly expenses that you don’t remember making. You may have signed up for a newsletter, streaming service or program and forgotten about it. Visit the company’s website and delete your account or subscription. You can also use apps that help you keep track of and manage the subscription services you're paying for.
If you find that you’re not using a certain subscription frequently, consider unsubscribing. Especially if you have other subscriptions that you use more. For example, if you have Netflix, Hulu and HBO max, you may want to consider only keeping the one that you watch the most.
Cut Transportation Costs
Reducing your transportation costs can be a great way to increase your savings each month. Biking to work or catching a ride even one day a week instead of commuting can help you save money. You’ll spend less on gas, insurance and regular repairs.
If you have access to public transportation, sign up for monthly passes and cards to avoid spending money on every trip. You might be able to walk, drive or bike part of the way and use the bus or train to reduce your commute.
If you believe you can do part of your job from home, now’s the time to do so. Consider talking to your employer about the possibility of working from home at least one or two days a week. More people are commuting virtually than ever before. If you complete most of your work over the phone or computer, chances are you might not have to commute at all.
We live in a world where companies seem to be releasing new products and devices every few months or less. New features and accessories lure us into replacing our existing devices even if they still work.
Avoid buying the newest version of a product because they are usually priced at a premium. Look through local online marketplaces for used products or look for the last season's model to find items at a reduced price.
You can also switch to renewable sources of energy to save on your utility bills. Many homeowners are installing solar panels to generate their own electricity. The utility company may even pay you to pump excess energy into the electric grid. Installing solar panels may have tax benefits, as well as increase the value of your home. Due to costs associated with installing the panels, solar energy may be more of a long-term investment into energy savings.
Install energy-efficient LED lightbulbs and appliances to reduce your energy consumption at home. Turn down the thermostat at night to keep your HVAC costs down. Conduct regular energy audits to make sure all that power is going to good use. Your utility companies may include information on your bill about which appliances or areas of your home are using the most energy to help you cut back on usage.
Consolidate Your Debt
If you have debts with more than one lender or company, consider applying for a new personal loan to consolidate your debt. Some companies and firms charge higher interest rates that make it nearly impossible for some people to pay off the principal amount, leading to a never-ending cycle of debt.
Add up all your outstanding debts and look for a lender that’s willing to issue you a new loan. You can use this money to pay off all your previous debts at once so that you will only have one loan to manage.
Before applying for the consolidation loan, make sure that you have a good credit score, otherwise, it may be harder to qualify for the loan or lock in a lower interest rate.
The new loan should help you lock in a lower interest rate than what you were paying before, so you can get out of debt as soon as possible and avoid paying more in interest.
Refinance Your Loans
If you have a mortgage or auto loan, consider refinancing your loans with a new lender. Contact a local lender that’s willing to issue you a new loan with a lower interest rate to pay off your debt as soon as possible.
Compare the terms and conditions of the new loan to your old one to make sure you will save money in the long run. You can also refinance your loan to reduce your monthly payment, so you can put more money towards more urgent debts, such as high-interest credit cards.
Set Clear Financial Goals
It’s always best to track your progress when you’re trying to save money. Try to set aside a certain amount of money every week or month and build on these funds as you continue to save over time.
Keep in mind that some accounts automatically round up purchases to the nearest dollar amount, so the spare change goes directly into savings.
If you end up missing your goal, look through your finances to see how you came up short. Come up with a savings plan to avoid making the same mistake next time. As you learn how to save money, slowly increase your goals to build your savings.
You shouldn’t have to go too far out of your way to cut costs. Use these easy ways to save money to stay in control of your finances.