Saving money is a goal that nearly everyone aspires to achieve. Yet, if you are already pinching your pennies while living paycheck to paycheck you may wonder how you can possibly save any cash by the end of the month, let alone a hundred dollars or more. Here are 10 easy tips that can help you save money fast!
1. Make and Follow a Budget
The best way to add an extra $100 into your savings account is to determine where each incoming dollar will go before it is spent by creating a written budget. Carefully allocating every dollar each month into a category will help you plan how to save money and to evaluate where your money is being spent. It will take time to get your budget tweaked so that it is workable for you, but once you’ve determined the responsibility for each dollar, stick to it! You will be surprised how tightening up some areas in your budget can help you easily add a few dollars or more into your savings account. Put your budget in a place you will see daily to remind you of your plan and your resolve.
2. Record your Spending
Remember the good old fashioned system used to reconcile a checkbook? A similar system should be used for purchases made with cash or debit cards. Any transactions need to be written down and subtracted from your budget allotment in each spending category. You can do this manually, using a spending tracking app, or using our calculator to get you on the path of creating your very own money saving plan.
If you spend over your budget in one area during the month, make sure you allot for the amount spent in another area in your budget. It might be tempting to let purchases go unaccounted for, but don’t cheat! While it may sting for a while, tracking and being accountable for your spending is the only way to keep your budget intact.
3. Use Cash for Purchases
While debit cards are convenient, they can quickly lead to overspending. Cash is both tangible and visible, and watching each dollar leave your hand into the hand of another makes you think carefully about your purchases. Pay cash for every purchase that isn’t a fixed automatic deduction or expense, such as your car loan or mortgage. This will keep you from overspending by keeping a close account of each dollar going out. Try it for a month – you might be surprised just how budget conscious you become.
4. Trim Your Food Budget
Did you know that according to the American Chemistry Council, Americans waste between $640-$900 of household food each year? Imagine, if instead, careful meal planning allowed you to save the $53-$75 dollars a month that literally goes into the trash. Plan your trips to the grocery store with a well thought out meal plan and shopping list. Planning your meals will keep you conscious of the food you need to use up as well as keeping you focused when you shop – helping you to avoid waste and allowing you to save cash fast!
5. Automatic Savings Transfer
We all figure that we have enough self-control to save the extra amount deposited into our checking account, but why not take away the temptation to spend with an automatic transfer into savings?
Even if you only can save a few dollars in each week or pay period, you will be surprised how quickly your savings and self-discipline will grow. You can request an automatic savings transfer with your bank to coincide with the date you are paid, or it can be easily set up if you have direct deposit from your employer. Again, a written budget can help you find the areas in your spending to trim and those savings can be automatically transferred into your savings account before you have a chance to spend it elsewhere.
6. Cut Your Subscriptions
We all have had those automated subscription payments that come and go without us really considering the cost. Streaming services, audio books, even memberships often go unused but are paid for, nonetheless. Even if you use those services, many companies allow a month to month service as well as cancellation. Consider pulling back on these services for a while; who knows, maybe you won’t even miss them and instead can use the extra money to beef up your savings account.
7. Change Your Car Insurance
It’s true, changing car insurance can save you money, and you don’t even have to wait until your policy renews to make a change. Shop around and make sure that when comparing policies, you look at all of the components of the policy, not just the deductible and premium.
If you have had any life or financial changes, such as a marriage, change in your credit report or your driving record, be sure to contact your insurer and their competitors to get a quote to reflect your new circumstance. You may also want to reduce coverage when your car gets older or look for a low mileage discount if you do not drive often. Chances are, a little research and a few phone calls can add up to quite a bit of savings each month.
8. Brown Bag It
With such busy lifestyles, it may come as no surprise to learn that the average person eats an average of 4.2 commercially prepared meals each week. However, when you think about the money that could be saved by eating just a few of those meals at home or brown-bagging a lunch to work or school, it would seem the added preparation would be well worth the savings. Reducing any spending on outside meals is a great way to build up that $100 in savings. This is one of the most impactful and best money saving tips that anyone can do immediately!
9. DIY to Save Money
How many services do you pay for that you could learn to do yourself after spending a little bit of time on YouTube? From oil changes and basic plumbing skills to pet grooming and yard care, look for the services you pay for each month or two that you could do yourself. Or, spread out the time between the services so you can make your money stretch further. While you might pay a little in the upfront costs of supplies, you can save a bundle in the long run and learn useful skills.
10. Sell Your Stuff
You know what they say, “one man’s trash, is another man’s treasure.” Trash or not, you probably have a bunch of items around your house that you just don’t use anymore. There has never been an easier time to sell to a large pool of people with social media or other sites that charge a small fee when your item is sold. Or, if you have a lot of things to get rid of, consider holding a yard sale to make some extra cash to add to your savings. Selling your old stuff, not only reduces clutter, it can create just the financial boost you need to begin or boost your savings.
Saving money can be easier than you think with proper planning, certain lifestyle changes, or just learning a new skill. Be sure to use our savings calculator to see just how quickly your savings can grow!
What are some things you have done to save money?