Are you trying to find ways to save money this year? Aren’t we all!
Money is important. And so is learning how to save money. We all could use a little extra in our bank accounts, just as a little safety cushion or perhaps for that dream vacation you’re planning. Many Americans actually live on the edge of being broke.
A study found that 40% of US adults don’t have enough money to cover a $400 emergency. Can you believe that? Don’t find yourself in these uncomfortable situations!
Easy Ways To Save Money This Year
1. Open a Savings Account
If you only have a checking account, do yourself a favor and open up a savings account ASAP.
Decide how much money you can put away on a monthly basis into your savings account and then DON’T TOUCH IT. Your savings is just that. A savings account! Only to be used in emergencies. Or, for whatever purpose you wish to give it.
I personally have two savings accounts. One is my emergency funds. The things you can’t predict and don’t have any control over like your car breaking down or your roof leaking.
I try to add at least $150 a month to this account, that’s a minimum of $1,800 a year. Set your bank account to automatically transfer an amount monthly from your checking to your savings, so you don’t forget.
The other is my vacation savings. I like to plan a trip and calculate all the costs, then I work backward and set money aside monthly for that vacation.
For example, if I calculate a dream trip will cost me $2,500 and I have 10 months until I want to travel, I know I have to set aside $250 a month from here until the trip. Easy-peasy.
2. Start (And Stick To) A Budget
It doesn’t matter how much money you put in your saving account, if you don’t create a budget at the beginning of the month, you will have money problems.
You need to know where each penny you make is going. Money isn’t one of those things you want to just wing.
It extremely important to know where your money is going and where you can improve. When you start a budget, you realize where you are overspending which is the first step in saving money.
Avoid the temptation to shop by unsubscribing from those pesky emails. I normally have great self-control, but when an email has a 40% off coupon (or something of that nature) I just have to use it.
Even if there is nothing in that store I particularly want at that moment, I’ll still feel the need to shop.
These online marketers know this, they know how tempting those coupons and sales are, that’s why they do it! Do yourself a favor and unsubscribe from all of those emails. Not only will your inbox clear up, so will your wallet.
4. Quit Cable
With things like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime there really is no reason for you to pay for an overpriced cable plan.
Chances are you only watch about 3 or 4 channels on your cable plan, that doesn’t merit a $100 a month cable bill! Even if you get all three of the streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu), you will still easily save over $50 a month and have more shows and movies than you’ll have time for.
5. Change Phone Provider
Phone providers like AT&T and Verizon charge you an arm and a leg for phone service.
Shop around and don’t just sign up for a phone company because of their marketing and brand name. At this point in time, most providers offer a very similar service with extremely different price-points.
Consider brands like MetroPCS or Cricket, they use the same lines as the big boys so you’ll have the exact same service at a fraction of the cost.
6. Use Ebates For Cashback
Have you ever tried Ebates? This won’t necessarily save you money but regardless of how frugal you become, you’ll always make purchases, so why not get cash back?
Ebates is pretty awesome, they are a completely free website. All you do is sign up, and shop through their links to get CASH on all online purchases. Try them for FREE.
7. Try a Meatless Monday
When you go grocery shopping, what tends to be the big money items?
Normally, it’s meat and fish! You can save anywhere from $20 to $100 a month simply by cutting out meat one day a week.
Meat is really expensive and you can get all your protein and nutrients from veggies, beans, lentils, and pastas.
8. Use Everything In Your Fridge/Pantry
The biggest problem we seem to have is we go grocery shopping without a list and then end up purchasing things we 1. already had or 2. don’t have a recipe for.
So a lot of food goes to waste. I challenge you to stop going grocery shopping until you have eaten/used at least 80% of what’s in your fridge and pantry.
Chances are, with some creativity, you can prepare a week full of meals with what you already have at home.
9. Switch to Paperless
Did you know most banks charge you to send a paper statement in the mail? Same goes for most bills and credit cards. Switch to paperless and review all your statements online.
It might not seem like much, but you might be paying anywhere from $10 to $30 in paper fees a month. There’s just no need whatsoever.
Most of my statements would go straight into the trash as I was already checking everything directly online.
10. Buy Generic
Is there any real benefit to buying a brand name over a generic? In most cases, no!
Try out generic brands whenever possible, but always compare prices as sometimes the brand name goes on sale and can actually be cheaper than the generic.
But overall, you’re likely paying a $1 more or so just for the fancy logo and marketing.
11. Lower The Temperature On Your Water Heater
Set your water heater to 120 degrees to save money on your heating costs. For every 10 degrees you lower your water heater, you save about 5% on your bill.
This small change won’t affect your showers much and will help keep more change in your pocket. If you just lower you water heater from 140F to 120F, you can save up to $460 a year!
12. Transfer All Debt To Lower Interest
If you have a lot of different debt with a variety of interest rates, you can feel overwhelmed and confused.
Which do you prioritize and pay first?
The solution. Transfer all your debt to one, so you only have to focus on a single payment at a time. This will save you a ton of money down the line because interest rates are insane!
13. Use The 24 Hour Rule
This is a rule I’ve implemented to avoid impulse shopping. Think over each nonessential purchase for a minimum of 24 hours.
Chances are, most of your nonessentials are purchased online. So place these goodies in your cart and wait 24 hours until you decide to finalize the purchase.
There have been a lot of items I’ve decided aren’t worth it or that aren’t practical the day after, saving me a ton of money!
14. Stop Paying Full Price
There are always sales going on. If you’re patient, you will be able to purchase whatever you have your eye on at the end of the season for a deep discount.
There are only a few ‘luxury’ brands that never have sales, but if you want to save money, you probably shouldn’t be looking at those $600 purses. The only time you should ever pay full price is in an emergency. As in, your only winter coat got lost and it’s December.
In this scenario, maybe you shouldn’t wait until the end of the season but perhaps check second-hand stores beforehand.
15. Use Airbnb When Traveling
This one isn’t a secret. Airbnb is often times much cheaper than a hotel room.
And because most come with a kitchen, you can purchase a couple of things at a grocery store to make instead of overspending on takeout food or eating out. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, click here to get $40 towards your first trip.
16. Save Your Tax Refund
I used to feel like a millionaire whenever I got my tax refund and would blow it on crap I didn’t need.
When you get your refund, it’s tempting to go out and spend it, however the best thing you can do for your future self is to put it away in savings and forget you even received it at all.
17. Keep Your Cash In Large Bills
It’s easy to spend that $5 or $10 bill, however, if you have a $100, you tend to think it through better before breaking it.
I know I have no problem giving $5 for a cup of coffee, however, if I have to break a $50, I tend to not make the purchase.
Keeping large bills might give you a psychological push to not spend your money.
18. Save All Your Spare Change
Put all your spare change in a piggy bank at the end of the day. My father has the bad habit of never keeping his cents. Even if something is $14.02, he’ll tell the cashier to keep the change.
I, on the contrary, do keep all my cents, and at the end of the year take it to a Coinstar at Walmart in exchange for a gift certificate.
I normally have about $100 to $200 in coins! That covers my groceries for two weeks and then some.
If you use Coinstar, just make sure to get a gift certificate for Walmart! If not, they take a fee for giving you cash (sometimes as high as 15%!!)
19. Empty Out and Get Rid of Your Storage Unit
When was the last time you got something out of your storage unit?
Instead of paying a hefty fee each month, empty out your storage unit, sell whatever is inside (hello extra money!!), and save yourself almost $1,000 a year on something you likely don’t use/need.
20. Change to a No-Fee Bank
A lot of banks charge you a fee if you don’t have a minimum amount of money in the account.
The fee can be as small as $6.00 a month, however, you shouldn’t pay a fee when other banks provide the exact same service without charging you anything.
Shop around for a bank that better fits your needs.
21. Ride Your Bike
You see this tip everywhere, and for good reason! Riding your bike to work will save you money on gas, parking, maintenance, and registration.
On top of all this, it also helps keep you fit and healthy.
A road bike might seem like a hefty investment up front, but it’s money well-spent when those hundred dollars save you thousands on car maintenance or oil changes down the line.
22. Don’t Upgrade your Phone in a Two-Year Cycle
Phone companies love to lock you in for a two-year contract when you purchase a new phone.
What ends up happening is once that contract is up, they send you a great ‘promotion’ and tempt you to upgrade that phone for a brand new, shinier one. So you’re constantly paying for a brand new phone even though yours is still in great condition.
I personally have had my iPhone for 3.5 years now, and yes I am tempted by the new features and camera of the new iPhone, however, my phone still works perfectly well.
Chances are unless you drop it, your phone can work for a solid 4 or even 5 years with no problems. Avoid trying to keep up with the Joneses and don’t upgrade.
Don’t forget to compare phone companies at. the end of your contract as well. A lot of smaller companies like Tello offer great service at a quarter of the cost of the big guys.
23. If You Must Buy A New Phone, Buy One Model Down
Once Apple comes out with the latest phone, the one down is normally up to $250 off. Also, the differences between one phone and the other are tiny and not worth the huge price gap.
If your phone breaks or isn’t working properly, never buy the latest phone and save hundreds of dollars in the process.
24. Get Rid Of Your Landline
I think most of us reading this don’t have a landline, but if you do, chances are you also have a phone you use way more.
Cancel your landline to cut costs. As an added bonus, this will help you avoid paying phone taxes in many states!
25. Downsize Your Car
Everyone knows a new car loses it values the second you drive it off the lot.
On top of this, there is no reason to have a big, fancy car that costs much more money over time.
Just the parts for a Mercedes are almost triple for a Honda. Imagine if you need to get a new engine for that Mercedes? There goes your emergency fund.
Downsize your car for one that fits your budget and lifestyle better and drive it until it’s just unrunnable anymore, not until a brand new, shinier model appears.
26. Get a Programmable Thermostat
Heating costs can get out of control in the winter time, an adjustable thermostat can definitely have a big effect on your finances.
A programmable thermostat can save you hundreds of dollars during the winter.
You can program it to turn off during the day when you’re out of the house, and on at night when you’re home/sleeping. Theres no reason your heater should be on when you’re not home.
27. Fix Your Clothes
Stop throwing away clothes simply because they have a small tear on them.
Sewing or patching up clothes isn’t hard, and even if you think that’s not for you, a tailor can fix it easily and for very little money.
It makes much more sense to spend a couple of dollars fixing your clothes that repurchasing a brand new
28. Focus on Needs and Not Wants
If we were to spend our money on our needs and not our wants, we would not have any money problems whatsoever.
However, we are only human and sometimes certain things catch our eye. I’m not advising you don’t spend money on wants, but they should make up a very small part of your budget.
Nowadays, many people spend 90% of their salaries on wants and 10% on needs, or many times, even more than they make, leading to debt.
Focus more on your necessities; roof, transportation, food.
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