A new year is a great time to start reviewing your financial practices and money management from the past year. Not only is it helpful to know where you’ve overspent, but reviewing your finances also helps when it comes time to make a budget going forward.
There are big moves you can make to save more money, like opening a savings or investment account, but there are smaller steps you can take on an everyday basis to keep your savings growing.
Whether you try one or all of these 31 money saving ideas, you’ll be on your way to a more financially prudent track.
Save Money On Shopping
You spend money every day, so finding ways to decrease that amount regularly will result in more savings throughout the year. You’ll be surprised at how easy some of these tips are to implement.
1. Make A Budget: Map out all of the different ways you spend on a daily basis, from meals to entertainment to transportation. When you see how much you spend on each of these things, you can look for alternatives to save.
2. Use Cash: When you only pay with cash, if you run out, you can’t spend any more. Using cash is a great way to keep yourself on budget and to avoid spiraling debt.
3. Make Grocery Lists: Most supermarkets are designed to tempt you with items you don’t need. Prepare for this by making a list, finding any coupons for items on this list, and sticking with it when you get to the store.
4. Look For Sales And Sale Items: When you restrict yourself to only buying things that are on sale, you’re less likely to splurge. Looking for deals at your grocery store or other everyday shopping locales will also help you reduce your spending regularly.
5. Be Loyal: Whether you shop online or at retail locations, join any customer loyalty programs that stores offer, so you’re always on top of the sales. You’ll also get exclusive deals and rewards meant for members.
6. Pace Yourself: Give yourself a limit – say $100 – and whenever you are going to spend on an item over this amount, wait 24 hours to do so. You’ll give yourself time to consider whether it’s something you need and whether it’s worth the money you’ll give up.
7. Don’t Use Retail Therapy: A 2014 study in the Journal of Consumer Research showed that yes, buying something can make us feel accomplished – so long as it is the right thing. Splurges and unintended shopping can lead to reduced ability to resist temptations, which ends up in a cycle of spending. Avoiding this temptation and replacing it with something better for you will help both your mind and wallet. Try meditating, taking a walk, or doing some yoga to help yourself feel better.
8. Make Plans For Big Purchases: In the market for a new TV or refrigerator? If it’s not something you need right now, wait until you have enough money saved to pay for it. That way you avoid credit card debt, and you’re only spending what you’ve budgeted.
9. Shop Around: The more you compare prices for items, the more you can be assured you’re getting the best deal.
10. Be Careful When Shopping Online: The process of online shopping is easy: add items to your cart, press a button, and the items are on their way to you. It’s easy to lose sight of what you’re spending. Try and avoid storing your personal or financial information on websites, so you have to think a little bit more about what you’re buying.
Save Money On Fun
A fear of those looking to save money is that they’ll have to give up everything they enjoy in life – but that’s not so. These tips will make sure you still do the things you like while saving at the same time.
11. Rent Books And Movies At The Library: Stop paying money buying books or renting movies, and start visiting your library for free options. They’ll have all the newest stuff, and you won’t be sacrificing your earned money.
12. Rent Games: Playing video games can be a relaxing way to spend time, but buying new games can get expensive, fast. Instead, rent games, play them the whole way through, and then have a new one ready and waiting for you.
13. Find Free Concerts: Grab some friends and head to a local park to check out free concerts and events offered by your city.
14. Host Your Friends: Dining out is expensive, especially if you invite guests. Instead, host dinners or potlucks at your place to get everyone together at a fraction of the cost.
15. Share Or Order Small: Just because you’re saving doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you like. When eating at restaurants, cut your costs by sharing plates or by ordering a smaller dish – think appetizers for a meal.
Save Money On Banking
While your bank account is necessary to secure your money and protect your savings, it also may be costing you more than it needs to.
16. Collect Your Change: At the end of every day, take any change you have on hand and add it to a jar. When it’s full, you can have your bank deposit it straight into savings.
17. Get A Free Checking Account: If you are paying monthly or annual fees towards your checking account, see if you can find a free option that will allow you to escape these extra payments. Most accounts require you to hold a certain balance or make direct deposits to avoid a fee, so find the account that works with your numbers.
18. Monitor Your Accounts: How often do you check your bank balances and activity? The more you know about how much you have and how much you are spending, the easier it will be to adjust your activity.
19. Avoid Overdraft Fees: According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the median overdraft fee of the top 50 biggest banks in America is $34, which means even a small purchase can end up costing you. By monitoring your account you won’t be as susceptible to overdraft charges, and you’ll stave off the chance of bounced checks and applicable fees as well.
20. Have An Emergency Fund: A 2017 Gallup poll found that 54% of respondents were worried about being able to pay emergency medical costs. If you’re relying on credit cards to cover these payments, you’ll quickly be saddled with increasing debt. Having a separate fund to help protect you in the case of emergency will avoid interest and increased balances on your cards.
21. Set Up Automatic Transfers: Make sure you’re building savings even when you’re not thinking about it with automatic transfers through your bank accounts. If you don’t have a separate savings account, try an app like Digit that will take small amounts from your checking account and move them to a different account that you can access anytime.
Save Money On Utilities
Just a few easy changes around the house can add up to savings every year. Plus, your home will be more efficient and more environmentally-friendly.
22. Increase Or Decrease The Thermostat: No one is saying you can’t use your heat during the winter, but by lowering your thermostat three to five degrees you’ll cut down your monthly bill. In the summer, raise the thermostat the same amount for year-round savings.
23. Go Low Flow: If your water bill is higher than you’d like, try a low flow showerhead or toilet to reduce the amount of water you use each time you turn on the faucet or flush.
24. Cut The Cord: How much do you spend on cable? Do you also have subscriptions to streaming services? By cutting the cable cord and using much-cheaper streaming, you could save hundreds a year.
25. Find New Insurance: From your car to your home to your health, you may be able to reduce your monthly insurance payments by shopping around for other options. Review your plans and available alternatives once every couple of years to make sure you are paying a favorable rate.
26. Give Up The Gym: Do you have a gym membership? You’re paying a premium unless you’re using that gym regularly. Instead, try free options like jogging, working out at home, and even pay-what-you-can yoga and exercise classes.
27. Change Your Cell Phone Plan: Are you paying for minutes or data you don’t use? Lower your plan to save more. Check for any extras you are paying for, like insurance, that you don’t really need.
Save Money By Reducing Debt
Reducing the cycle of debt will help you save on interest payments and can reduce your monthly bills. As of November 2017, the Federal Reserve reports that Americans hold over $3.8 trillion in debt. The faster you can escape this trap, the more you’ll boost your savings in the long run.
28. Always Pay On Time: Do you forget to make payments sometimes? These late fees can add up and can end up increasing your debt. Prioritize making your payments on time and set up a calendar or automatic payments to reduce any room for error.
29. Reduce Loan Interest Rates: Do you hold a mortgage or make payments toward your car? See if refinancing will allow you to access a lower rate. Speak with your lenders to see what options they may have for discounting your rate.
30. Improve Your Credit Score: With a better score, you get access to better loan rates and lower interest charges. Check your credit report at least once a year by ordering your annual free credit report from all three bureaus. Report any errors and start paying off any balances that are negatively impacting you. With regular on-time payments, you’ll see your score start to improve almost immediately.
31. Get Rewards Every Time You Shop: When you opt for a cashback credit card or a rewards credit card, you build towards something you can use every time you spend. Whether you are able to take a vacation with your accumulated points or you receive a statement credit saving you on your next purchase, you’re leveraging every purchase into money saved.
Just simple changes based on these money saving ideas can help you boost your savings. To get the biggest benefits, focus on implementing these changes into your routine, not just trying them out on occasion.