Tips For Saving Money

Saving money may sound like a daunting task, but it is an essential step toward financial stability. There are many ways to save money, and the best way to save will depend on your financial goals and lifestyle. A savings account is a great way to save money for an emergency or big-ticket items. One of the best ways to save money is to spend less than you earn. Creating a monthly budget can help you see where your money is going and where you can cut back. Paying yourself first by setting up a direct deposit into your savings account can also help you start saving money. Checking accounts with extended overdraft protection can help you avoid overspending and money-saving apps can provide additional savings tips. Remember, saving for retirement should always be a priority so finding ways to save money now can help set you up for a comfortable future.

1. Say goodbye to debt.

Monthly debt payments are the biggest money suck when it comes to saving. Debt robs you of your income! So, it’s about time you get rid of that debt. The fastest way to pay off debt is with the debt snowball method. This is where you pay off your debts in order from smallest to largest. Sounds kind of intense, right? Don’t worry—it’s more about behavior change than numbers. Once your income is freed up, you can finally use it to make progress toward your savings goals.

2. Pack lunch (and eat at home).

Get this—the average household spends about $3,030 on food outside of the home each year. That’s $253 per month! Buying lunch a few times a week may seem harmless at the moment (especially when your favorite restaurant is walking distance from your office), but you can save quite a bit of money just by packing a lunch.

Not only that but a lot of times you can buy a solid week’s worth of groceries for the same price as two dinner meals out. Instead, prepare your food at home and watch your savings pile up month after month.

3. Ask about discounts (and pay in cash).

You never know until you ask—and you should always ask. Next time you’re getting tickets at a movie theater, museum, or sporting event, check to see if they have any special discounts for seniors, students, teachers, military, or AAA members. If not, never underestimate the negotiating power of cash!

4. Take advantage of your retirement savings plan.

If your employer offers a 401(k) match and you aren’t taking full advantage of it, you’re missing out big time! Talk to your HR department to set up an account. But remember, you should wait until you’re completely debt-free (except your mortgage) and have a fully funded emergency fund of three to six months before you start saving and investing for retirement.

5. Lower your cell phone bill.

If your monthly cell phone bill competes with your monthly grocery budget, it’s time to find ways to cut back. Save money on your cell service by getting rid of extras like costly data plans, phone insurance, and useless warranties. And don’t be afraid to haggle with or completely switch your provider! It might require a little persistence and research, but the savings are worth it.

6. Try a spending freeze.

Don’t buy any nonessential items for a week—or even a month! Think about it as a contentment challenge. While you’re at it, take inventory of what you’re grateful for each day. This should help kick your “want-itis” in the pants!

Make your spending freeze work by prepping meals with the food you already have, avoiding stores where you tend to impulse buy (did someone say Target dollar spot?), and saying no to anything that isn’t a basic necessity.

7. DIY . . . everything!

Before you shell out the cash to pay for a new backsplash, bench, or fancy light fixture, think about doing it yourself! Usually, the cost of materials and a simple Google or YouTube search will save you a ton of money on your latest home project. Plus, you won’t have to pay someone to do something you can most likely do yourself. But if you’re the type who can’t seem to hit the nail on the head, you might want to ask a friend or neighbor for help so you don’t have to spend money on new drywall.

Oh, and when you need to do some DIY work (or any kind of work), borrow whatever tools you need from a friend or neighbor instead of going out and buying them.

8. Skip the coffee shop.

Ouch. This one is painful—we get it! Notice we aren’t saying to cut coffee—just to lower your coffee spending. Instead of spending $6–8 on that daily latte, you can save money by just making your coffee at home—or at least limiting the number of times you hit that drive-thru and using coffee shop hacks to save on each trip.

9. The library is your friend.

Before you click Add to Cart on that brand-new book, check your local library to see if you can borrow it! Most libraries also have audiobooks and digital copies of your favorite books for rent. It’s an easy way to get your reading in without breaking the bank.

Bonus tip: Look online or visit your local used bookstore for major deals on like-new or even well-loved books . . . for next to nothing!

10. Try a staycation.

When your goal is to save money, a vacation is possibly the worst thing you could spend your money on. Instead of whisking your family off to the Greek Isles, try being a tourist in your own city. Not only will this save you hundreds (or potentially thousands) of dollars, but you can also explore your neighborhood with fresh eyes and have some fun while doing it.

11. Use cash-back apps and coupons.

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned 20% off coupon when you’re buying something. But did you know there are plenty of cash-back apps out there to help your savings go even further? Check out Ibotta, Rakuten, and Honey (a browser extension).

Likes to try the latest beauty products on the market. Also loves to exercise and travel.

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