Saving money can sometimes feel impossible. We have bills to pay, families to take care of, and for a lot of people, it seems like we are barely keeping up, let alone able to save. In fact, a 2017 survey by CareerBuilder showed that at the time, roughly 78% of U.S. workers were living paycheck to paycheck!
But saving money is actually possible!
There are so many ways that you can cut costs that you may not realize. You just have to be creative and have some dedication, because it’s not always easy to choose to save rather than spend.
If you think you’re ready to make a commitment to saving some extra money, we’re going to jumpstart your goal with 13 ways that might work for you.
Save Money Today with these 13 Tips
1. Make a Plan
All good things start with a plan and having your goals written down has been shown to help you achieve them. We suggest writing down your short, mid, and long-term goals. When creating them, think about why you want to save money. Are you trying to save up for a better running car? Are you aiming big for owning your own home one day? Make sure your short and mid-term goals help support you reaching your long-term goals. Reference your goals periodically to remind yourself why you are making changes and why it’s important for you to stay on track with saving.
2. Track Your Spending
Many people aren’t actually aware of where their money goes until they see it written down. By keeping a record of all of your spending, you will get an overview of exactly where your money is going which will allow you to see what is necessary spending and what isn’t.
3. Create a Budget & Stick to It
“Budget” might not be a word you love to hear, but if your goal is to save, it is something you need to hear and do! Without a budget, any extra money earned can easily go right back out the door and take you further from your goals. Be forgiving if you struggle at first, but buckle down and commit to that budget, and you’ll start to see real changes happen.
4. Consider if You Need Full Coverage Car Insurance
If you’re driving around an older vehicle that is still on full coverage insurance, consider if you’d be better off with liability only. A lot of times, people keep their full coverage forever, forgetting that at some point, the value of your car isn’t going to be worth the extra money you’re shelling out for that coverage. Analyze the age, mileage, and wear and tear on your car to determine if full coverage is right for you. Generally, after 10 years, and depending on your vehicle’s condition, liability might be a smarter option and save you a pretty penny on monthly premiums that you aren’t likely to recuperate in an accident even with full coverage.
5. Compare Insurance Rates
Speaking of insurance, shop around to see if you can save money with a better premium on your insurance policies. This isn’t only for auto insurance, but anything you have insurance coverage for -home, renters, life, etc. A lot of companies offer competitive rates for similar coverage. Do, however, make sure you are careful to not sell yourself short and sacrifice coverage you really need just to save money.
6. Give Up Your Bad Habits
Money can be a great motivator and if you could save yourself some cash by giving up bad habits, there’s no better time than the present! If you’re a smoker, it’s not only awful for your health, but wreaks havoc on your wallet! If you regularly splurge on unhealthy snacks like mocha frappes, pop, and vending machine junk, you’d be surprised how quickly these vices can add up. The more bad habits you have, the more money you are spending on them. Give them up and see how much you can save. Odds are, you’ll be feeling better too.
7. Shop in Season
It can be human nature to want what we want, when we want it. But that kind of attitude can cost you. Shopping when food is in season or according to sales can help you save money on your grocery budget. Check sale papers to see what is in season and create your meal planning around sales.
8. Get Rid of Subscription Services
You can get almost anything for a monthly subscription these days and it’s easy to forget that these things are costing you. Review all of your monthly expenditures and see if you can sacrifice any of your monthly subscriptions. Gym memberships can cost quite a bit and there are plenty of at-home workouts that are just as effective. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Kindle, and food delivery services are just a few of the more popular services you may be paying for. Ask yourself if you really want to spend the money on these things right now and if not, nix them to start saving.
9. Switch to a Prepaid Phone
Cell phone service can be another pricey monthly fee and a lot of the providers out there offer similar service. Instead of paying a huge monthly fee, consider switching to a prepaid phone instead. You purchase a regular cell phone with a set service providing a certain number of minutes usable over a certain number of months. You pre-pay for those minutes and when they run out, you can upload additional minutes as needed. But this way, you can work within your budget to only pay for what you need and can afford. Learn more about prepaid cell phone services offered by CFSC.
10. Swap Your Credit Card for a Prepaid Debit Card
One of the best ways to save money and stay out of debt is to only purchase what you can afford to pay cash for. When we have credit cards, it’s easy to feel like we have almost endless spending power. But we don’t and you’ll have to not only pay off those credit cards, but any interest that comes with them. Consider cutting up those credit cards and getting yourself a prepaid debit card instead. Simply load money onto the card and use it anywhere they’re accepted, which if you purchase one from CFSC, you can use it anywhere Visa and MasterCard are accepted.
11. Sell Your Stuff
If you have extra stuff laying around your house that you don’t want anymore, try selling it! One person’s trash is another person’s treasure and with all the apps out there now for selling your items online, it really couldn’t be easier. Or if the weather permits, consider having a garage sale. Plus, it will help you clear out things in your house that you don’t consider valuable to you anymore, which can be a cleansing experience.
12. Pay Off Your Debt
Paying off debt doesn’t exactly sound like saving, does it? But in the end, it is. Debts cost us extra money because of interest. If you can scrounge up some extra money to put towards your debt (see # 1-11 above), do it! Start by putting all of your extra money towards your smallest debt first. Once that one is paid off, add the money you were paying monthly on that debt towards the next smallest debt until that one is paid off. This snowball method of paying off debt has worked for millions of people and is very effective. Think of how much money you will be saving each month when you don’t have those debts to pay.
13. Use Your Tax Refund Wisely
It’s tax season and for many of us that means cha-ching – a tax refund! But don’t let the excitement of that extra cash lead you to spending it foolishly. Instead use it to either pay off your smallest debts (see #12) or put that baby into some sort of savings, either for an emergency fund, a down payment on a house or car, or for retirement. There are several places you can save your money such as in a Certificate of Deposit (CD) or an IRA. Both of these can earn interest, but each has its own set of stipulations so it’s best to review your options with an accountant or financial advisor.
CFSC is Here to Help You Save Money
We’re all about helping you with your financial matters at CFSC, making it easier for you to have access to your cash and the services you need to manage your money. We have over 180 locations ready to serve you, so find your nearest one and see how we can help you!