According to a YouGov survey, one in ten consumers does not have any savings, while 13% have less than $100 in their savings accounts. Another 14% of Americans say they have savings between $1,000 and $4,999. In total, half of American households have less than $5,000 in savings.
In addition, Bankrate found that nearly one in three (30 percent) people in 2023 have some emergency savings, but not enough to cover three months’ costs.
If only there were easy ways to save money without sweating. Well, you’re in luck.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some simple yet effective strategies that can help you save money without even trying. By integrating these methods into your daily life, you can build savings without sacrificing your lifestyle.
1. Pay yourself first.
Pay yourself first is a classic personal finance saying. But what does it mean?
Whenever your paycheck arrives, you should put some of it toward a retirement savings plan or cash savings account. Having saved it, you can’t spend it. Banks will allow you to automatically transfer funds from your checking account to your savings or retirement accounts.
What’s the best way to save automatically? Take advantage of your employer’s tax-advantaged retirement plan, like a 401(k) or 403(b). Your employer may match your contributions up to a certain percentage, depending on the rules and limits of your retirement plan.
What if your company doesn’t provide a tax-advantaged retirement plan? No worries. It is still possible to set up an IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA (if you’re self-employed) or other retirement savings account on your own.
2. Set up recurring transfers to your savings account.
You can also set up a recurring transfer between your bank accounts. It is possible to do this through the online banking portal of your bank. Depending on who you bank with, you’ll receive different instructions.
You can’t usually set this as a percentage of your paycheck automatically. The amount you transfer from your checking account to your savings account each month must be set.
If you want to begin with something simple, you can start with $100 or $200 per month. Alternatively, you can calculate your own percentage based on your paychecks.
3. Save your change.
Though it requires a little effort, it’s still painless. Take the time every week to purge your wallet or purse of spare change. Next, save the spare change in a large jar or bucket to make a decent profit.
Use the same strategy with your paper money if you’re feeling even more ambitious. Put any small bills left in your wallet at the end of this week into your savings account.
4. Download a round-up app.
There are many apps and financial institutions that offer round-up programs, such as Acorns, Stash, and Qapital. Your purchase is automatically rounded up and transferred to your savings account when you make a purchase through these programs.
It works like a digital piggy bank that accumulates savings with every swipe.
5. Switch from plastic to cash.
As of February 2023, only 9% of Americans primarily pay for purchases using cash. And, that could be disastrous.
Consumer spending is increased by credit cards, according to several studies. The reason for this is that credit card payments may not be as noticeable as cash payments.
Until the bill comes in, we don’t realize the financial damage that was done. If you’re having trouble sticking to your budget and saving money, leave the credit cards at home and go cash only.
6. Make the most of cashback rewards.
At the same time, when used correctly, credit cards can simplify your financial life, as well as save you some dough.
For everyday purchases, many credit cards offer cashback rewards. If you use these cards for your regular expenses and pay off the balance in full each month, you’ll earn cashback automatically. Basically, you’re getting a discount on everything you buy like groceries or gas.
7. Automate your savings with Trim.
It shouldn’t be difficult to save money according to Trim. For this reason, they created their free app to help you automate your savings. How? By analyzing your accounts, it identifies recurring subscriptions and determines where to trim the fat.
Specifically, Trim offers the following ways to save money:
- You can have it negotiate your cable or internet bill on your behalf.
- Unwanted subscriptions can be found and canceled with Trim
- Savings can be automated with the app.
- Debt relief is possible with Trim
8. Act as if you didn’t receive the raise.
However, you shouldn’t immediately alter your lifestyle to accommodate all that extra money. Instead, put most of the extra cash into a savings account. In other words, keep budgeting as if your income hasn’t increased.
It’s advised that when you get a raise, it’s a good idea not to spend more than 50% of what’s left over after taxes. If you stick to your pre-raise budget, you’ll avoid accumulating debt or increasing expenses — both of which can negate the benefits of a raise.
9. Automatic bill payments.
You never have to worry about missing a due date if you set up automatic bill payments for recurring expenses like rent, utilities, and loan payments. Besides saving you from late fees, you can also budget effectively without even noticing.
10. Increase your 401(k) every year.
401(k) plans with annual increase features allow you to automatically increase your deferral rate each year. You could, for example, schedule your 401(k) rate to increase by 1 percentage point each calendar year, meaning in year two you would be automatically saving 4%. A deferral rate of 5% would apply in year three, and so forth, usually until a certain limit was reached.
With a salary deferral of $22,500 for 2023, or $30,00 if you are over 50, you will be on the road to a healthy retirement.
Also, 401(k) contribution limits will be adjusted by the IRS due to inflation in future years. Every year, schedule a reminder for the end of December to adjust your deferrals according to the new limits. As a result, you won’t miss out on any potential employer-matching contributions by spreading your contributions evenly over the calendar year.
11. Get your inventory back to zero.
Take a look through your closets, kitchen, and other areas of your home, and get rid of anything you don’t use. By doing this, you’ll be able to avoid impulse purchases and save money over time.
12. Know your non-negotiables (then shop store brands).
Whether it is your favorite toothpaste brand or shampoo, there are some brand names you just cannot live without. For me, it’s Heinz Ketchup. When it comes to other items, you can usually save money by purchasing store brands or generic versions.
13. Stock up on sales.
Don’t hesitate to stock up on something you need or want when it’s on sale. In particular, this is beneficial when it comes to non-perishable items like toilet paper, paper towels, and canned goods.
14. Change your default option.
When you shop online, make sure you select the slowest and cheapest shipping option. A small change like this could save you a lot of money in the long run.
For example, if you wanted to rep your favorite sports team you could shop over at Fanatics. Standard Shipping takes 3-7 and costs $4.99. But, for 3 Business Days, that jumps to $13.99
15. Remove card auto-fill information.
In most cases, your credit card information is saved when you shop online. Yes, this makes it easier to check out. However, it can also lead to overspending.
The quick fix? It’s just a matter of removing your credit card information from your browser. For your specific browser, I suggest you read this article from PC World.
16. Delete shopping apps.
A shopping app can be a great tool for finding awesome deals. However, they can also be a major source of temptation. As a matter of fact, in 2022, consumers spent approximately 167 billion dollars on mobile apps.
If you discover that shopping apps lead you to spend more money, get rid of them.
17. Order using curbside pickup.
The convenience of curbside pickup reduces impulse purchases and saves you time. Buying online means you don’t have to go inside the store to pick up your items.
18. Swap instead of shopping.
Instead of spending money on new items, swap them with friends, neighbors, and family. Maybe they have an old microwave or golf set they don’t need, but you do. Just remember that it works both ways.
If you prefer, you can join your local Buy Nothing community to trade unwanted items for items you would like. It is most important to make sure you put your savings toward your financial goals, rather than spending it on new items.
19. Lower energy costs.
With just a few tweaks to your home, you can reduce your electric bill.
Install dimmer switches and LED light bulbs, take shorter showers, fix leaky pipes, and wash your clothes in cold water first. Next, consider upgrading your appliances.
You can reduce your electric bill by installing new, energy-efficient appliances. A new fridge, for example, can save you more than $300 over five years. However, these energy-efficient appliances are expensive. Over time, though, you can save up and pay for those improvements in cash if you work it into your monthly budget.
20. Limit your card’s spending.
What’s another great way to save money quickly? Keeping your credit or debit card usage to a minimum is a good idea. As a result, you won’t overspend and you’ll be able to plan ahead for your daily expenses.
With many banks, you can set daily spending limits and decide whether to allow withdrawals from ATMs. In most cases, this can be done via their website or mobile app.
21. Use the 30-day rule to delay purchases.
To avoid overspending, allow yourself a cooling-off period between spotting an item and purchasing it. When shopping online, place the item in your shopping cart and walk away until you have more time to think about it.
Sometimes, retailers will even give you a coupon code when you abandon a shopping cart. You can try shorter delays such as 24 or 48 hours if 30 days seems too long.
22. Brown bag it.
In a typical year, U.S. households spend approximately $3,030 on food outside of their homes. Each month, that comes out to $253.
Sure, buying lunch once or twice a week may seem harmless. If you pack your lunch, you will save quite a bit of money without even realizing it.
23. Sign up for rewards and loyalty programs.
Take advantage of the discount cards offered by local grocery stores and drug stores. Even though these programs may seem insignificant, they can help you save money at checkout.
Alternatively, you might earn rewards toward future purchases. For example, I just ran out of olive oil. But, I have enough rewards from my grocery store to snag a free bottle.
You just have to be careful not to get swayed into buying stuff you don’t need.
24. Lower your student loan payments.
With income-driven repayment, you could lower your monthly payments since the amount you pay is determined by your income. Usually, this takes just a few minutes.
Refinancing, enrolling in autopay for a discount, and making extra payments are other options that can help you get rid of your student loan debt sooner. As a result, you’ll pay less interest overall.
25. Ask about discounts.
Never hesitate to ask – you never know until you do.
Make sure to inquire about senior, student, teacher, military, and AAA member discounts when you’re buying tickets for a movie, museum, or sporting event. There may even be discounts for meals and clothing available.
26. Have a day when you don’t spend any money.
There is probably no easier way to save money than this. In the end, if you are not spending money, you can save it. You might even think twice before you spend a dollar.
And, who knows? You may also notice that your spending habits have improved after a no-spend day (or days).
27. Go the DIY way.
Before you spend hundreds on new backsplashes, benches, or lighting fixtures, consider doing it yourself. It is often possible to save a lot of money on your next home project by researching online and using a simple Google or YouTube search for your latest project.
Aside from not having to pay someone to do something you can probably do yourself, you also don’t have to look for qualified professionals. The last thing you want is to hire someone else to clean someone else’s mess!
But what if you’re not that handy? If you need help, you could ask a friend, family member, or neighbor. Or, at the very least, you could ask to borrow their tools.
28. There is no place like the library.
Take a look at your local library before adding that brand-new book to your Amazon cart. In addition to renting books, most libraries also offer audiobooks and digital versions. This is a great way to get in some reading without spending too much.
In addition, your local library might even sell their excess books for a bargain. My friend just bolstered their classroom library by purchasing books from our local library for 50 cents a piece.
29. Embrace Kakeibo (the $5.34 Rule).
In Japanese, Kakeibo means “household financial ledger”. A pioneer of Japanese female journalism, Hani Motoko introduced it in 1904. Its pen-and-paper approach to budgeting stands out from the latest finance apps or software.
In her video ‘ The Secret Money Saving Rule – Learned in Japan’, Erika Kullberg suggests getting a Kakeibo ledger (or any random notebook/notepad). As Erika suggests, “write down how much you want to save for the month, and what you need to do to make this a reality.” To reach your goal, write down your weekly spending and calculate it each week.
Okay. But, what’s the deal with the $5.34?
“This is where $5.34 comes in, it’s not about setting aside $5.34 daily or weekly, but instead writing down your purchases, and making savings a priority that can save you around $5.34 a day,” Erika explains. This rule represents the recognition of small, seemingly insignificant amounts and the realization of their potential over time. With the Kakeibo method, you can accumulate significant savings over time by saving as little as $5.34 a day.
30. Wash your hands you filthy animal.
When you wash your hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom or handling raw foods, you prevent all kinds of viruses and bacteria. Don’t believe me? Hand washing reduces diarrheal illness by 31%. Moreover, respiratory illnesses, such as colds, are reduced by 21% in the general population.
In short, using soap and water is a simple way to stay healthy. Besides saving hundreds on medical bills and supplies like tissues, you won’t be bedridden. That means you can work on getting a raise or side hustle.
31. Consider a staycation.
Traveling is probably the worst thing you can spend your money on if your goal is to save money. Spend a day exploring your own city instead of jetting off to Paris or the Caribbean.
In addition to saving you hundreds (or possibly thousands), you’ll also have fun exploring your neighborhood. And, this also allows you to kick back and relax instead of planning an actual vacation.
32 .Use a gift card to pay for coffee.
Let’s say you spend $5 a day on coffee. In a year, that amounts to more than $1,000!
A gift card loaded with $25 at the beginning of each week will help you stay on budget if you are a coffee lover. Once you’ve spent all your cash, you’re cut off. This will prevent you from grabbing a sandwich and drinking another cup of coffee just because you’re tempted.
33. Skip the dry cleaner.
Some clothes have to be dry cleaned. However, every time customers visit their dry cleaners, they usually spend $25 to $50.
Save time and money by avoiding a trip to the dry cleaner by using Dryel, a do-it-yourself kit.
34. Hide Uber or Lyft on your phone.
It’s incredibly easy to book a ride with the app when it’s just a touch away. A slightly difficult-to-find location gives your brain the break it needs to decide if a ride is needed. For example, you might be able to just hoof it instead.
Additionally, in gridlocked traffic, regular cabs are cheaper.
35. Boost your savings instead of just cutting your spending.
Cutting down your monthly spending is essential. But putting that extra money into savings is equally important. The best way to accomplish this is to increase automatic transfers to your savings by the amount you plan to save.
Let’s say you decide to cancel your gym membership. After all, you can work out from home for free. You can set up a recurring $100 monthly deposit into your savings account once that $100 fee is no longer being deducted from your checking account.
You can build big momentum toward your savings goals by converting unnecessary monthly expenses into monthly deposits in your savings account.
36. Streamline your debt repayment process.
Paying down debt can also be automated, just like saving. You can schedule monthly payments through your bank if you have loans or liabilities with payment plans. Generally, higher payments should be made to the debts with the highest interest rates first to reduce the total interest charges incurred.
Even better? Download an app like Qoins. When you use this app, your purchases will be rounded up so you can put the extra money towards your debt. The hard work of repaying debt is done for you once you download the app and connect your accounts.
37. Be gender-neutral in the drugstore.
The price of certain products can increase by 30 percent when marketed to women, such as razors. By shopping by price rather than aisle, you can avoid the so-called “pink tax.”
38. Make wise use of windfalls.
After receiving a large bonus, inheritance proceeds from the sale of a home or business, or another major financial gain, it might be tempting to spend a lot of money. Make sure you put the money in a high-yield savings account before you decide how to invest it. You can even deposit your tax refund into a savings account with a U.S. financial institution if that institution allows direct deposits.
For advice about your windfall’s tax implications or about how to invest the money most tax-efficiently, speak with a financial advisor. Make sure to use this money in a long-term strategy for financial security, not just as an infusion of cash.
It’s not necessary to spend a lot of time or money on saving money. You can start saving without even trying if you incorporate these strategies into your daily routine.
You’ll be surprised how much financial security you can achieve over time by consistently saving small amounts. What’s the point of waiting? Putting these tips into practice today will help you grow your savings effortlessly. You’ll thank yourself later!
Is there a specific amount I should save?
Depending on your individual circumstances, the amount of money you should save may vary.
The general rule of thumb is to save at least 20% of your income. In addition to providing you with a financial cushion in case of an emergency, this will enable you to save for retirement or other long-term goals.
How do I start saving money?
In order to save money, you must first determine how much you spend. To do this, track your expenses for a month or two. You can start cutting back on unnecessary expenses once you know how much you spend.
This can also help you set goals. This, in turn, will motivate you and keep you on track.
What are the benefits of saving money?
Saving money has many benefits. Among the most common are:
- Financial security. In the event of a job loss or medical emergency, having a savings cushion can help you weather the situation.
- Debt freedom. The savings you make will allow you to pay off your debt faster, resulting in a lower interest rate.
- Retirement planning. The key to living comfortably in retirement is saving for it.
- Financial independence. By saving money, you can achieve financial independence, which means you don’t need other people to support you financially.
- Unexpected expenses. If you save money, you can cover unexpected expenses like medical bills, car repairs, and natural disasters.
- Peace of mind. You can reduce stress and feel at ease when you know that you have money saved up.
- Long-term goals. When buying a house or starting a business, saving money can help you reach your long-term goals.
- Legacy planning. When you pass away, you can help your loved ones financially by saving for them.
How do I keep money from going out of my account?
Automating your savings is a great way to prevent money from leaving your account. By setting up direct deposit, your paycheck is automatically deposited into your savings account.
Your checking account can also be set up to automatically transfer funds to your savings account every month. As a result, you’ll be less likely to spend the money because you won’t even see it.
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