You might look at your list of monthly bills and throw up your hands in despair. How can you ever save money?
If you want to break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck but can’t figure out how to build your savings, you’re not alone. It’s challenging to save even a small amount of money when you have debt and other bills. The good news is that it’s not impossible.
Here is a checklist of simple ways to save money with actions you can put in place today.
Create A Budget
Track your spending for a month and use the information to create a realistic budget. Make sure it allows for unexpected issues like the water heater breaking down. If your budget is more than your income, you’re going to need to make some tough decisions. After you work out your spending, add in a line item for your savings account.
Set A Savings Goal
A goal gives you something to work toward. Start out with a figure, it can be $500, $1000 or more, and give yourself a deadline to save that amount. Once you achieve it, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. Then set a higher goal for yourself. Getting into the habit of saving money is key to being successful at it.
Use Automatic Payments
Missing payments can rack up lots of late fees that add up to hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. This is money that could be in your savings! If you lack organization, proactively set up payments for all of your monthly bills. That way those $5, $10, and even $35 late fees don’t gobble up your hard-earned cash.
Slash Your Grocery Bill
Easily decrease the amount you spend buying food with the use of coupons. Register on a couple of coupon websites, download the apps, and “clip” the coupons on your smartphone. After every shopping trip, transfer the amount of money you saved by couponing into your savings. In addition, when you’re at the store, opt for the brands that are on sale, buy bigger packages of commonly-used food (rice, pasta, oatmeal), and choose generic over brand-names whenever possible.
Cook for A Week
Eating out is a big money waster, especially if you’re in the habit of running through a drive-through on your way home from work. Go grocery shopping with a list every week. Set aside a couple of hours on the weekend to make big helpings of several meals. They don’t have to be fancy, and you can even use a crockpot. Portion them out in freezer bags and stash them in the freezer. Make enough to take for lunch and to feed you and your family for dinner. The money you save by doing this can give you a jump on your savings goal.
Cut Out Extra Spending
Seemingly small amounts of cash for unnecessary treats can add up over time. Ditch that daily expensive cup of coffee and that costly mid-day snack. Don’t order out and pay a delivery fee when you could run out and pick up your food. Small actions like these add up throughout the year.
Limit Your Shopping
Scrolling around on online shopping sites and getting sale emails from your favorite stores can entice you to spend more than you should. $20 here and $15 there add up to be budget busters. Unsubscribe from sale emails and only shop for items that you have planned for in advance that you actually need to buy.
Get A Side Hustle
Working a second job a few hours a week is a smart way to sock some money away. With the new “gig economy” thriving, you can get paid for providing ride shares, dog-walking, delivering groceries, and running errands by registering on an app. Or go the more traditional second job route and work at your local mall a few hours a week.
Cancel Unused Subscriptions and Memberships
Review magazine subscriptions, streaming packages, and health-club memberships. It you don’t use them – you need to ditch them. Set up an automatic transfer of the money you don’t spend on them to your savings account.
Address Your Credit Card Debt
It’s harder to save money if you’re carrying lots of debt. Get out all of your credit card bills and add up how much you owe. Look at each credit card’s interest rate and make a plan to pay as much as you can on the one with the highest interest rate. Paying off credit card debt gives you extra money in your budget every month and makes saving easier.
Review Your Cell Phone and Cable Bill
Cell phones and cables bills are money sucking monsters! Review both and slash your packages if you find items you’re paying for that you can live without. Managing these two bills well can save you over a hundred dollars a month.
Related Read: 6 Ways You’re Wasting Energy & Money
Sell Some Stuff
If you have clothes that don’t fit, musical instruments you don’t play, or furniture you don’t use, put it up for sale. Online-selling websites and social media groups make it easy to unload your junk. Stash everything you make into your savings account.
These money tips are a great start if you want to create a more stable, less stressful financial future. By realistically looking at your spending and debt and creating a workable budget, you can be on your way to reaching your savings goal quickly. Start today and watch how fast your savings account grows!