Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to save money – even when you’ve cut out the cord and meals and never had a latte habit?
One reason it’s so hard to save is because your fixed costs – which stay the same each month, such as rent or mortgage, car payments, property taxes, and insurance premiums – are usually your largest bills. These are not exactly easy to reduce. Sure, you could lower your rent by moving to a smaller location, but the move itself is also expensive.
We don’t have a magic trick that can save you money that will get your balance high, but there are plenty of little ways you can cut those numbers down. And the little things add up. Read on when you’re ready to start saving.
To start saving: First, set your goals
We understand that make a budget Ranks high with a dentist appointment or a trip to the DMV for things you’d rather do. However, this is your first important step if you are looking to save money.
Fortunately it is best budgeting apps Make it easy for yourself to keep track of your expenses and identify areas where you can make savings. Just make sure you comb through the spending for several months to get a feel for where your money is going. Don’t forget about the expenses you don’t incur every month, like Christmas gifts and license plates.
If you don’t set goals for yourself, the only thing that will make the budget make you feel terrible is how little money you are saving. Include why you are saving to be motivated to make saving a priority.
Think about the short-term goals you want to achieve over the next year or two. Construction of a Emergency fund do for your family a Down payment for a house or Saving for a vacation can fit here. Also consider your long-term goals, such as: B. more money in one 529 plan for your child or Saving for retirement.
25 Tips On How To Save Money When Your Paycheck Is Thin
Here are 25 ideas to save more money. The good news is you don’t have to cut anything out. If it really matters to you, keep spending on it. You can find other things that you can get rid of that won’t cause too much pain.
1. Plan your purchases like a pro.
You may not be able to plan a car repair or veterinarian bill, but you may be able to make discretionary purchases if you know when to get the best deals can mean big savings. Do you need a TV? Wait until January for last year’s models to be discounted to make room for the new models. Looking for new furniture? Retailers often clear their inventory around Independence Day, so July is the best time to evaluate cheap furniture.
2. Master the art of getting things for free.
Becoming a hermit isn’t the only way to save money. There are many ways to get free stuff or have fun cheaply. Some of our favorite ideas:
- Use Facebook and Nextdoor. Before looking for any furniture or baby equipment, this is something you should check out don’t buy groups on platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor to see if any of your neighbors want to get rid of something similar.
- Earn free groceries by downloading an app. Many restaurant chains offer freebies or BOGO offers to download their apps. You can always delete them after taking advantage of them if you don’t want to be tempted.
- Get Free Stuff Just To Be Born. You can score tons of Birthday gifts when your big day is approaching – often not just on your actual birthday, but at any time during the month of your birth.
- You can find free entertainment at your local library. Your library card is not just a card for checking out books from dead trees. Much free library apps You can access e-books, movies, music, and more without paying a dime.
- Exchange goods or services with someone else. Learn how to trade can help you get what you need without spending your money.
3. Smash your credit card debt once and for all.
The average APR for people who wear Credit card debt is well over 16%. Your bank will be overjoyed if you don’t pay off your balance because all that interest makes it rich. Stop replenishing your bank’s coffers and wreaking havoc on your credit card debt forever. Some tactics to try:
- The Debt snowball methodwhere you attack the smallest balance first.
- The Debt avalanche methodwhere you focus on the card with the highest interest rate.
- A Debt Consolidation Loanswhere to consolidate your debts into a single payment. This is only a good option if you are lowering your interest rates.
- A Credit transfer credit cardwhere you transfer your balance to a card with a promotional interest rate of 0%. However, this interest-free period is usually only 12 to 18 months. Hence, this approach is best when you don’t have tons of debt.
4. Flex low interest rates to your advantage.
Interest rates are historically low, which means that the High yield savings account That you were once – um, in 2019 – pampered with 2% or 3% APY probably pays well under 1%. The downside is that you can use these ridiculously low interest rates to save money Refinance Your Mortgage. A good rule of thumb: refinance if you can cut your interest rate by 1 percentage point or more since you will have to pay the closing costs.
5. Lower your student loan payments.
If you have any problems Pay back student loansTalk to your service reps about whether an earnings-based repayment plan is an option for your federal loan. These plans extend your repayment over the standard 10 to 20 year years – and if you still have a balance after 20 years it will be given even though you still owe income taxes. If you have private student loans, check with your service staff to see if there is any way to lower your debt payments.
6. Prepare the meals. Don’t go overboard.
Grocery stores play all kinds of sneaky mind games with you, and you are most vulnerable to shopping while you are rushed and hungry. A great way to combat their money-robbing tactics is to create a shopping list and spend a few hours on it Food preparation every week.
But don’t get too ambitious here. If you’re an UberEats addict whose pantry is made up of three spices, prepare for failure trying to cook 21 meals a week. Start with a more sensible goal, like breakfast and lunch daily, and dinner three evenings a week.
Just buy in bulk When buying products with a long shelf life or ingredients that you have enough freezer space to store for future recipes.
7. Squeeze every penny you can out of your employer.
We don’t just talk about it Negotiate your salary and ask for a raise when you’ve earned it – although both are important, if awkward. Make sure you don’t leave any free money on the table to build your long-term savings. Contribute enough to receive your employer’s full retirement pension, if they offer one 401 (k) plan. If you have one Health savings accountYou can also use all the relevant contributions. You can use the money you save for your own expenses, those of your spouse or a dependent family member.
8. Do you have a raise? Congratulations, but don’t spend it.
Does your taste get fancier every time you get a raise? This phenomenon is called Lifestyle inflationand it’s a notorious savings killer. You don’t have to live forever like you’re on a starting salary, but rather create a plan for your future increases so that your cost of living increases more slowly than your salary. For example, plan to save half of your next raise and save the rest on savings.
9. Be skeptical if something seems like a deal.
Free shipping when you are down to $ 11? Step away from the digital shopping cart. If you’re persuaded to spend a few more dollars on something that’s “free” … well, it really isn’t free.
The playing Credit card reward game is another good example. Yes, you can get free flight and cashback. However, it’s only free if you stop spending to get these rewards and pay your balance in full each month. Otherwise, you will lose much more interest than rewards.
10. Cancel automated purchases for non-necessities.
Curbing pointless spending isn’t just about stopping late night purchases on Amazon and grocery shopping. You likely have monthly subscriptions and memberships that drain your bank account every month for things that you rarely, if ever, use.
One of the best ways to save money is to join the gym, and streaming services Subscription boxes and everything else you automatically pay for each month. If you haven’t used it in the last month, it probably belongs to the chopping block. Keep an eye out for any too free trials that you forgot to cancel.
Avoid storing your credit and debit card information on websites that you shop frequently. You’ll make it harder to spend pointless.
11. Find energy suckers that will drive up your electricity bills.
No, we are not going to tell you to invest thousands of dollars in solar panels for your home to save money on your electricity bills. However, there are some inexpensive tricks that can help you Save money on utilities. Simple things like changing air filters regularly and switching to more efficient lightbulbs can make a big difference in energy costs.
12. Repair broken parts instead of buying new ones.
Just because something is broken doesn’t mean it’s broken. By learning some basic DIY techniques, you can recreate your slightly damaged goods like new without having to repair them. For example, learn a few Basic sewing stitches helps you fix your clothes for you and your family, even if you don’t have a sewing machine. There are many ways to do this Learn home repair skills online for free.
But for major repairs, you know when to call a professional. It’s well worth the cost repairing a large ticket item or doing something that could compromise your safety.
13. Save money on prescription drugs.
Whether or not you have health insurance, it is often worth doing detective work before filling out your prescriptions. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can save up to 80% on generics and 40% on branded drugs Amazon Pharmacy if you are not insured. Even if you are insured, a prescription drug card could help you save money. You can ask your pharmacist to calculate the cost using your insurance and the card to find out which option is cheaper.
If a drug is expensive because you have to pay for it out of pocket or your insurance company makes it expensive, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. A cheaper alternative may be available. Always buy generic drugs for over-the-counter drugs. The FDA requires that generics be chemically identical to their more expensive branded products.
14. Drop your cell phone tariff if you have a major carrier.
No need to worry about spotty service when switching to one Discount cell phone plan. Most of the discount plans run in the network of one of the four major airlines. The only thing you have to lose is your out-of-hand bill. Data restrictions may apply depending on the plan. Some also require an unlocked device.
15. Find the money you’ve long forgotten.
Some money-saving strategies require a ridiculous level of discipline. So here’s a super simple trick that can save you a quick savings in just three minutes. Find out if someone owes you money by searching your state unclaimed real estate website.
At least one in ten Americans has a lack of money waiting to be claimed. You could find money from old security deposits or bank accounts or even life insurance that you didn’t know a loved one left you. The key to making a one-time stroke of luck work for you is to use it purposefully. That can save or mean Invest your moneyor put it towards debt.
16. Get cash for bank drafts.
Another way to get a quick cash infusion: switch bank accounts. Some of the best bank promotions You get $ 500 or more just to open a new account. Be sure to read the fine print as a bank account with ridiculous fees or minimum balance can be expensive.
17. Be strategic about your tax refund.
Some types of personal finance will put you to shame if you get a huge tax refund for giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan. We say do whatever works for you. Choose to have less money withheld from your paycheck when you actually save it or apply it to debt. But if the idea of a huge tax refund motivates you, turning the IRS into a piggy bank is fine. Just make a plan for it how to spend your tax refund that will pay off in the long run. Some of our favorite ideas:
- Put it in your savings account for an emergency or upcoming expenses.
- Pay off your credit card with the highest interest rates.
- Make an additional mortgage or car payment.
- Give your Roth IRA a boost.
- Put it in your child’s college fund.
18. Ride two wheels if possible.
Even if it is not possible to drop your car, Commute bike A few days a week can help you save money on obvious expenses like gasoline and parking. But here’s a bonus: when you’re out and about on your bike, it can fit a lot less in your basket or backpack than it does in your trunk. So, if you are in the habit of making extra trips to the grocery store or stopping for takeout on the way home, traveling by bike will reduce the temptation.
19. Cancel the insurance that you don’t need.
Insurance can seem like a money sucker because hopefully you don’t have to use it very often. Have enough Homeowner insurance or Pension insurance, Car insurance, and health insurance is one of the best ways to prevent an emergency from ruining your finances.
However, some types of insurance are a waste of money. For example you probably I don’t need collision insurance or fully comprehensive insurance for a car that has paid off when it’s older and a fender bender is away from the junkyard. You may not want to shell out for it Accident insurance or Health insurance either because the circumstances for which they cover you are so limited. Even Life insurance may not be worth the cost if you are single and have no loved ones.
You can often get discounts on insurance by bundling your insurance coverage. For example, you can save money by getting your car and rental insurance with the same company.
20. Make a challenge without spending
Moron. It sounds so simple: to save money, just don’t spend it. But one Challenge without spendingWhen you make a commitment not to spend any money in any period of time – be it a month, a week, or even a single day – you can rule your spending.
Or you could try a modified version. Do a Pantry challengewhere to avoid the grocery store and use the ingredients you have on hand to feed your family. Or build a capsule wardrobewhere you choose a certain number of items of clothing and make them your only wardrobe for the period of your choice.
21. Find discounted services at vocational schools
Sometimes when looking for ways to save money on expensive services it can be worth it Have a student practice on you. You can get services like beauty treatments, sonograms, and massage therapies at high discounts from local trade schools. If you live near a university and are really brave, you can even get inexpensive dental work from a student dentist.
22. Get free or inexpensive financial help
If you’re having trouble staying on your budget or keeping your expenses in check, you can ask for help. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to work with a finance professional. In contrast to financial planners and advisors, who are often aimed at people with higher net worth, a Financial advisor is trained to help ordinary people manage their money day by day. Many offer their services at little or no cost through a bank, school, or nonprofit, or they practice independently and use a tier based on your income.
23. Find ways to make extra money.
There is no getting around it: even if you have one Bare bones budgetSometimes it is just not possible to save money. Part of the reason is that your fixed expenses like rent or mortgage, health insurance, and auto payments are often your largest expenses – and these are the hardest to bring down.
When you’ve cut everything you can and still can’t save, it’s time to find ways to make some extra cash. Moving to a higher paying job isn’t always realistic, but you can anyway Take up a sidelinefind one Work-from-home job You can work part-time or make extra money Sell things online.
24. Find inexpensive ways to self-medicate.
Every successful savings plan has built-in flexibility so that you can treat yourself to something from time to time. Buy a good one though instead of having drinks at happy hour cheap bottle of wine enjoy at home. Have a DIY spa day with simple ingredients you probably have on hand. If you’ve been stuck at home for too long, you can Update the look of your home without spending a penny.
25. Talk about your struggles and your successes.
One of the best ways to save money is to let other people know that you are trying to save money. This can help prepare your friends and family when they hear you say no when they propose expensive plans.
However, this is not the only benefit. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one struggling to save money, especially when you’re scrolling through Instagram. But you are far from being alone. Find other people trying to save money, either in your social circle or by connecting with like-minded people online community. You can share tips to save money and find encouragement in difficult times.
What if you hit your savings goals, no matter how big or small? To pay in advance. Talk about it. Let others know exactly how you managed to save money – and that they can, too.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com