If you struggle to save money, no matter how hard you try, you’re not alone. Research indicates that more than one in five working Americans aren’t saving any money for emergencies or retirement. Surprisingly, even those who earn a lot of money find it hard to save because they don’t know how to get started. Saving money is important as it helps protect you during emergencies. Besides, it provides you with a greater sense of financial freedom. If you’re looking for money saving ideas to improve your family finances, you are in the right place. In this guide, I’ll provide you with practical tips and creative ways on how to save money in your day-to-day life irrespective of the amount you earn.
- Change your attitude
Saving money can be as easy as changing your attitude towards money. Most people find it hard to save money because they lack the discipline to maintain good spending habits and a positive money mindset. More often, we tend to put off the idea of saving money until we get a raise, reach a certain milestone, or hit a specific age. The excuses can go on and on. Changing your attitude about money should start with replacing bad financial habits with good habits. Try to avoid instant gratification and situations that can lead to impulsive spending. Also, you’ll have to learn to spend less than you earn to avoid sinking into debt, which can make it even harder to save. A change in your attitude towards money can turn your financial life around in unimaginable ways.
- Learn to sacrifice
This is one of the money-saving ideas that require a high level of discipline. There are key sacrifices you have to make if you really want to save money. Eating out less often is a good starting point if you want to reduce your spending. Instead of stopping by your favorite café every morning for a custom latte, you can save a significant amount of money by making your own coffee at home. Other money-saving ideas that involve making sacrifices include buying a used car in good condition rather than a brand new one and giving up your vacation.
- Set achievable goals
Figure out what matters to your family and set a specific milestone to aim for within a well-defined timeline. For instance, you can decide to save $20,000 for emergencies within one year. Once you have such a clear goal, the next step is to break it down into actionable steps. After you’ve mapped out your goal, you can start to make a customized plan. Be sure to review your goals quarterly to ensure you’re moving towards the right direction and make the necessary adjustments. Once you reach the desired milestones, be sure to reward yourself to stay motivated.
- Create a budget
This is one of the money-saving ideas that will help you develop healthy money habits. Creating a budget will help you gain more control over your spending and make it easier to save. Start by creating a list of monthly expenses such as rent, entertainment, utilities, and so on against your income. Having an itemized summary of expenses and income allows you to keep track of your spending patterns. Be sure to stick to your budget and be consistent. There are many free budgeting tools you can utilize to keep track of your finances. If you’re not knowledgeable in budgeting, you can take a short course to learn more about budgeting.
- Set aside funds monthly/biweekly
Once you’ve set and mapped out your realistic goal, start setting aside a specific amount each month, weekly or biweekly, depending on what you can afford to save after paying yourself. Be sure to stick to your saving plan to avoid setbacks. The best way to achieve consistency when it comes to saving is to open a bank account specifically for saving and automate your savings. Essentially, automated savings automatically transfer a specific amount of funds from your paycheck to your savings account every pay cycle.
- Build an emergency fund
There’s nothing that can derail your saving goals faster than an emergency. For that reason, putting money aside for a rainy day should be at the top of your financial goals. Think of it as a cushion for financial bumps down the road. An emergency fund can stop adding to your debt with every unexpected expense. Besides, it allows you to stick to your saving plan and gives you peace of mind. Some of the practical ways to back up cash for an emergency fund is to sell lightly used stuff that you no longer use, cutting your grocery bill by half, and saving on utilities.
- Reduce your expenses/bills
The simplest way to save money is to cut your spending without making a lot of sacrifices. The best place to start is to negotiate for discounts on your phone plan, gas, electricity, water, and other bills to save money on utilities. You can also switch or bundle up car insurance with home insurance to get a discount. Another practical money-saving idea is to cut your spending is to ditch cable TV and opt for cost-effective alternatives such as Netflix and Apple TV. Also, you can use the library card and save over $500 per year. For those items that you have to buy, you can lower the cost by utilizing discount codes and coupons.
- Review monthly subscriptions
Subscription services can easily ruin your savings plan if you’re not careful. Therefore, it’s important to review your monthly subscription on a regular basis and cancel those that do not offer more value than they cost. Something like a magazine subscription doesn’t offer much value, so you may consider doing away with it. In fact, there could be recurring charges that you forgot about. That’s why you need to print out your credit card statement to identify the subscriptions you no longer use and cancel them. Instead of subscribing to a gym membership, you can buy free weights and a treadmill and save money.
- Cut down on food and entertainment
The average household in the US spends thousands of dollars on food and entertainment per year. These are the areas you can cut spending on and save a lot of money. There are many ways you can cut down on food and entertainment and still eat healthily and have a good time. Consider cooking at home more often rather than eating out and get into the habit of drinking at home before you go out to avoid spending a lot of money during a night out. You can as well save money by drinking at happy hours. Also, quitting smoking will save you a ton of cash. Other practical money-saving ideas is to spend less money on movies and concerts and visiting amusement sites during the off-season.
- Seek financial help
Saving money is not an easy endeavor. You may need to seek financial help so that you can make the right financial decisions and stick to your savings plan. You can visit your local bank and seek the help of a financial advisor with creating a financial plan that will boost your savings efforts. If you lack the willpower to save, an accountability partner may be key to holding you accountable and motivating you. Most importantly, review your saving plan quarterly to ensure you’re moving in the right direction.
- Use electronic budget apps to track your funds
Tracking your funds helps you get an accurate picture of where your money is going. Besides, it helps to reveal spending issues allowing you to make any necessary adjustments along the way to realize your saving goals. Electronic budget apps can make it easier for you to track your funds. Some of the electronic budget apps you can use to track your funds include Mint, YNBA, Packetguard, Goodbudget, and Clarity Capital.
- Get rid of high-interest debts
High-interest debts can derail your savings plan to a great extent as you tend to spend more on interest payments. Credit card interest generally falls between 11% – 20%. The best thing you can do if you want to save more money is to negotiate with your creditor to lower your annual interest. If you have a good credit score, there’s a possibility of getting a lower interest rate. If your creditor doesn’t lower your interest rate, you’ll have to create a solid repayment plan, starting with high-interest rates first.
- Use money making apps
There are countless money making apps that can earn you a good amount of money for things like shopping, watching trending stories, and completing surveys. While these apps may not make you rich, at least you can earn just a bit of extra cash to pay for your monthly subscription or add to your savings account. Some of the best money making apps you can try to include Rakuten, Swagbucks, Slidejoy, Drop, iPoll, Foap, and many more. All you need is a reliable smartphone to start earning cash from these apps.
- Cut accommodation expenses
This is one of the money-saving tricks that can help you save substantial sums of money. With rent prices soaring, accommodation expenses can have you living paycheck-to-paycheck, especially if you’re a low-income earner. If you want to save more money as fast as possible, you may want to consider finding a roommate and do cost-sharing. If you have an extra room in your house, you can rent it out to make extra cash. Renting out your basement and parking space is also a good way to generate additional income and increase your savings.
- Stop using credit card
With credit card interest rates soaring, using credit cards can harm your finances faster than you think. Apart from risking building up debt, the hefty fees associated with late payments and many other fees can prove to be extremely expensive. Generally, using credit cards may tempt you to spend more than you make and derail your savings goals. Instead of credit cards, start paying with cash and use the cash envelop system. The cash envelop system allows you to gain control over your spending and helps you resist the urge to shop online.
- Control food expenses
This is one of those money-saving tricks you can easily implement. If you look around, there are many ways you can cut your food expenses without cutting the nutritional value of your food. Be sure to use a shopping list when grocery shopping to avoid buying unnecessary items. It’s also advisable to have a monthly budget for food expenses and stick to it. Other practical money saving ideas when it comes to food expenses include cooking at home instead of eating out, using coupons when grocery shopping, and packing lunch for work to avoid buying lunch at work.
- Find a side hustle to pay off debts or save for investing
Side hustling can allow you to earn extra income outside of your 9 to 5 job. While a side hustle won’t give you top-dollar, at least it can give you extra cash to pay off debts, if you have any, and save for investing. Find ways to make time for a side hustle to supplement your existing full-time income. Some of the side hustles you may want to consider include freelancing, mystery shopping, babysitting, micro jobs such as oil changer or car mechanic, and after-hours office cleaner/house cleaner.
So there you have it. These money-saving ideas can greatly improve your family finances and give you financial freedom. To achieve your saving goals, you’ll need to cultivate a positive mindset towards money and embrace healthy financial habits. Most importantly, you must look for new ways to save money, lower your expenses and earn additional income. If you need help, you can consult with a financial advisor who can help you make the right decisions and recommend the best money-saving tricks that apply to your situation.
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