Saving money while ensuring you have a roof over your head and food on the table is challenging. Amid inflation and widespread layoffs, it’s no surprise that money is a hot-ticket item on most people’s minds. That’s why we’ve put together some ideas (we’ll call them money savers) to help save you money.
A recent Capital One and the Decision Lab study found that 77% of Americans are anxious about their finances. Another 56% worry they don’t have enough money to afford the cost of living.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to pad your pockets, whether trying to pay next month’s rent, save for the future or get through the day.
Easy Money Savers to Try Now
Imagine for a moment, you looked at your savings account on December 6, 2024, and it had $5000? How would you feel? I remember that very moment I managed to keep $5000 in my savings account – and it was a pretty amazing feeling! But, getting there wasn’t easy.
One of my favorite ways to approach saving money is to create a 52 week money challenge. How much you save isn’t important; the goal is important. Set a goal for 1 year from now, and then mini goals along the way.
The following simple money savers will help you achieve that goal!
Brew Your Own Coffee
You know the saying — America lives on Dunkin. We also live on Starbucks and coffee from the mom-and-pop cafe you hit up on the way to work — about 14.4% of American spend over $40 monthly purchasing coffee. Meanwhile, 31% only spend about $11 to $20 making coffee at home.
If you want to save a few bucks, invest in a reusable travel mug and get used to brewing coffee before you leave the house.
Grow Food at Home
Growing your food is another money saver to cut down your grocery bills. Whether you have a backyard for garden beds or maintain a raised bed or wall garden on your apartment balcony, you can grow an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs to cook with.
Using a 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid and two teaspoons of water also helps maintain quality plants. Add the solution to your windowsill herbs to lower the pH level and improve hydration.
Invest in Your Retirement
Diversify your retirement portfolio by investing in new accounts, such as an individual retirement account (IRA), Roth IRA, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) Plan, or mutual funds.
Start small if money is tight. Eventually, experts suggest you save 10% to 15% of your annual earnings if you can swing it.
Of course, the last thing you want to do is move large amounts of money into investments when things are tight. Check your contributions to see if anything needs adjusting until your finances straighten out.
Use a Budget Tracker
Setting monthly savings goals is the best way to get ahead of your finances. Fortunately, you can download a budget-tracking app to your smartphone to track your spending habits. Mint, Stash, and Empower are popular consumer apps for improving your money management.
You can also use a budget journal — consider how often you get paid, such as weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. That will help you determine how much money to budget within that timeframe, although you can set your budget period for whatever length of time you prefer.
Tracking your spending will help you juggle your expenses and feel more responsible as an adult.
Get Rid of Unused Subscriptions
A study by insights firm C+R Research discovered that people spend $133 more on subscription services than they think — most people believe they spend about $86.
It’s not unlikely that you’ve lost track of all the subscriptions you pay into — Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Spotify are just some of the most common services.
Take a minute to look over your subscriptions and cancel the ones you rarely use. You can save a lot of money you didn’t know you were wasting.
Try a 30-Day No-Spend Challenge
If your purchases are getting out of hand, challenge yourself to reserve money for the most important items — rent payments, utilities, groceries, and medical — for a month.
The trick is to hold yourself accountable for your spending. If friends ask you to join them for dinner or drinks, kindly decline and invite them to watch a movie at your house another time.
Also, avoid buying everything in your online shopping cart and watch your savings increase throughout the month. For one thing, you won’t have to worry about where you’ll come up with money going forward — you’ll also prove to yourself you can act responsibly with your finances.
Make a List Before Shopping
Sometimes, a visual helps keep you in line while spending money. If you create a list before you leave the house — for groceries, clothes, or the home improvement store — you’re more likely to buy only what you need.
Making a list days before you shop also gives you time to determine whether particular items are impulse buys or absolutely necessary. If a specific item remains on your mind weeks later, go ahead and purchase it — it’s obviously something you feel you can’t live without.
Visit the Library
Print books are having a moment, with over 89 million posts in Instagram’s #bookstagram hashtag. Considering a new hardcover novel could cost upwards of $25 or $30, that’s money you can save or spend on more important things.
Take advantage of the wide selection of books at your local library, which is free. They usually have new releases available to borrow — and if you have to wait for a return, there are hundreds of other excellent books you can dive into in the meantime.
Like anything else, saving money is a habit-forming practice that takes patience and dedication. Some require an entire lifestyle change to cut back on unnecessary purchases. However, in these crazy economic times, being frugal with your finances pays more.