When calculating a budget and socking away funds in your savings account feels like an impossibility, a blind approach to your finances may seem like the best option at the moment. Unfortunately, taking a hands-off approach to your finances can actually hurt you in the long run. By the time you have the funds to repair your financial standing, it may be far too late to fully rectify the situation. Thankfully, you can effectively save money on your purchases and bolster your savings with a few easy methods. Upon integrating the eight following ridiculously easy ways to save money into your daily routine, the habits may even become second nature.
1. Pay Your Savings Like a Bill
If at all possible, it is wise to determine a percentage of your income to set aside and place those funds into your savings before spending a dollar on anything else. If possible, you should set aside at least 5% per paycheck, but if you cannot manage that amount, just 1-2% will do. Continually bump up your percentage as your income rises to ramp up your savings to match your incoming funds.
2. Round Up to Top Off Your Savings
If you find that you just cannot set aside a percentage of your income for your savings account, consider rounding up each purchase to the nearest five or ten dollar mark, and then placing the difference in your savings. The dollars will quickly add up without taking a significant chunk away from your bill money or spending allowance.
3. Play Mind Games with Yourself
When you have cash on hand, it is far too easy to spend it all on the items you want the most. You can put your wishes to the test by imagining the item you want to purchase in one hand and the cash in the other. If you find that you would rather have the cash, put the item back and place the cash in your savings account instead. You will likely be surprised at how many times the cash actually wins out while playing this mind game with yourself.
4. Smartly Utilize Credit Card Perks
Knowing your cards and their various perks can be one very powerful way to save money. It just takes a little research. When you use certain credit cards for big ticket items, you can receive a bonus award on the purchases you make each month. Upon exceeding the set payout amount for each card, you can divert the bonus funds directly to your savings account or statement balance. But remember, for this method to work, you must pay off your entire statement balance at the end of each month to avoid paying interest.
5. Check Out All the Deal Websites
Before you make a purchase online or in stores, search through the deal websites, such as Groupon, to find coupons or specials that will save you money. If you are shopping in store, load up the coupons on your phone and simply show them at the register to get the discount. For online shopping, input the promo code at the checkout screen to receive your savings.
6. Use Private Browsers for Travel Purchases
When you visit travel websites, your browser collects cookies that track your activities. Each time you leave the travel website and return, you will likely notice the price increase for the tickets in question. The price increase relates directly to the storage of those tracking cookies, so to avoid this situation, simply utilize a private browser to comparison shop and purchase your travel tickets.
7. Adopt Meatless Mondays
You can effectively cut meat out of your diet at least one day a week to save a significant amount on your grocery bill. Learn to integrate cheaper plant-based protein sources, such as beans or soy, into your diet to ensure you receive the right balance of nutrients. If you boost your meatless days to two days a week, you may want to increase your savings further by purchasing your beans in bulk.
8. Cut Cords in Favor of A La Carte Entertainment
If you pay a fortune for cable TV, yet only watch the same few channels, it may be time to cut the cords in favor of a la carte entertainment options. Netflix, Hulu and SlingTV all offer access to popular TV shows and movies at a much lower price than cable packages. Do your homework before switching to make sure your favorite shows are available on the platform you pick, since they all differ slightly in their offerings.
9. Combining All of the Ways to Save Money
As you utilize each of the above ways to save money, you will find your savings growing by the day. Diverting the funds directly to your savings account gives your rainy day fund the boost it needs to grow and thrive in the coming years. As your funds grow past the thousand-dollar mark, you can invest your savings in accounts that bear interest which will earn you compounding interest over time.