8 Easy Ways to Save Money Each Month
A dollar here, a dollar there – it all adds up. After all, it’s much easier to spend money than it is to save it. So, when it comes to saving, where should you start? Saving money can seem daunting, but with the right tips and tricks, it’s simpler than it looks. There are a number of easy ways to save money each month, from smarter food shopping to household hacks that can keep your bills at bay. To stretch your budget and cut down your expenses, try these helpful tips for putting more in your piggy bank.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON GROCERIES
1. Avoid Pre-Cut Fruits and Vegetables
Sure, it may seem convenient to buy pre-sliced watermelon or single servings of spaghetti squash, but buying pre-cut foods can be pricey. If you’re looking to save money, opt to prepare and cut fruits and veggies on your own. Plus, when you buy whole fruits and vegetables, you’re often getting more bang for your buck, and therefore, more for consumption. If you’re worried about it spoiling too quickly, store what you can in the freezer to use at a later time. Ultimately, this will add up and help you save on your grocery bills.
2. Save with Shorter Shelf Life
When grocery shopping, there are a number of easy ways to save money, like couponing and shopping generic brands, but we also suggest seeking out items that are on sale or are having daily specials. Oftentimes, produce and meats are on discount at the end of the day (as opposed to the beginning), while breads and pastries are marked down at the end of the week. These items are perfectly safe to eat; however, their expiration dates and “good by” recommendations are simply on the shorter side. Craving something from the deli? Go at the end of the day to scout for deals. The extra money you’ll save will add up!
HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON BILLS
3. Use Your Dishwasher!
It may seem like your dishwasher uses a significant amount of water, but according to the California Energy Commission, using an Energy Star-qualified dishwater, as opposed to hand washing, can save an average of 5,000 gallons of water a year. This adds up to about $40 in utility costs each year. Using a dishwasher does use electricity, but it saves energy, money, water and time versus manually washing. When in doubt, run that dishwasher!
4. Switch Out Your Showerhead
Not all showers are created equal. Believe it or not, some cost more than others. To save money on your water bill, switch to a 2.5-gallon-per-minute (low-flow) showerhead and limit shower time to 10 minutes. As opposed to taking a bath or longer shower, the 10-minute low-flow shower will save gallons of water and hundreds of dollars a year in electricity. Just think, every time you’re getting clean, you could also be saving money!
5. Stop Using Your Credit Card
If you’re trying to pay off your credit cards, one of the easiest ways to play catch up is to stop accruing debt. Challenge yourself to stop using your credit card (with the exception of emergencies, of course), in order to prevent further spending and help improve your credit utilization, or the ratio of your debt balance to your available credit. Over time, less usage of your credit card will help to instill healthier spending habits and (hopefully!) reduce debt build up.
6. Seek Lower Recurring Payments
From refinancing your auto loan to take advantage of smaller interest rates to switching your cell phone plan, routinely reviewing and adjusting your recurring expenses is a great way to continually save money. With special promotions, new member deals, and loyal member offers, it’s worth periodically reviewing cable and internet payments, car insurance, cell phone plans, subscriptions and other ongoing fees to find the best, new deals.
HACKS FOR ONGOING SAVING
7. Start a “Saved It” Fund
Similar to those “take a penny, leave a penny” jars you may see at your local bagel shop, try creating a “saved it” fund of your own. When you’re able to cut back in specific areas of your budget, whether it’s on your buying daily breakfast sandwich or using coupons that result in a “you saved $14” memo on the bottom of your store receipt, deposit the amount you saved, or would have spent, into your savings account. Without reallocating those funds into a safe place, they’re up for grabs to use. So, reward yourself for saving by padding your very own bank account for a job well done.
8. Initiate a Calendar Challenge
Every new month is an opportunity for a new beginning – and for savings! Challenge yourself to save throughout the year with a “calendar challenge” to make regular deposits into your bank account each week of the year. With 52 weeks in the year, begin by depositing $52 on week one, followed by $51 on week two, $50 on week three, and so on. By the end of the year, you’ll have set aside $1,378. Feel free to start the deposit “scale” at whatever number you feel most comfortable.
At the end of the day, saving money isn’t just a numbers game. It’s about having the right strategy. No matter your salary or lifestyle, living on a budget doesn’t have to feel like a chore. In fact, it can be a fun challenge! There are a number of easy ways to save money with a little bit of effort. So, if you’re wondering how to cut expenses and pad your bank account each month, start by auditing what you’re already spending, then look at what you can do to save. Every penny counts!
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i. The Daily Meal: How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half
ii. cnet: 24 tips to help you save on your electric bill
iii. Nerdwallet: How to Pay Off Debt Fast: 7 Tips
iv: Nerdwallet: How to Save Money: 17 Tips
v: The Nest: Tips on How to Set Aside Money to Save
vi: Huffpost: 27 Sneaky Ways to Save $100s a Month