Find Your Balance: Ways to Save Money & Live Comfortably
Is your rainy day fund running low? You’re not alone. According to recent data from Personal Capital, the typical American has a median balance of only $3,740 saved in their twenties, $8,524 in their thirties, and $10,611 in their forties, across all three types of savings accounts. However, experts suggest having between three and six months worth of expenses saved for emergencies. So, what does this mean? It means the typical American isn’t saving as much as they probably should, especially when the economy is facing hardships. Thankfully, there are a number of ongoing, easy ways to save money that can help give your bank account some wiggle room on the regular.
From cancelling unused subscriptions to making homemade gifts instead of buying in-store, reduce your expenses with these simple, money-saving practices.
SWEEP YOUR STATEMENTS:
When it comes to saving money, every penny counts. Minimal charges here and there can add up, but it’s impossible to pocket that change without knowing where you’re losing money in the first place. Conduct monthly scans of your bank statement to look for unused (or unnecessary) automated or recurring expenses. Oftentimes, we’re being charged for subscriptions and memberships we didn’t even know about. (You may have found your husband, but that dating app may still be charging you!) Plus, if there are ongoing subscriptions you wish to keep, use this as an opportunity to inquire about lower rates. It never hurts to try.
BECOME YOUR OWN BARISTA:
There’s nothing like a cup of coffee in the morning, but who says it has to come from your local café? Instead, invest in a coffee pot or French press to make your morning cup of joe from home. You can purchase flavored syrups, froth your own milk, and make every cup just the way you like it. Plus, if your daily cup of coffee costs approximately $3, brewing your own would save you $21 a week, and approximately $1,092 a year. If you’re a two-cup-a-day kind of person, that’s a $2,184 savings per year. Besides, who doesn’t want to start every day with a tasty cup of personal achievement?
CUT THE CORD:
If you’re looking for easy ways to save money, the simplest solution may be right in front of you – literally. With streaming services on the rise, many are “cutting the cord,” forgoing cable television in favor of subscribing to streaming services. Worried about missing your favorite programs? Nowadays, most shows on cable are also available to stream 24 hours after they air, or they can be found online. You can save hundreds – and in some cases, thousands – a year depending on your cable package.
CLEAR YOUR CLUTTER:
Wondering how to live within your means when your expenses leave little room for “spending money”? Start by auditing your home for clothing and items you no longer use or need. Technology has made it easier than ever to become your own entrepreneur, so try selling your items on social media, websites or apps that are designed for buying and selling used items. Try using the “One Year Rule” to determine if something should stay or go: if you haven’t worn it or used it in a year, consider selling it. One person’s trash is another’s treasure – and that treasure can help line your pockets!
CREATE FOOD RULES:
We all love treating ourselves to a meal out. But when it comes to what we’re eating, there are a number of easy ways to save money that can also reinforce healthy habits. For starters, avoid fast food when you can, instead opting for leftovers. Make it easy by scheduling time to cook over the weekend and setting aside portions to enjoy the following week. Also, try drinking a glass of water before every meal to help keep you fuller longer, thus, leaving you with more leftovers! (Plus, drinking water is free – buying juices, sodas and other drinks can add up!) And before you hit the kitchen, save on groceries by creating a shopping list beforehand and sticking to it; you’ll reduce impulsive spending and buy only what’s needed for the week’s meals.
OPT FOR HOMEMADE:
Between birthdays, weddings, holidays and other celebrations, it’s possible to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a year on gifts. Instead of heading to the store next time you need a present, opt to make something homemade, whether it’s baking a batch of sweets or getting crafty. You’ll save money on what feels like a never-ending rotation of purchases and your recipient gets something one-of-a-kind made specially by you!
So, when you find yourself wondering how to save money on groceries, food, bills and other recurring expenses, remember that there are always opportunities to save if you’re willing to put in the work and get creative. A little bit of cost-cutting can go a long way. Good luck!
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i. The Simple Dollar: How to Save Money Fast
ii. Business Insider: Here’s how much the typical American has saved in cash, at every age