Top 4 Ways to Start Saving Money Right Now
You’ve done it. You’ve decided to buckle down and start saving money. You know your future self will thank you, but today you’re just wondering how you’re going to start.
We’ve rounded up the easiest 4 things you can doing today.
- Consider yourself a utility bill. Pay yourself!
- Spend a Saturday morning going through your subscriptions. Cancel a lot.
- Get on the phone with your providers. Cut down your cell phone and cable bills.
- Reap the Rewards. Sign up for rewards programs at your grocery store, pharmacy, and wherever you shop.
Consider Yourself a Utility
You wouldn’t miss a payment to your electric company, right? You need to start thinking about your Savings Account
as another utility bill. That mindset shift reduces the chance of spending your cash before you’ve deposited it into your Savings.
Look at it like this: you’re not going to spend a bunch of money before your bills are paid. You know that could make it hard for you to actually pay those bills on time. And you shouldn’t be spending a bunch of money before you slide some of that cash into your Savings. Why? Because then you can convince yourself you don’t have enough money to set aside as savings.
Want to really eliminate the temptation to spend instead of save?
Eliminate yourself from the process.
Set up automatic transfers into your Savings Account. You’ll never have to feel the temptation of using that cash instead. You can usually set up automatic transfers right from your financial institution’s online banking or mobile banking app. It’s best to time your automatic transfers with your paycheck so you know you’ll have enough funds.
After a few months of paying yourself like a utility bill, you’ll start to see your savings grow and your spending adjust.
Slim Down Those Subscriptions
How would you feel if you discovered your bank account had a leak and money was just dripping away? If you’re paying for subscriptions you haven’t used in months, that’s exactly what’s happening.
It happens to all of us. You snag that free trial and forget to end it. Or you’re super into the shopping app for 3 months and then your interest fades. And all of that’s OK…unless you’re still paying for those subscriptions.
The solution is pretty simple, although it takes a little bit of time investment on your part. Set aside an hour or two one Saturday morning and go through all of your apps and subscriptions. Figure out which ones you aren’t using anymore and cancel them.
Part of the struggle is trying to remember what you’ve signed up for. Use this checklist to help jog your memory. Download My Checklist
You may find yourself with an extra $30 or more each month. Add that amount to your automated Savings Account deposits.
Cut down your cell phone and cable bills
We love our phones. And our TV. But most of us also put a lot of money each month towards those. If you’re trying to start saving, this is one area you need to commit to.
Tackle your cell phone first. Are you paying for extra data? And if so, do really need it? Are there alternate plans or providers that offer unlimited data? Give your cell phone provider a call and see what other plans they have. And if they can’t accommodate you, shop around. Most providers let you keep your number.
Look at your TV service next. Do you use cable? Have a premium plan? Ask yourself how many times over the past 3 months you’ve actually watched some of those channels. You may find you can switch to a streaming service. Do the math, though. Streaming services cost money, too, so you want to make sure the switch is financially smart.
And don’t be afraid to call your provider. They may be able to offer you a discount or alternative packages that cost less. Watch out for short-term deals. Sometimes the price you pay after the deal expires will be more than what you’re currently paying.
This takes time on your part. Stay focused on your end goal: You want to save money. It will be worth the footwork now to know you’re putting an extra $30, $40, even $100 into your Savings Account each month.
Sign Up for Rewards Programs
You have to be in it to win it, right? There’s no better time to start using rewards programs to save money. Start with your grocery store. Many have apps you can use to get digital coupons and access special offers. Something to keep in mind: many of these apps need to “learn” you. So if you’re not getting relevant offers right away, stick with it and you’ll see that change. If your app keeps a running total of your savings, keep an eye on that. It can be motivational to see that number inching up.
There are a number of apps designed to help you save, too.
- Honey will apply the best available discount to items in your online shopping cart.
- RetailMeNot lets you browse for digital coupons.
- Ibotta dishes up cashback offers for products at a number of retailers.
- Rakuten is another app that finds cashback offers for you.
Check with other stores you commonly use, like pharmacies. Many offer rewards programs that can help you pile on the savings. Even if that pile grows slowly, you should still feel good about adding to it.
Putting It All Together
None of these four actions are earth-shattering, but that’s the point. They are simple steps you can take without a lot of preparation or extra guidance. And the payoff – spending less and saving more – will be worth it.