Jul 21, 2022
By Mariclare Cranston, Content Specialist

Real-life savings tips from our staff


Why does every recommendation for saving money mean you have to give something up? To be fair, cutting back on spending is a great way to get your accounts under control and relieve some financial stress.

But it doesn’t have to be the only way.

We checked in with the staff here at MHV for their best money-saving tips. Read on for ways to keep more money in your wallet with:
 
  1. Account Management
  2. Apps + Hacks
  3. Reinvent Spending
 

Account Management

Automate deposits into savings

Christina B. savings tip

Want the easiest way to start (and keep) building that savings account? Follow Christina’s advice and set up automatic deposits. Making the transfer automatic eliminates the chance you’ll forget or accidentally spend the money you want to save. Automatic transfers also make saving feel less restrictive; if you’re not making the transfer yourself, you don’t feel like you’re losing out on spending money.


How to do it:

Contact your Human Resources department. They will likely have a form for you to submit so they know which account and routing number to apply to the transfer. You can also set up a recurring transfer in online banking or contact your financial institution. They can set up an automatic transfer for you.


Use autopay to get a discount

Kelly K. savings tip

Only 23% of all consumers report they use autopay for as many bills as they can.* Savings don’t have to be huge to make an impact. Setting up autopay on your loans can carve off anywhere from a few to a few hundred dollars in interest payments. And before you decide that a few dollars isn’t worth it, ask yourself if you’d be willing to throw a $10 bill in the garbage each month. Because when you’re not taking advantage of every savings opportunity, that’s what happens.


How to do it:

Contact every financial institution at which you have a loan or mortgage. Find out if they offer a rate discount for autopay and, if so, how you set it up.


Separate checking account for bills

Jen B. savings tip

Running out of money before all the bills are paid is a sure path to financial hardship. One way to prevent that? Do what Jen does: use a separate checking account. Nothing comes out of this account unless it’s paying a bill. This helps prevent over-spending.

Locking money away for future expenses – including vacation – is another great plan. Set up an account and make it inaccessible via debit card to eliminate the temptation of dipping into it for something else. Then when it’s time to book the trip or make the purchase, you have cash on hand to do so.


How to do it:

Contact your financial institution or use their online application to open a new checking account. Then, calculate how much you’ll need to cover all of your bills each month (don’t forget memberships and subscriptions). Once you have the total, set up automatic transfers into that account. If you’re paid multiple times a month, it’s helpful to split the amount between your checks.

Follow the same process to set up a “protected” account. It can be a savings or checking account. Just remember to decline a debit card when you open it. 


Apps + Hacks

Grocery rewards programs

Jenna S. savings tip

The savings can really add up with grocery store rewards programs (at the time of this writing, the author has saved $249). The trick is to be patient. It takes a little time for the app to “learn” you and offer up relevant coupons. Some, like My Hannaford Rewards, use your shopping habits to build exclusive discounts.


How to do it:

Check the websites for the stores you frequent. They almost certainly have a reward program available. Many include an app you can download to your phone. You can then us the app to browse your digital coupons and select relevant ones.


Ibotta app

Jacklyn B. savings tip

Speaking of saving money at the store, you can extend the savings beyond grocery stores with apps like Ibotta. These apps partner with major retailers to offer discounts and incentives. Many allow you to shop online, on your phone or in the store to earn your cash back. Some, including Ibotta, allow you to connect your bank account so you can easily transfer the money saved. These apps often allow you to comparison shop, too, so you find the best deal.


How to do it:

Interested in Ibotta? You can get a browser extension for your online shopping or add the app to your phone. If you’re curious what other money-saving apps are out there, check out this article from Newsweek.


Pay revolving debt right away

Adam S. savings tip

A lot of us wait until the due date to pay our credit card. But there are definite advantages to paying it as soon as the bill is available.
 
  1. You’re lowering the amount of interest you’ll pay. Many credit card companies use the average daily balance to calculate your interest. So if you’re paying the balance down sooner, your interest charge will be less.
  2. The sooner you pay, the more available credit you have. And the more available credit you have, the better your score. Because it can take up to a few days for your payment to post to your credit card, you’ll want to get your payment in before the billing cycle closes and the card company reports your balance to the credit bureaus.
A word of caution: don’t make your card payment so early that it doesn’t count for the billing cycle. You could inadvertently miss a payment.


How to do it:

This takes a little work on your part. Check your card statement. You’ll be able to see the start and end dates of your billing cycle (it’s often printed near the amount due). Compare that to your due date. You can also track your credit cards in their respective apps to figure out when the new bills are posted. Aim to make your payment at the beginning of the billing cycle before the due date. Essentially, pay it as soon as you have a new payment due.


Reinvent Spending

Use Credit Card loyalty programs


Anna V. savings tip

Using a credit card with a loyalty or rewards program can pay off for you, especially when it comes to travel. Paying for your everyday expenses with that card can help the points add up quick. Just make sure you’re offsetting the amount you’re spending on the card with an amount in your checking account so you’re able to pay it off. If you have trouble budgeting for credit card payments, or a tendency to overspend when using a card, try using the savings method described above instead.


How to do it:

Use a rewards credit card for your everyday purchases like groceries and gas. Give yourself a monthly budget to spend on the card…and be sure to keep that amount in your checking account. That way you will be able to pay the card in full each month. You may want to avoid maxing out the card each month, even if you can pay it, so that you have available credit for emergencies.


Invest instead of spending

Brianna T. savings tip

Love to shop? Do what Brianna does: turn that spending into saving. When you find a temptation to buy something you know you don’t really need, try putting that amount into a retirement account instead. Since 401k contributions have to go through payroll, talk to your financial institution about opening an IRA. While there are annual contribution limits to an IRA, it’s a great way to turn money you would’ve spent into money you can spend in retirement.


How to do it:

The first step is opening an IRA or other savings account. Talk to your financial institution, and shop around to see where you’ll get the best rates with the best service. Then you have to make a mental commitment to check yourself before spending money. Set a goal: can you turn 3 purchases a month into deposits into your retirement account?
 

*(https://www.fiserv.com/content/dam/fiserv-ent/final-files/graphics/infographics/EE_Consumer_Payments_Executive_Summary_0221.pdf)

 

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