So, you’ve decided you want to save more money. Maybe it’s to build up that emergency fund. Maybe you built a budget and realized your expenses are higher than your income. Maybe you’re getting ready for a major purchase or life event. Regardless of the reason, you’re looking for ways to save. Lucky for you, we have lots of ideas.
Building a strong savings account is something I love to teach people about, especially children. Developing strong savings habits early can really help kids once they become adults and are out on their own. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s never too late to improve your savings habits. With that in mind, let’s get to it! Here are seven ideas for how you can weave small savings into your daily life.
1. Stick to your shopping list. Whether you’re heading out to the grocery store or the mall, make a list of the items you need and stick to it. Especially at the grocery store, it’s easy to put extra items (which probably aren’t good for you anyway!) in your cart. Avoid the temptation and stick to the list.
2. Buy the store brand. Many store brand fridge and pantry staples are made with the same ingredients, and comply with the same health standards as their name brand counterpart. Save by purchasing the store brand on the “basics” you know aren’t different—such as milk, flour, salt, etc.—and splurge on more specialty items.
3. Compare costs on the contracts you’ve had a while. If you haven’t switched up your phone plan, internet provider or car insurance provider in couple years, ask around for new quotes and make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
4. Do your major shopping during sales season. If you need to restock items in your wardrobe or get the kids ready for a new season, be on the lookout for sales at your favorite stores and shop when you know you’ll get a great deal. If you’re like me and receive what seems like hundreds of emails a day from stores promoting upcoming sales, you know there’s no reason to buy an item full price just to get it one week sooner.
5. Shop for holidays in the off-season. Seasonal items always go on sale once the holiday is over, so do your shopping for a new Christmas tree or lights, a Halloween banner or Fourth of July decorations “late” and be ahead of the game next year.
6. Evaluate your energy efficiency. While you may not see as significant a number of savings as some of the other items above, simple energy efficient practices—such as using more efficient light bulbs, unplugging items not in use, and investing in appliances with higher efficiency ratings—can end up saving big in the long run.
7. Automatically deposit a portion of your paycheck to savings. If you’re really struggling to save the money in your checking account, there are ways you can trick yourself into saving money. Work with your employer to split your paycheck’s automatic deposit, so a certain portion is sent to a separate savings account, which you use only for savings, every month. You may also be able to set up an automatic transfer between accounts via your online banking.
Saving requires a little more planning ahead, but can pay off big later on.