Want to save more money? Contrary to popular belief, you can save money without drastically changing your lifestyle. It could be as simple as holding onto those coupons from the supermarket instead of tossing ’em out. But there are other small choices you can make to save yourself much more money than that.
7 Ways to Save More Money
Here are seven ways to save more money without turning your world upside down.
1. Make a budget.
First and foremost, make yourself a budget. Making a budget and tracking your expenses accordingly will keep you mindful of your spending habits and, ideally, hold you accountable.
Some financial obligations for which your budget should account are your rent or mortgage, your utility bills, insurance payments, any loans, groceries, laundry, gas or commuting costs, healthcare needs like necessary medications and more.
Deduct your necessary expenses from your monthly income, and set them aside. Then consider how often you extraneously treat yourself and set aside a restricted but realistic portion of your paycheck to cover the fun stuff.
While a budget may sound tedious, there are apps to help you do it. Apps like Mint, for example, help delineate your budget and alert you when you’re coming close to inching over it.
2. Apply for a credit card with a rewards program.
While spending with a credit card is still spending money (not saving it), you can make money by spending your dollars on the card. Many cards offer rewards programs that give you points for certain purchases that you can then redeem.
You may be able to redeem these points by applying them toward purchases through partnered retailers or crediting your account to detract from what you owe. You can also use these points to pay for flights and travel costs with some credit cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Capital One VentureOne Rewards card. So, in the end, you save more.
3. Buy groceries instead of dining out.
Buying groceries to eat at home will save you a lot of money on eating out. And, contrary to popular belief, opting for fresh foods can actually save you money, too. Chances are that you’ll get a lot more meals out of vegetables and whole foods than you will from packaged and processed items.
Pro tip: Never grocery shop without a list (or while hungry, for that matter). Making a list will help you be more mindful about your shopping so that you don’t over-buy too much that’ll ultimately go to waste.
4. Lookout for silently reoccurring charges.
Remember that time you subscribed to some newsletter you never actually read? Or how about that app you purchased for the free trial but forgot to cancel after your week was up? Are you paying a few bucks a month to listen to podcasts or music that you could get for free elsewhere? Go through your bank account to keep an eye out for reoccurring expenses you totally forgot about.
Maybe the few dollars every four weeks doesn’t seem like a lot. But add up all those dollars from various, miscellaneous expenses and then multiply that number by 12 for the year. The sum is probably a hefty chunk of change.
5. Shop around for cheaper insurance plans.
Insurance is necessary, but you can certainly shop around for plans that are affordable for you so you can save more. Check out the health insurance marketplace to compare providers and plans within your budget. You may be paying for a lot more than you need or use right now — and there could be a plan that better prioritizes your healthcare needs without breaking the bank.
Take advantage of employee healthcare benefits if you have them, too. Many employers provide employees with health, vision and dental insurance plans at competitive rates. They’ll deduct these expenses directly from your paycheck, too, so you won’t even necessarily notice that the money is gone.
6. Take your workouts outside the gym.
The gym might be a mentally cleansing experience for a lot of people. And, for many, cutting out the gym is a hard no. But you might want to consider ditching your expensive gym membership and taking your workouts home or outside instead to save more money.
A wealth of apps exist to help you stay on top of your fitness goals and keep that community-feel that you love about actually walking into a gym. Aaptiv, for example, offers 30 new audio workout classes every week, from yoga to boxing to strength-training exercises. While the app isn’t free, it’s certainly a more wallet-friendly alternative to an expensive gym membership. There are free apps, as well, like Nike Training Club, which offers everything from bodyweight sessions and yoga flows to cardio routines and HIT classes for all fitness levels.
7. Set up a money auto-transfer to a separate savings account every month.
Most bank accounts will allow you to set up a regular auto-transfer to move money from one account to another. Transferring even $100 into a separate savings account every month will make a difference. While $100 doesn’t seem like much in a month’s time, it’ll add up over time — and you won’t notice its absence all that much.
If you transfer the $100 into a savings account with an attractive annual percentage yield (also known as an APY, the rate of return you earn on your savings deposit), your money will grow. Many banks offer an APY of about one percent so you can save more, too.