Saving money isn’t always as hard as people make it out to be. It’s easy to save money if you put the time and attention in that it requires. The following tips are super simple ways to save money each month, which will help you increase your savings.
1. Become a DIYer
Doing things yourself, rather than paying for a service, can help you save a TON of money. While DIY may not be the easiest thing for some people, the internet provides an endless supply of tutorials and instructions which you can utilize to help you! Some ideas for DIY are:
- Fixing things around the home
- Creating rather than buying furniture and décor
2. Automatic Transfers
As the saying goes, “out of sight out of mind!” Setting up automatic withdrawals from your checking account into an online savings or investment account works great for a lot of people. If the money isn’t in your account, you can’t spend it- unless, of course, you put it on your credit card, but it’s silly to charge things that you cannot afford to pay for.
3. Eliminate Food Waste
This is something I still struggle with myself sometimes. One thing that has helped me immensely is meal-planning. Every weekend I fill out my pad with my meals for each night of the following week and purchase only the items necessary for those meals. I used to go into the grocery store without a plan and just grab things as I went, but I would always end up with either too much or not the right things for the meals I decided to cook during the week. It was a really inefficient process that resulted in a lot of food going bad before I could use it, which in turn meant a waste of money.
4. Bring Lunch
I’m very fortunate that my job offers free lunch to its employees for most of the year. This is a huge money-saver for me because not only do I not need to buy lunch while at work; I also don’t need to buy lunch to bring into work with me. The most cost-effective way to bring lunch to work each day is to bring in any leftovers from dinner (if there are any). You’re really only paying for one meal, but getting multiple out of it! If you are like me and rarely end up with leftovers, you can still take comfort in knowing that making your own lunch is still less expensive than buying lunch every day.
5. Shop Discounted/Generic
For those of you who, like me, are not the best at DIY, you should try your best to shop during sales, at discount stores and/or buy generic. If you find a specific item you really want and there is no rush to purchase it, try to wait until it goes on sale, such as during a holiday weekend. Discount stores have become increasingly popular over the years and with good reason. Why pay full price for an item that will be moved to a discount store when it’s “out-of-season” in a short time. Lastly, buying generic can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. While I understand that not everyone can get behind generic everything, try to opt for the generic brand whenever you can.
Ebates is a website that rewards you with cash back for your purchases. It’s quite simple. You go to the Ebates website, click on the store you want to shop at (you have to click on the store directly on the Ebates website, which then forwards you to the store’s website), shop and make your purchase, then you will receive an email confirming your purchase. Also, there is a downloadable button that makes it even easier to ensure you get cash back. The Ebates cash back button pins right onto your browser, so if you forget to go through Ebates first you press this button once you are on the store’s website and then continue the process. Once a quarter, Ebates sends you a check rewarding you with cash back for your purchases. If you’re going to shop anyway, you might as well be rewarded for it! The Ebates app gives you the ability to use in-store coupons and scan products to compare prices. If you sign up through my link here, you will automatically receive $10 when you sign up!
7. Save Spare Change
Nowadays it is much more typical to be paying with a card, than with cash. For those times that you are paying in cash, though, save that spare change in a jar and deposit it once a month (or whatever frequency makes sense depending on how much you save). A lot of banks are doing away with the coin machines, as they are being used much less often, but I used to have an account at a credit union specifically just for my loose change. At one point I had as much as $400 in the account made up solely of change! It really does add up.
Take the money you save from these methods and put it into savings. If you normally spend $50 per months on your manicures and pedicures, but decided to paint them yourself, put $50 into your savings account. If the name-brand cereal is $5, but the generic brand is $3, move $2 into your savings account. If you found a lamp for full-price for $50, but you bought the one at the discount store for $20, move $30 into your savings account. Deposit all your Ebates checks into your savings account. Once you start eliminating food waste and bringing your lunch more often, deposit the difference between your original budget number and what you actually spend each month into your savings account. If you want to increase the number in your savings account, put your savings into your savings account!